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: (foodie)
This afternoon I'm making one of my favorite dishes - meatballs in a buttermilk mustard sauce. I love it. I don't make it all that often, but I should! I have some brown rice cooking up in the crockpot now.

2014-02-08 meatballs

Recipe:

Meatballs: Make the meatballs of your preference, whether they are ground sirloin or walnut-lentil or everything in-between.

Buttermilk-Mustard Sauce: Buy a 1 quart container of buttermilk. Melt 3tbsp butter (or, in my case, Earth Balance) in a sauce pan. Add 1/4 cup of flour. Whisk together. Add 1 tbsp Colman's dry mustard. Add 1/4 cup sugar. Whisk some more - it will be a dry paste. Add in a cup of buttermilk. Whisk everything together until all lumps are dissolved. Add the rest of the buttermilk. Whisk over medium heat until sauce thickens. {Vegan style: grab the milk of your choice, say, 1 nearly-quart-size container of Hemp Milk. Add 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Let sit for 10 minutes. Then use in recipe.}

Rice: Make the rice of your choosing. My favorite is Jasmine rice, but I currently only have Short Brown Rice in the house, so I am making that in some vegetable broth.

Combine all three!

2014_02_08 mustard sauce with meatballs
shesingsnow: (foodie)
Trader Joe's Harvest Grains blend (Israeli couscous, spinach orzo, baby garbanzo beans, red quinoa.)

Harvest Grains Blend

I added to it: vegetable broth, sweet onion, broccoli, sweet peppers, kale, cannellini beans. Cooked in the crockpot for a few hours.

I topped it with sunflower seeds for texture and flavor.

Couscous_quinoa_and_Beans
shesingsnow: (foodie)
Roused myself to make some Miso Soup.

Miso_Soup_22Jan14

Not bad. Needs some extra flavor, I thank. I did not have any dashi nor wakame in the house, but I did have Bragg's sea vegetable shaker seasoning. I used a mellow white miso, so I suspect I need to add a bit more salt. I also put sweet onion in it, cubes of tofu and scallions. Used 4tsp of miso for 2 cups of water.

I am not sure if I made miso soup at some point while I was living in Florida ('99-'07). I might have, especially when I was a part of the buying club.
shesingsnow: (foodie)
Carrot-ginger soup, whipped with coconut milk, topped with scallions

I slow-cooked, as in Crock Pot, two pounds of baby carrots with a healthy-sized knob of ginger (minced as finely as I had patience for). This had some water, coconut milk and some liquified cornstarch in it as well.

I then drained the contents of the crock into a colander-over-a-bowl.

I put about 1 cup of the carrots into the larger size Magic Bullet cup.
Added 1/4 cup of the carrot-ginger juice.
Added 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut milk.
Added a pinch of salt and pepper.
Whipped it all together until it was smooth and silky.
Poured it into a bowl.
Topped it with chopped scallions.

And got this:

carrot_ginger soup

To be honest, the scallions really made it for me.
shesingsnow: (foodie)
Been wanting to make a French onion soup since I made it a few months ago. I couldn't find the recipe I used, so I went hunting and found this one. I tend to read recipes and use them as inspiration rather than follow the recipe by the letter, so I've written down what I actually did as opposed to what the recipe says.

- 4 big sweet onions, diced and sliced
- 1/2 cup of organic sugar
- 1/2 cup of an old Riesling that I still had in the fridge
- 1/4 tsp of Penzey's dry French Thyme
- a pinch of sea salt
- a pound of button mushroom caps, diced (use the stems for something else)
- a 32oz container of organic vegetable broth
- a pinch of pepper, as needed
- 1 tbsp cornstarch, optional

1) Sauté the onions on medium. After about 5 minutes, when the onions are good and warm and starting to release their juice, add the sugar. Keep sautéing until they start turning brown. Do not put a lid on the pan; let the juices evaporate. Don't turn the heat up so high the the onions are burning. Stir periodically.

