nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
A whole bunch of new recipes for Thanksgiving this year:

#46, potato bread. Another one from Baking With Julia, and another delicious success. The dough is very weird -- it starts off dry and sticky, but as you mix it, it loosens up and practically becomes liquid, to the point that it feels like surely you must have done something wrong. But after it rises, you can shape it easily despite how soft it still is, and it bakes up into a solid loaf with a tight crumb and a lovely potato aroma. Makes great toast.

#47, cranberry, apple, and crystallized ginger chutney. This one's from the most recent Cook's Illustrated. I usually make a spiced cranberry sauce with cinnamon and star anise, but I wanted to try something different this year. It's very good, but I find the shallot taste a bit weird in it and would leave those out next time.

#48, tandoori turkey. From the latest Bon Appetit, but found via a blog post linked from Tasteologie. Like the bloggers, I used premade garam masala; unlike the bloggers, I made my own tandoori seasoning, subbing thyme for the ajwain seeds I didn't have time to get. This was my first time cooking a turkey in an oven bag, a slighly freaky experience that nearly resulted in an explosion when even the steam vents I'd cut in the bag failed to prevent the bag from almost overinflating. But I may go the bag route again, because the turkey was incredibly moist (probably also due to an overnight soak in whole milk yogurt), and cleanup was a breeze compared to the usual soak/scrub/keep scrubbing routine involved in cleaning a post-Thanksgiving roasting pan.

#49, blackeyed pea/quinoa croquettes with mushroom sauce. From Vegan With a Vengeance, and the main course for the two vegetarians and one vegan joining us for Thanksgiving. I am not kidding when I tell you that one of the cats was begging for the uncooked batter. (Mind you, she also begged for the vegan cornbread -- and enjoyed it when I gave it to her -- so maybe she's just weird.) I'm not even a huge blackeyed pea or quinoa fan, but I liked these very much. Using panko for the coating made them even crispier, they reheated beautifully in the oven, and the mushroom gravy was good enough to use on everything.

#50, vegan "creamed" spinach. Creamed spinach is one of my favorite dishes, but it's not exactly a low-fat food. Nor is the vegan version, though at least it's zero-cholesterol. Next time I make this, I'm going to try to thicken the soy milk, and will probably add some nutritional yeast to give it that slight cheesy flavor I really like in my non-vegan version. Still, this one isn't bad, and there's good nutmeg flavor. (I left out the dill, though, because dill and nutmeg? Seriously?)

#51, vegan pumpkin pie brownies. It isn't Thanksgiving without pumpkin of some kind, and better yet, pumpkin and chocolate. I should have had some of this for breakfast this morning ... in fact, I might go get some of it now. I'd have preferred a cakier and less fudgy brownie layer, but that's my only complaint.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
Oops, starting to fall behind on posting!

#44, Apple butter. I love apple butter and have always wanted to try making it; there are just so many other things I can do with my annual apple-picking haul that I hadn't gotten around to it before. But this year, as Thanksgiving creeps ever closer and I've run out of time to do any canning, I started to look at recipes that would use a ton of apples and yet still yield a small enough amount of food that I wouldn't have to can anything. Thus: apple butter, in which you cook down loads of apples into a small amount of deliciousness. This is a Gale Gand recipe, so I knew it'd be good, but there is one fairly major omission in the instructions: for the amount of brown sugar called for, you need three pounds of chopped apples, not three pounds of apples, chopped. If you start with three pounds of whole apples, cut the sugar and spices in half.

#45, orange-glazed beets. I used this recipe on our last veggies from the summer CSA, some lovely golden beets. I should have sliced them a little more thinly than called for in the recipe; they took a bit longer than expected, and I needed to get dinner on the table, so the final result was a little crunchier than it should have been. Still, they were very tasty, so I'll try again when the winter CSA starts delivering me beets.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
#41, smothered mushrooms and kale. Yes, it's a Rachael Ray recipe. Deal with it. I even own one of her cookbooks (bought before she had her massive entertainment empire), and it's really not bad at all, despite being a little too meat-heavy for my taste.

