Archive for the ‘breakfast’ Category


Vegan Cream Cheese Experiment

   Posted by: Livia Tags: , ,

So I volunteered to help some friends make food for a Vegan Bruncheonette thing they are doing this weekend to raise money to go off for yoga teacher training.

Only I won’t be around this weekend, so I had to think of something on the spot that I could make ahead, and I said to my self, “Hey, I know there’s vegan cream cheese – it must be better with stuff in it than plain. I could make flavored cream cheeses.”

And the guy said, “Why, yes, that’d be wonderful.”

So I said, “Where’s the best place in Philly to buy vegan cream cheese?”

And he gave the wrong* answer – “I have a recipe.”

note: after checking recipes online, I did go back to him and say, “Do you really think this sounds like appetizing food?” and he was still pleased with the idea.



Yester morning (Monday) I ran around shopping for silken tofu and cashew butter. Last night, I borrowed the use of a friend’s food processor at 10pm and tried out a couple recipes.

I have to say that the results were kind of nasty.

But they did firm up into a more cream cheese-esque firmness this morning (Tuesday), and I figure it’s as good as any other homemade vegan cream cheese. Blech.


So the next stage of the plan will be to flavor the hell out of them tonight Tuesday night.

Here’s the list of things I’m thinking of adding. Let me know if you have any other ideas/suggestions.

The first batch was made with: silken tofu, cashew butter, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and white sugar
  • Korintje cassia cinnamon, cinnamon, brown sugar, toasted walnuts, and buckwheat honey**
  • bronze fennel, black pepper, Japanese pepper, black cardamom, lemon zest, nutmeg, and clove
  • black olives, green olives, and toasted almonds

The second batch was made with: silken tofu, canola oil, rice vinegar, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and white sugar

  • roasted garlic & herbs from my garden (chives, parsley, rosemary, thyme, savory, and lovage)
  • pesto (Genovese basil, purple basil, toasted pine nuts, roasted garlic, and black pepper)
  • chipotle & adobo, garlic (roasted and fresh), brown mustard, and molasses

*Only wrong in that I hadn’t expected the extra layer of complication and uncertainty of results. IN fact, the whole experiment was rather fun.

**Great Vegan Honey Debate is discussed at length here.


Results as each was made –

So far, the pesto one has turned out surprisingly well.

The chipotle one, however, is not for the faint of heart. I ended up adding dijon mustard in order to get enough bulk to make my mini food processor happy, and then a tiny little bit of molasses for sweet. But I still had to add the entire portion in the food processor before it stopped tasting of ick, and that might be too spicy for a lot of people. I’ll add a little warning on the label, and no one will believe me, but that’ll be fine.

have just made the garlic and herbs one. Right now it is very disappointing, but I yet have confidence that it will turn awesome over the next couple days as the flavors mingle.

Olives – I don’t know, since I don’t like olives. I ended up buying ones with pits in my quest to get only 6 olives per color, so I wasn’t able to mark the container with a pretty olive slice.

fennel – meh. It’s flavors did suit the tofu concoction well, but you’d have to like the tofu concoction in the first place to enjoy this one.

honey/cinnamon/walnuts – winner! This one was tasty. I wouldn’t put it on a bagel, but I had no problem just eating the spoonful that wouldn’t quite fit in the container.


Pasta Sauce in a jar

   Posted by: Livia Tags: ,

Yes, I have a garden. And, yes, I grow tomatoes.

No, I do not make my own pasta sauce.

Usually, I can get through all of the summer’s tomatoes fresh. If not, there are salsas and chicken creoles to make.

Besides, I think the higher end jarred salsas are delicious, especially when treated as a base with fresh vegetables added.

So I’ve started selecting my jars of sauce by which comes come in mason jars because I find that those tend to be tastier, and I like having the jars to reuse.

On a whim, I recently tried Classico Vodka Sauce.

It is delicious. I ended up eating it with a spoon while I was cooking! It tastes like it is parmesan cheese and cream held together by tomato sauce. I felt absolutely sinful eating it, and I’m not sure I should trust myself to buy another jar.

