mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
Dinner, or perhaps supper, today was a nice filet of Pacific Cod. Patted dry, sprinkled with salt, and instead of the usual pepper alone, freshly ground coriander and cumin with the pepper much reduced. Once the fish showed a bit of moisture it was dredged in flour and then sauteed in a small skillet using sesame oil. What an improvement over the usual use of pepper alone! The mixture, however, did not improve on steamed broccoli. Perhaps next time I shall try some other herb with my veg.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Nice)
My parents live... a ways out in the country. They actually live outside the same town where I was raised and lived for about 18 years. They have a vegetable garden and that means wildlife comes to eat things in their garden. Including rabbits... If you are a softhearted person who gets weepy over the thought of poor innocent bunnies, look away from this post.

Read more... )
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Nice)
I have just just started testing Experiment 241. I had allowed the yellow summer squash in my garden to get too old to simply stir-fry and eat so I conceived that I would try making a soup out of two of them.

500 g (1 pound-ish) of onions
vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 over the hill yellow summer squash
2 tablespoons more of butter, oil, or lard
3 cloves of garlic
1 liter (4 cups) vegetable broth

First I started as nearly every soup should start: by frying onions. I cut up the equivalent of about four medium onions into nice strips and put them into my cast iron dutch oven greased and then a tablespoon of butter scattered over them. Then into a 200°C (400°F) oven with the lid on. 20 minutes later I stirred the onion and cracked the lid. Repeated stirring every 20 minutes for another hour until a nice fond was starting to develop. Then onto a medium-medium high burner to finish making it the brown of a beer bottle in sunlight. Removed the onion after deglazing with a little left over mead and yeast left at the bottom of a bottle.

While the onion was still cooking in the oven I peeled off the hard skin and then I cut each fruit in half. A nice sharp spoon (I keep one sharpened for just this sort of thing) made short work of seeding each one and I reserved the seeds later experimentation. Then I chopped the thin bit of flesh into 2 cm squares (not terribly precisely). Once the pot was free I put in about a tablespoon of oil and browned one of the squashes in it without crowding the bottom of the dutch oven. Deglazed with water and then repeated with the second half, throwing the minced garlic in for the last 30 seconds. Then everything including the broth went in my blender. Blended on high until smooth. It tastes pretty good already, but it needs spices of some sort... Thyme? Cumin? Parsley?

Ratatouille

Sep. 8th, 2013 10:08 pm
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Nice)
Dutch Oven with Ratatouille )

It is almost as ambrosial as I had been lead to believe by movies. I used the Cook's Illustrated method, which is a little fussy and I have not yet mastered. I think I misunderstood some of their instructions or else they need adjusting for the realities of a poor man's kitchen. The instructions said to cut the eggplant into one inch cubes and then salt and let drain for one to three hours. This resulted in much smaller cubes than the one inch zucchini and yellow squash. I think this may have been problematic. Also roasting them in the 500F oven seemed to over do them. I think I might try a sweating technique used on onions in the future. Or a lower temperature? Or a cast iron skillet in the oven? I am still thinking about it. But fresh garden tomato, fresh garden zucchini, and yellow squash made it... Wonderful!

And I am eating on my porch with a glass of mead, a book, and music.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
So I did a stir-fry yesterday. It was fairly good, but I am going to remember that not all frozen raw shrimp are "easy peel". In other words it took an excessive amount of time to peel all those shrimp and trying to pull out the "vein" was not entirely successful so I think I will just split the things next time. Though on a positive note I have lunch for today and tomorrow. Also I learned a new technique for turning carrots into matchsticks and they fried up so much better than my old way of adding carrots to stir-fry. And my relatively new skillet is still working quite well. Good purchase, though I still will replace it as soon as I come across a really good deal on an all-clad skillet.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
Different flavors of honey react differently when added to lemon and water. Given how it came out next time I will try something different. Perhaps just adding the honey to water alone and heating to get a pure flavor before adding something. I do not know. It did, however, remind me of the Jazz Apple I had earlier. Lemony, grapey, and apple. Sort of. The lemon predominated far too much in the drink, the apple was near perfection if you like a very sweet and crisp apple, which I do. Not every single time, but today it hit the spot.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
2 large onions, diced
1 pound ground turkey
2 cloves minced garlic or equivalent
4 cans (about 14 ½ oz.) diced tomatoes
1 small can (8 oz.) tomato paste
2 pounds (about 15 oz.) red kidney beans, cooked
2 tablespoons molasses
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce or equivalent
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
¼ cup paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon oregano and dry basil

