coraa: (food love)
Leafy dinner! Tabbouleh and sorrel soup. Both really challenged the idea that a leafy meal is tasteless 'rabbit food' -- parsley has a bitter, slightly peppery flavor that goes well with the earthy flavor of the bulgur and the lemony dressing, and the sorrel of the soup has a wonderful, sharp flavor. When I had [livejournal.com profile] jmpava try a raw leaf all by itself he went, "Wow. WOW! Lemon." So yeah.

Tabbouleh I've made many times, and this particular variation is a bit of a difference from how I usually make it. For one thing, without any fresh tomatoes, I used rehydrated dried tomatoes -- and really, really liked it that way. For another thing, I used cilantro and sorrel leaves in place of mint, and I really liked the cilantro, but missed the mint. Next time I think half-and-half cilantro and mint.

It was my first attempt at sorrel soup, and the first time I ever tried it, so I had no basis for comparison. Nice and creamy, though, with a wonderful lemony bite. It really reminded me of avogolemono (albeit without any rice or orzo).

Early Spring Tabbouleh )

Creamy Sorrel Soup )
coraa: (cooking)
Today I was very productive! I broke down four chickens -- half a chicken (butterflied and split) set aside for dinner tonight, and the rest broken down into seven legs (drumstick and thigh together, with skin on and bone in), seven breasts (boneless and skinless) and seven wings (set aside together in a bag for making buffalo wings at some future point), plus a full gallon bag of giblets and bones for stock, and a good pint of chicken skins that are currently rendering down for fat. (I'll use the chicken fat to confit three of the legs tomorrow.)

It took about an hour all told, and now I have schmaltz, stock-makings, and a lot of meat for dinners.

Then I used the half-chicken I'd saved to make lemon chicken. ([livejournal.com profile] jmpava and I have found that half a chicken is about right for dinner for us, so unless I have a plan for the extra roast chicken meat, I butterfly and split a chicken and then cook just that much.)

Lemony Butterflied Chicken )

I served it with orzo risotto (whole-wheat orzo pasta, cooked like a rice risotto), and a salad made of beets, carrots and red onions, cut in big pieces, roasted until tender, and tossed with honey mustard.
coraa: (boom de yada)
* The living room is CLEAN. In that way where it's clean enough that I wouldn't be embarrassed to have people over.
* The bedroom is ON ITS WAY TO BEING CLEAN.
* The roomba is adorable.
* I made a loaf of sourdough rye bread for sandwiches, and another loaf of sourdough rye -- in an artisan boule type shape, for eating out of hand or toasting or dipping in olive oil -- is in the oven.
* Did I mention that the living room is CLEAN?

Here's my recipe for no-knead sourdough rye, a mostly-wholegrain bread that has wonderful flavor and a great crust. If you can stir, you can make this bread, I promise.

No-Knead Sourdough Rye Bread )
coraa: (food love)
Conclusion on sardines: very very tasty, very flavorful (I 'cured' them in rice wine vinegar, mirin and soy sauce, and then drained them and lightly battered them with flour and Asahi, and pan-fried), but absolutely full of bones. It made eating the fish a very... strategic process, although a lot easier once I gave up the pretense of tact and used my fingers. (Does anyone know of a good way to work around a fish full of bones, besides filleting it? Filleting a fish this small is kind of a pain in the neck.)

Served over soba noodles and sauteed mustard greens. Like I said, pretty tasty, even with ninety million tiny little bones.
coraa: (food love)
Tonight for dinner I made a stir fry of vegetables and fresh yakisoba noodles. The stir fry itself was okay, nothing earthshattering -- onion, carrot, kale, rehydrated seaweed, shiitake mushrooms, and fresh yakisoba noodles, a little dark sesame oil to taste, in proportions such that there are about twice as much total volume of vegetables as of noodles. Stir fry as usual, starting with the onions and carrots, then adding the mushrooms, then the kale and seaweed, and finally the noodles. The sauce I cooked it with, though, went over quite well with both myself and [livejournal.com profile] jmpava, so I'll record that one here.

(I think the sauce went over so well because it's a distinct departure from teriyaki and teriyaki-like sauces, which are usually my default go-to. And they're good! But this was a wonderful change.)

Spicy Honey Miso Sauce )
coraa: (cooking)
Had this with potatoes gratin and lemon-marinated steak -- no recipes for those, though, because the lemon steak was very straightforward (marinate steak in lemon and olive oil, sear in a very hot pan, slice thinly, drizzle with more lemon and olive oil), and the potato gratin wasn't remarkable enough to be worth writing up. But the brussels sprout hot salad was very good indeed, and is the kind of treatment that people who aren't terribly fond of 'standard' sprouts should try if they want to give the veggie a second chance. (Turns out [livejournal.com profile] jmpava isn't fond of them in miniature cabbage form, but quite likes the taste when shredded!)

