Welcome to my Day dreams...

Thanks for stoppin' in and welcome to my Day Dreams.

I am a former educator turned PhD student and avid foodie. This blog contains my thoughts regarding all of these areas of my life. Take your time, browse around, and hopefully you'll find something you like. --Love, Katy

Thursday, July 19, 2012

And this is what failure looks like

Ah, complacency-- Even happens to the best of us. 

 I've been making this lemon yogurt pound cake for a few years and thought that I would make it for a bake sale.  Well, what you're seeing is what happens when you take a pan out of the oven and instead of being a good little baker and letting it cool on a rack, you put it on the eye of the stove.  A few minutes later after you smell and then see the smoke that is rising from the middle of the cake, you realize that the eye was still on from where you made dinner. 
Sigh... the brown spots in the cake are from where it was burning up through the cake. 

It's like they tell carpenters-sometimes the worst mistakes (like losing a finger) come when you're actually getting better at what you do.

Stay sharp fellow bakers! Stay sharp!

And don't worry--I paid a lot more attention the next time around and it was delicious! :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Spotlight on....(two-fer today!)

Watt's Grocery in Durham, NC and Beasley's in Raleigh, NC

Just wanted to take a moment to highlight some amazing culinary experiences I've had. 

First, I wanted to talk about Watt's.  I've been hearing about Watt's for years and have had it on my "need to go eat here list" forever.  It is a little pricier for dinner, so I haven't had many opportunities to go during that time slot, but it has been on me that I haven't gone for brunch which is a totally reasonable price range.

Well, this year I came into a little extra money around March Madness time and so Pat and I decided that before going to see Louis Black (hilarious) at the DPAC, we would go for a nice dinner at Watt's Grocery.  Man, I will have to tell you that this has been one of the best meals that I have eaten in a restaurant at least in the last few years, if not my whole life.

Their menu is seasonal (they use local products-LOVE that), so I'm sure it's not the same now but I will try as best as I can to remember everything that was on each dish.

We started out with a pimento cheese and fried potato chip appetizer.  It wasn't the highlight of the meal (too much cheese and the chips were a little overdone) but I thought their approach was really cool.  They had the pepper relish (instead of traditional pimentos) on top of the cheese and it was both spicy and sweet. 

Here is my dinner: Lamb with goat cheese dumplings and fava beans.  Now, those who know me really well know that I do not eat "young foods" (lamb, veal) but it just sounded so good that Pat told me he would forgo the next opportunity to eat veal or lamb (he loves both) if I wanted to get this (the goat cheese dumplings just sounded so good).  It was AMAZING.  The combination of flavors with just a hint of mint was genius and the lamb was so tender it just melted in your mouth.  *Update he did pass up an opportunity to eat veal at one of the best steakhouses, so the universe has been balanced-such a good man. 

 Pat's dinner was a local steak with herbed butter, asparagus, and purple potatoes.  You barely really needed a knife to cut it because it was so perfectly cooked.  He said it was one of the best steaks he's ever had. 
 Here we are :)
 This may have been my favorite part of the whole meal and I'm DYING to make it myself.  Ginger is one of my favorite flavors.  I find it so warm and sweet and I'm just fascinated by its versatility in the kitchen (savory, sweet, alone, as a spice).  Like mushrooms, it's become one of those "deciding" elements on a menu- if it's present, there's a good possibility I will get it. 

At the beginning of our dinner I had a great ginger martini.  Then, at the end I could not resist this ginger pot de creme with a rhubarb relish and a fresh made ginger snap.  I can't even talk about it because it was just SO GOOD that it transcends words.  I'm dying to know how to make something this good, but I am a little worried that I will just eat the whole thing myself!
 Finally, I had an after dinner espresso martini. 

Fast forward to June and my friend Rachael (who shares my love for food/photographing food) took me to Beasley's in Raleigh. They are known for their chicken biscuits (complete with green tomatoes, honey, and mustard) and they make some amazing drinks (seen below).  We had been at the pool all day and this Dark and Stormier (ginger beer/rum) drink was just the ticket!  Thanks Rach for taking me here.  Best chicken biscuit ever!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Well June was a blur!

Hello Friends!

As I said earlier, June was a complete blur! I've been lucky enough to have an almost full time job (35 hours a week), plus a fabulous part time job that has been keeping me busy.  Also, June was full of catching up with friends, dog sitting, vacation, and wedding planning for my sister and her awesome fiancee, Mike.  So, I've barely had time to catch a breath (much less post), but not being able to catch a breath because you're having so much fun is definitely the kind of problem I like to have. 

Since I have finally downloaded all my pictures onto my computer, I hopefully will be able to upload a number of posts and not just cram it all in here.  So, let's cover the beach, first, shall we?

This year we were lucky enough to return to one of my favorite places in the whole world, Edisto Island, SC.

We were able to stay for a WHOLE week together.  The beauty of this place is that it's not touristy.  It's just you and your family: playing pictionary, laying on the beach, laughing, making food, relaxing, talking about life, sleeping to the sounds of the ocean--so great.  I especially loved the beach storms we had at the beginning of the week. 

How amazing is that?  The only thing better than listening to the waves while you're going to sleep is listening to a storm WITH the waves.

The house was so cute.  I love that Pat and my room had this cool little turtle art work.
Here is a picture of Pat and I on our porch.
We ate ourselves silly over the course of the week.  I am so lucky to be in a family that loves to cook (and eat) just as much as I do.  Here's some selections of things we made over the week:
 Pat and I had made steak tips from the night before for steak and eggs the next morning...yum!!
 This the lime tart I made.  SO good here's what it looks like when it's cut and polished ;)
This is my turtle face... which apparently I make when I'm cooking.
 Lemon ricotta pancakes with watermelon.

 Now I KNOW that I have no more room for kitchen tools in my teeny tiny kitchen, but I will say that this skillet made making pancakes for a large group SO much easier.

 This is my brother's shrimp and grits! Can't take credit for this one :)

I wish that I had pictures of everything we had.  Pat made burgers and hot dogs on the grill (which was a feat in an of itself to get that thing lit) per the request of my grandmother.  Mike made some bangin chicken as well as fried fish and brats (which are also delicious for breakfast in lieu of bacon or traditional breakfast sausage).  We also had beach peach pie, of course (you aren't at the beach if you haven't had peach pie!) and other things that I'm sure I'm forgetting.

Finally, a moment for some family shots and other shots from the trip:

 Pat and I went to the driving range one morning- it was so hot but tons of fun.  He's a good teacher and I got a free woman's gold club from some random guy who had one in his bag that he had bought at the Salvation Army.
 Mike's representin Pat in his absence at the end of the week.

 I love this picture of my Nana.  So glad that she and I got to spend so much time together (we were car buddies). 
 My brother is too cool for school.
Last morning before heading out.  Little teary.

Until next time Edisto-thanks for a great trip.