owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
As is the case with most Thanksgivings, my sister and I got a little ambitious.

"You know," I said. "[hip Brooklyn pie shop] Four and Twenty Blackbirds has a cookbook out."

"Salted caramel apple pie?"

"Salted caramel apple pie."

We had never before made caramel.

After getting some advice online to add the butter after caramelizing the sugar, not before, we stirred together the sugar and the water. It heated, and slowly started to boil, and then... all the water boiled away, and it started to get dry and crystallized, and just when it looked like a lost cause it started to melt. We added the butter when it turned coppery, and the butter melted, but then it didn't incorporate into the sugar and suddenly everything turned into a giant slab of crystallized sugar.

We had one more try. We didn't have the butter, the sugar, or the time to try again if we failed.

Sugar and water, again. Heat, again. A little higher, this time, in the hopes that the sugar would caramelize before all the water boiled off. We replaced the battery on the meat thermometer. Slowly, the temperature went up. Slowly, the sugar changed from white to weirdly off-grey to pale yellow to light brown. The butter went in, and melted. The heat went off; the cream went in.

It was caramel.

It was a ridiculously good pie.
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
(from everybody)

Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don't use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of.

I wonder how many pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers (n.b. the little reamer kind, not the electric kind), blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese knives, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels (I have a funnel, at any rate), meat thermometers, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic presses, margarita glasses, tea strainers, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers (bains marie), sukiyaki stoves, food processors, ice cream makers, takoyaki makers, and fondue sets languish dustily at the back of the nation's cupboards.

I do not have enough kitchen space to have much of anything I'm not sure I'll use.

I do have a hot chocolate maker given to me for a Christmas present and never used. My usual hot chocolate method is a Swiss Miss packet in a cup of water; if I want to get fancy I'll make it on the stove. But I have not yet been able to get rid of it because of the sheer charm of having a hot chocolate maker.
owlectomy: A cartoon capybara munching on a rice ball (capybara)
The black pepper tofu in Plenty is amazing and I will eat it every day.

(Butter sauce with garlic and shallots and ginger and peppers, plus fried tofu, plus lots of black pepper. I turned the spices way down because I'm me. VERY fast for how good it was.)

I think I need to work on getting a small solid repertoire of fast weeknight meals because otherwise I keep going WHAT WILL I MAKE? when there's actually a lot of stuff I can make well. It's just that I can never remember it when I go grocery shopping or when I'm standing in front of the fridge.
owlectomy: A cartoon capybara munching on a rice ball (capybara)

[A one-liter glass bottle filled with vodka and blackberries]

This bottle contains approximately equal parts of vodka, sugar syrup, and blackberries; I've taken inspiration and advice from Homebrew Underground and Food.com.

Now to let it macerate, and strain out the blackberries, and hopefully by the time of the co-birthday we will have some blackberry liqueur!
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
1. Mix up a bowl of milk and cornstarch.

2. Mix up another bowl of cornmeal and spices.

3. Go into the fridge to get your tofu. Realize that you have been lazy in storing your tofu and it no longer looks or smells like something that would be good to cook.

4. Go down to the grocery store. It is closed.

5. Go down to Target. Hey, it has a pretty good selection of Morningstar fake meat; you never know.

6. Discover that most of the cold-foods section of Target is under renovation.

7. Become anxious at the high number of screaming children, children on scooters, and people saying "YEAH I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT I CAME IN FOR" on their cell phones while completely blocking the aisle.

8. Buy some frozen pizzas.


13/4/11 20:16
owlectomy: A cartoon capybara munching on a rice ball (capybara)
I had a craving for the shrimp and chili sauce recipe from my Japanese cookbook, so I decided to try it out with tofu to see if it would work.


-Cut up an onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, and a smallish knob of ginger and mince finely.

-Take half a block of tofu, cut up into thin medium-size pieces. (I usually take the block, slice it to about 1/4 inch slices, and cut those into triangles.) Saute in hot oil, about 5 minutes, then flip your pieces and cook 5 minutes more.

-Take your tofu out of the pan (you can put it on a paper towel or dish towel).

-Put your heat to low, put some more oil in the pan if needed, and cook your onion, garlic, and ginger for a while. When they're cooked through, add about 4 tbsp of ketchup, a little water or broth, a little sugar, about 1 teaspoon of sweet chili sauce (start out low and adjust depending on your tolerance for spicy things), and a little cornstarch if you like thick sauces. Heat a couple minutes, then toss your tofu back in until that's heated through. Add a little sesame oil on top, and you're done!

Apparently the sweet chili sauce I'd been using is not the correct translation -- I think it's supposed to be a fermented black bean sauce -- but I've always made it with sweet chili sauce and I like it that way. It's in the Chinese ingredient aisle!
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
Cheap, fast, delicious, can be made vegan, and can be made with no ingredients you can't find at my itty bitty urban supermarket.

<b>Roasted Vegetable Curry</b> from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers )
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
How not to make penne with butter

1. Put a large quantity of water in your pot and put it on the stove. Turn the heat to high.
2. Start reinstalling Windows on your computer.
3. Gee, it's hot in here. I wonder why it's hot in here. The air conditioner says 82! Is there something wrong with the AC?
4. Why does it smell like marshmallows toasting? Maybe there IS something wrong with the air conditioner! Turn off the air conditioner.
4a. Fail at reinstalling Windows.
5. And now the fire alarm is going off? WTF, why is the fire alarm going off?
6. Oh hey look over there! I have a pot of water boiling.
7. I HAD a pot of water boiling.
8. Darn.
8a. Reinstall Ubuntu.
9. Order pizza.
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
1. Check clock. It is 9:00 and you have not yet eaten supper.

2. Fill your saucepan with water, add some salt, put it on the burner.

3. When water boils, add fettuccine. It does not fit in the pot because you don't actually have a pot larger than 3 quarts. Wait for the ends of the fettuccine to soften in the boiling water, then use a fork to squish down the tops of the fettuccine. Ponder whether to buy a new pasta pot, or to cook smaller pasta shapes from now on.

4. When all of your pasta is boiling, check your cookbook for a recipe for alfredo sauce. Begin to melt some butter in a pan.

5. Ask yourself, "Eggs? Am I really supposed to add eggs? Won't they scramble?"

6. Add eggs and cream to the pan anyway.

7. Whisk! Whisk like the wind!

8. Retrieve colander from under the sink. Check pasta for doneness (it's not done yet).

9. Check sauce. It has indeed begun to scramble. Turn off the heat and whisk madly.

10. As sauce becomes sauce again, ask yourself, "How will I know if the eggs are cooked adequately, or are they going to give me salmonella?"

11. Check pasta for doneness. Drain. Toss with sauce.

12. Eat with salt, black pepper, and deliciousness. The failure mode of fettuccine alfredo is still better than it deserves to be.


12/2/06 11:58
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
Last night I made oyako-don--sort of, since I could only go as far as Food Lion, and therefore didn't have the mirin that I needed. But I had chicken braised in broth, and veggies, and scrambled eggs cooked over that, and served the whole thing over rice... and then I mixed my leftover rice with my leftover chicken and eggs and put the whole thing in the fridge overnight. In the morning I fried it all up. So. Good. (And the only time I've successfully made fried rice!)


owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)

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