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Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting (in Starfleet colors) = Jean-Luc Picupcakes!

It needed more earl grey and less lemon, I'm afraid. I think using maybe 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and the rest milk would work better. I used a tablespoon of Stash decaf earl grey (3 bags) of uncertain vintage; maybe it simply wasn't strong enough.


Apr. 8th, 2011 09:35 pm
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 I made a few snacks for a recent gathering, from 3 of the 4 Junior League of Denver cookbooks. I was entertained by the increase in snobbiness quotient.
From Creme de Colorado: Chicken boiled in soy sauce and chicken broth, cubed and served with spinach and canned mandarin oranges, with a curry mayo dip.
From Colorado Colore: Black Bean and Corn Salsa, with red onion and fresh cilantro.
From Colorado Classique: Spicy Candied Pecans (with some improvised replacement for Chinese five spice powder. )

I am very fond of those books, and they never fail to be tasty.
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Chicken Italiano for dinner tonight, using fresh grated Parmesan and Pecorino Romano, with dried herbs and BOGO reasonably ethical chicken breasts. I was going to serve with the sauces I have in the fridge, but I'd forgotten how darn tasty the coating is. I was pleased to see that Granny Ruth had marked it as "Excellent!" Good taste runs in the family.
I snagged a packet of pre-cooked wild rice out of the cupboard to be a side dish. Side dishes are classy, you know. It needed just a touch of salt over it.

misc notes

Mar. 15th, 2011 10:25 am
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 Bisteeya with chicken was a wild success; I used a recipe from Epicurious and added extra spice blend. It took 4 hours to make, though. Part of that was prepping the ras el hanout spice mix, and part of it was cooking the chicken (in homemade turkey stock) for an hour. Filo isn't hard to work with, but it is slow.

Lauren made macaroni and cheese pie with a cheese topping; there was bacon to crumble on top for the not-vegetarians around. We decided bacon would be better mixed in, and there was some discussion of gourmet cheese in addition to sharp cheddar.
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 I have experimented with a whole-wheat recipe for Irish soda bread, which uses a little steel-cut oatmeal as well as white and wheat flours. It looks excellent, but I can't try some until the potluck lunch at noon. Meanwhile, my office smells like delicious.
Interestingly enough, the recipe is credited to Diane Duane. I don't know if she's the author or not.
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Last night I made pasta with Creative Sauce.

I reduced down about 3/4 a bottle of a $10 shiraz/cabernet wine I got ages ago at the grocery store. I added a couple good pours of evaporated milk, since we had an open can in the fridge. I reduced that down as well; with a lot of whisking. Then I threw in a stick and 1/4 of butter, bit by bit, whisking it in. I added some browned fake meat, which has a rather mushroomlike tang to it.

The sauce went over an ordinary batch of pasta, 2 c white flour to 3 egg whites, and the noodles came out exactly right. I've been making larger batches mostly, because I'm feeding at minimum 4 people and often lots more. The larger batches don't ever cook quite right, although they do come out tasty.


Apr. 10th, 2010 12:19 pm
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Trophy Cupcakes has a new Salted Caramel Cupcake. It is the most sublime cupcake experience I have ever had. There aren't even words to describe it.
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I had half a can of artichoke hearts in the fridge, from impromptu pizza night last week.

[Impromptu pizza night: I made 1.5 batches of pizza dough and let everyone put whatever they wanted on it. Artichoke hearts were one of the things on the grocery list.]

I realized that there wasn't much else I was likely to do with them, so I made a quarter-batch of Pioneer Woman's hot artichoke dip. The dip was mostly cream cheese, mayonnaise, and parmesan cheese, with some artichokes for, you know, flavor. :D I don't seem to have any cayenne powder so I threw in some chili powder from the spice shop. I think I decided not to bother with cayenne when I have so many kinds of chili/chile powder on hand. The bowl I used might or might not have been oven-safe, so instead of preheating the oven I put the dip in cold and let it warm up with the oven. It turned out sooooo delicious. I killed the last of the sourdough bread and then had to move on to ordinary storebought bread.

mmmmm, meat

Mar. 6th, 2010 11:35 pm
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I am taking advantage of the vegetarian's absence to make dinner with meat this weekend.

