?

Log in

Improvisational Cooking!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

12:02AM - I can haz cooking (Orange Olive Oil Cake)

So, here is a recipe (slightly modified from one found on the Internets) for and Orange Olive Oil cake. I have made this in a nine-inch pan, and also doubled it and baked it in in 7 little aluminum loaf pans for sale at a church bake sale. The texture is light and moist.

Ingredients:

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest (about 1 large orange)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup olive oil (plus more for the pan(s))
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for the pan(s))
1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal (coarse-ground, if you can find it)
1/2 teaspoon baking power
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt

Method:

Oil a nine-inch round cake pan with olive oil. Dust the inside with flour, tapping out the excess, and set aside. Grate the zest off a well-washed orange. Squeeze 1/4 cup of juice from the orange; add the zest and almond extract to the juice.

Set the oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together all the dry ingredients except the sugar in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until the mixture is light and pale yellow. Add all the other liquid ingredients to the egg mixture, stirring to combine.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until well moistened. Batter should be lumpy, a lot like a thinnish pancake batter.

Pour batter into pan* (it will be very full) and set pan in oven on middle rack Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a tester poked into the middle comes out clean. Remove pan to a wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely. Then run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen it, and turn the cake out onto a plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with Greek yogurt and berries. Makes 12 servings.

*To convert this into little teacakes, get the smallest size of aluminum loaf pan, prep three of them as described, and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Follow all instructions as written above. The pans will be very full, and a ladle is a useful tool for filling them. Bake for 50-60 minutes (due to the baking sheet and additional thickness, these take longer.

To make more little cakes, double the recipe and prepare seven pans. You will get six and a half loaves. The half-loaf should be taken out of the oven after about 40 minutes.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

10:40PM - Mascarpone Tart

The recipe is also boosted from a Whole Foods circular. It has been modified to use stuff I found around the house.

1 frozen pie crust
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup raw honey (plus 2 tbsp later)
2 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
1 tub of mascarpone (8 oz)
1 tsp Pensey's Italian Blend
2 pears

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Stick the pie crust in there for 20 minutes.
3. While that's going, mix together the yogurt, eggs, mascarpone, vanilla, and honey. Get it nice and smooth
4. Let the pie crust cool for a little bit, and pour the goo into the crust. There will be leftover goo. Don't overfill!
5. Bake the pie for 30 minutes.
6. While that's going, slice up the pear really thin, and toss with the leftover honey and herb blend.
7. When the pie comes out of the oven, let it cool, and then cover with herby pear slices

Yummy!

10:34PM - Monkfish Chowder

This recipe is boosted from a Whole Foods circular, and has been hijacked to not be dairy-free. The category names are wrong, but they divide the steps easily

Chopped Up Veggies
3 celery stalks
1 red bell pepper
1 small yellow onion

Liquids
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup flour
6 cups milk

Herbs
1.75 lbs of potatoes, cut up into little chunks
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Fish
1 12oz package of frozen fish (we used monkfish fillets), thawed
1 cup corn, or one cob's worth

Steps
1. Heat some oil in a soup pot (high heat), and saute the veggies for 7 minutes
2. Add the chicken stock, scrape up fond, 2 minutes
3. Stir in flour until well combined.
4. Add in milk, potatoes, and herbs. Stir until your hear bubbling noises.
5. Lower heat, and stir for another 15 minutes.
6. Stir in the fish and corn, and stir for another 10 minutes.

Very tasty!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

6:17PM - Oatmealish Raisinish cookies

This recipe was boosted from the Best Recipe cookbook, and hijacked to conform to the ingredients I had on hand.  We brought these to our friends' yearly in-home gaming convention, and they were quickly snarfed. 

Ingredients

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 sticks of butter
.5 cups splenda/borwn sugar half-and-half
1 cup turbinado sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups steel cut oats
1 cup grits (also called hominy)
1.5 cups blueberries

There are three basic stages to making cookies

1. Mix everything together
2. Put finished dough on a cookie sheet
3. Bake cookies in oven

And of course

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you're out of dough

1. Mix everything together
a) whisk the dry ingredients (not oatmeal or berries) together in a small bowl
b) nuke the butter for 20 seconds
c) in a big bowl, mash the butter into bits with a hand mixer. 
d) add sugar, keep beating (3 minutes)
e) beat in the eggs 1 at a time
f) stir dry ingredients into wet.  Stir until everything is mixed all together.
g) mix in oatmeal, hominy, and berries

2. Put cookie dough on sheet (I should mention that according to an old Mrs. Piggly-Wiggly story, the original spelling of cookie is 'cooky'.  Nothing would surprise me)
a) rub the paper the butter was wrapped in all over 2 baking pans (or use some other sort of oil, or parchment paper, or similar)
b) with a big spoon, make 1-inch balls of dough, and place 12-15 on a sheet, leaving maybe .75 inches between each ball

3. Bake cookies in oven
a) preheat oven to 350 degrees
b) put cookies in oven, one one the medium rack, one on the bottom
c) after 10 minutes, rotate the sheets by two degrees of freedom (switch top to bottom, and switch front to back).  Bake another 15 minutes
d) pull out the cookies, pull them off the sheets and onto a cooling rack.  Wait maybe 10 minutes for cookies to cool, and enjoy. 

The original recipe says to use 2-inch dollops of dough, and that makes 18 cookies.  I used 1-inch balls, and made a double batch, and got 78 cookies.  Your mileage may vary.  I think next time I want to use some finer sugar (the turbinado added a saccharine crunch I didn't really like), and maybe sub out the splenda stuff for Domino granulated brown, and maybe some rolled oats or some farina, and perhaps I could go to Trader Joe's and get one of their packages of weird dried fruit mixes.  Anyway, as you can see, there are lots of directions you can take with cookies like these.  

Maybe next time I'll make coconut snickerdoodles. 

Sunday, April 13, 2008

11:44AM - Apple? Crumble?

