geekchick: (cooking)
Tonight's "let's try and clear out some space in the freezer" dinner: salmon filets in a balsamic glaze (1/2 cup balsamic vinegar cooked down to a bit under 1/4 cup, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, whisked together with some black pepper), roasted apple and cranberry orzo (I confess, that one's from Schwan's) , and baby spring greens topped with some of the balsamic glaze and a small dusting of chopped pecans. Om nom nom. Not particularly challenging recipe-wise, but if you happen to know how often I just have takeout or a box of mac 'n' cheese because of sheer laziness and/or getting home after 8 PM, you'll understand why I'm pleased with myself for cooking an actual meal.

(PS - Unrelated to food, but related to the "now playing" field: Portishead fans, their set at Coachella a couple of days ago is posted at Deaf Indie Elephants)
geekchick: (cooking)
I have a bunch of cookie recipes I want to try out, but I don't want to have six or fourteen dozen cookies sitting in my house. (That way lies madness and blood sugar problems.) This, my friends, is where you come in. I'll send at least a dozen assorted cookies to the first four people on my friends list to comment here. [Edit: All four claimed. Depending on how much I bake, I may have a few additional available. TBD.] The catch, such as it is, is that I may not get around to baking for at least a week, so please don't camp out by the mailbox on Thursday or anything. Note: if you are currently dating me, you do not have to throw your hat in the ring for cookies because you're already accounted for.
geekchick: (cooking)
It looks like there will be seven nine of us for dinner tomorrow. Clearly, looking at this list tells me that we're good on the stuffing at least. =)

Planned for dinner:

  • Roast turkey
  • [livejournal.com profile] nminusone's infamous red stuffing
  • Sausage stuffing
  • Possibly another batch of stuffing with maybe less meat (like, none)
  • Mashed potatoes (with and maybe also without crab meat and Old Bay)
  • Roasted apple and cranberry orzo (This I will definitely run out of, as I only got one package and can't mug a Schwan's guy before 5 PM tomorrow.)
  • White and whole wheat rolls
  • Jellied cranberry sauce, straight from the can, just like dear ol' mom used to make. ;)
  • Cranberry/apple/orange relish
  • Green bean casserole (Thanks for posting that link, [livejournal.com profile] porcinea!)
  • Mixed greens and strawberry salad with balsamic vinaigrette and black pepper (assuming I can find some strawberries when I brave Wegmans tonight)
  • Some variety of vegetables that happen to look good when I wander Wegmans, with which I can counteract the ZOMGSTARCH.
  • I hear tell that [livejournal.com profile] easy_living is bringing a couple of pies. Mmm.


Now, to figure out where to put everyone. Also, run around like a madwoman trying to get stuff ready for company.
geekchick: (Default)
Today was the last day of the big fall used book sale at my local library branch. To my chagrin, it was "fill a box for $10" day, which means I ended up with something like 18 books, including some information systems and user interface design textbooks, for $10. The box was far from full, but a combination of the tables being really picked over by this point and already having something close to 70 books tagged "unread" in LibraryThing meant that I wasn't in a big hurry to go fetch any more. Anyway, one of the things I picked up mostly for amusement value was The New York Times International Cookbook, copyright date 1971. The second ingredient listed for "Swedish Christmas Ham" is 1 tablespoon saltpeter. o_O Most of the recipe, in fact, is how to cure your own ham. Needless to say, a large percentage of the book is taken up by the sections on France and Italy, but I was pleasantly surprised to find at least small sections for recipes from places like Haiti, Fiji, Peru, and Benin (at the time of publication, it was still Dahomey). If anyone's interested in the recipe for Danish Fish Pudding, let me know. ;)
geekchick: (cooking)
Dinner tonight: couscous with asparagus, edamame, shallots, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of soy sauce.

Apparently, it is my cat's new favorite food. o_O

Me, I'm not all that crazy about the vinegar. Might try something else next time.
geekchick: (cooking)
Penzeys is coming to DC.

