Cooking and Food, v. 2011
Two of our favorite things! Now, let’s hear Choklit Orange’s ratatouille recipe.
Continued (loosely speaking) from v. 2009.
Friday, 24 March 2017
Life, the universe, pies, hot-pink bunnies, world domination, and everything
Two of our favorite things! Now, let’s hear Choklit Orange’s ratatouille recipe.
Continued (loosely speaking) from v. 2009.
I stink at cooking. One time, I accidentally used powdered sugar instead of flour in a brownie recipie. They turned out all mushy and terrible (but very sweet)!
Once when I was very young, my dad and I were baking a cake for my mom. All went well, but instead of powdered sugar in the icing, my dad put in granulated sugar. I, being four, did nothing but watch as it grew a grainy consistency.
Then another time my mom was making this cake out of bananas and chocolate chips. It was sitting on the stove. Unfortunately the stove was on. We were lucky the glass didn’t shatter, but the whole thing was burnt. It tasted like smoke. My mom composted it to get rid of the fruit flies in our compost bin.
My Biggest Cooking Disaster Ever:
Making chocolate chip cookies, I scooped the flour bowl into the other ingredients which were in the mixer. Suddenly the spoon flew into the mixer and made this sound that sounded like an elephant in a china shop. Then, being a weakling, I dropped the bowl, which was glass. Shards and flour went EVERYWHERE. The cookies were very oily from not having enough flour. We had to scoop more flour in.
I have my own disaster:
Once when I was peeling potatoes with Mom, I was looking up and then, when looked down, a section of my thumb was bleeding. When we ate the salad that night, I thought about how I could be eating my own thumb.
Mmmmmmmmmm, my mom made ratatouille for Thanksgiving once. It was amazing, especially with the goat cheese….
Yesyesyes! Thank you, GAPAs!
So. Ratatouille. Mine doesn’t come out anything like the stuff in the Pixar movie, but in my opinion that looks like salami. It tastes pretty good. Note that since this is a general throw-in-whatever’s-languishing-in-the-fridge dish, you can add all sorts of herbs- basil, thyme, pepper. I like it plain.
2 medium zucchinis
1 long eggplant
2 large onions
4 cloves of garlic
1 bell pepper in a nice contrasting color
1 handful of salt
1 can of pureed tomatoes
as much olive oil as you can find
1 baguette (not whole wheat)
Chop the zucchini into pieces about the size of the top segment of your thumb. Do the same with the eggplant. Place these in separate strainers (in the sink) and mix each with 1/2 handful of salt. This causes the vegetables to exude their excess juices (boy, we are being appetizing today) so they will not splash hot oil at you when you fry them.
While the zucchini and eggplant are exuding, dice the onions into fingernail-sized pieces (I hate measurements), heat up a thick coating of olive oil in a pan, and toss them in. Once the onions are nice and hot and greasy, crush the garlic into the pan. Please, for the love of god, do not bother with that nonsense about chopping garlic or squashing it with your thumb because it’s more gourmet. Just mash the stuff. When the onions are translucent and slightly browned, dump them into a large pot, into which you will have added the entire can of pureed tomatoes.
Using a small knife (one of the sharp, sophisticated ones that your mother told you never to use is best) cut around the stem of the bell pepper and pull it out as you would a pumpkin. Stick your hand into the opening and yank out the pepper’s innards (yum). Rinse out the pepper and chop it into fingernail-sized bits. Fry these- more oil- until they are sort of limp, and toss ‘em into the pot.
Rinse the zucchini pieces off (stir them with one hand to dissolve all the extra salt) and toss them in a dishtowel until they’re semi-dry. Fry them in- you guessed it- more olive oil, one layer at a time, until they are sort of webbed-brown on each side. They should all end up in the pot as well. Rinse and dry the eggplant and fry it- again, one layer at a time- until the purpleness starts to fade.
Dice the tomato and scoop it, juice and all, into the pot. Heat the pot, stirring it once in a while, until the juice is just bubbling a bit. Slice the baguette and toast the slices. Dump the ratatouille into a large bowl.
Serve with the toasted bread.
It tastes at least as good on the second day, provided you refrigerate it, and you can dump a bit more tomato puree in and use it as pasta sauce, should you be so inclined.
I’m sorry this is so long- GAPAs, if you don’t want to read through it, I promise it contains no profanity.
My mom and I make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world! The trick is to add cinnamon and nutmeg, and take them out a few minutes before the recipe says you should. Also, we use our chickens’ eggs, which are ridiculously fresh and awesome, so I think that helps.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
Mix butter and sugar, then mix in the egg, then mix in the flour. Bake in 8x8x2 pan at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes.
This recipe came from my great-grandmother, and it is by far the most decadent thing that I have ever tasted. And while I haven’t tried it, I am suspicious that adding chocolate to this recipe would make awesome brownies.