Lovely Wife (WOW?) recently gave me an apple crumble recipe to make, and this is what I came up with eventually

10 apples
5 pears
15 whole cloves

11 prunes (125 grams, for sticklers, and I am one)
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup macadamia nuts
1 cup almonds
3/4 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Peel, core, and destroy your fruit.
2. Place fruit destruction in a wide pan, and put in the cloves, evenly spaced
3. Put in the microwave on high for 20 minutes
4. While that's going, put the rest of the ingredients in the blender, and blend until you get a thick puree. You're going to have to stop in the middle and mix unblended bits into the bottom of the blender from time to time. You want a kind of pruney, nutty paste.
5. Take the fruit out of the nuker, fish out the cloves, and spread the nut paste onto the top. You probably won't have quite enough paste to cover the whole thing, that's okay.
6. Bake in the oven on 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.

It's not entirely apples, and it's not crumbly, but it's pretty tasty regardless. Also, wheat free and dairy free, how about that!

Friday, March 28, 2008

9:23AM - Church Chowder, Southern Mantis style

This variation on Church Chowder is for those of us who cannot afford to eat too many potato-based products (ie, too much starch for diabetics). Props to Lirazel for the inspiration, natch.

2 slices bacon, cut into inch cubes (thick-cut is best)
1 chicken breast, cut into cubes.
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 1lb rutabaga, finely chopped
1/4 tsp black and red
1/4 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp wheat germ (optional) (makes the soup a little thicker)
3 cups chicken broth (boxed is fine)
1 bag frozen corn (about 2.5 cups)
1 small can chopped green chilies
1 can black beans
1.5 cups half-and half

1. Cut up everything that needs cutting up. (bacon, chicken, onion, pepper, rutabaga). I have a really neat onion killer that I'd love to link to, but I can't seem to find a link. Kills onions, peppers, and rutabaga into very very tiny pieces. Oh, don't forget to peel your rutabaga first
2. Cook the bacon and the chicken in the bottom of your soup pot, until everything looks nice and crispy. Pull everything out, and lay it on a papered surface. You should have some bacon grease in the bottom of your pot.
3. Dump in your onion, pepper, and rutabaga, and let sizzle for a few minutes.
4. Throw in everything else, except the meat and the milk, and let simmer well for 30 minutes (rutabaga, even cut up really small, takes a while longer to cook than potato)
5. Turn off the pot, and you should have 6 cups of stuff in there. Take 4 cups of that (in 2 batches!), and blend until smooth.
6. Put everything back into the pot, and add the cream and meat bits. Stir until warm. Great with Wasa crackers.

The rutabaga is a rather pungent potato substitute, but it does possess the correct texture. The extra spices are to take some of the edge off that. Pretty darn tasty!

Monday, January 14, 2008

7:50AM - Insalata di mare

And, this recipe is inspired from the video game 'Odin Sphere'. The original recipe calls for Shrimp, Onionne, and 1 Ariel coin. This is what I came up with

1 bunch spinach leaves (stems removed)
5 or so ripped-up leaves of red lettuce
1/2 pound frozen salad shrimp
1/2 little container of pine nuts
1/2 yellow onion
1 very large shallot
4 oz. grated cumin-infused cheese
3/2 dozen grape tomatoes

0. Boil a pot of water
1. Render the onion and the shallot into very tiny pieces.
2. Turn off the heat, and put the salad shrimp into the water for 9 minutes.
3. Grate the cheese.
4. Rip up the salad greens.
5. Toss salad.

Serve, _without_ salad dressing. Makes two, perhaps three servings. It's really quite good.

...If the basic abbreviated denomination of a currency is 'G', then why is the smallest piece of said currency (1G) a silver coin? What does the 'G' stand for?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

10:15PM - Banana Bread Adventure

I have started to get the hang of our bread machine. Please forgive me.

This recipe is intended for use with a bread machine. If you'd like to use this recipe, go get one of those first. As usual, this recipe is loaded with a raft of crazy substitutions.

Banana Bread

2 bananas
.25 cup goat yogurt (or, well, sour cream)

.5 cup canola oil
1 4oz cup of egg goop (or 2 eggs)
1 tsp vanilla
.5 cup Splenda
.5 cup brown sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
.5 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp salt
2 sugar-free chocolate chip cookies (or .5 cup walnuts)

1. Smash the bananas and the yogurt together.
2. Chop up your cookies (or walnuts)
3. Put all the ingredients into your bread bucket in the order of the manufacturer's suggestion (usually but not always wet, dry, yeast). In my case, dump them all in in the order they appear in this recipe. Oh, and don't spread the flour around in the bucket, just let it form a natural heap.
4. Set the bread machine for the 'Quick Bread' cycle, and let 'er rip!
5. Once the baking cycle has finished, yoink the bread bucket out of the bread machine, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
6. Pull the banana loaf out of the bread bucket, and let it cool a bit before serving.

Pretty tasty, actually. Perhaps I'll get actual walnuts for next time.

Friday, December 22, 2006

8:36AM - Butternut Nog

Hehheheh....mwahahaahaaaa! Behold, my latest creation! Just in time for the holidays!

Butternut Squash...'Nisque'

1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds or so
1 medium onion
1 sprig of sage
2 cups reduced sodium vegetable stock
2 tablespoons cooking sherry
some amount of olive oil
1 cup Silk Nog (really, any soy milk eggnog will do)

Prepare the squash
1. Cut the squash in half, and scoop out all the guts
2. Brush both exposed halves of the squash and a baking sheet with olive oil.
3. Put the squash on the sheet, oiled-side-down, and stick it in the oven at 300 degrees for 45 minutes.

Prepare your other bits
1. Get your vegetable stock ready (I used a low-salt bouillon cube)
2. Chop up your onion
3. Do other time-saving tricks to get ready. I poured two tablespoons of sherry into a small glass, and mixed it with chopped-up sage.

Cooking
1. When the squash is done, check it with a fork. If it's done, use tongs and a big spoon to scoop out the soft squash meat into a separate container.
2. Put a soup pot on the stove, put in some olive oil, and saute the onion bits.
3. When the onion is translucent, dump in the sage, sherry, and squash. Wait a little for the booze in the sherry to evaporate.
4. Pour in the vegetable stock. Bring the whole mess to a boil.
5. Once boiled, turn down the heat to a simmer, and leave it for 20 minutes.
6. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat, and pour in the eggnog.
7. Put the whole contents of the pots into a blender (if you don't have a Pyrex blender, you might want to wait a bit for the concoction to cool). It should _just_ fit, but you can of course blend in two stages.
8. Blend on level 2, for a little less than a minute.

