amazon_syren: (Feast Icon)
( May. 5th, 2017 05:04 pm)
So I'm having some people over tomorrow afternoon. Funnily enough, the person I was originally doing the event for is off sick with strep throat, so probably won't be joining the rest of us. But fingers crossed.

My plan is to make some kind of sour-milk-based coffee cake (as I am wont to do), and also offer this bean dip with "toasts" - like, sliced of bread cut into strips or quarters, brushed with some oil, and broiled for a couple of minutes.
It'll do.

It's not hummus. If only because hummus at least needs to have chick peas in it. But it's one of those type things. :-)



1 onion, diced and fried in oil
Garlic a-go-go (see above)
1 tin red kidney beans, well-washed and drained
2 beets, peeled, diced, and boiled (or use a bunch of pickled beets, and skip the vinegar)
Red wine vinegar (see above)

Combine everything in a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve with “miniature toasts” (brush with olive oil and put under the broiler for a bit).


I'm kind of hoping it'll be an amazing shade of magenta. :-)
Preserves I Already Have:

Heaps of frozen Red Russian kale, Rainbow chard, and rappini (and a little bit of borrage, because hey).
1L frozen raspberries
3C pickled beans
3.5 C goblin fruit jam (choke cherries & black currants + extra stuff)

+ (from last year)

3 pints of cucumber pickles (that I made last year) + 2 pints of someone else's cucumber pickles (taht he made last year)
1/4 C Ground Cherry "marmalade" (that I made last year)
1 pint of relish + 1 pint of tomato chutney (made by my friend's mom)
1C grape jelly (made by a friend who brought it as a hostess' gift)
1-2 C Various Jams from Mr Wilson


Preserves I want to make:

4lbs tomatoes + 1lb nectarines + a bulb or two of garlic --> As many cup-jars of salsa as that'll give me
10lbs tomatoes --> as many pint-jars and/or 1C jars of diced/crushed tomatoes as that'll give me
5lbs tomates + a few bulbs of garlic and a few onions + garden basil --> As many 1C jars of bruchetta as that'll give me
1lb tomatoes + all the cores and skins from the the rest of the tomato masacre + 1-2 bulbs of garlic, lots of garden oregano, garden savoury, balsamic vinegar, and dried rosemary --> as many half-cup jars of tomato sauce as that'll give me

POSSIBLY some extra tomatoes (perhaps from the garden, this time) - roasted with herbs and garlic in the oven and then frozen-in-pucks in the freezer

1lb nectarines + skins from another 1lb of nectarines --> Nectarine butter, as much as possible

POSSIBLY a choke-cherry preserve (something like a chutney? see below) that involves onion, basil, and peppermint... not sure yet.

As much apple butter as I can make with the apples from Idioglossia's tree

POSSIBLY some apple slices dried in my dehidrator

Crab Apple jelly using crab apples harvested from trees along the Canal and in local parks

Half a dozen LARGE eggplants (farmers' market again) roasted, diced, and frozen into pucks (the same way I do the greens) - I will try to go a little easier on the salt this year...

Multiple Jack-o-lanterns worth of pumpkin butter

POSSIBLY half a dozen 2C freezer-boxes of diced-and-blanched winter squash (or pumpkin) purely for the easiness of dumping already-prepped and partially-cooked veggies into a dinner in the middle of winter.

Still more frozen greens a-go-go (because we kind of live on that stuff over winter)


Things I will have to buy in order to make these preserves:

Upwards of 5 pie pumpkins (+ possible winter squashes)
6 large eggplants
2lbs nectarines
20lbs sauce tomatoes (or other tomatoes... whatever)


Possible Chokecherry Thing (adapted heavily from the Chokecherry Chutney recipe in Rona Mogelon's Wild In The Kitchen):

6 C chokecherries
1.5 C diced apples (AKA: 2-3 apples, diced[1])
1.5 C granulated sugar
1.5 C red wine vinegar
1 C diced red onion (or other onion)
1 C dried dried cranberries

0.25 C each: fresh basil leaves (shredded), fresh peppermint leaves (shredded)
1 tsp each: salt, dried rosemary
0.5 tsp each: black pepper, ground cloves



[1] I originally said "sweet cherries" - and you could do that (or use dried sweet cherries instead of the cranberries, that'd work, too) but I don't want to use sweet cherries as "sweet filler". Apples, however, being fleshy and easy to come by, get used as "sweet filler" all the time. So I've put the apple back into this recipe and I figure it'll work, even if I'm not 100% confident about the apple/mint (not to be confused with Apple Mint) combination).
So, last night I made "Carpathian Onion Soup" (we are now nearly out of onions, plural, which is something I never expected to say, beleive you me) and spent the evening chatting with a lovely couple (one member-of-whom I got to stick needles in at Harvest and the other member-of-whom turns out live just up the street from DA_Gibbs - small world, but no big surprise) and then having tea and cranberry-coconut coffee cake with them plus our friend Moderatrix, which was quite lovely.

