heron61: (Dandy)
With Alice at AmberConNW this weekend, I decided to make food with beef & pork, neither of which they eat. So, I experimented with Bolognese sauce and succeeded quite well. Given that this is a kitbash of 4 recipes, I'm writing it down both to remember it and to share it. All too often, what's called Bolognese sauce is merely a tomato sauce with added meat, this is very little like that and is very good.

• Soak 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms in 1/3 cup boiling water for at least 5 minutes.
• Chop ½ cup each onion, carrot, and celery.
• Mince all of the above in food processor until finely chopped, but not mush.
• Heat 3 TBS olive oil in a skillet and cook all of the above for 5 minutes on medium heat.
• Add 3 oz chopped pancetta, 1 TBS minced garlic, 2 bay leaves, and ½ tsp fresh rosemary and cook another 5 minutes
• Add ¼ lb mild or sweet Italian sausage & ½ lb 10% fat hamburger and cook until slightly browned.
• Add all of the above into a pressure cooker or a covered pan.
• Add ½ cup white wine, ¼ cup heavy cream or cashew cream, ½ cup milk or boxed coconut milk, 2 TBS tomato paste, and the water from soaking the porcini mushrooms. Add water if necessary to obtain sufficient liquid to slow cook or pressure cook the sauce.
• Cook on medium-low heat for 1.5 hours or cook in pressure cooker on high for 40 minutes and let sit for 5 minutes before removing the pressure.
• Serve with 7 oz cooked pasta (I used spirals).

The result was excellent.
heron61: (Default)
While there are many puns about food, few are delicious. I love matzah ball soup, I even remember mildly liking the memorable version that my college made which a friend referred to as "baseball soup", due to the approximate consistency of the matzah balls. However, since [personal profile] amberite can't eat gluten, I haven't made this for a long time, and truth be told, I almost never made it, since my version was never as good as what I could get at even a moderately good deli.

Then I encountered this recipe for what the recipe calls Masa Ball Soup (Mexican Corn Dumplings in Chicken Soup). I made it tonight and it was delicious. I changed the recipe a bit, I made a 3/4 version (since there are 3 of us), only used 6 cups of chicken broth (since I greatly prefer soups with lots of solids and little broth), including 3 cups of homemade, exceedingly thick and rich chicken broth. To make it a complete meal, I added 12 oz of chicken breast that I pounded, marinated in equal parts chicken broth, white wine, and lime juice (3 TBS each) with the addition of 2 tsp of salt, 1 TBS of sugar, and 1/2 tsp of dried thyme. I used my sous vide stick to sous vide the chicken at 63 C for 1 hour, and after it had cooled a bit, I cut it into small pieces. I also cooked the veggies with 2 bay leaves, 1/8 tsp of ground celery seed and a small bunch of fresh thyme and used frozen prechopped butternut squash because cutting up a squash is a lot of work, and by adding it near the end, it was perfectly cooked and not mushy. I also omitted the serrano pepper, since [personal profile] amberite isn't all that into spicy food and I wasn't sure it was needed, and I also entirely forgot to add the cilantro. The result was exceedingly delicious. The soup was flavorful and excellent, and the dumplings were tender and utterly delicious.

As a side note, I only let the dumpling batter set for 20 minutes, since I was impatient, and I also only cooked them for 25 minutes, since they were clearly done by that point.

Here's a photo:

masa ball soup
heron61: (Default)
This time, my experimental baking was rather more successful, in part because I know what a good pizzelle should taste like, and these were somewhat better than that. The following is a recipe I pretty much created on the fly by looking at several classic pizzelle recipes (especially Mario Batali's recipe), and looking at a few fairly dodgy GF pizzelle recipes, none of which contained almond flour.

6 TBS GF flour +
2 TBS Almond flour
4 tsp coconut oil (melted) (or butter)
½ tsp baking powder
3 TBS sugar
1 large egg
1 TBS egg white
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract (cloves or ground fennel seed are more traditional)

Procedure
Beat coconut oil, sugar, egg, and egg white, and extracts or spices until foamy and well mixed. Mix flours and baking powder until well mixed, then add to the wet ingredients and mix well.

Heat pizzelle maker, and place 1 TBS of batter on each pizzelle mold (mine makes 2 pizzelles at once). Cook until done (use directions for your machine, or cook at least a minute, check, and remove when golden brown.

Makes 8 pizzelles, I made this to try it out, double the recipe for lots of pizzelles.

As is typical for using almond flour, while I (unlike [personal profile] amberite) have no problem eating gluten, these were somewhat better than normal pizzelles. If you aren't cooking for someone who need to avoid gluten, use replace the GF flour with all purpose flour, but keep the almond flour for flavor.

