Obsession has officially set in: Burp! Where Food Happens...

I woke up at 2:45 this morning and just could not go back to sleep. I haven't really had this problem in quite a long time, since I usually hit the sack after midnight, and am promptly refreshed in about 7 hours. I turned in about 10 last night to try and re-cultivate my reading habit, which has fallen by the wayside as of late. If it's not a food blog recipe, or the paper a couple of times a week I'm probably not reading it, and that is terrible. Like all things, I tend to go through cycles and get into and out of things that turn into Obsessions.

I suppose that is what happened around 3 am when I decided to do a little reading on the iPod so I didn't have to turn on the light. I discovered Burp! Where Food Happens a few weeks ago when trying to find other Milwaukee food bloggers. Not only did I find that there aren't many of us, I found that sometimes you meet people on accident and could immediately strike up a friendship. I never was (or I dare not say, could be) someone who would cultivate an online friendship. Or maybe, more appropriately, I never thought that it could happen to me... But this Lo that writes Burp! is fast becoming someone I'm proud to know. She is full of advice, encouragement and great recipes. A link to Burp! will forevermore be found to the right of my posts in the Food Blogger Obsessions category , and you can click here to be magically transported to their online trove of recipes.

As a healthy hour or so of my normal sleeping cycle was blissfully given over to the recipes that Lo and her husband Peef generously lent to the Internet world, I was amazed that one site could have so many perfect things that I would want to make. It seems that we share the same palate as well as the desire to cook (and bake) with what is around us in the greater Milwaukee area. After about a half dozen bookmarks to the rapidly growing recipe file on the iPod (I fear I'm going to need more memory soon), I finally was able to get back to bed - albeit dreaming of Cornmeal Waffles that were going to be my breakfast.

I used half the recipe, eyeballed the oil instead of using butter (I save that for company), and used 1 egg for my half-ing endeavors, and they were the best waffles I've ever produced. Boy-O even ate one of the 2 leftover as a snack this afternoon. Another of the coolest things about their site is that they discuss, and then have the recipes posted seperately. This is pure perfection for insomniacs, as I just trolled through the archives, pleasantly reading as if I were deeply embroiled in Shakespere. Here are the links to another several recipes that will be made sometime in the near future:

I could go on and on, but I won't since you should stop what you are doing and head over there to find out what you are going to have for supper.

I'm kind of hoping I'll have another sleepless night tonight so I can get through the rest of the archive. Better go charge up my battery...

Obsessing over Lunch

So last night I saw Julie & Julia... Ordinarily, I don't easily hop on the bandwagon of blockbuster Hollywood movies (that aren't in the Marvel or DC Comics world, anyway...but that's another post). I certainly didn't rush off to see No Reservations, I can tell you that. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting to love this movie. I can also tell you I wasn't anticipating inspiration, and definitely not Obsession, but that IS what happened.

The movie ended around 10, and my boys were both asleep when I got home. Had I been even the slightest bit hungry, I would have joyfully cooked up something to eat - but I just wasn't. I had to settle for knitting my new mitered mitten pattern from the Loop class on Wednesday, and was content to drift off to a slumber that included dreams of drinking many martinis thanks to all the imbibing going on in the movie.

This morning, however, I knew that for lunch I had no leftovers, and was going to have to make something. I haven't poached an egg in a while, and moviegoing did pique my appetite for them. Yes, yes, I know hardly a day is going by when I don't mention Marisa at foodinjars, and today is no exception since when I printed out her dilly bean recipe, she prefaced by saying that "lightly steamed green beans dressed with salt, pepper and butter, scrambled eggs and a sliced tomato" was one of her favorite suppers. I picked a nice big handful of fresh beans from my own garden behind the garage yesterday, and also had a nice ripe tomato from my father-in-law. So, poaching an egg it was instead of scrambling.