Anyone here tried making their own eggnog? I used to hate store-bought stuff, but a few years ago my dad and I tried the Good Eats recipe and it is great
I poached an egg this morning! I still need some practice because I like hard-poached and this was about 3/4 of the way there…but i still did it!
I think I’m going to try some different things with tofu this afternoon, perhaps.
Oh my god, I loved the tv show, and then when I found out it was a book, I loved it even more. My brother and I, when we were little, made an imaginary world called Ratnia that was roughly based off of the show. We drew all of these pictures of the citizens (they were rats, obviously), and made this humongous map and storyline to go with it. The pictures were beautiful, thanks to my brother’s art skills. Abiut a year after we started, we brought them with us when we went to visit my aunt in NC, but they somehow got lost and my brother and I never redid them.
Yes! when I was 10, I was ridiculously obsessed with the Redwall series. I’ve gotten over it a little, but I still hold a special place in my heart for talking mice, otters, hedgehogs, hares, badgers and moles.
I was utterly obsessed with Redwall for about a year, but I eventually stopped reading them. Now I’m not sure whether to go back to reading them, as I’m afraid I won’t like them as much as I did when I was younger.
Also, I think that there’s a Redwall cookbook out there somewhere.
*performs Internet search*
Yes, there is. I remember that there always were particularly vivid descriptions of food in that series.
2 1/4 cups white flour
1 3/4 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter
Grease a 12 muffin-mold pans with the butter. Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl. Fill the muffin pans about 3/4 of the way with the resulting batter. Bake at 475F for 25 minutes. Don’t open the oven door unless you smell something burning- the slightest disturbance in air consistency could cause the popovers to collapse and, in the case of one of my more disturbing trials, burst into flames.
Remove the popovers from their molds immediately. Serve warm.
Ahh, cooking & food. How wonderfull. You guys are making me extremely hungry so I am going to go and eat something.
We just got a slow cooker, so we can throw stuff into it and have something good tasting when we get home. The only downside is that my brothers feel the need to count down with the 24 hour timer.
My specialty is turning out to be pancakes. I made tiramisu pancakes for my birthday (got the recipe from Fortune Cell), and I have cinnamon bun pancakes on the list next. A friend of mine showed me a cake batter pancake recipe as well… we may just need to have a huge pancake day sometime soon XD
Everyone should now go and watch Regular Ordinary Swedish Meal Time. You can thank me later.
I don’t know why Ordinary Regular Swedish Meal Time is so funny, but it just is.
Having been inspired to start baking, today i made focaccia. Also, i found a recipe for vegan avacado-chocolate cupcakes that i want to try.
Cheese! It’s so easy! Well, the flavorless stuff, anyway. My mom took a cheese-making class in New Zealand, where, since the government is very protective of the environment, you literally have to order enzymes off the black market.
4 cups milk
Half of lemon
Juice the lemon and combine the (strained) juice with the milk. Boil this. Let it boil for two minutes, disregarding violent foaming and only turning down the burner if the milk overboils. Strain resulting chaos. Retain both products. Take the solid stuff in the strainer and squeeze out as much of the whey (that’s the murky watery stuff) as possible in a cloth. Put the squeezed curds in a bowl and add 4 tablespoons of milk. Beat with an electric mixer on medium or high. If the mixture does not resemble cottage cheese, add more milk or drain a bit out.
Whey resulting from above process
Other half of lemon
Strain the whey, attempting to remove as many of the floating bits as possible (if you do not, they become small and disturbing crunchy bits in your ricotta). Place the whey in a pot and let it cool to room temperature. Then heat it to simmering temperature and let it cool again. When it reaches about 95F, put in the rest of the lemon juice. Allow to sit for several minutes. Strain out the glop you have produced and beat it on high.
19 – I am absolutely trying this over spring break. It seems so easy! And I never knew that ricotta was whey cheese. I never considered where it came from; this way, there’s no waste! Thank you for this recipe!
I tried the cottage cheese, and it worked wonderfully. One thing you should definitely definitely add to that recipe is salt, before you put it in the mixer. It’s even more delicious that way.
The ricotta, on the other hand, was a bit of a flop. I got held up by the formation of the proteins; I might have heated it too high in the beginning or something. I’m going to try again using Wikipedia’s explanation of the process. I found the whole passage quite informative:
“Ricotta is produced from whey, the liquid separated from the curds when cheese is made. Most of the milk protein (especially casein) is removed when cheese is made, but some protein remains in the whey, mostly albumin. This remaining protein can be harvested if the whey is first allowed to become more acidic by additional fermentation (by letting it sit for 12–24 hours at room temperature). Then the acidified whey is heated to near boiling. The combination of low pH and high temperature denatures the protein and causes it to precipitate out, forming a fine curd. Once cooled, the curd is separated by passing through a fine cloth.”
When you did this, Choklit Orange, how did you strain the ricotta?
