mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Nice)
I have sucessfully imported most of my old email files. I now have much, though not all, of my email right back to September 1st, 1999. Yeah... I am totally a geek. My email archive is nonsensical in its size. Also embarrassing to see how bad a writer I was and what kind of a person I was back then. But I kept them to remind myself of a very important thing. No one else remembers. I doubt most of these people remember who I am. But here is a copy of a newsgroup mail I saved from David Morgan-Mar of Irregular Webcomic fame.

2 cups raisins 1 cup sultanas (white raisins) (substitute glace cherries for some of the above if you prefer)
410g jar fruit mince (14.4 ounce, this is just fruit**, and maybe some vegetable shortening, mushed up - this seems to be something not well known in North America - make your own substitute if you can't get it, by just partially blending some fruit. ** raisins, currants, citrus peel, mostly)
200g butter (7 ounces) 1/4 cup brandy 1 cup brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate
3 eggs 1 1/2 cups plain white flour 3 teaspoons mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc) extra 1/4 cup brandy

1. Grease a deep 20cm (8 inch) round springform cake pan. Line the base and sides with baking paper, leaving paper extending 5cm (2 inches) above the pan rim.

2. Combine all fruit, butter, brandy, sugar in a large saucepan. Stir over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Simmer covered for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sodium bicarbonate. Pour into large mixing bowl and let cool.

3. Add eggs, flour, spice and mix well. Pour into cake pan.

4. Bake at 150C (300F) for about 1 hour 45 minutes. It is better to bake longer than shorter. If the top gets too brown, cover with aluminium foil and keep baking. Test with a skewer - when it comes away clean the centre is done.

5. Poke a few holes in the hot cake with skewer and pour over extra brandy.

6. Let cool, then wrap in foil and store in an airtight container for up to 2 months before eating. Or you can eat it straight away.

I usually make a double batch in a 28cm (12 inch) pan, because it gets eaten so quickly.


I remember making this recipe that year for Christmas and it was good. Very good.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Nice)
1½ ounces of lemon juice
3 ounces of orange blossom honey
13½ ounces of filtered water
Heated to very warm to the touch.

All measures by weight. Pure perfection. I am glad I drank half before attempting to add whiskey, it only reduced the perfection. Still, very, very good though. Amazingly good. Like subtropical sunshine on a winter's night.
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)
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: Mishalak with short hair wearing a blue shirt and looking upwards. (Blue)
I still need an icon for cooking.

Peacan or Walnut Crescent Cookies

2 cups whole pecans or walnuts, chopped fine
2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter (reduce salt if salted is used)
1/3 cup superfine sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar (no need to measure)

1. Take the butter out of the fridge and prepare your workspace. You'll need two mixing bowls, your food processor, stand mixer fitted with paddle, a rubber spatula, two cookie pans, one or two cooling racks, a cup measure, 1/3 cup measure, 1/4 tsp measure, 1/2 tsp measure, and a 1 or 2 tablespoon measure depending on the size of cookies you'll be baking. Grind your granulated sugar to superfine using your food processor (a blender will work in a pinch making small 1/4 cup batches). Measure and set aside.

2. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle potions and heat to 325. Take one cup of the chopped nuts and process to the texture of coarse cornmeal in a food processor, should measure about 3/4 of a cup after this. Mix both portions of nuts with the flour and salt.

3. Cream the butter to light and fluffy, about 1.5 minutes, beat in vanilla. Scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl. Add flour and nut mixture, slowly beat into butter 15 seconds just until it comes together, dough should still look loose and scrappy. Scrape bowl and beater then mix just a little more until it comes together.

4. Measure out dough 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time. 2 tablespoons make quite a large cookie. Roll into a cylinder and then form into a crescent on the tray 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake two trays at a time for 17 to 19 minutes reversing positions for even baking halfway through. Cookies should be golden and the bottoms just starting to brown. Start cleanup while cookies are baking and get out your cooling racks. Cool on tray for two minutes before putting on cooling rack.

