One of my favorite movies of all time is The Big Lebowski. I went through a phase where I watched it at least once a week. Most of the time I watched it with my college roommates with a few White Russians (the choice drink of The Dude.) If I had a dollar for every bottle of Kahlua I’ve seen polished off while watching this movie…
If I only knew then what I know now. Turns out you can pretty easily make homemade coffee liqueur that tastes surprising like the brand name stuff!
Thanks to my good friend Donna who gave me this recipe which has apparently been in her family for a good long while. Nice of her to share it.
Guess what. It’s almost 2010. 2010 is going to be so cool. It just sounds cooler to say “Twenty-ten” rather than “Two Thousand Nine.” It has a nice ring to it.
I spent the last few weekends of my life rummaging through the over eight thousand Macheesmo photos I’ve taken this year to pick 12 lucky photos (13 if you count the cover) that I made into a spiffy calendar for next year!
And so I present:
Please imagine that I’m reading the rest of this post out loud to you in the cheesiest sales-pitch accent possible.
Having trouble keeping track of all the important things you have to do next year?! Have no fear! The 2010 Macheesmo Calendar comes with individual squares for each day of the year where you can write in your important dates!
The high-quality calendar is printed on thick 100lb paper with full bleed dynamic color and is guaranteed to add food porn beauty to any room!
Oh but that’s not all! It also comes with a wire binding – making it super-easy to flip the page at the end of each month!
This can all be yours today!
But wait! There’s more. If you buy it today (or heck… ever), I’ll throw in a free preview of 2011! Want to know what day of the year your birthday will fall on in 2010 and the the year after!?This calendar will tell you.
Also, the calendar has all major U.S. holidays pre-marked for you! You’ll never forget when the Fourth of July is again!
Ok. End silly sales rant.
But seriously, if you’re looking for a calendar for yourself or for a fellow food lover, it’s a pretty slick final product. I just got mine in the mail a few days ago and it honestly turned out better than I was expecting.
I struggled on whether or not to include recipes on the calendar and decided that it would kind of muck up the pretty photos to have a bunch of text on each page. So instead, I made a new page where you can find all the recipes for each month: www.macheesmo.com/calendar.
Most importantly though, if you buy it, you’ll be helping out a hard-working food blogger since I make a few bucks off of each sale.
So check it out and let me know what you think. And thanks in advance if you buy a copy!
In my food letter a few weeks ago I promised that I was going to do something with chestnuts this month. I’ll admit that having never worked with them, chestnuts always just looks like mysterious little wood chunks – expensive mysterious little wood chunks. They were so worth it though. If you’ve never had chestnuts before, they are nutty and very starchy, almost like a potato.
I decided to break one of my rules for this meal (don’t combine two things that you’re doing for the first time in any given recipe), and make a filling with the chestnuts for a ravioli. The chestnuts weren’t too terrible to prepare, but I think I need to work on my ravioli technique a bit. They were very tasty, but not the prettiest thing on the block.
No need for sauces! Well... except butter.
One killer about this recipe is that I don’t have a pasta roller which would make the whole thing easier, but there is something fun about making it by hand. I am no Italian grandmother though so mine just look a bit more, um, rustic.
Every other weekend, I review a cookbook in an attempt to lend some guidance in a field that has become overrun. These days everyone is writing cookbooks and it’s incredibly upsetting to buy a dud and have it sit on your shelf for years – staring at you, mocking your poor judgment.
I was really excited to get my hands on a copy of “The Foodie Handbook” by Pim Techamuanvivit (Chronicle 2009) because, honestly, I was reading her blog way before I started Macheesmo. So, it was great to see such a substantial thing that started from humble food blogger roots.
While I was excited, I was also somewhat skeptical. I wasn’t quite sure what a foodie handbook would entail. Is it a cookbook? Is it a travel guide? Does it tell you how to shop for ingredients? Shockingly, the answer is all of the above. Let’s dive in!
