rivka: (foodie)
It's been a while since I've had anything from the experimental food corner that was worth writing home about. But this time? Wow. I made a really simple winter dessert that was ZOMG YUMMY.

I peeled and halved three large Bosc pears, and Michael scooped the cores out with a spoon. I arranged them cut side down in a square glass dish. Alex used a rolling pin to beat the heck out of a couple of handfuls of gingersnap cookies sealed in a ziploc bag. We sprinkled the gingersnap crumbs generously over the pears, poured some maple syrup (about 3oz) over the top, and added a dot of butter (about a teaspoon) to the top of each pear. I baked it for about half an hour at 375, covered with foil for the first 20 minutes and then uncovered. We ate them hot, and they were delicious. Soft, juicy pears, dripping with gingery syrupy goodness. The larger pieces of gingersnap didn't quite melt, so they added a bit of solid crunch.

The other special dish we made tonight was bee-bim bop )
rivka: (foodie)
We tried a marvelous new recipe tonight: smoked salmon and apple quesadillas. They were delicious and very quick and easy to make.

The recipe is apparently originally from rec.food.recipes, but there are some formatting problems in the online version (12 cups of sour cream? For a dish that feeds four?) so I'm just going to reproduce the whole thing here, for my records.

Quesadilla filling (for two adults): I julienned 4oz smoked salmon (lox) and half a peeled and cored Granny Smith apple. I mixed these with 3/4 cup grated cheese (I used a pre-grated "Mexican blend" that I think was mostly Monterey Jack) and seasoned it with a generous amount of fresh dill and a splash of lime juice.

I melted a little butter and brushed the bottoms of two big tortillas with it. I split the filling evenly between the two tortillas, folded them over, and cooked them in my biggest skillet over medium heat for a few minutes on a side, until the inside was all melty.

We topped them with horseradish crema: I mixed together 1/4 cup each sour cream and mayonnaise, seasoned it with a tablespoon of horseradish, a tablespoon of fresh chives, and a splash of lemon juice, and thinned it with a tablespoon and a half of milk. This was easy enough to throw together while the quesadillas were cooking.

They were great. I wouldn't have thought of smoked salmon and apple, but it's a good combination. I don't think you'd want to use a sweet apple, but the tart crunchy Granny Smith bits were delightful. And the horseradish crema was delicious - I'm already thinking of other applications for it. (It would go well with asparagus or artichokes, I think.)

This would make a lovely entree for a summer brunch. Michael recommends a crisp, fruity white wine as an accompaniment for nonpregnant diners.
rivka: (foodie)
I can't stop thinking about the dinner I made last night, and wishing there were leftovers to have for lunch today.

I took some thin-sliced chicken breasts (if you can't get those, pound regular chicken breasts flat with a mallet) and topped each one with a slice of prosciutto and two fresh sage leaves. Then I rolled them up tightly and seasoned the tops with salt and pepper. I sauteed the roll-ups (you want to start out seam-side down) in olive oil over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes, until they were cooked through in the middle and were golden-brown and a little bit crisp on the outside.

Then I made a pan sauce with the drippings. I added a half-cup of white wine, about a third of a cup of chicken broth, and three or four more sage leaves chopped up; boiled it all for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol and concentrate the flavors; and finished it with a chunk of butter.

It was YUM. I am desperately hungry for more.
rivka: (foodie)
grilled_peach

Tonight, I marinated some pork chops in beer, dijon mustard, vegetable oil, garlic, and paprika, and then grilled them on my charcoal grill. When I took them off the grill, I noticed that we still had plenty of life in the coals. Suddenly, I had a flashback to Girl Scout Camp, and a dessert we'd cooked in the campfires.

I asked Michael to cut three peaches in half and scoop out the pits. (I'm so allergic to them when they're raw that I don't even like to touch them.) Each peach went in the center of a square of aluminum foil. I put a pat of butter in the hollows left by the pits, topped the butter with a generous spoonful of cinnamon sugar (left over from the cinnamon toast I made yesterday), put the two halves of each peach back together, and wrapped them individually in foil. I dropped the foil-wrapped balls onto the grill, closed the top, and left them there while we ate supper - about half an hour.