Thanks to Julia inspiration, I used maybe a whole 1/2 T. of butter on the green beans, but then couldn't quite make myself 2 eggs, so I did one egg, and one egg white. But don't you know poached egg yolks are The King of the egg world? WHY did I talk myself out of the cholesterol? After I stabbed that baby with a couple of green beans, I would have taken a bath in the yolk if it were at all possible. I guess that's what is nice about not making something for awhile: you get to appreciate it all over again.

True to my Latin love, I had to add avocado and much hot sauce - Cholula is my preferred hot sauce.

I'd dare you not to lick your plate - especially when omitting bread from this meal...


Poaching eggs really is insanely easy. I follow the Cook's Illustrated approach which is this: Fill an 8 or 10 inch nonstick skillet almost to the top with water and bring to a boil. Then add 1 t. salt and 2 T. white vinegar. Crack your eggs into little cups, one egg per cup, and ease them into the water. Immediately cover and remove from heat. Poach for exactly 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and pat dry with a paper towel or regular lint free towels. And then eat those babies straight away.

Beautiful, cavernous egg center: Where have you been all my life? This actually is a different shot than the one above, the egg so nice I shot it twice...

Prior to this recipe, I did have trouble poaching eggs. The closest to perfection I came was following a Saveur recipe for Eggs Hussar, in which you used a tremendous amount of vinegar, causing your eggs to be unbelievably beautiful and cloud like - if not a tad on the vinegary side. While I love vinegar, this didn't bother me, but may have bothered some recipes not friends with such a strong flavor as vinegar. The link for the related recipe at Saveur is here. I promise you unbelievable amazement when you pluck these puffs of egg out of their bath, but stick with the tried and true less vinegar approach above if you have an aversion to vinegared eggs...

I must admit, that I have not read Julia Child's cookbooks. I'm not sure how she poached her eggs. I will thank Julie Powell and Nora Ephron or doing a wonderful job convincing me to click over to Amazon to find out what I've been missing out on. And many happy winter months, I predict, will be spent getting to know her recipes. For now, I'll be content to have a listen to the soundtrack I just downloaded...and planning a Julia's birthday meal on the 15th, like Bon Appetit suggested in their magazine this month.

A Cake a day is all it takes to be happy...(or in which Dorie Greenspan officially makes the Obsession list)

My best friend has a birthday tomorrow, so let's make CAKE! (Sasa, if you're reading, stop now so it will be a surprise.) I've said it before and I'll say it again that Dorie Greenspan really can do no wrong. She makes as mean a pancake as the real deal: This is the Devil's Food Whiteout Cake from her Baking book I made today.

The batter, too beautiful not to photograph.

The beater, before I unabashedly ate all the remaining batter clinging to it, washed it, and lovingly put it away. I eat batter, that way I know the cake is great. No, I am not afraid of raw eggs; see the egg post for details. And, this was one of the best batters I ever ate.

Dorie said the top may crack and the middle may dome, but this was the most perfect bake job I ever did, and on the first try!

The finished cake...I'll have to make one for myself, perhaps for Father's Day.

I know it was a novel idea for Julie Powell to attack and conquer Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and in no way do I belittle her, but I do believe that I may have to make every single recipe in Dorie's book. The only problem is that small detail of health. I must say that I'd rather have a little butter than fake, salty and processed alternatives, but I don't know if my physique such as it is could handle a steady diet of sweets. I'll have to be content to find occasions to bake these miraculous recipes.

Stay tuned, next up will be her Armagnac cake - the one she was fired for, but deemed that it was totally worth it.

Meanwhile, the cake cooled and boy and I walked to the little pond near our house to observe tadpoles, throw rocks and collect these thistles to put on the counter. I doubt anyone else who may have been observing me would have felt the pangs of guilt for collecting wild flowering things, but they were so pretty and plentiful that I couldn't resist.

It really is the smallest things that make my days truly great, just spending the bulk of the day seeing the world again through 2 year old eyes is unspeakably wonderful. And days I get to bake cakes are truly my icing, fantastic edible art that makes others (hopefully) as happy as well.

Happiest of Birthdays and many more to come!!!