Next time, I'll try 1/3 almond flour rather than 1/4, since these held together perfectly well and should taste even better.

+ GF Flour Recommendations
King Arthur's GF multi-purpose flour works well, but the recipe in the America's Test Kitchen book The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook works even better, a full batch is:

• 24 ounces (4 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup) white rice flour
• 7 1/2 ounces (1 2/3 cups) brown rice flour
• 7 ounces (1 1/3 cups) potato starch (not potato flour)
• 3 ounces (3/4 cup) tapioca starch
• 3/4 ounce (3 tablespoons) nonfat milk powder (or soymilk powder)
heron61: (Default)
I've previously seen in several works of fiction by New Zealand authors mention of that nation's national dessert, the pavlova. Being curious, and also having found a brand of dairy-free (coconut-based) whipped topping that's actually pretty good, I made the attempt. I used this recipe, originally from America's Test Kitchen's so far excellent gluten free cookbook. For fruit, I used delicious local raspberries.

I was tempted by this recipe by Alton Brown. If/when I try this again, I'll likely attempt that one (but again with local berries, rather than the far less interesting to me passionfruit).

After the allotted time, I took the meringues out of the over, but they were gooey in the center, so I baked them 30 minutes more, and the result was crisp throughout and no longer gooey in any fashion. What I'm entirely uncertain about is whether or not this is desirable. Recipe descriptions use words like tender, which to me does not equal crisp and mildly crunchy, but they weren't over-baked or tough, so I'm rather uncertain.

Beyond that, they were delicious, but the experience was much like eating a cake with fruit, where someone removed all the flour and some of the fat, meaning that the ratio of sugar to everything that wasn't sugar was pretty darn intense. In part, this is clearly because the whipped topping I used was roughly twice as sweet as any whipped cream I'd make if I wasn't allergic to dairy, but it also seemed somewhat intrinsic to the dessert. Am I correct in this assumption? Attempting food I've never actually tried is always odd, since I lack anything to model my results on.
heron61: (Default)
It was ludicrously hot today (thankfully, this was the last day of 3 days of heat), and cool food was definitely called for. Becca wanted lemongrass chicken with cold noodles like we get in various Vietnamese restaurants, and I managed to kitbash several recipes together and got something both delicious and also very much like what we get in restaurants. The following recipe serves 3, and all three of us loved it.

Meat
1 lb boneless chicken thighs
Trim fat, pound thin, and then cut into thin slices

Marinade
11/2 to 2 tablespoons granulated, light brown sugar, or honey
1 tablespoon minced or crushed garlic
4-5 lime leaves (chopped) or zested peel of one lime (ideally a markut lime)
2 tablespoon chopped shallot or yellow onion
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped (4-6 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon dark (black) soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oil

Place marinade in food processor and process until smooth, pre-grinding the lemongrass and lime leaves (if used) in a spice grinder also helps. Then, mix chicken with marinade and marinate for at least 2 hours (longer is better)

Veggies
Finely grate 1-2 peeled carrots (the fine grater on a box grater works wonderfully)
Thinly slice 6 oz of cabbage or nappa cabbage (you can instead use bean sprouts, but I fine them to be vile, so I don't). Then, Thinly slice 3-4 green onions

Stir fry (or grill) chicken over high heat with 2 TBS of oil until done. Then, briefly cook cabbage or nappa cabbage and green onions in the same pan

Boil sufficient thin rice noodles for 3 (6 oz dried thin rice stick or 12 oz fresh rice noodles). Then drain, run under cold water until cool, and drain again

Make Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce

Mix
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup water
¼-1 tsp chili garlic sauce (depending on how hot you want your food)
2 ½ tablespoons fish sauce

Serve noodles, top with carrot & cabbage + green onion mixture, top that with the chicken, and pour sauce over to taste.
heron61: (Hat)
So, I'm now 54. I have 2 wonderful partners, with moderate luck, Trinity Continuum: Aeon will be out before I'm 55, I have other enjoyable work to keep me busy, excellent books to read, and I'm going out to dinner to a delicious restaurant serving Latin American street food, which is within walking distance of where I live. Life is generally good, and I hope everyone reading this is happy.