They were perfect. Hot. Soft and juicy, but not mushy or unformed. Cinnamon-scented peach syrup had collected in the foil. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream? Simply heaven.

I tell you, those Girl Scouts knew a thing or two.
rivka: (foodie)
Best new recipe I've tried in... sheesh. At least a year. How could something this simple be this transcendent?

dill_butter_fish

The recipe (from the latest issue of Gourmet magazine) called for black sea bass, which I'm sure would have been amazing. I used orange roughy, because that's what looked good at my supermarket and, incidentally, did not cost an arm and a leg the way that sea bass usually does.

Here's all it is: I boiled some fresh green beans for about five minutes. While the beans were cooking, I patted the fish dry, salted and peppered it, put it in an oiled ovenproof skillet, and drizzled a little more olive oil on top. Then I broiled it for five minutes.

When the green beans and fish were done, I layered them on a platter. I put the skillet that the fish had broiled in on the stovetop, poured in a quarter-cup of dry white wine (I used some Viognier), let it boil for a minute, and then added two tablespoons of fresh chopped dill and four tablespoons of butter. When the butter melted, I poured the sauce over the fish and beans.

Holy cow it was OMFG amazing. Rich and luxurious without feeling heavy. It had a really warm, bright, luscious mouthfeel. I wanted to get up on the table and roll around in my plate, but Michael told me it wouldn't be setting a good example.
rivka: (foodie)
I've been meaning to post this recipe for a while now - it's one of our current favorites.

Put 12oz high-quality ground beef or buffalo meat into a bowl. Season with 1-2 teaspoons prepared horseradish and whatever else seems like a good idea at the time - I usually use a prefab mix that's a version of Montreal grill seasoning. Mix the seasonings in well with your hands and divide into four balls.

Cut some slices of smoked Gouda cheese into small pieces.

Flatten one ball of the seasoned ground beef into a thin patty and pile half the Gouda bits on top. Flatten another ball into a thin patty and put it on top of the Gouda, making sure to seal the edges together all the way around. The whole thing may need to be pressed a little flatter to make a burger of the desired thickness. The rest of the meat and cheese make your second burger.

Grill as you normally would, although if you usually cook burgers medium-rare you might want to leave them on the grill a bit longer, so that the cheese melts well. Serve on kaiser rolls.

Garlic mayonnaise would be an excellent topping, if you have some on hand. We usually just use mustard.
rivka: (foodie)
It's been a while since I've posted from the experimental food corner. I keep meaning to post my recipe for smoked gouda-stuffed hamburgers, for example, but their time has not yet come. I'm too excited by tonight's experiment.

A few weeks ago, I tried a side dish recipe from the New Joy of Cooking: carmelized sweet potatoes and apples. It was very, very good - intensely apple-y and not too sweet. I kept thinking that it would make a nice base for a one-pot supper. Tonight I gave it a try.

First, I fried up four slices of extremely thick-cut bacon in my biggest skillet. I put the bacon to drain on some paper towels and poured off all but a tablespoon or so of the grease. Then I browned about a pound of diced chicken in the remaining bacon grease.

When the chicken was just browned, I added three large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4" half-moons, and three gala apples, cored and cut into eighths but not peeled. I added a lump of butter (a little less than two tablespoons, I guess), about 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of water. Stirred everything around, covered it up, and let it cook down vigorously for about twenty minutes. The sweet potatoes and apples steamed, grew soft, and developed a rich golden-brown sheen. The chicken soaked up an intense apple flavor. The liquid boiled away into a light syrupy coating. Just before serving, I crumbled in the bacon. It added just the right touch of saltiness.

I wish I'd thought to take a picture of my plate before it was almost scoured clean. [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel and [livejournal.com profile] wcg also say: two thumbs up.

If I had it to do again, I would change... um, nothing. It was really tasty.
rivka: (Default)
Because it's asparagus season now for so much of the northern hemisphere:

Smoked Salmon-Asparagus Pasta (adapted from The Joy of Cooking)

1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed off
4 oz peppered smoked salmon (not lox, but the thick meaty stuff)
8 oz heavy cream
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 pound pasta (I use thin linguine)

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Drop the asparagus in and blanch it for a couple of minutes - two minutes if it's pencil thin, four minutes or so for thick, mature stalks. Then fish the asparagus out with a sieve and put the pasta into the water to boil.

