aldersprig: (Cooking)

So we tried a thing last night and it actually turned out well!

We had ground beef to eat and it was way too hot for eating spaghetti or hamburgers or anything too hot.
Available for all "Recipe Box" patrons!

Originally posted June 16, 2011.
The sushi bar had a mermaid in its fish tank.

I was new in town, having just recently parlayed my experience with the Agency into a cushy consulting gig and my hazard pay into a nice little house...

Read on!

These are walking onions. They make bulbs on the top of their stalks, which make another stalk with another bulb, which makes… you guessed it, another stalk with another bulb!!

Take a Peek!
aldersprig: (Cooking)
I have been thinking about bread.
Cal and I were discussing honorifics, which led to me remembering hlǣfdige, (See here), the word from which lady derives.

I first encountered this word in Parke Godwin’s Beloved Exile, a tale of Guinevere after the fall of Camelot. (That’s an awful cover; I much prefer this one: here). Memory provides a slightly different spelling for this and hlāfweard, but since I don’t have the book at hand and can’t find the text online, the general will have to suffice for now.

Hlǣfdige, loaf-kneader (loosely, don’t shoot me). I like that. I made a pretty standard loaf this weekend, changed only by having a really long ‘fridge rise time (because I started it Thursday night, kneaded it Friday night, and baked it Saturday around noon). I’ve been baking bread every weekend since it started getting cold — nothing all that exciting, but I like the routine of it, the kneading, the long rises, the shaping, the smell of the house as it bakes.

Hlǣfdige didn’t mean just the woman who makes the bread, of course — it referred, I’m told, to the woman in charge of a household with maids, etc. But I like the idea of being Lady Lyn, the loaf-kneader.
And if that makes my husband the hlāfweard, the guardian of the loaf… well, the cat does have a habit of eating it on occasion.
aldersprig: (Cooking)
January by the numbers continues (still a day off~)!
From [personal profile] anke's prompt "baking" - a blog post.

I love baking in Winter!

I like baking in summer, too, and it helps that the way our house is laid out, you can run the oven in the kitchen without really heating up the living room or our offices too much, so I can bake bread and cakes all year round if I want to.

Mostly, though, in the summer I bake cookies.

I have been making bread every Sunday for a few weeks now, and I find I like it. Start the bread with a sponge the night before or early Sunday morning, and then by 2 or 3 in the afternoon everything’s ready to go, and we have fresh homemade bread for the week (anything left over and gone stale, or the bread experiments that didn’t quite work, get dried in the oven and frozen for stuffing or bread pudding).

But I like baking cakes, too, pies, crisps, biscuits, cookies… Small Batch Baking, although it has its flaws as a recipe book, was a really good start for me. If I make a cake, a lot of the time it’s somewhere between a mug cake and a small batch recipe in one of my tiny pans or ramekins (I have a tiny bundt pan. It is the world’s most adorable bundt pan). That way, we have cake for a day, just enough frosting, and then it’s gone, poof.

Last night, I made a Small Batch Banana—Pecan bread pudding (forgot the pecans), with, as above, the ends from a few weeks of homemade bread (Since homemade bread stales a lot faster than store-bought). If you’re going to make banana anything, my suggestion is: wait ‘til the bananas are black or nearly black, and then halve the sugar the recipe calls for. You get full banana taste that way! (Also, much easier to mush up).

Honestly, I could talk all day about baking. My husband does the cooking... but I do (almost) all the baking in the house, and I love it.

And it makes the house smell so nice.
aldersprig: (Cooking)
January by the numbers starts here!
From [ profile] kelkyag's prompt "oregano;" a blog post

This one’s all me.

When we moved into our second apartment together, T and I — and a friend of ours, and a friend of his, and so on — we acquired a whole bunch of stuff-left-from-previous-roommates, thus starting a trend that would continue (with a couple pauses) for the next decade-plus: dishes, pie plates, for a little while a doll cabinet.

But back then, one of the first things we got was a collection of far too much grocery-store oregano. I think there were three containers of the stuff. And the thing is… we didn’t really cook with that many spices and herbs back then. We were in our early twenties, I barely cooked at all and T. was just starting to work on his cooking.

We ate oregano in everything for a while. And the thing is, old grocery-store oregano doesn’t taste like much and I didn’t have much of a sense of smell, so I’m not sure it added much more than a sort of dusty green color. Still. Oregano. Everywhere.

