shesingsnow: (coffee)
Promised myself I would give myself permission to cook again. I'd found a recipe that I really wanted to make - an apple chai cake. I do not crave sweets, so I am left with a huge cake, but it's all good.

I really wanted to try out my new-from-last-year apple peeler. So, yesterday, when I left my therapist's office, I bought a bag of Grammy Smith apples at Aldi:

Let's test out this apple peeler. Apple Chai cake in the works.

The entire contraption is right-handed and I am generally ambidexterous, but with these sorts of things I am very much left-handed. I couldn't get it to work until I put the apples on backwards. And the handle goes counter-clockwise when you are left-handed. This was hilarious. But after I reversed *everything* I was completely amazed:

This feat of mechanics is freakin' awesome. #applepeeler #applecake

I peeled that entire bag in what was essentially ten minutes, after I got the thing working backwards properly. I had a bowl of lemon-water waiting for the apples.

The peeling of the apples was so easy that I didn't expect the assembly of the batter to take so long, but for some reason it did. And then the apples needed to be dried, broken up from their spirals and then tossed in a spice mixture. When the cake came out of the oven, it looked like this:

Apple Chai cake just out of the oven.

I have switched to using the Camera+ app on my iPhone and it takes infinitely better photos. I waited for the cake to cool and turned it over:

Apple Chai spice cake, right side up.

The recipe called for a maple cream cheese icing, so that's what I did:

Apple Chai Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing.

I waited for a while and then sliced into it. I was somewhat astonished to find that it was fantastic. I'm not bragging. I just was really surprised that it was as good as it was. Came out remarkably like the recipe's picture.

Recipe notes:
1) I would dial back the ground cloves to 1/2 tsp
2) I doubled the amount of vanilla
3) I doubled the amount of cream cheese, mainly because I didn't want to be left with half a box of cream cheese

Slice of apple chai cake with maple cream cheese icing.

I ate that slice and now I'm good, I don't want any more.

In the middle of the night it occurred to me that I could freeze it in sections, so I will do that. Every now and then I could take out a slice and that would be neat.

Pretty psyched. It felt good to be cooking.
shesingsnow: (Eureka's Zoe look)
Alrighty, made up the next batch: a blueberry-cherry combination. They are popping now. Nine half-pints made today.

Top shelf: blueberry-cherry and one pint jar of strawberry preserves

I'm not happy with the flavor of the blueberry-cherry. I mean: it's fine. But it needs more complexity. I did not want to mess with the recipe the first time around, but I realized quickly that it needed a more balanced flavor profile. I could add some vanilla to the recipe, but then it might taste very nearly the same as the cherry vanilla preserves and I'm looking for something different. So my thought is to add some balsamic vinegar to it, to add a slightly spicy/sweet flavoring. It is not a ratio problem. I just expect more from my flavors. Hmm. I'll have to think about it and comb through blueberry recipes. I suspect this is the problem I have with -all- blueberry preserves that aren't made out of the tiny Maine wild blueberries.

Second shelf: sweet cherry vanilla preserves (left-side jars have cherries that are finely chopped; right-side jars have cherries that were only partially crushed)

I made the strawberry with [ profile] ashacat on Thursday; everything else I made today.

shesingsnow: (foodie)
Call it: Spreadable Fruit.

I now have six half-pint jars of sweet cherry vanilla preserves. Woot! Actually, I made one batch and it tasted so good that I decided to proceed immediately with a second batch. I'm a bit worn out now, though.

I have enough cherries to make a batch of blueberry-cherry preserves that should amount to about six half-pint jars. I think I may do that later on today. After a nap.

The jars are popping. How cool is that?

Recipe behind the cut.

Read more... )
shesingsnow: (snowman)
Alrighty! I'm still in cooking mode (thankfully), so I decided to make another soup/stew today. This turned out to be a very thick stew, on the way to stew-that-holds-its-shape. It's all good - it was fantastic. Funds are still super-tight (but that's okay - it's for a very good reason: the new caregiver is outstanding).