I also made delicious cookies today. I have no problem eating gluten, but since [livejournal.com profile] amberite has celiac, I've been experimenting with GF baking. After the resounding success of this almond flour pie crust, I decided to try the same mixture of almond and mixed GF flour (mostly rice flour) in sugar cookies. I love sugar cookies, they are my favorite cookies. I modified Alton Brown's sugar cookie recipe to make them with half almond flour, half GF baking mix, used some of the other changes I've found work well in baking with almond flour, added vanilla, and the result was absolutely delicious. These are not the absolute best sugar cookies I've ever had, but they are at least as good and interestingly different from sugar cookies I've made at home. Here's my recipe )
heron61: (Science!)
With [livejournal.com profile] amberite having Celiac, if I want to make deserts for all three of us, I've needed to learn a great deal about gluten-free baking. For cakes, nut tortes and other recipes which are inherently gluten-free and traditional are vastly better than any recipes which convert a normal cake into a gluten-free one (which are almost universally terrible).

Pies are a somewhat different matter. Making a gluten free crumb crust is not merely trivially easy, it's better than a conventional one, the answer is almond flour, here's an excellent and delicious recipe - for desserts, I add a bit of vanilla, or spices like cinnamon or allspice to the crust, as well as 2 TBS sugar, and you have a crumb crust that's considerably better than any conventional one I've ever had.

However, pies with top crusts have eluded me. Oat flour is ghastly stuff, GF flour mixes produce gluey and unappetizing crusts that work but have a terrible texture and aren't worth eating.

Last night, I picked blueberries from the blueberries bushes outside (yet another joy of living in Oregon), and made this delicious blueberry-vanilla pie, and I decided to experiment with pie crust. The result was a resounding success. Alice said the unbaked crust tasted like good cookie dough, which is not something they've had since not being able to eat gluten. I took a basic (and terrible) GF pie crust recipe, replaced half the flour with almond flour, and added an egg (the biggest problem with almond flour is that it's very fragile and crumbly, and the egg combats that nicely).

I used:
  • 1 cup gluten free flour mix (I use Pamela's baking mix, use ones with lots of rice flour)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3-4 TBS sugar
  • ½ tsp xanthum gum
  • 1 egg
  • 4-5 TBS butter, coconut oil, or dairy-free margarine
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2-4 TBS water
  • ½ vanilla bean (scrapped into the dough)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
After mixing it in a food processor, I put it in a bowl and let it rest 20 minutes (a useful step for all forms of pie crust, but gluten-free & not), and then rolled it out between sheets of plastic wrap (this part is essential, since it's quite sticky. The variability in the recipe wrt water and fat are texture based – start low on both and add more if it is too crumbly and not sticky enough.
I then treated it just like pie crust (although I baked the pie at 350 rather than 325), and the result was delicious. As with all pie crust that I like, it tastes like a thin crisp cookie, and tasted better than conventional pie crust, while forming a good bottom and top crust.
heron61: (Hat)
I enjoy watching America's Test Kitchens on PBS and they often have excellent recipes. However, at times they are at least as interested in familiarity as awesomeness. Several weeks ago, they did a show where they made beef tacos. As the lead in, one of their people interviewed an innovative New York chef who made beef tacos which contained chorizo, green olives, golden raisins, and looked and sounded delicious. Then, the show gave clear instructions for how to make what looked to be a very good version of bog standard shredded beef tacos. I wanted the other tacos with chorizo and other yumminess. I looked at Cuban recipes for Picadillo. Also, I changed the meat to chicken, since [livejournal.com profile] amberite eats chicken and not beef, and I've found the difference between homemade chorizo made with pork or chicken is essentially identical. So, here's what I came up with. I made it last week and am making it again tomorrow, I found it to be most delicious.

Chorizo, Raisin, Olive Taco & Shredded Chicken Tacos
Brown minced onion & bell pepper (one each) in olive oil or lard
Add Mexican chorizo (made using 6 oz ground chicken or pork) and cook. Then add chopped green olives, golden raisins, capers (1-2 TBS each to taste), petit diced tomatoes (1/4 cup), shredded braised beef or chicken breast, 1 TBS tomato paste, deglaze with ¼ cup white wine

Braised chicken
Pound 6 oz of chicken breast (beef or pork would also work) and boil (low) for 45 minutes with 2 cups broth, 1/3 cup white wine, 1 TBS salt, garlic, pepper, 1-2 TBS brown sugar. When chicken is cool, shred it by hand. It should basically fall apart into shreds.