Cut the salmon into bite-sized pieces.

Melt the butter in a skillet. Put the asparagus in and turn until coated with butter. Add the cream and the smoked salmon and warm over low heat until the pasta is done. Divide the asparagus evenly into two bowls of pasta and pour the smoked salmon cream over the top.

Serve with Lipitor (or the statin of your choice).


Also: final Respectful of Otters hit count for the day - 7712. Sheesh.
rivka: (Default)
(cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] food_porn, with minor modifications)

The February issue of Food & Wine magazine focused on Spanish cooking. As soon as I saw the issue, I knew that when [livejournal.com profile] therealjae visited me a few weeks later, we would have to make tapas.

Our menu:

Garlicky wild mushroom saute
Lamb meatballs with basil
Shrimp and clams in broth
Manchego cheese
Mixed olives
Rosemary sourdough bread
details, and pictures. more pictures than in my last tapas post. )
rivka: (Rivka and Misha)
[livejournal.com profile] curiousangel is learning how to cook some of our favorite quick, easy dinners, so that he can take over some of the cooking after Li'l Critter arrives. Saturday night he made pork chops and red potatoes. Tonight he made spaghetti with meat sauce, with only the occasional pointer from me.

Here's how I we make my our spaghetti:

1/2 pound linguini fini (Yes, I know that means it's not "spaghetti" at all. Hush.)
1/2 pound hot Italian turkey sausage
1/2 jar Classico Cabernet Marinara sauce
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced

Start water heating for pasta. Remove the sausage from its casings and brown it in a little olive oil over medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces. When the sausage is almost cooked through, add the vegetables and saute until the zucchini is golden. Pour in the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Drop the linguini into the boiling water, boil for six minutes, and drain. Top with sauce, which will be very thick.

[livejournal.com profile] curiousangel did a great job. Dinner was delicious. But tragically, the fact that he cooked meant that I had to do his job - the dishes. I guess no clever plan is foolproof.
rivka: (Default)
(cross-posted from [livejournal.com profile] off_recipe)

I didn't want to go to the store last night. I had some pasta, I had some miscellaneous vegetables, and I had just over a pound of shrimp in the freezer. So:

I thawed and peeled the shrimp. 31-40s, a nice medium size.

I chopped up four cloves of garlic and three sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil.

I had a bunch of thick autumn asparagus. I cut off the top three or four inches and discarded the rest. I had a handful of snow peas, from which I removed the strings. I had half a large red bell pepper, which I minced.

I started water boiling for pasta and put a generous amount of olive oil in the bottom of my wok. (I'm not great with amounts, but probably half a cup.) I added the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and cooked them over medium-high heat until the garlic was a nice golden color. I seasoned the now-flavored oil with some crushed red pepper, black pepper, and salt. Then I added the asparagus and watched it turn deep green and velvety-looking. When the asparagus was just beginning to give when pierced by a fork, I put some thin linguine in the pasta pot and added the red pepper and the shrimp to the wok, followed by the peas a moment later. I added some more oil, because I was worried that it might be too dry to coat the pasta, and continued to saute over medium-high heat just until all the shrimp was pink and the asparagus was tender to the fork. At the last minute, I stirred in about half a cup of the pasta cooking water to add liquid to the sauce.

How it turned out: Yum. The asparagus (which, as I said, was pretty chunky) was just tender, still vivid in color and full of body. I actually think it might've worked better for this recipe than pencil-thin asparagus; it held its texture well and made the dish a little more substantial. The snow peas were crisp, adding a nice bit of crunch. The shrimp had picked up the flavored oil beautifully.

What I'd do differently next time: It probably could've used more garlic. But overall, I was very pleased - and so were [livejournal.com profile] wcg and [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel, if the speed with which they cleaned their plates was any indication.
rivka: (Default)
I just whipped up a preliminary batch of Hypoallergenic Power Trail Mix, based solely on what was already in the kitchen:

Roasted peanuts
Roasted sunflower seed kernels
Bran twigs (from "Kashi GoodFriends" cereal)
Granola clusters (from same)
Sweetened dried cranberries
Dried mangoes torn into nibble-sized pieces
Chocolate chips

I am inordinately pleased with myself. Protein, healthy fats, vitamins A and C, fiber, and dense calories, all in a portable, easy-to-eat format. Plus chocolate, which has been scientifically linked to easier temperament in babies. Plus, it's salty. And crunchy. And chewy. And sweet.

