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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.

S
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Turns out the kitten still has milk teeth, so he is most definitely not an "adult" as his initial paperwork suggested. The vets who were under contract to spay him guestimated 7 months, but that's still too old. Our vet estimates 5 months, which is good in one way: he's too young to have learned much about spraying. Of course, he's seven pounds at five months so he's going to be a monster when he's full-grown.

My food blogging is going well. My goal is to post once a week, on Mondays.

S

Food blog

Dec. 28th, 2008 06:35 am
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To get myself doing some food writing, I'm starting Haute Cuisine for the Everyday Cook. Here I will try to dutifully record my experiments with food and record those recipes that work. I also will (hopefully only occasionally) review books or gadgets for the kitchen.

S
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Dinner's done! The turkey was moist and flavorful as usual. I tried a dry-brine, but that made it a little saltier than I prefer. But the sage-chardonnay injections worked great. The gravy was nummy, nummy, nummy.

Mashed potatoes were mashed potatoes, a little richer than normal. Of course, they would be a little richer when you use cream as well as milk.

I also chiffonaded some bacon, browned it, added a shallot and mushrooms, then sauteed green beans in it. Once they were soft, I dribbled in some balsamic vinegar to cut through the grease. This was a really, really good dish.

Overall, I am very pleased with how dinner went. Unfortunately, I didn't have the energy to do everything I planned, so the pumpkin pie and bread didn't happen tonight. Maybe tomorrow.

And in the thankfulness theme: I am thankful that Julia and I have each other, health insurance, reasonably stable jobs, a house over our heads, and two wonderful, wonderful kitties.

S
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I'm just starting Thanksgiving dinner for us. Since we don't want to eat until 7:30-ish and I'm not stuffing the turkey and it's not a very big turkey (13 lbs -- the smallest I could find), I don't need to start it until 4. And I'm not doing any casseroles so oven space isn't an issue. I've got to figure out how to work in the pumpkin pie, but I think I'll bake that during dinner.

The rest of the menu is mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans sauteed with a chiffonade of bacon, broccoli in cheese sauce, and salad. Even with so small a menu, we'll have leftovers.

Lunch today was asparagus stuffed portabello mushrooms with manchego cheese. Oh my! Though I gotta remember that cheese tastes saltier once it is melted than before it is. I cut a bunch of asparagus into coins, finely chopped one shallot, minced the mushroom stems and gills, and sauteed it all in a small skillet with a little salt and some garlic. Then I added about 1/4 cup of manchego and 1/4 cup of mozzarella and stirred until the cheese was evenly distributed. Then I stuffed the mushrooms (with some left over), topped with some thin slices of manchego and baked for 1/2 hour at 350. I should have baked it more like 25 minutes or prebaked the mushrooms for 10. Manchego doesn't brown like mozzarella -- gotta remember that. Still yummy!

S
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Yummy pork ribs tonight!!! I seared them, then braised them in a mixture of Arbor Crest merlot, worchestershire sauce, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic, black pepper, dijon mustard, and horseradish. I let them braise for an hour. Nom nom nom nom nummy!

As usual, I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving. I've started plotting how I want to play with my food and am having a rare old time doing so! Now, if my shoulder cooperates, it will be a great day. If not, it will still be a (drugged) good day.

S
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I just made an interesting chicken dish -- which gets quite challenging as we eat a fair bit of chicken. I thinly sliced half a white onion, thinly sliced several mushrooms (at least six), and sliced up three half chicken breasts. I sauteed the onions and mushrooms in olive oil until they were starting to brown, then added a couple of tablespoons of chopped garlic (from a jar), and sauteed a little more. I removed this from the pan, and seared the sliced chicken breasts. As they were searing I put about two tablespoons of corn starch, 1/4 cup of worchestershire sauce, 1/2 cup of merlot (specifically Arbor Crest), 1/4 teaspoon of ginger, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water in a bowl and wisked together. I deglazed the pan with another 1/4 to 1/2 `cup of water, added the mushrooms and onions, then put the sauce in. I simmered the mixture until the sauce was thick and the chicken was done. Yummy.

One thing of note: not all reds will work for this. It works best with a red that is predisposed to notes of blackberry, cinnamon, and clove. Taste the sauce before adding it and add a couple sprinkles of cinnamon or clove if they are missing.

S
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Today I decided to make chocolate chip cookies. Except I didn't want to use Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chips because of the potential for nut contamination. One of Julia's colleagues has a child who is severely allergic to tree nuts. I find it unfriendly to give Julia cookies (or other sweets) that she might take to for the office and he might want, but can't have. So I decided to use Ghiradelli 60% Cacao chocolate chips, which are not made in a facility that processes nuts only milk. Oh my, my, my.

I also made salmon and asparagus. The asparagus was a little older than expected, so I poached it on the stovetop. This worked really, really well.

Sorry, too tired for recipes tonight and will probably have forgotten the dinner recipes by tomorrow.

S
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Using panko breadcrumbs to break the fried chicken worked incredibly well. I'm not really one for breading of any sort, but this was amazing. It would have been better if I had paid a little more attention to the food and less time trying to stay off a twingy ankle, but it was still yummy!

