Sep. 28th, 2016 07:56 pm
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
DeCa had artichokes, and I was curious, so tonight I cooked one for the first time. It tasted okay. It probably would have been better if I hadn't steamed the heck out of it — Joy of Cooking told me to steam for 45 minutes, and probably 20 would have done the job.
What a bizarre food. We go through a lot of work to eat only about 20% of the food item and throw away the rest.
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
  • 1 pound ground meat, in this case, extra-lean turkey
  • 1 pound Italian sausage without casing, in this case, mild
  • 1 can pasta sauce, 24 oz. garlic & herb
  • 2 6 oz. cans tomato paste (next time go with 1 12 oz. can)
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Bay leaves
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Cumin, just a pinch

I browned the ground turkey in a pot, seasoning it right when it went in, breaking up the clumps every minute. After the first turning over, I added the sausage. Next time could include minced garlic & onion while browning.

I transferred the meat to the slow cooker on top of the bay leaves and added one can of tomato paste, followed by the pasta sauce. On checking a couple hours later, found the texture to be more watery than I wanted, so added the second can. Mixture seems to fill 6 qt. cooker to less than half full; consider the 4 qt. cooker next time.
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
Last Monday I made pork adobo in the slow cooker, and again the garlic reacted colorfully with the vinegar, turning a lovely shade of aqua. I thought you might like to see.

big photo )

Here's the informative link.  This doesn't happen when I cook on the stove, probably because high heat destroys the blue compound or prevents it from forming.  By the time this dish was cooked, the color had faded to a dull green-beige.

Honey cake

Oct. 5th, 2011 09:02 am
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
I baked a cake last night. I'd actually put "bake yogurt cake" on my to-do list since a couple weeks ago, because we had a big tub of vanilla yogurt sitting in the fridge from some other yogurt-using recipe a few weeks ago. Yogurt keeps well, and I finally got around to using the rest of it. I followed this recipe, with one difference: instead of 1 cup sugar, I substituted 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of honey, as per advice here, because we had more honey around than sugar and I wanted to use it up.

The result was just fine. I would not describe the cake as "fluffy and cloud-like," but it is moist, maybe a little spongy; I like how it holds together and doesn't crumble much. The honey makes for a nice subtle flavor. [ profile] aristeros prefers it sweeter and said I should use a full cup next time. At any rate, the cake went very well with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
You know you've left the baby carrots in the fridge for too long when upon taking out the bag, you find they have sprouted secondary roots. 
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
Hey, science fans, here's a question for you:
When I cook something in my slow cooker with chopped garlic on top, the garlic turns green. Not a healthy leaf green either, but a bluish green, bread mold-looking color. I know it isn't mold, but it is rather unappetizing. Does anyone know what is going on here?
I can't remember what I was cooking the last time I noticed this phenomenon, but today I am cooking chicken adobo. The ingredients are: chicken thighs, vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, garlic powder, freshly chopped ginger root, and freshly chopped garlic. So the garlic did come in contact with acetic acid and salt, if that makes a difference.

serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
I made a yogurt-and-olive-oil cake. I think this was the first cake I ever baked from scratch, not counting banana bread. It may very well be the first cake I ever baked, period.

I followed this recipe. Quick and Easy Recipe: Yogurt Cake
I had all the ingredients already on hand (a lot of baking recipes call for butter, which we don't normally keep in my house). The only hitch was that my pan was too small. Not having a cake pan, I used our loaf pan, which [ profile] aristeros tells me is smaller than 9"x5", probably more like 8"x4". The batter overflowed a bit and left burnt cake blobs in the oven. Otherwise, the cake turned out very well. It's moist, kind of dense, and has an interesting tang that would go well with fruit.
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
A year ago I tried cooking kare-kare, with tolerable results. I tried it again last week, while my mother was around to help and to appreciate the attempt.

Read more... )

The result was pretty tasty. My mother liked it, although I was surprised to learn that it wasn't a dish she ate while growing up: it's cuisine typical of a different island than where she's from. [ profile] aristeros and I had leftovers tonight. He thought it needed more spices and the meat was too mushy. I thought there was too much meat, so if I make this again — it's fairly involved, once a year might be enough — I think I'll use just short ribs and not add a pot roast.
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
We are thinking of trying for an Irish theme for supper on Wednesday. We have potatoes, we have cabbage already sliced, and there's sausage in the freezer (Italian sausage that was originally intended for pasta sauce, but let's not get picky). Can I microwave the potatoes to make mashed potatoes, or do they need to be boiled? I think they're russet baking potatoes.
serenissima: "You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life." (fortune)
Just a quick note —

Does anyone else think that Alistair and Morrigan should be a couple?

Also, I saw this post on ohdeedoh about "How To Make a Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich" without any scorch marks, and I reflected that I don't actually grill my cheese sandwiches. My method is as follows:

  1. Toast the bread.
  2. Apply margarine if desired.
  3. Assemble toast and cheese into sandwich.
  4. Microwave for ten seconds.
  5. Flip over and microwave for ten more seconds, or more if cheese is not soft enough.

Admittedly, the microwaving can make it a little soggy sometimes if the cheese is straight out of the refrigerator and takes longer to melt, but this way is so easy and there's no pan to wash afterward.
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
Been meaning to post something cooking-related for quite some time now, hence this very long post.

I came across this suggestion several weeks ago: pureed frozen banana as an ice cream substitute. I figured mashed banana would be lower in carbohydrates than the equivalent amount of ice cream, plus it's definitely fat free. So I tried it. I wouldn't call the texture creamy exactly, but it's pleasantly smooth. It tastes like banana, of course. I think it might be good with a little cinnamon mixed in, or maybe chocolate chips, although then you start to take away from the "healthy" aspect. The downside for me is that a whole banana counts as 2 carbohydrate choices, and half a banana looks even smaller pureed than left intact. It really doesn't go very far. I expect I'll enjoy this more when my dietary restrictions are lifted; meanwhile, I've found that Edy's Slow-Churned and Bryer's Double-Churned are options for me if I have just half a cup.