Also, after my last serving of pasta, I had just a quarter of a cup or so of sauce left that I just couldn’t fit on the dish, so I put it in a separate container to wait until I found the perfect dish for it. And I thought and thought, and I had no idea what to do with it, so I figured I’d mix it with cream cheese (about 4 ounces) and see if that gave me more inspiration.

That and a visit to Satellite Cafe and their signature wrap (spinach tortilla, cream cheese, pesto, roasted red peppers, and fresh spinach) was good for inspiration.

So the next morning’s breakfast was a quesadilla of my cream cheese and vodka sauce spread with caramelized onions and fresh spinach. Mmmmm!

It’s a little too salty for a straight dip for crackers, but maybe with a dry whole wheat type cracker, it could be the base for another topping.

I loved this pasta sauce in a jar.

I may have gone a bit overboard at my produce truck and the farmers’ market and berry picking.

Oh, yes, I went berry picking. Food in Jars had a post about local Pick Your Own berry farms, and I was totally sold on the idea. So a friend and I went out to Rowand Farms (no website?) in Glassboro, NJ to acquire cherries and strawberries. I’ve only picked apples before, and cherries are definitely harder – but then moving on to strawberries was like leveling up once more because you really had to look hard to find the pretty ones… plus stooping, but we knew that going in.

Now I have to make plans for all of this food:

1 nectarine
4 tomatoes
2 bunches of small asparagus
handful of shelling peas
slightly less than 1lb lettuce
2lbs cherries
3lbs strawberries
3 lemons
5 limes
2 grapefruits
4 rhubarb stalks
turnips galore
1 yellow squash
1 red pepper
1 carrot
1 parsnip
3 rutabagas
1 celeriac root
7 oz kale
1lb spicy mustard greens

ready to be harvested from my garden
swiss chard
nasturtium flowers

processed produce
tail end of a jar of salsa
vodka pasta sauce
1/4 cup rice with turmeric, clove, and sundried tomatoes
Thai sweet spicy garlic sauce
chipotle in adobo sauce
jarred crab apples
pineapple juice
orange juice
fermenting peaches

sour cream
cheddar cheese
1% milk

beef fajita leftovers (about enough for 3-4 quesadillas)
3lb beef roast
4 eggs

So now I need a plan
Monday, June 8
breakfast: 2 quesadillas with leftover fajitas


roast: foil packets of root vegetables with various spice mixes and garlic; asparagus

dinner: salad w/ half the lettuce, shelling peas (try one to see if they are good popped out, or if they need to be blanched), roasted asparagus, radishes, and nasturtium flowers – dressing: something mild and sweet – white balsamic and apricot jelly?

prep beef: 1/3 slice into thin strips and marinate with pineapple juice, jalapeno, black bean sauce (for stir fry); 1/3 slice into thin strip and marinate with salsa, chipotle, and lime juice (for something involving tortillas); prep the thickest third for roasting (studded with garlic cloves and tuck in some rosemary) and wrap for freezing

Rhubarb – make candied rhubarb and rhubarb syrup for camping

dessert – strawberries and milk

Tuesday, June 9
breakfast – try Kenyan collard green recipe with kale (uses a tomato); eat some strawberries

9am – meet real estate agent to go see a house I can’t afford


dinner: stir fry marinated beef with asparagus, red pepper, jalapeno, ginger, radishes; also saute some of the spicy mustard greens with garlic to have one the side. Make rice.

strawberries – try making small batch strawberry jam w/ shredded fresh ginger and 1 ground black cardamom jam

salsa – try making salsas from strawberries and cherries

Wednesday, June 10
meet friend for coffee; take radishes and sexy butter.

do I still want breakfast? – rest of the spicy mustard greens made like roman kale

take any remaining berries in to work


dinner: (psst: you still haven’t eaten your theoretical packets of roasted root vegetables, the yellow squash, maybe a tomato or two, nor the Mexican-ish beef) That could be an interesting start to a cottage pie…

cream cheese – cut some of my fresh herbs to make a cream cheese spread

pack to go camping – take

  • candied rhubard
  • rhubarb syrup
  • limoncello
  • rum
  • scotch?
  • camping cups and dishware
  • herbed cream cheese
  • hot sauce (but not my salsas)
  • if I feel really ambitious I’ll make a batch of raita, but looking at this schedule – I doubt it
  • again if I’m feeling ambitious, perhaps some of this ginger syrup
  • fig newtons

Flavored cream cheese

   Posted by: Livia Tags:

I’ve written about flavored cream cheeses before, but my latest attempt was not an unqualified success.

