Posts Tagged ‘nuts’

I was very lucky back in January to catch a twitter exchange between @HeleneDujardin (of Tartlette and http://www.helenedujardin.com/) and @glutenfreegirl (of Gluten Free Girl about Tamarind Rice.

The recipe comprised only two tweets:

recipe for 3 cups dry rice: 3tb oil, sautee 1/2 c raw peanuts, 1/4 unsalted cashews, 1 tb black mustard seeds, (cont)
2:12 PM – 19 Jan 11

1 tb cumin seeds, 3/4 tsp asafetida powder. When mustard seeds splatter, add 1 cup tamarind pulp, add to cooked rice mix
2:14 PM – 19 Jan 11

Now let me link you to a more detailed version of a Tamarind Rice recipe.

So back in January I favorited these two tweets.

And then in February I ended up with a lot of leftover basmati and looking for a way to package it into lunches I could freeze.

Only I had neither peanuts nor cashews.

But I did have pine nuts and hazelnuts. Okay, so whatever. I can try that. And I did – and I’ve kept making this weird version ever since.

Hazelnut Tamarind Rice

Soak a little less than a cup of hazelnuts overnight.

Put a teaspoon or so of oil in a pan and a palmful of mustard seeds. If you remember, add a teaspoon of asafoetida, but I often forget. Turn the heat to medium high, and if you are particularly clever you might cover it with a splatter shield or a clean aluminum takeout container.

Drain the liquid from the hazelnuts.

As soon as the first mustard seed pops, but before many do, add a bunch of pine nuts (depends on how many you have and how much leftover rice you are trying to use up – let’s say 1/3 cup for now).

Oh, and you can add a bunch of whole cumin seeds, too!

After just half a minute, start stirring the pan intermittently because your pine nuts are toasting and your mustard seeds are popping.

As soon as the pine nuts are almost fully toasted, add the drained hazelnuts. Hey! Water-laden things in hot oil! This will hiss and spit very satisfyingly. Don’t stand too close without a shirt on.

As soon as you get a whiff of things getting really toasty – that is, catching it right before your nuts burn – dump in your leftover rice.

Stir it about, heat the rice thoroughly and evenly mix in the nuts and seeds.

Take a jar of tamarind chutney, and pour some in, stir, pour some in, stir – until you like the color and it tastes good.

Done!

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Cooking fish is a milestone for me in the land of cooking.

I grew up with a father who did not like fish, not even the smell of it in the house. And since I’ve moved out on my own, I’ve mostly stuck with cheaper meat options (with a goal price point of $2/lb or less – though, yes, I’ve been reconsidering my ethics lately). Also, Philadelphia is not known for its seafood, so I don’t know of a reliable fish monger near me.

But I just happened to be out today in the vicinity of a reputable source of seafood – Ippolito’s – so I stepped in and professed my cluelessness. I did ask for something a little more challenging that a salmon steak, so I ended up selecting a beautiful 18″-ish striped bass. And since I don’t have fish-worth knives at home, I did ask them to filet it for me, but to also include the head, tail, and bones for stock.

Turns out that I only ended up with the meat. I’m a little disappointed, but I suppose that any day I call ahead and go there asking for a bag of random fish scraps, I’ll be able to get them for fairly cheaply… and I wasn’t going back today because it took a lot of looking to find a decent parking spot that wasn’t on a snow emergency route.

So after I did the dishes and cleared a workspace, the first thing I did was open up my packet and fondle my meat. Erm… I mean notice that there weren’t any miscellaneous bits. And then I pulled out only three tiny bones that the store missed. And, yes, my eyes had been right – the flesh felt smooth and supple and there was no fish smell even this close.

So, being an amateur, the first thing I did was to cut the filets down so that one was 4 ounces and the other 3.5 ounces. I did that by trimming off the thinner flaps on the side and down by the tail so that the filets would have a more even thickness. I have no idea whether that is acceptable in formal fish circles or not, but it seemed logical to me.

I then had about 2.5 ounces of very fresh fish to play with.

Ceviche

So I diced the fish finely, slightly less than 1cm x 1cm x .5cm, and I did not bother with removing the skin except in a couple spots where it wasn’t cutting easily.

I added half a jalapeno, minced. And then I added about 2 tablespoons of finely minced red onion. I stirred that about and tasted it.

Oh, right, I was missing the acid – that’s key to ceviche. So I pulled out a lemon and a lime and ending up that I wanted to use the lime. The juice of a whole lime seemed a bit too much after I added it. Hmmm…

I also minced up some fresh flat-leaf parsley (I love the small salad spinner I got for my birthday!). And I added some salt, pepper, and a chunk of gingerj.

Now I think I’ve covered all of the basics of ceviche, but it still wasn’t tasting any good, even after marinating for half an hour. So I started looking around my kitchen – ah, yes, the persimmons.

I diced up one, and even with their odd skin/flesh texture, the persimmon was the perfect answer. Well, I suspect any particularly strong fruit. But instantly (well, with even more salt, too) the flavors came together and the ceviche was tasty.

So I spent the rest of the day googling recipes for striped bass, calling my mother for advice, and seriously pondering the fail-proof parchment method, which showed up in such a timely fashion on my twitter feed.