Brown onion and deglaze multiple times, three batches, set aside. Drain diced tomatoes, retaining liquid. Cook ground turkey, set aside. Cook down tomato liquid. Add kidney beans, continue cooking, add tomato paste. When thickness looks good add all other ingredients. Black pepper to taste. Cook beans to slightly softer stage next time.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
Today I took my usual two-thirds cup (2/3) of thick rolled oatmeal (From Vitamin Cottage, they are a great bargain if you live in Denver, and no they did pay me to say that.) and I put it in a small cast iron pan over a medium flame without any water. I did not stir quite fast enough or else the pan I selected was too small so there was a bit more browning than I planned upon. None the less, when I put it in the usual quart bowl and microwaved it with one cup (1) of water the result was very nice. Two-minutes and forty-four seconds (2:44) of cooking and then another thirty seconds (0:30) somewhat later when it looked a little undercooked and it was wonderful. It had a flavor that I associate with baked bread or the smell of my mash when I am making beer. I think I should do this again with more careful experimentation.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
1½ pounds fresh or frozen whole cranberries (two packages 12 oz.)
1 cup liquid
2 cups sugar
2 oranges
2 lemons

Take off some of the zest of the lemons and oranges. Then juice two of the oranges and one of the lemons, you should have just short of 1 cup of liquid. Fill up the rest of the way with water. Add to pot with sugar and rinsed cranberries. Cook over medium high heat until all cranberries have popped and broken down. Put a food mill over another pot, preferably a wide one, and process the mixture. Be sure to keep grinding until only the inedible pulp is left in the mill, occasionally running it backwards one turn will help to clear the holes. Return remaining cranberry sauce to the stove top and cook over low heat until very thick. It should practically stand up even when hot. Pour into a mold, be sure not to use untinned copper as cranberries are very acidic.

A typical mold takes about two packages. Using less liquid is better. The less liquid you start with the less you have to cook down.

This year what I actually did was just cook and then put into a bowl as I forgot to borrow my parents' food mill. It still tastes good, but the texture is not as nice.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
One large onion, chopped
One large clove garlic, minced
Olive oil
2 pieces of white fish, such as frozen & defrosted cod
Left Over cooked brown rice
Black Eyed Peas, cooked
1 cup shredded cabbage
2 tablespoons yogurt
Chipotle Tabasco

Brown onions in large stainless steel skillet. Deglaze. Peal and mince the garlic while the onion is browning again. Deglaze. Get out your brown rice and black eyed peas then shred cabbage. Deglaze just once more. Add a nice big slug of olive oil to the pan and then add in the fish. Cook the fish until it falls apart then add a little water if needed to release any of the browned bits from the pan. Add in the brown rice and then the black eyed peas and get them warming up. Meanwhile beat up the yogurt and Tabasco in a bowl and add a handful of the cabbage, coat. Turn off the heat and add half the brown onion and fish to the cabbage. Adjust.

Fairly good, but the taste of the black eyed peas is fairly strong. Possibly more yogurt is needed. I am going to see how well the mix stores overnight in the fridge. Lunch tomorrow since I made too much. More cabbage less beans?
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
Six carrots sauteed in goose fat with a clove of garlic is heavenly when paired with a wheat beer. This was also the maiden voyage of my new cast iron skillet and it works wonderfully on high heat. It was ever so slightly crowded in the pan, but it still browned fairly well and only needed the smallest dash of salt to be a perfect after work dish along with some pistachios and a square of chocolate.

Also I now record my quick and dirty salad dressing of three spoonfuls of mayonnaise with half or less of horseradish, about one of mustard, a little honey, a few dashes of Worcestershire Sauce, and some poppy seed is pretty darn good. I ate it some days ago, but my memory is still accurate.

I believe in good food and I think I shall take salad as a large portion of my food for the trip down to Albuquerque.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
This experiment needs a name. I think Pâté would be incorrect as it involves very little fat and has quite a bit of fruit.

One half pound of streaky bacon, about seven or eight slices
One onion, chopped
One half cup prunes, about twelve
Three dried apricots
Quarter cup honey
Half cup brandy
Water
Plain gelatin packet
About three quarters of a pound chicken liver
One large egg

Three bay leaves
Nine cloves
Two generous pinches of cumin
A teaspoon of nutmeg
All ground up very fine.