I now have about a litre of this soup left over (it has paprika, and I didn't remember that paprika is a bell pepper - one of our guests is alergic - until after I'd added it, so I wound up make a separate pot for her) plus half a tin of coconut milk and a tub of red pepper hummus.

So The Plan for this evening is to take the imersion blender to the remains of the soup, then stir in some of the hummus, the rest of the coconut milk, a little bit of curry powder, then top it up with some water (or actual dairy milk, we'll see) and serve it as a cream/purreed soup with - still - bread with melted cheese added on top. :-) It should be tasty and filling and delicious. Here's hoping! :-)

Here's the recipe I've come up with (as if making it from new and not from leftover Carpathian Onion Soup):


Sesame oil OR lard OR butter
1 red onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (raw)
1 carrot (grated)
¼ C red lentils
1 C coconut milk (or table cream)
1 C water
½ C mashed sweet potatoes (OR unsweetened canned/mashed pumpkin)
½ C red pepper hummus
1 tsp each: soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, apple juice
1 tsp each: ketchup, grainy mustard
½ tsp each: dried basil, dried winter savoury, curry powder
1 C white wine
1 C Water OR coconut milk (OR table cream) + extra to desired thickness

1. In a deep pot, combine fat, onion, garlic, and carrot and allow to cook on very low heat for 15 minutes (covered)
2. Add the lentils, coconut milk, and water
3. Bring to a boil on high heat
4. Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer for half an hour, or until lentils are cooked through
5. Remove soup from heat and, using an immersion blender (easiest and safest way to do it), puree the soup (which should be quite thick at this time)
6. Stir in mashed sweet potatoes, hummus, and seasonings
7. Slowly add white wine, then water (or coconut milk) until desired thickness is achieved (this can work as anything from a bisque to a pottage, so as you will)
8. Return to the soup to the stove and heat through
9. Serve as-is, or garnish with (a) pea shoots, (b) sautéed shiitake mushroom slivers, (c) yoghurt/sour cream, (d) sautéed red peppers, OR (e) broiled cheese-on-toast slices, as for Carpathian Onion Soup
10. Serve and enjoy

Last night I made basa fillets baked in tadouri sauce (take 2 tbsp tandouri goo-inna-jar and mix it with 2C plain yoghurt... I would actually up this to three and three, personally, but ymmv).

2 basa fillets (or any other white fish - also works with salmon)
3 C plain yoghurt + 3 tbsp pre-fab tandour paste-inna-jar

Combine yoghurt and tandouri paste until well blended. Pour half of it into a lightly greased baking dish. Add the fillets. Pour the rest of the tandouri mixture over the fish. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 350F (or follow your nose).

During the last 15 minutes of cooking, fill a small pot with water.
3-4 small (ice-cube-sized) cubes of frozen spinach OR ruby chard
1 C frozen broccoli florets
Any other frozen veggies you care to incoporate

Bring water to a boil.
When the veggies are (a) unfrozen and (b) hot, drain them through a sceive.

Serve the fish topped with the veggies. You can serve this with rice if you are so inclined. :-)

So. The Kowloon Market, which is the neighbourhood's Big Grocery Store, sells duck at their prepared-food counter. Two pre-cooked, deliciously seasoned duck legs for about $3.50. It's awesome. I've been known to pick up two or three packages at a time and that'll do the protein part of our dinners-for-two for a couple of evenings (plus maybe a lunch or something) for a good portion of the week.
You can (or at least could, immediately after the full moon closest to Autumn Equinox) get a whole, roasting duck for ~$12.00. Which is not that much more expensive than a roasting chicken from Hartmann's or Loblaw's or something.

So, as you can imagine, I've had a fair bit of Duck Bones lying around of late. Consequently, I've been starting to make my own soup stock.
I kind of love having a slow-cooker. The ammount of stuff I make in it is kind of nutty. It wouldn't shock me if I wound up making yoghurt in it (using the "keep warm" setting) in the not-too-distant future.

