Tuesday, June 24, 2008

26: Before + After

I will interrupt the baby blogging for a little at-home blogging... I'm returning to Otsego tomorrow, and while my heart is being tugged right back up north, I'm also happy to be home, even if the sink is full of dishes again.

One of my current favorite blogs is Nicole and Jen's Before & After. Each week, a new foodie in images post, each reflecting on the process and enjoyment of the meal.

Remember the days when we used to sit down at the table and talk?

These are my favorite evenings, when Ryan comes home from work, when the kitchen has warmed, and I'm dancing around to Joan Osbourne or Kate Nash, singing along, splattering sauce on the countertops, pulling out greenery from little baggies we picked up from our CSA. We sit down to a homecooked meal, and even if the recipe doesn't work, I'm not bothered by it all, because, though good food is a good thing, good conversation is the best.

I think that's what Nicole and Jen are good at: the artistry of the meal, the peace of eating a well cooked meal alone, or the refuse of good company.

Above: pasta sauce with basil from our CSA as before; after, the pasta with said sauce along with asparagus and melted swiss (I was experimenting and it worked).

And the mint syrup. We were sent home with a large bag of two kinds of mint, one chocolate. I used the other to make this mint syrup; we are sent home with a newsletter, and this recipe was included:

"In a 1 to 2 quart sauce pan, combine 1 1/4 cups lightly packed rinsed fresh mint leaves, 1 cup water, and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is simmering. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let stand 30 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine strainer into a small pitcher or bowl; discard mint leaves. Use syrup or cover and chill up to one week. Makes about 1 cup."

(Ours is in a canning jar in the fridge.)

This is my favorite summer adult beverage. We will have lots of mint throughout the summer. This recipe includes the directions for making a simple mint syrup. I keep mint syrup in the fridge and add it to summer fruit salads and iced tea.

- 2 cups light rum
- 1 cup mint syrup
- 1 cup lime juice
- ice cumbs
- fresh mint leaves, rinsed (optional)

In a pitcher (at least 2 qt.), combine rum, mint syrup, and lime juice; add about 2 cups ice cubes. Pour into ice-filled glass and garnish with mint leaves if desired."

Sadly, I promised myself I wouldn't have alcohol until I lost 10% of my body weight, and I'm about halfway-ish there, so I can't tell you if the mojitos are good or not, though I will certainly get a report from my first victim (most likely my patient and adorable husband).

Also from our CSA: Rose Scented Geranium Leaves.

"Here's an idea from Martha Stewart. 'Scented geraniums (Pelargonium), which can smell like lemon, peppermint, apple, or rose, are as welcome in the kitchen as they are in the garden. Inspired by old English recipes, this traditional pound cake has the plant's leaves baked into its surface, lending perfume and subtle flavor to the rich dessert. A pot of tea is the perfect accompaniment.

Spray a loaf pan with nonstick baking spray, and line it with parchment paper. Arrange several scented geranium leaves on the bottom and sides of the pan. Add pound cake batter, and bake. When you turn the cake out of the pan, the leaves will have created a lacy pattern on the cake's crust.'"

See recipe here.

You can also see images from the CSA and the efforts to eat locally with my CSA photoset (includes pictures of food from CSA and cooked with from CSA) as well as the farmer's market photoset.

Tomorrow I pick up from our CSA again, and I will likely bring most of the goodies up to Otsego and cook for the new mama and her beautiful boy (oh and her husband too, I suppose).


Debbie said...

It all sounds lovely, both the meal and the adult beverage. Good for you for sticking to your plan and skipping the mojitos; I'm sure it was hard!

louise said...

All this talk of good food is making me hungry. Sounds delicious.

Julia said...

yay! thanks for sharing that recipe. i'll definitely have to make some of that mint syrup (and the accompanying mojitos too!).