rikibeth: (Default)
First of all, if you like the Avengers at ALL, and you need a good laugh, you need to read this fic, by scifigirl47:

Phil Coulson Does Not Bake (and The Avengers Do Not Shop At IKEA Anymore)

Summary:

Sometimes Tony Stark makes poor choices. Sometimes Tony pushes his teasing of Steve Rogers just a little too far. Sometimes Steve decides he's had enough.

Phil Coulson's the one who's got to write this nonsense up, and he does not bake.

I can pretty much guarantee you that by the end of the fic, you will be craving cookies.

Here is how you go about solving that:

7 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp baking soda
4 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves

3/4# (3 sticks) unsalted butter
4 cups brown sugar (packed)
4 eggs
1 cup molasses
2 tsp vanilla

1 14.5 oz jar lingonberry jam

About a cup of granulated sugar in a little bowl

(I know the story says loganberry. IKEA sells lingonberry jam, not loganberry. I got mine at Whole Foods, though.)

You know how to make cookie dough, right? Preheat the oven to 350F. You sift everything in that first batch of ingredients together. You take the butter and sugar and cream them together (stand mixer, handheld mixer, a wooden spoon if you're really dedicated and you don't have some sort of electric mixer) and then mix in the eggs and vanilla and molasses. Then you mix in the dry stuff.

This recipe is for thumbprint cookies. 8 dozen of them. Adjust your recipe accordingly if you don't need eight dozen cookies right now.

If you really don't know how to make thumbprint cookies: roll some of the dough into a little ball. Smaller than a golf ball, smaller than a ping-pong ball -- a Superball is about right. Then, and this is important for this flavor, roll that Superball in granulated sugar and put it on your cookie sheet. (Use your favorite method of making cookies not stick. I use baking parchment.) Leave plenty of space between the cookies -- they spread. A LOT. When your baking sheet is full (expect to only fit a dozen) poke a depression in each cookie with your thumb. Fill that depression with jam. A piping bag doesn't really give much advantage over a spoon, in this case -- I did both.

Bake 12 minutes at 350F. Let the cookies cool for about two minutes on the sheets, then slide the paper or foil off the hot sheets and get it onto a cooler surface, and then after another few minutes lift the cookies off with a spatula and get them onto a wire rack. You DO NOT want these cookies to overbake or have too much carryover cooking from the hot cookie sheets, because you want them chewy, and if they go too long they will be crunchy.

Here is Plush Team Delta re-enacting a scene from the story:





Go forth, read, and bake!
rikibeth: (Default)
Or, more accurately, summer food prep, as I tried to use the stove as little as possible. Because it's going to be beastly hot all week, and I don't want to cook at all, and I suspect I will barely want to eat. Having cold food around already prepared should counter that somewhat. I already had some homemade hummus in the fridge. But that wasn't going to carry me through. So, yesterday, after I went to the grocery store, I came home and made:

Lemon dill butter
Cucumber dill yogurt soup
Gazpacho
Pasta salad
and
Deviled eggs.

The lemon dill butter was easy, but I might as well record the proportions for future reference, as it came out well, and I was going by the method of "this looks about right":

12 oz (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
About 1/2 bunch fresh dill, fronds only, lightly chopped
zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp kosher salt (approximate, I did that thing with the palm of my hand)
Beat together at low speed in stand mixer, put in 1 lb deli container & refrigerate.

Cucumber yogurt soup is one of those idiot easy things. I checked proportions on the web and tweaked it a little based on what I had; I used 3 cucumbers, peeled and seeded, the rest of the bunch of dill left over from the lemon dill butter (including all the stems), roughly 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt (I didn't measure, because I had about half a quart container left, and I said "close enough"), a clove of garlic, and 1 tsp salt. Directions: dump everything in the food processor and run it until it's soup.