Fry bacon, put into food processor and mince. While bacon is processing fry the onion in the bacon fat. When the bottom of the skillet is getting too brown deglaze with half the brandy and continue cooking. Deglaze the pan again with about a quarter cup of water and keep browning the onion. Repeat deglazing once more with water if the onion is not thoroughly cooked. Finally deglaze one last time with the remaining brandy and turn off the heat, scrape up all the good brown bits. Meanwhile mince up the prunes and apricots with honey in your food processor making sure that it is very finely chopped along with the bacon. Add in the onion and do the same. Melt the gelatin in a little water and add to the mixture then add your chicken livers and process to a fine paste. Finally add the egg and spices. Transfer to an oven safe bowl inside a larger bowl filled with hot water. Put into a 350 degree oven and cook.

Results: Good, but I think more onion and fruit might not be amiss. Especially more onion even though it would be more work. Was it sweet enough? Yes and no. The sacred three in other things should have more bay and less clove. I think.

And I need an icon to go with cooking.
 
mishalak: Mishalak with short hair wearing a blue shirt and looking upwards. (Blue)
Okay, this was actually just one fish, but the wonderful incorrectness of 'fishes' just begged me to use it.

1 medium onion, diced
1 apple, diced
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dried spearmint (approximate)
Salt
1 very clean and scaled fresh trout
Olive Oil
Vegetable Oil
Flour

First fry the onion in the olive oil until nicely browned. Then combine with the diced apple, the honey, crushed spearmint, and salt to taste. Take your perfectly scaled trout and dry it. Then give a nice liberal coating of flour to its skin and stuff it with your apple and everything else mixture. You'll have a lot left over, don't worry you'll put it over the trout later. Have your skillet heating up with a good layer of vegetable oil over a nice medium high heat. Put in the tout and cook until nicely brown and crispy on both sides. Starting from the tail separate one side from the other and serve immediately with the rest of the mixture on top. Serves 2 or one very hungry person. I like this experiment and think it is well on its way to being a full fledged recipe.
 
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Nice)
Perhaps it is only hunger, but I made what may be a perfect summer squash dish tonight for dinner. I'll have to try repeating the success at a later date.

One Large Non-stick Skillet (I used my big stainless steel one)
Olive Oil
One Large Yellow Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
3 Small Yellow Summer Squash
Belgian Style Beer
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
Salt
1 Ounce Cheese

Chop up the onion and mince the garlic. Heat up the pan until a drop of water dances and evaporates in about a second or two. Put in olive oil until the surface is well coated and then put in the onion. Sauté the onion as you cut up the squash into pieces no bigger than a US Quarter and only a little thicker. Put in the garlic when the onion is getting pretty brown, but not yet completely done. Add the squash when the onion and garlic are getting quite brown. Deglaze with some good ale when the brown bits stuck to the pan start to verge on too brown. Add your cumin and salt and cook until all the liquid is evaporated and bits are starting to stick again. Then add cut up cheese and turn off the heat after about half a minute or so. Move everything around so the cheese melts, scraping up any bits that start to get stuck. Serve more or less immediately.
mishalak: Mishalak with short hair wearing a blue shirt and looking upwards. (Blue)
One Pyrex (or other borosilicate glass) Loaf Pan
One pound very good quality Wild Salmon.
Olive Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 to 1 Tablespoon of Butter
1 Tablespoon of Marmalade
2 Teaspoons of Honey

I scaled the fish and then put it in the loaf pan while heating the oven to 350 degrees. I put a little olive oil on the fish and then proceeded to mince the garlic very finely and mix it up with the butter, marmalade, and honey. I had trouble getting the butter to combine with the other ingredients so I heated everything up in the microwave for ten seconds before pouring it over the thickest part of the salmon fillet. It cooked for between 15 and 20 minutes and was perfect.

It was a very, very good fish as it was one of the Alaskan Cooper River salmon run and pretty fresh. Delicious. I've already adjusted the amounts as needed from what I prepared given that I felt it had too much butter and garlic, but only a little too much. I served it with stir fry vegetables from Costco done in my nonstick pan with olive oil and a little toasted sesame seed oil. V. good.
 
