starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
From a Mark Bittman "100 Picnic Eats" article in the NYT lo these many years ago, iirc.

Halve cherry tomatoes; toss with equal-size pieces of firm smoked or regular tofu and soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, scallions and a pinch of sugar (or mirin if you have it). Add chopped Thai basil and/or cilantro and/or mint just before eating.

Notes: this recipe is very adaptable. At the moment I only have balsamic vinegar, so I'm using that; I also used a bunch of nira (Japanese chives) instead of scallions for the first time yesterday, and they are delicious--still onion-y, but not as intensely as the scallions, and they feel more like greens. I definitely recommend using cotton (momen/firm) tofu rather than silken, and also recommend pressing it for 15-20 minutes before using; otherwise it generates a lot of liquid. I use equal amounts of the sauces, including mirin, and it's delicious. One batch feeds me for two lunches, served over rice.
starlady: (xmas penguins)
Well, it's December 1 and a balmy 65º and sunny here in Tokyo (more respectable, i.e. colder weather is at least on the forecast starting tomorrow) and that means Christmas is coming, at least for me; I even had the Christmas chicken with Caesar sauce for lunch today, to prove it. I've been trying to clean out my folders and stuff on my computer (I need to do another mail purge, too, but that's a task for several uninterrupted hours), and I found my excellent recipe for mulled wine in my Dropbox. It comes from my Great Conversation professor in my freshman year of college, and it is delicious. It's easier for me to keep track of it online, so I'm sharing it with you, too.

Also, there are still slots available on the December posting meme!

Charlie Wilson's Julglogg (Mulled Wine)

* One bottle dry red wine
* Two cups port/cognac/brandy, or however much is left over from the last holiday (optional)
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar (more or less to preference)
* 4 inches orange zest
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 5 whole cloves
* Seeds of 5 whole cardamom pods, crushed
* 1/2 cup almonds (whole or sliced), plus more for each glass
* 1/2 cup golden raisins, plus more for each glass

Put alcohol in a enameled pan for lowest heat. Add sugar, spices, and orange zest. Simmer over lowest heat; float kettle on water bath, if one's heat cannot be very low. When it is heated through and steaming: add almonds and golden raisins. Steam them through--they puff up when they have given the julglogg some flavor. Time to serve with some raisins and almonds in each cup and a spoon. Essentially, one steams off the booze with a long slow heat.
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
Well, I've been settling into living in Japan again, part of which has involved plotting a running route and going running (I've done it twice so far! Pathetic but on the right track) and part of which has involved cooking things again. Cooking! It's great. It's also interesting to me to be able to see how I've leveled up in the seven years since I first lived in Japan and was first responsible for providing my own meals 24/7. I'm much more comfortable improvising now, particularly since a) the internet is way better at food than it was seven years ago; and b) I've finally realized that the fundamentals of Japanese food are dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sake, with salt and sugar added every so often for variation.

I'm living in ridiculous luxury and actually have a microwave…oven…thing in my apartment, but I don't trust it (I'd rather just have an actual microwave, this one is very complicated, and I don't really have any pans and I'm lazy, though I can probably improvise well enough with tin foil for most things) and anyway it's nice to work on my simmering and sauteing skills. I probably should buy an actual soup or donburi bowl with all these soups and stews I'm looking at making. I'm also weighing the merits of buying an actual nabe pot, which is one of those kitchen things that is nice enough that I would want to cart it home. We'll see. I think the pot that came with my apartment is big enough that I can just use that for half-recipes of most things. I definitely need to get a leftovers-sized tupperware, though.

