Poached Pear Topping

2015 January 22
by Janelle

ingredients

4-6 Peeled, Cored and Diced Pears (recommend Bosc or Anjou)
1 1/2 cups of red wine (Cabernet, Zinfandel, Shiraz and Merlot all work well)
3/4 cups of granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice (plus lemon zest if desired)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients bring to a boil. Once the wine mixture is boiling, turn heat down to a simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring regularly until pears are fork-tender and the sauce has just started to thicken and reduce. Remove pears from heat and cool slightly. Serve with either marscapone or crème fraiche, or serve over ice cream or yogurt.

Roasted Cherries

2015 January 22

ingredients
2 cups pitted fresh or frozen (not thawed) red or black cherries
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Combine the cherries, sugar, and cornstarch in a 9-inch square baking dish, tossing to mix. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until the juices are thickened and bubbly, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool and serve over ice cream or Greek yogurt. Delicious chilled or slightly re-warmed.

Broccoli Cashew Soup

2015 January 22

This is not a cooking blog. But I need to start finding a place for all of my recipes. Here is the first of many that will be hanging out here. This is my own recipe. Enjoy!

Adapted from The 3-Day Cleanse

2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour to overnight, then drained
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 heads of broccoli, chopped into bite-size florets
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (if you’d like to keep this vegan, you can simply swap this for vegan Worcestershire sauce)
about 4 cups of water or vegetable stock

Soak raw cashews in water for 1 hour. They’ll soften slightly. Drain.
Boil/steam broccoli until tender in 2 cups of vegetable stock until fork-tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat,  add olive oil, and onions. Cook until onions are tender and translucent, with just a bit of brown caramelization starting to happen: about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute more. Add cumin, salt, mustard seed, and black pepper and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just enough to bring out the fragrance of the spices. Stir in cooked broccoli florets, and any remaining vegetable stock they were steamed in, and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
In a blender, add 1 cup of vegetable stock, half of the softened cashews, and about 1/2 of the broccoli mixture. Blend until smooth, though if it’s a little chunky, that’s good too! Pour blended soup into a large soup pan. Blend the remaining cashews, broccoli, and 1 more cups of vegetable stock. Blend until smooth. Pour into pan. Heat over low heat.  Add worcestershire sauce. Taste and season as necessary. Add water, or additional stock, if you have it, for a thinner consistency.
Serve warm. Soup will last, in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days. This is delicious with homemade Whole Wheat Thyme croutons, or a little dollop of sour cream.

And the bells were ringing out for Christmas Day!

2011 December 20

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when we remember the incomparable Kirsty McColl, and the beautiful harmonies she made with The Pogues’s Shane MacGowan. Here is quite possibly one of the most beautifully heartbreaking songs ever written. It’s been done over many times, but no one so convincingly sings of hardened lives yet undying love and hope for something better than McColl and MacGowan.

Happy Christmas!

Six life lessons I learned from the Spanish

2011 December 15
by Janelle

Parque del RetiroThe Spanish seem to have it all figured out: Devastatingly gorgeous, incomparably stylish, and quietly cool creative visionaries with excellent food, wine, public parks, and footwear. If there were any way Ryan and I could make a decent living by moving to Spain, we’d do so in a heartbeat. For now, we’ll just have to daydream about the next time we can head back for a visit.

During the two weeks we spent there, we traveled to Barcelona, Granada, Nerja, Seville, Jerez de la Frontera, and Madrid. Each part of the country had a distinctly different flavor and feel; no matter where we were, we couldn’t help but feel like there were enormous life-lessons to be learned by the Spanish way of life.

Kiss in public. How can holding back on passion be good for anyone? If you love someone, allow yourself to overflow with it. More often than not, you’re not holding back for yourself; you’re holding back for fear of being judged by someone who is probably too bitter to score a date anyway. Those who are open to love like to see love displayed fearlessly, and those who don’t could learn a thing or two.