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
1 tablespoon large grind cinnamon (bastard/cassia)
1 tablespoon large grind star anise
remainder of cup filled with English breakfast tea
sprinkled with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and mixed

Background: Richard made a recipe that called for condensed milk. There is quite a bit left over. Therefore I am going to make Thai iced tea. Not having Thai tea mix I'm making my own by guessing what is in it. There may be too much cinnamon, but we'll see. I may also add a little dried orange peel, 1/2 teaspoon.

Results 17:00hrs: A half cup of the mixture brewed with three cups of fresh water results in a bit more than two and a half cups of mixture. This was combined with a scant half cup of sugar then cooled to room temperature. It was very good with ice and regular condensed milk, but the amount of cinnamon should be reduced by half in the test of this experiment. No orange peel was added this time, but it may be a good addition. 2 cloves were added to the mix as well, I do not know if this resulted in a detectable change. I like it, Richie does not.

Additional note a tablespoon of star anise is made with six of the stars ground up.
 
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
Because I can! Oh and I now am the proud owner of a two part tube pan. Yes, indeedy! This should make taking the cake out of the pan much less of a challenge. I just hope it does not leak in my oven. Fingers crossed. If this works expect chiffon cakes around once or twice a month. And I'll be baking five or six for Worldcon, they're just so much fun!
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Colorado Peach)
Well it was hard to get it out of the pan, but I'm calling this a success. The bits of cake I snooched from the bottom of the pan were good. It is... foamier than I expected. Somewhat large bubbles inside the cake. This may be due to altitude. Also I forgot to rap the pan against the counter before putting it in the oven. A two part pan would be a lot easier to get the darn thing out. I may have to buy one if this is to become part of my regular repertoire. It seems very soft and tea appropriate. Which is good considering that I'm having tea with friends starting about 3pm tomorrow. I am divided about making another chiffon cake (lemon this time) or maybe making something else. I don't want to run out of cake. Perhaps some sort of lemon-poppyseed pound cake would the the way to go. Then again I could try again and see if further adjustments might make it better. Whip the egg whites just a touch longer, see if that changes anything.

But hey, it did not fall. That's a success for mile high baking with a that was not professionally tested for use at altitude. And it's very, very good. Just not totally perfect... yet. Oh, and first use of the stand mixer this month. I should bake bread again soon.

For the record my high altitude adjustment was to reduce sugar from 1 1/2 to 1 3/8 (or take out two tablespoons) and increase flour from 1 1/3 to 1 1/2. I also meant to reduce the amount of baking powder, but instead I put in a reduced amount of baking soda. (How did I make that mistake?) The lemon version calls for baking soda (I've checked that three times to be sure) so I may try that tomorrow. The cake baked for 58 minutes. My oven may have been a touch hot, I need to find a good accurate in oven thermometer, I don't trust the one built into the oven.
 
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
Experiment #229: Ongoing

Every morning is a new opportunity for experimentation. I am slowly closing in on the best method of cooking oatmeal in a microwave. Particularly the thicker oatmeal that I prefer. The ultimate goal is easy steel cut oats with lots of texture done easily for breakfast. I am not bothering with instructions from the packager (oats cannot be said to be manufactured) as they are useless. Right now I'm tending towards using much less water than recommended as it seems genuinely unnecessary in a microwave. Though a ratio of 2-1 or even 3-1 is traditional for cooking grains on a stove top my results have been perfectly tender using as little as 1½-1 water to oatmeal in the microwave. Less chance of boil over and less time as well.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Colorado Peach)
Equipment: stove, 12-inch skillet or frying pan (a lid is good, but optional), spoon or spatula for stirring, measuring cups and spoons.

2 tablespoons butter or (preferably) bacon drippings
4 cups shredded red cabbage
2 cups baking apples (not Red Delicious) cut up with skin on.
¼ cup water
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons caraway seeds

Tip: when cutting up your apples you can pour the vinegar over them if you want them to stay less brown. Why? It makes it harder to see if you've put browning on them in the pan. Otherwise don't bother.

Heat up your butter or bacon fat in a large (at least 12 inch) skillet. Butter should get to the point where it is foaming, just short of turning brown; bacon drippings should get to a bubbly fragrant point. Put in all ingredients, possibly starting with just the apples if you want to put a little browning on them. Turn down heat to low to simmer gently for 15-30 minutes depending upon how soft you want your cabbage. Stir occasionally and check to see how much liquid is left in the bottom of the pan. If there is very little put a lid on to prevent it from loosing any more and scorching. If necessary add a bit of water.

This is a great dish alongside pork, serves at least 6.

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mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
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