But. Duck Stock. Basically, you make stock by throwing in whatever bits and pieces you happen to have lying around. Here's what's gone into the version that's just started to simmer in the slow-cooker now:


1 whole duck-carcass skeleton + the bones from 4-6 duck legs
12 (or so) small nasturtium leaves (from our garden)
10 onion-chives (likewise from our garden)
5 tiny leaves of rainbow chard (likewise fro what's still hanging on in our garden)
1 scarlet-runner bean (likewise from our garden)
2-3 green beans (from Ghost's parents' garden)
1 very tiny red pepper (likewise from Ghost's parents' garden)
1 granny-smith apple that probably froze in the back of the fridge at least once
6 (or so) strips of rutabaga
1/2 C left-over red wine (that might have been on its way to vinegar, though I'm not sure)
4 garlic scapes cut into 1" lengths
3 woody stalks od basil, w/ seed-pods (from our garden)
5 bay leaves
1 tsp dried rosemary
1-2 tsp black pepper
1 pinch of cinnamon
10 very small cherry tomatoes (half of which came from our garden post-frost, and half of which came from a friend of Ghost's NPPP)

I'm inclined to add:
2-3 baby carrots
1-2 collard stalks (the thick ends)


And that should make for a tasty stock.
I'll give it a sampling in a few hours, to see how the broth is shaping up, and figure out what needs to be added. (I'm guessing a little bit of tamari or marmite, plus some maple syrup or molasses, but that's an early guess and it may be fine without).
I'll probably also break up a few of the bones at that time, so that the marrow can find its way better into the broth.

I've used my other home-made stock (duck + chicken bones, and Whatever Was Lying Around) as a base for (a) beef bourginion (esque), and (b) slightly-French onion soup. That latter involved the additons of sesame oil, molasses, and balsamic vinegar, fyi.

It works.
I tend to make 6-8 C of fairly concentrated stock at a time (size of slow-cooker, but also size of fridge) and assemble the ingredients for the next batch (in the freezer) while I use up the current one. I find that 2C stock (I store it onld pasta sauce jars, typically) plus 2-4 C water makes a suitable base for two people worth of soup.

I'm hoping this particular stock (duck lends itself well to strong flavours, being a fatty, strongly flavoured bird to begin with) will be pleasantly spicy and - thanks to my over-cooking the roasting duck[1] - nicely meaty/rich as well. I find that it, like pork, combines well with "sweet" flavours like apple, maple, and cinnamon. Which is handy. But it also goes really well with earthy flavour like rosemary, mushrooms, and thyme (and, yes, maple).

Next time I roast a duck, I will probably do it a little differently, in order to render as much of the fat out of it as possible. I like to keep some duck fat on hand for cooking, since it's quite a lovely consistency. :-) I will, again, save the bones for stock - but I may also try throwing some pork bones in as well (as we've got some pork chops in the freezer at the moment). We'll see what this does to it in terms of flavour.

Aaaaaaaaaaand, yeah. That's my rambling on making duck-based soup stock. Huzzah! :-)

Amazon. :-)

[1] I cooked it for four hours. That was too long by a good hour, at least. Next time I roast a duck (possibly next week?) I'll have to make sure it's fully thawed when I start the cooking, and then cook it for less time. I mean, yes, the skin was lovely and crispy. But the meat on the wings was pretty-much jerky with bones in it. So they went into the stock pot very nearly whole. O.O
Making up a French Onion Soup recipe that I want to try in the next week or so. :-)
Behold! :-)


1.5 C duck stock
0.5 C red wine
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp tamari (or miso paste, turned into a slurry with some water)

1 large onion, halved and sliced into thin rounds
3 garlic scapes, chopped into 1cm lengths
3 baby carrots, very thinly sliced into rounds (optional)

pinch each: black pepper, thyme,
1 bay leaf

Two (very thin) slices of dense, rye bread

Grated cheese (gruyere is, I think, traditional - but you could also use mozzerella or cheddar)


Put all the liquid ingredients, plus the seasonings, into a soup pot and whisk together with a fork or something

Prep the veggies (what few there are), and add them to the soup pot

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat

Simmer the hell out of everything for about 20 minutes

During this time, toast your slices of bread, butter them, and cut them into quarters

Grate the cheese (about 1 C, total, but you can make due with less)

Ladel the finished soup into bowls, top with buttered toast quarters, and sprinkle generously with cheese

Find some way to melt the cheese. You could put it under a broiler if you've got the right kind of dishes. You could set a plate on top of each bowl and let the heat of the soup melt the cheese. You could hit it with a kitchen blow-torch to brown it up a bit as it melts. Lots of options.

