Sunday, June 1

Rye, Kohlrabi & Rhubarb - Sunday Dinner!

Often people tell me that if I had to cook only for myself - I wouldn't cook. Well... Now I can demonstrate how wrong they are!

It's farmers market time again. For the last two weeks I've purchased veg and then come home to browse cookbooks to figure out what to cook. This week I picked up Kohlrabi. Yesterday I failed in my kohlrabi dumplings from the Victory Garden Cookbook. I ended up with a sort of kohlrabi porridge... Anyway - today's cooking was great - three new recipes, two that I adapted for smaller quantity. One dinner and leftovers for dinner tomorrow.

Dinner: Rye bread with cheddar cheese, Cabbage and Kohlrabi Salad, wine and Rhubarb Tart

Cabbage & Kohlrabi Salad from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
In a bowl combine: 1 small kohlrabi matchsticked, equal quantity napa cabbage similarly cut, lot's o' dill (1/4 cup), 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries (unsweetened), zest and juice of a small lemon, 2 T olive oil, a bit more salt than you think you need, pepper. Set aside for a while. Drain. Add 1 cup alpha sprouts. Serve with chive blossom flowers.

Bohemian Rye Bread from Whole grain Breads by Machine or Hand by Beatrice Ojakangas
In a bowl combine, 1 cup warm water, 3T sugar, and 2 tsp yeast to proof the yeast. Add 2 tsp salt, 1.5 T butter, 1.5 Cup rye flower and 1.25 cup flour - beat and let rest 15 minutes. Add enough flour to finish the bread. Bake 400 for 10 and 350 for 40. 

Rhubarb Tart from Nordic Bakery Cookbook by Miisa Mink
Combine 1/2 cup plus 1.5T flour and .5 tsp baking powder. With your fingers rub in 6.5 T butter. Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg yolk. Press into a 6 in round pan. On top of that add 5oz chopped rhubarb that has been mixed with 1 T brown sugar. On top of that add the following ingredients that have been mixed together: 1.5  T butter, 5 tsp sugar, 1/4 cup oats. Bake 400 for 30.

Take a look at my new glass guests. They are dorky and fun. I want to serve popcorn and jelly beans in them!

Sunday, June 12

New Potatoes with Sorrel Sauce and Truffle Salt

When Stephen is away Tabitha will cook with duck fat and truffle salt.

While I enjoy cooking for others, it is nice at times to cook only for myself, to not consider the dislikes of the other person(s). I knew that I would be able to cook for just myself tonight and started thinking about what I wanted this afternoon.

The ingredients I needed to work with:
New red potatoes - purchased from the farmers market yesterday and one of my long standing favorites. Sorrel - weeded from the garden this afternoon, a leafy green with a lemony bite.

The ingredients I wanted to work with:
Salt - I received six speciality salts from my mother for my birthday. Duck fat - rendered by me a while ago.

Boil a bunch of new potatoes until they are just tender. Drain and leave to dry out on a baking sheet. Heat 2 tsp of rendered duck fat in a pan until quite hot. Throw one potato in to test the heat - if it sizzles you are set to go. Throw the rest in and shake them about for around 20 seconds. Dump back onto the baking sheet and throw into a 415 degree oven. Bake until crispy.

Chop up around 1.5-2 cups of sorrel. Melt 2 tsp of butter in a sauce pan, add the sorrel and cook until wilted. Add 3/4 cup of vegetable stock and cook over medium heat until thick and mushy. Set aside. Meanwhile heat 1.5 cups of whole milk. In the same sauce pan (now rinsed) melt 2 T of butter. Add 3 T of flour and cook until it loosens up. Slowly add heated milk until it has a thick consistency. Add the reserved sorrel and cook for another minute or two. Add remaining milk until desired consistency. Finish with salt, paprika and pepper to taste.

Serve potatoes with two options for topping: Sorrel sauce and truffle salt.

I was worried about over salting my potatoes by salting them once out of the oven and then again by dipping in truffle salt. I could have either over salted the sauce or dipped each sauced potato first in salt. I chose to dip in a Mayan sea salt before the sauce.

