I took the rest of the cooked Himalayan red rice I made earlier, and mixed it with diced tomato, cucumber, feta, s&p, lemon juice, olive oil & sumac. Best at room temperature.
For the remainder of my grape leaves, here's what we did:
1 jar grape leaves
1 lb ground beef (lamb would most likely be better)
1/2 c white rice
1 egg white
few T chopped parsley
1/2 t dried basil
1 1/2 t salt
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop in the leaves (don't worry about separating them), return the water to a boil, then turn off the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Drain, then refill the pot with cold water and add the leaves. Let them sit until you're ready.
Mix up everything else.
Trim the stems from the leaves, unless you like chomping on undigestible greenery.
Lay a leaf out flat, and place a heaping teaspoon of filling near the stem end. Fold up one bottom leaf-lobe, then the other. Then fold in the sides, then roll up like a burrito. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Fill a large pot with about an inch or so of water. Place a plate in the pot. Place the dolmades on the plate, making them snuggle together so they don't come unwrapped. More than one layer is ok. Cover with any remaining grape leaves, then with another plate. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until tender, maybe 45 minutes (I wasn't really paying attention to time).
We served these with hummus and pita. Next time I'd probably cut back on the filling a little, because at times the grape leaf flavor got lost, and it felt like eating a meatball.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
I took the rest of the cooked Himalayan red rice I made earlier, and mixed it with diced tomato, cucumber, feta, s&p, lemon juice, olive oil & sumac. Best at room temperature.
at 6:58 PM
I came across this recipe on Culinate for cilantro chutney. Sounded good, so I decided to give it a go. I left out the mint and upped the cilantro, because I think mint is unnecessary in food.
I had a little trouble, however. My mini-food-processor apparently couldn't handle it, and the motor burned up. So I tried the blender. That didn't work either, I think the volume was too small. Mortar & pestle? Nope. Endless chopping and smooshing? Closer. I ended up using my metal meat tenderizer - you know, flat on one end and spiky-pointy on the other. Very good for mutilating vegetable matter.
But because of all that, I wasn't able to get the recommended puree. (Hint to husband: a wet grinder would be nice.)
Here's the Culinate picture:
And here's mine:
Lack of puree notwithstanding, the flavor is incredible. Scooped on a tortilla chip like salsa - yum. Stirred into pinto beans from El Pollo Loco - amazing. It would probably be really good on top of fish, and I'm thinking that I could up the coconut content and use it to coat shrimp before pan-frying. Oh the possibilities...
at 2:22 PM
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I bought a jar of Reese grape leaves a while back on a whim, and they've been sitting in my cupboard ever since, waiting for inspiration to slap me in the back of the head.
Well, tonight, my head suffered a resounding slap after I cooked up the last of my Himalayan Red Rice.
I rinsed a leaf, then stuffed it with some of the rice mixed with feta, olive oil, salt and pepper, rolled the whole thing up like a mini burrito, then steamed it for about 30 minutes.
Picture from the evil jungle prince blog. Check out his other pictures from the post on dolmades - I'm jealous!
Not bad for a first try, next time I'm going to add either some lemon juice or some red wine vinegar to counteract the starchiness of the rice and the richness of the feta and olive oil. And I'll probably steam it longer, maybe another 20 minutes, or maybe boil them first, as suggested by this recipe from Spicetart, because the leaf was still a bit chewy.
And by the way, if you ever buy a jar of grape leaves, there's no way you can remove just one - they're all rolled up together, and the whole mass of them comes out at once!
at 9:57 PM
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Hope everyone had a great Christmas!
Our dinner consisted of tamales (from Tamales Ancira in Escondido), chili verde, and adobo.
Which brings up a question - do you put tomato sauce in your adobo? My husband's great-grandfather was Filipino, and put tomato sauce in his. But every recipe I've seen online (save one) is tomato-sauce-less. I'm thinking it's a Mexican influence, since the other part of my husband's family is Mexican. Then there's the names - adobado is Mexican, adobo is Filipino. Anyone have any ideas?
at 6:54 PM
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
I came across this interesting exchange between Bourdain and Ruhlman at B&N in NY at Profumo Profondo today.