And then I sucked it up and reminded myself that I had managed to find exceptionally fresh fish, so I’d better just trust my ingredients.

Pan Seared Striped Bass

So I took out a good, thick skillet, and I heated it up fairly high (medium-high, actually, so not as hot as for steak) with a teaspoon of olive oil in the pan.

When hot, I took my nice, even-thickness 4 ounce filet, and lay it down (I put the skin down first). And then I didn’t let myself look at it or poke at it to monitor.

I just waited 3 minutes. And then I sprinkled salt and pepper on the up side, flipped it, and sprinkled the skin side, too.

Ever so slightly more than three more minutes later (I don’t know why I held off, but it seemed right), I served up onto a plate a perfect piece of fish with nice browning on both sides, easy flake, and just oozing juicy tenderness.

I’d say it was as good as the best fish I’ve had in a restaurant. Wow!

I still have one more filet, so I’ll see if I can duplicate my results and call it skill/intuition or if it was just beginner’s luck.

And how did I manage not to poke at the fish? By assembling a salad for the side. This was my second run with this basic salad frame, but the first one was too acidic, so I was more generous this time with the more oily ingredients.

Persimmon & Arugula Salad

Cold parts
2.5 ounces of arugula, washed – and spun!
2 persimmons, cut up and scattered artfully
a dozen dry roasted almonds (unsalted) roughly broken up with a knife
2 ounces of semi-soft mild flavored cheese

Dressing
1/2 tsp brown mustard
1/2 tsp tamarind sauce/chutney
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar

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I bought and made so much food this weekend.

First, there was the farmers’ market out by my parents’, which I had to go to because I’d bought very promising looking butter there last weekend, but found it had gone off, when I tried it as soon as I got home. So I took it back in hopes of swapping for fresher butter, but they hadn’t made any this past week – so I swapped for two butternut squash, instead. And I bought a 4 pound sweet roasting squash on impulse.

And then I bought stuff for the Roman cooking workshop. And some broccoli rabe that looked gorgeous. And what’s a couple (or 7) beets for a buck?

So then I met up with my parents so we could try breakfast at an “authentic British pub”. And, yes, they had sourced the right kind of bacon and there was both black and white pudding. And beans from a can. But the eggs were standard tasteless American eggs and there was no grilled tomato… and the tea was only halfway in between the two countries’. I may sound a little down on it, but that’s less because of the quality of the food and more because the entire breakfast run had only one waitress, so the food wasn’t quite as hot as it could have been.

And then my parents wanted to go to a large, indoor farmers’ market. And there was a gorgeous, large, pristine, beautiful head of cauliflower. Locally picked. And some huge white mushrooms picked locally the day before. And we split 3 dozen eggs (I only took one of them) from happy, pasture raised chickens (with flavor!).

And then… just to tempt me further, they wanted to stop and show me their new fancy supermarket, which was very much like a small, off-brand whole foods. I bought an environment-friendly dish soap so that I can finally declare the Dr. Bronner’s experiment a failure. And then I binged on comforting grains – two kinds of oatmeal and some barley. Also, for you doubters of the corporate benefits of social media – I totally impulse bought an unnecessary jar of salsa because I enjoy following the guy’s twitter feed.

Then I went home.

I had completely run out of frozen leftovers for lunch, so last week I had made some desperate bulk quantities of dinner food:

  • leftover pasta salad suddenly turned into dinners
  • mexican-ish rice with chicken and beans
  • macaroni with (homemade) pesto, chicken, and zucchini

You don’t want recipes for those, do you?

This week – There was the Roman Cooking workshop.

We made a pork loin roast boiled in salt water and bay leaves (now I’ve heard of brining, but there was no mention of roasting this meat or any cooking method other than boiling. So I left it in until it started to shred, but I pulled it out then because it was already quite salty. It makes an okay sandwich with mayonnaise (almost tasting like canned chicken). But this morning I started a pot of red beans on the stove, and I used the pork with no additional salt for the beans.

And then we make the barley stew with pork – it turned out almost like risotto, and despite only having two people come to the workshop, there were no leftovers. I might need to make it again soon.

The mushrooms were very tasty (as almost always) and made a great companion to the barley.

Because it wasn’t entirely clear whether the cabbage was to be made with fresh cilantro or dried coriander seeds, I did each half differently – there was a preference for the coriander, but neither one was really exciting, and I do have a lot of leftovers for those. I’ll need to think of a way to repurpose it into something that will freeze.

The fried carrots in wine and fish sauce smelled like ass – fishy ass – while cooking, but ended up tasty enough that I didn’t get to try the finish product.

And then I was pretty much done, especially with only having two people over. SO I handed over the book, and let them select the last recipe. And sweet egg cakes were chosen. Well, it was 4 eggs to 1/2 a pint of milk (with an ounce of oil) to be cooked in a shallow pan (I don’t have the recipe in front of me for the specifics, but it was distinctly not supposed to be custard because that was the recipe above). Because the mixture was so thin and I happened to have a brand new nonstick skillet, I suggested that we could pour many thin layers and treat them as crepes. While not a single one was removed as a flat sheet, we kind of had to bundle it together into a central pile to move it successfully. Oh, and then it’s dressed with honey and black pepper before serving – and it is some tasty! Well chosen!

