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Grrr! I've got too much to do to lose three hours to an urgent care visit! Unfortunately I didn't get a choice -- I sliced my nail and the tip of my forefinger and needed it cleaned out. They couldn't stitch it so they simply used silver nitrate (after numbing me) to cauterize it. Then I got the tetanus shot.

So, I'm home and just put the duck in the oven (stuffed with rosemary and nectarines). I was chopping the rosemary when I cut myself, so I had to throw it out and start over. Fortunately, I had not taken the duck out the package and the nectarine was still in the basket.

That plus five chickens should be enough for tomorrow.

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The Ember Day tarts are cooling. They should be good. Now, all I have to do for the vigil is make the compound butters. Yea!!!! For Saturday, I need to make the shortbread. That's easy.

But I hurt. Really really hurt. I was standing in the family room with my hand on my hip and stepped sideways out of Julia's way. Right into the edge of the bathroom door. Ooooowwwwwwwww! The spike of pain shot through my elbow, up my arm, across my shoulder, and into my neck.

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The cookfest has begun. The pork and chicken tarts are done and in the refrigerator. I'd put them in the freezer, but the side-by-side freezer is too damned narrow! Guess tomorrow I go out and get some dry ice for the cooler and keep it going all week (which won't be too hard as the cooler keeps dry ice for days -- as the holiday trip back demonstrated).


I'm working on the filling for the venison tarts so it will be cool when we make the pies tomorrow. I need to modify a period recipe to thicken the sauce as these are hand-held pies rather than venison served in a coffin (which acts much like a serving dish).

Things are going kind of well for Juliana. Her mother fell again and broke a toe and some bones in her foot this morning. Juliana is currently trying to convince her mother to request physical therapy focusing on balance training. She's has so many broken bones in her lower legs and can't use crutches so she is losing balance and strength (which then makes another fall/break more likely).
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I've been asked post my lentil recipe from this weekend. I'll try, but I blended the spices based on smell rather than measurements. Here it is. )
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The dishwasher was fixed last night. The tech thinks that the washing power will get weak again as he thinks the power motor is going. I'll be happy if it lasts another six months.

Today has been productive. With the dishwasher fixed, I've done many, many loads of laundry. I've also prepped everything for the lentils competition tomorrow, made my fine bread for the A&S comp, and made two types of shortbread (one batch divided in half) for Juliana's mini-vigil for the Inland region peers who can't make it to Coronation in July.

So I'm sore. SORE! Hopefully I can recover enough this weekend's event won't be too unpleasant (mid-50s and possible rain).

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Draft 1 of my fine bread documentation is ready for the A&S competition on Saturday.

Tomorrow the dishwasher repairman is coming by to see why we're not getting enough water to the upper arm and whirligig. Hopefully it's just a clogged filter and he'll be gone in 15 minutes and I can dig into my lentil competition entry. Two comps at one event!

I'm stressing just a little -- mostly because I have so much to do for my competitions and Juliana's mini-vigil for the Inland region peers who can't make it to Coronation. I'm making shortbread, jumbles, and probably some fine bread. In addition, we're having some veggies and other snack-like foods. I'm thinking about making some Mexican chocolate (modern, with dairy) because it will be chilly and damp.

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This morning was pretty crappy weatherwise -- raining and chilly. The afternoon cleared up a bit and got a warmer. So we went for a very short drive along the river.

I made lovely salmon tonight. First, I pan-seared the fillet, skin up. I should have made the pan a little hotter and used a touch more oil. I then let it cool for a little while, then put a sauce made of soy sauce, ginger, lemon zest, and honey over it. I should have waited a little longer, until it was closer to going in the oven (I had something else in the oven). Heating the oven a little hotter (closer to broiling than 435) would have crisped the sauce up a little more. Even with those mistakes, the salmon was really, really good.

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I've been reading Eating Right in the Renaissance by Ken Abala and it's gotten me thinking. Not just about medieval dietaries, but also about how we approach food in general and how history and tradition has shaped how we view food.

It's also gotten me thinking about what I have to say about food and cooking. So my project for today (and possibly for more of this week) is to blither. Blither about my approach to food, to spices, to cooking, and to anything related to this. Right now I'm blithering into a Word document, where I've given myself permission to ramble, not make a whole lot of connective sense, and make any other writing faux pas I wish to. I'm also trying to send my internal editor on a vacation right now so I can just get the jumble in my head out where I can see it.

Eventually, I hope this will turn into some posts here and on my cooking blog and into some paying articles.

As part of this project, send me any questions you have about my approach to cooking, to spices, to food, etc.

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I forgot to mention how bad I was earlier this week. I bought two Calaphon pans -- a griddle and an "everyday" pan on Amazon. Together they list for over $200 but I got them for -- drum roll please -- )

I've been doing my happy dance all week. They are due in on the 10th.


Dinner, ah

Mar. 2nd, 2008 07:05 pm
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Tonight's dinner was braised venison with onions, mushrooms, and carrots over garlic mashed potatoes. My tummy is happy.