So it looks like FN owns A Cook's Tour completely, and that Bourdain isn't in on the reprisal...
My favorite quote is the comparison of Guy Fieri to chlamydia. I don't like his shows, but I wouldn't go that far. Seems like Miss Yum-O is much more infectious.
at 7:56 PM
Monday, December 17, 2007
This is my husband's ex-mother-in-law's recipe for chili beans.
2 large cans of Sun Vista pinto beans
"lots" of California chili powder - I'm guessing he means about 2T
oregano - we used Mexican, but he says Italian is better - about 3/4 teaspoon
"itty bit" of cumin - about 1/4 teaspoon
some garlic powder
1 serrano, cut in half, seeds left in
1 to 1.5 lbs ground beef
1/2 large brown onion
"tons" of garlic - it looked like about 8 cloves
Combine the beans, chili powder, oregano, cumin, Lawry's, garlic powder and serrano in a large Dutch oven. (Check out my orange Descoware!) Bring to a simmer.
In a separate large skillet, sauté the ground beef and onion until the beef is almost cooked through. Add the garlic, sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Drain the grease if you'd like. Dump into the pot o' beans. Let cook for about an hour, adding water if it starts getting too thick. Be careful when stirring (occasionally) so you don't smoosh up the beans.
Serve with shredded cheddar, sour cream and cilantro on top, ideally with jalapeño cornbread, or with chips, or stale bread, or whatever carbohydrate you have on hand.
I had planned on taking a picture of the finished dish, but we ate it all before I had a chance!
at 7:19 PM
Thursday, December 13, 2007
After all the things he's said about the network and the chefs?
Apparently in my shock, I missed the part about how they're airing the original episodes (thanks Jo). So does that mean that Food Network owns the sole rights to the show and knows that by airing the episodes, they'll get people to come back? Or that Bourdain owns at least part of the show, and let the Network re-air for a certain price? I wonder how many of the 7 deadly sins are represented by this whole story...
at 6:34 PM
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The 2nd avocado (see previous post) turned into a BLT with avocado and sliced Hungarian peppers. No picture because I didn't want to lose the warmth of the toast and bacon, which were miraculously done at the same time (I typically suck at kitchen timing).
Wonder what I should do with avocado #3...
at 7:15 PM
Monday, December 10, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
I made my favorite asparagus tonight (I know it's out-of-season, but it was $2 a pound, and I couldn't resist).
Toss asparagus with olive oil and black pepper.
Roast at 400 degrees until it's the texture you like.
Toss with a little bit of butter, and equal amounts of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.
I was thoroughly enjoying my asparagus, right down to the last bite. Literally. The last piece tasted funny, completely negating my previous enjoyment.
at 6:56 PM
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Yes, we're all sick of leftover turkey. But since I'm cleaning out my freezer, and found a cooked turkey breast, I figured, why not make a pot pie?
Turkey Pot Pie:
(Recipe based on what I had and 2 recipes I found that look remarkably similar.)
3-4 c cooked turkey, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 red potatoes, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 c peas
3 cups turkey broth
3 T flour
3 T butter/oil
Melt the butter over medium heat, and saute the onions for ~10 minutes. Add the garlic, saute for 30 seconds. Add the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Slowly add in the broth, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and simmer 15 minutes until nicely thickened.
Add the potatoes, carrot and celery. Bring back to a boil, lower to a simmer, and simmer 25-30 minutes. Stir in the turkey and peas.
Divide the mixture into ramekins / pot pie thingies. Top with biscuit dough. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until the biscuits are done and the filling is hot.
Biscuit dough (stolen / adapted from Wandering Chopsticks):
2 c flour
1 t sugar
1 T baking powder
large pinch of salt
handful of chopped cilantro
1/2 c chilled butter, cubed
3/4 c buttermilk
Mix the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Mix in the buttermilk. I can never mix biscuit dough with anything but my hands - but mix just until it comes together, otherwise the butter starts melting and you'll get tough biscuits.
at 7:09 PM
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I made this recipe from What Did You Eat? for Herb Pita Crisps and Sun-Dried Tomato Dip just now. It's wonderful. I also have lamb-feta burgers refrigerating, tzatziki sauce mellowing, and spicy green chutney doing whatever it does.
