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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Last week I spent one whole day eating. Then skipped lunch the next days so I could eat more. Especially more of THIS:

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

Let me just talk briefly about thursday, though. First of all, I was very tired, having stayed up until 2 am finishing a presentation. I woke up a little later than I wanted to, so my breakfast was a little late. Then I went to class. Then I was supossed to meet a friend for lunch. Then I went to my afternoon class where we had a long day of presentations. Our prof. brought us snacks as a treat. From there I went to the Relay for Life VIP reception, which was catered, where I ate a whole bunch of snacks and watched everyone sample the beer. So I ate more snacks and complained about how my 21st birthday was in one week. From there I went to dinner with my english class at a prof’s house, where I continued to eat and watch everyone drink wine and complain about how my 21st birthday was in one week. From there I went to our Relay for Life wrap up committee meeting where we got ice cream and sundae stuff to treat the committee. And I ate half a pint of ice cream. What a day! Delicious, but fattening.

But I knew there was more to come, for Friday was the Equestrian Team End of the Year dinner & trail ride. As usual, I was assigned the task of dessert.
Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

I was fretting because I wasn’t sure if people wanted chocolatey or fruity or cakey or creamy. I had originally considered doing this lemon-strawberry tart thing, but I was concerned about my ability to make lemon curd. I had never done it before and I was pressed for time, because I had to finish my research paper before I could go bake. And then there was my iGoogle home page.

This little beauty showed up on my Simply Recipes gadget in my time of need. It was my first time ever making a tart, and it went really well! The tart itself was refreshing and the team polished off the entire thing. The balsamic was subtle and tangy. It was a really interesting addition. My glaze had gotten a little sticky because I let it cool a little too long and it was difficult to glaze with, so I actually would have liked MORE balsamic on my tart, but it was still good.

Next time I make this tart: I will cut my strawberries in halves to make decorating a little easier. I will let my strawberries drain a little more. My only option for draining was a colander and I didn’t get as much of the juice out as I would have liked. They were a little too wet so the top of the tart got a little juicy when I cut it… Now for the recipe:

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart with Balsamic Glaze

Prep time: About 2 hours, including refrigeration of the dough

  • Crust (used Easy Tart Crust recipe from Epicurious)
  • 2 lbs strawberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest, divided
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 12 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1. Bake crust, following directions, weighting it down with pie weights (I used parchment paper with uncooked rice). Let cool.

2. Whilst the crust bakes: Combine your strawberries with half of orange zest and granulated sugar so the strawberries are coated with sugar. Let sit for 30 min to macerate.

3. Mix together the mascarpone cheese, confectioner’s sugar, the remaining orange zest, lemon juice and the vanilla until well combined. Refrigerate until needed.

4. After the strawberries have macerated for 30 minutes, place a sieve over a bowl and drain the liquid out of the strawberry mixture into the bowl. Take that strawberry liquid and put it in a small saucepan. Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to the saucepan, and bring to a boil on medium high heat. Boil until the liquid has reduced to the consistency of syrup, remove from heat and let cool. I let mine cool too long and it became kind of goopy…Maybe I boiled it too long too?

5. Assemble the tart. Spread the mascarpone mixture over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the strawberries on top of the mascarpone mixture. Use a pastry brush to brush on the balsamic glaze.

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Since my camera is broken, I checked my iPhoto for any outstanding pictures, and I found these apple pie pictures from early fall, post-Happy Valley. As many people know, I LOVE pie. But you know what I’m not a big fan of? The gooey-ness in fruitpies. I don’t mind it in strawberry rhubarb, but I have a bit problem with cherry pie because of the goo-factor. You know that cornstarch-y goo that messes up those delicious cherries? Bleh!

As such, when it comes to my apple pies, ain’t no cornstarch goin’ near my apples! Luckily, most “Vermont Apple Pie” recipes are in agreement. The first requirement are apples fresh from a Vermont orchard. The apples are then peeled and thinly sliced then tossed with a number of yummy ingredients – sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, flour, etc.

I used the Basic Flaky Pie Crust recipe off of epicurious.

Apples covered in deliciousness peek through the latticetop.

Apples covered in deliciousness peek through the latticetop.

I left my little recipe book up at school, unfortunately, so I don’t have the recipe I used. Most “Vermont Apple Pie” recipes suffice, however. Some have an egg, some have more flour or more butter than others. I like the ones that include a bit of cider vinegar or fresh cider, since we always have those in supply up here. They’re all quite good. All they need is a melted slice of cabot and they are truly vermont pies, then

Apple Pie Time

There’s no goop in THIS pie! Only juicy deliciousness. You can see that space in the pie is taken up by layers of apples and the juice leeched from them during baking. Mmm…

Apple Pie Time

A true Vermont college student enjoys their pie from a Frisbee with Vermont Woodchuck Draft Cider.

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I’ve arrived at what will be my home for the summer. I have an internship doing microbiology stuff on the beach in Florida. It’s nice here. Our housing was provided – we have a little tiny dorm for us 8 interns. We are in charge of our own food, however.