Sunday, May 22

Raised Potato Doughnuts

My friends came over for dinner, doughnuts and drinks yesterday. Of the three doughnuts I made - these were my favorite!

The recipe is from Greg Patent's Baking In America. I've had hit and miss luck with this cookbook - this was a definite hit.

Scald 3/4 cup whole milk with 1T sugar - when cool - pour over 2.5tsp yeast. When yeast is proofed add 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1.5 tsp vanilla, 8 T soft butter, 1 cup of mashed russet potato, 3 eggs and 3 cups of flour. Add up to 2 cups more flour - until the dough is just this side of stickiness. Here you are supposed to let it raise for 1.5 hours. I did not have time as I made this on Friday night after bookclub. I put it straight into the refrigerator for an overnight rest. Roll the dough out to a 1/3 inch thickness. It's pretty springy so I had to roll - rest - roll - rest etc... in order to get it that thin. Cut with a doughnut cutter and raise until they are light and puffed. Fry in 365 degree vegetable oil for 2 minutes a side. After 30 seconds of draining on a paper towel dip into a mixture of 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp almond extract and 1/2 cup milk. The glaze will harden in about 30 minutes.

Monday, March 28

Chestnut and Pancetta Soup

This soups is from a book I've checked out from the library, The Soups of France by Lois Rothert. I need to add this one to my collection!

Place a pot over medium heat and add 1/4 lb finely diced pancetta - cook until crisp and set aside. Drain the fat from the pan and add 2 T back in. Add 2 large chopped onions and 2 thinly sliced and chopped fennel bulbs. Cook over low heat until soft. Add 2 quarts of water, 1 can of roasted chestnuts (roughly chopped), 2 tsp salt and a couple grinds of pepper. Bring to a boil - then simmer for 35 minutes. Puree and taste for salt and pepper. Serve with pancetta.

Makes 6 1.5 cup servings. Delicious!

Cannellini and Celery Root Gratin

I was looking for a new way of using celery root based this recipe on one found in Mark Bittmann's How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. I made this last Wednesday - it's takes a bit of time after work - don't expect to eat before 7:30.

In the morning place 1.5 cups of cannellini beans in a bowl and cover with water. When you get home drain and place in a large pot with fresh water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook until done (50 minutes for my batch). Drain.

Melt 1.5 T butter in a large saute pan over medium heat - add 1 celery root chopped into 1 inch cubes. Cook until they begin to brown. Add one chopped up onion along with 1.5 tsp salt and pepper to taste - cook until soft. Add 1/4 cup white wine and turn off the heat. Add cooked beans, 3/4 cup water, 1 tsp regular paprika, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp chopped fresh marjoram and 1 tsp dried oregano. Dump into a buttered dish. Top with a mixture of equal parts bread crumbs and grated parmesan. Bake at 400 for 40 minutes.

It made dinner for Stephen and I plus two frozen lunch servings.

Monday, March 21

Artichoke Ravioli with Avocado Sauce

Some of you might know that avocado's are not my favorite item to eat...

Last week Stephen served omelets for breakfast with a topping of canned artichoke, avocado, scallion, garlic, and onion blitzed together in the food processor (all raw) that was delicious.

Work was not so interesting today and I got to thinking about the frozen artichokes in the freezer and the avocado on the counter top. So I made an interesting dinner.

For the filling: blitz a large handful of parsley, 1 T capers along with a nice amount of their brine, and some pickled ramps. Add 1 pgk frozen artichokes steamed (although having now used them I like the canned version better), 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, a T of your preferred vinegar (not balsamic though) salt, and pepper - blitz together.

Roll out your preferred pasta and stuff accordingly.

Meanwhile simmer 1 cup of white wine (something citrus) down to 1/2 cup - keep warm. When the ravioli is cooked - add it to 1 mashed avocado and a bunch of chopped basil.

I don't want this everyday but it was interesting.

Winter Soup

I decided to start this up again with a soup theme. Some from cookbooks some not.

