nonelvis: (Default)
Back in April, I visited my family in DC, and I lucked out, foodwise: my hotel was just a few blocks from Momofuku's DC outpost. I had their chilled Szechuan noodles with pork, Thai basil, and cashews and vowed then and there I'd replicate the dish at home if I could.

Which I have, or near enough for my purposes.

Chilled Szechuan noodles with pork

recipe, after the cut )
nonelvis: (Default)
Storing this here for posterity:


A good meal, if I do say so myself.
nonelvis: (MARTINI it's what's for dinner)
Let's not discuss how far over I am on today's calorie allotment, because the truly important thing is that a good third of them went to a martini, my favorite beer, and homemade coconut cream pie:

Coconut cream pie

Happy Fourth of July to my fellow Americans!
nonelvis: (MARTINI it's what's for dinner)
Tonight's menu, listed here for posterity:

  • Sikil pak (Mayan pumpkin seed dip)

  • Pickled carrots

  • Dry-brined turkey

  • Giblet gravy, because the asshole cats wouldn't eat the giblets I lovingly hand-cooked for them

  • WHAT KIND OF SELF-RESPECTING CAT TURNS DOWN FRESH LIVER AND HEART I ASK YOU

  • Chickpea cutlets with sriracha cashew cream

  • Garlic mashed potatoes with fried shallots

  • Roasted brussels sprouts

  • Cornbread dressing

  • Cranberry sauce

  • Brioche rolls

  • Gluten-free spinach and feta bread

  • Black-bottom pumpkin chiffon pie

  • Spiced pumpkin-seed brittle

  • Gluten-free pumpkin and chocolate whoopie pies

  • Lemongrass limeade, which mixed very nicely with the homemade gin



I am a little bit full right now.
nonelvis: (SANDMAN making little frogs)
I would title this post "burying the lede," but honestly, there's no point in it; might as well just say it, which is that yesterday I submitted an original story to Uncanny Magazine for publication. Honestly, I don't expect them to buy it, because the odds are always against slushpile entries. But you never know -- it's spelled and punctuated correctly, which is probably better than some entries they get; it's a story that "make[s] you feel," which is the type of stuff they're after; and who knows, maybe now that they've hit their Kickstarter stretch goal of an extra story per issue, they'll be open to giving unpublished authors a shot. (I did mention my published nonfiction in my cover letter, but I have no published fiction, which is probably what they most care about.)

So anyway, that happened, and the final story prep and submission was utterly terrifying, but I did it. I should hear back in about a month, although they say authors should contact them if they haven't heard back in 45 days. And I suppose if it doesn't sell to Uncanny, I can always try another market.

Other things: I have a new lead at work that is basically already sold without my having to do a damned thing, as well as a possible small continuation of an existing project. I still need to send out marketing email Real Soon Now, but because last year was such a financial disaster, we are actually owed a huge refund on our taxes (GOD BLESS CPAs) that we will apply to next year's taxes, which makes it much easier to coast by over the next few months.

Also, we had an utterly lovely day today. some photos and video after the cut )
nonelvis: (MARTINI it's what's for dinner)
I think I mentioned a little while back that I was going to try making gin, but I never reported back. The results: FANTASTIC. Making gin is trivially easy, and we're now on our second bottle of the stuff.

Here it is steeping:

Gin in progress

That's a fifth, so next time, I think I'll get a couple of bottles and just fill the jar.

We tried it first with regular-proof vodka, but as the house gin is Bombay Sapphire (94 proof), 80-proof gin felt a little weak in a martini. This second batch was made with Smirnoff's 100-proof vodka, and is somewhat smoother.

I started off with Serious Eats' recipe, but made a few minor modifications to suit our taste: no lavender, and I added some black peppercorns. For 1 bottle of 100-proof vodka, I used:

3T juniper berries
1.5 chamomile teabags
1 big strip (about 6") grapefruit peel, and the same of lime peel
26 peppercorns
1.5 bay leaves
3/4 t coriander seed
5 crushed cardamom pods
6 allspice berries

Steep the juniper in the vodka alone for 12 hours, then put everything else in and steep for another 36 hours. Strain and enjoy (and trust me, you will enjoy).
nonelvis: (SANDMAN making little frogs)
Yesterday, I found out that Cadbury makes Pots of Joy, the equivalent of creme egg pudding. As a longtime creme egg fan, I knew I had to try these … but I quickly discovered that like my beloved Cadbury Twisted bars, Pots of Joy are not available in the United States. (In fairness, you can get Twisteds by mail through Amazon and other outlets. But you can't walk up to your local drugstore and buy them, which is the problem.)