On another note, I am celebrating my birthday this weekend, and I plan to make some kind of unbelievably fabulous cake, cutting the cake into thin layers, making different kinds of chic frostings, the works. I will post all about it once it has happened. Undoubtedly, nothing will go as planned.
Cheesecloth. It worked the first time, but I tried it again a couple of days ago and only got a couple of spoonfuls of ricotta out of the whey. Sorry.
I made a GREAT cake yesterday for my birthday celebration. It had four thin layers of cake, separated by alternating layers of chocolate cream filling and buttercream frosting. In the process, I learned a lot about building a cake and how you can get all of it to work; next time I make a cake, I can refine the techniques I’ve learned!
My beloved baking expert Dorie Greenspan (her book, Baking: From My Home to Yours is pretty much my pastry bible) had some genius tips on building up the structure of the cake:
1. . Make sure the cake is completely cooled before you try to cut it in half.
2. . If you aren’t using a cardboard cake round, put parchment or wax paper on the dish your cake is going on in four strips, in a square (with emptiness in the center), and then pull them out from underneath when you’re finished decorating. That way, the dish will stay clean and you don’t have to worry about moving the cake once it’s decorated (impossible, for the record.) Remove the paper as soon as the cake is fully decorated (when the icing is still soft).
3. . Divide the filling or frosting into the number of portions you’ll need beforehand (eyeball it and draw a line).
4. . If it’s four layers of cake, do cut side down, cut side up, cut side up, cut side down; most importantly, the top layer should be the flattest side you’ve got, probably one from the bottom of the pan, cut side down.
5. . Except the top layer, of course, leave about 1/4 inch of space between the frosting and the edge of the cake.
6. . Once you get to the top layer, frost the sides of the cake first, letting the frosting peek a little above the edge of the top layer.
7. . IF you’re using a buttercream or other frosting that you want to keep smooth, give the whole cake a very thin coating of the frosting (a “crumb coat” for sealing in stray crumbs) and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes to set the frosting, then continue.
8. . When you do the top of the cake, put almost all the rest of the frosting in the center, and spread it out (if you’re using a lazy susan or decorator’s table this will be even easier).
9. . If you’re adding sprinkles or something to press into the sides or top, you should do that while the icing is still soft.
10. . Once assembled, cakes will benefit from sitting for a few hours to allow the components to settle into a whole.
— You can make the fillings and frostings in advance.
— I discovered (after a few trials from days past in which there errors) that if you don’t want the cake to crown (for a layer cake), then about 1/3 of the way through the baking time, you should spread the batter from the middle out to the edges; you’ll have to even the top out a bit (with a long serrated knife) once it’s fully baked, but that is an option far superior to any others I’ve encountered.
(Leaving the rounded top isn’t a great option, because there isn’t a good way for the layers to accommodate; the whole cake ends up sagging. Cutting the crown off works, but that can remove a considerable amount of cake. It’s a pain to cut down the sides to match the narrowest point, both for the ease of frosting spreading and maintaining uniformity in the cake diameter.)
Just be careful about keeping it even when you cut the rougher parts off.
Once again, my inclination to say things in multiple ways has killed any chance of brevity.
My brother, Jacob and I made pastry cream last night (delicious, although more like tapioca than cream), and we’re going to use it to fill profiteroles that we make tomorrow. (Someday, we’ll make a bunch of pastry cream, maybe of different flavors, and also some kind of ganache, and then use it for a bunch of éclairs the next day. I’ll let you know how that goes.)
The recipe calls for 6 egg yolks and 0 egg whites, so we decided to save the whites and we made meringue cookies today! They’re in the oven right now. I’m very excited, and quite proud of my economical baking. (not that I would just toss 6 egg whites, but still.)
They’re so cute and tiny! Each one has about the diameter of a dime!
That sounds good. Could you post the recipe for the pastry cream? Sometimes I make meringue buttercream frosting that uses egg whites but not egg yolks, and I’m never really sure what to do with them.
24.1 (Robert) – He is doing quite well, given the circumstances. He and I have had the chance to spend a lot more time together since our family went from 5 to 2. As it turns out, he’s a cool kid!
24.2 (Sudo) When we return home, I will try to remember to type that up for you! I’ve only made it once, so I haven’t had the chance to tinker with it as I’d like to, but if I ever do, I’ll post any changes. If you don’t want to make the cream every time you make the frosting, there are a lot of options for using egg yolks; for one thing, you can usually add them to scrambled eggs without a problem.
Golly gee whiz willikers! Sorry! Not Sudo, Pseudonym. Holy crickets. I guess your names sound alike?
25 – Thanks. I made the frosting today for a hazelnut cake, but I knocked over the bowl that had the yolks in it and spilled it all over the stove. The frosting was good though.
Okay, Psudonym. Here’s the recipe for pastry cream, with a few of my own notes thrown in (because I can’t resist).
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
. . . . . . . I found 1/3 cup to be a lot. I haven’t tried this yet, but I would recommend 5 tablespoons at most. 4-5, I would say. You do not want the cream to taste like corn starch.