This is one I've been thinking about for a while. I tried last Sunday and just as I was going to throw the baking sheet of veggies into roast - I broke a glass ramekin all over it. Needless to say I threw it in the garbage and quit cooking for the day. Sadly this is not an uncommon occurrence. Anyway - I was successful yesterday.

Roughly chop and throw onto a cookie sheet: 2 peeled parsnips, 1 peeled carrot, 1 onion, 1 red bell pepper, and about 4 inches of a butternut squash neck. Add 1 bulb of garlic separated into cloves. Toss with 1 T olive oil, a bunch of freshly chopped rosemary, a bunch of freshly chopped thyme, salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Until browned and soft.

Meanwhile, melt 1 T butter in your preferred soup pot. Add one chopped up leek and cook on low while the other veggies roast.

Dump the roasted veggies into the soup pot, add 6 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Throw in a stalk of sage, two of thyme, one of rosemary and three of marjoram along with two dried bay leaves. Cook until the squash is falling apart and the carrots are tender - about 40 minutes. Taste occasionally for salt. Remove the stalks of herbs and bay leaves. Blend and serve.

This made enough for dinner (with bread and beer) and three lunches (without beer).

Monday, October 18

Curried Chickpeas with Leftover Squash and Lamb

The mission use up leftover lamb roast and baked black futsu squash.

The solution cook two shallots in a little olive oil, add a hefty amount of curry powder (your choice - mine was leaning toward the Moroccan side of life) and cook until the curry powered smells good and toasted. Add a can of rinsed chickpeas and cook for a minute or so. Add about a 1/2 cup water - cover and cook until dry again - if the chickpeas need more softening repeat. Add 1/2 a baked futsu squash (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup) and cook until dry. Add another 1/2 cup water along with chopped leftover lamb roast. Cook covered until the roast is to your taste of falling-apartness - adding more water as necessary. Serve on a tortilla with sour cream.

This was the last portion of the 1/2 lamb we purchased a year ago from Bob. (We're trying to clean out our freezer.)

Also - you'll notice the theme of squash lately. I never seem to learn my lesson. Each fall as I find unique/old varieties of squash for sale, I find myself suffering an attack of squash hording.

Wednesday, October 13

Bacon Squash Pasta

Cooking for several purposes at once.
On Monday I made baked a potato for dinner. While I had the oven on baking my dinner - I threw in extra potatoes and a black futsu squash for use later in the week. This morning I made peasant potatoes from the baked potatoes and this evening I made dinner out of half the squash. On Sunday while canning Apple Butter - I placed an egg in an empty mason jar and boiled it along with the apple butter for the 10 minutes of processing - perfect for the dinner salad that evening.

Tonight's Dinner
I should have made slightly less or more. It was too much for me to eat all of it with not enough left over for lunch tomorrow.
Fry 2 strips of bacon - remove from pan and drain most of the drippings off. Cook a little chopped onion and 1 clove chopped garlic in the same pan. When almost cooked through add in chopped sage and a pinch of cumin seed. Deglaze with some slightly old white wine from the refrigerator (3 days in my case). Add about a 1/2 cup (may have been more like 3/4) mashed black futsu squash and enough cream to loosen up the entire mixture. Add milk, water or more cream to achieve desired consistency. Chop the bacon and add to the mixture with more chopped sage. Serve over cooked linguine.

Monday, October 4

More uses for Smoked Chicken

My main goal tonight was to use up the remaining smoked chicken and the sad looking 2 pints of beat up cherry tomatoes from the CSA.

So I took the vadalia onion from the CSA and cooked it fairly quickly in some olive oil, added two smashed garlic cloves and then the 2 pints of cherry tomatoes chopped in quarters. To this add a length of thyme, sage and oregano along with some salt. I cooked this down with a cover until it was almost dry. Then I added the remaining cream (I think 1/4 cup) and the remaining smoked chicken (maybe a cup/cup and a half). Check for salt and stuff into two hollowed out delicata squash. Cook at 375 for (Dang it - i forgot to keep track again - sorry). Open it up and mash the squash with the filling.

Also - I had left over filling so I cooked up some elbow macaroni and tossed it with the filling for lunch tomorrow.