So cream cheese.

Then I cut some dried tomatoes into fairly small pieces.

And shredded the last of my Double Gloucester I bought at Tesco New Years Eve.

Mixed it all up and ate it on a bagel.



Two days later, I came back with another bagel, and the cheese was very dubious, indeed.

It had turned a grey-ish brown and was a bit crackled in texture.

I almost chucked it. Bun instead, I kept thinking that it really was too soon for it to have gone off. So I poked it and sniffed it and decided it was all the fault of the tomatoes.

Apparently, you need to plump your dried tomatoes a bit before trying this, or they’ll dehydrate your cheese to the point where its texture is fine, but it looks sketchy. And the color is just unfortunate. Perhaps you just shouldn’t serve this to company.

But it was still tasty on my bagel.

It was even tastier with some chipotle sprinkled it.

My breakfast is sitting in my refrigerator. At home.

But let me tell you about my new-found joyous quick breakfast. Okay, so fine – I was introduced to it back in early summer by [redacted], but it took me a while to believe it was good in more than just a novelty way.


(but not that crazy healthy-looking stuff they’d offer for breakfast in Switzerland if you were really lucky and they were offering more than brick-like rolls.)

put 1/4c oatmeal (the real stuff that takes half an hour to cook) into a container.

optional: Add some dried fruit – I like using cranberries, figs, and/or dates… probably I’d like a whole bunch of other stuff, too, but that’s what’s in my pantry.

Add 1/4c orange juice. And since I was doing this from memory, I add my dairy product now. But on later checking, [redacted] adds her dairy the next morning. Your choice. 1/4 c dairy product (I have been using 2% milk, but just about anything is good here: skim milk, whole milk, light cream, heavy cream, nonfat yogurt, full fat greek yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream – or no dairy and just more fruit juice).

optional: Add a sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg or some such spice.

Close up the container and chuck it in the fridge overnight.

Next morning, toss in some nuts. Maybe toasted nuts. One kind of nut or several… or no nuts.

Also, shred half an apple into the container (or, you know, into another container and then dump it into your meusli) – just wash the apple, cut it in half, and shred it coarsely – skin on and using the core as the place to rest your fingers. I suppose you could also shred carrots or some other excitingly healthy thing. But you stir it all up and then you can carry it to work, and there’s enough juice and all that the apple doesn’t get brown.

Eat and enjoy – you’ll find that all the fruit makes it plenty sweet, and it has protein from the nuts and dairy. And it requires no special storage (assuming you have non-leaking containers).

But… it does require remembering to bring it with you.

Good thing one of my coworkers was kind enough to bring in food to share with the department this morning.


Shopping in Philadelphia (mostly Italian Market)

   Posted by: Livia Tags:

I took a vacation day last Tuesday to wander around the Italian Market with a friend.

We both had quests and places we wanted to hit and thing we wanted to find, but also we wanted to wander around when it was less crowded than it gets on Saturdays.

First we popped into Spice Corner, where I picked up some aleppo pepper (so I’ll have it ready the next time I make DiBruno Brothers – I bought a bottle of balsamic and split a venture in a spanikopita with my friend. It was sadly a little disappointing – there was a huge block of spinach topped with a few layers of phyllo, which did not retain any crispiness after being microwaved. So tasty in a spinach side dish kind of way, but not a favorite spanikopita. But the people were very friendly.

Then I went down a few doors to the cheese side of DiBruno Brothers, but my friend refused to enter because of the intense funky smell of cheese. Mmmm funky cheese. So I wiggled through the crowd all the way to the back where there was decent room to stand. And they had a beautiful cheese there whose name I did not write down – it was a gooey soft-wind cheese with (I think ) chanterelles or something like that – and it was only available for a month or so, and it was delicious. I would have bought one, but they were only selling whole cheeses, and while I am ambitious, I am still only one person. So I asked them to bring me something kind of like that one only available in smaller quantities – and I ended up with Tomme Welsche.

