Tuesday, December 7, 2010

cookie making day!

Today, we'll be making cookies. Ostensibly for Christmas, but mostly for us. I'm making Ginger Stars, Lemon Sugar Cookies, Brown Sugar Shortbread, Oatmeal Scotchies, and Oatmeal Jam Bars. I'll be making Sugar Plums on my next paycheck, because all those dates and nuts get expensive, and I'm already making five other cookies. I was going to live-blog the whole thing, but the phone is dead and won't be charged by the time I'll need it, so I'll be taking pictures and videos and I'll up them later. When I'm full of cookies. Mmmmm, cookies.

Cyndy and Ally will also be there, and maybe Chris, so who knows what all cookies we'll get to go home with? Not I! But there will be many. Oh yes.

I need to get one of those cameras that send pics directly to the web...

Monday, December 6, 2010

link: The Mystery of the Red Bees of Red Hook


So apparently bees in New York are going out of their ways for miles to get at the cherry juice from a marachino cherry factory, and the 'honey' they're producing is bright red-- violently so-- and metalic and too sweet. Ew. Also, Oh Em Gee. Shut your yap, Corn Council of America-- your carefully-created American obsession with HFCS has started compromising honey.

I won't stand for that anymore. No more maraschinos for me!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Buttered with herbs under the skin and orange, lemon and rosemary inside!

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Candied sweet potatoes!

Not cooked yet, but it's two cans (drained), half a box of brown sugar, a stick of butter, and some cinnamon, pinch of cloves, salt and pepper. Cook till warm though and top with marshmallows and brown in the oven.

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Breakfast is served! Time for blackadder and to get the turkey in!

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Thanksgiving breakfast

The first empanadas are on to keep away the low bloodsugar grouchies! Next up: the turkey goes in and we star on the sides.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Acorn squash soup

Making the best of leftovers.

It's really hard to take a decent picture of soup on a cellphone.

This is basically a different sort of what'cha'got soup. Normally, I'd throw it all into a minestrone sort of deal or maybe into a Gypsy Stew*, but today, I didn't have the right ingredients for either of those things, so I went for the Ally Method of what'cha'got soup making. I had 2 very old acorn squash, one fire-baked potato, one fire-roasted onion, some shallots, some garlic, some milk, some stock cubes, and a selection of spices and herbs**.

The method!
As usual in situations like this, I didn't measure anything, so you'll have to eyeball it.

Cut the acorn squash in half, clean out the seeds and the worst of the fibers, and microwave for about 6 or 8 minutes under damp paper towels until soft enough to scoop out.

While that's nuking, sautee your fire-roasted onions (previously cooked for about a half hour in in tinfoil in the embers of a fire pit), your shallot and your two or so cloves of garlic in a mix of olive oil and butter until everything is sweet and caramelized. The roasted onion gets a jump on that, but if you don't have one, you can caramelize from raw, it'll just take longer.

Put your stock cubes in hot water and make it into stock. I had one each of veggie, beef and chicken, and added five cups of boiling water (which is one cup less than the stock instructions called for, but that's how big by bowl was and it seems fine).

Scoop out all the meat from the squash and just drop it right into the onions. Don't burn yourself too much. Stir it all around and mash it up some with the spoon. Chop up the old baked potato with most of the skin taken off, and throw that in, too.

Add all the broth, stir it up real good, and mash it some more. I used a potato masher. Start seasoning. I have no idea how much I threw in, but it was about two rounds of the following: Fresh cracked black pepper, sea salt, thyme, a little saffron (this only went in once because it's expensive and I don't have much), cinnamon, nutmeg, five spice powder, sage, cayenne, bay leaf, . Old squash are apparently not as sweet as fresh, so I added some wildflower honey (local, of course, because I'm a honey snob). Cook it a lot.

While it's cooking, periodically mash it up more and stir it vigorously to get it all breaking down. Check on flavorings. It should be sweet and savory.

Mine started burning on the bottom of the pan, and that really just added to the roasty flavor and gave it a nice orangy-brown color, but I wouldn't let it burn too much.

Once everything starts looking like it's not going to mash up any more without help, you can blenderize it or use one of those motorboat blenders. Our blender was mouldy and we don't have a motorboat, so I ran the whole giant batch through a fine-mesh sieve***, which took way too long and used up, like, three mixing bowls, but came out with a nice texture.

Throw it all back into the pot, stir it until it's smooth and check on seasoning. Add about 2/3 to a whole cup of milk (less if you have cream) and some more butter, and heat it back up until the butter is totally melted.

Gobble it all up like woah. Perfect fall soup, and would likely work with almost any squash, or sweet potatoes, or root veggies. Ally frequently makes her's curried, and that would have been nice here, too, except I unaccountably couldn't find the curry powder, so I went for thanksgivingy seasonings instead.

*Gypsy Stew is defined by old room mates as anything you can beg, borrow or steal, thrown into a soup pot. In practice, it's usually chicken or veggie broth based, and almost always thickened with rice and beans, and usually eaten communally out of small cups with many servings.
**I think you can judge how much people like cooking and eating by how many spices they have. Our collection outgrew anything as simple as a spice rack and now resides in the entire knife drawer beside the stove. We have literally dozens of distinct herbs and spices, almost all bought individually for specific meals we've been making over the last few years, not as kits or anything like that.
***Someone should buy me a hand-powered food mill for Christmas. Or an immersion blender, but I kind of like the freedom of old-fashioned tools.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

This is how we'll cook dinner tonight.

Potatoes and onions and yum.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010


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This is Mi Goreng original flavored Asian-Market good ramen
Peas, Broccoli, 2 sheets of laver (sesame and salt flavor), 1 egg (soft boiled and crumbled since it fell apart when I peeled it), 1 chicken and pork hot dog, a little say sauce, and black pepper.

Yummy, meets the 5x5x5* requirements, there's lots of food here, and it comes in at a grand total of 364 calories if I did my math right. Probably tons of salt, but I drink so much tea, I should be able to flush it.

*5x5x5= Five colors, five flavors, five textures. A Japanese way to be sure you get a well-rounded meal.