Anyway, here are some recipes I've been making or am eyeing: 
  • Nira Tamago - I had this once years ago and it is so fucking good, it haunted my dreams, and now the nira are all mine. Tomorrow I'm going to go hogwild and combine it with my patented agedashitofu oyakodon variation. This website also looks like it has a lot of good recipes in general.
  • Chestnut Rice (Kurigohan) - Pretty tasty! Definitely needs something like simmered pumpkin (kabocha) as a side dish. I like this website a lot from what I've seen so far.
  • Matsutake Clear Soup (Suimono) - Mushrooms, tofu, and whatever else in broth. Pretty tasty. I added carrots because I'm paranoid about getting enough vegetables. I also used a different kind of mushroom (shiitake) because cheaper. I'm glad this site sorts the recipes by season, though what was labeled two portions fed me for just one meal.
  • Deb's Pseudo-Okonomiyaki - The beauty of okonomiyaki is that you can do just about anything to them and they will still taste good because of the sauce. I used okonomiyaki flour for the base and only two eggs the first time, then three the second; I thought three was sufficient, as two was kind of a hot mess. But they were pretty damn tasty with okonomiyaki sauce (storebought; I haven't tested Deb's recipe) and toasted sesame seeds on top.
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Avocado Pudding - It's delicious. I didn't have enough honey so I threw in some brown sugar, and I don't have beaters so it's a tad heterogeneous, and I used natural peanut butter instead of normal (thereby introducing twenty minutes' hard labor stirring the thing so that the oil blended back in), and it's delicious.
  • Simple Tofu Chilaquiles - NOMMMM. I need to source the tortilla chips, tomato sauce, and (hopefully) chipotle, but once I can do that, all the chilaquiles will be mine. NOMMM.
I've been listening to a lot more music lately, because living alone in an apartment by myself fuck yeah, and I just have one question: how are Santigold so fucking good? How is it possible? Because they are.

In other news, I'm on track to finish clipping for my Festivid tonight, at least until I'm halfway through the draft vid and suddenly realize I clipped the totally wrong things. Still, it's exciting. I'm mulling the possibility of a treat vid if I finish my assignment in a reasonable time frame. It's very exciting.

starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
Greetings from California, DW circle! It is finally raining a tiny bit here, and serendipitously I was making [personal profile] thingswithwings' excellent chili this morning, and it feels much more appropriate than it would have felt on a new-normal, plague of sunshine day. t'wings' chili has become my go-to chili recipe, and I wanted to share the steps that I go through when I make it, because a) more people should know about this chili; b) I am sure that t'wings is a much better improvisational cook than I am, and I wanted to write down what I do so that I won't forget it; and c) as a gesture of appreciation for [personal profile] thingswithwings, who has brought much fannish joy to my life in many ways and whose post on food and cooking is a wonderful read.

Notes on ingredients
- Canned tomatoes: The one thing I splurge on when buying canned goods is tomatoes; I really like Muir Glen, though I know other people swear by the very pricey San Marzano. Regardless, I recommend that one of your large cans of tomatoes be fire-roasted. Nom.
- Corn: I often buy canned because it's right there on the shelf when I'm loading up on the beans and tomatoes, and I haven't noticed a taste difference (today I raided the freezer and chucked in the sad remnants of a bag of frozen corn, noms). The first time I made the chili I thought it was too sweet, but I think that was a problem with my method. I would recommend at least half a bag of frozen or two cans.
- Spices: The second time I made this chili I also added smoked paprika and it was almost too spicy, even for me. Today I added two teaspoons cayenne and three heaping teaspoons cumin, total (all the cumin we had, actually), and it is still quite spicy, but also delicious.
- I use two large onions, two medium zucchini, and two green peppers.
- I omit the "textured vegetable protein" because I don't really care for seitan or similar and the beans are quite enough protein for my tastes.
- Beer: You do really want a good dark beer, something like a dark ale, or today I used a Full Sail bock that was very tasty. Nom. I just use a whole bottle, minus a swig for me.
- If you like a good strong smoky chili, you can also follow the advice of the Homesick Texan and pour in cold coffee that you have lying around, up to about half a cup.
- Pepper: I use a habañero, because it is the smallest and fruitiest pepper my grocery store stocks.

Notes on cooking
- Chop the onions and garlic first, and let them cook for 10 minutes while you chop the zucchini and peppers.
- Throw the zucchini and peppers in along with the spices when you're finished chopping or ten minutes are up, whichever comes first.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes, then add the beer, using your spoon or whatever to scrape up any sticky bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Cook about three to five minutes, then add the beans (drained and rinsed, except for the black beans, only drain those) and the tomatoes. I add about a large can of water by rinsing the tomato cans and pouring that water into the chili.
- Cook about half an hour, then add the ingredients in step two.
- Cook about half an hour, then de-seed the pepper of most of its ribs and veins (where most of the spice is) and cut into two to four chunks. Chuck those in and cook fifteen minutes to half an hour, removing the chunks when you feel like/when the pepper has gone limp and mushy and kind of pale.
- One of my good friends in grad school is a Texan in exile, and from her and the Homesick Texan I learned the most important rule of chili: it's done when you can stick your cooking spoon in it and it stands straight up.

