resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
Has anyone created a family cookbook? Or had other print-on-demand experience?
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
[personal profile] grammarwoman asks: what's a go-to comfort meal for you?

When I'm looking for a comfort meal, I get breakfasty.

- When I was a kid, my mother used to make "fried" apples (actually sort of braised), and I'll still make them as part of breakfast-for-dinner -- unpeeled, cored and sliced, softened in butter and then cooked with brown sugar and a bit of water or cider until they're nice and soft.

- Another childhood favorite is the thing where you butter a slice of bread on both sides, cut a hole in the middle, and break an egg into it. We called it "egg in a nest."

- If I want the kind of meal where I'm going to cook all afternoon, I love the Cook's Illustrated chicken potpie, which is basically a thick chicken stew cooked in a pie shell. As I type this, I'm wondering what would happen if you used some other kind of stew for a potpie? I have a cauliflower-and-cheese soup recipe that I'm very fond of; if I left some of the vegetables chunky, instead of pureeing the whole thing, would that make a decent potpie? Or is meat required?

Go here to add your own question.

The questions thus far are under here. )
resonant: Cat in crown. Text: Is mah birfda. (birfda cat)
One jar of lemon curd whipped thoroughly with 1 1/2 sticks of soft unsalted butter makes a really tasty lemon frosting. (And I don't even like frosting.) Stir in a bit of honey if it's too sour for you. Yum.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
I should have planned ahead how I was going to handle questions when I offered to let people ask me things, but both [personal profile] travels_in_time and [personal profile] riverlight asked about meal planning, so I thought it was worth doing a post rather than a comment.

Read more... )
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
[personal profile] via_ostiense was kind enough to prompt: favorite vegetable dish.

Probably my most-made vegetable dish comes from Emalee Chapman's Fifteen Minute Meals. (This, along with The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, were the cookbooks my mother bought me when I went away to college, and I've used them both literally to pieces.) It's so simple you don't even really need a recipe; you grate a couple of zucchinis (she adds sliced red pepper, but I hate peppers) and sautee them in olive oil with thyme, and then you serve them over pasta with grated parmesan on top. I'd eat this two or three times a week if the rest of the family wouldn't revolt.

As I get older, I get more pleasure from bitter foods, and I've been enjoying the braised cabbage from Cook's Illustrated: you sautee the sliced cabbage in a knob of butter, and when it begins to soften, you add a splash of chicken broth and cover it until it's cooked the way you like it. Thyme, again, is the best herb. Minced parsley right before you eat it.

I love nearly any vegetable roasted with olive oil and salt and pepper. I have a recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts that gilds that lily: you start with a pre-heated pan in a very hot oven, add diced bacon and roast until it renders out some of its fat, take it out and toss with halved sprouts and roast until they're almost done, take it out again and toss with thinly sliced apple and roast until everything's nice and softened, then toss with a tiny bit of white vinegar. It's a lovely combination of bitter, sweet, sour, salty, meaty, fatty ... I kind of want some now. (Can't get anybody else in the family to eat it except a bite or two for politeness.)


Jan. 6th, 2013 10:48 pm
resonant: Cat biting cake (Caaaaake)
The kidlet requested a trifle instead of a birthday cake this year. I had never made a trifle (well, I'd made banana puddin', but never a non-Southern trifle). I used the Cook's Country recipe for Tipsy Squire Trifle as a model; substituted a strawberry syrup for the one and a half cups of sherry because, hello, fourteenth birthday party, and anyway I don't even like sherry all that much; substituted lemon curd for jam because yum.

I have the following observations.

1. Yum.
2. I cannot make a sponge cake to save my life. I found a sponge cake recipe (also from Cook's) and followed it to the letter twice, and both times the layers went as flat as a slice of bread as soon as I took them out of the oven. My grandmother, the farmer's wife, is ashamed of me in the great beyond.
3. Store-bought angel-food cake was just fine, truly. I was afraid it would introduce an artificial taste, but it didn't. Mostly I tasted custard.
4. About that time, I began to suspect that the name 'trifle' might be sarcastic. Pretty big undertaking, unless you happen to have some stale cake just lying around and have my grandmother's skill at making custard.
5. If I'd only been feeding my own kid, I still would have left out the sherry, but I would have added some Grand Marnier with the strawberry syrup.
6. Seriously, can I say yum? This stuff was so good.
7. Pretty sure a person could use milk instead of cream in the custard and it would still be delicious.
8. My grocery store did not have any macaroons anywhere. Trader Joe's vanilla wafers were a fine substitute. I don't buy Nilla any more; have you read the ingredients lately? Also, somewhat off topic, most brands of ginger snaps don't list either ginger or molasses. What is the world coming to, Grandma?
9. People who don't like mushy food won't like this.
10. I like mushy food, and in conclusion, yum.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
Well, I corned my own corned beef this year. It was