And then after they left on Sunday, I made two more dinners that I could pack up for lunches:

  • Smitten Kitchen’s pasta with Cauliflower, walnuts, and feta – for which I did substitute regular pasta for whole wheat because I have boxes sitting around that I’m using up before I buy more pasta – and I’m not 100% sure that either the walnuts or the feta will take well to freezing, but the recipe was too tempting to pass up. I did taste a small portion that was didn’t fit evenly into the containers, and it was amazing fresh. I’d almost forgotten the few drops of lemon juice and vinegar (apple cider), but they really brought the flavors together.

    ETA: when she says this reheats well as leftovers, she wasn’t kidding. I was seriously dubious about freezing this one on account of both the nuts and the feta – but thawing it before microwaving has produced consistently tasty leftovers

  • gobhi bharta – inspired by the recipe in my favorite Indian cookbook, but then I took a left turn with the seasonings when I saw an opportunity to use up more of my mother’s extraneous Penzey’s spice mixes – so I used Rogan Josh seasoning with sumac instead or pomegranate powder to tartness and some extra hot pepper. The recipe also called for mustard seeds, so I toasted them in a little bit of my mustard oil I keep meaning to experiment with more. For all of that, it still wasn’t particularly strongly flavored, and it might have been a mistake to put up with rice, but I’d started making it when I started cooking, and I didn’t want to have to think up another use for it.

And then this morning I made one more: pasta with stuff

First, I cooked down a diced purple onion, 2 large mushrooms having been diced, and a bunch of (homemade) turkey meatballs I have in my freezer. Once everything was softer and the meatballs were browner, I splashed some sweet red wine in the pan.

As soon as the pan was dry again, I added 2 small-medium zucchini and some cauliflower (all diced small). Cook cook cook. As soon as it started to soften, I poured in 1/3 cup pasta sauce from a jar. Stir, cook, cook. And then I added macaroni (the pasta box in front, not my first choice of shape) and another 1/3 cup of sauce. And then I took it up into containers. Would be good with cheese.

Oh, and I also did laundry this morning.

And then I pondered whether I wanted to make another set of lunches or whether I wanted to start turning over dirt for restructuring the flower bed out back. And I decided to take a nap, instead.

Now I want soup, and tea, and hot chocolate. And another nap.

I think I’m going to use the remaining stock to make risotto to use up all the surplus mushrooms, so I need to also put on more stock so I can make soup with some of these winter squashes.

I also need to make the brussel sprout and beef stir fry before the brussel sprouts go off.

And I need to figure out something to do with the beautiful broccoli rabe before it starts to taste like nail varnish remover, like the last few bunches I bought did because I didn’t use them right away.

Anyone want to come over for random dinners at 10pm this week?

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I bought and made so much food this weekend.

First, there was the farmers’ market out by my parents’, which I had to go to because I’d bought very promising looking butter there last weekend, but found it had gone off, when I tried it as soon as I got home. So I took it back in hopes of swapping for fresher butter, but they hadn’t made any this past week – so I swapped for two butternut squash, instead. And I bought a 4 pound sweet roasting squash on impulse.

And then I bought stuff for the Roman cooking workshop. And some broccoli rabe that looked gorgeous. And what’s a couple (or 7) beets for a buck?

So then I met up with my parents so we could try breakfast at an “authentic British pub”. And, yes, they had sourced the right kind of bacon and there was both black and white pudding. And beans from a can. But the eggs were standard tasteless American eggs and there was no grilled tomato… and the tea was only halfway in between the two countries’. I may sound a little down on it, but that’s less because of the quality of the food and more because the entire breakfast run had only one waitress, so the food wasn’t quite as hot as it could have been.

And then my parents wanted to go to a large, indoor farmers’ market. And there was a gorgeous, large, pristine, beautiful head of cauliflower. Locally picked. And some huge white mushrooms picked locally the day before. And we split 3 dozen eggs (I only took one of them) from happy, pasture raised chickens (with flavor!).

And then… just to tempt me further, they wanted to stop and show me their new fancy supermarket, which was very much like a small, off-brand whole foods. I bought an environment-friendly dish soap so that I can finally declare the Dr. Bronner’s experiment a failure. And then I binged on comforting grains – two kinds of oatmeal and some barley. Also, for you doubters of the corporate benefits of social media – I totally impulse bought an unnecessary jar of salsa because I enjoy following the guy’s twitter feed.

Then I went home.

~*~

I had completely run out of frozen leftovers for lunch, so last week I had made some desperate bulk quantities of dinner food:

  • leftover pasta salad suddenly turned into dinners
  • mexican-ish rice with chicken and beans
  • macaroni with (homemade) pesto, chicken, and zucchini

You don’t want recipes for those, do you?

This week – There was the Roman Cooking workshop.

We made a pork loin roast boiled in salt water and bay leaves (now I’ve heard of brining, but there was no mention of roasting this meat or any cooking method other than boiling. So I left it in until it started to shred, but I pulled it out then because it was already quite salty. It makes an okay sandwich with mayonnaise (almost tasting like canned chicken). But this morning I started a pot of red beans on the stove, and I used the pork with no additional salt for the beans.