Notes on serving
- I like cornbread with chili, and I always forget to buy the Jiffy mixes which are what I will always think of as cornbread, so I make this recipe instead. NB: As written it is way, way too sweet for me. I use a slightly rounded 1/3 cup of sugar and that is just about right. Also, I never have buttermilk lying around, but it works great with fake homemade buttermilk.
- Another way to cut the spiciness a bit is sour cream or creme fraiche, which is what I used today because I had some lying around. The full fat adds a nice silkiness to the texture. Nomz.
- Also grated sharp Wisconsin cheddar on top = nomz.
- If you have a lime lying around and you feel like brightening it up, you can squeeze a lime wedge on top.

DEVOUR. Thank you for sharing this recipe, t'wings!
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
This recipe is no longer in season, but I'm putting it up here for when it is again.

2/3 c. blanched hazelnuts
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp hazelnut oil (other nut oil or olive oil okay)
1 Tbsp finely diced shallot, plus two small shallots thinly sliced
3 Tbsp fresh pomegranate juice, plus 1/3 c pomegranate seeds (from 1 or 2 pomegranates)
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tsp rice vinegar
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 - 4 small Fuyu persimmons, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, for juicing
1/2 lb arugula
1/4 lb-ish hunk of cheese (Gruyere or similar)

To juice a pomegranate, I roll the whole thing around on the cutting board, pressing down firmly. Then cut a 1" slit in the bottom of the pomegranate and squeeze the juice into a bowl. When the pomegranate is juiced, peel the skin back from the slit and de-seed. Nom.

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast them for 6 - 8 minutes. When cool, chop them coarsely and toss in a bowl with 1 tsp nut oil and a large pinch of salt.
2. Combine the diced shallot, pomegranate juice, vinegars, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl, and let sit for five minutes. Whisk in the oils, taste for seasoning.
3. Toss the persimmon, sliced shallots, and pomegranate seeds with the dressing, and season with salt, pepper, and the lemon juice. Cut the cheese into small pieces and toss in, then add the arugula and the nuts, toss, and taste for seasoning. Try not to devour it all in one sitting.

Keeps well enough overnight that one batch makes a good dinner and then lunch the next day. Serves four to six as a side salad.

Adapted from Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques.
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
[personal profile] littlebutfierce asked about my favorite thing I've cooked this year.

I cook a lot of food from Smitten Kitchen, and you can find just about every recipe that I've cooked and liked on [ profile] starlady--I have a general recipes tag, a soup tag, a desserts tag, and a drinks tag. I do want to write up a few recipes I've been making that aren't online, but I am extremely slow at that. And I've written up the last round of recipes in my Pinboard that I haven't talked about below. You can also click my recipes tag for commentary on all the Pinboard links, more or less!

So, my favorite thing I cooked this year. This is always difficult! I cook a lot--I probably cook about 75% of my own meals, if not more, partly because it's cheaper and partly because I really like cooking. I think this year the recipes I liked best that were new to me were Burst Tomato Galette with Corn and Zucchini, which was just like the essence of summer in one forkful, and super easy, and the One Pan Farro with Tomatoes--it was so easy, and so good that I literally made it twice in a row at least twice. The Tomato and Corn Pie was very similar and also amazing. I basically lived on the Smitten Kitchen shakshuka in the spring semester, and on a very Californian note, the Date, Blood Orange, Almond and Parmesan Salad I made in February was also amazing, and I'm eagerly anticipating blood orange season so I can make it again.

# Baked Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage - Fed me for a while, was easy and delicious. Nom.

# Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese - I've made this twice now, and it hasn't actually been that spicy; you can definitely add more smoked paprika or cayenne than Deb does. But it's pretty tasty, with or without the mint.