  1. dog-simple. You just buy a brisket (or a piece thereof), rub it with a mixture of kosher salt, cracked peppercorns, crumbled bay leaves, allspice, and paprika, put it in a zipper bag, refrigerate it with a weight on top of it, and turn it over once a day for five days.
  2. delicious, without that underlying artificial flavor that packaged corned beef has.
  3. regular old beefy brown. The recipes kept saying, "It won't be pink, it will be gray," which sounded unappetizing, but it was just cooked-brisket color.
  4. but really, really salty. Next year I'll do the step that Cook's Illustrated said you could skip, which is to take it out of its bag and soak it in plain water to remove some of the salt.

Cook's has you cook it on the stovetop, but I used a crockpot -- just stuck it in there fat-side-up, covered it with water, and cooked it on Low for about 9 hours.

For the vegetables, I took the beef out and wrapped it in foil to keep it warm, then defatted the broth and put in quartered potatoes, a quartered onion, and a cabbage that had been quartered and cored and each quarter tied with twine -- a silly-looking step, but it kept the cabbage quarters together. The broth, which was too salty to eat, was the perfect level of salty to make delicious vegetables. (I wound up pouring the whole bunch of stuff into a stockpot and cooking it on the stovetop, because it was taking too long in the crockpot.)
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
It probably reflects well on your eating habits when your salad spinner cracks open from overuse.


Jul. 9th, 2010 11:55 am
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (tomatoes)
I'm not doing CSA posts this year because, basically, I'm traveling so much that my brains are scrambled. But I have two enormous cabbages and I don't know what to do with them.

I already have two excellent cabbage soups (one peasanty with carrots and potatoes, one smooth and classy with leeks and sour cream) and a Cook's Illustrated buttermilk coleslaw recipe that looks intriguing.

I quite like braised cabbage as a side dish to meat -- except that we're hardly eating meat because we've got so many vegetables.

So what else can a person do with cabbage?
resonant: Cat biting cake (Caaaaake)
How do you manage your recipe collection?

For a long time, I was perfectly happy with my card file. But then I started using tags for LJ/DW, and now everything in life that doesn't have tags is really annoying to me, because why can't one recipe be under Poultry and Grilling and Quick & Easy and Summer and Kidlet's Favorites?

Also, it would be handy to be able to link up a recipe with a side dish that works really well with it, or with another one that uses up the leftover roast chicken or the other half of that tub of ricotta or what have you. Maybe even to see when was the last time I cooked it.

I've been half tempted to post my recipes as locked DW entries so I could tag them, or to start a new journal just for recipes. But I'm betting there's some better way out there.

Cupcake woe

Feb. 9th, 2010 09:01 pm
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Cupcake)
This is why I hate it when things I like get popular.

Since cupcakes are all trendy now, has anyone noticed how everywhere you go, the world is now full of really, really horrible cupcakes? And I buy them, because when I see something that looks like a cupcake, I crave something that tastes like a cupcake -- but they don't.

The cupcakes at Barnes & Noble Cafe were probably pretty decent when they were fresh, but they've been sitting in the display case for lord only knows how long, looking more beautiful because they're unwrapped, so that when you buy one, the frosting is too hard to bite through. (The cheesecake suffers from a related problem. But I digress.) The cupcakes at Starbucks are just weird, man, I don't know; they taste like they were grown from crystals in a laboratory.

The cupcakes at Kroger are best not spoken of at all.

Looks like I'm going to be forced to make some.
resonant: Cat biting cake (Caaaaake)
I made roasted peaches a couple of times this summer (an absolutely marvelous dessert -- you cut them in quarters -- a little butter, a little sugar, a little lemon juice, maybe a sprig of rosemary), and the spouse and the kidlet have been asking for them again, but there are no fresh peaches to be had.

Who has recipes along those lines? Mostly fruit, lightly sweetened, reasonably low in fat, something that a spouse with high cholesterol can eat multiple times a week?
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
So. We're taking a day trip this weekend, and I just might get an opportunity to go to a Trader Joe's. (Those of you who live near big cities or in California can take a break and laugh at those of us who live in flyover country. Go ahead; I'll wait. Just bear in mind that my morning commute takes seven minutes, and that's if all the traffic lights are red.)

So first of all, I want you people who get to shop at TJ all the time to tell me what kind of stuff to buy!