Tea heals all wounds

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Especially when I'm sick and especially especially when I'm sick in the winter (and this is about as wintery as FL gets, usually (even if this year seems to be trending more like a real winter)), I crave tea. To quote my ninth grade piano teacher Ms Perrette, "My tea cup looks like the inside of a smoker's lung" because it's never empty long enough to bother scrubbing it out. Well, I crave tea all the time no matter what, but in the summer, it's more alone the lines of iced tea* or barley tea**/ mugicha. In the winter, I crave hot, black tea. I rarely sweeten my tea, but I tend to like the ones that go well with sugar and milk in case I decide I want to: this is Rose Black Tea from Butterfly Brand***, the one that comes in an almost-plain box at the Asian Market, for, like, two dollars. It's the best and most rosy black tea I've ever had, less floral than the British rose-flavored teas, but more authentic-rose flavored and scented. It tastes like summer in places where roses grow easily and bloom all through the sunny months. I don't drink it in the summer because it's too... too summery for that. It's distilled summer. Summer for winter days.

* Brewed as black as coffee on the stove for a long time-- like, 45 minutes-- uncut until you pour it over ice, very sweet, and spiked with a fresh lime wedge or two. This is how my mom makes it. The closest I've found out in the wild, strangely enough, is McDonalds or Wendy's; Wendy's tends to be too sweet but is usually dark enough, and McD tends to be too light, but is properly sweet. And ours is about half the time gross with oldness, so I usually go for the too sweet Wendy's.
** Get yer teabag and boil it for a few minutes, then chill the tea in the fridge and it's delicious. I tried the cold-brew kind before and found it both watery and bitter in an unpleasant way.
*** http://steepster.com/teas/butterfly-brand/4141-rose-black-tea?post=56632

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

basic what'cha'got italian soup

This is a canned-food based soup, just so you're warned. Because that's what I got this week.

1 can condensed tomato soup + 1/2 can water and 1/2 can milk
1 can ham-flavored green beans and potatoes
1 can peas
drizzle of olive oil
few tablespoons of fried onions
some italian herbs with extra oregano and basil
1 bay leaf
cracked black pepper
1/4 c shaky-cheese-- we had a parm-romano-asiago blend
1 beef bullion cube

Throw everything in a pan, stir well and heat until cooked.

- I think any ham-or-bacon-flavored thing could go in instead of the greenbeans-- maybe bacony beans? Bean with bacon soup? Hoppin' John? Something like that. Maybe even bacon-or-ham-cooked greens, and then add the potatoes separately.
- Peas could be subbed with anything sweet to cut the acidity of the tomato soup.
- More flavor could be added by using broth instead of the water.
- Garlic could go in stead of onions-- or both.
- Any sort of leftover meat, veg and/or most starch could be thrown in to make it more of a meal, I think.
- I might add a can of condensed veggie soup next time to add more vegetables and the flavor that comes from them.
- Could add extra liquid, and then cook pasta right in there-- or cook the pasta separately and add it, but then there's two dirty pots to clean afterward.

- I think next time, I'll use a higher quality tomato base-- this way-off-brand stuff is too acidic AND too sweet
- I'll plan for it next time and have protein to throw in.
- Overall, a good experiement, though, a sort of creamy tomato-bisque based minestrone.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

link: wendy's calorie counter!

How neat is this? Wendy's doesn't just tell you what their food's calories are, but they also tell you what's in everything and let you build a meal to get a total count! Apparently, my meal was about 700 cals, which is higher than I'd like, but about what I expected, since I had it with a sweet tea, even though I'm supposed to be avoiding caffeine and sugar. Which I mostly am, but I refuse to give it up entirely because I love my tea. So I just make sure I drink it before 5, when it's less likely to keep me up and make me worry.

Anyway. I had the BLT Cobb, and it was really good. Bacon, Eggs, Chicken, Blue Cheese and Tomatoes on Mixed Baby Greens with Avocado Ranch. Now, I thought I didn't like blue cheese or ranch, but something about the way they do it here, they're both awesome. The half salad is generous enough for lunch, and if you get the PIck Two thing, and make your second item the snack wrap thing, you get extra chicken (protein!) for your salad! It's 340 cals including the dressing, minus the additional chicken, and that's really pretty amazing for fast food. I mean, the McDonald's yogurt and apple thing has as many calories as the chicken nuggets!

It's almost what I would do if I were making it myself. I'd probably add corn or beans (or both) and olives, maybe some banana peppers. I'd definitely add more chicken. But then, I've always been more about the stuff that goes on a salad than the salad itself!

I've also had the Pecan-Apple salad, and it's also pretty amazing. Next, I think I'll try the baja one.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

foodpickle question: decaf tea

Quick! Your favorite non-gross decaf teas that are actually made with tea!

asked by Sami about 24 hours ago
Category: Technique

7 Answers



lavenderblue says: I like Stash decaf black chai tea. This would be a cozy nighttime treat with a little sugar and milk.

Answered about 23 hours ago

1 Like

Ophelia says: I like Twinings decaf English Breakfast and Earl Grey (except bergamot gives me leg cramps). They have a slightly richer flavor than the Stash equivalents.

Answered about 20 hours ago

1 Like

mrslarkin says: Twinings.

Answered about 20 hours ago

1 Like

pierino says: What's next? Dericeified Rice? Green tea is pretty low caf to begin with. I like to begin my day with genmaicha, which is green tea with toasted brown rice. Lovely aroma. But could we just stop taking the good parts out of everything?

Answered about 15 hours ago


Sami says: pierino: I totally agree-- except that even small amounts of caffeine have been setting off my panic attacks and keeping me from sleeping since I started grad school, and I needed someone to point out actual tea that doesn't taste like crud that's lacking in that stimulant!

Answered about 14 hours ago


mtrelaun says: Are you looking for a decaf version of some type of Builder's tea? I love PG Tips decaf. When I can't get my hands on that, I drink Barry's decaf, Typhoo decaf or Tetley's decaf (though this is a last resort tea as it's a tad toothless in the taste department.)

Answered about 3 hours ago


ninadora says: i love decaf layt gray, its my favorite. All the Twinings decaf teas are good. I also love Yogi teas decaf chai, its a real treat with milk and sugar.