6. Cool cookies to room temperature before rolling in powdered sugar. Will keep in an airtight container for 5 days if you can resist eating them all at one go. My food processor leaves plenty of larger nut chunks when processing whole walnuts to cornmeal fineness so I have taken the shortcut of just measuring out 1 3/4 cups of them after they are processed.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
I made this last year and there is the strong possibility of it happening again this year. I got it from the blog of one Susie Bright. She's vegetarian and all, but that's just fine when it comes to eggnog. No meat to it after all!

Her recipe is adapted from her first cookbook: The Vegetarian Epicure, by Anna Thomas. I think I've read it and I was fairly impressed for a vegetarian text.

Eggnog

Ingredients:

12 eggs, separated
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 qt. milk (regular, not lowfat or nonfat! preferably organic!)
1 c. cognac (optional)
1 c. dark rum (optional)
1 large orange
1 lemon
1 quart whipping cream
grated nutmeg

Special Things Needed:

a very sharp butcher knife
electric mixer
grater
potato peeler
extra eggs in case you screw up the separations (easy to do)
two big bowls to make it with
one nice bowl to serve it in, and a ladle

VegepiMethod:
Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick, then stir in the milk, cognac, and rum.

Beat the egg whites until they just hold a peak, and then fold them in. Put this mixture away to chill for at least 3 hours. (Overnight is fine, just put plastic wrap over bowl).

Use a potato peeler to peel the very outside of the orange skin, so you have barely any white pulp on the back of the skin. You just want the pure orange rind. Cut this skin into matchsticks, as thin as possible and about 1 1/2 inches long. Yes, you need a sharp knife for this.

Grate the fresh lemon rind.

Whip the cream until it only just begins to thicken, not so much that it actually holds peaks. Stir his half-whipped cream into the mil and egg mixture, and beat a few more strokes with the whisk. Stir in the lemon rind and half the orange matchsticks.

Pour the eggnog into a serving bowl. Over the top of it, sprinkle the remaining orange rind and plenty of grated nutmeg.

Serves 25 reasonable people, but only a dozen or so fanatics.

If you make it "virgin," it's easy to offer your guests liquor to add separately, just let them pour and stir.

Last year I did it without any grated rind, just nutmeg cognac and rum. It was excellent!
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 (The Colorado Peach)
I have a notion in my head to make plum pudding this year. I've done mince pie in the past, though I cannot seem to find the recipe I used last time on this computer. (Perhaps it is time to fire up the old one in the basement of my parents' house to poke around for old things.)

The thing is that though I have had it (and like it) I do not know the particular things that make a recipe work or not. I worry that I'll get something wrong and the concotion will go moldy while aging. And speaking of, the bit I could see of an article in Cook's Illustrated online suggested that it be aged in the refrigerator as it would age faster there. Does that seem right/possible?

Anyone have suggestions?

Recipes )
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.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Colorado Peach)
½ Large Red Onion, Chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
1 ½ tablespoons honey

Cook brown rice, about ½ cup dry, with 1 cup water. Over low heat on a gas stove top it should be done in about 35 minutes if the rice is dumped into boiling water then turned down to a simmer.

Heat pan over high heat for about a minute and a half. Put in the olive oil, it should immediately form a few bubbles. Dump onion into pan, carefully so as not to splash the oil too much, don't want to burn yourself. Turn down to medium heat. Stir with spatula until onion is nearly cooked then add soy sauce and nutmeg. After a while add honey. Cook until quite dark and sticky. Deglaze pan with a little water and turn off heat. Almost all the water should evaporate. Serve over brown rice.
mishalak: Mishalak with long hair and modified so as to look faded. (Faded Photo)
And now I have pictures of my recent cookie making adventures. They look very tasty and I can confirm they taste even better. I was dumbfounded that I made some of these. In particular the cookies that I slathered in orange butter cream frosting were so good they could have come from a high end bakery. Perfect balance, sweet enough to satisfy completely with just one cookie but not so sweet that I felt like I was about to go into sugar shock.