However, no pictures because I just got a call from my doctor - the x-ray of my knee showed evidence of fluid buildup. I'm supposed to rest the leg, elevate it, ice it for 20 minutes out of every hour when it hurts, and compression-wrap it if I have to move around.
WTF? I never realized how much I move around until I had to make a conscious effort not to. And what about work? It would be lovely if I could sit at my desk all day (with my leg elevated, of course), but there's no way in hell that's going to happen.
Getting old sucks.
at 4:16 PM
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
We rarely eat turkey. And by rarely, I mean about once a year (but for 4 days straight). Maybe some ground turkey mixed up in something about 6 months later...
This year, the kids are elsewhere, and we're spending the day with friends, so I cooked my turkey on Wednesday.
I watched a couple videos on how to carve a turkey the butcher's way. This is so much better than carving at the table. Look at the coherent chunks!
Everything came apart so easily and completely, without the typical plateful of shreds, and I'm not left with a carcass that sits in the fridge for days while the household vultures slowly and messily devour the edible bits.
(The questionably-edible bits go to the resident animals.)
My formerly-feathered-friend's skeleton (now broken into bits) is going to turn into Ruhlman's turkey stock, that bakes in the oven for hours instead of boiling on the stovetop. At his suggestion, I'm thinking risotto. With turkey. And the next day, vegetable soup with dumplings. And turkey. And then probably a stuffing & turkey hash, with eggs baked on top. Mmmm...
at 10:14 PM
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The pig is a wonderful animal. Just think about it - bacon, pork chops, pancetta, pork belly, char sui, chili verde, salami, sopressata, lardo, paprikas, capicola, coppa, prosciutto, Jamon Iberico, etc. etc. etc.
Next time I run across a live pig, I'm going to give him (her?) a hug.
But, in the meantime, since there are no live pigs in my immediate vicinity, I'm going to enjoy my "dry coppa", on a fresh-baked epi with some provolone.
at 10:24 PM
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Acorn squash is one of those things I know I should like, because they're good for me. Like eggplant. And Bloody Mary's. But, try as I might, I just can't make it taste good. (I've solved my eggplant problem, however. See here.)
So I found a recipe on Epicurious for Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile Vinaigrette. The comments were overwhelmingly favorable, and chile-lime makes practically everything taste good, so I thought I'd give it a shot.
It's certainly pretty. But I still didn't like it (neither did hubby). On the bright side, the 16 17-year-old said it was good.
at 8:02 PM
Saturday, November 3, 2007
We have a new stove. Old one was probably the one that came with the house when it was built in 1978.
A little over a week ago, the element in the lower oven decided to burn out. Bright sparking white fire slowly moving across the element. Had to flip the breaker to get it to stop, because the off-knob decided to not work. Pretty scary.
So here's in-process. The walls were mustard-yellow behind there. (Better than butterfly wallpaper, I guess.)
And here's my new stove & new microwave:
And, bonus! - The oven has a "Sabbath Feature". You can program it to cook stuff later, so you don't have to do any work on the Sabbath. I almost want to convert.
I'll stop here. I mean, what can you say that can possibly follow the Sabbath Feature?
at 7:00 PM
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I love fall. Cooler weather, leafy greens, soups, breads, cookies.
Today I gutted a pumpkin and roasted the seeds. Took Elise's tip of boiling them in salted water for 10 minutes, then roasting with olive oil (I added paprika). Yum.
I also made kale chips, with kale I had leftover from soup I made (kale, andouille and potato). Husband doesn't like them - more for me!
Oh - and you know how everyone always says to line your baking trays with foil? For some reason, I never did until today. I have no idea why I waited so long, and I'm kicking myself for it. My baking sheets have always had baked-in grease spots (olive oil, pork fat, etc) that won't come out no matter how long you scrub. If I had only listened to the voices of reason...
at 5:31 PM
Monday, October 29, 2007
A while back we were in Monrovia CA, and stopped at Dogwoods. I love that place. Beautiful fruits & veggies, much cheaper than any grocery store. They've got produce I have a hard time getting here, like fresh fava beans, Persian cucumbers. And their canned/packaged stuff - imported from all over the world. I picked up a package of Israeli couscous and a jar of pickled turnips, in addition to tons of produce. They also have an "Indian" section of spices, spice blends, etc. I was kind of overwhelmed, and I settled on this spice blend for butter chicken.