But here's the thing: I'll be three and a half hours from home. I'll have a cooler in the car, but obviously ice cream and milk are out of the question, and I'm thinking soft cheese and produce are probably dubious.

I know they have terrific dried fruit. I'm thinking things like olive oil and various vinegars and sea salt would be good. Puy lentils and other legumey type things.

What else should I be looking for?
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Asparagus)
I realize that not everyone is as fascinated by community-supported agriculture, or what I cooked last night, as I am. So: an opt-out opportunity.

Poll #627 CSA/food filter
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 12

I do not want to be on Res's CSA/food filter.

View Answers

Remove me, madam.
12 (100.0%)

Meanwhile, this week's haul. )


Jun. 17th, 2009 08:59 pm
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Asparagus)
This year, for the first time, I've got a CSA subscription. Once a week I get a box from a farm out in the county somewhere, full of whatever's growing. Which, this early in a very rainy summer, isn't much, but it's still kind of a thrill.

Today's box contained:

  1. mixed salad greens
  2. red and green lettuce
  3. a little bundle of parsley
  4. garlic scapes (yeah, your guess is as good as mine -- I'm going to put them in a stir-fry tomorrow)
  5. sugar-snap peas (likewise destined for a stir-fry)
  6. more radishes (I am not a radish convert yet -- I think they taste like mustard and dirt -- but if you slice them thin enough, they don't taste too offensive, and I have to admit they look very pretty in a salad)
  7. small turnips with greens (not sure what I'm going to do with the turnips, but I'm going to eat all the greens myself and I'm not even apologizing for it)

Tonight we had a salad with the greens, the radishes, some really good cheese, some ham, some chives from the farmer's market, and some out-of-season cucumbers from the grocery store. I felt a warm glow of virtue, which I'm now going to destroy by finishing my day with Oreos.

We get eggs every other week, and starting next week, we'll also have meat. We'll have too much meat; we eat meat in pretty small quantities when we eat it at all, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do with a box of what the Table Talk people used to call Montessori-raised livestock, but for years I've been saying I'd pay more for someone to raise my food in a way that didn't resemble the assembly line at an auto plant, so now I have the chance to put my money where my mouth is.


Feb. 11th, 2008 09:48 am
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Caaaaaake)
Anybody want to give me your most wonderful recipe for a Valentine's day dessert?

Ideally one that doesn't make huge quantities, so that the three of us can eat it all on the day itself and not have leftovers sitting around tempting us later?
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Asparagus)
Sorry. This is the time of year when I post 65% more random pointlessness.

Meat bought and set on a rack in the fridge to dry-age: Check.

Herb butter mixed and put in the fridge: Check.

Cranberry chutney made: Check.

Nothing else to do for Christmas dinner until Monday, when I make a Key lime pie and do pretty much the entire meal's worth of peeling and chopping.

Also, joy! I just got an e-mail from Amazon telling me that my brand-new red KitchenAid Artisan mixer has shipped! My poor old Classic has given me great service for fifteen years -- and it wasn't new when I got it, either -- but lately it has developed an ominous buzzing sound, and the only people in town who would even look at it told me bluntly, "Seventy-five dollars an hour for labor -- you're going to find it more economical to buy a new one." So Amazon had free shipping and a better price than any of the local places, and I had Christmas money, and voila!

It won't be here in time to whip the cream for Christmas, but it should be here in time to make an igloo cake for the kidlet's birthday.


Dec. 13th, 2007 10:01 am
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Asparagus)
You know, I vaguely remember a time when I used to write smut. Some of y'all may recall it, way back in the misty past. One day I will write smut again. This is not that day.

This is the day when I invite you to help me plan my Christmas dinner.

Poll inside )
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Asparagus)
I made a sort of leek-and-potato-and-chicken-and-kale soup thing yesterday, which wasn't bad, but now I have three leftover leeks.

The only things I know how to make with leeks also involve potatoes and greens -- i.e. are just variations on last night's soup.

What else can I do with three leeks?

Bonus points if it doesn't involve cheese or cream or something like that, so that the cholesterol-endangered spouse can eat it, too.
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (asparagus)
Oh, I've just eaten the sort of thing that would probably give me religion if I didn't already have it.

Last night for dinner I made a middle-eastern-style salad -- cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, minced red onion, and parsley, dressed with lemon juice, a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.

For lunch, I had a ripe avocado I needed to eat right away, and when I went looking for a lime slice to squeeze over it, I found the leftovers from last night's salad. So I mixed them all together into a dish that was about half salad and half avocado.

Man, was that ever good.

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