Awesome Homemade Chorizo
• 0.8 oz mixture of dried Ancho & New Mexico chilis (seed removed)
• 2 TBS diluted unseasoned rice vinegar, or more if needed
• 6 oz ground dark meat chicken
• 1 tsp garlic
• 1 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
• 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/16 teaspoon ground cloves

Tear up peppers, grind to powder in spice grinder (with cloves & allspice), soak in vinegar and combine. Let sit of 30+ minutes before cooking.
heron61: (Hat)
My latest sojourn into molecular gastronomy was lamb tagine (in retrospect, any beef suitable for stewing would have worked just as well). First I made beef broth in a pressure cooker, cooking a 1 lb. beef bone, half a pound of hamburger (browned in the pressure cooker first), 4 cups of water, ½ cup red wine, and a bit of leek, carrot, onion, bay leaf, and thyme. That all went in the pressure cooker for two and a half hours. The result was beef broth that was as solid a Jello when it was refrigerated. Also, I got 3 cups and only needed 1.5, so I can easily do this again. The next step was pressure cooking 12 oz lamb (cut in 1-inch chunks) and 1.5 cuts of the broth in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes. Once again, it's clear that using the pressure cooker on the absolute lowest possible heat setting is always best. In any case, the result was utterly delicious – I drained off the broth, reduced it, cooked up some diced onion, dried apricot, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, tomato paste, and honey, and then added the reduced broth to this, added the lamb and served over rice (Arborio rice, where I cooked onion in the pot, then added the rice to brown it very slightly, and cooked it with almonds and currants).

Tonight, I'm making Thai chicken coconut soup, and I'll be sous vide cooking the chicken, since that worked out so well before. I definitely need to rig up a better sous vide cooker, but a large pot, baggies, and a thermometer worked well enough last time.

In other news, Ancillary Sword was different than Ancillary Justice - it was smaller scale, but also a bit deeper, and excellent. I'm also guessing that Ann Leckie has as least two more novels in the series, since I don't see it ending with the next book.

The other book I've read recently was the latest Vlad Taltos/Drageran Empire novel by Steven Brust – Hawk. This was the first of these novels that I've actually loved since Issola, it had considerably more life that the recent ones and was a whole lot of fun – in large part because it's about Vlad being proactive for the first time in quite a while. It also has a truly lovely bit at the beginning that will be familiar to anyone who shares my taste in TV cut for paragraph-long quote ) It's not an awesome novel, but it's a heck of a lot of fun.

I was also pleased and fascinated to learn that there will definitely be a Supergirl show, presumably next Fall. It's done by the same people that did Arrow and The Flash, which means it should be moderately good, and given the way licensing works, it will be set in a universe with Supergirl, but w/o Superman, which should be very interesting.

I'm sad that it will be on CBS, both because larger networks typically equal lower quality, but also because if it was on the CW, there could be cross-overs with Arrow and The Flash. In any case, I saw this bit of news on a link from this site about upcoming supers films. There are no Marvel films and only one DC film with a female protagonist, which is a shame, but there are quite a number of "Unknown Movie" for Marvel, and I'm hoping we get to see at least a Black Widow film, and hopefully at least one or two others. However, what I really want is more TV with female supers, in part because I like long-form storytelling better, and more importantly because it's clear (at least to me) that a well done modern TV series is better than almost any movie, and well better than any modern action film, since there is so much more opportunity for character depth and growth. I'm still holding out hope for someday seeing a Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers tv series.
heron61: (Hat)
Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] teaotter wrote a charming short piece of fluffy fan-fiction which involved a character making a cherry spice cake.  I'd never had or even heard of such a cake, and so my first impulse was to make one (particularly since it sounded delicious).  However, there were some considerations that I needed to keep in mind.

I can eat gluten, but my partner [livejournal.com profile] amberite is, and since [livejournal.com profile] teaotter doesn't eat sweets all that often, most of the time I make a cake or pie, I try to make it gluten free, so I don't end up eating it all myself.  In the past several years of doing this (and also regularly making wheat flour desserts), I realized several facts about gluten free baking.

The first is that if you are making a cake, IMHO most gluten free flours (typically made from rice, oat, tapioca, or gods help you chickpea (shudder) flour) deeply suck - their texture is odd and a bit rubbery, and to me they don't taste nearly as good as wheat flour. However, from my PoV as someone who can eat wheat w/o harm, baked goods made with almond flour can be delicious.

The second is that traditional recipes are always best.  You can find almond flour recipes on "paleo-diet" sites, but avoid most of them - either the people making them don't care that the results are completely soggy and structureless, or they make odd sacrifices to eldritch paleo-diet gods and so manage to actually create something worth eating using these dubious recipes.