You will end up with a beautiful, tasty goop the exact color of tumeric. Serves...not sure, really. Enjoy!

Monday, December 18, 2006

10:25PM - The Omlette of Death

We actually used to eat this every Saturday.

Then we realized that if Bravest were to continue getting good cholesterol readings (the fat lady has great cholesterol, the skinny-ass Irishman has blood that's apparently partially lard), we were going to have to cut back. Now this is a Treat.

4 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
Salt and pepper to taste (I like to toss in a little dried dill)
1/2 lb bacon or sausage
1/2 onion, chopped coarsely
5 or 6 fresh mushrooms, stems trimmed and caps sliced about 1/4-inch thick (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
about 1/4 lb of cheddar cheese, sliced thin or crated

If you are planning to use bacon, cook your bacon until crispy. I bake it on the broiler pan (to catch the drips) in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes, loosening the strips about half-way through. This way of cooking bacon is very crispy--you have to watch it to keep it from burning.

If you plan to use sausages and they are not pre-cooked, squeeze the sausage meat out of the casing in small blobs into a frying-pan.

Heat the oil in the frying-pan (and the sausage if using, and add the onions and mushrooms, and a little salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until all ingredients are well browned, then turn heat as low as it will go.

Break the eggs into a small bowl, and beat them with a fork or small whisk until the whites and yolks are well mixed. Beat in the milk, salt and pepper, and any other seasonings you fancy.

In a non-stick frying-pan with low, curving sides (if you have one--but non-stick is key), melt the butter over medium low heat and swirl the pan to coat the bottom and sides evenly. Raise heat to medium, pour in the egg, and whisk or beat the egg briskly as it lies in the pan for about five seconds. Then, using an appropriate spatula, pull the cooking egg into the center of the pan, letting the liquid egg from the center flow to the outside. The goal is to get a little ridge of cooking egg across the center of the pan.

Beginning at this ridge, spread the cooked onion and mushroom mixture over one-half the egg. If using bacon, lay the bacon over this; lay the cheese over all. Turn heat to medium low, and cover for about a minute or until the top of the omlette sets. Flip the uncovered half of the omlette over the filling, and cook for another minute or two. Cut in half and serve at once with buttered toast and, perhaps, an appointment for an arterial catheterization.

Variation: Vermont Omlette of Death

This is what we do with leftover apple-spice sausages from Whole Foods (I get three when I buy them and save one).

Omit mushrooms, and in their place add a Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into bite-sized chunks. Omit the bacon or fresh sausage, and in their place add a cooked apple-spice pork sausage (or any mild sausage, really), sliced. Keep the onions, and continue as described. You have no idea how good sauteed apples and onions are until you try this. Make sure the cheese you use is Cabots or Grafton Mill or Shelburne Farms, from Vermont.

Current mood: satisfied

Friday, December 8, 2006

8:49PM - Chocolate Mousse

Edit: NOW I KNOW EVERYTHING!!!! Mwahahaha!!!

6 ounces of 60% dark chocolate (no more, no less)
4 large eggs (very very fresh, you're not going to be cooking these)
1/2 stick of unsalted butter (or ghee, or lurpak) (ghee makes the mousse taste a lot like cow, and lurpak separates into a thin green layer of lard on top) (also, lurpak is bad, because if you aren't _very_ careful, then some lurpak paper will sneak its way into the mousse. this is because it's difficult to measure lurpak)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons Chambord
1 pinch salt

Gear
1 double boiler, which is really a fancy pan you can lay on top of a pot to cover it, and have a top and bottom compartment
1 electric mixer (I use a hand mixer)
1 large pyrex measuring cup
a couple of little cups, like teacups or something
a pair of pliers
if you have one, 1 copper mixing bowl (KEEP VERY CLEAN!! Too much exposure to water for this thing, and you start getting toxic copper salts mixed in with your mousse)

1. Separate the eggs. This means you carefully crack each egg, and dump as much whites as you can into one teacup without cutting the yolk by accident on a shard of eggshell. Put the yolk (probably with an albumen, that's a little white dangly thing) into another teacup. Repeat this process 4 times.
2. Cut the butter into 4 equal chunks, and set them aside.
3. Mix your fancy alcohols and your salt
4. Set up the double boiler. This means pour some water into the bottom pot part, and stick the top part on it, and then lift the top part off again to check that there is some space between the bottom of the top and the top of the water. Turn on the stove, and set it to medium-low. Chocolate, after all, melts at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Cut up the chocolate into chunks (do _not_ use cocoa powder! bad idea!), and dump them into the top part of the double boiler. The reason why you have to use chocolate with real sugar in it is because then it will clump properly to the egg whites.
6. Watch the chocolate melt. If steam starts to escape from the double boiler, turn down the heat.
7. Once the chocolate is melted, whisk in the butter pats, one at a time, making sure each pat is dissolved before whisking in another one.
8. Dump in your salty boozes. There might be some salt on the bottom of the teacup. Meh. Stir.
9. Whisk in the egg yolks one at a time. This will make the chocolate sludge thicken. You want it to look brown, with no trace of yellow.
10. Turn off the heat.
11. Grab the pyrex container, fill it half full of water, and stick it in the microwave for a few minutes. Your objective is to get a warm glass bowl. If using a copper mixing bowl, I suggest taking a towel right out of the dryer, and wrapping the outside of the bowl.
12. Dump out the hot water, put in the egg whites, electric mix on low while stirring in sugar, and keep going until you get soft peaks. Basically, get the egg whites to look like shaving cream.
13. Fold the egg whites gently into the brown goop. Your goal is to get stuff that's the color of the chocolate goop, with the consistency of the egg white goop.
15. Put the cream into the pyrex bowl, and electric mix until _just before_ you get whipped cream. Again, soft peaks are key.
16. Fold that into the about-to-be-mousse. Get it into one even consistency.