"The New Year is off to an exciting start. We finished last year with stores opening in Denver, Philadelphia and Long Island. Now we are putting the finishing touches on four new stores. One on the west side of Cleveland at 28601 Chagrin Boulevard, one on the west side of Omaha at 616 South 72nd Street, and two in the D.C. area, one in Rockville, MD at 1048 Rockville Pike and one in Falls Church, VA at 513 Broad Street. Look for these stores to be opening in the spring."


About damn time. =)
geekchick: (cooking)
Pumpkin recipe round-up:

geekchick: (cooking)
Tonight I decided to try using up some of the CSA veggies, since I've been very bad about using them while they're still edible. Today's experiment was the fennel, using a recipe from Melissa's Great Book of Produce which I cut down to a single serving (from four; these are roughly the right amounts for a single serving below):

Fish fillets with fennel and orange

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and cut in crosswise strips
salt and pepper to taste
1 orange, Cara Cara preferred (I used your ubiquitous Valencia instead), cut in segments and juice reserved
1 5-7 oz fish fillet, such as salmon, red snapper or sea bass
1/2 tablespooon minced Italian parsley

In large, deep skillet, heat 1/4 tablespoon olive oil on high heat. Add fennel, salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium and cook until fennel browns slightly, about 3 minutes. Add reserved orange juice (should be roughly 1 tablespoon), cover, and simmer on medium low until tender (about 2 minutes). Set aside.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in large, ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. Add fillets and cook about 3 minutes on each side, browning well. Smaller fillets will be cooked through at this point, but thicker ones will need additional cooking. Place skillet in 350-degree oven until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.

Stir parsley into fennel, spoon over fish and garnish with orange segments.
The verdict?  Eh.  It sounded good on paper, but apparently I don't like fennel.  I'm not sure why I thought I would, seeing as how I don't particularly care for licorice or anise.  Seemed a shame to let the veggies go to waste though, and the fish itself was okay.
geekchick: (cooking)
Here's what's going to be in the first box, apparently:

  • garlic scape
  • pac choi
  • radishes
  • squash
  • broccoli
  • mustard greens
  • sorrel
  • lettuce


There's also oregano if I want it and let him know by tomorrow morning. I don't know what variety of squash or lettuce yet. Yes I have a cookbook or two (or twenty four) and tend to like things like broccoli best when they're raw, but would absolutely love to hear about your favorite recipes using some of these things if you feel like sharing.

Edit: What I ended up with: four garlic scapes, four radishes, one yellow summer squash, two heads of broccoli, mustard greens, sorrel, Tokyo Bekana, mizuna, oregano, one small pac choi which might've been the last one. I think most of the leafy greens will just end up in a big salad. Sorrel is...interesting. Good interesting, but interesting nonetheless.
geekchick: (Default)

The cookbook collection

For someone who rarely cooks, I have a bit of a thing for cookbooks. The magazines are mostly few years worth of "Cooking Light" that I need to cull to make room for a few more books.

The cookbook collection


Luckily I have Gateway around to help when I need to clean off a shelf.
Bookend

geekchick: (cooking)
[livejournal.com profile] pecunium, cover your eyes. ;)

From the Post on Saturday:

Recipes are increasingly avoiding the use of terms like "cream", "braise" or "sauté" because people don't have the slightest clue what they mean.

Basic cooking terms that have been part of kitchen vocabulary for centuries are now considered incomprehensible to the majority of Americans. Despite the popularity of the Food Network cooking shows on cable TV, and the burgeoning number of food magazines and gourmet restaurants, today's cooks have fewer kitchen skills than their parents -- or grandparents -- did.