As a general rule, if a cake or muffin recipe using almond flour doesn't use at least 5 separated eggs, where the beaten egg whites are used as the main form of levening, don't make it. However, I did find this lovely gluten-free pie crust recipe. IME, home-made gluten-free pie crusts made with alternative grains have textures ranging from rock to shoe leather.  However, this almond flour pie crust is awesome.  I add spices and vanilla as appropriate, and the result is better than any wheat flour pie crust I've ever had. Add 1/3 coconut flour for citrus pies, or 1/2 cup of ground pecans (grind with a Mouli grater) for pumpkin or pecan pie for even more deliciousness. This vegan almond flour pie crust sounds like it would also work, but I haven't tried it. However, that's about it for non-traditional recipes. I love this lemon almond cake (to be completely honest, I mix and matched it with this very similar recipe, and use a food processor on the lemons)

However, for making a more standard cake, like the one below, I use as a base this this excellent walnut torte recipe, I typically reduce the eggs from 8 to 6, and use 6 oz of nuts - either all almond flour or at least half almond flour and half finely ground (with a mouli grater) pecans or walnuts, elminate the breadcrumbs, and bake it all in an 8" or 9" removeable rim pan, and the three times I've done this have all been excellent.

Here's the recipe )
heron61: (Default)
I love to cook and to experience new foods. Also, when it comes to food, I'm also highly suggestible. This means both that commercials for new sorts of food that I might like are highly effective on me, which means everything from the fact that I wanted flapsticks from the first time I saw them in an ad in the early 90s, to the fact that when I read about a new (to me) food in a history or anthro book, I develop a strong craving for it. This can also happen with foods I'm familiar with – while reading Sweetness And Power (a social history of sugar and the sugar trade) I ended up eating brown sugar out of the bag with a spoon. In addition to begin suggestible, I also love the idea of experiencing a culture that's distant in time or space though what the people ate or eat, it's part of how I learn about a culture, and also how I learn about new and delicious food.

In any case, it was no surprise to me that around a year ago, when my good friend [livejournal.com profile] athenian_abroad gave me The Taste of Conquest, a lovely book on the history of Europe and the spice trade, I became interested in some of the late medieval and early Renaissance foods described in the first part of this book.

Prior to the late 16th century, European food was spiced far more like middle eastern and north African food – meat was mixed with fruit and spices like ginger, cinnamon, and similar spices. I love this sort of food – I learned to cook Chinese food and the idea that food should taste like the blend of spices and the main ingredients makes much more sense to me than the more recent European culinary philosophy that spices should simply augment or bring out the taste of the main ingredients. In any case, the book contained no recipes, but it did contain some descriptions of dishes, and one in particular, amborsino – a 14th century Venetian dish composed of chicken, almonds, dried fruit, and spices (mostly ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, saffron, and black pepper) sounded very appealing. I looked at Moroccan chicken tagine recipes, but since I wanted to re-create this dish using only ingredients available at the time, I tossed out any tomatoes and similar later additions. I've made the resulting dish at least half a dozen times and am quite pleased with the result. I also finally got around to writing down the recipe. here's the recipe )
heron61: (Default)
It's blueberry season in Oregon and they are cheap and abundant. Unlike the amazing local strawberries which I mostly either eat or occasionally make into a smoothie [[1]] or strawberry milkshakes (with coconut milk & coconut-based ice cream), I'm less interested in eating blueberries directly, but I love cooking with them. A week or so ago, I made an absolutely delicious blueberry buckle using this recipe, with my typical substitutions of Earth Balance spread for butter and light coconut milk for milk.

I got some more blueberries recently and Becca mentioned having seen a recipe for blueberry vanilla jam. I rarely eat jam, but I love pie, so I made the following pie. It was based on Alton Brown's frozen blueberry pie , but I think this one was better Here's the recipe  )
heron61: (Default)
I had a version of this in a restaurant in NYC five years ago, and have finally perfected it.

Penne Paste with white beans and frisee greens (or escarole)
(serves 3)

Cook 1 tsp chopped garlic and ¼ cup finely chopped shallots in 1-2 TBS olive oil, cook until shallots are soft and translucent. Add 1-2 fresh bay leaves, and fresh thyme (4-6 stems worth) + salt and pepper. Add ½ cup chicken (or vegetable) broth + 1/3 cup of dry white wine (chardonnay works well). Cook until somewhat reduced. Then add 1 14 oz can of white (cannellini) beans and 8 oz fresh frisee greens or escarole, cover, and cook for 3-5 minutes, until frieze greens are soft and wilted.