Also, sprouts and pears are both in season at my farmer's market! So, awesome.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Pear and Walnut )
coraa: (cooking)
Because several people have asked!

These are so fast and so easy and so crunchy and tasty, it's amazing. They do still taste like kale -- but like light, airy, toasty-browned kale, slightly oily and salty (but only slightly). Like potato chips in texture and munchability, but not so much in flavor. Right now, when there's a ton of kale at the farmer's market, they're fun to make.

Basically, the principle behind kale chips is that kale is a fairly stiff/firm green -- so it doesn't immediately wilt in a hot oven -- that is both thin enough and low-moisture enough to crisp up quickly in a hot oven. Unlike potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc, which are thick and moist enough to be difficult to crisp in a home oven, kale chips are dead simple.

Be careful not to oversalt them, though. I did that, and wow, salty chips.

Kale Chips )
coraa: (food love)
Asparagus is in season here and even grows locally. (It's not going to be in season much longer, I don't think; the stalks have already morphed from the slim bright-green ones that I got in early to mid April, grown thicker and darker and more fibrous.) I love asparagus, and I've been getting a lot of it in my organic delivery boxes, and here's how I've been cooking it.

(Note: These are emphatically not asparagus recipes to convert the asparagus-hater. I love asparagus, therefore they are recipes that jump up and down and shout ASPARAGUS really loudly at you. Mostly they involve just cooking it in different ways and eating it with very little else on top.)

Steamed in a Packet )

Roasted )

Sauteed )

You can also cook asparagus in hot liquid; this is mostly useful for adding to dishes that already are a hot liquid, such as soups and risottos. Just toss it into the hot liquid 3-5 minutes before the whole dish will be done; adding it right at the end prevents it from overcooking. And you can use the above methods in conjunction with other things: for instance, since asparagus reacts well to dry-heat roasting, you can put it on a pizza as a pizza topping. Just add asparagus (chopped up bite-sized, but otherwise unseasoned) at the same time you add the pepperoni or mushrooms or whatever, and bake as normal. Or bake fish in a foil pouch, and add some asparagus along with it, and it'll steam just as nicely as if you'd just put it in on its own. Like that.

(It's a good thing I'm posting this on my lunch break: it's making me hungry.)
coraa: (food love)
First, via Making Light, an interesting talk on Where do people find the time?. As Patrick Nielsen Hayden summarizes, it's about "gin, television, the 'cognitive surplus,' and the true answer to the annoying question in the title..." I nodded a lot, also: grinned. Video, worksafe.

Second, a recipe. Potstickers, or gyoza, or jiaozi, or pan-fried wonton things. Technically, gyoza/jiaozi are made with a different dough than wonton skins, but wonton skins are readily available to me, so I use them. I make no claim as to authenticity at all, but they taste good.

Potstickers )
coraa: (cooking)
Over the next few days, I'm going to post several recipes that I've made in the past week or so. This is the first: gnocchi with garlicky bechamel and other stuff. I used chicken for my 'stuff.' I like chicken, it's tasty with gnocchi, and it made a good bechamel base. But you could use all kinds of other things -- including making it vegetarian, although not vegan -- and I'll put notes on how to do that at the end.

Also, first a bit of warning. This isn't the kind of recipe where I can tell you to take two potatoes and half a cup of flour and you'll be able to just follow the instructions to the letter. Like a lot of things, gnocchi is really dependent on your personal circumstances -- how big are your potatoes? How much water and starch do they contain? How much moisture is in the air, in your flour, how big is your egg, how much cheese do you like? So this is a method-recipe for certain, and you'll have to make some judgment calls, but I'll do my best to explain what those are and how to make them. And if anything doesn't make sense to you, feel free to ask.

And an obligatory note on authenticity: There are a million ways to make gnocchi. Some contain ricotta, some don't; some rely on spinach for structure, some don't; some have potatoes, some don't. Mine is a potato-cheesy dumpling. I make no pretense that my method is authentic. I just happen to think it tastes good.

There are three components: the gnocchi, the Stuff, and the sauce.

The Gnocchi )

The Stuff )

The Sauce )

Now I'm hungry.
coraa: (cooking)
For Winter Holiday Of Your Choice, I made [livejournal.com profile] shamiksan and [livejournal.com profile] avani habanero-infused vodka. Avani was interested in the recipe, so I figured I'd post it here.