A Food Quandary. In her very short, 2 page, introduction Pim does a great job of explaining a problem that I have regularly. That problem is that it’s hard to talk and write about food because it’s a hard thing to describe. Food becomes polarized for most people – it’s either familiar and comforting or strange and exotic. Pim talks a bit about this odd contrast in her intro:
“A chocolate cake is decadent and sinfully delicious, pictures of food that tickle your mouth to water are food porn, simple dishes… are dismissed as comfort food, while intricate cuisine composed of exquisite ingredients is pretentious and haughty. It seems almost impossible to say anything at all about food without a pang of regret, without apologizing for some sort of offense, real or imagined. No wonder food is such a lost cause to so many.”
So I’m hoping that this book will help get rid of some of that mystique and teach everyone how to fall in love (or back in love) with food.
Betsy and I are going to our first ever Redskins game this weekend. Actually, it’s my first ever NFL game so I’m pretty excited. We are playing the Broncos which should mean that we get blown out of the water given how good they are this year and how absolutely horrible the Skins are.
But that’s okay. It should be a good time.
I’m working on a lot of Thanksgiving posts, but thought I would ask you guys what kind of appetizer I should make.
A few links!
Eating in the Matrix – A great analogy for some of the “food” we eat and purchase. Is it really food? How do you define food and why is it important to eat it? This is a great post. (@ Summer Tomato)
Shrimp and Grits – I used to work at a restaurant that served kind of upscale southern food. The shrimp and grits were probably the most popular dish on the menu and with reason. This version looks pretty tasty. (@ Ezra Pound Cake)
Food Photography 101 – I take a lot of photos here and it’s all self-taught by reading good material like this. Anyone can take good food photography with just a little knowledge and practice in my opinion. (@ Brown Eyed Baker)
Homemade Ricotta – I really like this walkthrough on homemade ricotta but also check out the most adorable fluffy cat in the whole wide world (except Tipsy). Pushkin is the cutest. (@ Sassy Radish)
Chili is always an intimidating thing for me to make due to people’s chili allegiances. Similar to ribs, people have serious beliefs on what chili should be: beans, no beans, beef only, etc. It can get a little crazy so I’m always a bit hesitant to make it for fear of causing a chili feud.
But it’s fall and it’s football season, and sometimes I just need chili. So for the last poll, I posted only chili recipes, and then ended up making one that wasn’t even an option to vote for: buffalo. Allow me to explain! First, beef won and for chilis buffalo and beef can be used pretty much interchangeably. Second, a commenter suggested I make buffalo instead of beef so it wasn’t really my idea to sabotage the poll (Hi Lauren!). Third, buffalo is delicious, inexpensive, and underrated so I wanted to use it.
Buffalo chili really hit the spot.
Probably the best chili I've ever made.
This chili is spicy and has some intermediate elements to it like making your own chili powder. The final product is amazing though and you can of course take some short cuts if you want like using canned black beans or pre-packaged chili powder.
Buying fresh herbs always stresses me out. I feel like they are pretty essential in some dishes and really add a ton of flavor that’s sometimes hard to replicate with dried herbs. There are normally two problems when I buy them though. First, they are incredibly expensive. Most herbs are weeds. Or trees. How is it possible the 3/4 ounce costs $4? This is not an illegal narcotic we’re talking about. It’s rosemary.
Second, once I buy them, they always go bad before I can use all of them! I’ve tried freezing them and drying them and all of that is fine, but I always find myself wanting fresh herbs a week later so I just buy more. It’s a sick cycle.
The one herb that is definitely an exception to this rule is basil. When I find it on sale, I buy as much of it as possible. Take this box of basil that Whole Foods had on sale a few weeks ago.
I'm a sucker for basil sales.
Now that is a lot of basil! It’s about 4 ounces to be exact. Total cost: $5. Keep in mind that mere feet from where I found this box of basil, you could purchase the very tiny 3/4 ounce of basil for $4. You can do the math people. I’m buying the big box!