2) Add the mushrooms to the onions. Stir periodically. Let the onions release their juices and cook down. Add the salt.

Patience. It takes a while. You could easily do this part by baking the onions and mushrooms in the oven or in a crockpot.

3) When the mushrooms are fairly cooked but not dark brown yet, add the thyme and the wine. You may find later that you want to add more thyme and Salt and Pepper for taste.

4) When the mixture is good and cooked down, add in the vegetable broth. Add as much as you want to create a soup. Some folks like a thin soup; I prefer it much thicker, so I only add about two cups of broth. Season to taste. - Marlene sez: I actually felt like something more thick, so I put a tablespoon of cornstarch into a tiny bowl and added some cold vegetable broth to it, stirred that to dissolve the cornstarch and then added it to the hot mixture.

At some point, when you're satisfied with the taste, ladle the soup into a bowl. Float a slice of garlic bread or some such on top! Melt swiss or gruyere cheese on top if you'd like (under the broiler if the bowl is safe for the boiler).
shesingsnow: (foodie)
Saw this recipe yesterday and wanted to try it. I've seen it before, but now the time is right. I headed out this afternoon to pick up the ingredients that I needed. West African Peanut Soup - SoupAddict.com

First I sautéed the red onion and sweet potato.
Then I added the fresh minced ginger and garlic.
Then I added the tomato paste to the sauté. (Organic Stop & Stop brand)
Then I added the can of diced tomatoes. (Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted)
Then I added 4 cups of vegetable broth. (Organic Stop & Shop brand)

That seemed like an awful lot of broth to me, especially when compared to the picture. Hmm. Here's the picture from the site:

west-african-peanut-soup-1-032313

I brought the mixture up to a boil. Then I put 1 cup of smooth peanut butter (Organic Stop & Shop brand) into a bowl. I put roughly a cup of the hot broth into the bowl. Used a whisk to bring it together. Poured the peanut butter-broth mixture into the pot. Stirred. Added 1 tbsp of cayenne pepper. Then I added two handfuls of baby spinach.

Now, one of my favorite flavors on the planet is Thai peanut sauce. I could eat that and only that for days. This is exactly what the soup tastes like. A big old Thai peanut sauce soup. It is FANTASTIC. Too spicy for me - about 1/2 the cayenne will do. [I will probably have to toss much of this because it really is too spicy, even when sopped up by bread.] But wow. I'm thrilled.

Next time I might purée the whole thing when it's ready, right before adding the spinach. (Really needing an immersion blender!)

It looks nothing like the picture in the recipe. Here is a picture, sans the recommended garnish, with some olive-oil ciabatta on the side:

2013-12-29 West African Peanut Soup
shesingsnow: (Eureka's Zoe look)
So, I'm calling it a Cherry Cheesecake Pudding Pie.

I made a few mistakes along the way for sheer lack of planning, but it worked out great.

And, to recap, Dad picked up a 5lb bag of sweet cherries out of the blue.

Photos mostly behind the cut.

Read more... )


cherry_pie

And it tastes truly fantastic.
shesingsnow: (Default)
Okay, I just made a 9x13 hamburger & rice casserole. Should last for a while. This is not exactly healthy, but the idea here was to stay away from pasta and spread a pound of hamburger over multiple days.

My body really does like the no-bread and no-pasta diet. No gluten, essentially. The low-grade infection I've had for years is nearly disappeared. I haven't gone entirely gluten-free, but yesterday I realized that I've managed (without a plan) to go mostly gluten-free in the past few weeks with this unexpected beneficial result. So, I am one step short of buying the various specialty flours.

Now, I am unable to eat rice unless it's made into risotto or made somehow super-soft. Plain rice has been known to give me trouble with one bite (read that as: it will not go down and must come up). So I have to be really careful. I really wish I could find more short-grain rice in the supermarket.

Anyway, yesterday I bought a package of Thai Jasmine Rice. I adore jasmine and arborio rice. Not familiar with much else.