We started gardening maybe 5 years later, but it is not until three years ago that I actually started growing oregano.

This stuff, I can smell. I can taste. It’s pretty good, actually, although when it comes to herbage I much prefer parsley and sage.

But the thing about oregano is, it turns out it’s part of the mint family. (I find this weird. I’m not sure why I find this weird, but I do). And it’s a perennial. And, well, it acts like it’s in the mint family, which is to say it’s determined, invasive, and durable.

And the thing grows nearly three feet tall. Every year, without me doing anything. And the bees love it.

And we still don’t cook with oregano.

Want More?
aldersprig: (Cooking)

So yep. That was my weekend: possum frosting.

(Turns out, if you google possum and chocolate, what you get isn’t a whole lot of good information on if possums are able to eat chocolate. You get mostly possum recipes. Oops.)

We were testing vegan frosting to go on a vegan cake for a vegan Christmas present for my vegan father (help I can’t vegan stop). The cake turned out great, actually — a Depression-era “crazy cake” recipe with no eggs and no butter or milk (“no eggs no butter, no flour no sugar” says the woman on the bus whose parents probably remembered the Depression). And the frosting — once we scraped off the top where the possum had gotten his nose into it — that turned out surprisingly tasty.

This week is all the vegan food-testing and making: soups for mom, cake for dad, and the bread might not be vegan but it’ll be tasty too. It’s the time of year where I’m making a lot of bread, trying new recipes or just throwing stuff in the mixer and seeing what happens (“either not enough molasses or too much” last week; this week turned out pretty good). Bonus of all the baking: it heats up the far end of the house, where the wood stove’s heat doesn’t really reach. Bonus of making soup in the winter: cooking it on the wood stove and making the whole house smell like soup.

The weather outside is frightful — by turns freezing and raining, snowing and blowing — but the fire is burning hot and the candles are lit in the windows. I’ve got silk poinsettias for my vases and bandanna-patterned wrapping paper for my presents, cookies for the baking and fresh bread hiding in the microwave (Otherwise the cat eats it).

Happy Holidays, my friends. It’s a wonderful life here in West Nowhere, NY.
aldersprig: (LynConstruction)
  • If you use Pinterest, have you ever found yourself in Pinboard Bloat? Like, you start a board, Pinterest suggests some similar boards, so you follow them, then Pinterest is like "try these suggested pins" so you pin those and the next thing you know, your little board of, say, Addergoole Changes is a giant behemoth of mermaids and satyr beefcake and winggy people?

    Or, ah, is that just me?

  • Have I mentioned I love our InstantPot? So far, we've only made two dishes in it, but love it!

  • If you haven't checked in on the new Addergoole page, you can still earn fic with comments!

  • And if you know anyone who might be interested in supporting my Patreon, Nimbus is stuck in the man-eating plant, and only the patrons can get her out!

    (a couple patrons had to reduce or drop patronizing due to funding issues, and thus we are back down below the $40 net "serial episode a month" level. Poor Nimbus! Stuck! ~Woe~!)

  • And this weekend: We installed a toilet!
    Seriously, even if they tell you when you buy a toilet that there's a wax ring in the package, buy two. Not one, two. You won't regret it.

    That being said, our pretty new reasonable-height dual-flush toilet is in and goes, YAY!

    Our old one had been first stained by our rusty water.

    And then some previous tenant had used something so corrosive to clean the orange that it had stripped the enamel off the porcelain.

    And then the house was winterized, and the blue dye... stained the porcelain.

    Black veined toilet! Ick!

    (we're looking into water softeners now...)

    That's one more step towards a non-ugly bathroom!

  • I'm low on interesting links this week, so how about you? Share your cool links!
aldersprig: (LynBack)
  • This weekend was a weekend of “oh, well, maybe later?” We went a lot of places, but mostly achieved very little.  However, it RAINED!  Lots!  *dances around in the rain*
    (Also, we did a lot of shopping, but that’s not all that exciting).

    • I’ve been thinking that for Lexember — or possibly before — I’ll do two “translation” projects — a portion of an illuminated page in Old Tongue (the language of the Ellehemaei in Fae Apoc/Addergoole) and a poem in Calenyen (for Reiassan).

      Is there anything in particular you’d like to see “translated” for such projects?

