Coming in February, a collaboration between Keds and Kate Spade that includes some funky and bright shoes! I don't about you guys, but I was obsessed with Keds in elementary school. I couldn't wait to wear my new white Keds with the blue label on the first day of school. These are fun in theory, but I'm having trouble envisioning how I'd pull these off. Would you wear these? If so, how?
1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges $
In September, we spent five blissful days in Madison, Wisconsin. If you haven't visited, Madison is situated on an isthmus between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. There are cyclists everywhere and the city has a hip, urban feel combined with the surrounding area's focus on farming. The Ironman was the focal point of our trip, but it didn't prevent us from exploring the city, the Wisconsin campus, and the surrounding countryside. The Madison Farmer's Market (held on Saturdays around the Capitol Square) is not to be missed - I've never been to a bigger market, or one where there is such a defined flow of traffic! We rode our bikes all around the university campus and worked up an appetite for the Babcock Dairy Hall Store -- how did I not know there are universities with their own dairy store? We patronized Madison Sourdough several times and enjoyed the beautiful and flavorful bread and amazing sandwiches, breakfasts and pastries. I sat there for 3 hours the morning after the Ironman when I couldn't sleep and they happily refilled my coffee and didn't judge when I ordered a second breakfast. As a stationery lover, a visit to Anthology was a must, and, similarly, as a beer lover we trekked out to the New Glarus Brewery. On our way to the airport, we made a final stop for crepes at Bradbury's Coffee. I think one of the highlights of the trip was riding bikes all over the city
Another wonderful thing about Madison? Our dear friends V and N live there. Not only did they meet us at awesome local haunts like Fromagination and A Pig in a Fur Coat, but V gave me and Rob a tour of the gorgeous farm where she works, Dreamfarm.
This was my first experience getting up close and personal with goats. Man, are they cute! They love to nibble on everything (particularly buttons) and were so social and sweet.
After visiting Dreamfarm, I was inspired to make goat cheese... it just took me a few months to get around to actually doing it. I tried a very simple recipe from Food52 and am happy to report the process is straightforward and yields delicious results. When Rob first tasted the cheese, he said it tastes "farmy" and I think that is an accurate description (albeit not a particularly flattering one) -- unlike much of the goat cheese you get in the grocery store that can be bland and flavorless, the homemade version has a complicated, fresh flavor. The best part is that you can adjust the flavor of the cheese as you wish - I added just a bit of salt and pepper because I liked the simple flavor, but you could garnish it with any combination of herbs or peppercorns. So far, I've enjoyed the goat cheese spread on crackers, on top of pizza, and on a roasted vegetable and kale salad. I'm thinking next I might need to incorporate into a dessert....
Homemade Goat Cheese
Recipe from Tasia Malakasis via Food52
Yield = 3 small logs (approximately 3" in length and 1.5" in diameter)
Notes - First, I was able to find goat's milk at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and In-Season Local Market in Denver. Second, after heating the milk and pouring it into the bowl with the cheesecloth, I was struck by how much whey (liquid) was left. Don't be alarmed if the cheesecloth "bag" is almost fully submerged in the remaining milk. I've included a picture that illustrates this above. I periodically drained off the excess liquid.
1 gallon goat milk
2 rounded teaspoons of citric acid (Available in some grocery stores but I ordered mine from Amazon)
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
Cheesecloth or cotton kitchen towel
1. Mix the citric acid with 1/2 cup of water. In a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pot, combine the goat milk and citric acid to 185 degrees over medium heat, stirring continuously. Once it reaches this temperature, turn off the heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
2. Lay out your cheesecloth in a bowl. Pour in the milk mixture. The curds simply resemble curdled milk at this point. Tie the ends of the towel together so it becomes a bag. Hang it on a wooden spoon and let the bag hang free. The whey should strain for at least two hours, but for best results you can leave closer to 6 hours (I left mine for 6 and was really pleased with how dense the cheese was). This makes forming a log easier and results in a denser cheese. Before taking the cheese out of the cloth, squeeze the cloth to extract more liquid from the cheese.
3. Transfer the cheese from the cloth to a bowl and season it with cheese salt to taste. You can garnish with fresh herbs, peppercorns, or form a traditional log. To shape into a log, simply place on a clean smooth surface and begin to roll out gently, like a Play-Doh snake.
How could you not love that face?
I think I have a new favorite stationery line! On a recent trip to Paper-Source (dangerous!), I discovered a stationery line called Natalie Eden out of Seattle. The yellow "Thank You So Much" design pictured below first caught my attention -- I do have a number of thank you notes to write! You can see the entire Natalie Eden collection here and I've included my favorites below. All images credit to Natalie Eden.
Neither Rob nor I drink soda, but when I indulge, I typically reach for a ginger ale. There is something about the ginger flavor, combined with its subtle spice, that I can't get enough of.
One of my favorite Christmas presents was a new cookbook called Roots from J. Since she introduced me to both Kale and Pear Salad and Carrot Quinoa Muffins (two of my all-time favorite recipes), I knew I was in for a treat. The book is organized by root vegetables (29 in total) and ranges from commonly found sweet potatoes, beets, and parsnips to a number of vegetables I'd never heard of (salsify, cassava, crosnes). My eyes are peeled at the market now for unidentifiable vegetables in the hopes that I can branch out and experiment.
Isn't it odd how the ginger from different roots was a completely different color? I didn't really notice the variation until I looked at the picture above.
If you enjoy ginger ale, I think you'll love making your own ginger syrup. The flavor from the fresh ginger is much more pronounced and fragrant than store bought soda and it is so satisfying to make something like this yourself. I've only used the syrup with sparkling water, but my hunch is that it would be excellent in a cocktail as well.
Homemade Ginger Ale
Roots Cookbook by Diane Morgan
Yield = Syrup for 4 Ginger Ales
Ingredients for Ginger Syrup
1/2 cup grated fresh ginger (I used a cheese grater and then chopped the really stringy part of the root that I couldn't grate)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup water
Ingredients for Ginger Ale
4 cups club soda / sparkling water
4 tbsp fresh lime juice
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
4 lime wedges
Note - I didn't measure the amount of syrup, lemon and lime juice, and sparkling water when I mixed the drink. I did the syrup to taste and squeezed in some lemon and lime juices. The measurements below come from the original recipe.
1. To the make the ginger syrup, in a small saucepan, combine the ginger, brown sugar, and water and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes to completely dissolve the sugar and infuse the syrup. Remove from the heat and let the ginger steep in the syrup until cool, about 30 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a container with a tight-fitting lid (I used these Weck jars) and then cover and refrigerate until well chilled. The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
2. Fill four 16-ounce glasses two-thirds full of ice. Pour approximately 1/4 cup of syrup, 1 cup of sparkling water, 1 tbsp of lime juice and 1 tsp of lemon juice into each glass and stir to combine. Garnish each glass with a lime wedge and serve immediately.