# Miso Sweet Potato and Broccoli Bowl - OM NOM NOM this was so good, I lived on it for like four days straight. Things I've learned the hard way: you really do need rice vinegar (or rice wine vinegar in a pinch), which you will need to get in the Asian grocery aisle. NOMZ.

# Carrot Soup with Turkey Meatballs and Spinach - I just made this last weekend and it's delicious. Om nom nom. I didn't bother slicing the spinach because life is too short, and it made no difference.

# Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad - I took this to a potluck (a double batch) and everyone wanted the recipe. It's really good and really easy.

# Potato and Broccolini Fritatta - This was tasty and simple.

# Apple Slab Pie - I bought a bag of sale apples at Berkeley Bowl and made this for our Halloween party. Even though the apples weren't great and I overworked the crust, it was pretty tasty, and it fed the crowd.

# Multigrain Apple Crisp - With a little less sugar this could totally work as a breakfast item. I didn't bother with grinding the oats (lol no, life is too short), and it still worked fine.
starlady: Gryffinclaw motto: I've got plenty of common sense, I just choose to ignore it! (story of my life!)
# Burst Tomato Galette with Corn and Zucchini - This was so good. It tastes like summer in your mouth. And the crust was delicious and quite easy. I used a slotted spoon to transfer the veggies from the pan to the crust and did not really have a problem with excess liquid.

# Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts - This was also delicious! I used powdered parmesan from Berkeley Bowl, and next time I would decrease the quantity a little because it was a trifle too salty due to volume discrepancies. But it's great with the toasted nuts and the vinegared raisins (I might make some more of them next time, too).

# Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte - Delicious.

# Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes - I would definitely par-cook the rice for a full 15 minutes, as I only did 12 and in the end all of it did not fully cook. I also had to use tomatoes that Berkeley Bowl rated as "extra large" to get ones that averaged 8oz per, not medium.

# Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar - Wildly unseasonal, but I had the cheese leftover from a BBQ and the tomatoes are good right now and I used some of my homemade chicken stock, and it was delicious.

# Almond-Crisped Peaches - I made these last night using almond meal with the oats/sea salt/cinnamon variation and they are delicious. I ate two for breakfast this morning with plain yogurt and NOM.
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
Tomato and Corn Pie - OM NOM NOM SO DELICIOUS. I took a few extra minutes to de-seed the tomatoes and it was definitely worth it--the pie still generates a fair amount of liquid from the corn and the tomato flesh itself, and it is SO GOOD.

One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes - I made this twice in two days. It's delicious, either on its own or with a poached or semi-fried egg over top. I will say that one batch really only feeds two people, if they are me.

Peach Blueberry Cobbler - I made this twice and ate it for breakfast. It is delicious with yogurt or with plain whipped cream (I made some in a Tupperware), although I would definitely make sure to grab fairly ripe peaches.

Pickled Grapes with Cinnamon and Black Pepper - I am slowly getting in to pickling things. These were super easy and are super tasty! I only used a pound of grapes, but realistically I think I would have been fine packing the quart-sized jar I had without increasing the brine amount.

starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
It's been a while since I've done one of these, which I'm sure means that I'm forgetting some things. Oh well. I've put the summer recipes at the top.

Lebanese Style Stuffed Eggplant - I didn't use bambino eggplants, just medium globe ones, and that was not really a problem. The problem, as usual, came from a failure mode that I was not expecting, because I was dead certain that the rice was going to be undercooked, especially since the lid for my pot didn't snugly cover the eggplants until about halfway through the cooking process. But what actually happened was that the sauce got burned all to hell and I spent two days cleaning the pot. The thing to do, I think, is to turn off the burner while stuffing the eggplants and only turn it back on when one actually puts the stuffed eggplants in the pot. It may also require adding more water or stock to the sauce partway through--and I would definitely attempt to check the sauce as it goes along to avoid my debacle, especially because the eggplants really need the sauce when they're reheated.

Cubed, Hacked Caprese - It may be heretical, what with the red wine vinegar and the white beans, but oh, it is good, especially on toasted bread drizzled with olive oil and sea salt. I definitely added the full 5 Tbsp red wine vinegar and thought about adding another one.