Gazpacho: I used Ina Garten's recipe on the Food Network site, the only tweaks being that I added a small handful of flat-leaf parsley and substituted a green bell pepper for one of the red ones, because I only bought one red bell pepper (oops) and I had a whole bag of green ones. I let it chill in the fridge for five hours before I tried any, so it wouldn't be hotspacho, and here are my observations:
  • Totally not spicy. I should have expected this as it only had 1 tsp ground black pepper in the whole thing, and no hot peppers at all. Given that I add Tabasco to my morning V8 juice, this was not to my taste. Immediate fix: add Tabasco (another hot sauce might be better, but the only other one I had on hand was sriracha, which didn’t seem right). Future fix: add a jalapeno?
  • Very thick. Is gazpacho supposed to be only barely more liquid than salsa? Is this a “to taste” variation? Considering adding some ice cubes. May add one to my next bowl individually.
  • Low acidity. Again, this may be the intention, but I found it disappointing. Somewhat improved in first bowl by adding the vinegar-based Tabasco. Have added juice of one lime to the remains of the batch, letting it sit, will taste again at dinner time.
  • Must pester kiddo to try some today, because I really really want cilantro in it, and if kiddo doesn’t like the gazpacho, I can add it to the whole batch, instead of just adding bits to my own servings.
  • garnish with scallions? I have this whole bunch of scallions and then the recipe didn’t call for any, wtf.
Also, it has been so long since I made it. I wonder if the recipe I used to use at Michaele’s is still in my purple notebook. I wonder how different it is. This one seems to work on the principle of “make pico de gallo, add cucumbers, turn into soup with tomato juice.” Which is not a bad principle.

I wonder what the old-style one with stale bread is like? Maybe I should find a recipe and use some of the stale bread cubes I have in the freezer and find out.

Pasta salad: same as I always make, with penne, chick peas, black olives, cucumber, green pepper, and sharp cheddar, doused in store brand Italian dressing. This is [personal profile] eternaleponine's method. According to her, it is the only way to make pasta salad, and as it's the only one she'll eat, it's how I make it.

Deviled eggs: there is no recipe. Boil the eggs, peel them, halve them, mush up the yolks with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and a little salt, until it tastes right; pipe the yolks into the halves, and sprinkle with paprika. I boiled a whole dozen eggs this time. They were being super uncooperative about peeling, and I only remembered the bit about "start from the blunt end where the air pocket is" when I was about 2/3 done, so I have a lot of fairly mangled-looking eggs. But these are not for catering, so they don't have to be pretty.

If anyone expects me to cook for the rest of the week, they are SORELY mistaken.


rikibeth: (Bandanagirl - Vampire Red)
Out of all the eight nights of Hanukkah, there were only two this year when all three of us would be in the house: last Thursday, and tonight. I didn't have the energy on Thursday, so I made our annual latke feast tonight.

For three people, I used five pounds of russet potatoes, two smallish onions, two eggs, and enough salt. No flour, no matzo meal, no baking powder; flour and matzo meal make the latkes heavy, and trying to lighten them with baking powder makes them bitter. These are latkes as the Flying Spaghetti Monster intended -- pure potato goodness.

Here is what you do: you peel the potatoes. You can do this ahead of time; just leave the peeled potatoes in a bowl of cold water, so they don't discolor.

When you're ready to grate them, also peel the onions. You can grate them by hand on a box grater (watch out for your knuckles) or a wire safety grater -- the safety grater gives the best texture, but it takes kind of a long time and leaves your arm sore. I do as my father the engineer did, and use a food processor. First put everything through on the grating disk, and then pulverize the shreds with the chopping blade. You'll want to get the onion into the mix pretty early, because onions are full of antioxidants and keep the potatoes from turning funny colors. You'll want a mixing bowl to hold the shreds, and another to hold the puree, unless you've got a commercial-capacity RobotCoupe or something -- five pounds is too much for the workbowl of your average household processor, so you'll need to work in batches.

When all you have is a bowl of puree, dump it into a colander that you've lined with a kitchen towel. NOT paper towels, they'll disintegrate. NOT terrycloth, the puree will stick to the nap. Linen tea towel, or flour sack towel, or one of those gauze not-prefolded "diapers" that people only ever use as burp cloths, or scrap muslin, or several layers of cheesecloth if that's the best you can do. Gather up the cloth around the puree. Wring out EVERY LAST BIT OF LIQUID YOU CAN MANAGE. This is the secret, right here. If you get the potato mixture nice and dry, you don't need flour or matzo meal to absorb the moisture, and they will fry up crisp and delicious.