Nap with reckless abandon. Oh, the siesta. I fully believe that if we took more naps, fewer of us would need hardcore therapy, and anti-anxiety meds would be rendered obsolete. Cuddling up with someone you love increases the benefits.

Put away the wristwatch. True, the Spanish may take their blatant disregard for punctuality a bit far but, in truth, we Americans try to cram too much into a 24-hour period. We may fool ourselves into thinking we’re living life to the fullest, but when you never stop rushing as you go from point A to point Z (and everything in between), you’re not living life, you’re skimming through it.

Take snacking to an art form. Snacks aren’t meant to be peeled out of foil wrappers; they’re meant to be savored with wine and conversation. And whomever gave the advice not to eat between meals is a total killjoy who has no friends.

Sing and dance out loud. One of our best nights in Spain was when we stumbled upon a tiny cantina, where the owner got together nightly with her daughters and old friends and sang out traditional Spanish folk songs for patrons. Keeping it to yourself is selfish. Songs and smiles should always be shared.

Share the wealth. I’ve never met such generous and giving people as the Spanish. They are so proud of what they have that they can’t help but share it. Stingy folks can keep to themselves, but those who spread the joy are destined to receive it tenfold. It’s like this awesome tsunami of wonderfulness. And in Spain it usually contained a slab of jamon, a slice of manchego, and a glass of homemade wine. I’m sure your own spin on it will reap equally joyful results.

More photos from our trip here, in Ryan’s Flickr stream.

It’s a giveaway, yo!

2011 November 11
tags:
by Janelle

I’m rapidly falling in love with Fab.com. It’s like a well-curated Etsy, where you don’t have to wade through hundreds of macrame friendship bracelets before you find the cool wrist cuff you were looking for.

Every day I get my email update from Fab.com and every day I’m introduced to new, excellent designers with innovative points of view. The best (read: worst, as it relates to my bank account) part of Fab.com, is I keep being introduced to things I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW I NEEDED!

I’ve spent way too much money on acrylic jewelry by Silvercocoon.com. And I’m waiting for my awesome delivery of these cool glass water bottles, by FaucetFace.

Now you too can be part of the obsession and blow your wad on their cool and stylish wares. If you make a purchase by 3:45 EST tomorrow, Nov. 12, 2011, by using this gateway code, you’ll get $10 off your first purchase.

It’s a giveaway, yo! (sort of) Now go out there and help the economy by spending this week’s paycheck.

La La Love These!

2011 November 3
by Janelle

“I believe in using your best set of dishes – everyday. I’m also a fan of comfortable shoes.” – Tia Salmela Keobounpheng, Designer, Silvercocoon

I meant to do some advanced Christmas shopping. I really did. I booted up my laptop with so much holiday cheer you’d swear I smelled of pine needles and had snowflakes in my hair.

I truly had the utmost intention of finding lovely, unique trinkets for my family and girl friends. But then something happened. Maybe it’s that I got started on my Christmas shopping a little too early. Maybe it’s that I’m just a horribly selfish person who secretly covets anything that dangles or shimmers all for myself. Or maybe it’s that the gorgeous, gleaming, and glossy acrylic jewelry of Silvercocoon by Tia Salmela Keobounpheng was too much temptation for my tainted holiday spirit.

I shopped for myself and only myself. I’ll look forward to having nothing but coal in my Christmas stocking this year. That’s cool; I’ll console myself with my awesome new Pod earrings, and the glossy Stone Necklace, which should arrive in the next few days (squeeeee)! Bah humbug. Word! I mean, sorry.

If anyone has any jewelry websites that might give me some redemption, I’m listening.

La La Love These!2222

2011 November 3
by Janelle

“I believe in using your best set of dishes – everyday. I’m also a fan of comfortable shoes.” – Tia Salmela Keobounpheng, Designer, Silvercocoon

I meant to do some advanced Christmas shopping. I really did. I booted up my laptop with so much holiday cheer you’d swear I smelled of pine needles and had snowflakes in my hair.