Now, the double boiler is still pretty hot, so here's what you do to get the mousse into the fridge. Pry one edge of the top of the double boiler up with a fingernail or a butter knife, and clamp onto it with the pliers. The pliers grip won't be very stable (but it will work better than low-dexterity pot holders or burning your bare hands), so very carefully transfer the mousse goop into the a seal-able bowl, and put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. (more like overnight for best consistency)

Inshallah, there will be _wonderful_ mousse. Good luck.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

9:46PM - Church Chowder

My few but loyal Constant Readers may recall that back last March, I acted as supporting cast for a major Production--breakfast and lunch for about 300 people who were working at or attending the Malden Historical Society Antique Show. Among the things we made was corn chowder, which came out excellently well--a surprise, since neither of the cooks had a recipe, and one cook (me) had never eaten it. (We had to make corn chowder because the previous hosts of the event had always made corn chowder. Tradition, you know.)

Later, I read with interest a recipe from Cook's Illustrated that involved scoring ears of fresh corn with the tines of a fork, then pressing out the corn "milk" with the back of a knife. Which may be worthwhile in corn season, but isn't practical in March--or December, for that matter.

So, today I recreated the church recipe for home use. I'm not really sure it can be dairy-free (renken, you'll have to try something and tell me), but I'm pretty sure it can be wheat-free. You will need a stick blender and a saucepan or small stockpot (1 gal) with a thick bottom.

2 slices bacon, cut into inch cubes (thick-cut is best)
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 medium potatos or eight/ten "boiler" potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes or thereabouts. Red bliss, yukon gold, or Idaho will all work. Red bliss will keep their shape best.
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
pinch cayenne (and I mean a small pinch)
2 Tsb flour (optional)*
3 cups chicken broth (I used boxed broth--the flavor of the other ingredients is so strong, it seemed a shame to use my homemade stuff)
1 bag frozen corn (about 2.5 cups)
1.5 cups half-and half

In the pot cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon to a small dish lined with paper and set aside. Spoon out all but two tablespoons of the bacon fat and either throw it away or reserve it for another use (like cornbread!).

Add the onions, potatos, pepper, salt, and cayenne, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is transparent. The bottom of the pot may have some build-up. Don't worry about this. Add the flour if you are using it, and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.

Add the chicken stock and the corn. The chicken stock should just about cover everything. Bring to a boil, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot from time to time to loosen the yummy brown build-up (the fond, if you want to talk the language of cookery, but it seems a bit pretentious to talk about a fond and corn chowder). Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until a piece of potato no longer tastes raw.

Turn off the heat. Remove about 1.5 cups of solids from the soup and set aside. With the stick blender and the "chopping" blade, puree the remaining soup until it is thick but not totally smooth, about 3 minutes. Return the reserved solids and the cooked bacon to the pot, turn on the heat to medium low, and bring back to a simmer.

Add the half-and-half and continue cooking over low heat until soup is steaming and just barely starting to simmer again. Do not let it boil. Adjust salt if necessary, and serve at once with toast, biscuits, or Vermont "common" crackers.

*The flour makes it certain that the soup will be thick, but there's enough potato in the recipe that you can probably do without it.

This was so good that Bravest and I were practically climbing into the pot. I suppose a nit-picker might have found it rather fibrous, since it certainly had more of the corn kernel skin in it than the classic press-out-the-innards method. But the cooking time was about 45 minutes, which to me is a fair trade. Also, when we did this at church we used canned corn, which is salted already, so we needed no additional salt at all. The home version needed about a teaspoon. The cayenne, nicely mellowed by all the cooking, added just the barest touch of heat.

Current mood: full

8:52AM - Chana Masala, Curry-Inspired Rice

(or, Chickpeas are full of delicious.)

So, one of my friends has an apartment this semester, and as part of it, a *real kitchen*. Gasp! And, with another friend of ours, we've been getting together most Fridays to practice our cooking. 8D I haven't really had time to get down the recipes before, but this is something I made this past Friday, which we decided was "C" Day (other dishes, the recipes of which I don't have, included corn chowder, corn cake muffins, and chocolate chip walnut cookies). The theme was only decided upon after we picked two or three dishes, since we were working on a < 3.5 hour time limit, and we needed time to go to the supermarket. So, one of the quickish, low-ingredient recipes I found was this one.

Due to constraints on the number of spices available (my friend's apartment has a surprisingly good spice cabinet for the kitchen of four guys—heck, for four college kids period—but they just don't have cardamom pods hanging around), I had to make some adjustments to the recipe. So, here we go (altered, but most of the text is from that recipe above):

Chana Masala

Olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin seeds (we were going to use cumin powder, but it turned out to be in the other friend's dorm room, which is halfway across campus—still, it would probably be delicious)
½ tsp ground coriander (omitted on account of one of my friends really hating the taste of coriander seeds)
¼ tsp ground ginger (used a small amount of chopped fresh ginger instead, since we were replacing so many of the fresh spices with powders)
1 tsp garam masala
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed (used cardamom powder instead)
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (used crushed tomatoes to save on time—next time, will probably go for these, or for fresh ones)
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1 Tbs cilantro leaves, roughly torn, plus more for garnish (used dried flaked cilantro leaves)
A pinch of cayenne, or to taste
1 tsp curry powder, or to taste
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 Tbs plain low-fat yogurt
6 Tbsp butter

Film the bottom of a large saucepan—preferably not nonstick—with olive oil, and place the pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until it is deeply caramelized and even charred in some spots. Be patient. The more color, the more full-flavored the final dish will be.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring, and add a bit more oil if the pan seems dry. Add the cumin, coriander, garam masala, and cardamom, and fry them, stirring constantly, until fragrant and toasty, about 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup water, and stir to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the water has evaporated away completely. Pour in the juice from can of tomatoes, followed by the tomatoes themselves, using your hands to break them apart as you add them; alternatively, add them whole and crush them in the pot with a potato masher (or, if you did what I did, just pour in the whole can of crushed tomatoes). Add the salt.