Answered about 2 hours ago

Read more: http://www.food52.com/foodpickle/543-quick-your-favorite-non-g#ixzz11K8o003r

foodpickle question

Is there a non-HFCS equivalent to Del Monte's Fruit Chillers? Are they just frozen, sweetened puree? They're really tasty, but I've given up HFCS and I miss them!

asked by Sami 1 day ago
Category: Substitutions

4 Answers



Savorykitchen says: According to the Del Monte website Fruit Chillers don't contain HFCS at all.

They don't publish ingredient lists online, but maybe they contain "regular" corn syrup and not high fructose corn syrup. They are actually different products (HFCS is corn syrup that's been processed to change its composition so that it contains more fructose). Corn syrup hasn't been linked to same issues as HFCS.

Answered about 24 hours ago


Sami says: Well, that's good news! I looked up the ingredients on a non-delmonte website because it wasn't listed officially and I didn't have the box, and they said there was HFCS; I guess I'll look for myself when I get to the grocery store next!

Answered about 24 hours ago


Savorykitchen says: oh yeah - I meant to give you the link to their website: http://www.delmontefruitchillers.com/faqs.aspx

Answered about 23 hours ago


drbabs says: Sami, do you have freezer space? If you do, I'd suggest you get an ice cream maker (The Cuisinart one is decent for around $50.) and make your own sorbets so you can control the ingredients. Making sorbet is really easy and using fresh ingredients makes it very tasty.

Answered about 23 hours ago

Read more: http://www.food52.com/foodpickle/542-is-there-a-non-hfcs-equiva#ixzz11K8MCWQ5

Saturday, September 25, 2010

link: free cook books!

A long, long list of free cooking ebooks to download! Also a pretty nifty baking website.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fwd: Tea Eggs

H just send me this from China, and now I want to try it out. I think I'll have to get some eggs at some point this week...


Hayden :-)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Best lunch ever

Baked potato with butter, fresh cracked pepper, sharp cheddar, green onion, sour cream, and baco fried onions, s (because we didn't have real bacon on hand)

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

wishlist: super-bright cupcakes

I don't know if these are even actually possible, but I found this picture somewhere and HAD to share. Look how fun they are!

I would frost them in white, fluffy frosting like clouds, and maybe throw some glitter on top for good measure.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

link: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com: betty boza lifestyle - Google Search

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com: betty boza lifestyle - Google Search

When I was a kid, I remember watching Aunt Betty's show on afternoon TV somewhere in the vicinity of the news (part of it? after it?), and I remember sometimes getting to try out new food if she happened to be testing recipes when we were around. And even when there aren't any recipes to test or shows to film, she always has good, hearty, mostly healthy food to eat and scads of recipes to share.

I like the reminder, too, that there aren't just people like Rachael Ray and Giada around-- there are tons of local cooks and tv stars around, and they all have something to say, too.

Friday, July 30, 2010

link: Corndog Maker


I do believe I need this thing. Sure, it's a unitasker, and sure, corndogs are really bad for me, but I love them and I would adore the ability to make them myself all the time always. Until I die of a heart attack.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


An attack of the midnight munchies with no real food on the house led to me wAnting biscuits, and since I'm lazy, drop biscuits. I found a recipe, mixed it up, cooked it, and whAt I got was not drop biscuits, but was tasty. They looked like big cookies and tasted like really moist cookies, or biscuity bread, they stuck to the pan like cement, and they were exactly whAt I wanted. We've dubbed them crubiscuits because they seem to be somewhere between a crumpet and an American biscuit-- if crumpets were made of biscuits.


2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tbs baking powder
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
2 c milk, cold

Mix it all up, drop it on a very well greased pan, bake in the middle rack of a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, and there you go! Aunt Sami's Old Tyme Crubiscuits, just like gramma used to make!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

wishlist: 3 Seasonal Blueberry Cocktails For Summer - Planet Green

3 Seasonal Blueberry Cocktails For Summer - Planet Green: "Blueberry Basil
8 basil leaves
4 mint leaves
1 tsp raw sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
12 local blueberries
1 1/2 oz rum
Top with soda water
Garnish with more blueberries


1. Muddle basil, mint, sugar, and lime juice in base of a shaker glass. Add blueberries and continue to muddle. Add rum and ice and shake. Fill tall glass with ice and strain muddled rum mixture into the glass and top with club soda. Garnish with more blueberries.

Recipe adapted from Art of the Drink.

Blueberry Julep
1 1/2 oz organic vodka
1/2 oz blueberry liqueur
1/2 oz simple syrup
� oz blueberry pur�e
Splash of sparkling wine
Garnish with mint


1. Shake the vodka, liqueur, and simple syrup in a drink mixer. Top with puree and mix with a spoon. Top with champagne and garnish with mint.

Recipe adapted from The Nibble.

Acai Blueberry Mojito
2 oz organic vodka
� oz simple syrup
� oz acai juice
1 oz lime juice
Blueberries and mint leaves for garnish


1. Shake the vodka, simple syrup, acai juice, and lime juice in a drink mixer. Garnish with blueberries and mint leaves."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

from the comments on the previous post:

So it's even more weird to blame him for blaming femininists, and it's really just a trigger-rant because the words were used that would make such a thing happen. And my point that we shouldn't get bogged down in the argument is even more valid. So there.