  • We went to see Ghostbusters.  My “review”, such as it is, can be seen here (warning — non-positive):

  • We got an Instant Pot! It’s an electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, etc, etc.  We made steel cut oats in it, and they turned out pretty awesome.  
    See the Kitchn’s article on the Instant Pot here —

  • The Shannara TV series has very little to do with my memories of the books, but those memories are 30-some years old.  Also? So much eye candy, and much of it male!

  • If anyone has any more pictures of this guy, cosplaying as Emergency Costume Repair, I’d love to see them.  Great idea!

  • Shutsumon introduced me to #WebFictionChat, and they are having a monthly Serial Book Club.  Check it out:

  • Random moment of awesome while looking into illuminated texts — this dragon climbing his way out of the text.

  • There is still one 250-word slot open in “Leave a Comment, get a fic” over at Addergoole’s new site.

  • Annnnd the meta-conversation with Jaco from Lady Taisiya’s Fourth Husband is still going strong over here:

aldersprig: (Cooking)

There's a rage, it seems, for Farm-to-Table dining; there's a few restaurants open in Ithaca right now that tout it and it gets play in some blogs. In short, it's local food delivered to local consumers - in restaurants, it's high end stuff made with low-food-miles food. I find it an interesting movement, but I live in the Frozen North, and I like my oranges, and my fresh produce in December, and so on.

There's also - as we found out when we were taken out to a fancy place for dinner for our birthdays in Troy a few weeks back - a trend for buttermilk-fried ramps right now. And let me tell you, they are delicious. Ommity nommity tasty, with just enough onion flavor. We bought some ramps from our local farmer's market and tried it out - so good
Read more... )

ramps picture source:
aldersprig: (Cooking)
I have been learning things about bread!

If you are an experienced bread baker, most of these things will probably not be news to you. Some of them are not /recent/ news to me but I still find them interesting.

What I have been learning recently is about tenderness, crispness, and longevity.

My normal go-to loaf is Oatmeal Toasting and Sandwich Bread. It's got milk and honey in it, it's got whole wheat flour in it, it's tender, it's got a small, fine crust, and it's great for toasting.

But I was making baked brie, and that needs a bread that can hold up to dipping.

(this, which I ended up using, is not really quite french bread. But it works).

Take away most of the sugar and all of the fat, and you end up with a crisper loaf. Increase hydration and reduce kneading in the proofing stage, and you end up with bubbles in the bread. These things I knew, but it was neat to see them in process.

What I didn't know but learned fast was that if you take away all that fat, the bread goes stale much, much faster. That was a learning experience!

And it did, by the way, work great dipped in a drippy baked brie with fig spread. And just as great with fancy butter, toasted on top the wood stove.

Next up? Brioche!
aldersprig: (Cooking)
Christmas Food

I mentioned last week that we were going to make Kale & Apple Soup for my mom. It turned out delicious!

We made the following changes:

We started with butter and browned it, then sauteed some mushrooms (baby bellas) in that.

We toasted some cumin, fennel, allspice, and cloves (4 berries, 2 cloves, 1 teas fennel, 1 teas cumin) whole, then ground that up and added it to the butter.

After blending the soup and dividing it between 2 quart mason jars, we sliced a sunchoke and 2 carrots on the bias and sauteed them until they were tender and had some color, then used those as a topping.

Delicious and, well not vegan, def. vegetarian! And using up kale and apples from our garden!

That was Mom; for Capriox & Mr. Cap and a whole passel of co-workers we made Alton Brown's Hot Cocoa Mix. Like most of these things, good ingredients are key, so we used a nice dark cocoa powder. Following suggestions from other people, we ran everything through the food processor for a bit to get the milk powder down to a much finer consistency, and, because we prefer our cocoa to taste like chocolate and not sugar, we halved the sugar (& skipped the cayenne). We put that in a mason jar, too, quart for Cap and pints/half pints for co-workers, topped or sided with mini-marshmallows and wrapped up with a ribbon so I could tie on an instructions tag.

Mason jars make everything awesome. :-) And, strangely, I have a lot of canning supplies in my house...

Next up: seeing if I can turn the tiny mug cakes into a kit/jar mix.
aldersprig: (Cooking)
X posted from Google+

It's Apple Season!

so far, we've made "crock pot cider" (cook quartered apples until squishy, strain) and "boiled cider" (also known as apple cider syrup: boil down cider until the consistency of maple syrup). We've also cooked apple cake, apple coffee cake, and apple pie, apple risotto and apple-butternut soup.