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature.
1. . . Begin bringing the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
2. . . Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended.
3. . . Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk–this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won’t curdle.
4. . . Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk.
5. . . Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get to the edges of the pot) (that is important), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.
If you happen to get caught up in an episode of This American Life and do not take the pan off quite soon enough, not to worry. The stuff is still like to be fine.
6. . . Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for five minutes.
7. . . Whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky.
8. . . Scrape the cream into a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream (to create an airtight seal that won’t allow a crust to form on the cream) and refrigerate the pastry cream until it is chilled. I’m not sure how long that is; a few hours?
This recipe makes about two cups.
Chocolate pastry cream (what I put in my cake)
2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted (this is a perfect amount for this recipe)
Pinch of salt
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits, at room temperature
Do the same thing as the above recipe says, with the following changes to the indicated step.
2. . . Add the salt to the yolks, sugar and cornstarch.
6. . . Add the melted chocolate in place of the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes as usual.
Now, I am intrigued by the idea of a meringue buttercream, because the purpose of a buttercream always seemed to me to be a dense sort of frosting, while meringue is just the opposite, a fluffy topper. What is this meringue buttercream?
Thanks! I’ll have to try that soon.
The meringue buttercream is sort of a light frosting, made with egg whites, sugar, and lots of butter. I guess it’s called meringue because of the egg whites and buttercream because of the butter. It makes frosting cakes really easy because it’s so light.
Today I made meringues. Does anybody know if they’re supposed to have a pocket of air in the top?
Today I tried chocolate soymilk and chocolate ice cream made from coconut. Both are delicious.
28 – I made the pastry cream and used it for eclairs. They were excellent, much better than if I had used modified vanilla pudding for the filling, as the recipe suggested.
THF — definitely going to use that pastry cream recipe…i hope to improve my baking/pastry skills this summer so that is majorly helpful!
i’m trying to think of interesting and healthy things for breakfast, i love making egg based things but yeah not so good everyday :/
i think i;m going to start looking into local foods (well…considering) and farmer’s markets and stuff like that because recently i feel like i’ve kind of OD’d on processed food…
Tomato and butter sauce:
3 tablespoons of butter
Cut the onion into halves. Peel the tomatoes (try not to peel your fingers, although history suggests you will) and toss them into a blender. When they are nicely pulpified, put them in a pot with the halves of the onion and all of the butter. Turn the heat on as low as possible and cover. Allow to cook for about seven minutes. Remove the cover and let cook some more, stirring, for about half an hour. Remove the onion. Serve on pasta, with absolutely no cheese. Also good on bread.
For some reason I’m currently rediscovering the joys of bread and butter. Such an excellent combination, though for some reason I’ve never liked jam.
Today I made marble chiffon cupcakes. I learned how to make those frosting roses, so I practiced on half of them and the other half are going to look like Cookie Monster.
I love farmers’ markets. The fruit is always amazing.
What is a kolache?
Random thread clicker again! You can tell I’m bored and procrastinating.
Anyway, TARO ICE CREAM. It’s the best. It sounds kind of weird but I live in Asia and it’s actually so good. Also excellent in mochi.
That sounds delicious @_@ I must must try something like that sometime.
Yesh, everyone must love food. Its not possible to hate it.
There’s a tiny Japanese restaurant near where I live. It has the best gyoza and lotus root tempura.
Yay! Guess what peoples! I just went out to eat with my family.
We went to eat something called a chicken/beef doner. Its sounds weird, yes. But it is quite delicious. It consists of a bunch of meat which basically its name says, beef and chicken which are in cut up little pieces of all sorts of sizes. On the side there iscrisp salad with some kind if seasoning as well as a sizeable portion of plain rice on the side. Optional things that go with it are a spicy red sauce and a sweet savory white sauce which my dad loves alot.
That. Was. Great.
Hmmm, I have never eaten tongue before so I can’t really judge on its taste till I try it. Perhaps I’ll get that chance sometime soon.
Macarons! I just made the shells – I was worried that they wouldn’t bake properly because the batter seemed the wrong consistency, but they ended up with shiny crowns and little feet. I’m pretty proud of myself because there seems to be much angst over the difficulty of making macarons.
I finally got around to trying the Vietnamese restaurant nearest my house today. I had curry tofu and a honeydew bubble tea. Very tasty–the curry tofu had broccoli and snow peas and bok choy and bell peppers and onions and carrots and lemongrass and it was all delicious. I noticed after I placed my order that they also had black milk tea bubble tea, which I’ll order the next time I go there, despite the redundancy. It does always feel a bit weird to go to a restaurant alone, especially when the booths are enormous and would easily fit six people, but I stick to my principles.
Is it odd that I’ve yet to try pho even though I’ve been to numerous Vietnamese restaurants?
I have never tasted seaweed. Is the flavor comparable to anything?