And then we make the barley stew with pork – it turned out almost like risotto, and despite only having two people come to the workshop, there were no leftovers. I might need to make it again soon.

The mushrooms were very tasty (as almost always) and made a great companion to the barley.

Because it wasn’t entirely clear whether the cabbage was to be made with fresh cilantro or dried coriander seeds, I did each half differently – there was a preference for the coriander, but neither one was really exciting, and I do have a lot of leftovers for those. I’ll need to think of a way to repurpose it into something that will freeze.

The fried carrots in wine and fish sauce smelled like ass – fishy ass – while cooking, but ended up tasty enough that I didn’t get to try the finish product.

And then I was pretty much done, especially with only having two people over. SO I handed over the book, and let them select the last recipe. And sweet egg cakes were chosen. Well, it was 4 eggs to 1/2 a pint of milk (with an ounce of oil) to be cooked in a shallow pan (I don’t have the recipe in front of me for the specifics, but it was distinctly not supposed to be custard because that was the recipe above). Because the mixture was so thin and I happened to have a brand new nonstick skillet, I suggested that we could pour many thin layers and treat them as crepes. While not a single one was removed as a flat sheet, we kind of had to bundle it together into a central pile to move it successfully. Oh, and then it’s dressed with honey and black pepper before serving – and it is some tasty! Well chosen!

~*~

And then after they left on Sunday, I made two more dinners that I could pack up for lunches:

  • >Smitten Kitchen’s pasta with Cauliflower, walnuts, and feta – for which I did substitute regular pasta for whole wheat because I have boxes sitting around that I’m using up before I buy more pasta – and I’m not 100% sure that either the walnuts or the feta will take well to freezing, but the recipe was too tempting to pass up. I did taste a small portion that was didn’t fit evenly into the containers, and it was amazing fresh. I’d almost forgotten the few drops of lemon juice and vinegar (apple cider), but they really brought the flavors together.
  • gobhi bharta – inspired by the recipe in my favorite Indian cookbook, but then I took a left turn with the seasonings when I saw an opportunity to use up more of my mother’s extraneous Penzey’s spice mixes – so I used Rogan Josh seasoning, with sumac instead or pomegranate powder for tartness, and some extra hot pepper. The recipe also called for mustard seeds, so I toasted them in a little bit of my mustard oil I keep meaning to experiment with more. For all of that, it still wasn’t particularly strongly flavored, and it might have been a mistake to put up with rice, but I’d started making it when I started cooking, and I didn’t want to have to think up another use for it.

And then this morning I made one more: pasta with stuff

First, I cooked down a diced purple onion, 2 large mushrooms having been diced, and a bunch of (homemade) turkey meatballs I have in my freezer. Once everything was softer and the meatballs were browner, I splashed some sweet red wine in the pan.

As soon as the pan was dry again, I added 2 small-medium zucchini and some cauliflower (all diced small). Cook cook cook. As soon as it started to soften, I poured in 1/3 cup pasta sauce from a jar. Stir, cook, cook. And then I added macaroni (the pasta box in front, not my first choice of shape) and another 1/3 cup of sauce. And then I took it up into containers. Would be good with cheese.

Oh, and I also did laundry this morning.

And then I pondered whether I wanted to make another set of lunches or whether I wanted to start turning over dirt for restructuring the flower bed out back. And I decided to take a nap, instead.

Now I want soup, and tea, and hot chocolate. And another nap.

I think I’m going to use the remaining stock to make risotto to use up all the surplus mushrooms, so I need to also put on more stock so I can make soup with some of these winter squashes.

I also need to make the brussel sprout and beef stir fry before the bussel sprouts go off.

And I need to figure out something to do with the beautiful broccoli rabe before it starts to taste like nail varnish remover, like the last few bunches I bought did because I didn’t use them right away.

Anyone want to come over for random dinners at 10pm this week?

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Okay, so here’s a tentative list of dishes I could make for the Roman Cooking Workshop I’m hosting on October 25.

All recipes are from the Flower and Rosenbaum translation of Apicius.

liber VIII Tetrapus; I in apro; 2 aliter in apro
Boar, another method

boil the boar in sea-water* with sprigs of laurel until it is tender. Take off the skin. Serve with salt, mustard, and vinegar.

*Cato (De Agricultura, 106) gives
directions for the treatment of sea-water: “Take 6 gallons of sea-water from the deep sea, where no fresh-water comes in. Pound 1.5 lb of salt, put it in, and stir with a stick until a boiled hen’s egg will float on it, then stop mixing. Add 12 pints old wine,

So I’ve made carnitas, but I’ve never brined a pork roast. I have had great success with using pork loins in carnitas even though they have less fat than the recommended recipe. But, if I’m going to cook off most of the water for maximum flavor and shred-ability, I probably want to cut back on the salt and just make a mild saline solution to put the bay leaves in. Since I already have a pork loin in my freezer, this recipe will definitely be made.

liber VII Polyteles; xv fungi farnei vel boleti; 6 boletos aliter
Mushrooms, another method

Chop the stalks, place in a new shallow pan, having added pepper, lovage, and a little honey. Blend with liquamen, add a little oil. [Cook.]

