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Archive for August, 2010

I’m getting pretty excited, and you know why?  Autumn is slooowly rearing its head.  And I LOVE  fall.  First of all, I go wonderfully with the color scheme…burnt sienna, deep burgundy, rich mahogany…I can finally stop pretending to like the pastels and neons that dominate the summer fashion scene.  Secondly, the weather is perfect.  I’m not grouchy dealing with heat-waves, and I’m not complaining about how cold I am.  And finally, I love how fall feels so clean-slatey.  Maybe it’s a holdover from my school-days, but to me fall equals a new start, a brand new wardrobe, and beautifully pristine notebook pages just waiting for all the genius things that will be coming out of your brain.

So when H reminded me that September was NEXT WEEK (I generally need to be reminded of such things), I immediately started dreaming of bon-fires and football games and…jeggings.  Oh, and riding boots.  Mmm.

Questionable wardrobe purchases aside (don’t judge on the jeggings…), I also suddenly felt compelled to start (GASP!) using my oven again.  And despite my dreams of pumpkins and cute fall jackets, our CSA is still spewing forth astounding quantities of summery produce.  Like zucchini. Ugh.

The very word is starting to give me a nervous twitch.  I’m not sure you understand the severity of the situation.  I GET 5 OR MORE POUNDS OF SQUASH. A WEEK. And I can only watch H choke down Zucchini pancakes so many times.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  And the desperate measure I took this weekend was Quiche.

Quiche is one of those things that I adored eating outside of the house, but had no clue how to even attempt to make it myself.  Sure, I guess in theory it sounded easy: eggs and other stuff in a pie crust.  But there was my first problem: pie crust.  And then, what do I add to it?  How do I make my eggs creamy and custardy?  What if the filling is too soggy?  HOW DO I MAKE QUICHE?!

Well, here’s how I did it.

Cheddar, Zucchini, and Bacon Quiche

You’ll Need:

  • 1 frozen pie-crust
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 2 small or 1 large zucchini or other summer squash, shredded or sliced thinly
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 1/2 block white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Dashes of salt, pepper, nutmeg, paprika

To Do:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees
  • Slice or shred zucchini, sprinkle with salt, set aside for 5 minutes
  • Cook bacon and remove from pan, leaving behind 1 tablespoon of grease.
  • Combine eggs, sour-cream, half & half, garlic, and spices.  Whisk until smooth.
  • Squeeze zucchini out over sink to drain excess liquid.
  • Saute zucchini in the leftover bacon grease until just tender
  • In pie crust, crumble bacon, add zucchini and cheese.  Top this with egg mixture, stirring if necessary to combine all ingredients well.
  • cook for approx. 1 hr, or until center of Quiche is firm and top is golden brown

Obviously I solved my main problem with dinking out and buying pre-made pie crust.  Whatever.  It made this recipe really easy and anyway, it tasted just fine.  I’m not ashamed.  If you want to go that route, you can find pie crust in the freezer section of your grocery store.  I won’t tell.

Golden Brown Goodness

We literally ate this all weekend, for all meals. Piping hot straight out of the oven?  Delish.  Cold doused with hot sauce for breakfast the next day?  Also delish.  I’m sure if it lasted long enough to sit in the fridge another day or so it would get even better.  Flavors melding and stuff.  You know. Great all-the-time weekend food.

Actually, I think the highlight wasn’t so much the food itself, but how H insisted upon pronouncing it.

QUEEESH.

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I don’t know if you guys stay up on the local NYC news at all, but let me just tell you what the latest thing has been: A BEDBUG EPIDEMIC.

That’s right.  Those revolting little creepy crawly things that infest your bed/apartment/life and mercilessly bite you and feed on your life blood.  Are all the eff over my current place of residence, apparently.

I was going to insert some explanatory pictures in this post, but I just google-imaged ‘bedbugs’ and LET ME  TELL YOU.  I am now itchy all over and have thrown up in my mouth a little bit.  DO NOT. DO IT.