I made Ted Lindeman's fantastic sourdough cornbread with bacon grease instead of oil or butter, and used bacon grease in the pan. It's got just a hint of bacon flavor, especially at the crusty edges.

I also made Quick Cheeseburger Pie. The recipe calls for an 8-inch pie pan, but all three of our pie pans are 9.5 inches. It worked out all right though; I had 1.3 lbs of ground beef, rounded up on all my other measurements, and filled the dish completely. There wasn't any crust to fold over the edge of the pan, though. I could have probably gotten extra crust if I'd rolled out the dough, but it's designed to be smushed into the pan and is very soft.
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I tried a recipe from Cooks Illustrated for chocolate chip cookies. The aim was a chewier, toffee-flavored cookie. The cookies were amazing!

The recipe calls for browning 10 tablespoons of butter, then adding another 4 tablespoons and letting it melt. They then add brown and white sugar (I used turbinado instead of white, because I had light instead of dark brown sugar.), vanilla (I splurged on my fancy stuff), salt, and an egg + yolk. Let that sit for ten minutes, stirring every three minutes. Add the flour and baking soda, mixing until done, and dump in lots of chocolate chips. The recipe says make only 16 cookies, 8 per giant sheet. I made them a little large for normal cookies, but not nearly that big.

I've never had a cookie anything like these. They had lots of nutty browned-butter taste, with a little crunch from the turbinado sugar and a lot of chewiness. Just amazing.
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Saturday I went to the Farmers' market in the U district (after my eye doctor appointment) and got an entire sockeye salmon for $25, and a miscellaney of vegetables. I got squat rounded carrots called Thumbelina, golden beets (many of which were smaller than chocolate chip cookie dough portions), parsnips (which were labeled carrots, but I've never met a white carrot), and celery root. I diced up the veggies, adding in two potatoes and a number of garlic cloves, and tossed with olive oil and spices. The spices I grabbed were mixed peppercorns, juniper berries, bay leaves, sage, kosher salt, and a little mustard seed, plus a dash or two of apple cider vinegar. I roasted them at 350 for 20 minutes, then raised the heat to 450 (so I could bake biscuits!) for another 15-20 minutes.

Today I dumped the leftover veggies into a pot, heated them up, and added about half a jar of roasted red and yellow peppers, and a quart ziploc full of veggie stock. I diluted the stock with maybe 3.5 cups of water, enough to cover and seem souplike, and brought it to a boil. I pureed the resultant mixture in the blender, leaving a little texture behind. Final flavor adjustments involved a titch of garlic powder and some salt.

I like the soup better than the whole vegetables, honestly. They didn't get quite soft enough during roasting, but the heating and blending process softened them up nicely.
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-I made twice baked potatoes, substituting bacon salt for actual bacon and freeze-dried chives for fresh. They came out fabulously; one whole potato per person worked out fine.

-That fancy Italian olive oil is beautiful with fresh sourdough bread and kosher salt. I ran an experiment out of laziness, and let the sourdough loaves rise overnight on the counter after shaping them. The texture is beautiful. There wasn't much ovenspring, if any, but the crumb is excellent and there's a nice crust. I may do that again on purpose!
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I'm planning to do something tasty with my collection of Savory Spice Shop blends and ingredients once a week this year.

This week I made Potato-Chorizo Tacos with Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa, and made the chorizo from the last of my chorizo spice blend and a pound of ground pork. I made a double batch of the salsa, since I bought roughly twice as much ingredients as I needed. That's what comes of deciding on dinner while I'm at the grocery store, without my recipes. I didn't remember to get any jalapeno peppers, so I threw in a little bit of the Honey-Jalapeno Hot Sauce from the Ballard Farmer's Market. The salsa turned out very mild and creamy, while the chorizo had a reasonable kick. It happily fed everyone; I mixed a separate batch with fake beef for the vegetarian.
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The annual festival of food is nearly over. The report so far:

roast acorn squash with brown sugar topping

Indian food at Saffron Grill

20.6 lbs of turkey
bird bacon
stuffing with sausage and bread
whole cranberry sauce
mashed potatoes
brandy-glazed carrots
vegetarian stuffing
brownie pie
(dinner for five)

green chile sauce
turkey burritos with same
corn soup with bacon
[generated a nice canful of grease]
(dinner for ten)
sourdough starter
turkey stock

sourdough pancakes
some sort of cookies
(dinner at Pinecoon with Dave's lasagna)