"Read what Pollan actually wrote, not the absurd rant posted here:
"But the [Food] movement’s interest in such seemingly mundane matters as taste and the other textures of everyday life is also one of its great strengths. Part of the movement’s critique of industrial food is that, with the rise of fast food and the collapse of everyday cooking, it has damaged family life and community by undermining the institution of the shared meal. Sad as it may be to bowl alone, eating alone can be sadder still, not least because it is eroding the civility on which our political culture depends.
That is the argument made by Janet Flammang, a political scientist, in a provocative new book called The Taste for Civilization: Food, Politics, and Civil Society. “Significant social and political costs have resulted from fast food and convenience foods,” she writes, “grazing and snacking instead of sitting down for leisurely meals, watching television during mealtimes instead of conversing”—40 percent of Americans watch television during meals—”viewing food as fuel rather than sustenance, discarding family recipes and foodways, and denying that eating has social and political dimensions.” The cultural contradictions of capitalism—its tendency to undermine the stabilizing social forms it depends on—are on vivid display at the modern American dinner table.
In a challenge to second-wave feminists who urged women to get out of the kitchen, Flammang suggests that by denigrating “foodwork”—everything involved in putting meals on the family table—we have unthinkingly wrecked one of the nurseries of democracy: the family meal. It is at “the temporary democracy of the table” that children learn the art of conversation and acquire the habits of civility—sharing, listening, taking turns, navigating differences, arguing without offending—and it is these habits that are lost when we eat alone and on the run. “Civility is not needed when one is by oneself.”"

The foodie indictment of feminism - Broadsheet - Salon.com

The foodie indictment of feminism - Broadsheet - Salon.com

So Michael Pollan is probably some sort of food-loving saint. He's also, it seems, a kind of feminist-hater-- though I haven't personally seen enough evidence to say whether this is true, I can agree that he's, at the least, saying things in a thoughtless way that's calibrated to annoy certain kinds of people, and by stating them that way, makes it sound like he's willfully ignoring the role any men have in how our food culture is today.

I agree that, to some extent, the result of women going into the workforce is the proliferation of ready-made meals and such; it was useful and it was convenient. I also agree that the men involved should have taken up the slack and learned to cook a damn meal for themselves. But on the other hand, I think it's unfair to blame feminism because it wasn't just a choice: a lot of the time, it was a necessity, and suddenly being able to work made supporting a family on your own easier-- and now there's just not the option of being a housewife for many of us. Households at my tax bracket just can't survive on one income, and to still blame feminism for the necessity of working and therefore not making meals seems outdated and ridiculous. And the men in the equation still should have stepped up.

Tangled webs, these gender interactions. And the whole food culture issue is already tangled enough. Maybe we should just agree that stuff happened and as a result everything's all messed up and unbalanced, and now EVERYONE needs to step up and get involved and learn to cook and learn to garden and find local and sustainable sources of things. Men, women, children, governments, everyone. We're all to blame and we're all responsible for fixing it. The feminist / anti-feminist argument has a way of dislocating the arguments it gets drafted for, has a way of polarizing things that would otherwise not be polarized because as soon as someone plays that card, suddenly agreeing with part of the other side makes you a traitor, going along with even a fragment of the other side's option for fixing the problem means you aren't committed, and then nothing happens.

And in the food world, things need to happen. The whole industry needs to be overhauled, and if we're all standing around yelling at each other about whose fault it is, there's no way for us to address the fact that regardless of fault, it's killing our kids and burdening our society and weakening our country. The issue isn't who is to blame, it's how can we fix it, now, with our current resources.

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition, and Health, Revised and Expanded Edition (California Studies in Food and Culture)
Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know

ETA: This reaction is entirely ignoring the fact that the decline of family togetherness as a whole contributes to the food-chain problems, that people these days seem to lack patience and manners (and since I work retail, I can say that) and therefore willingly choose the easy things, that fast food existed before the Fem Rev, that the government spends / spent a lot of time encouraging farmers to bail out / sell out / stop farming and therefore ruined the balance themselves, that most of the cutting-edge chefs in the world are men and that this sort of cooking is somehow different then women's cooking in or out of the home, the fact that whatever role feminism played in leaving the kitchen, it's really the marketing that got people to give up local, sustainable, healthier food in favor of shiny big-box stores that offer stuff all year round and make it easier to get ahold of pre-packaged stuff that they've been told is 'just as good as home made' when it isn't, that food isn't the only thing that's been impacted by the social changes of that time whether or not they can be directly associated with feminism or it's opposite, the fact that feminism didn't destroy the family so much as a bad set up of how a marriage and a family was supposed to be left millions of women willing to take any chance they got to get out of it as soon as divorce was allowed, and that that led to many households where there was only one breadwinner and so on, and on and on and on.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

wishlist: Chai Tea Jello

Maybe I'll try this one first; I'm much more likely to try something experimental with tea. And I do so love chai... In my head, it tastes like the one from Big Train, which is what my local cafe sells; I wonder if I could make it like a solid Big Train?

From: http://www.bakingaisle.com/2010/04/chai-tea-jello/#more-107

Chai Tea Jello

  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 4 packets unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • chai teabags
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
Thoroughly mix the gelatin with the cold water, and let sit on the counter.

Make the tea - put the tea bags in the boiling water, and let sit for 5-10 minutes. You want very, very strong tea.

Remove the tea bags, and stir the hot tea into the gelatin mixture until completely dissolved. Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir.

Pour into an 8-inch square pan, lightly greased or lined with parchment paper. Chill for 4 hours or until set.

wishlist: Coffee Jello

I'm not a huge fan of Jello (I don't like eating things that dogs bark at), but my love of sweetened condensed milk and the fact that these are denser than regular jello might win out in the end.

Coffee Jello / Coffee Gelatin
1/2 c cold water
2 cups strong coffee, hot. I used two packages of Starbucks Via. The coffee needs to be strong. This isn't the time for Sanka instant. :)
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
3 packages of Knox unflavored gelatin

1. Place 1/2 c cold water in a bowl.
2. Sprinkle 3 unflavored gelatin packets over the water. Let sit until the gelatin blooms, about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the hot coffee and mix until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
4. Stir in the can of sweetened condensed milk.
5. Pour into glass pan. Thickness of finished jello depends on the size of the pan. I used a 7 x 11 pan but a 9 x 13 pan will give you thinner pieces and an 8 x 8 pan will give you thicker pieces.

Note: The combo of coffee and sweetened condensed milk is inspired by Vietnamese coffee. You can probably adapt this to use coffee or espresso, cream and sugar (be sure to dissolve the sugar in the hot coffee and gelatin).

Saturday, May 22, 2010

wishlist: Ruby Press � Snickers Bar

Ruby Press � Snickers Bar

Home-made snickers? I'm there! Click through on this one: you've got to see the pictures.