Serve over 10.5 oz penne pasta cooked a little past al dente.
heron61: (Default)
Not only am I an avid carnivore, I also dislike most vegetables. I love peas, green beans, all types of onions, tomatoes, and most tubers. However, green vegetables are things I mostly avoid. So, I was naturally dubious when I saw recipes for how to make broccoli that even someone who normally doesn't like broccoli would like. Both recipes involved roasting it in the oven at 425 for 10-15 minutes. I wasn't all that interested in a big plate of broccoli and rarely make side dishes. However, long ago in a restaurant, I had Thai chicken with broccoli and peanut sauce that was acceptable, if not delicious, and I wondered if I could make a version that was actually something I'd love, and so I made this dish a few days ago. I succeeded, here's the recipe. I used chicken, but I'm positive that a completely vegan version could be made using baked tofu, and thinly sliced pork would also work well. In any case, as I hoped, the broccoli was tender, faintly sweet, and quite honestly good, and I definitely do not normally like it.

This dish is made in three parts, which are then assembled. Here's the recipe:

Note: My recipe for red curry paste can be found near the bottom of this link.

Thai Chicken
½ TBS sesame oil
1 finely minced shallot
1 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp minced garlic
2 finely sliced and chopped kaffir lime leaves
8 oz boneless chicken, sliced into 1/8 thick slices 1-2" long (I use chicken breast)
1 TBS fish sauce
2 sliced scallions

Heat wok and oil, stir-fry shallot, curry paste, and garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add chicken, stir fry until cooked, add fish sauce and scallions.

Peanut Sauce
1/3 cup natural, unsweetened salted peanut butter (I prefer chunky)
½ cup light coconut milk
1 TBS fish sauce
2 tsp red curry paste
1 TBS lime juice (lemon also works)
1 tsp brown sugar
1/16 to 1/4 tsp ground red pepper (I prefer ground chipotle pepper) – to taste

Microwave or otherwise heat the peanut butter and coconut milk. When hot, stir to combine, and add the other ingredients. Stir in additional warm water if the sauce is too thick – it should form a thick, but pourable sauce.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and reduce heat to medium or medium-low. Ideally, you should do this no more than a minute or two before the broccoli comes out of the oven.

Oven Roasted Broccoli
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

8 oz broccoli
1 TBS sesame oil

Cut the broccoli florets into bite size pieces. Cut the stalk into 1/8-inch thick, round slices. Place the broccoli into a bowl and toss with 1/8 tsp salt and sesame oil, then spread on a sheet pan - do not crowd the broccoli on the pan.

Roast broccoli for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and toss into the wok with the chicken and peanut sauce and stir on medium heat for 1 minute.

Serve over rice.

Ordinary white rice would work perfectly well, but I was feeling fancy, and so I made a version of a Thai yellow rice.

Thai Yellow Rice

2/3s cup of long grain rice (I prefer jasmine rice)
2/3s cup of water
1/3 cup of light coconut milk
1 tsp turmeric
1 large (or two small) kaffir lime leaves
2 fresh bay leaves (dried works, but less well)
1/8 tsp salt
1 TBS Chinese Shao Xing cooking wine

Wash and drain the rice, add all other ingredients stir well, and cook in a rice cooker or pot until done. Remove lime and bay leaves and serve with the chicken.
heron61: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] teaotter and I had our friend Daire over for dinner, and to watch the first part of the Science Fiction channel miniseries Tin Man, a pulpy, 1940s/50s reinvisioning of The Wizard of Oz. I like the idea, some of the sets are quite good, a number of the minor characters are fun, but dear gods, the lead (played by Zooey Deschanel) is one of the single most wooden actors I've in any professional media. She has at most 4 facial expressions. It would be amusing to think that this might be on purpose and to find out that the character was actually a robot or something similar, but I can't imagine that will turn out to be the case - it's merely horrid acting. OTOH, the lead villain (played by Kathleen Robertson) is far from great, but is definitely having fun chewing the scenery. Of course, it would be nice if there were any significant female characters other than those two, and if any of the other women on screen were not scantily dressed, but it's the SciFi channel, where about one in five new shows and miniseries is brilliant (Farscape & Battle Star Galactica being the most obvious examples), two (and sometimes three) in five are unwatchably horrible, and the rest are moderately bad but mildly fun trash like this.

[livejournal.com profile] teaotter also made borscht (with beets, beet greens, sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrots, onions, and a bit of hamburger), and I discovered that beet greens are quite delicious, better even than most other greens, and I made some very unusual sweet & savory baked apples. Here's the recipe, the recipe for the apples is under the recipe for the pork roast, and despite being on the same page, is completely vegetarian, and if you can make or acquire vegan cornbread, can be easily made vegan. The combination of garlic, brown sugar, raisins, sage, and cornbread is odd, but I found it delicious (as did [livejournal.com profile] teaotter), but Daire was a bit more puzzled by the flavor combination. The one thing to note in the recipe is that the listed amount of cornbread muffins (approximately 1/2 cup) is about right for 4 apples, not 8. Add extra cornbread. Also, I loathe Golden Delicious apples, and often find Gala apples a bit bland. I used Braeburn apples, and they worked exceedingly well, and I expect Winesap apples would work even better.