“Great!” you might say, having seen/heard my laments about not having my own kitchen.

Oh, do I know better now. I’ve been here a week (although I went home this past weekend). After about 3 days it felt like I’d already been here forever. And I had been so healthy! Salads once a day, no awful snacky foods…I even went running on the beach three days in a row! Shopping for myself has been really good for me so far.

But then days 4 and 5 hit. They were long days. Three days of working your brain, trying to remember all you can about your Cell Biology and Genetics class, processing the process of PCRs and the use of double-stranded RNA to silence a gene really wears on a person! Not to mention the running when I haven’t exactly been running regularly… It’s so very difficult to work up the energy to cook something for yourself when it’s just you and you might as well snack various things from the fridge. They’re all relatively healthy things, right?

I have no real repertoire of recipes to rely on. I think that is my real problem. There aren’t a whole bunch of dinner options/ideas floating around in my brain to pull on. I tossed together pretty much the same salad once a day (but it’s a good salad!). I made my dad’s salmon patties, which were tasty and I ate the leftovers the next night. I’ve had a lot of sandwiches (but I love sandwiches!). And some mac & cheese (not exciting, exactly).

This is definitely going to be a challenge and a learning experience for me.

One last thing: I need to go to the store SO often, it seems! I always forget something or run out of something in 2 days. Starting from nothing, with no reserves, is really annoying. In fact, I need to go to the store right now.

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Yesterday the Middlebury Farmers Market opened for the 2008 season! Tom and I went down to check it out.

Middlebury Farmer\'s Market

It was Tom’s first ever farmers market experience. There were a few notable themes to this farmers market. Being vermont, they were: Cheese and Maple Products. And then of course there was bread, all sorts of plants, salsa, pastry things, cookies, jams, preserves, and chutneys…

Tom at the Farmer\'s Market

Behind Tom there is the bread guy. By the time we got to him he only had one kind of bread left and one lonely crossaint. The crossaint looked GREAT but I’d just eaten breakfast and was busy sampling a LOT of cheese. We had hoped for a baguette on which to enjoy our chevre – a fresh goat cheese. We got the herbed kind.

Goat cheese from Middlebury Farmer\'s Market.

Above is the cheese display from Blue Ledge Farm. In the foreground are two aged goat cheeses – award winning. The colorful one is aged in an edible ash, which gives it this beautiful line through the center of the wheel. It was named Lakes Edge cheese because it reminded one of the farmer’s daughters of the edge of Lake Champlain. Also the closest one to the front of the picture is a brie-like cow cheese. In the background are the fresh goat cheeses. The farthest one is pepperjack, and the other one was herbed. I love sharp, tangy cheeses and the chevre was SO good. I ate like 3/4s of it yesterday with Caitlin while I was waiting for a cake to bake.

With Otter Creek in the background.

That’s me and my cheese, with Otter Creek Falls in the background. I wish I knew more about describing cheese, because I really do like it. I was supposed to take a Vermont Farmstead Cheese Tasting Workshop over J-term, but I got confused and missed it. I know that I can talk about the texture – this one was smooth…

Well, enough about cheese. We also invested in some homemade SALSA.

Profoun Salsa at the Middlebury Farmers Market

They had Mild, Medium, Hot, and Sweet n’ Sassy. Tom’s a baby and any spiciness makes him make funny faces. The Medium was about a 4 on a scale of 1-10. Just right, I thought. The mild, however, was full of flavor without any spiciness. The salsa’s really chunky and thick with fresh veggies, and as it says on the jar, it does NOT fall off of your chip. I plan on going back next weekend and getting a jar of mild to take home with me. Between 4 of us we ate over half of a jar of medium last might. Oops.

On a final note, this table of maple products and this old couple with their blue ribbons just kind of screamed VERMONT at me and I thought it was adorable:

I LOVERMONT

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Proctor Creation #1

Although I do not have a kitchen with proper cooking equipment available to me, I do have one thing: Proctor Dining Hall. Proctor is complete with salad bar, sandwich bar, and panini machine. As breakfast for dinner in Ross Dining Hall drove us to Proctor earlier this evening, I now have the opportunity to discuss a little creative college eating.

Advice for Proctor Creations:

Take your meat product from the hot bar and cut it up

Use a salad dressing rather than mayo – it adds a lot of flavor

Just because it’s in the salad bar doesn’t mean it only has to go in salad.

Which is all perfect to discuss this creation:

Balsamic London Broil Wrap

Grab a piece of lavash bread (rectangular flat bread) and head over to the salad bar.

Add to it: mixed greens, a little tiny bit of mozarella, artichoke hearts, and the cherry tomatoes (cut in half).

Then go back over to the hot things and add some tasty, lean pieces of london broil

Drizzle [maple] balsamic vinaigrette over it. Fold together as best you can (that means tuck the sides in! this is a juicy one).

Pop onto the panini machine and wait for a while. Turn over to make sure both sides get done.

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