Next on the list are apple sauce, apple chutney, and apple butter, as well as apple cookies, apple-and-sausage savory pies, and apple kale soup. 

Anyone have a favorite apple recipe, esp. one that cans or freezes well?
aldersprig: (LynConstruction)
The recipe says to wait 2 days. I tried it yesterday, and found the pickling hadn't really penetrated the daikon completely. Today - delicious. Absolutely tasty.

However, it might actually be a little TOO sugary for me...
aldersprig: (LynConstruction)

The picture above is what Daikon looks like on seed packets.

What it looks like when allowed to grow IRL is more like the second picture here. Picture that about the size of a small-to-medium butternut squash.

Now picture three of them, two ripped out of the ground by a wind storm.

That's a lot of daikon.

Daikon, if you haven't tried them, aren't as bitey as red radishes. They work well in baked dishes, but, ah, it's July. We're not doing much oven work.

They also keep really really well. However, our fridge was getting rather full of long whitish roots.

So we pickled some!

(By "some", I mean, T sat there with a mandoline matchsticking daikon until the salad bowl was over half full).

We used this recipe, trebled. We used a salad spinner to get the water out, after letting the daikon sit in a colander with its salt. I used half rice vinegar and half distilled white for cost, and I replaced the sake with ginger brandy, 'cause we had it on hand.

We stored them in three old salsa jars in the very-cold back of the fridge.

The pickling juice tasted heavenly. I'll let you know how the pickled daikon taste in a few days!
aldersprig: (LynConstruction) that sometimes you have to make your own comfort food.

Usually, T. makes me things like broth or risotto, and that's wonderful, but this time, I had (have) a sore throat/swollen glands, and I was seriously missing my mom's vanilla pudding, that she used to make me when I was sick sometimes.

I haven't lived at home in 20 years or so, and, besides, my mom's at a yoga seminar on the other side of the country (details are fuzzy) right now.

So I had to make my own.

I used a pretty basic Betty Crocker recipe, and it turned out - not quite like my childhood (not as grainy, and a little too sweet, which could be refined tastes) - but very yummy.

And, ya know? It made me feel better for a bit, too.

(I am still taking commissions at 150 words/$1 for someone to re-up my paid DW account... I miss my icons.)
aldersprig: (Cooking)
* Butternut Squash
* Applesauce
* Whole apples

What's your favorite one? We have an apple cake we like a lot, which I can't find at the moment online, sigh, and this butternut soup recipe, which we make all the time.
aldersprig: (Cooking)
It's asparagus season! And, while I can eat spear-grass steamed with lemon juice pretty much forever, T. wants a few different options.

So we made Creamy Asparagus Soup, from Cook's Country, April/May 2010

(This is a magazine worth subscribing to, by the by).

We split this in half:
2 lbs asparagus
3T butter
2 small leeks, white and light green portions*
salt & pepper
3-1/2 c low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 c frozen peas (these make it actually green)
2 t grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 teas lemon juice

The recipe calls for reserving the tips, sauteeing them first, and using them as a garnish. Next time we will skip this step

Add vegetables, chopped into 1/2" pieces, to the butter in a dutch oven or saucier. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened (about 10 mintues)

Add brother and bring to a boil; reduce to simmer until vegetables are tender (about 5 minutes). Stir in peas & parm.

Puree in a blender in batches, or with a stick blender. Stir in cream & lemon juice and cook until warm, just about 2 minutes.

This was very tasty, and very very asparagus-y. It's also not a meal (we went out for ice cream afterwards. That worked). But it would work well as a side with something meaty.
aldersprig: (Cooking)
I posted, last week, a list of Recipes I want to try..

In the last week, we tried Curried Red Lentil Soup and Leek and Cheddar Cheese Tart.

The tart... needs work. We're going to try it again with some modifications:
* We will partially pre-bake the puff pastry shell, and form it inside a pan for better structural integrity.
* Instead of using leek spears, we'll cut the leeks into rounds, both to better rinse them and so we can integrate the cheddar and dijon topping throughout the whole leek.