Anyway, I had mushrooms and kale that had to be used, and wanted to try something a little different than my usual garlicky kale and lemony mushroom recipes. This one is quite simple, although I think it calls for too much fat; I used a tablespoon total of olive oil and butter for half the amount of kale and mushrooms called for and felt like I got enough flavor. Would make again.

#42, jackfruit curry. I'd never even thought about cooking with jackfruit until I was watching The Great Food Truck Road Race (... yeah, I know), saw the vegan truck making "pulled pork" with jackfruit, and realized I had to give this fruit a try.

I didn't have the lime leaves called for in the recipe, so I subbed lime zest and some extra basil leaves in the curry, and oh my god, I could have just poured the coconut curry sauce in my mouth and been happy. But the point of this exercise was not to drink curry sauce; it was to cook jackfruit, which turned out to taste much like artichoke hearts and was really good in the curry. I'm definitely going to pick some more up next time I'm at an Asian market so I can make kathal kabobs.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
It was time to take down the rest of the garden today, which meant the tabasco peppers had to be processed. I turned them into this cooked chile-garlic sauce, which in raw form, is absolutely thermonuclear. I don't know if I had some extra-special-hot tabascos or what, but these tasted nearly as hot as some habaneros I've had. Fortunately, they mellowed a bit after cooking, and are now slightly less likely to cause instant death.

Tabasco peppersRaw chile-garlic sauce

I also made a baked apple oatmeal pudding recipe I found in today's Boston Globe magazine, subbing in walnuts (since I had no pecans) and candied ginger instead of dried fruit. It would have been perfect with vanilla ice cream, but even without it, was pretty good.

The Globe has put a lot of their content behind a paywall, which I have no patience for even though as a subscriber, I have rights to everything for free anyway. One recipe posted online isn't going to make or break their business model anyway, so here it is.
the recipe )
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
I've had The Enchanted Broccoli Forest for years but for some reason, have never gotten around to making much out of it. (Most likely it's all the other Moosewood-related cookbooks I have.) Anyway, I had some potatoes, I wanted something other than roasted potatoes or a mayo-based salad, and I found this one, which cooks very thinly sliced potatoes in a vinaigrette.

This is some seriously delicious stuff. The potatoes have just the right mix of vinegary tang and olive-oily unctuousness; I think we could have just had this for dinner and been happy. Best of all: totally vegan, so it might end up on my Thanksgiving table.
nonelvis: (MARTINI it's what's for dinner)
Fandom has been making me a little cranky lately. Doctor Who has never been a perfect show, and there have been good and bad things about this most recent series.

But sometimes, you just want to spend time in a bubble of squee and think about the hard stuff later. And today, with the finale airing, I feel like squeeing. A short reaction to the episode behind a cut; actual squee may or may not be involved. )

Anyway, as part of the official squee facilitation process, I made cupcakes. Pretty cupcakes. Vegan cupcakes, because why not?

Squee bubble cupcakes

They're Post-Punk Kitchen's vanilla bean cupcakes filled with vegan lemon curd and frosted with vegan buttercream in a festive mix of white and pink with silver and pink sugar sprinkles, because how can you have a squeeful cupcake without sprinkles? Okay, I suppose maybe all cupcakes are squeeful, but sprinkles add that little bit of extra squee.

Hmm, the word "squee" is starting to look funny. But who cares? I HAVE CUPCAKES. And anyone who wants to join me in the squee bubble is welcome to share.
nonelvis: (Default)
I was making one of those last-day-before-next-CSA-pickup soups -- all the random squash I had lying around, some dinosaur kale, and a little leftover linguiça -- but I had nothing starchy to dip in it. I very nearly made crackers from the King Arthur Flour bread book, but instead decided to reach for a cookbook I hadn't touched in a while: Baking With Julia.

That's where I found this simple recipe I was able to throw together during a short break, leaving it to rise for a couple of hours while I finished up the day's work. All you need is flour, salt, yeast, and water, and when I decided the sesame seeds I had lying around were probably too old to use as a topping, fresh-ground pepper and a little fleur du sel seemed like perfectly adequate substitutes.