I'm really not a "rice and beans" person - but lentils? Oh yeah!! So I've turned some cheapo vegetables into another dish that rocks.

Last night I was wide awake about 1am again. So I turned on some cooking videos via the "Harvest Eating" channel on my Roku. I watched the guy, Chef Keith Snow, take his basic mirepoix and pulse it to tiny bits in the food processor before he made the stew. I liked this. I'm all for chunky rustic stews, but sometimes I want something different and not all of those bites o' carrot, you know?

I had some frozen kale, some carrots, some celery. I forgot to get an onion at the store. I washed up two carrots & three stalks of celery. Did not peel the carrots. Cut them into chunks and added them to my tiny food processor. I added a cup of kale. Pulsed. Pulsed. Pulsed. Pulsed to bits.

I had a sauté pan going with the last few drops of olive oil and a pat of butter to make up the difference. I put a heaping spoonful of minced garlic in there to warm up. Then I put the vegetable bits into the pan and pushed that around a while. The burner is dying so I had it on high which is somewhat a medium-high for the pan.

Then I added a can of vegetable broth. (14.5oz). I added a second can. Let them come up to a simmer. I added what was probably two tablespoons of dried oregano, plus some salt and pepper.


I then added a cup of red lentils. Red lentils cook UBERfast and turn yellow-orange when they are done - more pale than the carrots. Go figure.

Red Lentils

Maybe 15-20 minutes later, if that, it was done. I then diced up a smoked sausage and added that. I was able to get two smoked sausage packages for $5 at the store, so I will use one for another stew.

And I just had a bowl and it's fantastic. And mildly healthy, too. And because I minced up the veggies, it's totally different in texture from the daal that I made earlier this week. (Not to mention the flavor's completely different.) And, inexpensive.
shesingsnow: (foodie)
After an hour in the oven I took the cover off of the pot for the chicken.

I oiled and salted three of the potatoes Dad brought (he bought four - he's still used to buying four after all these years, methinks). Wrapped them in foil and put them into the oven.

I then sat Mom down at the dining room table with me and chopped up the butternut squash. I cut off the rind and diced it all up. Then I put it into the microwave for seven minutes to steam. I then peeled and chopped up about five apples. I mixed the apples and squash all together, drizzled a healthy half-cup of agave nectar over it all and then sprinkled a cinnamon/vanilla mixture over it. I folded the mixture over and over and then put it into the oven in an open casserole dish.

I then got the salad ready. Chop & peeled the half-carrot left from Friday, chopped up the remaining mushrooms, etc.

Then I drained the gizzard soup using my spider. Grabbed the Wondra and made gravy with the liquid from the gizzard soup. OMG was that fantastic. You just cannot get that flavor out of jarred gravy.

About 4:30pm, almost exactly three hours after I put it into the oven, the plastic temp gauge on the chicken popped out. The skin was browned pretty well (although I don't crisp it perfectly on purpose because otherwise I would eat it all). I let it sit for another half hour to let the juices run back into the meat.

After the chicken came out of the oven, I put the garlic bread in. I opened up the cranberry sauce and put that on the table.

And then I made the salad dressing (balsamic vinaigrette from the balsamic syrup I made a few weeks ago). Transferred dinner to the table and we ate.

And it was amazing. I love, love, love butternut squash. The chicken was incredibly juicy - not dry in the slightest, and cooked perfectly. There wasn't enough stuffing, but there is never enough stuffing.

Hard to choose, but I am so proud of the gravy that I would say it was my favorite part of the meal!
shesingsnow: (Default)
So. I offered to make something for the Religious Education brunch at UUS:E tomorrow. Glad to be able to contribute in a way that I like: cooking! The brunch has foods cooked from the garden for which the kids were chiefly responsible. I took home tomatoes and basil and garlic.