Orange Buttercream Frosting
¾ cups butter (1½ sticks)
¾ cups confectioners' sugar
½ tablespoon orange zest (about one orange worth)
1½ tablespoons orange juice
1½ tablespoons milk

Beat butter in a bowl, preferably with an electric mixer using a paddle attachment at medium speed. Beat until fluffy, this should take about a minute if the butter is at room temperature. Stop the mixer and add a half cup of the confectioners' sugar, beat it slowly until fully incorporated. Repeat until you have added all the sugar. Increase speed to medium again and beat until very smooth, this should take three minutes or longer. I mean it!

Add the orange ingredients and beat a bit before adding the milk to avoid any possibility of curdling, however slight. Then add the milk and beat a bit more. Stop and scrape the bowl and beater with a spatula to make sure everything gets throughly mixed. You may have to repeat the scraping and mixing stage several times. Once totally mixed beat briskly until the mixture is rather fluffy, this could take four minutes or longer.

The resulting frosting will have a pleasant pale orange color with flecks of darker colors in it. If you wanted it to be totally uniform you could try making this in a food processor, but I've never done it. This makes enough to easily frost a dozen and a half cookies or a dozen if put on very thick.

4 Cookie Pictures )
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Colorado Peach)
Mix in a bowl with a whisk or sift:
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt (reduce or leave out if you are using salted butter)

Ingredients:
½ cup butter (or shortening if you don't care about taste)
1 cup sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
1 teaspoon vanilla or ½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup thick sour cream

Beat the sugar and butter until well creamed. At least 2 minutes on setting '8' on a Kitchen Maid stand mixer. Or until you raise a blister if you don't have a stand mixer. Add the egg and mix again on high. Add the sour cream and your preferred spice. Mix on high one last time. Now start adding the flour mixture a bit at a time while mixing very slowly. Mix only long enough to combine all ingredients. This is ¼ cup of flour short to allow for variations in flour density so you don't have to sift it before measuring. Simply add a bit more if the dough doesn't seem stiff enough or is too sticky. It should be a hair or two softer than pie crust.

Before rolling out your dough start heating your oven to 190°C or 375°F.

Roll out to a thickness of about ¼ of an inch or ½ cm. Thicker will produce a softer cookie while thinner will produce a more crisp one. Cut and sprinkle with granulated sugar, plain white sugar is elegant and colored sugar is fun. I find that complex shapes are difficult to work with unless I slip a thin spatula of some kind under the cookie and leave the cutter around it while moving it. Cutting out around a solid shape with a knife works better than cutting freehand, though in both cases expect a slightly less crisp edge.

1 part cocoa powder to 2 parts granulated sugar is a very tasty dusting to put on a cookie, though I'm still experimenting with this. It looks very nice on my Ibex cookies.

Bake for 10 minutes and look carefully. They might go as long as 12 minutes when the oven is opened frequently. Don't wait until brown coloration starts up the sides, they'll be overdone on the bottom.

Pictures later. These are just how I like my cookies. Slightly cake like when fresh, a bit crisp on the outside, keep well, and not too sweet. Perfect with tea or a glass of milk.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Colorado Peach)
1 package fresh or frozen whole cranberries (12 oz.)
¾ cup liquid
1 cup sugar, less one tablespoon
1 orange
1 lemon

Take off some of the zest of the lemon and orange. Then cut them each in half and juice to get about ¼ 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. I used four packages this year to fill two molds.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Colorado Peach)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons dry sherry or close enough
1 ½ pounds peeled and cut carrots (that is about 8 medium sized ones or 4 cups chopped)
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt
Ground white pepper
Pinch netmeg
1 ¼ cups milk
Mint, chive or parsley if you want a garnish

Prepare almost everything first. You can leave the chopping of the carrots until the onion is started, but don't try to peel them all while sautéing, you're not that fast. Put the can of chicken or other stock in a measuring cup because chances are it will be short and you'll need to add some water to get the full amount.