The final texture was probably not as soft as it should have been, if only because my aged oven can't quite hit 500 degrees, not even with the pizza stone inside; that meant baking the naan for a good fifteen minutes instead of five to hit the right level of doneness.

But you know what? I don't care, because first of all, it tasted terrific, and second, LOOK AT HOW PRETTY IT IS.

Persian naan

Next up: cupcakes, baby!
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
L'shanah tovah, everyone!

Rosh Hashanah usually means honey cake for me, but I've yet to find the perfect, moist honey cake. This year, I decided to try a different approach: an apple cake recipe from the King Arthur Flour baking book, and a honey frosting recipe I found online. (Technically, I guess I could count these as two recipes for the project, but since they were combined, I'm only counting it as one.)

This is basically the apple cake recipe, but you'll have to make the following changes to match it up with the one in the book:

• substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the all-purpose flour
• substitute 1 cup of brown sugar for 1 cup of the white sugar
• substitute softened butter instead of shortening
• add 3 tablespoons of chopped candied ginger

The mixing approach is also slightly different: mix the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda; then mix in everything else. The book doesn't warn you that the batter will be thick as hell, almost like cookie dough; you really have to work to spread it in the pan. But it bakes up soft and moist, and let me tell you, it is killing me to not go back for slice number two right now.

Mostly what's stopping me is the frosting, because delicious as it is, you should never really think about what actually goes in frosting. An entire stick of butter. Half a cup of cream cheese. A whole bunch of sugar. I want that second piece, but I can feel the calories from way over here, far away from the fridge.

Besides, might as well not overindulge, so that I can make cupcakes this weekend.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
I've been down with a cold all weekend, but I've still been cooking:

#33, langoustine "stew-fay" from Marcelle Bienvenue's Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux?. Bienvenue's recipe calls for crawfish, which we sadly cannot get up here, but Trader Joe's frozen langoustine tails make a decent substitute. I didn't use quite as much butter as was called for, because half a stick of butter between two people seemed excessive. (Mind you, my compromise was a mere three tablespoons of butter instead of four.) Not bad; needed more umami, so I punched it up with a bit of soy sauce.

#34, ultra-butterscotch brownies, from the King Arthur Flour baking book. Like congo bars, but richer, despite calling for a tablespoon less butter than my usual recipe. Probably the two cups of brown sugar are to blame. This one comes together a little differently than most brownies; you mix some of the dry ingredients in with the wet to start with, and add the eggs at the end. I made two minor changes: subbing in actual dark rum instead of rum flavor, and using some chocolate chips, because I didn't have quite enough butterscotch ones. These were both good ideas.

#35, polenta gnocchi with gorgonzola. I cooked out of Sundays at Moosewood all through college, but somehow never got to this recipe. Wicked easy if you have instant polenta on hand, even if what you end up with aren't exactly traditional gnocchi. Served with a simple, chunky sauce out of slightly caramelized onions, a roasted pepper, and a couple of my homegrown tomatoes.
nonelvis: (Default)
I swear, I didn't mean this year's 50 Recipes project to be 50 Recipes of High-Calorie Baked Goods, but that's how it mostly seems to be going so far. (Number 33, however, is likely to be pickled eggplant, so that should help balance things out.)

#31, Ina Garten's peanut swirl brownies. I promised to bring brownies to a small gathering this weekend, so what better recipe than one that calls for a full pound of butter and more than two pounds of chocolate? It's worth noting that the unusual pan size Garten calls for is almost exactly two 9x13" pans' worth, so it should be easy to cut this in half. (I own two 9x13 pans and just made the whole thing.)

I'm not even going to tell you whether it tasted good, because that should be self-evident. The one adjustment I made was to cut the coffee in half, because I think three tablespoons of coffee would have been really noticeable. A tablespoon and a half was just enough to add a bit of depth without making things taste like coffee.

#32, banana bread with coconut milk. I had some rapidly ripening bananas lying around, and since I already had to crack open some coconut milk for tonight's tofu and veggies in peanut sauce, I figured I might as well go hunting for a recipe that used both. (Bananas and coconut milk, that is.) I also added some chocolate chips, just because.