Friday, May 21, 2010

wishlist: Kalyn's Kitchen: World's Best Tzatziki Sauce Recipe - Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce

Kalyn's Kitchen: World's Best Tzatziki Sauce Recipe - Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce

We made something very much like this a while ago when we roasted some lamb, and since we had way more than we needed, we ate it on EVERYTHING and it was amazing. I need to make a new batch and just keep in in the fridge: it only gets better with age up to the point when the cukes just go off.

Hmm... shopping list...

Recipe Chimp

Recipe Chimp

A fun recipe search engine where you put in what you have and it tells you what you can make!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

current favorite breakfast

Is, simply, fresh strawberries and Stonyfield Farms vanilla yogurt. According to the interwebs, six strawberries is a serving, so I've been chopping six straight from the fridge into a cup of yogurt in a bowl, and it's cool and refreshing, and delicious and perfectly early-summer. We get strawberries in the winter here, but this winter was bad and the local strawberries were bland and white and horrible-- but wherever these are coming from, whether it's local or imported, they're perfect. Ripe all the way through, full of flavor, sweet enough to stand up to yogurt without needing extra sugar, and tart enough to not be cloying.

I wonder if they're still on sale at the store? I'm almost out...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

wishlist: honey and riccotta tart

Ricotta and Honey Tart

By Christine Gallary
Honey and lemon zest flavor this tart made of ricotta cheese. A crisp crust and crunchy almond topping sandwich the creamy filling.
Game plan: Drain the ricotta of excess moisture by placing it in a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, weigh the cheese down with a heavy object, and refrigerate overnight.
Total Time: 1 hr 40 mins, plus time to drain the cheese
Active Time: 15 mins
Makes: 8 servings

For the crust:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon loosely packed, finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

For the filling:
1 pound ricotta cheese, drained overnight (see “Game plan” note above)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup clover honey
1 tablespoon loosely packed, finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
For the crust:
  1. Place melted butter, sugar, zest, and salt in a large bowl and stir until combined. Add flour and stir just until a soft dough forms, about 1 minute.
  2. Evenly arrange small pieces of dough over the bottom of a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. Using a measuring cup or your fingers, press the dough to form an even layer over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, flouring the cup or your fingers as needed.
  3. Cover the tart shell with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  5. When the shell is chilled, prick it all over with a fork and place it on a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown all over, about 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
For the filling:
  1. Place drained ricotta, eggs, honey, zest, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Process, stopping and scraping the sides of the bowl often with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth and combined, about 1 minute.
  2. Spread the filling in the warm tart shell and evenly sprinkle almonds over top. Bake until the center is just set, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before serving.

link: Tea & Cookies: My Summer Secret Weapon: Mugicha

Tea & Cookies: My Summer Secret Weapon: Mugicha

I'm making the first pot of mugicha of the summer. That's how you can be absolutely sure that it's past spring, no matter what the calendar says.

Monday, May 3, 2010

letters to the aether, food edition

Dear Jamie Oliver,

Sure you can ride one of my personal hobbyhorses. You scare those kids about what's in their food all you want.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Corn Cakes Recipe - An Easy and Tasty Appetizer Recipe

We made these for dinner, topped with sourcream and fresh salsa, took them downtown, and ate them at the tables at work while the sun slid behind the buildings and the light was fresh and just a little yellowed (not anywhere near how burned-golden it'll be when it hits summer), and the birds were coming home to roost. It was lovely. I'm so going to miss the spring when it's good and done-- and it's already feeling like summer in places that have milder summers.

The best part? It cost less than 10$ and was entirely vegetarian (though nowhere near vegan), and we didn't even mind that we were too lazy to cook chicken for it. It's definitely going into the Make This Again File and in the Good basic Recipe To Know File.

ETA: Here's the recipe, and some pictures:

"Makes 10-15 (depending on the size).
1 cup fresh Corn kernels
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup plain flour
1 Tbsp Baking powder
Salt to taste
1-1/2 cups water
1 bunch Spring onions (greens only, chopped)
Pepper to taste
Oil to shallow fry
4 Tbsp melted Butter

Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt, in a large bowl. Slowly, add the water until the mixture is the consistency of a thick cake batter.
Stir in the corn, spring onions and black pepper.
In a large frying pan/skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil on medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp full of batter into the skillet to make a 2-inch cake. Make the cakes in batches of 4-5 or less, without over crowding the pan. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden on the bottom. Turn and cook the other side 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat and brush with melted butter.
Refill the oil as needed.
Recipe contributed by Amy from Los Angeles (U.S). "

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Berry Tart Recipe With Picture - Joyofbaking.com *Tested Recipe*

Berry Tart Recipe With Picture - Joyofbaking.com *Tested Recipe*

I spent an hour this morning finding new and inventive ways to knock the higher-up mulberries down (still leaving the top of the tree for the birds), and gathered another two baggies full, then filled up the bag of the white ones, which seem to be catching up to the black ones now that they're almost done. That brings us to a total of ten bags, nine black and one white, which is more than enough for a batch of mulberry jam, and about half enough for white mulberry jam.

I'd sort of intended to make a mulberry pie today, but I found blackberries on a steep sale at WinnDixie-- three packs for five dollars!!!-- and so I'm using the recipe above to make little individual blackberry tarts instead. I have no idea how big they'll be, but the ball of dough that's chilling in the fridge isn't very big... Maybe I'll just make one big one after all. Then we get a better fruit-to-crust ratio each.

Time to go check on the dough. I'll let you know how the pie goes, and maybe I'll even have pictures, since I finally remembered to recharge my camera!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries | Wise Bread

Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries | Wise Bread

Muffins and syrup and pies, Oh my!


One of the perks of living in Florida is that our stupidly-hot summers mean we get really early springs and therefore I get mulberries before anyone else on my flist (on any of the profiles, of which there are many). Last year, all spring long I got a grand total of one ziploc bag full of berries; this year, maybe because the winter was more... winterly... or because Jay cut a bunch of the branches off last fall, we're having a massive bumpercrop. They're literally falling out of the tree. All over the car* and where we park the bikes, all over the stairs and parts of the porch, there are little black gems glistening in the sunshine and slowly turning to a beautiful purple mash on every surface.

