Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lazy Sunday... and Saturday... and Friday

Over the past few weeks, I've been green with envy. Alex had "too many" vacation days. And with the end of his company's fiscal year fast approaching, he has been "forced to" take a few days off here and there. Friday was one of those days he "needed to" take off.

Last week was a little slow for me at work, so when Friday came around, I flirted with the idea of taking it off as well. A few trades in my portfolio and some odds and ends prevented me from taking the whole day, but I was able to leave work at lunch time, which was amazing.

Alex and I went to see Dark Knight (great, but a little dark), and then I headed out for a girls night with some fr
iends at Cafe Iberico. And that was pretty much the high point for weekend activity for me.

On Saturday, I woke up not feeling great. I spent much of the day relaxing on the couch (which isn't a terrible way to spend a day off, just not a terribly productive way to spend it), before Alex and I met some friends for dinner at Club Lucky.

On Sunday, I woke up ready to run and redeem myself for my Saturday immobility. Only, I left my running shoes at work. So I channeled my energy into the kitchen.

And to prove that I use more recipe sources than Cook's Illustrated and Smitten Kitchen,
I bring you a few new members of my cookbook/recipe source collection: Ellie Krieger, Joy the Baker/Alton Brown and Chuck Williams (and the people who actually write his cookbooks).

First was dinner. After big meals on Friday and Saturday, we decided to eat healthy tonight. We often turn to Ellie Krieger when we want to repent for gastronomical sins (like Club Lucky's 8 Finger Cavatelli). Ellie is the host of Healthy Appetite on the Food Network. She's a nutritionist who does her best to make comfort food healthy. We found her book, The Food You Crave at Costco, our favorite big box retailer, and her oven-baked Crispy Chicken Fingers sounded perfect. Turns out they're an excellent source of folate, iron, niacin, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and zinc. And I've been feeling a little low on riboflavin these days, so we set to making them. ;)

Conveniently, I found the recipe here. I've been too busy cooking to write up all these recipes!

The rest of my efforts were dedicated to desserts. Tracy introduced me to Joy the Baker, whose blog I really enjoy. I was fascinated by her four posts (here, here, here and here) on chocolate chip cookies and intrigued by her endorsement of Alton Brown's recipe.

Alton Brow
n is the host of Iron Chef America and the star of the Food Network's Good Eats, a fascinating show about food, its science and its history and great fun to watch for a nerdy cook like myself. Either of Alton's recipe or Joy's endorsement would entice me to bake something, but the combination meant that I had to bake them immediately. Tonight. Chilling be damned. No time. Must. Have. Cookies. Now.

The recipe is here.

Alex was deeply disappointed that I only baked 4 cookies tonight. See?:
But rationing into small baked batches is the only way I can prevent tummy aches resulting from cookie over-consumption in our house. There are rules. This isn't Vietnam, after all.

But chicken fingers and cookies weren't enough. I had one more item on my list of things I've been meaning to make for a while: vanilla ice cream. I've been looking for a good vanilla ice cream recipe for a while. After making a number of ice cream batches since I picked up my ice cream machine, I've learned that many ice cream recipes (and most of the ones I've tried) are made from some combination of milk, cream, sugar and fillings.

A combination of milk, cream, sugar and fillings is very tasty when it's first frozen, but it freezes to an inedibly hard block after a few hours in the freezer. So I started reading ice cream ingredient labels, like those little kids in the Breyer's commercials. (I don't keep supplies of carrageenan in house, so I read only the straightforward ones.) The difference between haagen dazs and my ice cream? Eggs. Yolks, specifically. So I was on the hunt for a ice cream recipe that started with a custard base and used real vanilla beans. (I had just purchased some at my favorite big box retailer, and I was eager to use them.)

Then, of all places, I found myself in line at TJ Maxx. And I found a misplaced copy of Williams Sonoma Frozen Desserts among the perfume bottles by the registers. And I flipped through and found what I was looking for. So I dropped the $4.99 necessary to purchase the book and am giving it a try tonight. Results tomorrow, if I have time after I make up for not running today...


  1. I promise that I did not peek at your blog entry before also naming my blog post of the week "Lazy Sunday!" I'm guessing you are also a fan of the SNL sketch!?

  2. It's my favorite. I almost said that the lady at the TJ Maxx register was actin' like she never seen a five befo. It's all about the Lincolns baby!!

    But then I thought no one would get it. I don't know why that stopped me. It never has before.