Like a lot of amateur recipes you find online, this one is missing some information. For example, the recipe doesn't specify the size of loaf pan; there's actually a little more batter than will fit in a 9"x5" loaf pan, so plan accordingly if all you have is something smaller. Add a bit of salt, because even sweet baked goods need it for that little extra bit of oomph. Bake on a cookie sheet, because even if you don't fill up your loaf pan all the way, the pan might overflow during baking, as mine did on one side. (Fortunately, I was using a baking sheet.) And finally, the oven timing is ludicrous -- you can't bake a banana bread this big in 40 minutes; mine took about 75.

Other than that: well, based on the chunk of it that fell off as overflow, this is a very pleasant banana bread with a mild coconut flavor. I might want to experiment with it to strengthen the coconut flavor some more, but I get the feeling that I might need to push things towards the banana-coconut mochi realm to do that ... not that this is a problem. Something to try later, anyway.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
Only 20 more to go!

We got a handful of okra with last week's CSA share, and not having time to pickle it, I searched online for a recipe for sambal okra, a simple but incredibly full-flavored okra dish we'd had at a local Malaysian restaurant. This version suffered slightly due to several substitutions I had to make -- no shrimp paste, so I used an anchovy and a little fish sauce; and the grocery store didn't have the right hot peppers, so I used two milder ones and an underripe tabasco from my garden. I also tossed in some green beans, an onion, and a carrot I had from the share, because there's nothing wrong with more vegetables in a dish.

Considering the substitutions, this was a damned good recipe. The okra was soft but still had a little bite to it, and was barely slimy at all; and despite the lack of shrimp paste, the dish had a mild underlying funk to it that was at least reminiscent of the real thing. It was a start, anyway. Next time: try to get some shrimp paste, and use something other than a nonstick skillet so I can get the same level of crispness the restaurant got on its okra.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
It's the end of summer, so the CSA is shipping us as many zucchini as we can eat, and I'm always looking for new ways to cook them. Tasteologie recently linked to this marinated zucchini salad, which is very quick work if you have a mandoline, and tastes delicious: light, cool, refreshing, and very garlicky. Leftovers -- not that there were many -- disappeared into chorizo and squash enchiladas tonight.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
I've made all kinds of pickles over the year, but somehow have never made relish. Since the cucumbers are coming in like gangbusters right now, I grabbed a few and made this recipe. It yielded fewer jars than expected -- I knew I had exactly 1.5lbs. of cucumbers, cut the recipe in half, and yet still only ended up with a jar and a half of relish when I should have had three -- so that's something for me to keep in mind for next time. Because there's definitely going to be a next time: this stuff is delicious.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
My one xanthan gum experiment failed, but you know what did get me ice cream soft enough to scoop straight out of the freezer? Cook's Illustrated's triple ginger ice cream recipe. There are two important tricks to this recipe: the first, keeping the ice cream base cold enough that it freezes quickly and smoothly, and the second, substituting corn syrup for some of the white sugar to alter crystallization.

Fair warning: this recipe is a little bit of a pain in the ass, to the point where while I was making it, I wondered whether I'd ever bother to do so again. But man, there is some killer ginger flavor here, and the texture is perfect -- just barely soft enough to scoop.

BTW, I think Cook's takes down their public content four months after it's posted, so if you want the recipe, grab it now. Also, the main page about the article (which is only posted in excerpt form) links to recipes for vanilla and coffee crunch ice creams.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
25. A Smitten Kitchen version of a Bon Appetit recipe for chipotle baked beans. Like SK, I left out the bacon, and I also made a couple other modifications: I used Boston Roman beans, because I still had some dried ones from the winter CSA; and I whipped together a quick fake barbecue sauce out of salsa, ketchup, honey, and ancho chile powder, because I was making 1/3 of a recipe, and damned if I was buying a whole bottle of BBQ sauce just for a few tablespoons of it. Delicious and vegan. Will make again.