I decided to roast the tomatoes first. There are yellow and red tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. All I know about them is that they're organic.

So, here they are, cut up and tossed in olive oil and about 1 tbsp of balsamic syrup and some basil, oregano and thyme.

shesingsnow: (Sun with its brightness)
The other night I made a recipe of zucchini sticks baked in grated parmesan and shredded mozzarella. Came out fantastic! Here's the recipe. Adjust according to how much you want to make.

- two medium-to-large zucchini
- grated parmesan, a cup
- shredded mozzarella, a cup

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a small casserole dish with olive oil spray or what-have-you. I used an 8" square glass dish.
2. Cut zucchini into sticks. I cut each in half. Then I cut each half in half. Then I cut each half into thirds. Think the shape of pickle wedges, that sort of thing.
3. Sprinkle a light dusting of the parmesan into the bottom of the casserole dish.
4. Layer as much zucchini as you can into the bottom of the dish, one layer deep.
5. Spread half of the parmesan and half of the mozzarella over the zucchini.
6. Put in another layer of the zucchini sticks.
7. Put the rest of the parmesan and mozzarella over the zucchini.
8. Bake in the oven until the mozz is golden brown on top! I actually baked it for just 30 minutes, which was as long as I put the chicken parmigiana in there.
shesingsnow: (Default)
My friends Robyn and Gina are coming over at 5pm.

Tonight's dinner menu:

Homemade chicken parmigiana using a tomato sauce seasoned with fresh local basil. Mashed potatoes seasoned with a hint of garlic. Local zucchini cut into sticks and baked with parmesan.

Dessert is a fresh spice cake topped with local Gala apples baked in a mixture of maple syrup and crumbled molasses cookies, served with a side of fresh local apple cider.

I do not have small glasses and I refused to buy them at the grocery store. I would prefer a small eclectic collection of drinking glasses, but I am still good with going to Target and picking up a pack of four. Yeah, I might do that.
shesingsnow: (Default)
I really miss cooking - and it helps to heal me. So, this afternoon I made a Shallot-Corn Salad. I adapted this from Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks Summer Corn Salad recipe.

- 4 ears of raw corn
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- white vinegar combined with the lemon juice to make 1/3 cup
- olive oil whisked with the lemon juice mixture to make a dressing
- 3/4 cups of sunflower seeds
- 1 tsbp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp celtic sea salt

Mix and enjoy. I'm actually rather surprised at how very good it is.

shesingsnow: (Default)
Need to figure out how to turn off the flash on my camera.

In any case, I haven't made this in ages and I was craving it. So, instead of chili, today I'm making Scalloped Potatoes au Gratin. Yesterday I retrieved my Le Creuset buffet pan from the basement in South Glastonbury and forgot it there. I picked it this morning.


Read more... )

It's currently baking in the oven.
shesingsnow: (Default)
My old roommate Holly taught me this recipe. She used Rotel, but that's too hot for me and I don't like the jalapeno flavor, so...

So, I chopped up a huge sweet onion, a green pepper and tossed them into a saute pan. Threw in a can of diced tomatoes.

Then chopped up a brick of Velveeta Buffalo-flavor cheese spread. Melted it all together:

And then, in a separate pan, I cooked three chicken breasts, for later chopping up and putting into the dip:

YUM! I dip tortillas into this and munch!
shesingsnow: (Default)
Well, [ profile] matociquala posted pictures about making chili yesterday, so I decided to go ahead and make some today. This is my first attempt at making chili, other than from a packet of Cincinnati chili spices!

I'm also going to attempt to image source links from PicasaWeb. We'll see if that works...

cut for lotsa pictures )

And voila!

Oh my FSM that's good. Wow. Spicy but not so spicy that I can't eat it. Lots of flavor.

I think I'm going to treat this like Cinci chili and make some pasta for it. Then, layer the chili over the pasta, and a ton of shredded cheddar over that. I think my baby ulcer is going to object.

April 2017



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