I'm not cooking again for weeks.
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I have done probably the last thing I shall do with my CSA this year, which is this:
Boil quartered brussels sprouts for 5 minutes and florets of cauliflower for 3. Plunge into ice water and drain. Reduce 1.5 cups of cream, with some onions and sage, to maybe around 0.5 cups. Place half the veggies in a greased 9x13 pan, top with salt, pepper, and 3/4 cup Parmesan. Add the rest of the veggies, another 0.75 cups Parmesan, and the reduced cream. Bake covered for 40 minutes at 375 °F. Meanwhile, toast 1/3 cup pine nuts. Fry 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs (I used some fresh-today honey oatmeal bread, and toasted it to get the moisture out first) in a little olive oil, with parsley. Combine with the pine nuts. After the 40 minutes, top the casserole with the breadcrumb mixture and bake uncovered 15 minutes.
Cream is such a wonderful sauce, reduced like that, and with the cauliflower it was just decadent. The little mini cabbagey brussels sprouts were fantastic as well. mmmmm.


Oct. 31st, 2009 03:02 pm
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I love having Granny Ruth's cast iron bread pans. I'm sure they're her mother's, if not older, and they have such a beautiful cured surface I never have to wash them. Plus, they are massive enough to make two loaves out of a 9-cups-of-flour batch of bread.
Alas, I still have to wait for the bread to cool down before eating it.
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Neil Gaiman is a favorite author of mine. His latest book, The Graveyard Book, tells the story of a boy raised by dead people in a graveyard. The blog issued a challenge to create a Graveyard Book inspired dessert. I decided to build part of the graveyard out of cake, because I watch too much Ace of Cakes.

The Egyptian Walk

Click this link to see many more pictures and read about the process and the design. )
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Things I made which were good:

Grilled Mexican Corn, from Cooks Illustrated, with a spicy creamy sauce. They have you rub the corn in oil mixed with chile powder before grilling, which gives it a great flavor. I used the broiler, since we weren't grilling anything else.

Vegetable stock, two giant pots full. I didn't bother sauteing any of the vegetables this time. I have made stock ice cubes from some of it, and used some of it in...

Vegetable soup that was sort of supposed to be borscht. Mainly it had a couple beets in it. It ended up being your standard tasty veggie soup with carrots and celery and potatoes and things.

Squash dumplings with brown butter. Thank you, Alton Brown! These were fantastic. You bake some potatoes and some squash (I had delicata, not butternut) and mash their fleshes together. You add salt and nutmeg and flour, then shape into little balls. I couldn't get the dough to become non-sticky, so I just sort of hand-shaped some blobs. I refrigerated them overnight (okay, I left them out in the garage) and boiled them in salted water the next day, until they float. Then you cool them in ice water and toss them with a touch of oil. Before you serve them, you brown them in butter which has first been browned itself, with some sage leaves. So fantastic, rich and decadent and relatively healthy, as decadence goes.


Sep. 25th, 2009 03:15 pm
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The advantage of living with a vegetarian and someone who doesn't like fish is that I get to eat it all myself.
Loki Fish Co. has the best smoked salmon I've ever tasted. I suspect buying from the fishermen goes a long way, there.
I keep meaning to get a whole fish from their boat (F/V Loki. It makes me a little twitchy, buying from the god of chaos.) and grill it up some day.
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I made Moosewood's spinach-cheese calzones (featuring ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan) with a mixture of spinach and chard. They came out fabulously, I must say.
That recipe always makes too much filling for the amount of bread. I should try 1.5x the dough recipe next time.


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