Almost Free Soup

Kent & Chrysa let us have their CSA share while they are on vacation. It came with a red cabbage that I thought would be good with lamb soup.

So...while looking over Bob's meat options on Saturday I selected a yummy set of lamb ribs (not much meat attached - just ribs). I decided that would be best for the soup. Stephen complained a little that it was the most expensive cut. In my head I disagreed and chose to just pick up my ribs anyway. The first thing Bob says when we give him our selections is "Ribs are on me". Wee Hoo!

So cut up 1/2 a free red cabbage, 1/2 a $1 green cabbage, slice the ribs apart and place in a pot and cover with water about an inch below the food level. Top with salt, whole pepper corns, 1 T butter and 2 T flour. Bring to a boil - cover and simmer for an hour.


While shopping at the Farmers Market on Saturday I decided to make pasties. I've been eating too many frozen burritos for lunch. I had a full day all to my self so after Stephen left for work I ran to the library and The Wine Thief and got to work.

It's been eons since I made pasties.

My mixture contains:
1 large celery root (celeriac)
1 lb cooked ground hamburger
6 (i think) peeled, diced carrots
1/2 the amount of potatoes from Kent & Chrysa's CSA
loads of thyme, oregano and sage from my garden (at least 1/4 cup chopped)
Salt & Pepper

Pasty dough - tested and proven my Ma Armstrong
mix: 3c flour, 1.5 tsp salt, 1.5 tsp baking powder
cut in: 1 cup butter
add: 1 egg beaten with 1 T vinegar
add: 6 T water
Makes 10 standard size. My mixture above made 20 pasties.

350 - until they look and test done (with a fork through the vents) - I forgot to time it for this instruction.

Wednesday, September 29

Quicker Use of Squash

What I needed to use:
The bulb end of a butternut squash
A thawed smoked chicken

All I really wanted was bread and cheese. I could live off bread and cheese. With no bread on hand I searched for a suitable replacement and the best I could come up with was Kavli.

Bake some thinly sliced squash (coated with olive oil and salt) and half way through add some thinly sliced apples rubbed with curry powder. Place Kavli on a cookie sheet and top with smoked chicken, baked squash, curried apples and some chunked up gruyere. Broil until done and serve with beer!

Tuesday, September 28

Butternut Squash Pizza

So it's been a while! The 2009 year definitely improved my cooking skills.

I thought I'd start posting what I cook and how I adjust recipes to what I want.

Yesterday I wanted something yummy for dinner with butternut squash that wasn't soup, pasta or galette. I searched epicurious for butternut squash and sage. I found pizza:

So I altered the recipe in these ways.
For the sauce - I brought 1c milk + .5 c cream to a simmer with a large handful of sage, oregano and thyme from the garden and let it steep off the heat for 20 minutes - then squeezed the herbs dry and tossed them out. Then I smooshed in 1 head of roasted garlic, added chopped sage and thyme, the 2T of flour and cooked.

For the squash - I cooked it at 420 for 35 minutes (it doesn't turn brown) (i cooked it along with the garlic for the sauce).

For the toppings - I cooked 6 shallots on low heat for an hour; took a sliced red pepper out of the freezer to thaw; grated some parmesan and gruyere; chopped four fresh tomatoes from the garden, and finally finely chopped some more sage and thyme.

Assembling & Cooking - I prebake my pizza dough for 15 minutes - poke any bubbles and then add toppings. Cook for an additional 30-40 minutes. Also - I want one lg pizza not four small ones.


Tuesday, December 29

Free-Form Apple Tart of Galette

Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home by Julia Child & Jacques Pepin
Cookbook 52, Recipe 2, (total 108)

I did not end up making an apple pie for Christmas and therefore have a little too many on hand.

Did I like it? It took me a while to not miss the sugar content that I was expecting from an apple pie. After I got over that it was great. I would recommend either the pie crust from Martha Stewart or the Galette crust from Deborah Madison over this crust recipe.

Crust: Into 2 cups of flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp sugar cut in 7.5 oz butter. Add 1-3 cup cold water and form into a flat disk. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Filling: Mix together: 2.25 lbs apples chopped into 1/2 inch pieces, 1/2 dried currants, 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar.

