Friday, October 29, 2004

Wednesday Survival Cooking

Quick Chicken Casserole

1 can chicken (15oz I think)
1 cup frozen peas
1 can cream of chicken soup
4 cloves garlic, minced (I used garlic pickled in sherry)
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
enough milk to make it a sauce
salt, pepper and pimenton/cayenne to taste

Throw the sauce on some noodles, top with cheese and sunflower seeds. Bake at 400 until bubbly and brown.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Tuesday Dinner

This started with a dry-fried szechuan string bean recipe from the NYT a while ago. I used long beans from the farmers market and added some cubed country ham (of course!). Oh, and I used five-spice powder instead of szechuan pepper corns, because (a) you can't get them here, and (b) I was a jackass and didn't get a couple of bags when I saw them at the market in Provence.

I served it with short-grain rice (made in the rice cooker instead of using Bittman's recipe; this isn't as good, but it's way quicker).

Since things looked pretty dry, I also threw together a quick sauce for the rice made with: chinese black beans, oyster sauce, garlic, dried thai chilis, sherry, chicken stock, dried ginger (no fresh ginger in the house), and some sambal oelek. This ended up being way too salty, duh. Next time I think I'll try soaking the black beans first or something.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Chicken and Chickpea Tagine

The recipe is from a Minimalist column from March, and it's fantastic.

My only real modification was to brown the chicken thighs (and "deglaze" with the onions) at the beginning.

Served it with couscous, flash fried Mizuna (like mustard greens), and a quick salad from celery, parsley and red pepper with a lemon juice/olive oil dressing.

Self-roasted Coffee

Cati and Jon actually did this, not me, but I wanted to add a link here so that I can find it later. They've been getting green coffee beans from Sweet Marias and playing around with roasting it at home. The results are pretty damn good and they give you great control over the resulting coffee.

For me though, I think that way lies madness. :-)

Coffee Brick

Yesterday morning I attempted to make the Yeasted Coffee Cake recipe from Bittman. Things didn't so much work, so we ended up with Coffee Brick instead of Coffee Cake.

One guess as to how to fix thing next time is to heat the milk about and dissolve the yeast in it before adding it to the dry ingredients. I think that pre-mixing all the dry stuff and then adding the very small amount of milk required causes problems for the yeast beasties. But then, another part of the reason may have been that I did a half recipe and could have screwed up halving something.

Still, it tastes good.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

about that rendered fat...

So it turns out that if you chop the fat from a good country ham into small pieces and render it, you get some ferociously good cracklings.

Imagine that.

I'll probably spend the next 3 days coming up with excuses to render more ham fat. :-)

Thursday Dinner (Survival Cooking)

We had some leftover tomatoes in the fridge from the giant tomato canning operation, as well as a big chunk of country ham (from my parents; this is going to be showing up in food for a while yet), so I threw this together:

cubed country ham (about a cup)
canned tomatoes (about 1.5 cups)
6 canned chipotles
half an onion, medium dice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
frozen corn (1 - 1.5 cups)
1/2 c. red wine
ground cumin
ground coriander

cook the onions, garlic, and spices for a bit in rendered ham fat. Add everything else and simmer it for a while (until the rice is done).

Serve with sour cream over rice.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Pressure Cooker++

Last night I made "Yellow Split Pea and Frankfurter Soup" (N. Lawson in the NYT) for dinner. It's pretty much a standard split pea soup recipe, so it needs to simmer for a bit over an hour. I really didn't feel like waiting that long, so I made the soup in my pressure cooker.

Ten minutes later it was done (well, ten minutes after coming to a boil). And it was good.

Split pea soup in about 30 minutes, including prep work... what could be better than that?

The one thing I'd do differently is add an additional cup of water (on top of the four cups of stock) before starting the cooking.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Getting organized

I had been collecting found recipes (mostly from the NYT) on a bunch of pieces of paper (4-5 recipes/sheet). This made finding things kind of a pain in the ass.

Sunday I got a bunch of 4x6 index cards and glued one recipe to each index card. It took a few hours, but the afternoon football game was boring anyway. Now I've got a bunch of color-coded cards in a convenient plastic box (it even has a lip on the top so that I can prop up the card holding a recipe while I'm using it... very nice, very nice).

I'm sure that in a couple months I'll discover that my color-coding scheme is stupid, but for now things are looking rosy. :-)

Monday, October 18, 2004

Sunday Dinner

It's a Bittman-inspired, Indian themed meal. :-)

Chickpea Raita (derived from an old Minimalist recipe)

Roasted Chickpeas (from Bittman): I let these spend some extra time in the oven (with the heat turned off) to get them good and crunchy. The results are really excellent.