In other news, I welcome our new Russian LJ overlords, with luck they will be less ham-handed than the previous lot.
heron61: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] siderea linked to this post about the the eccentric subterranean Italian wonder known as the "Temples of Damanhur". A fascinating story, and beautiful temples built by a man who had visions as a child and some people convinced to help him. People can definitely produce great wonders.

Thanksgiving was excellent and lovely, [livejournal.com profile] teaotter and I went over to see [livejournal.com profile] skelkins, [livejournal.com profile] alephnul, and [livejournal.com profile] hereville, who were visited by [livejournal.com profile] jakesquid, and we also brought along our friend Matt, as well as [livejournal.com profile] onyxrising, [livejournal.com profile] teriel, and [livejournal.com profile] lupabitch. Wonderful people, a nice and comfortably smaller than usual Thanksgiving (a dozen people, instead of 18-20, as has been the case for the past 5 or 6 years).

here's the recipe for the pumpkin pecan pie I made )
heron61: (Gryphon)
I'm very used to the experience of transforming a dish with meat into a vegetarian dish. Last night's dinner was not only the reverse of that, it was also the even odder experience of transforming desert into a main course. Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] teaotter was looking on-line and found the following recipe for a cranberry apple crisp. I shall make it, or something similar soon, but Becca then said, that could be dinner, and suggested reducing the sugar and adding chicken. I thought about this a bit, played with ideas and decided on sausage + a bit of onions instead. The recipe for the result is below, it was delicious.

Ingredients (serves two as dinner)

½ TBS olive oil
5 oz ground pork breakfast sausage (patty, not link), we used sausage with sage.
½ small onion, diced
2 TBS walnuts
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes

1 TBS maple syrup
1 TBS white sugar
1 large tart apple, peeled and chopped
2/3 cups fresh cranberries
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

Topping
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
2 TBS cup chopped walnuts
2 TBS cup butter, melted
2 TBS cup packed brown sugar

Cooking Directions
Combine the first 7 ingredients (oil to red pepper flakes) in a pan and cook on medium-high heat until both onions and sausage are done.

With the heat still on, add the maple syrup and stir around for a minute, allowing to bubble.

Remove from heat, and add white sugar, apples, cranberries, lemon juice, and ½ cup quick cooking oats and stir well to combine. Place this in a 5" x 10" bread loaf pan or similar small, deep pan, and pat down into pan.

Mix together the rest of the oats, melted butter, walnuts, & brown sugar, and spread on top of the fruit & meat mixture.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.
heron61: (Default)
I've been in the mood to fix a tasty yet ultimately trashy dinner of a type I hadn't usually fixed since grad school and yesterday I succeeded. It had two components – the Mexican green rice from this recipe, my own version used a rice cooker:

2/3s cup of long grain rice
1 large fresh bay leaf
1 cup chicken broth
Cook until the rice cooker clicks and stops actively boiling the rice

While the rice is cooking, mix in a blender or food processor
1/3 cup cilantro
3 oz fresh spinach
2 scallions
1 TBS water
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS lime juice
grated lime peel from one lime

Add to rice and stir when the rice cook clicks. Turn rice cooker back to cooking mode for 2-3 minutes, then let steam and serve.

On top of this, I added one can of Nalley tamales, cooking in a pan with a TBS or two of water, and 1/8 tsp powdered chipotle peppers for a bit of heat. The tamales are fairly scary food (largely from the truly impressive amount of fat – they actually lack all trans fats or anything actually problematic) but delicious junk food.

The result was one very low cost but delicious meal of the sort I regularly cooked from age 22-32 (although most of those meals were Chinese or Thai).

After dinner, [livejournal.com profile] teaotter and I went up to [livejournal.com profile] teriel's occult study group, where he shared some NLP technique's he'd learned, which combined perfectly with some other ideas we shared and resulted some very nice techniques for summoning up both emotional states and various peak magical states based on kinesthetic and visual triggers.