Serve and enjoy. :-D
So. Have I mentioned that I kind of love the Kowloon Market? Where else can you get duck-for-two for $5?

Which is, in fact, what I did the other night. I went up the street and picked up a few odds and sods, including milk and butter[1] but also including a whole frozen duck (to be roasted at some point in the future, possibly in early November) and a couple of packages of pre-bbq'd duck legs.

I only saved the bones from one package - more fool me - but I am making soup stock today with those legs being the first ingredient.

My cooking philosophy, such as it is, is that you cook with what you've got on hand and so it's helpful if you're good at combining things on the fly and making good guesses as to what will go with what.
If I weren't nearly so intuitive when it came to flavour combinations, I would probably have a different cooking philosophy. But as it stands, this one is serving me well.

So. My experiment for today:


The bones of two duck legs, with a little bit of meat still clinging to them around the joints

A well-packed cup of dandelion leaves[2]

A few slices of beet, left over from the dinner where the duck bones came from

Four baby carrots

The remains of an onion (probably about 3 tbsp?), chopped into quarters

1 large clove garlic, diced

About half a tomato (the other half became part of breakfast along with some edamame and the rest of the beets)

The water in-which I cooked the edamame

Three medium-small bay leaves

A teaspoon or so of grainy mustard

A heaping soup spoon full of apple butter

A teaspoon or so of rendered duck fat (I keep it in my fridge and treat it like lard)

Three pieces of kombu (I think...)

A big handful of dried inoke mushrooms (hoping I didn't use too many of these)

A couple of tablespoons of blood sausage, plus the water I used to soften it up

Two pieces of dried red pepper


I think that's everything. I'm currently at the "second-guessing myself" stage, which is where I wonder if I shouldn't add some rosemary and tamari and black pepper... and I may yet do it.

Right now, the broth is in the slow-cooker on "low" and is smelling VERY tomato-y.

I know tomato-based duck broth works - it works well enough that you can use left-over-duck combined with macaroni noodles and tinned tomato soup (made with water) and make a remarkably delicious soup. So I'm not too worried about it.
But I do think those three ingredients might help things along in the long run.

Anyway. We'll see how it goes.


[1] With the demise, several years ago, of the local western-food grocery store, the Kowloon Market has started carrying dairy. This is me rejoicing! :-D

[2] Which I harvested almost a month and a half ago, and which were still just as good as the day I picked them - which kind of shocked me, but is good to know. Dandelions KEEP in the fridge!
amazon_syren: (Crafty!)
( Aug. 18th, 2012 08:37 am)
I really like those bags of frozen spinach where the spinach is in little, loose cubes (so that you can use, like, three cubes and wind up with half a cup of cooked spinach in your entree or whatever). I've been looking for them at my grocery store (Hartmann's, so whose surprised) but they haven't had them for months. Possibly this is because it isn't spinach-freezing season yet? Dunno.

Anyway. I decided "screw it" and bought one of those huge boxes of loose baby spinach the other day.
The vast majority of it is now blanched and frozen (in theory - I did this last night) in an ice-cube tray, ready to be transferred to a freezer bag for leisurely consumption.

This morning, I hacked up an entire rutabaga (and half a dozen tiny, somewhat dried-out, beets - they look kind of like rose petals when they're sliced up) and am brining it in a not that salty salt-water solution.
Tomorrow I will sterilize a few one-cup jars (in theory this should give me eight cups, but I suspect it's more like four...) and boil up a heap of red wine vinegar[1] with some judiciously sellected seeds and spices, chop up some garlic, and pickle the hell out of my rutabagas. :-D

It will be delicious and shwarma-tastic. :-D

In other rutabaga-related news, I found this: Rutabaga/Parsnip Muffins at Foodland Ontario. Thought I would probably use dried cranberries (or currants) instead of raisins ('cause I like them better), I think I might try this at some point over the winter. :-)

I'm currently making bread. It's something vaguely related to brioche, I think. Three eggs, milk, and a splash of oil to give it a very soft, moist crumb, plus honey for the sweetener (for its preservation qualities, but also because it'll give the crust a nice colour and, hey, YUM!)

I'm hoping to go to (and, thus, actually locate) the Preston St. Farmers' Market today. I'd like to see what's available. Granted, just at the moment, we have a very well-stocked fridge, so I'm going have to be careful about not buying stuff. :-)

In other news, I'm hoping to hem a skirt today.

