Sunday, September 30, 2007
British Food Fortnight
Some of the apple crumble recipes sound OK.
In fairness, British cuisine isn't nearly as awful as it used to be. Many of the traditional dishes have been re-worked for modern tastes and really, if you don't ask what's in the black pudding, you might actually enjoy it.
On my last visit, I was pleased to note that the tendency to cook vegetables beyond recognition has been been disappearing. Cauliflower is still baked to death beneath a sea of cheese, but other varieties of veg have fared better in recent years.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Um, Go Big Red
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I Think I See One Last Drop...
Muffins With Prune Plums and Lemon Zest
Individual Mushroom Pies
Algren The Dog Enjoying Chicken Marabella
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Chicken Thighs With Olives, Tomato, Cinnamon and Wine
Monday, September 24, 2007
Savoury Pumpkin Fritters
Oh Look, A Pumpkin Bra
Actually, I just wanted to show how the pumpkin shell looked after roasting. These pumpkins were so hard the skin never softened-even after an hour of roasting. I thought the halves looked somewhat reminiscent of the whole "coconut bra" thing we in the west imagine people to wear in tropical locales. Anyway, it was a nice idea, but unfortunately, these pumpkins were C cups and my melons require a DD. I wonder how many utterly bizarre searches will bring people to the site looking for DD pumpkin bras. I can't wait.
I Nearly Resorted To A Hammer
Sunday, September 23, 2007
What Kind Of Country Fair Are You Talkin' About?
I sort of hope there's a line for other regional markets like "East Coast Communist Cell Meeting" -instead of the grinning farmer you get a picture of Che Guevara with a burrito sticking out of his beret. Or Emma Goldman with a can of beer.
I guess it was impossible to resist purchasing the Midwest Country Fare Chow Mein Noddles. I don't even particularly like the things, but I get such a charge out of the mental image of a booth at the State Fair serving-up plates of Chinese food (I mean Chinese food in a style sense, not actual food made from questionable Chinese ingredients. Wait, maybe I ought to have a look...nope, it's OK-made in West Des Moines.
It is sort of interesting that there is enough demand for crunchy fried noodles around here to warrant manufacturing a store brand. I'd been away from the Midwest for a long time (decades) but when I lived in Illinois as a youngster you had to actually go to Chinatown if you wanted anything beyond an egg roll and chop suey. I'd say that's a pretty positive development.
Wouldn't you know the noodles are actually good? It figures, they have as much fat as potato chips.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
To Market, To Market To Buy A...Package of Mouse Traps
all purpose flour
whole wheat flour
(How could I run out of all three at once?)
(WTF? was with those last three?)
dried pinto beans
Because you know mouse traps are a must (Our neighbour "Farmer Palindrome", is harvesting and the field mice run straight to our house). After six years it only occurred to me yesterday that "Farmer Neighbour's" name was a palindrome, hereafter to be so called.
I don't actually need lolipops, but I like them. Oh, you thought they were for the kid? Nah. He gets them as special treats, but I eat them one after the other as I type away here each evening.
I have no clue how I managed to run out of so many staples at once (flours, rice, beans) but it does make things simpler when I can purchase them at the same time.
I made about a bucket (a shisselful) of black bean soup for dinner tonight which means I'm relieved of cooking tomorrow. That's my preferred approach on marketing day as I am usually too wiped-out to come home and cook afterward.
So, what's the weirdest thing on your shopping list this week?
Breaking The Fast Apricot Noodle Kugel
I should note that this is quite a heavy kugel. You could lighten it up calorie wise by using egg less noodles and fat free cottage cheese, sour cream, etc.
You Will Need:
2 cups broad noodles, cooked and drained
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon melted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1-cup pineapple cottage cheese
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup raisins
8 poached apricots (if fresh or frozen) or straight from the tin, diced
2/3 cup cinnamon sugar (or regular sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix everything together in a bowl, pour into a greased 2-quart casserole dish and bake 35-45 minutes until nicely browned. Serve hot or cold.
Friday, September 21, 2007
"Mama Will Bake Pie"
Crispy "Aromatic" Fish and Sweet Potato Pancakes
Rhubarb Raisin Apple Pie
I love rhubarb, so much so that I've taken to freezing those first lovely, tender stalks from spring so I may enjoy them later on.
I was having a really wonderful week. For the first time in maybe ten months I felt strong enough to get out and do errands by myself. That might not sound like much, but most days I'm exhausted after taking a shower. Anyway, I felt great and did a million things this week and then, just so I wouldn't get too confident, I promptly caught a virus. But before I got too sick, I made a pie.
This is a rather tart pie as I used Jonathan apples along with the rhubarb. You may wish to increase the sugar a bit, or halve the lemon juice. The pie was the result of reading through half a dozen recipes that weren't what I wanted. Instead, I trusted my instincts and came up with what I consider one of my better attempts. I hope you like it.
You Will Need:
For the crust-
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold water
1 tablespoon vinegar
Before beginning, place cold water in freezer to be ice cold. Sift together the flour and salt. Cut-in the shortening with a pastry cutter. Add the egg to the water and beat slightly. Add the vinegar and pour into the flour/shortening mixture. Work into a soft dough. Let stand a few minutes before rolling out.