Oh my god you
have not tasted
It is comparable to ocean-flavored heaven.
It’s time for Choklit’s adventures in flammable cooking! If you’ve read any of my previous accounts of recipe disasters, you probably would advise me not to cook with anything involving a lot of oil. Over high heat. On an open flame. With potatoes that splash oil out of the pan whenever you move them.
But I did, and only one potato chip caught fire, and I grabbed it with tongs and put it in the sink in time, and the rest were awesome! They weren’t exactly chip-chips; as with many things, I kind of altered the recipe because I was too impatient to slice them that thinly. So they had very crispy outsides, and kind of soft insides like the insides of french fries.
Anyway. Yay me.
…we must bake together. The cake.
And I must get to eat it….
When I made potato chips, the edges were crispy, but the insides were soft. I think I had the oil at the wrong temperature, but i can’t really fix that because i broke the candy thermometer in an earlier french fry incident.
Also, I find that it’s much easier to slice the potato thinly with the vegetable peeler than with a knife.
I usually omit the jalapeño on account of being a coward, and add some paprika and a chopped tomato. The tomato makes it wonderful and juicy, but doesn’t keep very well.
MMMMMMPOTATOES! Chopped into 10ths,covered with lemon peel and pepper, then baked.
Random is very pleased with herself and the world in general right now. On a whim, she made oatmeal cookies. She had no raisins, so she left that part out of the recipe. She was one-fourth of a cup short of brown sugar, so she used granulated sugar and molasses (the ratio of sugar to molasses was written on the jar). She warmed the butter a little too much, so it was just starting to melt instead of just being soft. She was worried that because of these things, the cookies wouldn’t come out right. She is also notorious for burning cookies. When the cookies were done baking, she burned her finger pulling them out of the oven. When they had cooled, she tried one to see how noticeable her mistakes were, and how badly she had burned them. Not only was it not burned, it may have just been the best cookie that Random ever made.
Random is a happy little Gengar, and decided that she needs to do this more often.
I like my oatmeal cookies without raisins. I sometimes put in little marshmallows on top of the cookies when they are almost done. A little gooey, watch out.
Yeah, I know raisins are technically optional. I just personally like them. Oatmeal marshmallow cookies sound delicious, but I’d have to find vegetarian marshmallows before I could try it. (Or make my own, I guess. I’ve never done that before.)
Homemade marshmallows are ten million times better than the ones you find in stores. I’ve never actually had vegetarian ones before, but you can probably find recipes!
I found some vegan recipes online. They sound yummy, although I don’t know if I’m allowed to post this:
[Google “Vegan Marshmallows — Instructables” -Admin.]
Wow. It’s actually a link. Didn’t intend for that.
[WordPress creates links automatically. -Admin.]
Why are the GAPAS butting in?
Just letting you know what’s up. Links are generally not allowed.
I’ll Google that. It sounds promising.
Toasties have become my new food-related fixation, alongside English tea.
(There’s a toastie maker in the Mons (= Monitors = Lower Sixth) room – basically a common room in House just for our year.)
I MUST try the spicy thing!
I’m doing a project on medieval food for English class, and as part of that I’m looking up the supposed medical and spiritual properties of the foods they ate. It turns out that cheese was associated with joyful energy. I KNEW IT!!! MY IDOLECT IS RIGHT! CHEESE DOES EQUAL JOY!
SFTDP. I tried adding milk to my chai for the first time this morning. Not knowing how it would affect the flavor, texture, et cetera, I can say with absolute certainty that it did not end up how I expected. This calls for further experimentation (because how else can I gauge how I prefer my tea if not through trial and error?). My mother would be so very glad that I’m finally starting to experiment with tea. Luckily, she is far away.
Today I received a Christmas gift from my sister’s boyfriend, one which I think is among the best I’ve ever received.
A bit of backstory: my sister’s boyfriend, Ilya, is a Russian Jew who was born in Latvia, and his family moved to the U.S. when he was eight or nine. I think his parents do speak some English, but the most common language in the household is still Russian. Naturally, with the language and culture they also retain the culinary heritage of their home nation. Last year, Ilya joined us for our usual Christmas dinner (he’s culturally, not religiously, Jewish) and he brought with him some food that his mother made–some Latvian food, some Russian food, some Ukrainian food. It was phenomenal, and I think we all made clear just how much we adored it and how thankful we were that his mother had made it for us.
This evening was our extended family’s annual Christmas party–aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, everyone. The house was packed. And somehow or other–whether my sister suggested it or whether he just did it spontaneously–Ilya brought along some fresh-baked perogies as well as the recipe for this particular batch, with the caveat that his mother makes them different every time and so nothing about it was set in stone.
Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles! They’re such a simple food–some basic leavened dough with (tonight, anyway) some meat, onions, and cabbage inside. But they’re so delicious, and now I have obtained the knowledge with which I too can try my hand at them. Which I think I’ll be doing before I head back to college in a couple weeks here.
