semperfiona: (pumpkin pie)

I made this for our Christmas Day Open House. It's caramel with chopped bacon and almonds, flavored with maple syrup.

I have some ideas for improving it: maybe pecans instead of almonds, maybe no nuts at all. Maybe leave the bacon whole on the bottom of the pan, so that each piece of candy has a big burst of bacony goodness. Maybe use thinner crispier bacon to mitigate the can't-chew-it issues.

But it was a success nonetheless.
semperfiona: (pumpkin pie)
Today, she taught me a recipe that her daddy makes (which is sort of funny, as I'm the one who first taught him to cook. This is not my way of making eggs, though, so I don't know where he got it. Not from his mother: Rosa says she can't do it right.)

Egg sandwiches à la Ray, as told by Rosa
You whisk up the eggs and milk in a bowl. Lots of milk. The milk makes them fluffy. (She stirred the eggs with a fork and showed me: "This is the color they should be. Not quite white." Lumps of egg white remained but all the yolks were blended in.) Pour them into a pan and push them around, toward the middle, and around the sides. Turn them off and let them finish on their own.

So we made this thing, her instructing me through the steps, and me asking questions.

Me: Do you want grease in the pan?
Her: Not oil, but grease, yes.
Me: What kind? Bacon grease, butter, oil, what?
Her: No, no grease. Just put them in.

So she poured them in. And they did not stick.

Her: Now stir them with the spatula.
Me: *stir*

After they were mostly cooked but still sort of liquidy-edged, she told me to turn off the pan.

Me: But they're not done yet.
Her: They'll cook on their own now.

Sure enough.

I used toast, but she wanted bread. "It's really good with mayonnaise on the bread." So we put mayo on our bread.

Me: Should we put ham or cheese with it?
Her: Cheese.
Me: What kind? Colby jack, swiss or american? (The current contents of the cheese drawer.)
Her: American.

And that's it. No salt, no pepper, no herbs, just eggs and cheese on bread. With mayo, of course. Surprisingly good, too.
semperfiona: (pumpkin pie)
I said in my last post that I would be making a pie this weekend, and so I did. It wasn't blackberry, though. Tammie and I went to the Tower Grove Farmers' Market with Lenora, and I bought a bag of the season's first local peaches. I thought I might invent a blackberry-peach pie (and I may yet do that), but Tammie said I'd been talking up Mom's Peach-a-berry (peach, bing cherry, blueberry) pie for so long and would I please make one of those first. The blackberries could remain in the freezer a little longer.

So between blueberries from Aldi, cherries from Schnucks, the farm peaches, and the freezer vodka, I made this, Saturday night:

That's the last remaining piece.
semperfiona: (pumpkin pie)
In emulation of [ profile] beckyzoole's ReubenQuest, I bring you PieQuest.

I have mentioned here before that I am a big fan of pie. All of us here at Rivendell are, to tell the truth. But after the lamentable demise of Tippin's and the continued absence of Poppin' Fresh aka Baker's Square, a good pie is hard to find. (A hard pie is NOT good to find, in case you were wondering.)

We've tried a few places; diners and family restaurants seem to have pie available more often than more formal (or more expensive) locations. Tonight, [ profile] lavendargrrl and I went to Uncle Bill's in the hopes that they might serve pie. And indeed, they do. "Pie of the day" it says on the menu.

Today, at least, that translated into two varieties: apple and cherry. We each ordered cherry. They looked storebought, but were served hot, mine with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cherries were nice and tart, but there was more glaze than cherries. I continue to struggle to describe the crust. "Bready" is the best I could do. It wasn't doughy, it was cooked quite done, but did not have that characteristic flaky goodness that true pie pastry must have.

I can't even imagine how to achieve the consistency their crust had. Perhaps by melting the butter/shortening into the flour or creaming it as for cookies, rather than cutting it in and leaving small shortening pellets in the flour mixture.

Rating: Adequate.

I think we'll keep trying, but honestly, it would really serve us all better if I'd just bake more pies myself. More varieties available. Better crust. Fresher. I was reminiscing to Tammie about the lovely peach-blueberry-bing cherry pie my mother used to make, and the Hawaiian Strawberry, and and and...And I can do just as well at pie making as she does, but I--as we have previously established--am a lazy ass.
semperfiona: (pumpkin pie)
Last night [ profile] lavendargrrl came bouncing into the TV room. There was air between her feet and the floor. Seriously. "I know what we're doing tomorrow night!" She showed off the recipe in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: "Thirty-Minute Mozzarella".

