the new egg

So grilled cheese is the new egg. In that it's something incredibly basic that I cannot figure out how to cook. This will not stand! So if you see a grilled cheese around tell it I've got a message for it. It goes like this:
Hi. My name is Mary-Claire. I will conquer you by year's end

Yeah, um you can feel free to embellish if you want. You know, make it a little scarier. More to come! Progress will be made!


birthday pizza party!

Ok not really. But it was recently my birthday and I got a bunch of really great gifts-all of which were total surprises. Do you see a theme here?
  • Johnny sent me a song that sounds like Daft Punk wishing my a happy birthday
  • Sarah made me an amazing cake that I have now had for breakfast five days in a row, not to mention homemade salsa and jams
  • Todd made me a sign that says "I (heart) mayo"
  • Jen gave me pretty white dishes to take food pictures on (you will be seeing a lot of them)
  • Heather made me cookies; Sophie made me blondies
  • Matt gave me a baking stone, a cookbook, and a bread machine!
I have no idea how I got so lucky, but I'm really very thankful for it.

So having listened to my song about ten times on repeat, and finally finally wanting something other than sweets for a meal, I decided to make a pizza, dough and all! And it actually turned out really yummy. I used a Cooks Illustrated dough recipe and hijacked a Bon Appetit toppings recipe and I shall call the concoction "28 is Great... for PIZZA". Ok, I'll work on the name, but really the recipe is good.

28 Is Great... for PIZZA
(or caramelized onion & mushroom pizza)

dough (via Cooks Illustrated)

1 3/4 cups water , warm (about 105 degrees)
1 envelope rapid-rise dry yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour , plus extra as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

Vegetable oil (or cooking spray) for bowl


1. Set oven to 200 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn oven off.

2. Meanwhile, in bowl of food processor fitted with either metal or plastic blade, add water and sprinkle in yeast and sugar. Pulse twice to dissolve yeast. Add all remaining ingredients and process until mixture forms cohesive mass. Dough should not be sticky (if it is, add 2 more tablespoons flour and pulse briefly) nor should it be dry and crumbly (if it is, add 1 more tablespoons water and pulse briefly). Let rest for 2 minutes. Process for another 30 seconds.

3. Remove dough from food processor and knead by hand on floured work surface for 1 minute or until dough is smooth and satiny (dough will feel a bit tough at this point).

4. Very lightly oil large bowl with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Place dough in bowl (do not coat dough with oil) and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 40 minutes or until doubled. Remove from bowl, punch down, remove from bowl and separate into two round pieces. Let rest for 10 minutes under damp dish towel, then shape according to illustrations below, and add toppings.

5. Proceed to cook topped pizza in preheated 500-degree oven using the following guide to determine cooking time for pizza crust with topping but without cheese. All pizzas need to be cooked an additional two or three minutes after adding cheese, or until cheese is completely melted.

Toppings (adapted from Bon Appetit)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 (5-oz) package Boursin garlic-herb cheese
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onions with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to moderate and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 15 minutes more. Add mushrooms, reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and deep golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Remove from heat and cool to warm, about 10 minutes.



Ungh. I guess the weather pushed the reset button on my stomach. Never hungry. Everything sounds gross. Come here, avocado.


vegetarian black bean chili with orange and cumin

After the fridge and cupboards were cleaned out, the monthly spreadsheet made, and the slight cheese relapse, I moved on to finding more budget-friendly recipes to make. Sarah had told me about this one a while ago, and then I came across it again while on this kick. I figured it was fate, so I made it. And it's really good. I can say that because I am now on daily heartburn medication and therefor this recipe was not allowed to eat my insides out.
So if you're well-medicated too, or have stock in Tums, then you should make this! After reading everyone's comments on Epicurious I modified the recipe a little and am pleased with the result. So here you go...

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili with Orange and Cumin

Yield: Makes 4 servings (plus leftovers) Active Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

2 oranges
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, pressed
4 teaspoons chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3 15.5-ounce cans seasoned black beans, drained
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
Hot pepper sauce
plain yogurt
Chopped fresh cilantro

Grate enough orange peel to measure 1/2 teaspoon. Juice oranges. Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté 5 minutes. Mix in garlic and spices. Add beans, tomatoes, and half of orange juice. Simmer over medium heat until heated through and flavors blend, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Mix in orange peel and remaining orange juice. Season to taste with hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Ladle chili into bowls. Top with yogurt and cilantro. Pass extra hot sauce alongside.

port-salut edit

Right, ok. I'll just go back and edit that last post about not buying good cheese anymore. It was a cute idea and all, but come on, let's be real here. Cheese just makes me so happy. Who needs new clothes anyway?

Here are some facts about this delicious soft cheese (via Wikipedia):
  • Though Port Salut has a mild flavor, it sometimes has a strong smell because it is a mature cheese. The smell increases the longer the cheese is kept — this however does not affect its flavor.
  • The cheese was originally invented by Trappist monks during the 19th century at the abbey of Notre Dame du Port du Salut in Entrammes. The monks, many of whom had left France to escape persecution during the French revolution of 1789, learned cheese-making skills as a means of survival and brought those skills back with them upon their return in 1815. The name of their society, "Société Anonyme des Fermiers Réunis" (S.A.F.R.) later became their registered trademark, and is still printed on wheels of Port Salut cheese distributed today.


hey, did you know?

These past two weeks have not been so hot money-wise. You may have noticed this happens a lot. And you would be right. So I've lately been trying to actually sit down and figure out ways to get around it. I created a budget. I stopped buying fancy cheese (sad!). And now I have eaten almost everything in my fridge and cupboards. In doing so I made use of a handy trick I once read about. If you're unsure if eggs are still good or not, put them in a bowl of water. If they float, they're bad. If they stand upright on the bottom of the bowl, you should eat them in the next few days. If they lay on their sides on the bottom, what the hell are you worried about?

Now you know.