Mmmm, salty.
rivka: (ice cream)
Yesterday was such a calm, peaceful day. I woke up early for some obscure reason, so I had plenty of time to relax and read before church. Went to church, listened to a pretty good talk on genetic surgery, destiny, and human nature (in lieu of sermon), chatted with friends for a while, came home.

In the afternoon, [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel and I lounged about on the couch, watching the Orioles game (until it got too depressing), reading (him), doing needlework (me), napping (him), and generally just enjoying being close to each other.

I tried a new recipe for dinner. I mixed together six minced cloves of garlic, four good-sized sprigs of rosemary chopped into smaller pieces, some salt, and the zest of a lemon, and rubbed it into a lamb roast. Then I browned the lamb and put it into the slow cooker with some potatoes and white wine. It smelled fabulous all afternoon. I reduced the cooking time called for in the recipe, but the lamb still got a bit overdone - I think perhaps the recipe intended to call for a much larger leg-of-lamb than the 3-pound roast I bought. So the meat was just a trifle dry, but it was still tasty - and the potatoes were amazing.

It was just the kind of day I needed, after our long and busy month of July.
rivka: (Default)
(cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] food_porn)

Yesterday, we had [livejournal.com profile] telerib and Moe over for a cookout, mosquito-fest (I'm so sorry, [livejournal.com profile] telerib, we didn't know. Neither one of us gets bitten), and Scary Music War.

The menu had to be carefully chosen so that (a) I wouldn't wind up spending a lot of prime visiting time in the kitchen, and (b) the house wouldn't become unhospitably hot from stove use. Here's what I came up with:

The Menu:
Havarti dill and horseradish cheddar cheeses, with assorted crackers

Anchor Steam and McHenry beers

Grilled marinated salmon with tropical fruit salsa
Summer couscous salad
Tossed salad with parmesan-honey-lime dressing

Fat Bastard chardonnay

Denver chocolate pudding with vanilla ice cream

Coffee and tea

The Preparation:
All the cooking happened in advance except for grilling the salmon and making the salad dressing. Oh, and the cheese tray. I would've just dumped slabs of cheese onto the tray and given our guests knives to help themselves, but [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel made a nice little display of sliced cheesy goodness. Maybe he was nervous about trusting me with a knife around a Republican guest, or maybe it's just his superior aesthetic sense.

A couple of hours before the guests arrived, I cut a massive two-pound salmon filet in two and set it to marinate in a half-cup of olive oil, two or three tablespoons of lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper, and lots of minced garlic.

I took a little of the leftover garlic and put it in a bowl with a cup of dried couscous. I poured a cup and a half of water over the couscous, covered the bowl with foil, and left it to reconstitute while I chopped up some baby carrots and red bell pepper into a tiny dice - about a half-cup's worth. In a small bowl I mixed more olive oil (about a quarter cup), a couple tablespoons of lemon juice, some parsley, salt, and pepper. By that time the couscous had soaked up all the water, so I stirred in the diced vegetables and the dressing, recovered it, and put it in the fridge to chill.

I made the tropical fruit salsa for the fish: one barely-ripe mango, an eight-ounce can of pineapple chunks in natural juice (drained), and half a red pepper, all diced and seasoned with a splash of white vinegar, some crushed hot pepper flakes, and just enough sugar to take the edge off the tartness.

The tossed salad was easy: a bag of precut mixed salad greens, a sliced cucumber, a sliced tomato. (The dressing had a minced clove of garlic, yet more olive oil, some lime juice, salt, honey, and some grated parmesan. It was still a little too tart - the dressing recipe needs work, which isn't surprising given that I threw it together at the last minute.)