So for the last week, D and I have been spending a half hour or so each at different times of the day to gather the berries, mostly off the ground since the branches are all high like woah now that the low ones were cut, and it's been literally pounds of fruit. Half and hour twice a day for the last three days, and we've got seven or eight stuffed full ziplocs in the freezer just waiting for the fruit-rain to stop so I know no more will be coming and I can make jam**. Sweet, delicious, red-purple jam, using my new canning tools that I bought when we were wandering around walmart and found the corner of kitchen goods devoted to canning.

This isn't my picture, but it's exactly what our berries look like (only, you know, more Florida-ish):

And, like, absolutely encrusted with berries. Black and red like those blackberry-raspberry gummy things H likes. And on the other side of the driveway, there's this shrub that I swear was a hibiscus last year, a big red one, but this year grows back and happens to be a mulberry too, only as the big one is getting dark and juicy, this one keeps staying green, and I'm all 'WTF mulberry?' I was poking around on it today, and it turns out that it's different-- it's a white mulberry!
It was literally getting just as ripe, but neither I nor the birds could see it, because they look almost the same ripe as they do unripe-- they just get glossier and barely tinged pink instead of yellow-green. They're sweeter and lighter in flavor, and not as prolific, and seem to be later ripeners, since most of them aren't dropping while the black ones are all over the ground and my hands and my feet, but the tree has tons of berry action happening, and I've started a baggie of white ones, so maybe I'll make a batch of white mulberry jam, too, if I produces at least three pounds of fruit***.

I don't know about anyone else, but when I'm harvesting, I leave some of the low ones for the crawling animals, and I don't even try to get the high ones, but leave them for the flying animals, and I totally claim all the ones in between for myself. Sustainable and delicious. And later, after all the fruit has gone to dirt and the seeds have started sprouting, I'll go looking in the corners of the yard for babies, and pot them up and protect them. I had a few before the Killing Summer****, and I think it's time to get more.

So! In a week or two, I'll be making jam, and I'll share the recipe with pictures and all, and then I'll probably make a tea cake, because I absolutely love a nice dense British sponge cake with jam between the layers. We'll have High Tea on the back porch before it gets too hot and / or buggy.

Apparently, mulberries are superfoods. I went back and did a quick google and came up with all sorts of info on how full of antioxidants they are, and what to do with them.

*The car is quite colorful now, what with the yellow and brown pollen and the purple-red berries...
**And waiting for me to get new jars, since most of the old ones have been thrown out with the dregs of various old leftovers that got pushed to the back of the fridge and became unidentifiable.
***Because that's the recipe I use. I could cut it, I guess, if I really want white jam...
****You know, it was the spring before the Killing Summer, now that I think about it, that made so many berries before; maybe lots of mulberries = rough summer; we'll have to keep track of that.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

It's Ready! - David Lebovitz

It's Ready! - David

I love a cookbook with a lot of pictures-- I'm very visual, and the more I know what something is supposed to look like, the easier it is to figure out how the recipe is supposed to go. And this one looks gorgeous. I've been reading David Lebovitz's blog for a year or two now, and it's always amazing. Beautiful and decadent and, best of all, honest about when things go wrong and what he did about them.

I think I need to find this book...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

a food origins map

Free, pretty and printable! (in pdf form)

oh, interwebs, what interesting things you bring me...

I was blog-hopping through links the other day, and I wound up on TLC's Cooking pages, and found the following really interesting lists:

12 items at a feast for Henry the Eighth: I'm especially amazed by facts like this "Historians estimate that 600,000 gallons of ale (enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool) and around 75,000 gallons of wine (enough to fill 1,500 bathtubs) were drunk every year at Hampton Court Palace. "

7 Banned foods: Maggot Cheese anyone?

The world's most expensive foods: Diamond-encrusted fruitcake? Really?

45 common foods and their calories: A little scary sometimes, but a useful resource to keep around.

Favorite pizza toppings  in 10 countries: Russia's favorite seems especially vile, but a Curry Pizza actually sounds really good.

20 things you don't know about popcorn: Makes me want some popcorn now...

Monday, March 29, 2010

dietary requirements

I have so much food to post. I need a better way to get it from my camera to my computer since the dog likes to steal the transfer cable and chew it into submission...

But right now, I want to take a few moments to talk about diet. Not a diet, but diet. Lately, we've been eating horrifically because we've all been working so much-- there have been a few wonderful breaks from that, but mostly we-- and especially I-- have been giving in to the Fast Food Fairy and eating far too much of it. And recently, H and I gave up High Fructose Corn Syrup. I gave it up pretty successfully a few years ago and dropped ten pounds without trouble, but it's everywhere, and my love of sweet bbq sauce, sweet and sour sauce and rootbeer combined to let it back in.

Shame on me. Especially since the problems with it have been proven, and I knew all of them* beforehand**.

So I haven't been losing weight, my stomach's been a mess, and I can feel gall-bladder issues coming on. And it's really all my own fault.

So I'm trying to clean it up again. It's classic entropy-- you get a collection of meals you like and can easily make and they're healthy and lovely, and then you get busy at work and eat a burrito from Taco Bell or whatever, and the next thing you know, it's two months later and you're hardly eating any real food at all. After I get to the bank, I'm portioning out monies for staples. We're way low on the sorts of things that make good food, and I, personally, haven't gone grocery shopping in ages. I wish we had a real grocery (not just a boutique over-priced grocery) closer to home so I could just bike down each day and shop European-style. I hate having to plan a week or two in advance; how am I supposed to know what I'm going to want to eat a half-month from now? Or waht veggies and fruits will be perfect then? Or what my schedule will be like?***

I think I've lost the point of this post.

So I'll try to salvage something out of it:

I want more veggies, and the time to turn them into good, wholesome food without having to only eat it raw because I don't have time to cook. I'm craving a salad like woah. Seriously like woah. That's a real level of measurement.

I want to make my own bread. It's not hard, it just feels like a lot of work because of the whole rise for three hours thing.