If there is one thing I simply cannot tolerate it is bugs of any kind.  I am that girl.  You know the type.  The girl who spots any kind of insect (okay MAYBE I can handle lady-bugs.  Only if I don’t look at them too closely) and proceeds to run screeching out of the room/general vicinity and freak out until someone else steps in and kills it.

Note.  I do not do the killing.  As much as I want to, I can’t bring myself to squish those evil little beings.  It also is completely unacceptable to chase away said bug.  I must witness the squishing. Having it run away just leaves me wondering when/if it is going to reappear, crawl into my ear canal, and lay eggs as revenge for all the yelling.  Effectively killing me.  Probably.

What prompted this post today is a recent rash (pun intended!) of bedbug outbreaks in NYC.  First there was word that the gigantic Hollister store mere blocks from my office had found bedbugs in the clothing and was forced to shut down.  Yes.  Let me reiterate.  They found bedbugs in the clothes they sell to people.

Now, I have never been inside that store (because I am 1. not a tween 2. not from the Midwest and 3. don’t want to die from cologne over-exposure).  But the fact that I’ve walked by it a few times on my way up Broadway was quite enough to inspire much anxiety over bedbugs.  Suffice it to say that I have not been into any retail stores in that general vicinity since this story broke.  Because…ew.

Obviously Hollister closed the store for a weekend-ish and addressed the issue.  Then store was promptly reopened and I was horrified to see Tourists of every shape and size streaming in and out not long after.  What is WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!  Do they not have bedbugs in Iowa?!

From there, this whole bedbug thing seemed to explode.  After Hollister it was the Abercrombie & Fitch in the South Street Seaport (an area where I used to get my hair cut…never again).  Then Victoria’s Secret. Then it was a variety of corporate offices.  Then it was a District Attorney’s office in Brooklyn.  And today we get word that the AMC movie theater in Times Square has been shut down.  Betcha can’t guess why!

Before this bedbug blitz they were generally considered something that you got if you picked up old furniture from the curb, or brought home from a disgusting hotel.  But now it seems there is no place safe.  Which is terrifying.

Apparently Mayor Bloomberg  has “declared war” on bedbugs.  There is now a ‘Bedbug Council” and he wants to appoint a “Bedbug Czar” (awesome job title to put on the ole resume).  But the real problem is that the very thing that absolutely wipes out bedbugs without a trace, DDT, is still illegal.

I feel like America has this problem.  We are too good at figuring out how to protect ourselves from bad stuff.  What we don’t realize is that Mother Nature is way better at out-smarting us.  Oh, you invented Anti-Bacterial soap, humans?  Here are some super-strong hyper-mutant bacteria that are resistant to all kinds of soap.  Now they will kill you. Great job!

Same with DDT and Bedbugs.  We synthesize DDT, use it a bunch, then decide–oops!–it’s bad.  So we stop using it.  AND all those sneaky bedbugs come out of hiding, now immune to pretty much everything (other than DDT, obvs).  Can we just legalize that again?  I don’t care if I grow a 3rd arm or if all the Bald Eagles die. I’m sorry.  At least I’ll be freaking bedbug free.

Alternately, I’ll buy myself a beagle.  Just like Bergdorf’s.  They are expert bedbug sniffer-outers, you see.  And (bonus!) they’re cute!

Found 'em, guys!

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You guys.  GUESS WHAT.  H cooked something last night!  Actually, even more exciting: he baked something.

I don’t know if I’ve let you in on the fact that I suck at baking, but I do.  I am terrible at it.  Like really really terrible. I won’t even go into the great Cherry Pie Debacle of 2010. I think the problem is all the measuring, and the adding of ingredients in a certain order, and the no-room-for-improvisation.  None of that meshes very well with me.

So it is Kismet that I am dating this fellow who has great baking genes (Mr. & Mrs. H’s Parents whip up ridiculous baked goodies).  He’s kind of forgotten he can bake (and cook, too) since I’ve taken over the cubby-hole that is our kitchen.  He’s gotten spoiled.