Roll dough into aprox an 18 inch circle. Dump the filling onto it leaving a 2 inch boarder. Bring the boarder up over the filling. Brush with apricot jam. Bake at 400 for one hour.

Jacque's Skillet Duck with Parsnips and Shallots

Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home by Julia Child & Jacques Pepin
Cookbook 52, Recipe 1, (total 107)

Jason & Dyanna gave this cookbook to Stephen & I for Christmas one year. It's signed by Mr. Pepin himself! We had a duck on hand since Stephen decided to buy one at the Farmers Market with no plan to cook it. Pa loves duck so we cooked it up for the Christmas gathering with him on the 26th.

Did I like it? Definitely. I substituted 1/2 potatoes for 1/2 of the parsnips - don't do that - the potatoes didn't cook as well.

Recipe: Jacques has very detailed instructions on cutting up the duck. Essentially: cut the breasts off, cut the legs off, cut the wings off and hack in two, cut the thighs off. The carcass will remain for you to make stock from. Place the duck skin side down in a heavy pan over medium heat and cook until all sides are browned aprox 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add 3lbs of parsnips, 2 cups whole shallots, the bulbs of 2 heads of garlic, fresh rosemary, fresh bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for aprox 30 minutes - until vegetables are done. Remove the duck and vegetables from the pan and place on a serving platter. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of water, boil until thickened.

Sunday, December 20

Parsnip Gratin

The Bistros, Brasseries, and Wine Bars of Paris Everyday Recipes from the Real Paris by Daniel Young
Cookbook 51, Recipe 2, (total 106)

Spring parsnips after wintering in the ground are much sweeter than winter ones. Many cookbooks recommend simmering winter parsnips in milk to sweeten them. This is the first time I've tested the theory - It worked!

Did I like it?
Yummy - a great way to eat parsnips.

Recipe: Peel and thinly slice 1 lb of parsnips. Bring to a foam/light boil: 1 cup milk, 1 cup cream, 1 spring rosemary, 1 spring thyme, 2 bay leaves, 4 cloves smashed garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and many grinds of pepper. Add the parsnips and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 35 minutes. Strain and move the parsnips to a 5x5 pan. Add 2 T of strained milk and top with grated parmesan. Broil until golden.

The recipe mentions that one chef specifically wants the parsnips cut into .0917 inch slices. Mine were of various sizes...

Sunday, December 13

Potato Gnocchi with Chestnuts, Bacon, and Fresh Herbs

The Bistros, Brasseries, and Wine Bars of Paris Everyday Recipes from the Real Paris by Daniel Young

Cookbook 51, Recipe 1, (total 105)

I found chestnuts from Iowa at the local co-op and have been looking for recipes to use them in. This one provided the easiest peeling method.

Did I like it? I was hoping for slightly better than gummy hockey pucks and was pleasantly surprised. These turned out great! The 112 eatery and craftsman are better - but these were pretty good.

Place three medium russet potatoes in a pot with cold water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil - then simmer fr 35 minutes. Cool just slightly. Slip off the skins and press through a ricer.

While the potatoes are boiling place 6 chestnuts in a pot with cold water, bring to a boil and simmer for three minutes. Remove from water, peel and chop. To this add 4 slices of chopped (raw) bacon, 1.5 T chopped thyme and 1 T chopped rosemary.

To the riced potatoes add 1 1/3 cups flour, 1 egg yolk, half of the bacon mixture and salt and pepper to taste. Form this mixture into 1.5 inch balls and press into a football shape. Boil until they float, strain and place in ice water. Drain and pat dry.

In a pan melt 1/4 cup butter until it foams. Add the dried gnocchi cook until slightly browned - about 4 minutes. Add 1.5 cups chicken stock and the other half of the bacon mixture. Cook until stock is reduced by half.

Crushed Burdock with Sesame Dressing

Japanese Cooking A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji
Cookbook 50, Recipe 2 (total 104)

Burdock can be interesting to work with. It's usually raw or just barley cooked.