Lobster and Potato Salad - I had lunch with [personal profile] shveta_writes while I was home in New Jersey and I made this recipe vegetarian, i.e. without the lobster or shrimp, and it was delicious. I will say, I could probably have scaled up the other ingredients by maybe 1/3 to 1/2 to make up for it, because I had a lot of delicious dressing left over, but oh, it was so good.

# Mango Slaw with Cashews and Mint - [personal profile] shveta_writes asked me to bring a fruit salad, and I made this. It is also delicious, even though, being in New Jersey, I couldn't find the proper kind of cabbage and had to substitute boring normal cabbage, which was still quite tasty.

Shakshuka - I have made this a frightening number of times this year. It is so, so good, and so easy. One note I have is that rather than buying whole tomatoes I just buy a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes and use them as is. Also, I highly recommend serving this with harissa and toasted pitas.

# Fork-Crushed Purple Potatoes - Speaking of potatoes, these are tear-jerkingly good. I never know whether "a shallot" is 1/2 of what's inside an actual shallot or a whole one of them; I went with the previous definition and it was still very shalloty, but delicious. I would also say not to use more than 4Tbsp olive oil, otherwise the olive flavor starts to whack out the balance of the dish.

Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash - I'm not very familiar with the concept of a hash. This one was pretty tasty.

Wintry recipes )
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
I make these so often I should have it memorized, but I don't.

¾ c unsalted butter, frozen, plus more for dish
1 ¾ c all-purpose flour
¾ c confectioners' sugar
¾ tsp coarse salt

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
¼ tsp coarse salt
¾ c fresh lemon juice (from 6-7 Myer lemons)
¼ c whole milk
confectioners' sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9x13 inch glass baking dish, and line with parchment.

2. Whisk together flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a large bowl, then grate frozen butter over the bowl and stir to combine, until mixture looks crumbly. Best results if your butter has frozen for at least an hour.

3. Transfer mixture to prepared dish and press evenly onto bottom with your hands. Freeze crust 15 minutes, then bake until slightly golden, 16 to 18 minutes. Leave the oven on.

4. Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in the bowl from the crust mixture, then whisk in lightly beaten eggs. Stir in lemon juice and milk and whisk until smooth. Pour over hot crust.

5. Reduce oven temperature to 325ºF, and bake until filling is set and edges are slightly golden, about 18 minutes. Let cool slightly on a wire rack. Lift out and cool completely on rack before dusting with confectioners' sugar. Cut into 2-inch squares. Eat immediately, or keep in fridge for up to 2 days. (I find they're best after a few hours in the fridge.)

--Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
Friday night I wanted to eat something very light, and thought of this very tasty salad from Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques.

Blood Oranges, Dates, Parmesan, and Almonds
1/2 c. raw almonds
15 Deglet dates
4 large-ish blood oranges
1/4 lb chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano or similar
2 oz. arugula
3 Tbsp almond oil, or good olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet for about 8 minutes, until they're slightly browned.
2. Cut the dates in half lengthwise and pit them.
3. Peel the blood oranges, removing as much of the pith as possible, and slice them into thin pinwheels.
4. Shave the cheese chunk into thin shaving slices.
5. Arrange the salad with a third of the arugula on the bottom of a platter, then one-third of the other ingredients. Continue layering until all the ingredients are used, then drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. If there's any juice left on the cutting board, drizzle that over it too.

I used Manchego instead of P-R, inspired by a salad I had Tuesday night, and actually wound up regretting it--I had to add more salt to compensate for Manchego not being quite as salty. Serves six as an appetizer, or two as a meal; keeps reasonably well in the fridge overnight.
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
Pear, Apple, and Cranberry Crisp - I needed to use up the last of my roommate's friend's apples, and this seemed the way to go after seeing this same kind of crisp for sale at the farmer's market. I would just like to note that I have officially gotten over my animus against pears, which I have had since I had one in a fruit basket (I think for my grandfather's death, actually) when I was four years old. More importantly, though my roommates liked this, I did make some changes and will again - although I squeezed half a lemon that I had lying around into the filling, I didn't bother with the zests or orange juice, and I wound up adding another 1/2 cup of oats to the crisp topping. I would also decrease the sugar in both the filling and the crisp topping next time, and maybe decrease the butter a bit too. I also added 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, which was good. This makes a lot of crisp; you could probably halve the recipe and still get good results. I used Cornice pears; I might try for tarter ones next time. (D'Anjou?)

Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread - I usually just use Jiffy mix, but I didn't have Jiffy mix and I did have cornmeal. I also didn't have buttermilk, but I just always make my own using vinegar and normal milk, and it works fine. This cornbread is still slightly sweet for my taste; next time I will probably use only 1/2 cup sugar.

Roasted Figs - I made these a while ago, when figs were in season, and they were delicious. I used the more savory variation and was very happy.

Quiche with Herbs and Goat Cheese - I used herbed goat cheese, which made for a very soft, very herby quiche, but it was really good even though my crust was not the right size for my pan and there was overflow.

Butternut Squash Salad with Farro and Pepita - This is really easy and really good, though I've been doubling the pickling ingredients and would highly recommend not using more than 3 Tbsp olive oil at the end, and maybe even less.

Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel - Pretty easy relative to how good it looks. I made this for our Halloween party and it was snapped right up.

Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto - This is really good, and I've been doing it one-pot style with my immersion blender, and it's pretty easy. I will say that keeping the broccoli-to-pasta ratio constant appears to be key. Also, don't forget to reserve the starchy past water; that is also key.
starlady: (bang)
Based on The Siesta

3 oz silver tequila (100% agave)
0.75 oz grenadine
juice of one lime (0.75 oz?)
juice of 1/4 grapefruit (0.75 - 1 oz?)
1/2 oz simple syrup (~ 2 Tbsp)

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice; add all ingredients and shake well, then strain into a glass (chilled if possible). This makes a very boozy cocktail, but since I have some very nice tequila at the moment thanks to a fellow fan person (not sure if she wants to be named), and some very nice local Madison sour cherry grenadine thanks to [personal profile] barometry and the TSA at Wiscon, I was okay with it being pretty boozy. For a more reasonable proportion, go for 2oz tequila.
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
Why am I listening to this terrible Killers song

# Warm Pasta Salad with Spinach and Fresh Mint

# Summer Tabouli with Farro

My roommate brought home a ton of apples from her friend's tree, so I was directed to make a pie. First I had to find a suitable pie crust. I don't pre-buy pie crust because that takes too much forethought, and I don't keep shortening around the house anymore because I would buy a container, use it once, and then find that it had spoiled by the time I wanted to use it again. So, butter it is.

I wound up with the Simply Recipes pie crust. I have this ongoing mental block about crusts where I always freak out that it's not coming together enough and then add too much water because you're not supposed to overwork the dough, augh, and then I wind up with overworked dough because I've added too much water. So, that is my own issue, but I will say, if you're not baking for someone with almond allergies, adding the almond meal is a tasty addition.

I also apparently never posted this divine cranberry apple pie from Simply Recipes, which I made last Thanksgiving and will make again because it is amazing.

I pulled Dorie Greenspan off the shelf and saw that her "All-American Apple Pie" called for 2 Tbsp tapioca. OH DORIE NO. So I wound up back at the tried and true Betty Crocker apple pie recipe that I have been making since second grade, this time adding about 1/8 tsp allspice and 1/2 tsp vanilla to the filling and scanting the flour to about 1/4 - 1/3 cup. It made for a sweeter pie than I'm used to, though not overly so - part of the problem is that the apples I have aren't the ideal pie apples, which are pretty tart, in my opinion. But it is still pretty darn tasty, if I do say so myself.
starlady: A can of gravity from the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. (in emergency break seal)
Over the past few weeks I've been having more pain in my elbow and forearm and wrist again, and it got particularly bad last weekend when I had to spend the weekend on a very uncomfortable cot - at one point Saturday night I woke up and both my arms were asleep, even with the elbow brace. So yesterday I cut Chinese tutorial and went to PT instead, which was a good decision. My therapist manipulated my neck for a good ten or fifteen minutes (we talked about Bay Area restaurants and Japanese, as usual) and within 20 minutes of when I'd left my head was as congested as it's ever been in my life - in fact, last night I probably had the worst head pressure I've ever had. I've never had this happen before, and I hope it doesn't happen again, but no matter what, it was worth it.