Spent just over an hour washing dishes and cleaning counter-tops. My hands still smell like dish soap. BUT THOSE VEGETARIAN “MEATBALLS” WERE WORTH IT! Who knew something made of leftover rice from “Chinese” takeout could be so delicious?
I recently discovered a bunch of really cool cooking channels on YouTube! So far, Feast of Fiction is my favorite- they do alarmingly easy-looking demonstrations of food from books, movies, and video games (Portal cakes, Butterbeer, lembas bread). I tried making their Water Tribe Noodles (minus the spirulina), and they came out much better than I expected!
Also, Sorted Food, which is this often-cheesy but charming channel run by a chef and two of his friends, who he uses as assistants. Such nice camerawork.
…They made the Portal cake? Were they actually following the recipe?!
“Fish shaped crackers, fish shaped candies, fish shaped volatile organic compounds, fish shaped dirt, and sediment shaped sediment. Chocolate-coated peanut butter pieces, shaped like fish.”
“One aluminum head positioning device.”
“One electronic needle injector.”
“Two tablespoons rhubarb juice. Two tablespoons grated rhubarb. Two tablespoons orange rhubarb. Two tablespoons rhubarb on fire.”
I hope nobody actually tried to eat it…
No no, they just made it look like the Portal cake, thankfully.
Also, Naruto-themed ramen. I think that (or some vegetable-based equivalent) is my project for tomorrow.
Oh, thank goodness.
I hope you will tell us how your project goes?
I’m really bad at cooking meat, so I boiled some fish bones and ginger instead of pork for the broth instead. The noodles actually came out well! I didn’t think I’d be able to get them so springy; it must be the baking soda.
I tried using the method shown in the video to hand-pull noodles, but I couldn’t get the hang of it, so I just kept doubling them over and then stretching them out. They weren’t squiggly like other ramen noodles, but they tasted good!
I just tried kimchi.
I don’t like it very much.
Did not acquire taste.
The taste remained in my mouth for longer than I would have thought possible.
If you eat it with other things, it can be very good! As in, in kimchi tofu stew or on rice.
(Kimchi is one of the joys of my existence. I once buried cabbage in the backyard to see what would happen. What happened was not kimchi.)
Maybe it was just the low overall quality of cafeteria food, and homemade kimchi would be better. I wanted to try it after learning that many Koreans give credit for their economic boom to kimchi consumption.
Having seen the size of the kimchi jars sold in my local Korean supermarket, I can believe that.
I wouldn’t trust cafeteria _anything_, especially not asian food. The first time I had pho was at my school’s cafeteria, and it was not an inspiring meal at all.. I liked it much better after I’d been to a restaurant.
Our cafeteria’s pho was pretty decent, actually, but it still wasn’t a patch on the stuff my friend makes. There’s a lot of nice restaurants around here… I should go to one soon.
I think I have tweaked a recipe for cinnamon rolls into actually working in my temperamental oven! (My sink and refrigerator are also temperamental; I live in a house of emotional appliances.) It’s based off a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, but I’ve changed the proportions quite a bit.
3/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
3/4 cup warm milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons oil
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
3 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
Dissolve the yeast in the water (you don’t need to let it sit like with bread dough) and add the milk, sugar, oil, and salt. Stir in the flour in three batches; you may need to add a little extra. Knead this dough for six minutes, and let it rise somewhere warm (covered in plastic wrap) for an hour. Punch it down, roll it into a rectangle about 16 inches long and 12 inches wide, and spread the butter on it, leaving a gap of about two centimeters along the long sides. Mix the sugar and cinnamon and spread these on top of the butter. Roll the dough into a log and cut it into 12 equal slices. Put these in a pan and let them rise for another hour. Bake at 325F for about 40 minutes (they’re done when you tear off a bit and it tastes done; I can’t figure out a better way to tell, other than that the tops should be golden-brown but not any darker).
Here in the Orange household, it has been eight months since our last food ignition. We’re very proud.
Is the 325F part of the normal recipe or part of the temperamental oven recipe? I ask because this recipe looks good / doable, but our oven, if set at 325, will end up running around 400.
It’s a change I made. The original recipe had 350F for 45 minutes, but when I did that, the tops of the buns turned out very hardened and a bit burnt. I suppose you’d have to set your oven to a much lower temperature. Ours is temperamental in that it sometimes randomly turns off while baking, so you have to keep an eye on it, but I think it’s pretty accurate in terms of temperature.
Does anyone here share my deep, passionate love for edamame?
YES. Oh my Muses, yes!
We are out of my normal breakfast foods, so I decided to actually cook something this morning. I wanted it to be something fast, since I was pretty hungry. I looked through the cookbook, and fell upon a page for… crepes.
I didn’t get to eat them until over an hour later, and I’m going to spend the rest of the day cleaning up the kitchen. Worth every second!