We received a mini food processor last year as a wedding gift, but I only tried it out recently. I used it to mash the aforementioned banana; otherwise I've used it mainly for mincing garlic and ginger. I was impressed by the speed with which it renders a thumb-length piece of fresh ginger root into tiny bits. What would take me several minutes with a sharp chef's knife and chopping board takes it about ten seconds of "whiz-whiz-whiz." However, when I'm cooking with ginger, I'm nearly always also cooking with garlic, and fresh garlic is sticky, and it's a little more involved to wash off the food processor assembly than to wash off a knife and chopping board. So, whether I choose to use the machine or the knife depends partly on the amounts I'm working with and partly on my mood.

actual cooking )
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
I think this was the first thing I cooked here in the new house on our good cookware. It was such a relief to have my giant 14" stir-fry pan again.

What I did )

At any rate, I was pleased with how the dish tasted, and [ profile] aristeros loved it, so I'll be making this again.


Jun. 5th, 2009 06:43 pm
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
Lesson learned: a cheap container of thin plastic, such as grocery stores use to package sliced melon, will melt when it comes in contact with boiling water. I tried to make Jell-O in it. The result was a puddle of gelatin on the kitchen counter.

I am slightly more inclined to cook than I have been, now that we have so little equipment to cook with. I should borrow some dishes.
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
Ever since I noticed that the commissary carries oxtails, I've thought about cooking kare-kare, a stew that I enjoyed at my aunt & uncle's house. This week I finally tried it.

As usual when I'm attempting a dish for the first time, I searched for recipes on the Internet. I looked at somewhere around half a dozen recipes. They all had these ingredients in common: oxtails, bok choy, long beans, eggplant, and peanut butter. I'm accustomed to tripe also being an ingredient, but it didn't come up as often as I expected — which is fine with me, I won't touch organ meats. Also, the stew is traditionally thickened with powdered roasted rice, but I was surprised to see how many recipes omitted this. My uncle uses crisp rice cereal (e.g. Rice Krispies) pulverized either in a food processor or by hand in a plastic bag. Here's a little background information on kare-kare, with a recipe.

And here's the recipe I chose to work from. Developed by a Filipino-American man, it has a simplified list of ingredients and, most importantly, does not involve simmering the oxtails on the stove for a long time. Instead, they go into a slow cooker. I ♥ my slow cooker.

Here is how it went. )
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
Last night I made a barley-based soup again. This time it featured mushrooms, turnips, and a leek. I'd never cooked turnips before, and I find I like them. The leek contributed lovely yellow-green color to the soup but not much flavor; maybe I overcooked it. I sauteed it with the mushrooms before adding them. I put in a palmful of black pepper — perhaps a teaspoon — which turned out to be too much. On the other hand, it could have used more salt.

The previous dish was a stir-fry of beef, broccoli, and peppers, with black bean sauce. For future reference, broccoli and black bean sauce don't go so well together. Not that it was bad, but I'd choose a different mix of flavors next time. Also, marinating the flank steak would have helped.

Last week (I think?) I had another go at pot roast. This time I used a beef bullion cube and Worcestershire sauce. The intensity of flavor was about right, but I've decided I don't like Worcestershire sauce: it's too sweet. The chuck roast was difficult to trim, too; I might try a different cut of meat next time. I used a two pound roast and discarded probably half a pound of fat, connective tissue, and nearby meat.

The chicken and mushrooms that I cooked for company two weekends ago didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. I omitted salt from the coating on the chicken, and I probably should keep it in. Should also use a full pound of mushrooms, not just half a pound, to go with two pounds of chicken breast.

Tonight we'll have a salmon fillet. I think I'll bake it. Sauteed asparagus for the vegetable, and rice or maybe baked potatoes for the starch.
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
Today's happy thing: Leftovers from last night's cooking endeavour were more than enough to feed both of us tonight, so all I had to cook was rice.

The dish was a stir-fry featuring chicken, asparagus, reconstituted dried shiitakes, and tofu. Flavorings were onion, garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, soy sauce, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. The tofu was frozen and then thawed to reduce the moisture content, following a suggestion from a magazine, and lightly fried before it was added to the mix. [ profile] aristeros liked the texture with this treatment. I seem to be getting better at estimating seasoning amounts, because I didn't measure anything, but it wasn't too bland (though still pretty mild).

[Edited to add: Re-reading my entries about food, I notice this was very similar to the stir-fry I wrote about four months ago, but it turned out better this time.]
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
Yesterday was cold and rainy. We even had sleet for a short time. Most unusual. The cold has persisted into this morning: it's below freezing out now.

I made soup last night, with barley and mushrooms, garlic and onion, a handful of baby carrots and a couple stalks of the celery we bought to make stuffing for Thanksgiving. Half the bunch of celery is left, and it's going limp. I wonder what to do with it besides throwing it away.

I didn't time the soup-making very well. I put the celery in too early and it got overcooked, and a lot of the liquid boiled away, so there's not as much broth as I'd like. Here's the order in which I'd do things next time:
for future reference )
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
Fresh, raw shiitake mushrooms have a delicious nutty flavor that seems to be lost when they're cooked. They're pricy at $2.99 for 3.5 ounces, and so best viewed as an occasional treat.

A package of cherry Jell-O yielding 4 cups of finished product is marked with a net weight of 6 ounces. A package of sugar-free cherry Jell-O, with aspartame, that yields 4 cups of product has a net weight of only 0.6 ounces. Therefore, Jell-O must be 90% sugar by weight.