For those just turning in, liquamen is a salty fermented fish sauce.

I’d need to buy mushrooms, and since I have nothing planned for the caps, we might as well make this out of whole mushrooms.

liber IV Pandecter; iii minutal de piscibus vel isiis; 6. minutal ex praecoques
fricasse with apricots

Put in the saucepan oil, liquamen, wine, chop in dry shallot, add diced shoulder of pork cooked previously. When all this is cooked pound pepper, cumin, dried mint, and dill, moisten with honey, liquamen, passum, a little vinegar, and some of the cooking-liquor; mix well. Add the stoned apricots. Bring to the boil, and let it boil until done. Crumble pastry to bind. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.

I’d use dried apricots, but all of the wet cooking should do well by them. And I just happen to have diced shoulder of pork cooked previously already sitting in my freezer. I’ll have to see if there is any mint left growing. I do not think I have dill.

liber IV Pandecter; ii patinae piscium holerum pomorum; 37. patina de cydoneis
patina of quinces

stew quinces with leeks in honey, liquamen, oil, and defrutum and serve; or boil with [just a little water and then very slowly in] honey.

If I can find quinces at the farmers’ market this weekend, I am totally trying this.

liber IV Pandecter; ii patinae piscium holerum pomorum; 2. aliter patina versatilis
translated as turnover. *sceptical face*

toast pine kernels and chopped nuts, pound with honey, pepper, liquamen, milk, and eggs. [cook in] a little oil

I have a lot of pine nuts in my freezer. And I have pecans and almonds (and maybe some walnuts). I’d have to buy milk.

liber III Cepuros; XXI Caroetae seu Pastinacae; 1. Caroetae frectae and 2. Aliter caroetas
Fried carrots and Another method

fried carrots – serve with a mixture of wine and liquamen
another method – [serve raw?] with salt, pure oil, and vinegar

I’d need to buy fresh carrots, and since none of the recipes in the section mentioned pasnips specifically, I could probably use a mixture of the two for the cooked one. For the second one, I’m thinking of shredding the raw carrots.

liber III Cepuros; ix cymas et cauliculos; 2. aliter
Another method

Boil and halve the cabbages, mince the tender parts of the leaves with coriander, onion, cumin, pepper, passum or caroenum, and a little oil

Since you are boiling it whole, I’m thinking more like blanching would be best.

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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.

Meusli

(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.

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29
Oct

food list

   Posted by: Livia    in Food, lists, Recipe, salad

food I have
Produce
5oz package of lettuce
brussel sprouts
2 small/medium zucchini
4 limes
1 lemon
carrots
1 red and 1 orange aging bell peppers
fennel (fronds and half a roasted bulb)
hot peppers galore
4 chinese eggplant
1/2 pound snowpeas
chinese broccoli
coconut milk
6 Seckel pears
red and green tomatoes
1 onion
2 apples
2 butternut squash – still maturing

Meat
3 ounces chicken, cooked in green curry paste and coconut milk
jam jar of condensed chicken stock

Starch
cooked brown rice
loaf of spelt bread

so what am I going to do with that?
Meals
Wednesday, October 29
Salad. Because a) I had 2 croissants today, so I’ll want something filling that’s not too high on calories; and b) While the lettuce looks good on the outside still, it’s already old enough that the center is a mess of badness. I am only expecting to salvage 1 salad worth of greens. So what else? I should use the fennel… so that should go with fruit, I think. So pears. And fennel. And Almonds. And some slices of raw zucchini. Why not? Maybe the dressing should have lemon zest and/or juice… and pomegranate molasses… and that’ll be pretty tart, so honey and red wine, both. And then a vinegar… white wine balsamic. Any spices? little bit of nutmeg, probably a clove would be too strong… nor 5 spice because that already has a licorice flavor. Ummm… Cheese! It needs a gorgonzola. I only have cheddar in the house right now. So between now and when I go home, I’ll need to decide if it needs a cheese enough to stop at a store and buy some special. With spelt bread on the side.

ETA: So the salad turned out delightful, so I thought I’d revise with that I actually did. No fennel. No zucchini. No pomegranate molasses. No gorgonzola. So a little different from what I planned. On the other hand, the salad greens are in pristine condition, so I foresee another salad in my future.

So

Main body of the salad
spring mix (and I hate to admit it, but I’m liking the lettuce I get in the spring mix packs from my local supermarket more than I like the mix in the packs carried by whole foods – yay, canada)
snow peas (so crisp – I was walking by the produce vendors in chinatown and had to stop when I saw the pretty peas. It’s good to know that they actually are as good as they looked from a distance)
2 pears, cut into quarters, the core cut out, and then halved across
thin slices of my garlic and chive cheddar
toasted almond slivers
and slices of a red jalepeno pepper (no seeds)

Dressing
1 tsp red wine (Manischewitz, as always)
juice of half a lime
2-3 tsp white balsamic vinegar
…and then I didn’t want to use honey. It just didn’t feel right.
So I made a simple syrup from the lime-and-grapefruit-zest-infused sugar I had lying around the house. And I added that until the dressing tasted right – about 4-5 teaspoons

And the pears I don’t use, I could just trust that I’ll eat them all up – not a hardship. Or, I could try to pickle them out of curiosity.