Over half-term I discovered the joy that is Whole Foods Market. What an utterly, utterly fantastic place! The guacamole sample was heavenly. I do wish I had the time, and facilities, and access to ingredients, to do more cooking. Perhaps this summer, in the few weeks that I’ll be home. (Alas, I don’t believe WFM exists anywhere in Asia.)
In other food-related news: diets are the worst thing ever. Day 2 over and I’m successfully – and surprisingly – resisting all temptation, but it’s a fiendish exercise. I’d better see some results. And of course, in my timely way, I choose to spend the day browsing recipes online, because that’s obviously going to diminish the hunger.
I’ve had the house to myself today and yesterday, so I did what I always do in this situation: tried out a new recipe.
I had a container of honey that really needed to be used, so I wanted to do something with that. I started making a honey-and-tea cake, only to discover that we’re out of eggs. I wasted three tea bags.
I eventually found a recipe for almond and honey lace cookies, dipped in chocolate. I started making them yesterday. They didn’t get into the oven until this morning. I just got done with the cleanup an hour ago
TOTALLY. WORTH IT. OH MY SPACE SQUIDS.
(The best part is, not many of my relatives like honey so I’ll get to eat most of them myself.)
I went on a baking spree this morning. Very unexpectedly. I feel like a completely different person; I never used to bake, ever.
I tried Groundhog’s recipe from post 8 – only four ingredients, so simple – and it was quite successful! Mine turned out a bit similar to shortbread, I don’t know if it’s meant to, but it’s certainly tasty. They only seem to give us salted butter, so I had to use that, but it doesn’t appear to make it overly salty.
Wednesday’s the birthday of one of my friends in my house, so I also made a chocolate cake (with chocolate chips thrown in the batter as a last minute inspiration). It’s surprisingly simple. Luckily I managed to locate some baking powder. I haven’t been able to taste the outcome yet so I don’t know how it turned out, but hopefully it will be okay!
Then, because I clearly hadn’t done enough baking and was feeling adventurous, I attempted Choklit Orange’s cinnamon roll recipe from post 61. I had to modify it slightly because we didn’t have any yeast, so I used baking powder instead, though I have no idea if that works, having no baker’s intuition. I accidentally softened the butter a bit too much before spreading onto the dough, so it was too runny and leaked out a bit. Perhaps it’s for the same reason that some of the rolls were slightly unfurled when I took them out? Ideas?
I took them out after about 30 minutes, earlier than what the recipe calls for, but they still seem more than done. If I try these again I want to get the end result dough slightly softer and less chewy. You definitely can’t go wrong with the taste of cinnamon though!
As for non-dessert things, the other night I had roasted vegetables (aubergines, courgettes, leeks, onion, garlic) and chicken prepared in a fantastic marinade with too many ingredients to list (I’ll happily write them if anyone’s interested though.) Maybe tomorrow night I’ll attempt a Thai curry, or a pasta bake. Any ideas for uncomplicated (ie not thousands of ingredients) and quick-ish dinners are welcome!
Baking powder doesn’t work the same as yeast; since yeast is a living micro-organism: it produces enzymes that turn the starch in flour into sugars, and then into carbon dioxide (and ATP- cell energy molecules- and alcohols). This is why bread dough rises when you leave it in a warm environment; the carbon dioxide forms bubbles in the dough. Yeast also keeps the dough rising for longer- but the main reason baking powder won’t work is that it produces a crumbly texture (like in cakes, which are made with baking powder) that you definitely don’t want in breads/rolls.
Fried rice: fry a crushed clove of garlic, a 1-cm chunk of ginger (diced), slices of tofu, and some chopped onion in a large pan until the onion is translucent. Add in whatever vegetables you’ve got in bite-sized pieces (I recommend broccoli and carrots as a starting point) and about half a cup of water so that they’ll steam in the pan. When the water’s gone and the vegetables are cooked, throw in your (already cooked) rice and more soy sauce than you think you need and toss it around for a while until the rice is dry. You can add in an egg if you’d like, too, and scallion greens are also good.
Pad Thai (make a LOT of sauce in advance, then freeze it): either buy tamarind concentrate paste or get packaged tamarind and soak it for a few minutes before squeezing out the seeds to make tamarind paste (it has to be completely smooth). Mix equal parts tamarind, fish sauce, and sugar (you can adjust these for taste,or add more of each while cooking)- this is your sauce. While you soak some flat rice noodles until they can wrap around your fingers, cook some chopped vegetables (broccoli and carrots,again!) and tofu in a thin layer of oil in a large pan, and some chopped peanuts, if you have them. Once the noodles are soaked, throw them into the pan with around a fourth of a cup of your sauce and half a cup of water. Toss the noodles in the pan until they’re cooked and relatively dry and sprinkle in some chili powder. If you want to add an egg, push the noodles/vegetables to one side of the pan, crack an egg into the other, and stir it around with a pair of chopsticks. Leave it until it’s mostly cooked (make sure to stir your noodles around) and then mix it into your pad thai.