Tomme Welsche
milk: goat (sic) [really cow]
country: Alsace, France

An aged cow’s milk Tomme that receives constant washing with Marc de Gewurztraminer throughout its maturation

And then to round things out, I sampled and then bought a gouda-type goat cheese that was luminous and just this amazingly clear taste with little crunches of some kind of crystal in there (but not really salt crystals…).

Midnight Moon
milk: goat
country: California, US

An aged goat cheese in the Gouda style from Cypress Grove Farms, known for their Humbolt Fog. Dense and creamy with a peppery goat finish and sweet flavor

It is delicious. Oh, and then I bought more balsamic vinegar as I was heading toward the door – it’s not my fault: I’d been running low and the stuff is delicious on almost everything.

And then I went to join my friend in yet another spice store: Grassia’s Spice Company. This place was pretty much empty, but there were a few people who came in while we were browsing and they picked up what they wanted and bought them so quickly that it might have been doing a good business without filling the place. Instead of selling mostly plain spices, this place specialized in spice blends. But I had already picked up spices and had recently ordered stuff from Penzey’s, so no need for anything else.

There was a little more wandering. Both of us had quests that we sought to fulfill at Fante’s. She wanted to acquire the best icing tool ever, whereas I had a relatively simple quest in mind – just getting a couple extra quarter cup measuring cups because I use that size most often and it’d be nice to be able to let the dishes accumulate a little, even after using a measuring cup (yeah, like you always do dishes right away). And yet neither of us earned any experience points. I did leave with another magnetic hook for the back of my range hood so that I’ll have somewhere to hand the measuring cups once I find them, but no luck on the cups themselves.

So after Fante’s, we went to Fosters Urban Homeware (which I remembered by conflating the address from Fork You with a store I saw somewhere in center city – but I called up my mother and asked her to search for me, just like an iPhone, only with added familial bonding). Anyway, no luck there. And a later search turns up a branch of Kitchen Kapers on 17th between Walnut and Locust – I was probably thinking of that one.

So then we tried the restaurant supply store at 5th & Bainbridge, and while they came the closest to providing what I wanted, we both still left empty-handed. Who knew single measuring cups were so hard to find?

So back when we were by Foster’s, we decided to eat some lunch. We’d both heard of (but not eaten at) a local restaurant called Fork, so when we passed their prepared foods spinoff, Fork: etc., it seemed like a fun place to try. I picked out some salmon salad – I though it had peas in it, but they were capers, and yet amazingly I still liked the salad. It did, however, taste extra fishy because of the briny berries. And then I tried all three of their soups: eggplant barley, mexican chicken, and seafood gumbo. The Mexican chicken was the winner, so I got a bowl of that. While the other two soups were tasty (and did not stint on the salt), they both tasted of seafood so I could not later identify for my friend which little paper cup had seafood gumbo and which one had eggplant barley. And I picked up a loaf of sesame sourdough to eat those with. The bread was dense and not very sour, but it was tasty white bread with sesame seeds all over it, so it was close to (only denser than) the semolina bread I had been hoping to find at DiBruno Brothers. And then I bought some wafers of Eclat chocolate to bring me up over the credit card minimum. Mmmm!


So now let me tell you what I ended up doing with the rest of the loaf of sesame sourdough bread. It turns out that it makes an amazing baked cheese sandwich with the Tomme Welsche cheese. I sliced it a little less than a centimeter thick and then in half, add two thin-ish slices of the cheese and drizzle with buckwheat honey. Then pop into the oven until the cheese is gooey. This was so good that I kept going until I used up the last of the cheese.

And then the last couple slices of bread were buttered and toasted (in the oven because you can’t do things in that order with a toaster – besides, I don’t have the counter space for a toaster) and then topped with blueberry jelly.


So now I have searched online for 1/4 cup measuring cups, and the only one I found not only looks cheaply made, but also is out of stock.