Afterwards, we made another try to call [livejournal.com profile] amberite on the phone. The cheap phone card [livejournal.com profile] teaotter and I purchased failed utterly to be useful, as did trying to call [livejournal.com profile] amberite's cell. So, after [livejournal.com profile] amberite located the previously unknown land-line number by having a supervisor call every phone number in the dorm and see which one's rang in response to what number (the numbers had been switched around at random) we dialed direct, and talked for 15 minutes, which will be expensive, but not insanely so. It was remarkably good to talk to [livejournal.com profile] amberite. We shall acquire another (different) phone card and try again tomorrow
heron61: (Default)
After watching this excellent episode of the wonderful cooking show Tyler's Ultimates, I watched the host make a lovely-looking, but dairy heavy potato gratin, and told Becca that I missed such things. She then suggested a version using coconut milk and curry paste, which might someday be good, but which was too far from the original, so I started thinking about alternatives. There needed to be a replacement for both protein and fat as well as just liquid, which suggested eggs. So, I tried this tonight and the result was better than any gratin I have ever had, including ones I ate back when I could eat dairy.

Enjoy (serves 3)

1.5 pounds (russet) baking potatoes, peeled and sliced paper-thin
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 TBS white wine
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp crushed garlic
Leaves from 3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
2 extra large eggs
1/3 cup dairy free sour cream (optional)
¼ tsp Sea salt and 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the broth, eggs, wine, oil, spices, and dairy free sour cream in a blender or food processor (or a bowl with an electric mixer) and blend until smooth and uniform. Then, in a large bowl combine all the ingredients, tossing to coat. Put the potato mixture into a casserole dish, flatten it out with a spatula or hands until the potatoes are evenly distributed, and bake for 35 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the gratin is bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chives.
heron61: (Dandy)
The two recipes I'm posting originally came from a thai cookbook, but I've modified both (especially the 2nd) that they now feel like mine. Following these recipes are the recipes for the curry pastes I make. These two are among the more common dinners that I make, so this should also give you an idea how the three of us eat (when cooking for [livejournal.com profile] amberite, I cook a separate pan and make a version with bake tofu, gluten, or tempeh, most often tofu).

Thai Cashew Chicken
(serves 2)

1 TBS oil (I use ½ sesame, ½ safflower)
1 dried red chili
1.5 tsp chopped garlic
1.5 tsp red curry paste
1 large lime leaf (also called kaffir lime leaf) sliced and chopped
8 oz thinly (1/8") sliced chicken (I use boneless chicken breasts)
1 TBS fish sauce
1 TBS oyster sauce
½ tsp sugar
3 TBS water or chicken stock
2 sliced green onions
2 oz roasted whole cashews

  • 1) Stir Fry oil chili, garlic, curry paste, & lime leaf until the garlic is fully cooked (do not brown)
  • 2) Add chicken and stir fry 1 minute, add fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar and stir fry until chicken is cooked and slightly golden.
  • 3) lower heat to medium and add stock or water and green onions, cook for 2-3 minutes, then add cashews, mix well, and cook for 1 minute.
  • 4) Serve over long grain jasmine white rice (for 2 people, I use 2/3 cups rice cooked in 1 cup water, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1 TBS Shaoshing (aka Shaoxing) Chinese cooking wine).

Beef with Basil, Curry, and Green Beans
(serves 2)

1 TBS oil (I use ½ sesame, ½ safflower)
1.5 tsp chopped garlic
1 large finely chopped shallot (3-4 TBS)
1.5 tsp green curry paste
1 large lime leaf (also called kaffir lime leaf) sliced and chopped
1/8 tsp black pepper
7-8 oz minced beef (I chop cubes of half frozen beef in the food processor until it is in small pieces rather than use hamburger, but hamburger will work, just less well) alternately, you can use 7-8 oz of thinly (1/8") sliced pork
1 TBS fish sauce
1 TBS oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar
3-4 TBS water or chicken stock
6 oz fresh green beans sliced into 1-2" pieces
5 TBS chopped fresh Basil leaves

  • 1) 1) Stir Fry oil, garlic, shallot, curry paste, lime leaf, and pepper until the garlic & shallot are fully cooked (do not brown)
  • 2) Add beef (or pork) and stir fry 1 minute, add fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar and stir fry until meat is fully cooked.
  • 3) Lower heat to medium, add stock and green beans, cover and cook until green beans are done. Add more liquid as needed to keep the liquid volume approximately the same. Cooking time is around 5 minutes.
  • 4) Turn off heat, add basil leaves, stir to combine, and quickly serve over long grain jasmine white rice (for 2 people, I use 2/3 cups rice cooked in 1 cup water, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1 TBS Shaoshing (aka Shaoxing) Chinese cooking wine). When served, the basil should be half wilted, not fully cooked.

Curry paste recipes )

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