I don't cook very often and never really learned any serious cooking skills, but at least I know what "simmer" means. I don't think dumbing down recipes to avoid terms that might be unfamiliar is really doing anyone any favors, I would much prefer to see the correct terms used to encourage some basic level of competency. Include a glossary with your cookbook if you really think your target audience won't know what it means when you direct them to dredge a chicken breast in flour, but the level of ignorance about proper cooking terminology is only going to increase if you skip the opportunity to educate people who might not already know the terms you're using. If you're bemoaning the fact that people don't know what to do when you tell them to cream the butter and sugar, how exactly is it improving matters to avoid using the term altogether and instead simply say "beat the butter and sugar using your mixer"?
geekchick: (retail therapy)
Found a link at Simply Recipes to this sale at Amazon:

Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 10-Piece Cookware Set: 8- and 10-inch skillets, 1-1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans, 3-1/2-quart sauté pan, and 8-quart covered stockpot. List price is marked $400 (although I've never actually seen it at that price), Amazon's current price is $129.99. It also qualifies for free super saver shipping (at least $20 otherwise), and through Oct. 24 you can use their promotional code to take $25 off a $125 order in Kitchen & Housewares or Bed & Bath, making the final price $105.
geekchick: (cooking)
I've gotten it into my head that I would like to have a bread machine, since most days I have neither time nor energy to make bread by hand. The King Arthur Flour folks really like the Zojirushi BBCCX20, and as an alternative they recommend a Cuisinart CBK200 model. One thing I like about the Zojirushi, and this is of course totally superficial, is the traditional loaf shape. The generally glowing reviews don't hurt either. Do any of you have one or the other of these things? If so, what do you think of it? If you've got some other particular favorite, tell me about that too.

[Edit: Point in favor of the Cuisinart and the Breadman models: removable paddles. Can't determine if the Zojirushi has the same feature.]

Not sure exactly why (other than maybe because fall's already in the air and cooler weather is much more appealing when it comes to spending a lot of time in a hot kitchen), but I've been wanting to spend a lot more time/effort/money on kitchen stuff.
geekchick: (cooking)
From my inbox, because I thought some of y'all might like to know:

Introducing Saucy, Bookslut's First Sister Site
http://www.saucymag.com

From the Letter from the Editor at Saucy, which debuts today:

This is not a website for picky eaters. If you’re cutting carbs, eating at McDonald’s, or buying margarine, this may not be the site for you. But if you love all kinds of food like we do, Saucy is here to entertain and enlighten.
[...]
I want Saucy to encompass many issues – from the political to the technical – and still remain a celebration of food. In the coming weeks you’ll find articles on why buying locally grown produce matters, or how a co-op grocery is built from the ground up. We won’t tell you why French food will or will not make you fat, but we will tell you which French cookbooks are essential to every collection and which will leave you sobbing in frustration on your kitchen floor. Saucy has assembled some great, original voices, and their columns will entertain you with tales of food gone both good and bad.

Saucy will be updated daily, Monday through Thursday. Let us know what you think.
geekchick: (cooking)
Tonight's experiment: chicken en papillote. I used skinless, boneless chicken breasts and wrapped them in heavy duty aluminum foil along with diced red bell peppers sauteed briefly in 1/4 cup of chicken broth, a dash of salt and black pepper, Penzey's bouquet garni and some chopped fresh parsley. The original recipe called for snow peas and shallots as well, but I had neither on hand and was utterly uninspired to go back out. I threw in a couple of baby carrots instead. Supposedly they should cook for 18 minutes or so at 450, but these took closer to 30 to be completely cooked through. Served with black rice, which has an interesting flavor and a gorgeous color. I think it turned out pretty well, myself, although next time I'll do a better job crimping the sides of the foil packets.
geekchick: (mmm...sushi)
Not bad. Not as stunningly wonderful as I'd hoped, but definitely not bad for a first attempt and some guesstimation. There's something slightly off-balance in it, perhaps next time an adjustment to the saffron amount. Or maybe next time I'll just make vanilla/rosewater instead. =)

I went with the basic ice cream base recipe that came with my ice cream maker:

1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups heavy cream

Warm the milk in a small pan. Whisk the eggs with the sugar in a separate bowl. Slowly add the warm milk to sugar mixture, continuing to whisk. Pour mixture back into the pan and heat slowly until thickened, stirring constantly (do not boil). When thickened, remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

While I was heating the mixture, I added somewhere between an eighth- and a quarter-teaspoon of saffron powder to it (using the eyeball method). Once the mixture had cooled sufficiently, I added two tablespoons of rosewater, then the two cups of heavy cream, stirred, and then froze it.

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