[ profile] ohari scooped me and has already posted about the process. Results were quite gratifyingly tasty.

We also purchased a book, Making Artisan Cheeses, and tried to take our leftover whey and turn it into ricotta cheese using the recipe from that book. That experiment, however, was a failure: we got no curds at all.
semperfiona: (pumpkin pie)
[ profile] beckyzoole asked, and I had meant to post anyway, where did we get the Vampire Squash?

Last weekend, Tammie and I went down to Roger & Hunter's for a couple nights to attend TammyG's baby shower. On the Sunday, we all went to a Garden Festival at Bakersville Pioneer Village run by and located at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. There were vendors selling everything: yummilicious handmade bread and cinnamon rolls, garden plants, herbs, quilts and more. And heirloom squash. We bought three different kinds: Vif d'Etampes ("vampire"), Casper, and Jarrahdale. I shot some pictures of them before and during the cutting-up.

I also bought two strawberry plants and two raspberry canes. The strawberries got repotted last night; they're going to live indoors. The vendor swears they'll produce all year indoors--and if they don't, well it was only a coupla bucks. The raspberries will go outside to join the blackberries that were so prolific this summer.
semperfiona: (pumpkin pie)
  • Rouge Vif d'Etampes
    • Very easy to cut. Thin rind
    • Yellow orange flesh
  • Jarrahdale
    • Tough rind
    • Dark orange flesh
  • "Casper" White pumpkin
    • Medium rind
    • Pale yellow flesh
  • Pie pumpkin, from Schnucks
    • Very tough thick rind
    • Medium orange flesh
    • Very easy to remove from rind once steamed; rind remained hard and intact

Tried every knife in the house. Pie pumpkin was a bitch to cut, and Jarrahdale only slightly easier. Vif d'Etampes was a breeze, sliced with a boning knife. If it tastes as good as it looks, it's definitely the easiest to work with.

More to follow as we cook things with them.
semperfiona: (balloons)
Yesterday was [ profile] ohari's 40th birthday (Happy birthday, darling) and we threw him a Ballistics party. [ profile] lavendargrrl found a couple of books at ThinkGeek: The Art of the Catapult and Backyard Ballistics. We went to Lowe's last week and bought materials for two "Viking Catapults" and "God's Stone Thrower" models, the birthday boy built them (with assistance from me, Tammie, and [ profile] scottak) and we took them to the park yesterday to fling water balloons (the which may be seen in [ profile] ona_tangent's lovely photo that has become my new default icon) at each other and the rest of our guests. It was a wonderful day to be outside in the park; the weather was warm but not hot and the humidity was not bad either. All the assorted kidlets had a grand time with the water, and the adults did too.

Our Chris is fond of bananananananas. His usual request for birthday cake is Banana Cream Pie, but due to the outdoor party, I felt a cream pie would not do well. So I made him Banana Cake instead: two standard yellow cake mixes; go light on the oil (it called for 2/3 cup for the two: we only had 1/4 cup anyway) and add five pureed bananas. Took about fifteen minutes longer to bake than the prescribed time.

It made two smallish sheet cakes (13x9 and 12x8) and I frosted them each differently: one got Chocolate-Peanut Butter frosting (substitute peanut butter for the butter in a basic chocolate buttercream icing) and the other got Chocolate-Banana frosting (more pureed bananas, natch).

I have found that bananas substitute more-or-less one-for-one with butter. One pureed banana = one stick of butter. Works in cookies, cakes, frosting... Of course, you have to want the final product to taste like bananas, and some change in texture may be expected. :-)


Mar. 10th, 2006 03:08 pm
semperfiona: (pumpkin pie)
I typed into google: "Why do cream sauces separate when reheated?"

And this is the first hit: How do chefs stabilize sauces? It's a 20-page essay on common sauce ingredients and how they each affect the resulting sauce. And the answer to my initial question? Because the sauce is an emulsion of fat and water, and as such is nearly as prone to separating as vinaigrette. *sigh* Best to order fettucini alfredo to share, then, rather than take it home.


May. 30th, 2005 09:42 pm
semperfiona: (pumpkin pie)

4 tsp baking powder
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
5 Tbsp butter
5 Tbsp sugar

Combine above to oatmeal consistency. Add 2/3 cup milk to fruit (currants or raisins or cinnamon and apple; 1/2 cup if raisins are soaked). Roll out to 3/4" thick. Cut to size desired.