Amazon. :-)

[1] Note to self: Get more red wine vinegar. And more apple-cider vinegar. And a huge thing of olive-oil for soap-making. And salt. Right. Groceries later today!

So a couple of days ago I made pickled peaches. Om Nom Nom pickled peaches. And I had a little bit of the pickling solution left over.

The pickling solution, in this case, was a mix of maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, raspberry-balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt.

So it was basically sweet-and-sour sauce.

So I chopped up three tomatoes and about 1/4 of an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic, and chucked them all into the pot with the pickling solution in it... and then added a little bit of nutritional yeast, four miniature pork sausages (mild Italian) pre-cooked and sliced into rounds, and one sweet-pickled roasted red pepper (that I then mashed up into a pulp).

Stir everything together and let simmer until most of the liquid has boiled off.

Add a cup of cooked pasta (I used fusilli) and serve. Hot, sweet, slightly spicy, and delicious. Although a little extra garlic wouldn't have been amiss and it could have taken on a couple of ice-cube-sized pucks of frozen spinach and not been anything to complain about.

In other news: I have three-and-a-half cups of grape jelly that, I'm rapidly concluding, I'm not likely to actually use.
More fool me for making it in the first place. :-P
If people have suggestions for what to do with grape jelly (other than "eat on bread"), I'd appreciate hearing them.
Particularly if they involve mixing them with savoury foods to make interesting sauces or something. (Like... could I do a mix of 50/50 grape jelly and red wine vinegar, plus garlic, onion, a pinch of salt, and fresh ...rhubarb?... and throw them in a slow-cooker with a bit of beef...? Would that work? Any ideas?)

I tried turning some of it (2C) into sour-cream tarts... and that did not go well. Jam tarts are possible, because jam contains actual pieces of fruit. Jelly tarts basically get you a tart shell full of slightly burnt caramel and rather grape-y water.
Not so good, I'm afraid. :-\

I'm game for adding it to cakes and similar, but if anyone has ideas for a savoury option, I'm all ears. :-)

Amazon. :-)
Chocolate Pumpkin-Seed-Butter Cupcakes


1 1/2 C flour
1 C cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt

1 1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C sour milk OR plain yoghurt
1/4 C margarine
1/4 C pumpkin-seed butter
2 eggs

1/4 C chocolate chips

1 1/2 C icing sugar
2/3 C pumpkin-seed butter
1 C margarine


Preheat the oven to 350F
Whisk together the Dry Ingredients
Blend together the Wet Ingredients
Blend the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients
Fold in the chocolate chips
Spoon batter into cupcake-liners (in a muffin tin, of course)
Bake for 15 minutes (more or less)
Allow to stand for five minutes, then pop them onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
Once cupcakes are fully cooled (give it a good half-hour?) frost the tops with the above recipe (you can get fancy with a pastry bag and a fluted tip, or you can just slather it on with a knife - it should be smooth enough for either) and decorate with hulled pumkin seeds or whatever you happen to want to throw on there. :-D


I have to admit... I may not have enough pumpkin-seed butter to do the frosting. We shall see.

[EDIT: Have baked. They are tasty and awesome. And, yes, I did NOT have enough pumpkin seed butter to do the frosting. by any stretch of the imagination. None the less, they are still tasty and delicious. Go forth and try them out! :-D /EDIT]

NOTE 1: You can, of course, substitute any nut/seed butter you want for the pumpkin-seed-butter. Hazelnut would be a good one, for example. Probably chestnut, too.

NOTE 2: At present, they basically taste like really good brownies. If you wanted to up the nut/seed flavour, I would say double the nut/seed butter and leave the margarine out (although adding a tablespoon of veggie oil wouldn't be amis).

In other news: I have taught someone to KNIT today!! :-D Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!! :-D

Amazon. :-D
Have just tried this recipe for cranberry coffee cake.

Was out of eggs, so it required a fair bit of tweaking.

Recipe went as follows:

3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 C margarine
1/3 C sour cream
1/2 C apricot-ginger cranberry sauce
1/2 tsp orange extract

1 C wheat flour
1/2 C ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt

Creamed together the wet ingredients (and the sugar). Whisked together the dry ingredients. Added the wet to the dry and blended until moist and kind of lumpy.