Yesterday, I experimented with making rice in my tiny crockpot. All would have turned out well if I had not forgotten about it completely. So, by the time I remembered it, it was rice mush with a beautiful brown crust around the outside. I did not know what to do with the crust, so I threw it out. To the mush I added milk, vanilla/cinnamon powder, brown sugar and some vanilla to turn it into rice pudding. It was fantastic.

Today I thought - hey - I will try making rice the stovetop way. I knew I needed something heavy, so I pulled out the Le Creuset enameled cast iron 3-qt pot and brought four cups of water to a boil in it. I opened up the new package of jasmine rice and put two cups into the boiling water. I put the cover on and turned the heat to low. Set the timer to 15 minutes.

To my astonishment - I rather expected something to go wrong - it came out perfectly. Perfect. Soft enough for me to eat a little plain rice.

While the the rice was cooking, I cooked a pound of super-lean hamburger with some a chopped Vidalia onion and a spoonful of minced garlic. On a lark - for a twist - I added a small can of tomato paste to that. Oh, and lots of basil and thyme.

When the rice was done, I poured it into a large bowl. I added two cans of cream of mushroom soup and one can of milk. A handful of parmesan and a bag of shredded sharp cheddar. A cup of sour cream. S&P. Stirred it all together.

When the hamburger was done, I added it to the rice mixture. Poured all of it into the 9x13 dish and put it into the oven.
shesingsnow: (Default)
Leftover from last night's dinner with the folks. Garlic bread, butternut squash & apples. I sauteed the chicken with the leftover stuffing & gravy and a bunch of Old Bay.



shesingsnow: (foodie)
Okay, this is an 8-pound turkey-size chicken. I sauteed up some diced veggies leftover from Friday's salad: mushrooms, carrots, green beans, yellow pepper, red onion, celery, shallot. I mixed that with some butter and some chicken broth. Brought that to a boil and mixed with two cups of Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing.

I had already removed the gizzards from the chicken and rinsed the chicken again. I had a 6-quart saucier pan ready. (I threw out my chicken-roasting pan earlier this year because that's what I made the wheat gluten "brains" in and left it in there too long.) I'd semi-melted half a stick of butter and mixed that with a healthy dose of Bell's Poultry Seasoning. (I don't think I have tried this seasoning before, but it smells SO good.)

I sat the chicken upright and spooned the boiling-hot stuffing into the chicken. Then I laid it down (and ended up flipping it over because I always think the bottom is the top). I put the rest of the stuffing into the pot. Then I Ioosened up the skin on top. I grabbed the bowl of seasoned butter and slathered that all over the chicken, quite a bit under the skin and around the thighs and wings and then all over the top.

I covered it and into the oven it went. I don't usually try to crisp up the skin like I would on a turkey. Hmm. Yeah, it'll be fine. It has a pop-up timer but I loosened it when I was putting the butter on, so we'll see if it works. Going to leave it in there at 350F for three hours, or when I'm happy with it.

The gizzards are in a small sauce pan in the oven with some roughly chopped red onion and shallot. I put in a spoonful of minced garlic and a tablespoon or so of the Bell's Poultry Seasoning. Then I put in a few cups of chicken broth. Later on, I will strain this and make a gravy out of it.
shesingsnow: (Default)
Was determined to keep cooking today - and I love to cook - so I made this casserole!






Right now my goal is: No Fast Food. Period. Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon - four days so far. We'll see how tomorrow works out.

I'll get into the "healthier" recipes later, if I can develop a habit of cooking at home. It's not too bad, though: skim milk, low-fat cheese. I've been making myself develop a staples grocery list as I've gone along these past four days, through the kitchen.

And I've been sticking to one cup of coffee per day. I have loads of herbal tea, but I'm not in the habit of making it. I didn't take a nap Friday or Sunday, and only an hour on Saturday, but I did sleep for three hours today - mostly because I was seriously stressed out, rather than tired.

Other pictures and recipe stuff behind the cut!

Read more... )

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