Thursday, October 30 – I’m working 9-5 this day!
If I wake up early enough, there should be breakfast – stone ground oatmeal with brown sugar, apples, dates, and a splash of cream. I’ve been wanting it for about 4 days now, and I finally have the pot clean and the apples ready. In fact, all of the ingredients are already laid out together on my counter just waiting.

Dinner – Since I have pilates 5:45-6:45 and belly dancing 7:30-9pm, I think I’ll try to get out during the break and grab one of the famed vegetarian hoagies at Fu Wah.

Friday, October 31 – wear a costume to work?
8:30am pilates
do laundry!
breakfast – sweet sticky coconut rice (try making it with saffron!)

dinner – If the bell peppers are still good, they’ll need to be used up next. And I have snow peas. And eggplant. Maybe half of the snow peas and 2 of the eggplants… with thai green curry and coconut milk. Top with slices of red jalepeno.

Saturday, November 1
breakfast – bacon, onions, and brussel sprouts – seasoned with mustard, fennel, and nutmeg. Give it a taste, maybe add a tomato and/or poach an egg on top. And serve on slices of spelt toast.

Make stock.

dinner – using up the rest of the eggplant and the zucchini. Oh, and probably snow peas as well. I’d usually go asian with that… but I how about italian? Something primavera-ish? Huh – I might still have some homemade pesto in the freezer. OOooo! I know I have some ice cubes of cilantro. How about putting it on soba noodles and making it, still asian inspired, but not what I usually cook. I can think about this for a bit.

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I think I am excited about Autumn, since I was cooking a lot last week… but I’m still loving to cook with the available Summer produce. *shrug* who knows. It was tasty.

I cracked open the 1 pound (*cough* 14 ounces *cough*) package of tofu. Two of the blocks went in to marinate for my standard spicy tofu recipe (and are still marinating, so that should be exciting…), and the other half went to marinate for this Martha Stewart recipe for Sauteed Tofu with Bitter Greens.

So I did up the marinade according to the recipe (only cut for less tofu and longer time):

  • 1 teaspoon real soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek
  • 1/2 lime, freshly squeezed
  • a chunk of ginger, finely minced

And then I was on the phone with Meghan to help me pick out which of the prepped dinners I had available I should eat. And when I was describing this meal, it was a honey and soy sauce kinda thing. And then it wasn’t. But we both agreed that it really ought to have honey.

And she suggested corn starch because she says it fries up crispier and colors better with corn starch. Not having a comparison, I don’t know – but it sure was both gorgeous and tasty with the addition (because I trust the women completely when it comes to food).

So – I dropped 1 tsp of this lovely buckwheat honey I have into the marinade and shook it all up. And let me tell you – I’d been wondering what to do with such a dark, strongly-flavored honey, but one smell and this marinade and this honey were meant to have lots of hot sex together. I restrained myself to only one spoonful of it all raw.

And then I poured off the marinade and added more honey directly because it wasn’t sticky at all.

And then I put 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into the sticky tofu and shook it up. (We’d discussed the merits of dredging the tofu in cornstarch, but in the end I decided I was too lazy to wash an extra dish.)

Lay out a single layer of tofu in a pan with a teaspoon of oil… decide that really two teaspoons is a minimum for the oil here. And let brown. Flip. Let more brown. Guh. Because this is gorgeous – did I mention? So set them aside on a plate.

And I had some baby bok choi (well, more like teenage bok choi – 5-6″ and green all the way from tip to base) so I just washed them, shook them out, and then cut across into very rough strips about 1″ thick (and kept the very bottoms for my bag of bits for stock). That went into the same pan I’d cooked the tofu in.

And then I poured over the rest of the marinade.

I plated it up with the tofu, the greens, and a bit of short-grain white rice.

It was very very tasty, but I think the ginger ended up a little too strong – perhaps because it had longer to marinate that the recipe suggested.

~*~

And I finally made Muhammara, but I might have been led astray my westernized recipes.

So, right after reading the Vegetarian 100, I searched for a recipe and found a really tasty looking one.

So I printed it out and I took it home to put into my binder of recipes. And I did a bit of trimming of things (admitting that I will never be a great baker) and reorganizing of things (soups. then salads. then things that might be salads or might be side vegetables. side vegetables. vegetarian meals. vegetarian meals whose main bulk is beans. meals whose main bulk is tofu. meat. and then somehow I have a miscellaneous pasta dish (some vegetarians, some not) after the meats… you get the idea) I found that I already had a recipe for Muhammara (no, I can not find the link now without the paper right in front of me).

And I also had a recipe for a pomegranate & walnut spread.

Clearly, this is something I have been wanting to make for a while.

So I bought 6 large, juicy red peppers and roasted them. (and then realized that the recipe didn’t call for that many, but now I have a fridge full of tasty roast peppers) I also bought a tube of 5 heads of garlic and decided to roast them all, too, while I had the oven on anyway.

