Thursday, August 23, 2012

Layered Necklaces

Amy called me and asked me to bring her a necklace that she can wear to her brother-in-law's upcoming wedding.  She needed a colorful statement necklace to wear with her simple black cross front dress.... after my success with Chuck's multi-layered bead and chain necklace from a couple years ago (I've seen her wearing it at least twice!), I drafted up this cheerful number for Amy in the same style:

While pouring over my beads to find some for Amy's necklace, I stumbled on this necklace I had made before I left DC, also in a similar style.  It must have gotten lost in the moving shuffle, but I was excited to rediscover it.  I like how the black chain contrasts the super bright beads:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream

I can't believe I haven't posted this ice cream flavor before... it's the first recipe I made from David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop" cookbook way back when I got it, and it's my quick go-to, crowd-pleasing, and easily-made-because-it-doesn't-involve-tempering-egg-yolks ice cream.

Chocolate and peanut butter, so you can't go wrong.  Creamy, rich and delicious.... the peanut butter gives it a bit of a mousse texture.  Even more indulgent if you add Reese's peanut butter cups, but we don't get many of those in Indonesia (wah wah).  It calls for half and half, but I used half heavy cream, half milk and it worked quite well.

Heart Pullover

I whipped up this little orange pullover toddler t-shirt for Baby Izzy's first birthday, loosely based on this pattern, and it came out pretty cute:
However, it was missing something, so, using scrap yarn, I crocheted a little heart (using the medium version from this site, switching colors for the second round) and sewed it on the chest (crookedly).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Drop Stitch Scarf

Although I took a temporary break from my "Drop It Like It's Hot" top, I quickly knitted up this drop stitch scarf for my upcoming trip to Sydney. It'll be winter there (yay!), so I may actually get to wear it.

I had picked up 3 balls of this yarn last summer in upstate NY- it's cotton and hemp and has a nice flowy feel to it and hippies love it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lemon Basil Ice Cream

While looking for mint, basil and cilantro at our local grocery store (to use in my grilled veggie salad), Tim and I unknowingly stumbled upon a new (to us) herb: lemon basil

I saw a bundle of it it tucked in the greens section, which is a tangle of some familiar and some unknown greens marked haphazardly in English, Bahasa Indonesia and Japanese.  It looked basil-esque, so I picked it up and gave it a sniff, only to inhale an awesomely fragrant lemony scent.  Once the produce guy (who is my new BFF, as I ask him the name of a new veggie or herb every time I shop there and he obligingly informs me of the name in at least 4 different languages) rang it up, I saw that it was called "daun kemangi."  Apparently it's used pretty regularly in Indonesian cooking and, since it's local, it's dirt cheap: a massive bundle for 2590 rupiah, which is the equivalent of 27 U.S. cents.

Anywho, I dropped some of it in the salad,  and then had a ton left over.  David Lebovitz and "The Perfect Scoop" to the rescue, yet again.  He had a recipe for basil ice cream spiked with lemon zest, so I followed his recipe, substituting lemon basil for the traditional Genovese basil.  Awesome stuff- creamy, lemony (somewhat lemongrassy), herby, sweet.  A good accompaniment to spicy Asian dishes, I'd say.  Get thee to thy green grocer or farmer's market and find some lemon basil!

Another Tiny Pocketless Tank

After my first attempt at Grainline's Tiny Pocket Tank (a somewhat risky refashion of an old work shirt of Tim's), I decided I would go the straightforward route on my second tank and use this '60s looking fabric I had in my stash. 

Love it!  This tank is really cute.  It has a lower neckline than the Scout Tee, which is quite flattering. Skipped the pocket because, for me, the tiny pocket is somewhat superfluous (what do you hold in there?  A stick of gum?).

Still figuring out how to make the bust darts work correctly... they're 95% of the way there on this tank, but they are killing me on another project I have in progress: a wearable muslin of Megan Nielsen's Darling Ranges dress.  Anyone got any dart troubleshooting tips or tricks?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Tim and I had some folks over to grill this weekend and we needed a starter.  I had big plans to make some guacamole, but couldn't quite get the avocados to ripen simultaneously, so salsa it was.  

As I said last week, the tomatoes here are not the best, but when roasted they perk up a bit, so I made a roasted tomato salsa, loosely based on this recipe from Closet Cooking.  Pretty good!  Roasting the tomatoes gave it some depth and a bit of a smokey flavor... good stuff.  Lots of lime juice and cilantro gave it some contrasting zing.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Crochet bunny for Zoe!

Miss Zoe turned 1 a week ago!  Happy Birthday!

 I made her a crochet bunny that I would hope she could grow with and snuggle along the way :) I found this pattern that Meg had seen as well (and almost made herself!) I used a bigger crochet hook and thicker yarn than the pattern asked for.  It came out waaaay bigger than I expected, but awesome none the less.