Like most infusions, habanero vodka is really simple. You start with plain vodka. It doesn't have to be very good (and, indeed, very good vodka would be wasted on an infusion like this), but it should have a relatively clean taste -- if it has nasty harsh or acetone-y notes, the final vodka will also taste nastily harsh and acetone-y. I made a 'clean' vodka by buying a big bottle of really cheap vodka and running it through a Brita filter five times. What I wound up with was a very neutral vodka, which was what I wanted.

So: habaneros. I was making four small jars of vodka (I don't know, somewhere between 8 and 12 oz per jar?), and I wanted a good strong infusion, so I picked out twelve medium-to-smallish habaneros to go into it. From those I set aside the four prettiest. The eight less-pretty ones I washed, stemmed, and cut into rings. I put two habaneros worth of rings into each jar, filled the jars up with vodka, lidded them, gave them a shake, and let them infuse for three days, shaking once a day.

Once the initial infusion was done, I strained the habanero parts out and tasted the vodka. (Very carefully, like one drop. I knew it was going to be about nine thousand times too hot for me, but I wanted to make sure it tasted like habanero, not like I'd messed up the infusion....) It tasted like fiery death, which was as it should be. I put one whole habanero (the four pretty ones I'd saved) in each jar and sealed them again, and they were ready to give.

The single whole habanero will continue to steep into the vodka over time, but since it was whole and floated at the top, it will infuse much more slowly than the high-surface-area habanero slices I used for the initial infusion.

I made it potently spicy because of my target audience, but you could make a similar thing quite easily with fewer peppers, or different peppers, or whatever. (Really, you can infuse practically anything into vodka -- I've also made caramel vodka [which is, yes, actually a suspension and not an infusion], and I want to try cinnamon, black pepper, or apple. How long they have to infuse to get a good flavor varies depending on the thing you're infusing, though.)

What to do with habanero vodka, besides shoot it and then hate yourself? It's good in bloody marys, of course, but I also tried a little of it with orange juice for an interestingly spicy screwdriver -- or really, in any fruity drink that you want to make tonsil-searingly badass. (Fruit juice mixed drinks dilute/offset the spice somewhat.) It's also supposed to be good as a meat marinade, though I can't attest to that myself.

(It occurs to me that, should I be in possession of hot pepper vodka ever again, I should try 1 oz of it in 8 oz of mango juice, and if it's any good, I'll call it the Edward Elric: short, golden, and kicks your ass. I'm such a hugetastic dork.)
coraa: (food love)
Dinner tonight!

(I honestly think the roast vegetable salad was the best dish of the night, and the potatoes second. Frankly, we could have easily gone without meat at all, even though the meat came out pretty well, too.)

Roast Beet and Carrot Salad )

Honey Mustard Dressing )

Mashed Potatoes )

Fake Chicken Cordon Bleu )
coraa: (food love)
Made this today. I was surprised by how similar it was to the tom kha gai I get in Thai restaurants. Not exactly, but gratifyingly close! It's adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipe.

This can be made with chicken, with shrimp, or, for vegetarians, with extra mushrooms or tofu.

Tom Kha Gai )

Recipes

Nov. 28th, 2007 06:00 pm
coraa: (food love)
Roast beast! I made this yesterday with a bottom round roast (not one of the best roast beef cuts, but cheap and plenty good). Eye round, chuck eye, or top round also work nicely. This isn't how you'd want to cook a really good roast -- like a prime rib, or tenderloin -- but for your average for-dinner grocery store cut, it's quite nice.

Roast Beast with Horseradish Cream Sauce and Pan-Fried Potatoes )

...This isn't even a recipe, it's so simple. If you like the Old Spaghetti Factory dish of the same name.... well, it's really easy to make. And fast.

Spaghetti with Myzithra and Browned Butter )
coraa: (food love)
Often, when I'm out at restaurants, I'll order their version of the ubiquitous garlic bread/cheesy bread. Sometimes, when I'm home past midnght and want a bite to eat, I want something garlicky/cheesy/savory to snack on. Thus....

Midnight Craving Garlic Cheesy Bread )
coraa: (cooking)
This is one of my favorite meat-meals -- dinner yesterday. It's also reliably impressive, at least to most people who eat beef. And it's just pot roast and potatoes.

I use a seven-bone roast (also called the center cut chuck roast, or the blade cut chuck) -- named not because it has seven bones, but because it has one enormous bone shaped sort of like the number 7. It's a tough cut, grisly and full of fat, and that's exactly what I want in a pot roast.

The long cooking time usually makes this a weekend meal, unless you work at home or have flexible hours, but sometimes the boy and I would have a mid-sized snack at five and then dinner of pot roast at nine-thirty.

Today, for balance, I think I need to make pasta with vegetables or similar, though. ;)

Pot Roast )

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