Anyway, the point here is that I was being denied creme egg-flavored pudding, and clearly this was just wrong. Fortunately, I am capable of making pudding. So I did.

Recipes, photos, and instructions )
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
Florentines

Every year, I give my business partner a homemade baked good for the holidays. This year, it's Cook's Illustrated's florentines, which have just a hint of orange from marmalade and zest, and the perfect crunch. It's really, easy, too, provided you have a food processor to grind the almonds and enough parchment paper for all the batches.

Grab the recipe now if you want it, as Cook's takes them down within a month or two of posting. This one's well worth making any time of year.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
While I contemplate whether to spend this evening writing fic, beta'ing fic, or both, I might as well log the Thanksgiving menu:

  • Grilled turkey -- an 8.75-pounder this year, since there were only three carnivores at the table, but I think I need to go a touch larger to have sufficient leftovers for turkey salad *and* gumbo. (The Sunday night gumbo is compulsory.)

  • Cranberry-orange-apricot sauce

  • Cornbread dressing

  • Kohlrabi rémoulade

  • Potato-parsnip latkes, since it's Thanksgivukkah this year. One of the best batches I've ever made, possibly due to the chickpea flour used to make them celiac-friendly. Served with sour cream and homemade applesauce.

  • Mixed greens braised in tamari

  • Vegan entrée brought by my friend J: polenta-lentil cakes with an amazing coconut milk-mushroom sauce

  • Pecan pie

  • Chocolate-hazelnut cake with chocolate-honey ganache (also celiac-friendly!)

  • Coconut sorbet

  • Milk chocolate pecan turtles J got from a wonderful restaurant in Harvard Square



Four desserts for five people sounds reasonable, yes? I thought so, anyway.

Hope those of you who observe Thanksgiving and/or Hanukkah are having as nice a holiday weekend as I am.
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
L'shanah tovah, everyone!

Bees!

(Nigella Lawson's honey bee cake recipe. I have never done this excessive a decorating job on any baked good I've made, but I cannot stop giggling at it. Because LITTLE MARZIPAN BEES.)
nonelvis: (GARDEN bee)
When was the last time I made a food post? I don't even remember, although I've been cooking a lot, as usual. (Latest favorite: CSA corn stripped from the cob, sautéed in butter with fresh peppers and okra from my garden.)

Anyway, this past week, we got ground cherries, aka Cape gooseberries, from the CSA. I'd never had them before, or even seen them, but they look like tiny, pale orange tomatillos (complete with papery husk) and taste like tomatoes crossed with pineapple. I am clearly going to need to track down a semi-regular source for these.

Once I husked the little guys, I had about half a cup of them, so I decided to turn them into clafouti, which I hadn't made in years. (Possibly ever, although I distinctly remember helping my father make a cherry one when I was a kid.) This isn't quite the recipe, but it's close. Since there were only two of us, I cut it in half and made it in ramekins; the results looked like soufflés when I took them out of the oven, and sank accordingly later.

Ground cherry clafouti

Verdict: A+, would eat again.
nonelvis: (Default)
I have been sick as a dog for the past three days -- I knew it was bad when I got a fever (which never happens to me) and worse, could not taste chocolate -- but I'm miraculously better today, even if I do sound like a five-pack-a-day smoker, and thus, I am finally cooking again. (And drinking a martini, duh.)

I cook a lot (check the "50 recipes" and "food and drink" tags), and being sick has meant I had neither energy nor inspiration to do so. It was ridiculously exciting to pull even this half-assed recipe for artichoke pesto together after several days of not cooking at all.

Recipe posted for posterity, after the cut.  )
nonelvis: (Default)
When I have time off -- as I mercifully, finally do right now -- I tend to relax by cooking elaborate food. I don't know why I find this relaxing, but considering it means I end up making things like this, no one has ever complained about how I spend my time.

Chocolate-espresso dacquoise

more after the cut )
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!

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