I chopped up about eight or so largish crimini mushrooms (halved, then quartered each half). I heated up a Dutch oven, then added a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. I then added the mushrooms. While they browned, I chopped up half a large yellow onion and added it to the pot with a little salt. While they were going, I cut the one pound (or so) of venison steaks into large slices and salted them. Once the onions were turning translucent, I removed both and started searing the venison (it took two rounds to do it -- I didn't want to overcrowd them). Once all that was done, I deglazed the pan with some vegetable broth and beef broth. I placed the broths in the same bowl as the onions, mushrooms, and meat. I then made a roux (about two and half tablespoons of butter and flour), cooking until it was light brown. I then added a couple of cups of cold beef broth to thin the roux and added the mushrooms, onions, meat, and deglazing broth. I spiced it with black pepper, garlic, cumin, and clove. I covered the top of the mixture with about a pound of baby carrots and placed in a 350 degree oven for five hours.

To make the potatoes, I chopped up some yellow potatoes (I didn't bother peeling -- the peels are thin and tasty) and cooked them. I ran a clove of garlic through a microplane and added to a couple of tablespoons of melted butter and left that mixture infusing while the potatoes cooked. Once the potatoes were done, I drained them, added the butter and garlic, and then added milk. I handmashed them.

I served the braised venison over the potatoes. Oh, yummy!

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I am officially tired and sore. Thanksgiving dinner went well, though not everything turned out the way I expected. Menu for the day:

  • Cinnamon Rolls (store-bought Rhodes)

  • Bacon

  • Ceviche (lemon-marinated sea bass)

  • Stuffed portabella mushroom caps

  • Turkey injected with sage-and-garlic-infused chardonnay -- moist, but not as flavored as hoped

  • Potatoes mashed with half-and-half

  • Steamed broccoli -- didn't have the cheese for the cheese sauce

  • Gravy -- one word, YUM

  • Mushroom medley (shitake, crimini, and white button mushrooms sauteed with shallot and celery and stuffed in the turkey) -- OH MY

  • Cranberry sauce -- turned out well, though not one of our favorites (we don't particularly like cranberries)

  • Salad

I am replete.

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I've been having fun cooking this week -- clean-up not so much fun.
  • Monday night dinner was pork in ginger-garlic wine sauce with mashed potatoes and green beans. Toe-curling yummy!

  • Tuesday night dinner was pork in mustard sauce with tri-rice (brown basmati, wheat berries, and wild rice) and garden salad. Warm all over yummy!

  • Tonight was grilled steak in a mustard/horseradish dressing with baked potatoes and steamed fresh broccoli in cheese sauce. Oh-oh-oh yummy!

  • Tomorrow is likely to be a little boring, but that's mostly because I don't want to spend terribly much time cooking and eating because I am WAY behind on putting together my herbal medicine talk for next month. And I don't have any free weekends between now and then!

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This weekend has been an odd mix of productive and non-productive. Not sure what's going on entirely.

On the productive side, I've gotten the following done:
  • Made a huge pot roast for dinner tonight and leftovers to be frozen for Crown Tourney (a camping event over Labor Day weekend)

  • Made three days' worth of Icelandic chicken for two for said event

  • Gotten the turtle neck dickie put into my sleeping tunic for camping events

  • Gotten together with a local friend to watch Merchant of Venice and Piltdown Hoax

  • Caught up on dishes from late in the week (when I went on a cooking spree that used most of the pots and appliances)

  • Finished the Pennsic laundry (run everything through with Febreeze, detergent and Oxyclean, then again with detergent and Oxyclean, then dry)

  • Taken care of sick kitty who didn't like getting her foot rebandaged

On the non-productive side, I haven't gotten the following done:
  • Made the shortbread for the camping event -- still have time

  • Finished the sleeping tunic and trousers -- may finish the tunic later today and the trousers this week

  • EDIT 4:05 PDT: Got the sleeping tunic done. Kind of a crappy job, but no one is supposed to see it during the day.

  • Caught up on other laundry -- going to try to get more done today but won't make promises

  • Done internal or external commentary for the month -- just not happening

Julia's been cranking on the revisions to the admin handbook so she can send revisions to Laurel. She's also gotten commentary done this weekend and helped with dishes and laundry.

I'm tired, achy and a little congested. I'm hoping it's the weather -- today's high might reach the low 70s but it might not and it's rainy -- and not a cold. Please don't be a cold.

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For you foodies out there (and non-foodies who have an opinion), am I being silly, anal, or what when I feel that using a spice mix (like poultry seasoning, pumpkin pie spice, or curry powder) is sort of a cop-out, that a dish isn't really mine unless I choose what spices are in my mix and in what proportions they are used in? After all, the spicing is what gives a dish that special touch, that says I am the one who made it.

The immediate impetus to this line of questioning is: I didn't like my curry powder that I made earlier this week, so I researched what were some common spices to put in it and made some this evening (after 9:00 p.m. -- yes it was bugging me). I think I like this blend much better but time will tell.


June 2012

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