I pulled my bag of walnuts (from back when I was stuffing them in dates at the drop of a hat… no, the kind of dates that are a fried fruit/berry) out of the freezer and thawed a cup and 2/3rds.

So. my refrigerator is now its own country of abundance right there. It is so stuffed, that I had to give my new neighbor a half gallon of homemade hard cider so that I could get the door to close.

But I get ahead of myself.

In batches, toast walnuts on the stove. (I once tried to toast pecans in the oven… at 4am, just for the record… and there was no watching and hovering over them, so I swear that two second later there was a smoke alarm going off. Yeah, that was a good morning. So now I always toast nuts on the stovetop even though I secretly suspect that the innards get warmer and sexier when you do them in the oven. But no matter – because this way they get toasted only to a point where I can actually eat them.)

And then, because one of the recipes suggested it would be a good idea, I pounded the toasted walnuts in a mortar. Yes, I do have a wee tiny food processor, but I had not yet seen this Muhammara video to show me the perfect consistency and I am not used to having one available. Also, again with the liking to watch over the food.

I’ve been having a houseguest, and she asked, “So is there anything I can do to be helpful?” So I promptly told her to take over the toasting and pounding processes.

The same recipe (not the toomuchgarlic.com one) had suggested then grinding the roasted red peppers in the mortar – I, however, (because there was company) was wearing clothes. So I put the nuts into a separate bowl and then sliced three or so roasted red peppers (I find it hard to piece together whole peppers to know how many your are using when you are pulling them out of the container the next day) thinly against the grain and dumped them into the bowl, too.

Dump 1/3c. breadcrumbs into the bowl.

Add 1/4 c. Pomegranate molasses. Or you can make your own by boiling down 3 parts pomegranate juice to 1 part sugar. Me, I had bought some pomegranate concentrate from the halal down the street some months ago, and I was going to use that… with glee! Because concentrated pomegranate! I’d been looking for a use for that for months.

And then (possibly because I had decided my primary recipe source was going to be toomuchgarlic.com), I was supposed to add 12-16 cloves of garlic. The other recipe didn’t call for any. So I said to myself, “Wasn’t it clever of you to have roasted all that lovely garlic?” So I added 2 heads worth of roasted garlic (let’s call that 20 cloves). Plus 1 clove of raw garlic. And I kept her additional 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.

As I stirred it all together, I tried to mash between the tines of my fork the red pepper and the garlic cloves to make a more even paste.

Add pinch of salt, 1 tsp cumin, and the juice of 1/2 lemon.

And then I started playing.

Because the other recipe had included some birds eye peppers, I added a wee tiny pinch of chipotle pepper (I wasn’t too experimental with this because I was going to be trying to pass off some of this on my friends, and they have different standards of spiciness than I do).

Because my pomegranate concentrate didn’t have any sugar added at all, I gave it a pinch of sugar and then tasted it. And then I added a spoonful of buckwheat honey. I think this would have been just as good without sugar if we hadn’t added the lemon juice, either. So I went back and looked at the other recipes – no lemon juice in any of the others. Buggery.

So I think that, while tasty, this isn’t the conclusive version of Muhammara.

Oh, and then for my friends I also added the recipe’s amount of olive oil.

Too Much Garlic’s Muhammara Recipe

I think I should have done more research (since I found so much more while looking for that other recipe I printed out some time in the distant past). For other recipes, see:
The Washington Post, using tomato paste and suggesting that Aleppo peppers would make it more authentic.
The Perfect Pantry also believes in Aleppo pepper – and they have the order from Penzey’s to prove it
Unrequited Thai uses nuts other than walnuts to make this dip for a vegan passover.
Pikelet and Pie makes an (unorthdox) muhammara that swaps out balsamic vinegar for the pomegranate
Actually, I think I’m liking the simplicity of this recipe at Closet Cooking the best. Next time I try this dip, I’ll start here.

~*~

Also, I have reservations at Tinto, a tapas bar owned by the same people as my favorite tapas joint, for Center City Restaurant Week.

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9
Aug

3 salads in 36 hours!

   Posted by: Livia    in Recipe, salad

I’ve been thinking about BLTs ever since I ran across this BLT on a food blog.

And while I did stop by the supermarket and feel up the avocados, none of them were ripe enough to use tonight.

BLT inspired.

hot bit (part 1)
made bacon (I only had one slice thawed, so that’s all of the bacon. Just set it off to drain on paper towels for a bit)

cold bits
spring mix
2 scallions
1/4 – 1/2 yellow onion, sliced very thinly
2 small tomatoes (from my mother’s garden), quartered and sliced thinly
1.5 ounces of chevre

hot bit (part 2)
2 ounces leftover chicken breast, sliced (I ended up heating this under the broiler since I was also roasting veggies, but it could be cooked in residual bacon fat, if some were drained and wiped out)

Dressing
Grey Poupon
balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Manischewitz
1/4 tsp soy sauce

~*~

So there was bacon in that salad. And there are breakfast burritos. And so I was thinking, “Hey – there could be a breakfast salad.”