I want to shop as much at real markets as I can, and I'm sad that the farmer's markets are only open twice a week, and that it's almost impossible to get to one of them because of foodtail's need of weekend work.

I'm going to wean myself back off the fast food and up the activity level. The weather's great, and I need more exercize anyway, especially since it will be almost impossible to move once the heat sets in. D's necks cut is hydrogenated oils, which pretty much leaves us with home-made food only. We'll have to set up, like, days for cooking ahead-- days when we can make a whole bunch of granola bars or prosperity-cake breakfast bars (that's one of the posts I need to post!) or cook up chicken and freeze it so we can just thaw and toss it into a salad or something.

I still have tons of miso. That stuff really doesn't go bad, and, actually, it sort of ages into something with more complexity of flavor.  Best of all, it's super-healthy. Even the salt is better than regular salt (it's been fermented, and it breaks down better in the system. And I'm pretty sure I could use a little higher blood pressure anyway).

So yeah. That's where I'm at.

*They are the following:
- HFCS makes you fatter, faster
- The specific forms of fat are the worst kind to have
- It's technically like table sugar, but by breaking it up, it absorbs into the body faster and it doesn't trigger the 'full' feeling, making you eat more
- It damages the organs, either through direct action or through secondary action
** I looked them up when D went off the HFCS and I read some frothing-at-the-mouth crazies blaming it for the fall of western civilization to see what was truth and what wasn't. I try to stay what you call grounded in fact, especially with info I get off forums on the interwebs.
*** These are more things that are to be addressed in my Life Makeover as I look for a better job out of the retail / hospitality / foodtail business. Fixes to them count as part of a good job.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

proof in the hfcs debate

From Princeton, no less. Read here.


The first experiment — male rats given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet. The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas.

The second experiment — the first long-term study of the effects of high-fructose corn syrup consumption on obesity in lab animals — monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup over a period of six months. Compared to animals eating only rat chow, rats on a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup showed characteristic signs of a dangerous condition known in humans as the metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly. Male rats in particular ballooned in size: Animals with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained 48 percent more weight than those eating a normal diet. In humans, this would be equivalent to a 200-pound man gaining 96 pounds.

Monday, March 15, 2010

wishlist: country captain

I've had curry in styles from India, Japan, England, China, Vietnam, Canada, and probably more, but I had no idea that the south, only a few hours from here, has a version of curry, too. Apparently, Savannah was a major stop on the spice trade, and people stationed in India brought the recipe back with them, and it's since mutated into southern cooking to become Country Captain. I'm so very curious about this.


Country Captain
adapted from The Lee Brothers


1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/4 pound slab bacon or fatty country ham, chopped
12 chicken thighs, skin on, trimmed of excess skin and fat
1 large flavorful dried chile, such as guajillo or pasilla, split, seeds removed
2 1/3 cups peeled and sliced carrots (1/4-inch thick rounds), about 1 1/4 pound bunch weighed with tops
2 cups diced yellow bell peppers, about 2 peppers
2 cups diced yellow onions, about 2 medium onions
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, with juice
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
4 cups cooked white rice
2/3 cup slivered toasted almonds, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Pour the broth into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Put the currants in a small bowl and pour enough broth over them to cover. Set aside. In another small bowl, combine the curry powder, garam masala, salt, and black pepper and reserve.

3. Scatter the bacon in a 4 to 6 quart enameled cast-iron pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir the pieces around occasionally until the bacon is firm and just golden brown, about 5 minutes. With the slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a small bowl and reserve.

4. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot, reserving the excess fat in a small bowl. Brown the chicken thighs in batches over medium-high heat, taking care not to crowd them in the pot, until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Add the reserved bacon fat, 1 teaspoon at a time, if the pot becomes too dry. Remove the chicken and reserve in a medium bowl.

5. Add 2 teaspoons reserved bacon fat to the pot (if there is none left, use 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil). Add the chile and toast the chile in the fat, about 30 seconds per side, until very fragrant.

6. Add the carrots, bell peppers, onions, and garlic and cook until slightly softened, about 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes, spice mixture, ginger, and the currants and their broth. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down to a puree and the sauce has thickened around the vegetables, about 8 minutes.

7. Nest the chicken thighs gently in the vegetable sauce so that the skin side faces up and is above the surface of the gravy. Tent the pot loosely with foil and transfer to the middle rack of the oven. Bake until the country captain resembles a roiling stew around the chicken thighs, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the sauce has thickened further and the chicken skin is just beginning to crisp, about 15 minutes more.

8. Remove from the oven, skim any excess fat from the surface, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the chile. With tongs, transfer 3 thighs to each of 4 wide, deep bowls filled with 1 cup hot white rice. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and the rice and garnish with the reserved bacon, almonds, and parsley.

FROM: Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

wishlist: compost cookies

Oh Em Gee, this is about the sexiest idea I ever did see. Next day off (if I'm not adopting my friend's cat that day), I'm totally cleaning out the pantry and making these cookies. From David Lebovitz, from the Amateur Gourmet.

The Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookie
recipe by Christina Tosi
(Courtesy of Regis & Kelly's website)


1 cup butter (that's two sticks, unsalted)
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp corn syrup [Note: I left this out; not because I'm against corn syrup, I just didn't have it. The cookies came out fine, though may have had a nicer sheen with the syrup.]
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsps Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups your favorite baking ingredients (options: chocolate chips, Raisenettes, Rollos, Cocoa Krispies)
1 1/2 cups your favorite snack foods (chips, pretzels, etc.)

Note: as said above, I used chopped up bittersweet chocolate and crushed pretzels. Next time I'd definitely add potato chips.

1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars and corn syrup on medium high for two to three minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides with a spatula.

2. On a lower speed, add eggs and vanilla to incorporate.

Increase mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size.

3. When time is up, on a lower speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Mix 45 - 60 seconds just until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

4. On the same low speed, add in the hodgepodge of your favorite baking ingredients and mix for 30 - 45 seconds until they evenly mix into the dough. Add in your favorite snack foods last, paddling again on low speed until they are just incorporated.

[Note: eating this cookie dough raw is dangerously good.]