400 degree oven for 12-14 minutes
semperfiona: (Default)
Supervise grilled cheese sandwiches. Do not leave them to cook on their own.
semperfiona: (Default)
I have an appontment this morning at 10:30 for the house inspection that I've had to reschedule twice (due to forgetting about the previous appointments and just jaunting off to work as usual), so I'm at home. I went to the Subaru dealer first thing and got my car's oil changed for the first time: at 5500 miles. I've had the car about 3 1/2 months and it's already got nearly 6000 miles on it. I haven't even gone anywhere except back and forth to work, but my commute is a 50 mile round trip every day.

So I'm at home again, and I decided to cook myself breakfast, now that I've been up for two hours and some. I made scrambled eggs with onions, black pepper, and feta cheese, and fried them in olive oil. It's an interesting combination of flavors. I think I like it but I'm not quite sure.
semperfiona: (Default)
At the grocery store today I successfully hunted down and killed a fresh can of sweetened condensed milk. Following Piglet's instructions, I opened it and put it on the stove in a pan of water to simmer for something like three hours, stirring it every twenty minutes or so. At first, it got thinner and runny, but then started to thicken and darken. At the end of the three hours it was a very light caramel color and had the consistency of jam. I spooned some out over vanilla ice cream...mmmmmmmm heavenly.
semperfiona: (Default)
There was a postcard from Kirk in my mail today, which gave a lift to my evening, and then I checked my voice messages and found one from my aunt. She and my uncle are in town tonight through Saturday morning, so we're going to get together tomorrow night. They retired, sold their printing business, and bought a motor home. They've been touring 'round the country since December first. I knew they'd pass through here eventually, but hadn't quite expected them so soon, nor with so little notice. Still, I wasn't doing anything anyway except watching Rosa, and they'll want to see her, so it all works out nicely.

The only bummer is my failed attempt to make dulce de leche. The condensed milk in my pantry had apparently been there for a very long time and had gone all thick and nasty. Mental note: add condensed milk to the grocery list.
semperfiona: (Default)
One prepared pizza crust (Boboli)
One packet of pizza sauce (Boboli)
Three green onions
Half a green pepper
Several handfuls of spinach
Half an 8 oz box of sliced brown mushrooms
6 oz tub of crumbled feta cheese

Saute the onions and peppers in olive oil. Add the spinach just until it wilts. Spread the sauce on the pizza crust, sprinkle thickly with feta. Strew the spinach, onions and peppers on the cheese. Strew raw mushrooms. Sprinkle with more cheese. Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes.
semperfiona: (Default)
Someone was looking in my windows at me while I was cooking dinner tonight (jambalaya, yum yum yum--made from scratch, thank you very much (I'm a good cook ;-p )). (This is an example a little more like what I tend to do with parenthetical thoughts, if I don't edit them out.) When I noticed and looked out at him, he ducked betwen the kitchen window and the one in the dining room. I couldn't quite see him anymore but I knew he was still there. So I went out the back door: he took off running and I shouted "Shove off!" at his departing back. (Exact quote. I didn't want to swear at a stranger who might be carrying a weapon or for that matter get ideas from the word "fuck".)

I told Rosa afterwards that if he came back I'd show him a knife--thinking of my dagger--but I don't think I would do that. If he was armed it would probably be with a gun, and if not, and he reported me to the police, I'd be the one who ended up arrested, for brandishing a weapon, nevermind the fact that he had been peeking in my windows.

Someone has been doing that around here quite a lot, actually. I saw him myself one night last summer, and my neighbor came over to warn me a few weeks ago. I'm glad I'm moving back to my house. Nobody peeks in windows there.
semperfiona: (Default)
Why don't I cook proper meals more often for myself? It only took a few minutes, and I had a delicious broiled red snapper filet with garam masala, corn and a glass of wine.


Jan. 5th, 2002 03:03 pm
semperfiona: (Default)
Rosa and I just made a big batch of cookies. These are my speciality "Kitchen Sink Cookies"--which come out different every time depending on what I have on hand--and they have all sorts of interesting ingredients. Mashed bananas. Chocolate chips. M&M's. Oatmeal. Golden raisins. Dried cherries. Dried cranberries. Black walnuts. A bit of maple flavoring. Cocoa. Crushed candy canes (this last was Rosa's idea).
Over all they turned out pretty well, though I don't think I'll use black walnuts again. They're a bit too strong-tasting.
Making cookies with a two-year-old is quite an adventure. I was sort of expecting to have a horrible mess afterwards, and that did not happen. She helped put in the mix-ins, and stir the batter, and drop the cookies on the cookie sheet...and eat the finished product.
Now she's asleep on the couch and I'm resting.


semperfiona: (Default)

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