Raise the heat to medium, and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the cilantro and cayenne, and simmer the sauce gently, stirring occasionally, until it reduces a bit and begins to thicken. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Add the chickpeas, stirring well, and cook over low heat for about five minutes. Add 2 Tbs water, and cook for another five minutes. Add another 2 Tbs water, and cook until the water is absorbed, a few minutes more. This process of adding and cooking off water helps to concentrate the sauce’s flavor and makes the chickpeas more tender and toothsome. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Test the texture of the chickpeas by pressing one or two against the side of the pot with a spoon; if you prefer them soft, keep checking every other minute or so. Personally, I prefer them still a little crunchy on the outside, short of mushy. When you're satisfied with the texture, stir in the yogurt and butter. Do a last taste for seasoning adjustment (I like a lot of flavor, so the spice amounts given are probably nowhere near enough for what I used), and serve.

Yields: 4-6 servings as a main, 6-8 servings as a side
Cooking time: ~35 minutes (I kept getting distracted, and we were all sort of helping each other with prep)

People actually came over to mooch off us, which doesn't usually happen, but in the event, I finished the chickpeas late, so there was quite a bit left over. Later that night, I got hungry again, and decided to chip away at some of said leftovers. I wasn't feeling like eating them alone, so I made some curryish rice to go with them. As you will soon see, this is definitely a to-taste/ad lib as you like it sort of recipe, and was basically something I made up from the spices in the cabinet:

"Curry" Rice

Rice
Curry powder
Garam masala
Ground ginger
Ground garlic
Cumin (didn't use this, but if we'd had some, I definitely would have)
Cardamom
Dried basil
(amounts to taste)
Lots of salt, or to taste
Butter

Cook the rice, preferably in a saucepan instead of a rice cooker, until it's just about done or done exactly; toss in seasonings bit by bit, making sure they're not clumping, and adjust to taste frequently. Add butter—not even necessarily a lot you're not trying to soak the rice, just coat the spices and give them a reason to stick to the rice, and the butter flavor gives a nice undertaste. It shouldn't even look or feel wet when you're done, just normal-consistency and texture rice, except a little yellower and a *lot* more flavorful. You could switch the order of spicing and butter, but I found the spices didn't really stick to the rice as well that way. Mix thoroughly.

I had these with some of the chickpea stuff at first (and they were *delicious* together), but later on I made some more, and it's perfectly yummy by itself; very tasty, very comfort-foody. 6: If you're eating it solo, you'll probably want to add a lot more salt than if you just make it to eat with something else.

For something a little different but still short of a full meal (or for a lighter-but-flavorful meal), add some whole pine nuts and halved seedless green grapes and mix. Mmmmmmm. *-*

Current mood: tired

Saturday, October 21, 2006

7:36AM - Galettes! Or, this ridiculous recipe I made last Sunday

Last Sunday was the first time in a long while that I got a chance to really cook something. So, I leafed through a book of baking recipes, and decided to make a ridiculously complex object, raspberry-almond galettes. The original recipe is from one of those books that assume you have all the time in the world, and prominently feature the picture of the finished product. I call it cookbook porn. Strangely, the raspberry-almond galettes did not have a picture of the finished product in the book, just some raspberries and some almonds. Hmm...

Pastry
2 cups soy flour (Wife's friend can't eat gluten...which is why she really enjoys my cooking when I do stuff like this)
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup Splenda (Wife is diabetic, I have to try and keep sugar to a minimum)
1 stick butter
1.5 eggs (I used egg goop instead...I mean, 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk?)
Filling
8oz (1/2 pint) of raspberries
2 tablespoons amaretto
1/2 package almond paste (7oz package)
1/2 stick butter
1 egg
1/4 cup flour
1 jar raspberry jam (you won't use it all)
Topping
...ehh, I didn't do this part

1. Almond paste, almond paste, hmm. I bet commercial almond paste won't use a sugar substitute, so I guess I better make my own

Almond paste
1 1/2-lb-ish package of sliced blanched almonds
1 cup Splenda
1/2 cup water
6 to 8 tablespoons of orange juice or kirschwasser or rose water

1. Realize that I read the recipe wrong, and the recipe does not call for tablespoons of rose water, rather the base fluid should be OJ or kirschwasser. Crap.
2. Run to the corner store, pick up a thing of orange juice. Go, 'Oh yeah, there's a packy nearby!'. Run to the packy, and get a small bottle of kirschwasser. This thing's going to be loaded with weird dessert wines.
3. In your blender, toss in the blanched almonds and the kirschwasser and the rose water. Blend. Find out that even going to 8 tablespoons of kirschvasser isn't going to evenly blend everything, so toss in some tap water. Blend until you get almond gloop.
4. Combine the Splenda and the water in a pot, and set it on medium.
5. Find out (from my mom) that Splenda really can't be used for making a candy solution (which is what I guess I'm try to do). Watch as basically all the water boils away, leaving an unusable sticky-sweet film on the pot.
6. Crack out the 'baking' brown sugar Splenda, which is really just half-and-half. So

1 cup 'baking' Splenda
1/2 cup water

7. Realize that the 'soft-ball' stage is a fancy cooking way to say 'between 234 and 244 degrees Fahrenheit'. I don't own a candy thermometer, so I winged it.
8. Combine your Splenda water and your almond gloop. You know have almond paste. Put it in the fridge to chill.
9. Now, for the pastry dough. Realize that you're missing a stick of butter. Run down to the corner store, to find out they don't have any butter. Crap.
10. Run back, and for the pastry dough, substitute the butter with

8 tablespoons of ghee

11. Hah! Emergency ghee supply. Anyway, combine the flour, salt, and Splenda in a bowl, and mix them up. Toss in your tablespoons of ghee, and run the whole thing through your hand mixer until it's all mushed together. Add the eggs, and mix that together.
12. Gather up the dough, and smush it until it's about the size and shape of a frisbee. Wrap it in plastic wrap, and stick it in the fridge for an hour.
13. Put your raspberries in a bowl, and soak them lightly with the amaretto. Put them aside. You will have leftovers.
14. Take 4oz of your almond paste (again, leftovers, I actually halved the Joy of Cooking recipe), and combine with the soy flour, butter, and egg. I used a hand mixer, and it worked pretty well.
15. Realize that steps 13 and 14 didn't take an hour, and so stick the dough in the freezer for 15 minutes.
16. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
17. Get a big baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
18. Spread the dough out on a soy floured work surface. Get it to about 1/8-1/4 inch thickness with a rolling pin.
19. Get a drinking glass with a thin edge on the rim. For each pastry you make (I made 11 total), do the following
a. Cut out a pastry circle with the glass
b. Stamp it flat with your hand
c. Transfer the circle to the parchment
d. Ladle on some almond filling
e. Ladle on some raspberry jam (I used cran-raspberry jam, homemade by I think my aunt. My maternal grandmother used to make jam commercially, and even published a jam book)
f. Top with 3 amaretto raspberries
g. Pick up this thing, and sort of crush it in your hand, so that only the raspberries are sticking out on top.