I decided to go all out with the chicken (especially since it was boneless and skinless). I dredged it in flour with garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika. I then dunked/briefly marinaded it in buttermilk and two eggs (whisked together), then breaded it in panko crumbs, garlic, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Then fried it.

And served it with sliced potatoes oiled in garlic and fresh (from my own containers) that I baked at 425 for 25 minutes.

S
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Tonight I tried to make tempura. Note: I said tried. What we had was yummy (if a little too much food), but I'm not sure it was actually tempura. The batter seemed to be too thin and didn't stick to and puff up around the veggies. I had drained them thoroughly after I cleaned and cut them. I think I need a different recipe.

Also, trying to fry the tempura in a wok on a ceramic range doesn't work well. I just can keep the temperature high enough because the burner keeps turning off. So my temperature (on high) would fluctuate between 173C and 165C -- this isn't conducive to good frying.

S
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Julia and I ate a very late and heavy lunch today, so we planned to skip dinner. Well, my tummy had another idea around 9 pm, so I needed to come up with a nice snack. I had some chicken I had planned to make Thai curry with (for tonight, but that didn't happen), so I decided to make chicken tenders. Much better than curry!

Start with a large half chicken breast. Slice diagonally across the grain into approximately six pieces. Mix together about 3/4 cup of flour, a teaspoon or so of salt, a tablespoon or two of garlic (BTW, I measure by eye and smell so these are really approximations), and a teaspoon of cumin in one shallow bowl. In another bowl, mix together about a cup of milk and one egg. Heat a skillet filled with about an inch of oil -- I use canola for frying. Dredge chicken in flour mixture, then egg/milk, then flour mixture again. Place in hot oil and fry until done. Wonderful chicken tenders!

S

Two words

Nov. 9th, 2007 08:32 pm
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Apple dumplings!

S
sue_n_julia: (Default)
HB Juliana! HB!

We were supposed to go to dinner tonight, but Juliana was getting a lot of good work done, so I cooked instead. Salad, salmon with a shiraz-cream reduction, and steamed broccoli on a portabella bed. Oh yeah!

I chopped up some onion and the stems of the two portabella mushrooms, added some rosemary and browned them in some butter. Then I added about a glass of shiraz and a little salt and reduced it 75%-ish. I poured the mixture into a tall mug and added cream as I blended it with a hand blender. Once the blending was almost done, I foamed it (tilted the hand-blender such that it aerated as it blended). And it went really well with the salmon. It will go extremely well with beef or pork too.

Sorry if folks are getting tired of the food talk, but this is a good way for me to record recipes I'm developing. Soon I need to put them in my cookbook.

S
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Tonight was another night in food experimentation. We had salad (nothing experimental there), steak in garlic/horseradish sauce, paprika roasted potatoes, and steamed nutty broccoli. It was nummy!!!!!!
  1. Steak in garlic/horseradish sauce -- I roasted 10-15 cloves of garlic (enough to cover the bottom of an 8-9 inch baking pan) at 400 degrees for about 35-45 minutes. I then food processed the garlic and three teaspoons of horseradish together. I salted the meat and slathered the sauce on either side. Tonight I pan-fried it (didn't feel like heating up the grill), so more of the sauce came off than I wanted, but was yummy. This will be amazing on the grill!

  2. Paprika roasted potatoes -- I cut about four potatoes into quarters (more than we needed for one meal), put them in a baking dish cut sides up, and sprayed the cut sides. with olive oil (I have a hand-pumped sprayer for oil). I lightly dusted the cut sides with salt, pepper, and a little tumeric, then heavily dusted (almost coated) the cut sides with paprika. A final spray of oil to keep the spices from burning and into the 400 degree oven they went for 45 minutes. Oh my!

  3. Nutty broccoli -- I decided that plain steamed broccoli wouldn't hold up well with all the strong spices in the meat and potatoes. So I added lemon to the water for steaming and grated some nutmeg over the broccoli. Freshly grated nutmeg, ah that's the ticket. Turn the burner on high and set the timer for 10 minutes (yes, from the moment of turning on the water). Once it was done, I grated a little romano cheese over it. While it was yummy, the romano didn't go well with the meal, though it was wonderful with the nutmeg.

All in all, I think the recipes are keepers.

Of course, Buster (the Buick) is in the shop again with a hole in a water hose. It should be a quick fix, but wasn't considered a problem when they inspected the hoses two weeks ago while they replaced the water pump. *sigh*

S

Not fun!

Jul. 18th, 2007 07:33 pm
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Well, the weekend was great, but maybe I'm really paying for it -- though I switched office chairs with the secretary on Friday and the new chair (which lists -- she has a stress fracture that it was aggravating) might be the cause of the pain. The spasms are quite back, feeling like someone is stabbing and slicing down my neck. Not fun.

Work has been going well, though right now I'm doing a lot of decal work. Mostly updating our placement documents, but also trying to make sure the new guy in inventory knows what's going on and orders the most recent version of the decals (which apparently has not been happening). Not fun!

However, I decided I deserved a treat so I bought a 14-cup food processor. And used it tonight to make a curry dressing. Which I promptly served over pasta, steak and steamed broccoli! YUMMY! My new curry powder recipe ROCKS!!!!

I would happy-dance, but I'd probably hurt myself.

S

June 2012

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