UNTIL LAST NIGHT.

It wasn’t exactly unprompted (I bribed  him with eggplant parm).  But that’s not the point.  The important thing is that he chopped and whisked, threw stuff in the oven, and 45 minutes later I was eating delicious Peach-Apricot-Plum Crumble.

Because H is not quite as advanced in the kitchen as me, he followed a mish-mash of two recipes.  The first, for the filling, you can find here, from one of my favorite recipe/food sites, The Kitchn.  The second, for the topping (the ‘crumb’ in Crumble, if you will) is from another site that I have not trolled much but still looks intriguing: Orangette.  We added peaches and apricots, but it’s pretty similar to what is described here.  We also added smashed up walnuts to the topping.  Because walnuts are awesome.

PAP (Peach-Apricot-Plum) Crumble, via

Orangette & The Kitchn

You’ll Need:

– For the topping:

¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 egg, beaten well

1 small handful of walnuts, coarsely chopped

7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

– For the Filling

1-1.5 tablespoons of flour

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 dash of nutmeg

5 large peaches, cut into wedges

6 small apricots, cut into wedges

6 small plums, cut into wedges

*H kept the skins on the fruit, “because the skins contain all the flavor” – direct quote from my fruit-genius BF.

To Do:

  • Position a rack in the center of your oven, and preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Toss fruit with Flour, Brown Sugar, Nutmeg, and Cinnamon.  Pour into baking dish.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together DRY ingredients for topping.
  • Add the Egg
  • Using your hands, mix thoroughly until ‘crumbs’ form and all ingredients are combined.
  • Pour over fruit in baking dish, sprinkle walnuts on top
  • Drizzle with butter
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes

H even took photos of his delish creation!  Okay…I made him take photos.  But he totally liked it.  My little food-blogger in the making!

Next time, we'll work on composition

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So my mom was in the hospital last week for reasons that I don’t feel like explaining (this is a lighthearted blog, people).  The important thing is that she did great, she’s home now, and she’s on her way to recovery with some help from her new friends Oxycontin, Percocet, and Dilaudid.

I unfortunately was not present for this new high (new low), but I was sent photographic proof and felt the need to share it with the world.

If you’ve never had the express pleasure of being a multi-night patient at a hospital, please allow me to let you in on a little secret: hospitals kind of suck.  It is bureaucracy at it’s finest.  It smells funny, there are lots of annoying beeps and alarms, and you don’t get to pick your roommates.  Plus, there are sick people everywhere.  And old people…lots of old people. So you can imagine how psyched my mom was to finally go home on day 6 of surgery-fest 2010.  Except you can’t just pack up your stuff, unhook your machines, and go.  There is a process.  A long, obnoxious, complicated, form-filling-out process.

So the inital “yay you’re going home!” feeling my siblings had when they went to go get my Mom quickly devolved into more of a “WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG I’M HUNGRY IT’S 5PM AND WHAT IS THAT G-DAMN BEEPING NOISE” kind of thing.  And that’s when “our man (nurse*) Phil,” as my Dad kept calling him, stepped in.  And delivered this:

The Remains of the Feeding Frenzy

Not sure what you’re seeing?  I’ll tell you: you’re seeing THREE TRAYS of hospital food that Phil bestowed upon my brothers, sisters, and dad.  Without prompting.  Probably to shut them up.  Have you ever witnessed 6 people crammed into a hospital room corner? It ain’t pretty.  I don’t blame Phil at all.

You know all those horrible things you hear about hospital food, right?  Well, all those horrible things are true.  It’s gross.  And yet–you see the photographic evidence–it was devoured with gusto.  What a bunch of Freaks.

New low, DEFINITELY.  Because hospital food should never be voluntary consumed. Belch.

*Yes, my mother had a male nurse…a profession which is totally respectable, but sadly a big joke, thanks primarily to Greg Focker in Meet the Parents.

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