Put the whole sheet in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. At this point I go make the Pizza Sorta recipe you can see below. I got to use Yellow Pear Cherry Tomatoes...which are pretty neat to look at...and really should make up its mind as to what kind of fruit it is. :)

Anyway, when you take your galettes out of the oven, you will see that they have lost their cute pastry shape, and now appear to be mutant raspberry cookies. Eat some for dessert. They are delicious.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

4:42PM - BRAT shake recipe

So, this _really_ isn't one of my old favorite recipes. Sorry about this...

Recently I had diarrhea. So, I read up at Wikipedia as to how to fix it, and aside from pills that bring the sunshine back (and incurable, fatal, and nasty Crohn's Disease), the entry listed 'BRAT' (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast) as an effective diet to recover from the runs. This recipe I invented (with a helpful suggestion from my lovely wife) to combine these ingredients with a minimum of cooking.

Strangely, mainstream cooking sites don't list recipes like this. I wonder why not.

2 bananas
1 cup rice milk (enriched)
1/2 cup applesauce
1 sliver crystallized ginger (with sugar, not a substitute)

1. Put all the ingredients in a blender.
2. Blend until you're pretty sure the ginger is vaporized, say 30 seconds.

Serve with toast. Do not run your toaster and your hot water heater on the same 15-amp circuit. Makes enough for 1 12-ounce glass and a bit left over.

Lastly...it works. And it tastes okay, for breakfast at least.

Monday, July 17, 2006

10:33PM - My Basic Chicken Stock Recipe

I do one thing that's just intolerably Suzi Homemaker, and that's make soup stock and freeze it. I even freeze chicken stock in ice-cube trays so that when I need a little I only need to thaw a little.

I don't make a very strong chicken stock in the sense that it tastes greatly of chicken. It's a mild thing, even when there's enough protein in it to make it set to a jelly when chilled. Not very yellow. The flavor really only wakes up when you add salt in your final recipe. But it has a lot of body, and melds gracefully with other flavors, and provides a solid foundation for many other soups and sauces.

Herewith, therefore...

Lira's Chicken StockCollapse )

Current mood: awake

Sunday, July 2, 2006

10:39PM - Poached Salmon with Watercress Mayonnaise

This is a great warm-weather dish, and low in calories if you make it right. Make it at night and eat it the next evening--or early in the morning, for consumption at night. It's also the basis for a fabulous salmon mousse. This is for two people.

You will need a large, flat pan with a lid--either a real fish poacher or a saute pan will do--or, if you don't have a lid, you will need parchment paper. You will also need cheesecloth.

Poached Salmon
1 lb salmon filet, skin removed and checked for bones, cut from the thick end of the fillet, if possible
1 30-inch piece of cheese cloth, completely unfolded and then folded in half to make a large square.
1/2 medium onion, cut into rings
6 sprigs dill
1 lemon
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry white wine
2-4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 ribs celery, chopped (optional)
1 carrot, chopped (optional)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Watercress Mayonnaise
1 cup loosely packed fresh watercress leaves--or, alternatively, dill--rinsed and drained.
1 cup pre-made Mayonnaise (I use Lemonaise, which has the virtues of No Cholesterol and lots of garlic and mustard)

First, if your pan doesn't have a lid, make a poaching paper. Take a squarish piece of parchment paper (any supermarket should have this), and fold it in quarters, then roll it up so that the point where the four quarters meet is the point of a cone. Turn over your pan, put the point of the cone on the center of the bottom of the pan, and fold up the wide end of the cone just before it hits the edge of the pan bottom. Cut off the top of the cone at the fold, and cut off 1/4 inch from the cone's point. Open it up, and voila! a paper cover that will fit just inside the pan, with a 1" hole in the center to let out steam.

Make the salmon:
1) Lay the cheesecloth square in the pan. The edges will probably hang over. This is OK.
2) Grind some pepper over the cheesecloth. Don't worry if some falls through.
3) Lay half the dill on the cheesecloth.
4) Lay half the onion rings over the dill.
5) Lay the salmon, skin side down, over the onion rings. If you weren't able to get a thick piece, and one end is a great deal thinner than the other, fold the tail end under to make a piece of even thickness.
6) Lay the remaining onions over the salmon, followed by the remaining dill. End with another grind or three of black pepper.
7) Tie two opposite ends of the cheesecloth square together loosely over the fish and its accompaniments, and then tie the other two opposite ends. You should end up with a nice squarish package with a knot on top.
8) Pour in the wine, then add water till the fish is almost, but not quite, covered. The cheesecloth should be wet.
9) Wash the lemon, cut it in half, squeeze both halves into the pan, and then put in the lemon halves themselves. Add the bay leaves and the vegetables, if you are using them.
10) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover with either the pan cover or the poaching paper. Steam will collect and fall back on the cloth-covered fish. Cook at a low simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until firm.
11) Turn off the heat and uncover. With tongs, removed the fish bundle by picking it up by the knot. Let it drip for a bit, then place it in a shallow bowl or pan. Refrigerate. (You may strain and freeze the remaining liquid. This is now court boullion, and can be used to poach other fish, adding water and fresh lemon, etc., as necessary.)
When ready to serve, make the mayonaisse, then untie the knots in the cheesecloth and pick the dill off the fish. Transfer it to a cold plate, removing the dill on the bottom as you do so. Slather with Watercress or Dill Mayonnaise, or pass that separately and let people do their own slathering. Serve with a few bits of cold cooked onion on top of each piece--it will still be crunchy, and makes a nice counterpoint to the salmon.