Sprinkle generously with kosher salt, and mix in two eggs. I know of no better method than squishing them in with your hands. The sink's right there.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet until shimmering. (A griddle doesn't hold the depth of oil you need.) Drop in spoonfuls of the mixture. Flatten them out nicely. When they're browned around the edges, flip them over and cook the other side.

Remove to a baking sheet lined with a brown paper grocery bag. Eat them as soon as they're cool enough to pick up. Latke night does not require plates. It requires everyone hanging around in the kitchen and eating them as you fry them. The cook, too.

I did put the last two latkes of mine onto a small plate so I could enjoy them with a spoonful of sour cream. But it's not necessary. Some people like applesauce. I don't.

Nothing else is served for dinner on latke night. Nutrition be damned. We've got a miracle to celebrate here.
rikibeth: (Bandanagirl - Vampire Red)
Tonight's dinner:

1 blob pizza dough, stretched and covered with
Two large spoonfuls of onion marmalade and
A whole bunch of feta cheese crumbles

baked for 20 minutes at 450F.

[livejournal.com profile] eternaleponine was doubtful, even though it's pretty much the same construct as the Trader Joe's onion and feta hors d'oeuvres puffs she adores, only pizza instead of phyllo. Nevertheless, while she suggested some tweaks (the feta crumbles are saltier and less creamy than the cheese mixture in the puffs, so maybe I should mix them with fresh goat cheese) she ate a second piece.

So did I. The kid did not answer when called for dinner, and is probably napping.

Therefore, if hungry upon waking, the kid can eat a burrito, since I made a pot of burrito rice as backup just in case the onion-feta flatbread pizza didn't go over well.

Because we are eating it ALL.
rikibeth: (Bandanagirl - Vampire Red)
I figured I'd write this down, in case someone else needs to make gravy suitable for vegetarians.

2 Tbsp butter (if you're cooking for vegans, go ahead and use vegetable oil)
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp Marmite
1 tbsp onion marmalade
Few sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
2 cups Imagine Organics No-Chicken Broth
1 tbsp sherry
Black pepper

If you don't have onion marmalade on hand, increase the fat to 3 Tbsp, and begin by caramelizing, oh, I'd say 1/4 cup raw onion thinly sliced as the first step.

Add the flour, Marmite, and thyme, and make a roux. Cook for 5 minutes so the flour doesn't taste raw.

Add the broth, gradually at first, whisking as you add so there won't be lumps. Add the sherry, and, if you're using onion marmalade, plunk it in now.

Bring to a boil, turn it down to a simmer, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Add black pepper to taste at the end. I would say taste for salt, but, seriously, with the Marmite in there, it is NOT going to need more salt.

This also works with plain old vegetable stock, but isn't as convincingly poultry-like. You decide if that's a bug or a feature.

Works on stuffing, mashed potatoes, French fries, basically ANYTHING you want gravy on. Enjoy!

Tofu salad

Nov. 12th, 2010 09:05 am
rikibeth: (Bandanagirl - Vampire Red)
I only worked one day this week. It was kind of harrowing, because the kitchen was down three people, and I'd never been there before, and three different people telling me (conflicting) things to do, but the highlight was that I got to invent a tofu salad.

Here's what I put in it:

6 tubs Nasoya Extra Firm tofu, cut into large cubes
4 red bell peppers, diced medium large
2 red onions, diced not quite so large
Enough snow peas to make it look like a good color balance
Half a bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

Dressing: soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, chopped garlic, white pepper. I couldn't begin to tell you proportions, I just grabbed a fistful of plastic spoons and kept tasting until it seemed good. If there had been fresh ginger in the house I'd have put some in. A squirt of sriracha sauce or a dash of sugar wouldn't hurt either, but I was in a rush.

Garnish with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.

Chef said it was delicious.

Scaling it down is left as an exercise for the reader.

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