biscuits!

I recently purchased a little propane grill, and we have been grilling like crazy.

grillin

We’ve had the same basic dinner twice in the last week: chicken thighs marinated in Worcestershire and BBQ sauce and grilled; zucchini cut into strips, sprinkled with seasoned salt, and grilled; red and yellow bell peppers quartered and grilled; corn on the cob de-silked, oiled and salted, rewrapped in husk, and grilled. One night I made sweet potato fries as an extra side, and on Friday, I made biscuits for the first time!

I combined two recipes because I didn’t want to make a thousand biscuits (we devoured the 10 this recipe made between dinner and the next morning’s breakfast, oops), I wanted them to be cheesy, and I wanted to just use what I already had at home in the pantry/fridge.

small-batch cheesy biscuits!

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks (or use salted butter and omit salt)
3/4 cup milk
1/3-1/2 cup grated cheese (I used some cheddar and some parmesan-romano)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray (or butter it, if that’s more your style).
  2. Whisk together the flours, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Add the butter chunks and cut in with a pastry blender, two forks, or two knives until you have a “coarse meal”.
  4. Stir in the cheese and black pepper.
  5. Slowly add the milk, stirring as you go until you have a soft dough.
  6. Turn the dough on to a floured board (my dough was really sticky) and knead to bring the dough together.
  7. Roll out (I actually just pressed) the dough to about 1-inch thick and use a biscuit cutter to cut out rounds (I used a 2-inch cutter). Reshape the scraps and keep cutting!
  8. Place biscuits on prepared pan and bake for 12-14 minutes, until the biscuits are puffy and golden brown.

Makes 10 biscuits, which you’ll no doubt eat very quickly.

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fun with ice cream!

I have one of the best roommate-friends a girl could ask for in Stephie Q., and she congratulated me on my MSW with an amazing gift: an ice cream attachment for my KitchenAid!!

The thing about homemade ice cream is you have to be very patient, and you have to plan ahead (freeze the bowl, make the ice cream mixture, refrigerate the ice cream mixture, churn the ice cream). I am better at one of those things than the other. . .but when we’re talking about straight-up eggs, heavy cream, half-and-half, and me being unemployed, not being able to make a batch a day is probably a good thing.

I had a bunch of buttermilk and lemons left over from my graduation party, and blueberries are starting to show up in the markets, so I decided to make some blueberry buttermilk ice cream as my inaugural batch. (Close second and next batch: Guinness milk chocolate.)

ingredients

I opted for the fancy custard-base version, but I got the heat too high and scrambled the eggs. Oops. I tried to thin them out with my immersion blender and re-strain them, but I still ended up with some egg bits in the ice cream. (You can’t tell in the finished product.)

I refrigerated the ice cream mixture overnight and then started up the mixer!!

churn, baby, churn!

Magically, after 25 minutes, I had delicious ice cream. The consistency was perfect soft-serve. I ate a little bowl and put the rest in the freezer to set up. YUM!

om nom nom

I think I taste a lot of ice cream, froyo, and sorbet in my summer.

msw

I finished grad school, and I officially have three new initials to put after my name!

Mom and Dad came out for graduation weekend.

lower legion of honor scenic vista

We saw some sights,

fun with old transit

I wore great shoes and my friends and I pretended we were at prom,

msw prom 2011

We celebrated with people who came from far and wide,

hooray for friends and family!

And the next day, we threw a party with lots of finger foods.

Menu items included:
Pioneer Woman’s bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers
– Pioneer Woman’s hot artichoke dip (from her cookbook)
Stuffed mushrooms
White bean hummus
– Deviled eggs (Mom makes the best ones with relish and mayo)
– Bacon-wrapped smokies (self-explanatory)
– Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts (soak the chestnuts in a mixture of Worcestershire, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar for 30 minutes before wrapping them)
Goat cheese toasts
– Caprese skewers (fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and half a cherry tomato on a toothpick)
Pioneer Woman’s best chocolate sheet cake ever
And lots of beer.