I also made the Denver chocolate pudding and popped it into the oven. It wound up way underdone - the same thing happened last time I made Denver pudding, but doesn't happen to baked goods in general with this oven. I'm not sure what's going wrong. Maybe the oven does run cool, and I only notice it more with Denver pudding because it's so hard to tell when it's done.

Then the guests arrived, and I was done cooking until it was time to grill the salmon over a charcoal fire. We sat in the courtyard drinking beer and demolishing the cheese tray, and then moved inside for the main course and dessert after I grilled the fish.

The Analysis:
The only thing I would change, if I had it to do over, is the vegetable dish. I think I ended up with one too many sharp-citrusy flavors - something softer and creamier would have been better. Maybe asparagus with herbed mayonnaise, or something.

This is the most I've ever had done in advance for a dinner party, and I loved it. I really enjoyed being able to hang out in the yard, drinking beer and chatting, instead of running back and forth to the kitchen. It was also good that the house had a chance to cool off before we ate - the dining temperature was much more comfortable than it would have been if we'd eaten right after I prepared a cooked meal.

The whole thing was a lot of fun. I want to entertain more.
rivka: (Default)
(cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] off_recipe)

Fifth anniversary dinner menu:

Large red caviar of unknown type (the label is in Russian).
Carr's black pepper crackers.

Roast duck with cranberry-red wine sauce.
Steamed baby asparagus.
French bread & butter.

Grand vin de Bordeaux Lussac Saint Emilion (2000)



My first duck! It turned out remarkably well, given that I sort of cobbled several recipes together. Here's what I did:

I washed and dried the duck and rubbed it inside and out with a little salt. I removed the big lumps of fat just inside the body cavity, and then pierced the skin (but not the meat) all over with a fondue fork. The idea was supposed to be that the fat would melt and drip out through the holes, and yet the meat would stay unpierced and juicy. It worked pretty well, actually. I perched the duck on a rack in a roasting pan, cooked it at 425 for fifteen minutes, turned the heat down to 350, and roasted it for about an hour and ten minutes. Somewhere in the middle I turned it over, which is not as easy as it sounds.

Meanwhile, I put the neck and gizzards in a saucepan, covered them with water, added black pepper and a bay leaf, and simmered for about forty-five minutes. Towards the end I discarded the duck parts and let the broth boil down to a very concentrated quarter-cup. I poured half a cup of dry red wine and added a couple of handfuls of sweetened dried cranberries. I let the cranberries soak up the wine to reconstitute themselves - they were yummy right out of the cup, but mostly I restrained myself.

When the duck came out of the oven, I let it rest for five to ten minutes while I made the sauce. I mixed the duck broth, the wine, the cranberries (now not so dried), about a quarter cup of water, a slosh of balsamic vinegar, and a couple pinches of dried thyme, brought them to a rolling boil, and let them cook down by about half. I served it at the table and we spooned it over the duck.

It was quite tasty: tart and richly fruity, a nice contrast with the rich, slightly smoky flavor of the duck. The cranberries were quite soft but still retained their shape. After I'd had all the duck I wanted, I ate some more cranberries with my fork - it was that good.

If I had it to do over, I would have made more duck broth. The meaty flavor was lost, overpowered by the cranberries, so I wound up with more of a fruit compote than a meat sauce flavored with fruit. Adding a splash more wine right at the end might've also been good. But I love the combination of fruit with duck, and I love sour/tart flavors. It was really good.

Tonight's menu: leftover caviar. Duck soup.
rivka: (Default)
It's been a looong time since I made an Experimental Food Corner post.

Tonight was definitely an EFC kind of night - it's been a long time since I've been to the grocery store, and I had no intention of going to the store before making dinner. So I knew that I'd be throwing dinner together out of whatever happened to be in the fridge.

I did have some meat: about a pound of "turkey cutlets," or slices of turkey breast meat about 1/4 inch thick. I formed a vague idea about the kinds of things that go into turkey piccata, started some rice, and began:

I mixed some flour, salt and pepper, and a handful of grated parmesan cheese in a shallow dish, and dredged the turkey cutlets in it as thoroughly as possible. Then I dropped them, two at a time, into a generous skosh of olive oil that was sitting in a skillet over medium-high heat. In contrast to my usual habit of anxiously turning food again and again, I let them sit in the oil until they were crisp and brown on one side, and then turned them. When they were crispy golden brown on both sides, and cooked through, I removed them to my toaster oven to keep warm.