And I got [personal profile] epershand's boss's cold remedy recipe:

1 pint (500 ml) still spring water
1 teaspoonful whole cloves
Cinnamon stick, broken
1 level teaspoonful ground ginger
Honey to taste
Juice of one freshly squeezed lemon

Pour the water into a stainless steel or enamel saucepan, add the cloves and broken cinnamon stick and bring to boiling point.
Turn down the heat and simmer in a covered pan for five minutes.
Then turn off the heat, add the ground ginger and leave on the stove to infuse for about 30 minutes.
Re-heat before use to just below simmering point.
Pour some of the decoction through a tea strainer into a cup, then add one dessertspoonful lemon juice and as much honey as you wish to sweeten.
Drink a cupful two or three times a day, gently reheating the spicy decoction (but not the lemon juice and honey) each time before use.

This made two cups and is quite tasty with a shot of whiskey and juice of 1/2 lemon each.
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
In honor of the fact that I spent about 12 hours over two days making this delicious, delicious lamb stew that I'm eating…

Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don't use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of.

I wonder how many pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese knives, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic presses, margarita glasses, tea strainers, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers (bains marie), sukiyaki stoves, food processors, ice cream makers, takoyaki makers, and fondue sets languish dustily at the back of the nation's cupboards.

I used to have a rice cooker; I need another one like burning. Electric woks are the devil. What's a pastry brush? I want a spice grinder for Christmas. Pizza stones are nice but not necessary. My roommate just acquired tagine dishes, but I haven't used them yet. I should note that the stuff I'm bolding is both here in California and at my dad's house in New Jersey; I don't have all of these things here with me (here on the West Coast, for example, I have to improvise a double boiler every time I melt chocolate). I'm assuming that the juicers are the non-electric kind, which is what I have. Mechanical, that's the word for it.

…I still think of myself as fairly low-gadget, though. A lot of these are multi-purpose, which is how I justify them. Other things aren't multi-purpose, but are just so handy (banana stands; melon ballers) that having them makes an appreciable difference. And indeed, since my roommate S moved out and took most of the specialized equipment with her, I've become a lot better at improvising, to the point where yesterday my roommate B was joking that I should write a book: Baking for Badasses.
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
# Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata - I'm still not clear on the difference between mozzarella and burrata, so I always just buy fresh mozzarella. I used dried oregano and couldn't find opal basil in Berkeley Bowl, and this was still delicious. Also, stored separately, the two halves of the salad keep pretty well. It is still delicious four days later.

# Cornmeal Shortcakes with Peaches, Mint and Soured Cream - This recipe is complicated (somehow I didn't register the need to puree the peaches in the last step and when I read it I was like, "OH COME ON") but well worth it. I would actually recommend increasing the peaches, since the biscuit recipe yielded twelve biscuits but the peaches, after pureeing 1/4 of them, only yielded about five scant servings' worth. I also wound up using dried mint because I forgot to buy fresh, which worked fine, but I would be really generous with it - about 1 Tbsp or so. I used a Meyer lemon rather than a regular one, in which case I would not be scant about the 1 Tbsp of juice to sour the cream (but I would be careful with a conventional lemon). I only used 6oz mascarpone and it was plenty.

# Mama Elsa's Stuffed Zucchini - I love this recipe. I always use fresh tomatoes when they're in season and it is delicious. OM NOM NOM. The one trick is that you basically have to cook the stuffing until it's almost dry - I leave the heat at medium-high throughout, and I always think that I could have left it slightly longer. And, this being Racheal Ray, don't stint on the salt.

# Yellow Tomato Gazpacho - I added practically no water and it was everything I wanted, even though I had to patch the yellow tomatoes out with some random cherry tomatoes I had lying around. Delicious.