For the filling-
5 small Jonathan apples, peeled, cored and sliced into segments
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 1/2-5 cups chopped rhubarb (frozen need not be defrosted-use as is)
1 cup sugar
1 heaping teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup fine-milled flour (like Wondra. All purpose will be OK but the ultra fine flours dissolve easier)
Cream/sugar for glazing top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 9 inch pie plate with bottom crust. I do not bother, but you can brush the bottom crust with a beaten egg white if you fear sogginess). Place in the apples, rhubarb, and raisins. Sprinkle with the lemon juice. In a small bowl, mix flour, ginger, and ginger with enough water to make a smooth paste that will pour (about 3 tablespoons). Pour over the filling.
Place top crust on and seal. Cut vent holes and brush lightly with heavy cream. Sprinkle generously with sugar and bake about 40 minutes. I'd begin checking after 35 to be safe, and it may take as long as an hour-just keep an eye out to be certain it does not burn. A glass pie plate is great as you can check the progress of the bottom crust and be able to tell if you should cover the top with foil. In the absence of a see-through plate, use your judgement
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Ground Beef Curry
You Will Need:
2 large yellow onions, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small tart apple, diced
fresh rosemary to taste, chopped
2-4 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
1 lb. ground beef
1 tablespoon flour
4 tablespoons raisins (goldens are nice)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 teaspoons curry powder (this is pretty spicy, particularly if you use Madras. You may wish to go lighter)
1 beef bouillon cube
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup cooked peas
salt and pepper to taste
Brown the onion , apple, rosemary, and garlic in the butter over medium heat. Add the ground beef, breaking up well. Cook until browned. Add the flour and stir well. Add the raisins, ginger, curry, bouillon, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the peas, salt and pepper. Re-warm and serve over cooked rice.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Cabbage and Celery Casserole
This was a great way to use up some wilting vegetables in the bin. The casserole was quick to prepare and only needed fifteen minutes in the oven. I particularly like that it does not really taste of cabbage. The milk, cream and breadcrumbs do a good job of neutralising the more "cabbage-y" aspects of a casserole such as this.
You Will Need:
3 cups shredded cabbage
boiling water to cover cabbage
1 cup finely diced celery
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
salt and pepper
1 cup milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place cabbage in a large pot and cover with boiling water. Let sit 5 minutes, drain well. Mix in the celery.
In a greased casserole, make a layer of the vegetables and sprinkle with 1/3 of the bread crumbs. Salt and pepper each layer as you go. Make another layer of vegetables, crumbs and finally vegetables. Blend the milk, cream, and egg together and strain over the casserole. Top with remaining crumbs and dot with butter. Sprinkle with cheese and bake uncovered for fifteen minutes or until top is lightly browned.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
My friend Evelyn is macro and though I miss living close by, I do not miss the endless cups of bancha tea I'd be compelled to drink out of politeness. Blech. That's pretty much my reaction to this meal, though in fairness I've never been too fond of silken tofu, seaweed, or miso. The buckwheat noodles were less of a trial, but not by much.
My husband on the other hand, likes this sort of thing and thought it was great. I really do think that's what it comes down to-individual tastes. At the very least, it is good for you.
So why did I make it? Well, I read a recipe HERE that was similar (different noodles and fish) and thought it sounded interesting. Bear in mind, I'm sure Haalo's was much, much, better. Different anyway. I'd been wondering about Sansho pepper for quite some time and was happy to finally have an opportunity to use it. I also don't believe in only eating things one likes, so as an example to my son, I made miso soup.
The mushrooms in the cellophane package were sort of curious. There's no nation of origin stamp (take a wild guess) nor description beyond "dried mushroom." They don't look like shitake, and frankly I wouldn't be shocked if they were plain old white button mushrooms trimmed to look more exotic. I picked them up at an Asian market in Omaha near Peony Park. If I grow a second head or something, I'll be sure to post photos.
Sansho pepper is a bit more difficult to come by, however there is a wonderful Japanese market in Ralston (84th street) that has that and so much more. If I was buying miso or soba noodles, that would be my first stop as they move more of it than other places. You can of course buy miso in health food stores as well. I used a soybean miso but I recently read there are miso pastes (fermented soybean) made from chickpeas or rice. Definitely something I'd keep an eye out for.
This was a simple meal to prep and keep warm. Miso should never be boiled. The best technique is to boil water and then remove it from heat. Then stir in the miso.
So Here's tonight's dinner in honour of my friend Evelyn who is much more disciplined than I (and probably healthier).
You Will Need:
2 sheets Kombu seaweed, rinsed and unrolled
4-5 dried mushrooms
1 package firm, silken tofu, cut into cubes
1/2 package buckwheat (or mugwort) soba noodles
1 carrot cut in matchsticks
4 teaspoons red miso paste
4 cups boiling water
1 small cod fillet
Flour for breading cod
Oil for frying
In a small pot, combine mushrooms, Kombu, and carrot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes. Drain. Cut the mushrooms into chunks, and chop the seaweed. Set aside in bowl with carrots.
In a large pot, cook soba noodles according to directions. Note-this can sometimes is tricky sometimes, depending on translation.
While noodles cook, boil 4 cups of water in a large pot. Remove from heat and stir in the miso. Add the tofu, seaweed, carrots, and mushrooms. Cover and keep warm without simmering (very, very low heat).
Drain noodles. Add to miso mixture. Cut the fish into cubes. Roll in flour and then fry in heated cooking oil, a few minutes on each side until lightly browned.
Assemble the soup with the chunks of fish on top. Sprinkle lightly with the Sansho pepper and serve.
Your family will either love you, or refuse to speak to you. I suggest having dessert on hand-just in case.