The instructions on the back are a little vague - "Marinate chicken for 30 minutes." Marinate in what? "Add water." How much? Oh well. So I dutifully mashed up my tomatoes and onions, cut up my chicken, and pulverized cashews. Cooked the chicken with the tomatoes & onion for about 10 minutes, added the cashews, spice blend, and a little water, cooked for about 15 minutes more.
OMG this stuff is HOTHOTHOT! (That's not to say I didn't like it, I like it very much, thank you.) I'm seriously thinking about cooking up another chicken breast and adding it to what's left to cut down on the heat.
at 5:11 PM
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Same view 2.5 days later. Air's full of ash, but at least the sky's not orange!
This is just my area in San Marcos. There are still plenty of people in danger, down near the border, and northeast towards Fallbrook and Palomar Mountain. No one's breathing easy yet.
at 3:08 PM
Monday, October 22, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
In honor of World Bread Day (October 16), I made this Potato Bread recipe from Chris at Mele Cotte.
Puffy and soft, with a crispy crust. Good warm with butter. Heck, good without butter! I'm going to try panini tomorrow, the crust looks perfect for that. A definite winner.
at 8:54 PM
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into about 1" chunks
1 lb kale, medium-fine chop (I used flowering kale, so cute!)
some olive oil
4 oz pancetta, diced fine
maybe 1/2 an onion, diced fine
1 Anaheim chili, diced fine
2 garlic cloves, diced fine
Boil your potatoes until tender. Remove to a colander with a skimmer/slotted spoon. Blanch the kale in the same boiling water, maybe 5-8 minutes (sorry, I don't watch my timing much). Drain the kale.
Smoosh the potatoes, mixing in the kale. You don't want completely mashed, but you don't want to be able to say "hey, there's a half of a potato!". Salt & pepper.
Saute the pancetta, onion, garlic and chili in some olive oil, in a large (12 diameter) oven-proof skillet. Dump them into the potato/kale mix.
Re-heat the skillet with a little oil, smoosh in all the potato/kale/pancetta mix, make it flat, then cook on the stovetop over medium heat about 10 minutes. Then throw in a 450 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes until browned on top.
So good. But it's got piggy-parts in it, so of course it is.
at 5:54 PM
OK, so I knew I was allergic to cantaloupe. If I have even one bite, my throat swells and I start wheezing like a dying asthmatic. But I eat it anyway, because the problems pass in about 15 minutes, and the slight discomfort is worth the yummy satisfaction of eating something that causes me pain.
So I saw this absolutely adorable baby cantaloupe at the local market (that's him next to a 16oz Arizona tea). He's literally 4 inches in diameter.
I picked him up, and tucked him in the crook of my arm, as I wandered around the market. When I got to the checkout, I noticed my arm was itchy. The arm that the cute adorable baby little cantaloupe was resting upon. I looked down. Not only was it itchy, it was red. Blotchy. Little bumps, like flea bites.
So, not only can I not eat the baby cantaloupe, apparently I can't even hold him. Little bastard.
at 5:45 PM
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
So this is my attempt to de-lurk any lurkers. Assuming I have any.
How many cookbooks do you have?
I have 71. Plus 6 in languages other than English (3 French, 1 Italian, 1 Hungarian, 1 Thai). Plus 3 books that are about food, not recipe books (Cod by Mark Kurlansky, The Physiology of Taste by Brillat-Savarin, and Cooking for Kings, The Life of Antoine Careme, the First Celebrity Chef, by Ian Kelly). Oh, and there are about 5 more in my garage waiting for someone to buy them on half.com.
Some of the 71 are "limited edition" plastic-spiral-bound church cookbooks, self-published from the deli around the corner, etc.
How many have I actually cooked something from? I'd guess about 20. My favorite that I haven't yet cooked from (er...from which I haven't yet cooked, grammar y'know) - Silver Spoon. How many are on my want-list? Lots.