Miss Zoe saying hello.
Miss Zoe getting a little too cozy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Grilled Veggie and Rice Salad with Fish Sauce Dressing

Omg.  This salad is so good.  Even Tim liked it, lamenting the lack of meat only somewhat, stating that, "maybe it would make a really good side... you know... to some meat."  I liked it on its own, but agree that it would also make a kick-ass side dish and/or bed for some Vietnamese-style grilled chicken (we made a recipe quite similar to this one at our Hoi An cooking class in June.)  

I had lots of fresh herbs left over from our Vietnamese pomelo salad last week and saw this herb-heavy, Vietnamese-esque recipe in my July 2012 Bon Appetit magazine... I am so glad I made it.  It's got a lot of ingredients, but don't be intimidated, as it's really quite easy once you light up the grill and is a great way to utilize all your summer veggies and herbs- corn, eggplant, zucchini, okra, mint, basil, cilantro.  Mmm.

I made only a couple small changes to the recipe- the dressing is supposed to have grilled Holland or Anaheim chilis, but here there are just cabe rawit (the little ones) and cabe besar (the big ones).  All are blow-your-face off hot and not really the equivalent of an Anaheim.  Thus, I decided to substitute with some Sriracha to taste.  Also, rather than plain white jasmine rice, I bought some whole-grain Javanese brownish/reddish rice and cooked it coconut milk substituting for 1/3 of the liquid.  I think the hearty, nutty rice and extra coconut flavor really put the finishing touch on the recipe.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Slow-Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Pasta

Indonesia does a lot of things well... batik, tropical fruits, apples... but one thing I have found to be sub-par are the tomatoes.  Unripe or overly-ripe, but still tasteless. Boo. But occasionally you can find reasonably priced grape tomatoes, which are ok, but do not live up to the amazing heirloom tomatoes I was getting from my CSA back in DC.

One way to ameliorate the bland tomatoes is to slow-roast them like I did last summer... it intensifies the flavor big time.  I used my slow-roasted tomatoes to make an eggplant pasta dish similar to the one I made last summer, but with a pesto made from both basil and mint.  Quite tasty!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pineapple Vodka Cocktail

I think we may turn this spate of elaborate cocktails into a weekly thing, inspired by some colleagues of Tim's who live in Bangkok and have new cocktail Friday each week.  Anyone want to join in?

Dubbed "Teenage Dream" by its creator, this fresh pineapple juice cocktail is a relative of the mojito, but made with vodka instead of rum.  Lime and mint are muddled with sugar, pineapple juice and vodka are stirred in, and then the whole thing is poured over ice, topped with a spritz of soda water and enjoyed.

We liked this, but blending and straining the fresh pineapple may have taken this cocktail into the category of too much work (or at least too many dishes for us, as we are dishwasher-less).  In the flavor category, it's a winner, though!

Buttermilk Bread

Using leftover dough from my cinnamon raisin swirl bread (the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day recipe makes enough dough for 4 loaves, I made a half recipe and got 2 loaves out of it), I baked up this awesome buttermilk bread.  

Super tender from the buttermilk in the dough, but still it is sturdy enough to brave the toaster and turn out some kick-ass toast.  The toast is so good- it reminds me of the Pepperidge Farm Toasting White Bread that my Grandma McCarthy always used to have on hand.... not sure if they make it anymore, but this buttermilk bread is a really good substitute!!

Vietnamese Pomelo Salad

Tim and I have been craving some of the awesome dishes we had while traveling around Vietnam... we decided we would give one of their super fresh, spicy, salty, sweet and crunchy salads a go.  I found local (well, local-ish; from Aceh) pomelos at the grocery store and thus pomelo salad it was.  

Pomelos are massive; I think the one I bought was about 2 lbs.  They have a super thick rind and pith, over an inch in most places.  The flesh is pretty great, too... like a mild grapefruit (not as puckeringly tart), and although quite juicy, the little sacs don't break when you pull it apart, so, as you can see from my photo, the juice doesn't get all over everything.

Strangely the cookbook we bought from Morning Glory restaurant in Hoi An didn't have a pomelo salad recipe, but the internet was full of options.  I decided to go with this one from Appetite for China, supplemented with some sauteed shrimp, briefly marinated in fish sauce per Steamy Kitchen's directions.

An awesome dish, perfect for a hot summer night (or any night here, as they are all hot).  Crunchy from the carrots and roasted peanuts, salty from the fish sauce, spicy from the chili, sweet/tart from the pomelo and fragrant from the mint.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake

Here's a new riff on the delicious banana shake recipe I posted a few months ago: add a spoonful of peanut butter and a squirt of chocolate syrup to make it a whole different drink.  I think the peanut butter helps emulsify the shake- it makes it extra creamy.  Plus, peanut butter and chocolate are a proven winning combo.

Here's what I did:

In a blender or with a stick blender, mix 1 frozen banana with approximately 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon of creamy peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of chocolate syrup.