# Basil Lime Cooler - I am drinking one of these now. I think it either needs more lime or to use gin, but it's pretty good and pretty easy. Also, since we all know my motto during cooking is "Fuck that!" instead of straining the syrup I just picked the basil leaves out with chopsticks and called it good. Then the chopsticks double as drink stirrers. WIN. ETA: I made it with gin and it basically tasted like a gin and tonic. I like gin & tonics, so I was okay with that, but I actually suspect the real issue is that I did not use enough/young enough basil for the simple syrup. Don't be shy with the basil in the simple syrup! Go for like ten full-size leaves.
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
# Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken - This was, though not a failure, as close as I have come in a good long while. To start with (you'll laugh), I grew up with electric ranges and no one told me that to broil things in a gas oven you put them in the drawer at the bottom of the oven. WTF, with my oven at my dad's house that is where we stored pans. So although I made an excellent choice in marinating the chicken overnight, I could not get it to actually cook through in the oven set to broil, since the drawer is the broiler. I wound up slicing the chicken and sauteeing it with some more of the marinade in a skillet, which worked well but by then my paranoia was at full pitch, so I overcooked it. The rice noodles were also a) too thick and b) underdone, which was not pleasant. That said, it's a great recipe if you can fix those problems, and stored separately, the components kept well.

# Blackberry Gin Fizz - I am drinking one of these right now and it is delicious. I forgot to add the sugar in step one, but adding 1 Tbsp to my glass and 1 Tbsp to my remaining puree seemed to work fine. NB: I used somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 cup blackberries, because that's how I roll.

# I have been eating a lot out of Suzanne Goin's terrific, tres California Sunday Suppers at Lucques. I am, frankly, far too lazy to type out recipes 99% of the time, but other bloggers have done some of the work for me. Viz this Summer Fruit Salad with Arugula and Almonds. Buying arugula always makes me think of My Blue Heaven ("It's a veg-eh-table."), and I think I wound up with about twice as much as SG intended, but even with double arugula it was delicious, and also kept reasonably well.

There's also this Sweet Corn Soup with Avocado Cream, which was also mind-bogglingly delicious (the corn here is so good, and I say that as someone who grew up with good Jersey corn).

I can't find the recipe I'm currently eating, so good I've made it twice, Pasta with Heirloom Tomato Sauce, but oh god it's good. Cupcake Muffin, you should make that and post it to your blog!
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
I went running this morning and there was a cold wind off the Bay, with fog rolling in, or trying to.

Summer is coming.

I've been trying to cook very seasonally, so I'm also trying to post recipes in as timely a fashion as I can.

Asparagus with Almond and Yogurt Dressing - These were really good, though I will note that faux-grilling them in the pan set off my smoke detector twice and I was scrubbing the pan with the copper scrubby for a good five minutes straight afterward. I think I would try to substitute an oil with a higher smoke point if I made it again.

Mexican Zucchini-Corn Soup - This is tear-jerkingly good, I'm not gonna lie. I would definitely cook the zucchini for a full five minutes to get as much liquid as possible out of them and into the soup, since mine wound up more like stew than soup even with my putting in as much of the tomato liquid as I could. But oh my god, it is so good.

Strawberries and Cream Biscuits - The ¢99 as-is strawberries at Berkeley Bowl are one of the best things about living here, and they were fantastic in these biscuits. I am not even that good at biscuits, but these are amazing. (I used more than a cup of strawberries. Je ne regrette rien.)
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
Crunchy Vietnamese Cabbage Salad with Pan-Seared Tofu - I failed to sear the tofu properly, and gave myself a nasty grease burn in the process, but the salad kept fairly well and it was pretty darn tasty. I could eat cabbage basically forever, though I might use a bit of red cabbage for color next time.

Apple Tofu Spinach Salad - This was something of an adventure, and I will note that though it was good the first night hot it was actually much better the next day cold - the flavors were much better meshed and the roasted garlic came out much better.

Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe - This is really tasty, and it's great bang for the buck in terms of effort. It takes 20 minutes, literally ten of which are spent standing around waiting for the pasta water to boil. I will note that my bunch of broccoli rabe was over a pound, and I could easily have done with even more broccoli rabe in the finished product. Nom.

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies - [personal profile] epershand and I made these last night, and I think they're actually better fully cooled in some respects. My roommates noted approvingly that they tasted like cookie dough, which I suspect is because we added a touch more vanilla than the recipe calls for. All that said, they're too sweet for my personal taste.


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March 2019



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