Make Green Mayonnaise:

In a food processor or the bowl of a stick blender, chop the dill or watercress until it is very fine--herb dust. Scrape it into a small bowl, and add the mayonnaise. Stir together until well-blended. Add a squeeze of lemon juice if it seems too thick.

(This mostly comes from Joy of Cooking, only I added the wine and the tying of the onions and dill in with the fish. Oh, don't try to re-use the cheesecloth. ^^;)

Current mood: satisfied

Saturday, June 3, 2006

7:25AM - Dish featuring: Chicken, pasta, tomatoes, mushrooms, delicious sauce.

As you can tell, one of the reasons why I will never be an award-winning chef is because I suck hardcore at coming up with food dish names. Especially when they're for dishes that arise from "the veggies we bought on Sunday probably aren't gonna last much longer, what else do we have" nights.

The other reason is that I hail from the "Oh...that much" school of cooking, so I have a really poor idea of the measurements on this. However, they're mostly either self-explanatory or adjustable, so I shouldn't think that's a problem. Just imagine yourself as a straitened college student trying to use up perishables, and that should do the trick.

Pluses of this recipe: Easy, even easier to tweak to taste/number of people/dietary preference/what have you, most ingredients common (the rest are common just to me, because I am a creature of habit ^^), can be made in two stages for those of you who like to do the pre-make a day ahead/make thing.
Minuses: ...variable level of healthiness. It's pretty easy to turn this into something healthy. And actually, come to think of it, for those who aren't carb-scared, if I remember correctly here, the least healthy thing in the recipe is the butter, which can be easily eliminated, though the sauce, while still good, won't have that creamy undertone (we tested it sans butter first, so I can attest to that. My roommate suggested using milk, but I'm sort of leery of how that would work. If you want to risk it, it's your stomach...-_^)

So, yes. A little background, for those who like that sort of thing...Collapse )

Kitchen things needed:
-pot
-colander
(if making in two stages) -3 bowls, er...medium-large sized
(") -1 1-gallon storage bag, or large bowl
(") -saran wrap

Ingredients:
-precooked diced chicken
You can buy this from most supermarkets nowadays, even with flavoring added, or you can simply cook a couple of chicken breasts through and then chop 'em up. If buying them, try to go on the bland side of flavoring; otherwise it might clash with the marinade
-1 package fresh mushrooms, sliced
You could make it with canned if you want...I guess...if you have mushroom-haters eating, try replacing this with bell peppers or black olives
-3-4 medium-sized fresh tomatoes, sliced
See above
-elbow macaroni or other pasta
Adjust amount to amount of other ingredients. I used about 1/2-2/3s of a 32-oz box with one and a half packages of precooked chicken, and the amount listed for tomatoes and mushrooms, and that was sliiightly on the high side for the pasta: other stuff ratio.
-olive oil
I confess I am not an oil aficionado, so I don't know what effect other oils would have.
-(optional) butter or margarine
If pressed for an amount, I guess I would say 2-4 tbsps. I know, it's a big difference, I'm sorry. ^^

[My Mom's Marinade] ingredients: (I am giving away family sekrits. No honor for me! ;-;)
-soy sauce
-honey
-seasoned salt
-spice and herb mixture of your choosing
My brand recommendations for seasoned salt and herb & spice mixtures are in my last posted recipe; if you don't go for that, I'd suggest garlic, rosemary, oregano..."italian seasoning" sort of mixes.
-water
-(optional) Maggi

Step 1: Water into pot. Pot onto stove. Boil, pot, boil!
-1a: While this is happening, clean tomatoes, mushrooms, and any other veggies.
-1b: If you are in possession of an extraordinarily slow stove (say, for example, the one we have), slice mushrooms and dice tomatoes, if you haven't already. You could store them together, I guess, come to think of it, but we didn't because the bowls were too small. Don't throw away the gooshy bits! They'll work wonders with the sauce.
-1c: When water boils, cook and drain pasta according to directions. If you have to err on a side, make it a less-cooked one. Nothing where you hear a crunch when you bite into it, but if they're still just a bit raw, that'll be fine.

Step 2: Drizzle a little oil over the tomatoes in their bowl, sprinkle some seasoned salt and spice mixture over them, mix up a bit, repeat.
-You don't want them to be drenched. Just a very light coating to sort of get them used to it.
-If you're making these ahead of time, cover the veggie containers with Saran-Wrap and stick 'em in the fridge.

Step 3: Combine marinade ingredients in a separate bowl.
-3a: Proportionwise: 2 parts soy sauce to 1 part honey, *load* the thing witih the seasoned salt and spice mixtures (warning: we don't want just a dusting, but be sure not to get it to the point where it becomes more of a rub than a marinade, if you know what I mean), add water to taste.
-If it's too salty, add honey. Too sweet, add a dash (a careful one) of soy sauce. Too strong, more water. Etc. Too "je ne sais quoi," more spices/seasoning.

Step 4: It puts the chicken in the bowl of marinade.
-Toss to make sure the cubes are covered, add more marinade ingredients if necessary.
-If you are making this ahead of time, be sure not to completely saturate the chicken. Cover and refrigerate.

(This is where you put everything into storage bags or containers and refrigerate if you're not making this immediately. If you are, carry on.)

Step 5: Oil the bottom of the pot and pour in the chicken and the marinade. Wait for it to simmer, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.

Step 6: Pour in the tomatoes, including juice and gooshy parts. Stir some more, try to get the tomatoes to give up some of their juices.
-They're principally important here for taste, not for texture, so we're not too worried about keeping 'em crisp and nice-looking.
-If you do care about that sort of thing, save a tomato and add it in near the end of the cooking.

Step 7: Mushrooms. Stir 'em around a bit, get 'em in the sauce, wait until they've juuust started to think about wilting a bit, then...