Did I like it?
Not so much. The burdock really picked up the flavors of the dashi - kombu and bonito flakes. I think I would have enjoyed it more without the dashi simmer - skip right to sesame dressing.

Recipe: Scrub 4 medium burdock roots and pound them slightly flat. Cut in to 1.5 inch long by 1/4 inch thick pieces. Cover with cold water and 1.5 Tablespoons vinegar - let stand for 1 hour. Rinse well and place into a pot with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 4 minutes. Drain and place into ice water. In the same pan place 1 1/4 cups dashi, 2 T mirin, 2 T soy sauce and 1/2 tsp salt, bring to a simmer and add the burdock. Simmer for 3 minutes and turn off the heat - cool in dashi. In a mortar and pestle pound 3T toasted white sesame seeds. Pound in 1.5 T dashi, 1 T sugar, 2 T vinegar and 1/2 T Soy sauce.

Tuesday, December 8

Savory Cup Custard (Chawan-mushi)

Japanese Cooking A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji
Cookbook 50, Recipe 1 (total 103)

If you are interested in Japanese Cooking - this cookbook is continually listed as the top reference written in English. This meal was a collaborative effort between Stephen & I.

Did I like it?
Delicious - It rode the very thin line of a sweet/savory combination. The chestnuts added an appropriate sweet element without making the dish sugary. I would describe this as steamed omelet floating in dashi. The cookbook makes it very clear that chicken stock is a very good substitution for the dashi.

Make the dashi: In a pot combine 4 cups of cold water and 1 oz of giant kelp. Slowly heat until just about to boil. Remove the kelp and add 1 oz dried bonito. Let it set in the water until it falls to the bottom of the pan - about 1 minute. Strain.

For the custard: Beat 4 eggs and gently whisk in 2.5 cups of dashi, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 T mirin and 1 T soy sauce.

Marinate the chicken: Combine 1 tsp sake and 1 tsp soy sauce in a small bowl. Add 3 oz of chicken cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Marinate for 15 minutes.

Prepare the rest: slices four fresh chestnuts into thin slices, slice 12 leaves of spinach into thin slices, cut 4 shrimps in half.

Assemble: Divide the chicken, shrimp and chestnuts between four small bowls. Fill 1/2 way with the custard, add the spinach and top with remaining custard. Steam for 20 minutes.

Homemade Protein Bars

Molly Katzen's Sunlight Cafe Over 350 Easy recipes for irresistible muffins, glorious omelets, tasty pancakes, homemade protein bars, and other delights to launch and sustain your every day by Molly Katzen
Cookbook 49, Recipe 2, total (102)

By the time 6:00pm rolls around on Wednesday evenings - I have a hard time concentrating and wish I had time for dinner between work and school. Protein bars struck me as a great solution.

Did I like it? They may have tasted better than a cliff bar - unfortunately they are still a protein bar. Even though they ended up in the garbage - I'll still include the recipe. If you like these types of things...

Mix together 1 cup soy protein powder, 1/2 cup flour, 2 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup oat bran, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt, 2/3 cup brown sugar and one cup of chocolate chips. Mix together: 1.5 cups yogurt, 1/4 cup canola oil and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Combine the two mixtures and press into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, cut into squares, bake for 15 more minutes.

Sunday, November 29

Pumpkin Muffins

Molly Katzen's Sunlight Cafe Over 350 Easy recipes for irresistible muffins, glorious omelets, tasty pancakes, homemade protein bars, and other delights to launch and sustain your every day by Molly Katzen
Cookbook 49, Recipe 1, total (101)

Happy Thanksgiving! After five years of searching, I found Winter Luxury Pie pumpkin at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. I made two pumpkin pies with them and they made superior pumpkin pie filling!

Did I like it? The muffins were excellent! However, I would reserve the use of this special pumpkin to dishes that really feature the flavor.

Recipe: Mix together: 2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1.5 tsp baking powder, 1.5 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp powdered ginger, 1/4 tsp allspice, 4 T white sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and the grated zest of one orange (I used a tangerine). In another bowl mix together: 1 egg, 1 cup mashed pumpkin, 1 T vanilla, 1/2 cup milk and 4T melted butter. Dump the wet ingredients into the dry and scoop batter into muffin tins. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes.