I love cream cheese. If I were poetically inclined, I would write odes to cream cheese.

It makes almost everything, sweet or savory, taste better.

But most especially – bagels!

And if you’ve been buying your fancy cream cheese spreads from the store, you’ve been missing out.

Cream cheese and scallions – I think stores must try to put them through a food processor or something to universally come up with bland, stringy (but I’ll still eat it!) scallion cheese. Let me tell you how to make this one better.

Take 1 bunch of scallions. Cut off the root bits and then peel them down until you have firm, clean skin left. (If you keep a bag of onion skins in your freezer for stock, wash off these scraps and put them into the bag, too) Then line up three or four of them, and slice the thinnest rounds you can (if anything is thicker than a millimeter, slow down and try it again). And keep slicing all the way into the green parts (pulling out any that are too wilty, and then slicing up the rest until you have just the tips left… and then those can go into the stock bits bag, too).

Dump the sliced scallions into a bowl. Dump an 8oz block of cream cheese into the bowl.

Ask yourself whether you want to be creative. If yes, also add some garlic (either minced from a jar or roasted cloves, but not fresh because that ends up just a little too potent) and maybe some chipotle. See what odds and ends are hanging around your fridge looking exciting. A dollop of heavy cream makes it a very sexy dip for company. A blob of mayonnaise makes it more spreadable. A drop of worcestershire sauce may sound like a good idea to me, but it just ends up making it taste a bit off, so don’t do that.

Mix it all up. It will be the best scallion cream cheese you have ever had, and people will ask for your secret. You will end up looking at those people like they are crazy, since it’s just scallions and cream cheese – why is it so hard?

roasted red pepper and cream cheese – okay, so it took me a while to make a better one than my bagel place, but I blame that on being a relative newcomer to the wonders of roasted red peppers. One warning though, since cream cheese mold often shows up first as orange dots and this is a fairly strong flavor so it’s basic nature will mask early signs of spoilage, you do want to be careful how long this sits in your fridge – this has never been a problem for me, though.

Roast red peppers. Remove skins. Have them hanging around your fridge looking lonesome.

Lay out a kitchen towel. On top of that, put a paper towel. (or you can have lots of paper towels… or 2 kitchen towels, if you are doing laundry tomorrow, otherwise the little scraps of red pepper will get ingrained in the fabric for a while.)

Cover half of the paper towel with roasted red pepper strips (you can strip some of the moisture with your fingers while you’re still dangling them over the container… and possibly with the container resting in the sink). Fold the other half of the paper towel and kitchen towel over top of the peppers, and then just plop your cutting board on top and maybe a pitcher of water. Read some food blogs. Come back. Set aside the pitcher of water, move the cutting board, and flip over the pepper/towel sandwich. Replace cutting board and pitcher. Oh, wait, have you checked your email? Better do that again.

Okay, so you’re bored and eager to eat breakfast now. Fine. Go open up your towels. Peel the red pepper off of the paper towel, tear it into smaller strips (and inch wide or so is plenty fine) and pile them onto your cutting board. So when you were tearing them, you noticed that peppers have a grain direction, right? It runs from stem to seat. Slice the peppers into thin strips opposite the grain direction.

Dump the strips into a bowl. Add one 8 oz. package of cream cheese. And then there’s just no question on this one, go ahead and add several cloves of roasted garlic. Mush it all up.

And try not to eat it all in the first day.

Chives, fennel, garlic, and cream cheese – or you can just be creative.

I lopped off a hunk of chives from the herbs on my patio, and then used scissors to cut them into wee tiny slices.

Pulled off some fennel fronds from the bulb [redacted] gave me (note: I have done this before with bronze fennel, and it doesn’t look nearly as appetizing as with green), sliced them up into tiny pieces as best I could.

And then tossed in the rest of the cloves from head of roasted garlic.

And a stick of cream cheese.

It was delicious! And all gone.


So I was hungry this morning, but I kind of didn’t want to make a new batch of sexy cream cheese because they haven’t been lasting well in my fridge (and the box of triscuits is getting low, too…). And I thought about making oatmeal, but I have a craving for cranberries to put in them, and I haven’t made it to Trader Joe’s, which I think will be my best bet. I considered making it with dates and apples, and while that sounds good, but it wasn’t what I really wanted and I only have sexy oatmeal that requires standing for half an hour. And Kundalini yoga kicked my ass on Sunday.