Step 8: Add the pasta. Break up any chunks.
-We added the margarine here--it sort of helped with the whole chunk-breaking thing, since the pasta'd been in the fridge for a little over an hour, but if I were making this in one fell swoop, I'd say put in the butter after the mushrooms or the tomatoes.

Step 9: Mix thoroughly. Add marinade ingredients as necessary to make the sauce level capable of accommodating the pasta.

Step 10: Cook until evenly heated (that's the beauty of ingredients that are all edible from the get-go!) and serve. 6:

More anecdotal babbling...Collapse )

So I guess that'd be: Served 6-8, but who knows?

Current mood: wargh still up not even tired

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

6:24PM - Curly Casserole

This recipe is for macaroni and cheese, stolen originally from my Mom (hi there!), and adapted to someone who has to lay off the carbs for dietary reasons. Oh, and should I be writing a children's cookbook? All my recipes of late seem to be alliterative.

Health warning! This recipe calls for 1lb (450 grams) of cheese. Go ahead, use low-salt, low-fat, or low-whatever cheese you want, but there's still a pound of cheese in there. There's just no way to make this healthy. On the flip side, it tastes great!

Curly Casserole

1lb box of elbow macaroni (I use low-carb, or sometimes bean-based for the wheat-conscious)
1lb of cheese (I use cheddar, although in our house Havarti is also a favorite because it was invented in Denmark)
1 cup of salad shrimp (the itty-bittiest kind)
1 cup of fiddlehead ferns (soybeans also work, although they are less curly)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 can Campbell's condensed cream of mushroom soup (and here you might as well go for the healthy kind, what the heck)

1. Put a big pot of water on the stove, for boiling pasta. Make extra sure there's room for expanding pasta in there.
2. Clean and wash your fiddlehead ferns. It's a good idea to dice them, so that everybody will get fern chunks.
3. Get a big casserole dish. Set it aside.
4. Get a big bowl, and dump in the cream of mushroom soup, and the Worcestershire sauce.
5. Shred about 10oz (a little more than half) of the cheese into the bowl.
6. Mix the cheese and the soup goop together until you get cheesy soup goop.
7. By now your water should be boiling. Eventually. Dump in the pasta, and cook according to the package.
8. 3 minutes before you take out the pasta, dump in the fern bits. Ninja blanche!
9. Once the time is up, strain your pasta and ferns into your big bowl of stuff.
10. Now, preheat your oven to 300° Fahrenheit.
11. Add the little shrimps, and stir everything around to coat the noodles.
12. Dump the uncooked casserole into the casserole dish.
13. Shred the rest of the cheese on top of the casserole, for a crunchy cheesy crust later. Since you don't really want to spray cheese shreds everywhere (and you don't want to shred the cheese into an extra bowl you'll be forced to wash later, ha!), aim your cheese shreds onto the top of your casserole by means of the big hole in the top of the shredder. How clever.
14. Put the casserole into the oven (up to, say, a few days later), and leave it there for an hour.

First of all, enjoy the smell of baking cheese in your house for about half an hour beforehand. More or less better than any hors' dourve you care to name. Serves a lot. Maybe, 6 or 7 with no seconds.

I hope this turns out good, because I'm trying it out (with the ferns) for the first time. Good luck!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

6:45AM - Dino-Dinner

I made this last night, and it was scrumptious. This is really my mother Lirazel's recipe, so if there was a way to share authorship of a LJ post, she'd be on the top billing too. I added Worcestershire sauce to the marinade (I think).

I call this Dino-Dinner because the main ingredients originate from prehistoric times: chicken, and fiddlehead ferns. Fiddleheads are nearly impossible to find anywhere other than New England in late May to early June, which is why you probably won't find any recipes for them online or in a cookbook. It's possible that you can substitute chopped-up artichoke bits for the ferns, but I don't know about that. So...

Dino-Dinner

2 chicken breasts
1 lb fiddlehead ferns
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 lime
1 teaspoon garlic paste (or 1 mashed up clove)
1/4 tsp hot powder (I used chipotle, cayenne works too)
1/4 tsp chinese five spice powder
1 tbsp canola oil

Set up chicken marinade
1. Cut up the chicken into tiny little chunks, and then dump them into a bowl
2. Squeeze the lime over the chicken, and add the sauces.
3. Add the garlic paste and spices. Stir everything around so that all the chicken chunks are covered in the liquid, and that you can't see any spice clumps. Let it sit there while you deal with the next bit

Blanche the ferns
1. Put the ferns in a strainer, and wash them. The ferns will typically have a lot of dead vegetable matter stuck to them, but it'll be hard to pick out without damaging the tasty fern bits (or getting bored). Most of this stuff will be gotten rid of by washing the ferns a lot. For now, if it's just a little brown, fine, if it's black or otherwise untrustworthy-looking, toss it.
2. Get a pot of cold water, and set it aside.
3. Get another pot of cold water, and set it to boil.
4. When your water is boiling, dump in the ferns. Set your timer for 3.5 minutes
5. Put a few ice cubes in your cold water pot. Wash out your strainer.
6. When the timer is up, dump the ferns back into the strainer, and then dump them into the ice cold water. This is called 'blanching'. Fiddlehead ferns are nice and crunchy, and while we don't want to eat them raw, we don't want them overcooked either.
7. Wash out your strainer again (see, fewer icky little bitses this time around). Get the ferns into the strainer again.

Cook Everything
1. Get a frying pan, and heat the oil in the pan (making sure to coat the pan) until some dumped water boils on the surface.
2. Put the chicken and the marinade juice into pan.
3. Basically, cook the chicken. Keep stirring, and eventually all the chicken bits will turn white. Keep up with the sauteing until the liquid in the pan is reduced by a half to two thirds.
4. Put the ferns in the frying pan. Stir things around to coat the ferns with what's left of the sauce. Do this for at most 2 minutes.
5. Put everything into a bowl, and serve.

Makes dinner for 3-4 people. An early summer treat. Maybe next year I'll try and make Japanese-style teriyaki chicken/scallion/fiddlehead skewers and grill them in a hibachi. That sounds pretty good too.

Navigate: (Previous 20 entries)