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium to high heat. Sauté onion until golden, that should take about five minutes. Throw in the alcohol and chopped carrots and toss around for half a minute or so, all the alcohol should evaporate leaving just good flavor.

Add the stock and everything except the milk. Bring to a boil to kill any last germs then cover and reduce to simmer until the carrots a very tender, about half an hour at altitude, somewhat less at sea level.

Ladle your carrots and liquid into a blender. Yes you can get away with one of those in pot blender wand things, but your soup won't be as smooth. I don't have a 7 cup blender so I'm ready with a second pot so I can do the blending in two batches. Add 1 cup of milk and blend, return to a pot to heat up again. It will keep for about three days.

Cautions and Options:
DO NOT SKIP PEELING THE CARROTS. The soup will be bitter if you don't peel.

I also put in some cinnamon to sweeten the soup without adding sugar if the carrots are not sweet enough.

In the past I have made it with soy milk, that works fine since the carrots are the thickener rather than the milk, though it doesn't have that perfect taste that only real milk can give. But if you can't do milk it is a fine substitute that even omnivores won't object much to if they're not doing a blind taste test. Also you can add a bit more oil to give more "mouth feel" if you're not using milk, it won't separate out much due to the thickness of the soup.

Cranberries

Jan. 3rd, 2005 07:34 pm
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Colorado Peach)
I used up my last package of cranberries today. Some of it went into making relish to go with the last of my left over turkey from my family's Yule dinner. I deiced to put two thirds of them towards an experiment. I finely minced them in my food processor then put them in a jar with half a liter of vodka. I'm going to let it sit for a week or two and then decant into another bottle. No sugar because I want to see what the drink is like plain. Maybe it will be too strong and need diluting down with more vodka (funny, diluting with vodka). If it needs sugar I'll add a bit at a time until it is just right.

The next time I get to the store I'll see if there might be any fresh packages left, though I doubt there will be. I also think I'll get some ham and some bread because eventually I've a mind to make some Scotch Eggs. They'd make a nice lunch with some greens.

Until then I'm working on what I have here. Tonight I think some rice and some mung beans mashed with some milk or something.

Today I got registered for unemployment and to start searching for a new job. Offically unemployeed last Friday and all. I'll have to document where I'm applying now so that I can get the benifit, such as it is. I also got more cleaned up today. A third of the floor is scrubed and now I'm working on a sink full of dishes.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
Very inexpensive supper. Take one can of chicken stock (purchased at Costco a long time ago for about 65¢) and add to it 3/4 that amount of water. Heat on the stove as you cut up one bunch of green onion (Sunflower Marker, 50¢) and one package silken tofu (Sunflower Market, 99¢). Finally add two or three allspice and some nori. Total cost just over $2.00, not bad. Any suggestions on a name? I was thinking Cazamir's Tofu Soup or else Polish Tofu Soup.
 
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Colorado Peach)
Cut an acorn squash in half in the usual way. After scraping out the seeds poke the inside with a fork then sprinkle lightly with medium hot cyan pepper. Drizzle in some honey then pour in a good measure of olive oil. Cook in an oven until soft (about 400F for one hour for American ovens). It is a pretty good side dish.
 
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Colorado Peach)
Prepare 1/2 cup of rice the usual way. You know, boil a cup of water add the rice turn to low and cook on low for 15 to 20 minutes. While that's cooking cut an orange in half and juice it into a pot. Also get quite a bit of orange zest, at least two tablespoons. I know that sounds like a lot. Trust me! As long as it isn't packed down this will come out just fine. Cook down the juice for a while, at least by half. Chop half a large onion, about 3/4 to 1 cup. Throw that in with the juice and quite a bit of olive oil. Cook until clear, add the rice. Cook for a bit longer for all the tastes to mix. It has a nice mild bitter/sweet taste.

I ate it with some sliced up corned beef, thought that's not exactly a serving recommendation. Now I'm going to have a glass of milk and go to bed.

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