Once we do that, I'll post the modified recipe.
Read more... )

The soup used half a knob of ginger root, so we made this recipe - we added cinnamon, allspice, and possibly cloves (I wasn't watching T.) to the dough, and I doubled the cinnamon in the cinnamon-sugar topping. Delicious!
aldersprig: (Cooking)
Ski House Cookbook
Curried Red Lentil Soup (p. 58)
Sautéed Peas with Mushrooms and Bacon (p. 137)

Cook it Quick
Chilaly (p. 46)

Reader's Digest 30-Minute Cookbook
Baked Cod Plaki (p. 111)
Arabian-Style Beef w/ Flat Bread (p.145)
Leek and Cheddar Cheese tart (p. 237)
Dahl (p. 252)

"Favorite Brand Name" Great Garlic Recipes
Hearty Cassoulet (p. 48)
Crab & Corn Enchilada Casserole (p. 66)
Spicy-Sweet Lamb Tangine with Saffron Couscous (p. 76)
Fajitas (p. 86)

Cooking with Spirits

First trial here:
aldersprig: (Cooking)
One of our favorite fall standbys is turning into a spring standby, as we froze something like 20 pounds of squash last autumn.

Butternut Soup

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 apples, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup apple cider
2 cups vegetable stock
Milk or cream

Read more at:

This is one of the simpler recipes we've found, but it really works. I generally use about 3 pounds of squash, and two large vidalia onions. We sub out the vegetable stock with chicken stock (unless we're cooking for vegans) and drizzle with half-and-half or fat-free half-and-half at the table.

Served with homemade naan or rolls, this is delicious, filling, and amazingly low-calorie.
aldersprig: (Cooking)
T. and I like cooking for the holidays.

We really do. It's a fun excuse to try something we don't normally do. Or something we like doing that's a lot of work.

We have never made soda bread before, so we decided we would try that this time. We went with this site. I think it's a bit preachy, and did not attempt to verify the veracity (heehe) of its claims, but I wanted to try a simple bread first.

(Plus another recipe we found called for a stick of butter. I am trying to lose weight here, people!)

To quote the site: The basic soda bread is made with flour, baking soda, salt, and soured milk (or buttermilk). That's it!

So that's what we did. Our Dutch Oven is a bit big, so I nested a round Pyrex inside it, put the bread in that, and otherwise followed the recipe completely (we did the brown bread one, the 1st recipe).

Tasty! T. thinks it needs another flavor if we do it again, and it is an immensely dense and filling dough, but it worked really well with our corned beef brisket in french onions soup.

Experiment: Success.
aldersprig: (Cooking)
Last week, we tried a 2-ingredient cake.

Super simple:
Box of Angel Food Cake Mix (one-packet sort, not two-packet sort)
20oz can of Crushed pineapple

Mix, including the juice in the can. Cook at 350 for 25-35 minutes. Enjoy (or frost, but we didn't).

We then tried cooking it with strawberries instead, but the fluid level got weird and we ended up with sort of cake-mush. We shall try again!.

It's tasty (even the strawberry mush version), and without a frosting, it's pretty low on calories and pretty much fat-free.


I'll let you know when we figure out the strawberry version.
aldersprig: (Cooking)
T. and I have been experimenting, since discovering various canned meats in the grocery store, with variations on tuna-noodle casserole.

Growing up, my mom & grandma called this Toodles and Noodles, and we always omitted the breadcrumbs and sometimes the peas. It is, at its base, a pantry staple: a can of soup, half a bag of egg noodles, and a can of tuna fish, and you have a meal.

It's served T. & I well over the years (I usually add panko to the top, and we almost always add the frozen peas).

Canned chicken + cream of chicken soup worked pretty well. It was a bit one-note, but I think adding garlic would help with that. Choodles and noodles!

Spurred on by our success, and with a can of corned beef and a can of cream-of-mushroom-with-garlic soup, we moved on to try another casserole. Moodles and noodles! To this one we added sauteed onions and mushrooms, and got something sort of like a beef stroganoff.

I'm not sure what to try next. Tofu and noodles?

What about you? What are your go-to pantry meals? Any fun variations on the classics?
aldersprig: (Cooking)
I recently saw this quote on a bumper sticker: Carl Sagan: "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe."

It reminded me of the apocryphal recipe for rabbit stew that starts "first, catch the rabbit." (link)

By Sagan's standards, we did not make Saag Paneer from scratch. However, the paneer (cheese) was made from milk, buttermilk, and salt at home, and half the spinach and all the onions were grown in our own garden, so it does meet at least some standards for such (I wonder if one can can saag. I think you should be able to, with a pressure cooker)

It was, by the by, delicious. I'm going to to make more paneer soon. Assuming I still hae more cheesecloth.


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