I truly had the utmost intention of finding lovely, unique trinkets for my family and girl friends. But then something happened. Maybe it’s that I got started on my Christmas shopping a little too early. Maybe it’s that I’m just a horribly selfish person who secretly covets anything that dangles or shimmers all for myself. Or maybe it’s that the gorgeous, gleaming, and glossy acrylic jewelry of Silvercocoon by Tia Salmela Keobounpheng was too much temptation for my tainted holiday spirit.


I shopped for myself and only myself. I’ll look forward to having nothing but coal in my Christmas stocking this year. That’s cool; I’ll console myself with my awesome new Pod earrings, and the glossy Stone Necklace, which should arrive in the next few days (squeeeee)! Bah humbug. Word! I mean, sorry.

If anyone has any jewelry websites that might give me some redemption, I’m listening.

“Take me now, subcreature”

2011 October 31
by Janelle

Happy Halloween, from the Keymaster and the Gatekeeper.

It’s an understatement to say that I’m a fan of Halloween. I’ve dressed up all by myself during a snowstorm, while I nursed a sick roommate, just for the sheer joy of inhabiting a different character for a few hours. A deep dark secret of mine is I’m a little bit of a geeky fan-girl at heart. Luckily, I’m with a guy who is far geekier than me. This year we decided to use our joint geek powers for good rather than evil. Here we are as Vince Clortho and Zuul from Ghostbusters, eagerly awaiting the coming of Gozer: Gozer the Traveler, Gozer the Destructor, Gozer the Gozarian.

He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldronaii, the Traveler came as a large and moving Torb. Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the Meketrex Supplicants, they chose a new form for him — that of a giant sloar! Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the sloar that day I can tell you.

Okay, that concludes our Geekout for the week. Happy Halloween, all.

Party photos by Becky Pagan. Her flash was broken, so cut her some slack. The intent was there!

Thank you, Evan Dando

2011 October 29

I’m not normally one to hold pop culture icons on a pedestal but, the truth is, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Evan Dando.

As a teenager, The Lemonheads were my gateway drug to becoming a music junkie. Without Evan Dando, I might have had ended up with a decent selection of albums on my iPod, but I certainly wouldn’t be the kind of music enthusiast that could have a 30-minute discussion with a buyer at Amoeba Music, and leave the store earning a hearty handshake, an employee discount off my purchase.

More than just being an overall favorite in my iTunes library, the Lemonheads–more than any other group—turned me on to an army of new musical options: Who was this Big Star? Oh! Alex Chilton! THAT’S who the replacements were singing about! This guy is awesome! Oh my gosh, Victoria Williams? I need to listen to everything she’s ever wrote. What’s the band her husband’s in? The Jayhawks? Holy cow, this band is fantastic. Who is this Gram Parsons? This stuff is amazing. Who is this woman singing along with Gram? Emmylou Harris? Who is are all of these people Emmylou Harris is covering? Lucinda Williams. Gillian Welch. Whoa? I must own everything ever written by Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch. Why does this CD sound so good? Oh, it was produced by Daniel Lanois! What else has Daniel Lanois produced? Wait a minute—who is this Fugazi he’s touring with?

Knowing my rabid fandom, Ryan surprised me on Thursday night by taking me to see the Lemonheads perform “It’s a Shame About Ray” in its entirety at the El Rey. It was an awesome show, and we were in spitting distance of Dando. If his guitar string broke, it would have hit me in the eye. I sang every word, to every song he played–and I sang them loud, in unison with just about every other person in the venue. Just a few hundred of us die-hards, there for nothing but the love of the music and a little bit of nostalgia.

We were tempted to stick around so I could gush to Dando about all the ways we were meant to be best friends. Then I could invite him over for a few beers and we could laugh about growing up in Boston, and about summers hanging out on beaches of the North Shore. I could tell him how one of my middle school boyfriends had the same dentist as him, and then Evan could tell me how he loved that particular dentist’s nitrous oxide.

I’ve played the scenario in my head a hundred times but, alas, it was an opportunity missed at the hands of security guards and lack of backstage passes. Meh. At least I have some photos.

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