Most of the oil cooked away by the time I finished the second pair of cutlets, so I dropped a chunk of butter into the pan - about a tablespoon and a half, I guess. I turned down the heat a little, but the butter melted and browned very quickly. I whisked in a handful of the leftover flour-and-parmesan-cheese mixture I had dredged the turkey pieces in. It didn't make a smooth paste, of course, because of the cheese pieces, but when I judged that the flour had dissolved I added a half-cup of chicken broth and two tablespoons of lemon juice. I let it boil for a few minutes, whisking, until the sauce was smooth and thick and the cheese was mostly melted. (There were still little concentrated nubbets of parmesan, though.)

Then I served up dinner: rice spread over the bottom of the plate, turkey cutlets on top, and some sugar snap peas blanched in the rest of the can of chicken broth, on the side. Just before eating we ladled some sauce over the top of the turkey.

It was really good. The sauce was a rich brown from the pan drippings, and had an intense lemon punch. The parmesan cheese in the sauce gave it a lovely rich mouthfeel, and the crunchy parmesan in the turkey cutlet coating was delicious. It was very satisfying for a quick weeknight dinner. (The total cooking time was just under half an hour.)

I've been interested in developing sauces and marinades for the last year or so, and I'm always really happy when I get a sauce right.
rivka: (Rivka and Misha)
...and I had so much fun.

About twenty-five people came by over the course of the afternoon, including [livejournal.com profile] minnaleigh and [livejournal.com profile] therealjae, [livejournal.com profile] jonsinger and [livejournal.com profile] lisajulie, [livejournal.com profile] mittelschmertz, [livejournal.com profile] geminigirl, [livejournal.com profile] fourgates, [livejournal.com profile] helygen, [livejournal.com profile] telerib, [livejournal.com profile] wcg, and [livejournal.com profile] pagawne. It was fun to introduce people from different parts of our lives and see what they found to talk about. Several people were kind enough to bring ornaments for our poor hapless tree, which is once again without bare spots. We have such good friends.

Because it was such an extended-length party and because people came gradually over time, I felt as though I had a chance to actually talk and interact with almost everyone. Sometimes that's not true, when you're the host of a party - so it was a good thing. I met [livejournal.com profile] lisajulie and [livejournal.com profile] telerib (and [livejournal.com profile] telerib's partner Moe) for the first time. It was really good to hang out with them, and I hope to see more of them (and more of [livejournal.com profile] jonsinger, who I've only met twice before) in the future. I particularly feel like an idiot for not meeting [livejournal.com profile] telerib and Moe before, because [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel has known them for years. (What can I say? Shyness sucks.)

The food went over well. [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel's deli tray was fabulous - very professionally arranged and very appetizing, and he chose good meats, including a wonderful smoked turkey. All the asparagus roll-ups got eaten, and all the tiny little marmelade-and-mandarin-orange tea sandwiches, and most of the raw vegetable platter, and most of the cookies, and all the bread we initially cubed for the beer-cheddar fondue got fondued. (By the time I noticed that we were out of bread, the fondue had separated and become kind of icky, from neglect, so I didn't cut up more bread.) We have a bunch of deli meats left over, and some of the cheese-sausage balls - but I started with 96 of those, and they freeze well. In general, we planned exactly the right amount of food.

We didn't plan on enough mulled cider, which turned out to be the surprise hit of the day. Three gallons of cider just disappeared, sometimes mixed with rum and sometimes plain. (I drank a fair amount of it myself.) We certainly could've drunk more than three gallons.

I recommend the recipe heartily - here's what I did: In a soup kettle on the stove, I heated a gallon of fresh apple cider with two whole, unpeeled clementines, four cinnamon sticks, a quarter-cup of brown sugar, four bay leaves, and a tea strainer filled with about a teaspoon of whole cloves. After about half an hour, I ladled the cider into a Crock-pot and left the seasonings in the kettle, to which I added another gallon of fresh cider. The Crock-pot kept the mulled cider warm on the drinks table, and I always had more soaking up seasonings on the kitchen stove. I didn't add more sugar after the first batch - it didn't seem necessary.