So I went for squash blossom quesadillas.

My neighbor has a butternut squash plant that is planning to take over the world, so we had already talked about how it wouldn’t be any problem for me to relieve her of a few blossoms.

Only my default for quesadillas is using them to get rid of any small leftovers I have, so it ended up including: half an onion, half a bell pepper, a jalepeno pepper, the last 2 of the tiny yellow summer squash, some mushrooms – and 8 squash blossoms. Seasoned with Penzey’s fajita mix. With plain old store brand sharp cheddar cheese from the grocery (which I usually wait to buy at $2/lb, but they haven’t had that price in a while and this is my last stick. Should I keep waiting, or buy a couple at 2 for $5 to tide me over).

It ended up being full of deliciousness, but I couldn’t have told you where the flavor of squash blossoms added a damn thing. But delicious. In my mouth.

I made an amazing breakfast.

The initial plan was to cook down some spinach and tomato and then scramble an egg in it – pretty standard.

And it started out simple enough with about as much fresh spinach by volume as the tomato (so there ended up being a lot more tomato once everything cooked down).

But this was a big, luscious tomato from my mother’s garden, so it released a lot of liquid. So I poured off some of the liquid (into a jar to keep since I could put it in rice or soup or something – and it’d be wasteful otherwise – and don’t judge me because just wait until the depression or the apocalypse hits because then you’ll all want me to be managing your foodstuffs so you won’t get scurvy), and then I poured off some more. And then I realized that it was just willing to cook down into sauce.

I added a bit of 5 spice powder for fun.

So instead of scrambling the egg, I just cracked it in and gave it a lot of channels into the goody and poached it right there, covering the pan occasionally so that the top would steam cook, too.

And I ground some pepper and sprinkled kosher salt on top.

And oh my, it was like pudding – tasty savoury egg, tomato, and spinach pudding. Only sexier.

I have enough spinach to try it again and see if the results are repeatable.


And there was a salad with za’tar

I went home last weekend, and I ended up cleaning out and organizing my mother’s space cabinet. A while back, she had purchased a tiny container of zatar from Penzey’s because it sounded unlike any of the other stuff in her cabinet (we’ve never cooked with sumac much). A few years later, it still hadn’t been used, and it wasn’t sounding like anything my father would enjoy, so it came home with me.

My initial plan was to soak it in lime juice and then taste it and build a salad dressing from there. Luckily, however, I looked it up online before I started, since apparently it has a sour taste that can replace lime/lemon/tamarind in recipes. So once I knew that was how it slotted in, it became easy and I’ll be able to use it regularly.

Cold bits
spring mix
sliced tomato
serrano pepper

Hot bits
roasted zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and bell pepper (rewarmed in the microwave)

3/4 tsp za’tar
1/2 tsp crushed mustard
2 Tbsp white balsamic
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp red wine
3 small scallions, sliced

Okay – so the plan for the July 4th moot, is to have [Host] write fic. Lots of fic.

Therefore, we have planned a coup.

I will be organizing. Anyone interested in producing food, let me know.

(Also, it will be [Hosts]’ anniversary)

Meanwhile, here are some of my ideas:

Friday: Thai Food
theme beverage: thai iced tea

Yeah, I totally have to look up the recipes before I have any idea what we’ll make. Let me know what are your favorite dishes (and be guaranteed that it’ll be an amateur version) – and let me know if there is anything you can not tolerate.