Tuesday, November 24

Tangerine Scream

small bites big nights Seductive Little Plates for Intimate Occasions & Lavish Parties by Govind Armstrong
Cookbook 48, Recipe 2 (total 100)

I thought it would be fitting to make a drink for recipe #100! (Don't buy this book - not worth it)

Did I like it? It's not a bad drink, its just not a good drink. Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge kicks its butt on a bad day.

Recipe: Shake the juice of two tangerines, 2 oz run, 1/2 oz triple sec and a squeeze of lemon juice over ice. Strain and serve with appropriate embellishments.

I "consulted" Stephen yesterday on which rum I should use for this recipe. I decided I wanted a better rum this evening and chose differently. When he saw the rum bottle on the kitchen counter this evening he asked if it was the rum I used. When I confirmed - he said gave one of those Oohhs which really mean I see you disregarded my opinion. It turns out I did find a better rum - a 12 year Jamaican rum instead of an unspecified Dominican republic one.

Sunday, November 22

Buckwheat Crepes

small bites big nights Seductive Little Plates for Intimate Occasions & Lavish Parties by Govind Armstrong

Cookbook 48, Recipe 1 (total 99)

Purchasing this cookbook was an error in judgment. The sale price drew me in, the pictures and unique recipes sold me. Then I brought it home and thought about what I could make - very little. It's full of expensive ingredients, time consuming instructions and multi element plates that ultimately do not seem worth the effort.

Did I like it? I added almost a 1/2 cup extra milk before cooking the crepes twice as much as the recipe called for, this recipe is a failure in that respect. If I did not understand what a crepe batter should look like - it wouldn't have worked. Also, this is one element on a plate that also calls for blood orange sauce and fig-armagnac gelato. The taste was OK but definitely not worth seeking out this cookbook for.

Recipe: Mix together 1/3 plus 1 T buckwheat flour, 2 T flour and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix in 1 egg yolk followed by 1/2 cup of whole milk and 2T melted butter. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Mix in approximately another 1/2 cup milk - or until the batter is pourable and will spread thinly in the pan. Heat a pan over med-low heat and cook crepes. Serve with apple butter.

Apricot Bars

Mangiamo "Let's Eat" The Sebastiani Family Cookbook Revised Edition by Sylvia Sebastiani
Cookbook 47, Recipe 2, (total 98)

These are classic midwestern bars. Skip church and make them yourself!

Did I like it? Yes - I was happy to use up two jars of the lavender apricot jam I made earlier this summer. The lavender is a little strong when the jam is eaten plain on toast - in this it blends in great.

Recipe: Mix 1.5 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 cup brown sugar and 1.5 cups quick cooking oatmeal together and cut in 3/4 cups butter. Press 3/4 of this mixture into a 9x13 pan. Spread 2 cups of jam over the base and crumble the remaining 1/3 flour mixture over the top. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, November 17

Stewed Rabbit

Mangiamo "Let's Eat" The Sebastiani Family Cookbook Revised Edition by Sylvia Sebastiani
Cookbook 47, Recipe 1, (total 97)

My Aunt tricked me into eating a rabbit I liked when I was little. I saw rabbit for sale at the farmers market this week and thought it might be a good opportunity to try it again under better circumstances. I've decided it's OK to have this hang up. I apologized to Atilda & Earl (my pet cats for those of you who don't know) throughout the meal and promised them I would never do it again.

Did I like it? Flavor - great. Emotion - guilt. I couldn't get over thinking about eating a pet long enough to enjoy the flavor and as Stephen pointed out - it would be rude to kill and animal to eat and then not eat it just because I feel guilty. I had to tell myself - it's not pinky, it's not brownie, it's not newton...