Chicken in onion/yogurt sauce (this week's Minimalist recipe): mmm, chicken cooked in a big mess of caramelized onions and yogurt... what could be better than that?

I served the chicken with leftover curried pasta from last night, but it would be just as good with rice.

Saturday Dinner

I finally deployed the new pasta maker and did Curried Pasta (from FStoS). Once I figured out to use plenty of extra flour, I really got a big kick out of the whole pasta making thing. I did, of course, get flour all over the kitchen, but that's not the end of the world. Drying the noodles (linguine) on our laundry rack worked, but it would be nice to find some solution that allows the half-dried noodles to be removed without breaking them (either that or I should make the noodles longer so that they can be nice and long after they are broken).

I served the pasta with a sauce of peas, garlic, cubed country ham and butter/cream. The basic sauce recipe is from the Williams and Sonoma Pasta cookbook (gift from the parents), but I added the ham (also a gift from the parents!). I'm sure this recipe is good without it, but almost anything is better when you add some country ham. :-)

With this we had sauteed vegetables (eggplant, turnip, mushroom, onion, garlic) and a salad.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Pickle update


and the brine makes really good salad dressing.

Further catching up stuff

Tuesday dinner was risotto with peas and mushrooms (fresh creminis and powdered porcinis). I added a goodly amount of white wine to the risotto (1 cup at the beginning and 1/2 cup as it was about done), that was really good.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Friday Dinner

Butternut Spaetzle baked with cheese. Recipe from FStoS.

Thursday Dinner

For this I followed Andrea's recipe, but we tried using smoked salmon fins from the farmer's market fish guy on part of the sheet.
The salmon bit turned out a bit disappointing because the sweetness of the salmon didn't contrast enough with the onions... the salty bacon is definitely better.

Why look, I fell behind

Parents are in town, so I'm behind...

A series of "catch-up" posts to follow.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Monday's Dessert

Dinner was leftover chili and cornbread (and will be for a while).

Dessert was Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce (from FStoS, but I added more cocoa to the sauce to make it a bit more bitter)
I haven't done poached pears before, so this was a learning experience. I apparently don't have a pot that's really appropriate for poaching pears (it needs to be narrow and high), so I had to constantly turn the pears to make sure everything was being poached. This means you need to poach for longer (which I did, but not longer enough), and that things don't poach evenly (the narrow part of the pear is immersed constantly).

The things still tasted awfully good.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Pickles update

They aren't quite done yet, but they already taste pretty damn good.

And the smell of the brine is just fantastic (which, of course, makes the waiting even harder).

Sunday's Bread

Standard Multigrain Bread

Bread Bible's hearth bread +
use 2 tsp kosher salt (instead of 1 1/2 tsp salt)
60 g millet
40 g flax
60 g sesame
60 g sunflower

Sponge is allowed to rise overnight at room temp.
Seeds are toasted before adding them.

Sunday's Dinner

A big pot of chili.
Served with cornbread (Big Flavors recipe + 1c. frozen corn kernels).

Ingredients (as I remember them):
1 lb buffalo, 1/2 lb beef, 1/2 lb lamb
1 "oil can" Fosters
~2 c chix stock
1/4-1/2 c. cider vinegar
~1/4 c. soy sauce
1 big can whole tomatoes
6 jalapenos
5 dried chipotles
2 green peppers
2 red onions
1 head garlic
ground pasilla chile (a couple Tbs)
ground new mexican chile (~1 Tbs)
adobo from canned chipotles
cumin (a couple Tbs)
freshly ground coriander
5 bay leaves
mexican oregano
unsweetened cocoa (~1 Tbs)

Saturday's Lesson

If you're gonna make caramelized apples, be sure that you start the caramel in a pan that's big enough so that you can stir the apples after you add them. Having to switch pans mid-stream leads to a big mess.

I ended up having to add too much cream (in order to dissolve the mess), but the result was still mighty tasty.

mmm... Apple-flavored caramel sauce...

Friday, October 01, 2004

Thursday Night

Chicken thighs steamed with the coconut chutney from Wednesday's Minimalist column ( I put the (boneless, skinless) thighs on a piece of banana leaf, topped with the chutney, wrapped up the banana leaf, and then wrapped the whole thing in aluminum foil. Steamed them in a bamboo steamer for 40-45 minutes.

Served with basmati rice and curried daal.