Saturday: Southern Food
theme beverage: Mint Julep

– Biscuits and gravy (made by [redacted])
– Bacon (made by [redacted])
– Eggs to order (made by Livia)

– caramellized bell peppers (made by [redacted]) on cornbread (made ahead by [host])
– crab dip (made by [redacted])
– pimento cheese (made by Livia) on something (made by [host])
– shrimp remoulade (made by Livia or bought from Trader Joes)
– hush puppies (made by Molly) very last appetizer, so we can eat them with the dinner, too

First Course
Pecan-crusted pan-fried fish (made by [redacted])
Rosemary potatoes (made by [redacted])
Chicken Creole over rice (made by Livia)
Collard greens w/ bacon (made by [redacted])
Green beans (made by [redacted])

Salad Course
either balsamic or blue cheese dressing

Long-term noshing
Mac’n’cheese (made by [redacted])
Green bean salad (made by [redacted])
Red beans & rice (made by Livia)
Jambalya shrimp (made by Livia)

Rum pears & rum apples (made by [redacted])
Chess Pie (made by Livia or someone with more baking affinity) with crust (made by Molly)

Sunday: Pig & Dairy day
theme beverage: beer

Bacon (made by [redacted])
Eggs to order (made by Livia)
Eggs benedict (made by [redacted] plus others?)
English muffins (made by any ole person)

angels on horseback

Pork medallions & cream sauce (made by [redacted])

Custard? Zabaglione?

Monday: Mexican
theme beverage: tequila / Coors

yeah, whatever – feel free to volunteer to wrangle this


Saucy meats, condiments, and tortillas

gluten-free churros?
fried ice cream (made by [redacted])

So who else wants to add to this?

A shopping list and further planning will come later.

Recipes for possible reference – (note: these recipes were here to use this weekend, but I don’t think I have every gotten around to trying any of them. Sources were not recorded)

Coconut Shortbread Cookies
1 c butter, softened
1.4 c granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 c all-purpose (gluten-free) flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 c flaked coconut
about 1 c powdered sugar

In a large bowl or electric mixer, beat butter until creamy; add granulated sugar and beat until smooth. Mix in vanilla. In another bowl, stir together flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, blending thoroughly. Add coconut and mix well until combined. Shape dough into a roll about 1 1/2 inches in diameter; wrap in wax paper and refrigerate until firm (2 hours MIN! to 3 days).

Unwrap dough. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place slices slightly apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes or until cookies are firm to the touch and lightly browned on bottoms. Transfer to racks and let cool for 5 minutes. Sift hald the powdered sugar onto wax paper and transfer cookies to it in a single layer; sift additional powdered sugar on to to cover cookies lightly. Let cookies cool completely. Store airtight.

Cheese Straws (makes 5 1/2 dozen)
1/2 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese, grated at room temp
8 T (1 stick) butter, softened
1 3/4 c sifted flour
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t tabasco sauce

In a bowl, beat together the cheese and butter until well blended.

Sift the flour along with the salt, cayenne pepper directly into the cheese-butter mixture, add the Tabasco sauce, then mix until thoroughly blended. Form the dough into two large patties, cover, and refrigerate one hour.

Preheat the oven to 425F

One at a time, roll out the two portions of dough until they are about 1/4″ thick. Cut the dough into 5″x1/2″ strips and carefully place the strips on [lined] cookie sheets.

Bake cheese straws for 8 minutes. Then remove them from the oven and let them cool. (Also good served fresh and hot)

Andean Tamales
5 c water
1 c regular (not instant) hominy grits
1 t salt
1/4 pound mild pork sausage
1/2 pound lean pork
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 t whole aniseed
1 onion, about 2″ in diameter, finely chopped
one 4″ long fresh chili pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into thin strips
1-2 hard cooked eggs, cut into lengthwise strips
about 30 peanuts, roasted, shelled, and skinned

In a heavy, 2-quart saucepan, bring the water to a boil and slowly stir in the grits. Lower the heat, add the salt, cover and cook slowly for 25-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Meanwhile, put the sausage, either whole or cut in half, into a colf frying pan, set it over medium heat, and cook until it begins to render a little fat.

Add the pork, either whole or cut into several pieces of equal thickness, and cook, turning occasionally, until the juices no longer run pink

Add the garlic, aniseed, onion, and pepper strips, stirring to brown and flavor the meat.

Turn off the heat; remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and cut both the sausage and the lean pork into 1/4″x3″ strips. Set them aside on a plate together wih the egg strips and peanuts.

