Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

I made these a few weeks ago.... and its not that they weren't good, its that lately, well, I've been preoccupied. With pedicured toes in the sand, with sunburned legs, with warm breezes, with stacks of trashy novels. Ah, vacation. 

Snap out of it, J Fierce! You're back to real life now. Time to cram in baking around hectic work schedules, working out, that thing you're supposed to eat first called dinner, with reruns on tv. Want to know how these came about? Well, I'll begin at the end. 

There had been a minor natural disaster of some kind in my kitchen: the microwave was covered in butter, the floor with freshly squeezed lemon juice.  In my hand, the fruits (in this case, the muffin-fruits) of my labor: still warm lemon poppyseed muffins. I know you're thinking, when is J Fierce going to get off the lemon poppyseed kick? I hate to break it to you, but this is one of my favorite combinations, so if you don't like it, tough.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spinach Salad with Roasted Cherry Tomato Dressing

I have to admit something, internet.  I do not like grapes.  I know this is very wrong of me, that people go ape over grapes, that they are the classic summertime snack.  I just don't like them.  They make my stomach hurt and I think they are blander than a beige painting on a taupe wall.

However.  I love me some cherry tomatoes.  Lest you think this is a bizarre tangent, think for a moment, please, on the size and shape of grapes and cherry tomatoes.  Pretty much the exact same, right?  Yet grapes, in all their spherical glory, really gross me out.  

Now some cherry tomatoes ... oh my.  I cannot imagine a life on this earth without them - I can easily put away a pint in two minutes flat.  Pop pop popping them in my mouth one at a time until they're gone, they are my grapes.  But cherry tomatoes are better than grapes in so many ways - bet you can't make this delicious salad dressing with a pint of grapes, now can you!  Ha!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Mama Fierce

Have you mailed your mother's day card yet?  Better get to the post office, kiddos!  Your mom is waiting!  And if you forgot, oh boy.  Call up the flower shop immediately.

What better way to celebrate Mother's Day at The Sisters Fierce than to dedicate a post to our fantastic Mama Fierce?  She's obviously influenced us in many ways, not only genetics and the remarkable ability to turn any sentence into a pout.  (Trust us on this one.  Just ask our boyfriends.)
Look at those babes! Mama Fierce on the right, and our amazingly gorgeous Grandma Ruth, whom we miss very much, every single day.  And we also wish they had held on to their wardrobes - yes, those are little anchors on Mama Fierce's dress.  Ahoy!

Mama Fierce taught us how to drive stick shift, why you should always always ALWAYS wear earrings (you'll feel naked without them), and many other Very Important Life Lessons.  But since this blog revolves around food, we thought we'd share some of the many tips and tricks Mama Fierce taught us in the kitchen.
  1. Confectioner's sugar is not flour.  Mistaking one for the other does not a good broccoli soup make.
  2. The electric cooktop is not the best place to leave a cordless phone (or two or twelve).
  3. Come to think of it, the microwave is also not really a great spot for a wire-framed basket.  Oops.
  4. Don't be afraid to make substitutions. Lasagna will probably be just as good if you realize you don't have enough ricotta so you use cottage cheese instead.  (See #1 when you are curious as to what substitutes well for flour.)
  5. Don't be afraid to stay out of the kitchen for an evening or two. Use up your leftovers. We both inherited the penchant for finishing off random small bits of dinners past from Mama Fierce: occasionally skipping a whole meal and replacing it with a snack when you've eaten well all day is just fine. This is called "grazing."
  6. Stave off the pre-dinner munchies with a pile of crudites.  We think slicing a bunch of veggies was a diversion tactic meant to keep her four wild, ravenous, hungry children out of her hair. It worked and we ate more veggies. 
  7. Does your kitchen stink because you burnt something?  This never happens to us, just so you know. But in case it did... Bring about a cup or so of water to boil on the stove and throw in some cinnamon, cloves, or other aromatic spice.  Let that simmer away for an hour or two and presto chango - stinko gone-o.  
  8. Sometimes, simply setting the table does wonders for your mood.  When we were in high school and had free lunches, each and every Wednesday, Mama Fierce would make us lunch at home.  It could have been blue-box-mac-n-cheese or a plain turkey sandwich, but she always set the table.  Flowers from our backyard garden, real napkins and placemats, too.  Taking the time to make things a little nicer is always worth it.  Our mom always makes sure to tell us she loves us, but more importantly, she always takes the time to show us she loves us, too.
Of course she's also imparted to us some absolutely killer recipes.  We drool just thinking about Mama Fierce's famous summer strawberry pie - and her Texas sheetcake is just absurd. Stay tuned this week for those recipes.  We can't wait to share them with you, and in case she thought we forgot ...

Happy Mother's Day to the greatest mom on earth.  We love you Mama Fierce!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pistachio Tart Cherry Ice Cream

This stuff is amazing.

But I know what you're thinking, who really makes their own ice cream?  I do... sometimes.

A few years ago I got a KitchenAid freezer bowl attachment for Christmas (read: exchanged a pretty cashmere sweater that was under the tree and didn't fit).  I used it once the first year.  It takes forethought (can I really think about what I want to make fifteen hours in advance?). It takes up a lot of space (my freezer is full of breakfast burritos and ling ling spring rolls, so I put it at my boyfriend's. He loves those 9am phone calls: "will you pleeeeease put the ice cream maker in the freezer? I think its under the shelf where your big chili pots are, and if it isn't there check next to the oven or maybe its above the stove and and and and). Then you have to wait even longer, because after you freeze it in the freezer bowl, you have to freeze the custard base in the regular freezer. For three more hours. A lot of waiting. It can be a three day process if you do it the way I do (that is, not planning ahead).