Recipe: Heat 2T olive oil and 2 T butter in a dutch oven. Add a cut up 2.5 lb rabbit add salt and pepper and cook until brown. Remove from pot and add 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped stalks of celery, 1 chopped green pepper and 1 chopped clove of garlic. Cook until onion is browned. Add 1.5 cans of tomatoes a little tomato paste, 1 spring of fresh rosemary and 1 cup white wine. Cook over low heat 30 minutes uncovered. Add rabbit to sauce and cook covered for 45 minutes.

Sunday, November 15

Aquavit Sorbet

Kitchen of Light New Scandinavian Cooking with Andreas Viestad
Cookbook 46, Recipe 2 (total 96)

Did I like it? The taste will depend on your aquavit. I used Krogstad Aquavit which has more liquorish flavor than the traditional Linie Aquavit. It's very pleasant and a little deceiving - the alcohol content of this sorbet is high enough that it will not freeze solid.

Recipe: Boil 1 cup sugar, zest of two lemons and 1.5 cups of water for five minutes. Add 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice and cool. Add 2/3 cup aquavit and pour into a pie pan place in the freezer. Fluff with a fork every 30 minutes (mine didn't start freezing until an hour).

Sunday, November 8

Lamb and Cabbage Stew

Kitchen of Light New Scandinavian Cooking with Andreas Viestad
Cookbook 46, Recipe 1 (total 95)

The New Scandinavian Cooking Series with Andreas Viestad is my favorite cooking show. He is happy, enthusiastic and has great recipes.

Did I like it? I've made this recipe at least three times before - it's excellent. The only problem with this recipe is the water. The printed version calls for 4 cups, the TV episode calls to cover the cabbage and meat with water - in my experience that's 8 cups - twice as much.

Recipe: 4.5 lbs of misc. lamb cuts (a roast, a shank, neck bones and some ribs is a nice mix) cut into chunks. 1 cabbage cut in half and then thinly sliced. Into your largest pot layer the meat and cabbage. Add 2 T whole black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 3T butter and 1T flour, Add water and stop as it just approaches the top layer of cabbage. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then simmer for 2 hours. Add salt (aprox 1.5 T kosher) and simmer for 30 more minutes. Serve with bread and beer.

Croque Monsieur

The Harry's Bar Cookbook by Arrigo Cipriani
Cookbook 45, Recipe 2 (total 94)

I've always thought of a Croque Monsieur as a grilled cheese sandwich - it is - just a heck of a lot better than the horrible ones made with american cheese. Late in posting again - I made these on Tuesday. I had a midterm on Wednesday that I had to study for and then worked massive overtime Thursday - Saturday - I should be back on track now...

Did I like it? This flavor is one of those defined as classic. After tasting the first bite I realized I've had the combination of Swiss cheese and Worcestershire before. I didn't follow the recipes instructions to have the cheese at room temperature and discovered it is necessary if you want the cheese to completely melt - I would recommend following those instructions.

Recipe: Grate 1/2 lb of Swiss cheese and add 1 egg yolk, 1 T Worcestershire sauce, 1tsp dijon mustard, 1/16 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp salt. Try to smash it up well with each other - add a little cream to make it form a bit of a paste. Sandwich a thin slice of ham between two thin bread slices, each spread with cheese. Heat a pan with a film olive oil over medium heat until very hot. Fry the sandwiches on both sides. Serve with leftover leek soup from Monday.

Vellutata Di Porri (Leek Soup)

The Harry's Bar Cookbook by Arrigo Cipriani
Cookbook 45, Recipe 1 (total 93)

I'm late in posting again...

This was another difficult cookbook to use. They have an entire chapter on Truffles and like the James Beard cookbook, the recipes tend to be very heavy. I bought this cookbook for $1 at Half Price.

Did I like it? It tasted great but I would rather have a vichyssoise. I thought this would make a great base for a wild rice soup. It tasted better the next day for lunch.

Recipe: Melt 1/4 cup butter in a pot and saute 1 chopped celery stalk, 1 chopped onion, 8 chopped leeks (white part only) until softened. Add 1 large peeled diced potato and saute for a minute. Add 2 quarts of chick stock and cook until vegetables are soft. Puree and taste for salt and pepper.

Stephen helped with the recipe - he had most of the sauteing done before I came home last Monday - Thanks Stephen!