With a wooden spoon, mix the pan drippings and fat into the cooked grits

Cut lightweight aluminum foil into ten 10″x12″ strips

Divide the grits into equal portions. Pat half of each portion into the shape of a long, narrow rectangle down the middle of each foil strip. Run a strip of pork and one of sausage down the center of the grits, leaving room at both ends. Top with 3 peanuts and 1 or 2 strips of egg

Pat a half portion of grits over each strip of filling to completely cover it. Then seal the foil package by wrapping it like a present.

When you are ready to cook the tamales, place them in a skillet large enough to hold them in a single layer, cover them with boiling water and cook gently for 2 to 2-1/2 hours

Remove the tamales from the water with a slotted spoon, cool to room temperature, and serve right in foil packets

Delicate Eggplant Balls
1 medium eggplant, whole
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c grates Swiss cheese
4 T bread crumbs
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t lemon juice
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Cook eggplant in boiling water until tender (20-25 minutes). Peel, and mash pulp with fork. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. If mixture is too thin, add more breadcrumbs. Shape into small balls and refrigerate 1 hour. Roll balls in flour and deep fry until crisp. Serve hot.

Huevos Rancheros (makes 4)
4 tortillas
3 eggs
*2 c canned tomatoes
*1/4 c ketchup
*1/4 c barbecue sauce
*1/4 onion diced
*hot chile peppers to taste
*salt to taste

simmer all the starred ingredients for 10 minutes, breaking tomatoes into fine pieces. Heat sauce to boiling. In a generous amount of hot oil in a frying pan, fry tortillas lightly on each side. Set aside to drain. Fry eggs in the same pan, sunny-side up or over easy. Add salt to taste. Place one egg on each tortilla and pour a quarter of the sauce over all.

Last night was wonderful! Right before the end of work, I had a friend give me a ring to tell me he was in the area and would I like company.

So he came over and cooked for me.

So let me try to tell you what he cooked, oh man!

He took my lil ole thawed rabbit and cut it into sections. Then he dredged it in flour that had been generously seasoned with basil, smoked paprika, savory, thyme, and black pepper. Fried the rabbit. and then we set that aside.

Then we took leeks, which had been sliced in half lengthwise, cut into half-circles less than a quarter inch thick all the way up – white and green parts – and then thoroughly cleaned, and fried them in the oil, too. and then set aside.

Next, he put in a whole container of portobella mushrooms, which had been cleaned and the tips of the stems trimmed but whole, and then once that started releasing juice, he added some five or six cloves of garlic, chopped roughly, and the flesh only of one habanero pepper – and cooked until the garlic was just browning and luscious. He added the leeks, cooked for a little bit together, and then put them back in the bowl on the side.

Then he made gravy with more of the seasoned flour, oil, a bottle of Wood Chuck dark brown cider, and some chicken stock. He added the veggies back tot he gravy and then added the rabbit. We set that to simmer, on pretty high heat for simmering, while I made turmeric rice.

So good.


Other recent successful experiments in food have included:

Spinach of yum
Clean and remove stems from spinach.

Saute some garlic and a purple onion, sliced thinly but long enough to have texture, and once that is going decently, add all the spinach. When wilted, add unagi sauce. Crack two eggs into the pan – scramble all about.

Best Duck Soup Ever
I had gotten the duck carcass after the last time my family went out for peking duck, and it had been sitting in my freezer. Then I found a little shop where I got half a roast duck for $7 – including the head. Woot!

So I ate up the meat and skins and put the residue in my stock pot with the frozen carcass.

Then I added the base of a bunch of celery, the base of a head of napa cabbage, some carrots, a lot of garlic, some black peppercorns, a bay leaf, some five spice powder, and some red onion. And water. Cook cook cook. Then I removed some of the goodie so I could fit in even more water and make more broth because my pot was pretty packed with goodie. Cook cook cook. Let sit over night. Cook cook cook (boiling at least 20 minutes). Let cook enough to work with. Strain through cheesecloth.

Then I heated the stock back up to boiling and added baby bok choi, some long strands of oniony stuff from the asian grocery, and a bundle of buckwheat soba noodles.

It was so good – it didn’t even need the seasoning adjusted at all.