26. Quick cucumber kimchi. It's going into vegetable bibimbap tonight, assuming I don't eat it all first.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
It's been a very busy weekend (tromping around all over town yesterday trying to avoid the Bruins parade; planting yarrow and okra and mulching today), but I managed to find time for two new recipes:

Tamarind prawns, found via Tasteologie. Next time, I'll skip the first step, since I didn't notice I'd purchased tamarind purée instead of pulp; I was just happy I could get it at my usual grocery store. Even with accidentally diluting the tamarind a bit, this was still very good. Served with a savoy cabbage slaw with cider vinegar/ginger/sesame oil dressing.

The second recipe is the Thai beef salad from the latest issue of Cook's Illustrated. It's a little fussy, as are many of Cook's recipes, but the results are delicious. It was also nice that I could just grab the necessary mint from my backyard instead of having to buy it; soon, I'll be able to do the same with the cucumber and hot peppers.

Hey, I'm almost halfway through fifty recipes, right on target! Go me.
nonelvis: (DW science geeks)
How this began: I made vegan peanut butter cups for my friend's birthday a couple weeks ago, and the cups were especially recalcitrant about coming out of the molds this time around, leaving me with a bunch of broken ones I couldn't serve. I stuck them in the fridge and figured I could chop them up into ice cream.

Later, I began thinking about how I'd never tried making nonfat frozen yogurt, and how this was marginally better for me than actual ice cream, even if I was still planning on mixing in the peanut butter cups. And that led me to the next problem, which was I knew that given the aforementioned zero fat content in the yogurt, even if I drained it first, I'd end up with a hard, icy rock in my freezer.

Which reminded me of xanthan gum. I have another friend who's allergic to cow milk, but has had excellent luck making coconut milk-based ice creams using xanthan gum to ensure a soft texture. So I figured, why not? Sure, I'd never used xanthan gum before, but it was worth a shot – and a mere $15 later (oof) I now own enough xanthan gum to last me a lifetime.

Recipe? Who needs recipes? )
nonelvis: (Default)
Catching up on the 50 Recipes project:

1) Nutella swirl blondies, found via @Tasteologie and made because I needed to throw together a quick dessert that didn't call for more than the 1/3 cup of butter I had in the house. The end result is basically a soft shortbread with Nutella swirled into it, and it's even better cold the next day.

2) Lima beans in serrano chile sauce, from The Vegan Gourmet. I love lima beans, but for some reason, I never get around to cooking them. Still, I wanted a vegan meal one night, and this one is also pretty fast to throw together: you whirl up a salsa in the food processor and cook the limas in it. Served over Israeli couscous, and also better the next day.

3) In the oven right now: double chocolate loaf, again found via @Tasteologie. What can I say? They're really good at pushing me dessert recipes, and we were out of baked goods, which makes [livejournal.com profile] columbina sad. Assuming the final product tastes as good as the batter, this recipe should be another keeper.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
A vegan recipe from Saveur I had to try, since I love collard greens. I made two small alterations to the recipe, sautéeing two thinly sliced portobellas I added back in at the very end of the cooking, and using light coconut milk. The mushrooms were a good idea, but I shouldn't have futzed with the coconut milk, despite the fat content. The final recipe needed that little bit of extra depth the full-fat stuff would have given it, though compensating with some tamari helped, as did -- interestingly enough -- vinegar. (I always add a touch to Southern-style greens, but I was surprised at how much it perked up these, too.)  
nonelvis: (Default)
I'm not the world's biggest date fan, but when Tasteologie sent a tweet today about chocolate date cake, I suddenly realized that was exactly what I wanted to eat. Unfortunately, I still had to make it before I could eat it, and equally unfortunately, the recipe Tasteologie linked to required mini-bundt pans, which I don't have. (I don't even have a regular-size bundt pan, but I'll get around to buying one of those someday.)

Anyway, Google led me to this chocolate date cake instead, and next thing I knew, I was defrosting butter and slicing up the leftover dates from Passover's charoset. An hour and a half later, I had delicious-smelling date cake, which I have just now eaten and determined that you know, dates aren't bad at all. The cake is rich and moist, and though it doesn't taste terribly strongly of dates, they lend a sweetness and depth to the cake it wouldn't have otherwise. I might even be willing to keep the little guys on hand more often now.

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