Breakfast Salad

hot bit (part 1)
boil 1 potato and 1 egg

hot bit (part 2)
make bacon (1.5 slices)

cold bit
spring mix
finely sliced onion
finely sliced tomato
finely sliced hot pepper

hot bit (unification)
slice potato & toss with 1 tsp olive oil and some salt
slice hard boiled egg
crumble bacon over top right before eating

dressing
leftover from the BLT salad

verdict – both the potato and the egg was a bit much. Either one could have been left off with no ill effect. But, hey, I’ve never made a breakfast salad before. :)

~*~

I’d been cobbling together odds and ends of my mismatched collection of condiments, and I spied my jar of blueberry jelly – as yet unmolested in my salad making adventures. So I started planning a blueberry salad. Now this one is weird, but trust me, it was tasty. I wasn’t even starving when I ate it, and it was still tasty.

Blueberry Salas

I started with the
dressing
3 Tablespoons of blueberry preserves
1/4 cup of white balsamic vinegar
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/4 tsp chinese mustard
3/4 tsp coriander chutney
1/2″ finely minced fresh ginger
a generous amount of ground cinnamon

and then I sliced
1 bosc pear into the dressing because I figured that blueberries wouldn’t provide enough body on their own, but I was worried about them softening/discoloring, so I let them sit in the vinegary dressing for a bit before adding them to the salad

cold bits
spring mix
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise, and then into thin slices
1/4 onion, sliced thinly
1.5 ounces of chevre
about 1/2 a cup of blueberries

Add dressing

hot bit
dry toasted 1/3 cup of walnut pieces on the stove
Once they were all warm and toasty, I tossed them in a jar with some cinnamon
And then sprinkled most of them on the salad

All in all, it was every bit as awesome as I’d hoped.

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6
Aug

I like salads

   Posted by: Livia    in non-vegetarian, Recipe, salad, vegetarian

Okay, so I haven’t been giving you all recipes for salads, but let me tell you that I am loving them. I am a salad god. Or something like that. But I’ve been making a lot of salads lately, and they’ve all been pretty awesome… so now I’ll try to reconstruct them from (dubious) memory and my sketchy notes:

8/8/08
Cold Bit
spring mix
small bits of broccoli tops
1 Tbsp pickled ginger, patted dry
(would have also been good with some napa cabbage shreds here)

Hot Bit
thinly sliced baby carrots
thinly sliced purple onion
thinly slices garlic
thinly sliced broccoli stem
stir fried in 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp sesame oil, and San-J Szechuan sauce

Dressing
1/2 tsp chinese mustard (mixed up according to the directions on the bottle)
1 tsp black pepper sauce
juice of half a lime
1 tsp buckwheat honey
1/2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp black vinegar

~*~

8/1/08
Hot Bit (part 1)
cooked up one slice of bacon on the stove, set it in a paper towel, and drained the fat from the pan

Cold Bit
spring mix
1 diced jalepeno pepper
2 Tbsp blue cheese crumbles (oddly, this was a bit too much cheese – just 1 Tbsp for a more balanced flavor)
sun dried tomatoes
broccoli
grind of pepper

Hot Bit (part 2)
in same pan, cook:
sliced red onion
3 ounces of sliced leftover chicken breast

Dressing
juice of half a lime
2/3 tsp black pepper sauce
1/4 tsp buckwheat honey
5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Grey Poupon mustard
1 tsp Manischewitz concord grape

~*~

7/26/08
Cold Bit
spring mix
baby carrots, sliced thinly on an angle
1 tomato, quartered and then sliced thinly
3 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, sliced

Dressing
salvaged bits from very, very ripe apricots
1 diced jalepeno pepper
2 finely sliced shallots
3 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
lime zest
(let the above sit a while, thinking they might become salsa… then realise the apricots have completely liquefied and should be salad dressing)
2 tsp Grey Poupon mustard
juice of 1 lime (already missing some zest)

~*~

7/7/08
Cold Bits
spring mix
salmon jerky (from Alaska)
thinly sliced red onion
1/2 avocado, sliced (and the rest eaten with a spoon and some more of the dressing – it was perfect)

Hot Bits
slight handful of slivered almonds, toasted

Dressing
juice of 1/2 lime
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp lime brown sugar (brown sugar with lime zest in it – lime bit optional)
1 tsp Grey Poupon mustard
1 Tbsp soy sauce
grate of nutmeg
pinch of chipotle

~*~

7/4/08
Cold Bits
spring mix!
a few baby carrots, sliced in half and then thinly lengthwise
2 scallions, sliced thinly into rounds
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, sliced roughly against the grain
1/4 cup sliced dried tomatoes

Hot Bits
2 Tbsp fried leeks
3 oz thinly sliced beef

Dressing
1 tsp tamarind-lime-honey sauce
1 tsp Grey Poupon mustard
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
dash of 5 spice powder

~*~

6/26/08
Cold Bits
spring mix
several baby carrots, sliced thinly on an angle
1 very ripe banana, cut in half lengthwise, and then sliced
sections cut out from 1 orange

Hot Bits
4 oz leftover pork (having been cubed braised in taco seasoning and orange juice)

Dressing
5 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp tamarind-lime-honey sauce
2 tsp wildflower honey
1 tsp Grey Poupon mustard

Topping
1/4 cup roasted salted cashews
2 scallions, cut in rounds, but on a slight angle

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