So, tell. Please. How many cookbooks do you have?
at 9:05 PM
Sunday, October 7, 2007
First let me say that I am NOT going to post a picture of this. I don't think anyone could make this soup appear appetizing with a photograph.
That being said, this soup was absolutely amazing for being completely unplanned and requiring zero trips to purchase ingredients.
There was this sad little bag of whole dried peas in my cupboard that I purchased a while back from the Escondido Swap Meet & Farmers Market on a whim. (If I had been thinking, I would've photographed the cute little peas, so there would've been at least one picture to gaze at.) Three or so hours later, the sad little bag was transformed into a delectable pot of split whole pea soup.
Whole Pea Soup with Ham
1 1/2 cups whole dried peas
1/2 an onion, diced fine
1 almost-dead carrot, diced fine
2 ribs almost-limp celery, diced fine
cubed cooked ham
celery leaves, to garnish
Saute the onion, carrot and celery in some sort of fat about 10 minutes. I used chicken fat that I had skimmed off the broth. Dump in the broth, peas, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil, then let simmer forever. Use an immersion blender or the back of a spoon to smash/puree if you so desire. Stir in the ham, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer a little longer, until the peas are done to your liking.
And to further the "use up whatever you can find in the house" theme, chunks of day-old baguette make a great spoon.
at 4:34 PM
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I love zucchini. I hate eggplant.
Wait...maybe I don't hate eggplant...maybe it just needs to be coated in panko breadcrumbs and fried.
Panko Breaded Zucchini and Eggplant
Oil for frying
Slice zucchini and Japanese eggplant lengthwise about 1/4" thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Dip in flour, tapping off excess. Dip in egg, draining away excess. Coat with panko breadcrumbs.
Heat vegetable/canola oil, about 1/8" deep in a large skillet. You might want to heat the oil while you're doing the breading part, because the breading will get soggy if left to sit too long.
Fry the breaded veggies in the oil until nicely browned on both sides.
I liked these with tzatziki sauce, my husband used soy sauce. We were practically fighting over who got the last eggplant slice...
at 10:35 PM
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Ivonne over at Cream Puffs in Venice is hosting Sugar High Friday this time around, and the theme is figs! I've never participated in a blogging event of any kind before, but since I have two flourishing fig trees in my back yard, what better way to start?
The fence is 6 feet high. That would put the larger tree at about 15 feet. There's so much fruit that some of the branches almost touch the ground.
One way of using up all the luscious plump figs literally at my doorstep is to stew and simmer them into submission, giving them a kick with some ginger and/or cinnamon, and some crunch with sesame seeds.
Recipe for Fig and Sesame Seed Jam:
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c water
2 lb firm fresh figs, stem end trimmed, chopped smallish
zest of about 1 lemon
2 T lemon juice
sesame seeds, about 1/4 cup, maybe less
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
Simmer the sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.
Stir in the figs, zest, juice and spices. Simmer uncovered, about 2 hours (maybe less), until syrupy.
Stir in sesame seeds.
My favorite way to serve - on a cracker with some goat cheese and prosciutto. Not a dessert, you say? Sweet end to a meal, I'd say.
at 3:59 PM
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Monday, September 3, 2007
Too many serranos in my garden.
Cut them in half and seed them. Mix a batter of AP flour and rice flour (2:1), salt and Tecate. Batter-dip, and fry in hot canola oil.
Dip in something sweet. I used Cahill Red Chili Jelly (made in AZ, purchased in San Juan Capistrano).
at 6:38 PM
This is one of my favorite weekend lunches.
1 bunch rapini (broccoli rabe)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, diced
1 slice pancetta, diced
hot pepper flakes
Trim the tough stems off the rapini. Blanch for about 5 minutes, shock in ice water. Drain well - squeeze in paper towels or your hands.
Saute the pancetta until crispy, add the garlic and pepper flakes, saute a while. Add the rapini and beans, toss around for a while. Add chicken broth, let simmer for a bit. Add in a squeeze or 2 of lemon juice. Top with parmesan.
at 1:47 PM
Monday, August 13, 2007
What better way to test a new cheese than to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Slightly stale baguette, thin-thin slices of a tomato (from my garden!), smashed on a skillet for a few.
It was good.
at 8:00 PM