Sunday, February 4, 2007

So I've been really busy, or, not near a computer. I'm still working at wholefoods, having fun, and since its winter the rest of the time I've been sleeping and baking. For Christmas I got the new Joy of Cooking (my mom went out and bought 3 copies, one for me, one for herself, one for my middle sister) and I've been testing it out, crossing back and forth from the new one to the older one I have. I've been making custards, creme brulee and the other day I made flan. I got two ramekin sets. I also bought Bette Hagman's Gluten-free Gourmet and have been baking cakes. There's a recipe for her classic sponge cake that is really good and very easy to play around with. I've changed it to make a coconut cake, pistachio, lemon, and spice. Today I made a Boston cream pie (my mom used to make this when I was younger and I haven't had it in so long. This is one of those things that never tastes as good if its not homemade), using the 4-egg yellow cake recipe from the new Joy, vanilla custard filling, and quick chocolate butter frosting. I put extra cream in the frosting to make it thinner to spread easier, and instead of the cake flour for the yellow cake I used 2/3 c potato flour, 1 cup rice flour and 1 cup tapioca flour with 1/8 tsp xantham gum. I haven't put it together and eaten it yet, but the individual parts are delicious. I had some help from my faithful helper:

Life has been pretty good. I've decided to stay in Philadelphia past my lease. I'm moving into an apartment a little bit further south with a friend of mine from work. I've been dating a boy I work with, I like him a lot and am really happy so I'm staying here for the time being. I took the boy home to meet my mom and baby sister (he'd met the middle one before) and he ended up meeting my dad too. Everyone loved him. It was really nice to go home to mass and see my family.

Heres a recipe for split pea soup, use your judgement on the measurements for things.

one or two onions and a few stalks of celery, diced
a few cloves of garlic, chopped up
2 smoked ham hocks
2 c split peas
3 cups stock (if you dont have stock, just use extra water)
5 or 6 c water
pepper, bay, thyme, a pinch of curry

cook for an hour or two until the meat starts to come away from the bone. Remove the meat from the pot, continue cooking soup, tasting for salt and spices. When the meat is cool, cut off the bone and dice to whatever size you'd like. When soup is as thick as you want it, puree most of it (or leave it lumpy) then return to pot, add meat, and cook a little bit longer. Add some cream or butter if you want.

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