5. Using a 6 oz. ice cream scoop (I'm not sure how many ounces mine is, but it worked well), portion cookie dough onto a parchment lined sheetpan.

6. Wrap scooped cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour or up to 1 week.

DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.

7. Heat the oven to 400 F. Take the plastic off your cookies and bake 9 to 11 minutes. While in the oven, the cookies will puff, crackle and spread.

At 9 minutes, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown towards the center. Leave the cookies in the oven for the additional minutes if these colors don't match up and your cookies still seem pale and doughy on the surface.

8. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan (good luck!) before transferring to a plate or an airtight container or tin for storage. At room temp, they'll keep five days.

wishlist: samoa cheese tart

Something like a cheese cake and something like a samoa and something like heaven in my mouth. Must make it, like, now. And every day hereafter.

1 box Samoa cookies 3 Tbsp. butter, melted 8 oz. cold cream cheese (one package) 8 oz. cold mascarpone cheese 1/4 cup granulated sugar 2 cups dulce de leche, divided (you can make your own or buy it premade) 1 cup flaked coconut 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted. Put cookies into a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Combine with butter and press into 9 or 10 inch tart pan, preferably one with a removable bottom. In another bowl, combine cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, and dulce de leche (and try not to lick the bowl clean). Beat on medium-speed until blended, about two minutes. Pour filling into tart shell and refrigerate for at least two hours. Toast coconut in a skillet on medium heat until it browns, being careful not to let it burn. When tart is thoroughly chilled, spoon remaining dulce de leche onto top. Sprinkle coconut on and drizzle melted chocolate over top.

the paleolithic diet

... no, really, what people in paleolithic times ate.

A group of scientists over at the University of Canada have discovered extensive use of grains centuries before farming, which kind of puts a crimp in the whole 'paleolithic diet' idea, and it means that we're cleverer and more ingenious and more omnivorous as a species that people ever thought. Also, it maybe explains my deep-seated love of 'drates; I never went on the South Beach Diet or the Atkins Diet because they restrict the carbs I'm allowed to have, and I just can't live without bread. I can stand shifting what kinds of bread I have, but not the very existence of it.

I'd rather be fat, thank you.

Anyway, the study shows that wild sorghum and other grass grains were gathered and processed in bulk in a manner equivalent to how it was done after the advent of farming, and since all these grains were found with bones of things we already know they ate, we can assume they were eating the grains too (although it would be awesome if there was some totally unbeknownst use for ground and boiled grains that didn't involve eating...). It doesn't say in the article, but the forum I found the link in points out that the simplest and most 'primitive' way to eat grains is just to crack or crush them, boil them, and eat them like porridge. Which sounds awesome to me.

I've had oat porridge, of course (as well as oatzoto, oats prepared like risotto), and I've had cream of wheat and grits / corn pudding / polenta, but I'm woefully illiterate in the wider array of grains cooked this way. It's one of the things I meant to get to when I was eating strictly seasonally last year, but we never had the money for a real investment in grains; without a Whole Foods or a decent bulk grocery around here, they're expensive and hard to find, and online shops sell them for, like, seventy-seven million dollars an ounce (this may be exaggeration).

Still, if it was good enough for cave men...

Friday, February 19, 2010

bread: home made pretzels

Homemade Pretzels
Combine in a large bowl:

½ cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast

Allow the yeast to fully dissolve (about 5 minutes).


1 ½ cups organic all purpose flour
1 ½ cups organic bread flour
2 tbsp local butter, melted
1 tbsp raw sugar

Mix by hand while slowly adding:

½ cup warm water


1. Stir ingredients until it comes out to a smooth, moist dough. Knead for about 10 minutes, but do not over knead so that the dough becomes rubbery.

2. Transfer dough to a bowl coated with olive oil. Turn the dough until it becomes lightly coated with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and place in the oven (makes sure it's off) to rise for about 1 ½ hours.

3. Punch down the dough using a closed fist to release some of the gases created by the fermentation process. Then divide into 12 pieces. Each piece should be about 2 ounces. Roll each into a ball. Brush each with olive oil and let rest under a clean cloth for ten minutes.

4. Roll each ball out into an 18-inch rope. Form into pretzels by pulling the ends towards you to create an oval, but do not join the ends.

5. Cross the ends, twist, and connect an end at 3 o'clock and the other at 7 o'clock. Lightly press each end into the dough to create the classic pretzel shape.

6. Place the pretzels on a greased baking sheet and let rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.

7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Fill a large pot half full with water (8 cups) and bring to boil. Add 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp of baking soda.

8. Turn the water down to a simmer. Gently add each pretzel into the mixture and cook for about 30 seconds. Flip and cook on the other side for about 30 seconds, until puffed.

9. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.

10. Bake until pretzels begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Brush with melted butter and allow to bake until golden brown.

bread: traditional tuscan loaf

I want to try this so bad. I love, love, LOVE making bread, and the more rustic, the better as far as I'm concerned. And there's more bread recipes here.

Traditional Tuscan Loaf
2 cups lukewarm water
3 1/4 cup organic all-purpose flour
1 cup organic whole wheat flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil


1. Using the dough hook tool on a large mixing bowl (you could also do this by hand) combine water, 3/4 cup organic all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, and 1 package dry yeast for 1 minute.

2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. The dough will ferment into a bubbly, doughy mixture.

3. Slowly add the remainder of the flour and the olive oil gradually until the dough forms. The dough will be a bit sticky and pretty elastic. This should take about 15 minutes.

4. Coat a large bowl with olive oil and add the dough ball, turning so that the dough is lightly coated with olive oil. Allow to rise for about 2 hours, until it's doubled in size.

5. Punch down the dough and shape into a round loaf by working in a downward movement underneath the bread.

6. Transfer the dough to a greased baking sheet and lightly cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in an oven that's turned off for about 1 1/2 hours.

7. Score the bread in a hatching manner.

8. Place a baking sheet onto the bottom rack of the oven.

9. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

10. Place the greased baking sheet holding the dough onto the middle oven rack and fill the empty baking sheet with a cup of very hot water.

11. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown.

12. Allow to cool completely on a rack.

Recipe: The Joy of Cooking