It feels good to be done. Next step: find a job. I’ll keep you posted.

funny how it flies

a few weeks ago marked the five-year anniversary of my move to san francisco. five years is a pretty long time.

there’s not much about my current life that my 21-year-old self would have ever fathomed. considering my first months here — depressed, lonely, lost, dependent, disenchanted — my original san francisco self would have never believed i’d still be here after this much time.

she’d also have a hard time imagining that i’ve made real friends here, friends i want to be friends with for the rest of my life. and that i have a community here and that, for the most part, i feel loved and like i belong. and that i’m in grad school (even more amazingly, close to finishing grad school). and that i live in the richmond. and that i want to do life with a native californian. and that i can actually face confrontation and deal with ugly feelings and still maintain relationships. and that i can be okay on my own (but, admittedly, am better with people). and that i know so much transit trivia and have so many muni route maps committed to memory (okay, maybe she would have believed that one. . .i’ve always been a nerd.)

of course, i’m still me. i still listen to the mountain goats when i’m nostalgisky. i still love eating burritos as big as my head. i still want to be supremely competent and productive in everything i do. i still mentally collect and archive lots of weird data. i still get ridiculously lonely for no real reason. i still eat kashi every single morning, and i still look forward to it.

and even though i couldn’t have predicted nearly any of my current life circumstances five years ago, i’m pretty happy about how things have turned out. i feel like i’ve accomplished a lot in tangible (and less tangible) ways, which is important to an achiever like me. the next five years could be even bigger than these last five. . .and i’m probably equally as unable to foresee where i’ll be then. so that’s exciting.


“if i ventured in the slipstream between the viaducts of your dream, where immobile steel rims crack and the ditch in the back roads stop. . .could you find me? would you kiss-a my eyes? to lay me down in silence easy, to be born again.” – van morrison

archived heartbreak

i never delete anything from gmail. every single message i’ve sent or received since i opened my account in april, 2005 is archived and searchable.

scary, but also convenient: being able to search tens of thousands of messages comes in handy more often than i’d have thought. i’ve been able to find travel reservations, usernames and passwords, the chronology of events, even the specific date i went somewhere or did something.

tonight, working on updating my resume, i wanted to find out when i got each of my promotions at my old job. i figured i could just search my gmail for each of my job titles and find the oldest message, assuming i’d sent an excited email to my parents or friends upon receiving each promotion. sure enough, i found those gleeful, timestamped emails! but my search also turned up email threads with ex-boyfriends from the same period as the promotions. and in addition to exciting job news, those threads contained embarrassing, scrambling pleas; painful evidence of flailing relationships; pitiful last-ditch attempts to prevent everything from crumbling. just briefly glancing at them brought awful, visceral feelings from when they were written — knotted stomach, pounding heart, short, quick breaths. such a strong effect, even so many years later.

hidden in my gmail account are reminders of times i don’t look back on too fondly. but still, the nostalgic packrat in me can’t quite bring myself to delete them. maybe on some level, it’s comforting to be able to look back at the dysfunctional ways i communicated with and related to others — to prove i got through it, to show i’m making progress, and to confirm i don’t ever want to go back.

—–
“i held you in the coldest days, i held you in the coldest ways, i never know what to start to pick up and change.” – raa

easiest cookies ever

About 30 minutes from start to finished baking, no mixer needed, one-bowl cleanup, made with all ingredients you probably already have in the kitchen, and a chewy, brownie-like consistency: the easiest cookies ever!

easiest peanut butter cookies ever

2 eggs
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1 c peanut butter
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t vanilla
Chocolate chips or other add-ins to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Drop onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet by rounded teaspoonfull. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Allow to set up on parchment paper for 5 minutes before transferring to wire cooling rack.

Makes 24 cookies.

my neighborhood is ridiculous.

all the bay area IGA stores (including the one that was 7 blocks from my house) went out of business recently, so now there are no regular old supermarkets within reasonable walking distance. finding items that are not standard eastern european and/or asian fare proves to be quite a goose chase.

this morning i needed three items to make breakfast: eggs (preferably local and organic); buttermilk (standard); and bacon (preferably deli-style/fresh/thick-cut).

the asian market on my block had none of the above.

the asian/russian/american market a block away had organic sonoma county eggs for $3.49 (not bad). but they only had pre-packaged bacon and old-world-style bulgarian buttermilk (which is made with yogurt cultures instead of cream cultures, making it thicker and more tart — could be good for some baked goods, but i’m not sure about pancakes).

the russian deli a block away had fresh thick-cut bacon (although it cooked up more like really fatty ham, so next time i think i will try another butcher shop a few more blocks away) but again, only bulgarian buttermilk. they do get bonus points for always talking to me in russian, though.

i had to go to the fancy-pants organic food co-op a few blocks away to find regular buttermilk.

it takes commitment to cook american in these parts.