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applesauce cake

adapted from Gale Gand's Applesauce Cake 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature 2 cups brown sugar (dark or light), ...

Monday, March 23, 2009

wait, have I already forgotten what I've cooked today?

my early evening Manhattan is already taking effect and the day is a bit of a blur. what did I cook today; what did I cook?

today's standout: lemon-cardamom-infused rice pudding, made w/arborio rice, golden raisins (a.k.a. "sultanas"), whipped creme fraiche and enough fresh lemon zest to choke a goat. NO complaints about this one at all, not even from the goat (p.s. to the person who was unable to accept delivery of rice pudding tonight -- I don't offer twice, but sometimes begging works).

also good: strawberries in candied ginger syrup (so ginger-y it almost burns yr throat; yummy); those same strawberries in slices w/some lemon added atop little lemon-y cheesecakes (it was a lemon-y day).

oh! roasted salmon with sweet & spicy pecan crust, atop bowtie pasta w/beurre noisette (one of my absolute favorite things) & chives; delish if I do say so myself.

other things seem less important in comparison.

today's Manhattan: a Perfect Manhattan made with 2 measures Sazerac Rye (thank you to both Kyle and Wiggy's), 1/2 measure ea. Cinzano and white vermouth, a few dashes Agnostura bitters, a dash of bitter lemon bitters (sounds redundant, doesn't it?), and an all-important maraschino cherry. very, very good Manhattan.

Friday, March 20, 2009

more yummy stuff I've cooked lately

if I do say so myself, and I DO.

North African Carrot Soup with Raz El Hanout (which reminds me that I need to get to work on those preserved lemons soon)

fabulously yummy Sour Cream Fudge mini cupcakes w/Frangelico Ganache

Strawberry Cheesecake galettes glazed w/vanilla sugar

Maroon Carrots glazed w/Moroccan spices & pomegranate molasses

Lemon/orange-infused cheesecakes which I plan to top w/fruit glazed w/ginger syrup (thanks for this idea, DLY), but WHICH FRUIT? kumquats? plums? I dunno; I'm tired of berries at the moment.

my food production rate is down due to more recipe development, but I must be forgetting things.

things I plan to make soon:

Brown Sugar/Kahlua Ice Cream

Teriyaki Roasted Chicken (sounds dull, but I make my own teriyaki w/nigori sake and light tamari)

Japanese Sweet Rice Pudding (made w/Sho-Chiku-Bai rice, milk, maple syrup, currants, salt, cinnamon)

and more. suggestions welcomed always.

things I've cooked recently

from March 12, 2009

hey -- I can still cook! some of the food I've made in the past few days:

French Onion Soup (the real thing, of course -- it was pretty amazing, but a good deal of credit goes to my partner in crime, Kyle, who finished the soup to perfection)

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup w/roasted yellow & bell peppers, caramelized onions, smoked paprika (yum!!!) creeam, basil and chives (maybe mint and chives next time?)

Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes glazed with cachaca simple syrup, half of them frosted with buttercream (colored [but NOT flavored] chartreuse to match the host's upholstery), the other half frosted with El Rey chocolate ganache

Pasta Salad (Garofalo Gemilli) with frizzled proscuitto strips, fried capers (I longed for caper berries here), roasted sweet organic peppers, strips of lemon zest, white truffle oil, a bit of lemon juice, shredded parmagiano reggiano (would have preferred shavings of grana padano, but still wonderful), a chiffonade of fresh basil and some fresh chive slivers (plus lots of telicherry pepper)

Roasted brussels sprouts with olive oil, s&p, glazed lightly with a sherry/dijon/maple concoction

Wilted organic spinach w/Asian flavors -- sesame oil, fried garlic (the yummy Thai stuff), pickled ginger, black & white sesame seeds, etc.

more to come. I hope you say "yes" when I invite you over for dinner.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

sourdough gone wild

go here now if you’re at all into bread baking.

this morning’s bread came out of the oven smelling heavenly. if anything, it’s even better than the last loaf. this kind of sourdough baking is so easy (really -- the only reason I was up at ridiculous o’clock because I felt like waking up). it bakes in like 40 minutes, which is about how long it usually takes me to get ready for work. I no longer measure when baking this stuff and it’s working so far, knock wood. my current recipe/formula/whatever: in the evening, I pour about a cup of my sourdough starter into my bread machine (because I’m too lazy to knead, even though it barely needs to be kneaded), after which I refresh it to its original amount with a ratio of about 1:3 flour to water (whatever works out to be the consistency of pancake batter), cover it and leave it out overnight to do its thing. to the bread machine, I add roughly the same amount of water, and then about 3 cups of flour (last night’s combo was the remainder of my King Arthur bread flour, all-purpose flour and semolina flour -- it ended up being just over a cup of each), and some kosher salt (over a teaspoon, less than two). for kicks this time, I added some butter because I like the way it tastes in this particular bread, but it all depends on my mood whether I add olive oil, butter, or neither. okay, then I let it knead for a few minutes. I’ve learned that the gluten primarily develops during in the resting (after the flour and water are combined; the process is called “autolyse”). I take the barely kneaded dough out of the machine (super-gloppy dough makes the best bread; it’s just not much fun to handle) and sort of loosely shape it however I want. I spent maybe 2 minutes on this. last night, I put the dough into two buttered loaf pans, covered ’em w/saran wrap and stuck ’em in the gas oven w/just the pilot light on to proof overnight. I woke up to lovely, 3/4-risen loaves. one of the other tricks I’ve learned is to not over-proof -- at least the last 1/4 to 1/2 of the rising happens in the baking, a.k.a. oven spring. I pre-heated the oven to somewhere between 375 and 400 (it was early, and bread is SO forgiving) and baked ’em. while they baked, I made my french toast with the last of the bread I had left from the other day, plus some cream (why go half-way? I have NO restraint and am just lucky I don’t gain weight) and eggs, cooked in butter (arteries are hardening just from reading this, no doubt).