In a little while I'm going to go down and start washing dishes, but it's been such a lovely day that I wanted to sit over a glass of wine for a while, savoring it.
rivka: (Default)
Because of our family crisis at Thanksgiving, we wound up getting our Thanksgiving dinner from a Piccadilly Cafeteria. We tried their carrot souffle, and it was surprisingly good - rich and carroty, with a creamy, velvety texture almost like pumpkin pie filling. It was too sweet for my taste, though, and a little one-note - I wanted to taste some spices underneath the sweet carrot flavor.

I found the recipe online and went to work this evening, making my own adjustments. Wow, was it good. [livejournal.com profile] wcg, [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel and I scraped the one-quart casserole dish clean, and I'm still wishing for more - I bet it would make a great breakfast. Mine turned out much lighter in texture than I remember the cafeteria's version was - it melted in my mouth. The balance of sweet and spice was perfect. I've already promised to make it for my family as part of Christmas dinner. Really, words cannot express how tasty this was.
here's the recipe: )
rivka: (Rivka and Misha)
We're having a party next Saturday - a holiday Open House. We've invited about 70 people, figuring that it's such a busy time of year that a lot of folks won't be able to make it. So far, it looks like we might have between 20 and 40 actual guests.

It's an afternoon party, so we're just serving munchies and drinks instead of anything dinnerlike. Here's the tentative menu:

Hot appetizers (passed on trays):
Cheese-sausage balls.
Asparagus and cream cheese rollups.
Perhaps a third passed appetizer, if we get many more RSVPs. Probably little phyllo purses with a vegetable filling.

On the buffet table:
Beer-cheddar fondue, with french bread for dipping.
Meat and cheese platter, artistically arranged by [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel.
Raw vegetable platter with two dips: hummus, and a creamy horseradish dip based on [livejournal.com profile] kightp's topping for baked salmon.
Two kinds of Christmas cookies.

To drink:
Mulled cider (in the crockpot), with optional rum.
Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet-Merlot (cheap and delicious).
Lemonade, ginger ale, some species of diet soda, ice water.

Looking at the menu laid out all at once, it looks a little bit unbalanced - there's not much to eat if you're lactose or gluten intolerant, is there? I guess a gluten intolerant person could dip vegetables in the fondue, but... hm. Any suggestions about how to rearrange the menu? I don't want anything that needs to be eaten with a fork, because people are probably going to be standing up while eating.

So, anyway. Today I made nine dozen cookies to freeze for the party: half snickerdoodles (rolled in red or green sugar crystals, instead of cinnamon sugar - it's the way my family has always made them), and half refrigerator nut cookies. Damn, I'd forgotten how good those things are - rich and nutty and not overpoweringly sweet.

Hm. Not, I see, the refrigerator nut cookie recipe you find everywhere on the web, but a different recipe entirely. I'll share it here - believe me, it's worthwhile. Just ask [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel, who is usually very picky about cookies.
Read more... )
rivka: (ice cream)
So we had some milk in the fridge that needed to be used up. I decided that I was in the mood for something lemony-creamy, but I couldn't find any recipes online that fit the picture in my head. So here's what I did:

I browned some chicken breast tenders in a mixture of butter and olive oil. When the chicken was cooked through, I removed it to a bowl and covered it with foil to keep warm.

I drained off about half the fat and whisked a couple of spoonfuls of flour into the other half, over medium-low heat. When the roux had formed into a smooth paste I added the juice and zest of a large lemon, a splash of white wine, and lots of black pepper, and then whisked it smooth again. Then I started adding milk, a tiny bit at a time, pouring with my right hand and whisking with my left. I brought it up very hot (it would start to bubble if I stopped whisking, but with constant stirring it stayed just below the boil) and kept stirring until the sauce had reduced and thickened somewhat. Then I added a generous handful of grated parmesan and stirred until the cheese was more or less melted.

In the meantime, I'd made some linguini fini. I piled it into pasta bowls, arranged the browned chicken on top, and then poured on the sauce. It was delicious - delicately flavored, very light and fresh-tasting, with a lovely aroma of lemon zest. Definitely something to go into the permanent rotation.

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rivka

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