Pesto is usually basil+pine nuts, both of which are ridiculously expensive unless you can grow large quantities of basil. But you can also make really good, slightly spicy pesto-ish stuff by grinding a huge amount of cilantro, some almonds, olive oil, a bit of chili powder and some lemon juice until they’re completely smooth. It’s good on bread or pasta.
Vegetable soup: sauté whatever vegetables you’ve got that are along the lines of zucchini, celery, mushrooms, and corn (corn is especially good here) with chopped garlic and onion. Add water and a bouillon cube (beef or vegetable broth cubes are good). When the water is boiling, throw in diced potatoes, carrots, and/or beans, and let the whole thing cook for at least half an hour. Add salt and pepper to taste. I recommend making a huge vat of this and keeping it in a pot in the fridge so you can reheat it for dinner every night; it gets more flavourful with each reheating.
Wow, thanks for the lovely long post! Yeah, I knew baking powder wouldn’t work in quite the same way, but I didn’t know what else to use and I wanted to try the recipe while I had the time, so…if I don’t have any yeast on hand, what would you recommend using instead?
The cinnamon rolls were devoured by my housemates within the night, though, so I’d say they were fairly successful despite the lack of yeast and slightly different texture!
I’m sure they were good! Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong with cinnamon and sugar.
Honestly, there’s nothing that can replace yeast properly, as far as I’m aware. However, if you buy a jar of active dry yeast at the grocery store, it’ll keep in the freezer for ages (mine has been going for three years).
Why did I begin two consecutive sentences with “honestly”? We may never know. Yet more proof that I should stop writing after ten p.m.
Tonight I cooked a Thai curry with vegetables and turkey, which was originally meant to be chicken but for some reason the school’s given us turkey this week. Next time I’ll use a bit less vegetable broth, but it turned out reasonably well! Several friends commented on how amazing it smelled, and wanted to try some, so that’s a good sign I suppose.
Today’s baking: chocolate chip cookies, oat biscuits, honey flapjacks, and apple and cinnamon yoghurt cake. Our ingredients are slightly limited but I make do with what I can..!
Yum! I love baking too.
Cool! What sort of things have you made? I’m always looking for ideas!
Banana bread muffins with chocolate chips. Easy and delicious.
I’ve recently made, (For desserts) pumpkin cake, a really fluffy cake I made with my dad that I have no idea what the name of it was. And then, for snacks, I’ve made pizza, and a bean soup.
I’m about to make pumpkin cake! I had some as a free sample at a cafe recently, and it was amazing- still quite warm, and they’d put whipped cream on top. I’m trying to replicate it, though with royal icing instead since I need it to last a while.
I’ve been wanting to try something with pumpkin, it being October, but we don’t get any supplied so I’d have to go out and buy one, and it’s not the easiest thing to carry. If it’s successful though, let me know what the recipe is!
Chocolate chip cookies and flapjacks were super popular with First Orchestra tonight. I’m bringing the apple cake to Chamber Orch tomorrow. I really enjoy being able to bake for other people! Though I’m definitely the most surprised of anyone at this random baking streak I seem to have acquired. I certainly never had any great desire to bake or cook before; I always thought it too much effort.
A few food thoughts:
– Stilton is delicious. I never get tired of Stilton.
– My favorite Christmas present this year was a copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It’s really wonderful. I don’t really get many chances to cook at the seminary (if I’m lucky, I’ll do a little prep work for the chefs once every week or two), so I’ve been cooking nonstop while I’m home for break. Following Child’s instructions (in the cookbook and in a clip from her show I found on Youtube) I’ve finally managed to successfully make some omelettes. They didn’t look as ugly as they could’ve, and the texture was fantastic. Hooray for omelettes!
– I’ve noticed that over the past year or so, my ability to digest red meat seems to have been diminishing–I get sick if I eat more than a tiny piece of steak. In the past month or so, too, my appetite for meat has been evaporating, for the most part. My appetite in general, actually–I can’t eat as much as I used to. I haven’t been losing any weight or anything, so I’m not overly concerned–big, heavy meals just don’t much appeal to me. Nebraska might not be the best place for that to happen (most people are pretty meat-and-potatoes around here), but oh well. My family went to a Greek place last night and I had a nice salad with feta and then some falafel. It sounded much more appealing to me than the giant portions of roast chicken and lamb and potatoes that everyone else got.
– Beer is a wonderful thing. I’m grateful to have come of age during the explosion of the craft beer market.
An addendum: LC’s Bar-B-Q in Kansas City is still worth a four-hour drive. I’m gonna have dreams about those burnt ends tonight….
I’ve been to Joe’s before and I didn’t like it as much, but it was part of a large to-go order, so the food may have been at a disadvantage. I’ll have to try it again on-site.
You’ve sold me. Next time I’m in KC, I’ll go to Joe’s before LC’s.