It's now divided between two small dessert-loaf pans, baking at 425F (because my oven is basically broken - normally this would be 375F) until... probably close to 6pm.
My hope is to get a couple of small, airy loaves out of the dough, but we'll see how it goes (I suspect crumbling and, thus, trifle, will ensue. But I'll have to get more eggs, first). :-)

Amazon. :-)
Considering trying the following recipe as an experiment:

Cranberry Coffee Cake

1/3 C granulated sugar
1/4 C margarine
1/4 C sour cream
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla OR orange extract

1 egg white

1 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt

1/2 C cranberry sauce (cranberry-apricot-ginger in this case)


0) Preheat the oven to 375F
1) Whip the eggwhite until it forms stiff peaks
2) Cream together the sugar, sour cream, margarine, egg yolk, and vanilla/orange extract
3) Whisk together the dry ingredients
4) Blend the wet mixture into the dry, being careful not to over-mix
5) Fold in the eggwhite
6) fold in the cranberry sauce
7) Grease a loaf pan
8) Pour the batter into the greased pan
9) Bake for about 1 hour (until it passes the fork test)
10) Remove from oven. Allow cake to stand for ten minutes or so before turning onto a wire rack and allowing to cool the rest of the way

Serve sliced with cranberry curd and/or appricot compote and/or sour cream and/or custard-sauce, or whatever else you feel like throwing at it. OR eat it on its own, served with coffee. It would probably work really nicely with a white-chocolate glaze or something, too, come to think of it.

Anyway. We'll see how/if this turns out. :-)

Amazon. :-)

... My Ghost is terrorizing the parrot. This is not actually all that unusual.

Moving right along.

Today I experimented with cookies. Specifically, I made (as in "baking as we speak") a batch of thumb-print butter cookies with cranberry curd


Cranberry Sunbursts (version 1.0)

2C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 C potato flour
1/2 C icing sugar
1C butter
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix the above into a dough that sticks together easily but doesn't automatically coat your hands with gunk.

Roll the dough into balls.

Put them on an un-greased cookie sheet (should hold about twelve) and flatten them out (to about 1cm thick). Put a thumb-print depression in the middle of each cookie (they should now look a bit like nests).

Into each depression add:

1/2 tsp cranberry curd (or the jam of your choice -- sour cherry is a good one, but peach/apricot or raspberry or strawberry or red currant (we're aiming for sunny/warm colours here) will work nicely as well).

Bake in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes (or 20 minutes if, like me, your oven only has a "broil" setting due to the bottom element never having worked).

Allow to cool (yes, really, the cranberry curd will be hot and kind of spurty, or so I'm guessing), and then serve with hot apple cider or similar. YAY! :-D

Makes... probably about 18 big (but not enormous) cookies.


Here's hoping they taste good and don't fall apart. (Note: The tasting good is not really a worry in this instance. It's hard to screw up shortbread. If they fall apart, though, I'll be adding 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla, and maybe a quarter cup more flour of one sort or another).

So I made a batch of cranberry curd for the first time today.

Now, it's possible I feel this way because I've only ever made lemon curd with lemon-juice-from-concentrate[1] BUT: I think I actually like the cranberry curd better. It's thicker. This may be because I made it wrong (I was doing a half-recipe, but may have used more cranberries than called for), or it may be because cranberry curd uses purreed cranberries rather than cranberry juice, thence the thicker consistency.

I made it as part of my collection of to-be-traded-for-moose preserves to send to Ghost's co-worker, as such about 2/3 of the batch when into a 500mL jar[2] BUT the other cup of it (or there-abouts) went into: Cranberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake! (Which is gloriously pink and also currently in the oven).

How to make the Cranberry Curd:

Combine in a sauce pan:
2/3 of a bag (AKA 2/3 of a pound) of raw cranberries
1C water

Cover and simmer until you have a thick and saucy sauce.
Put the sauce in a blender (or similar) and purree until it's super-smooth.

Return sauce to pan and add:
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 C butter

Stir in, over medium heat, until well-combined. Turn off the heat at this point.

In a small blow, beat together
3 eggs
1/4 C sugar

Add the egg mixture to the cranberry mixture, and stir in until very smooth.
Turn the heat on again under the cranberry mixture and stir slowly, over medium heat, until the mixture thickens up nicely. It'll be a bit like pudding. Or maybe like Greek yoghurt. Or something. (I'm not being very helpful here, I know).

At this point, you can either pour it into sterilized jars and process it, as for jam, in a boiling water bath
You can chuck it in a tupperware and throw it in the fridge (where it'll keep for a week, in theory)
You can use it immediately on/in the baked goods of your choice.

Case in point:

Cranberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Cream together
1C sugar
½ C butter/margarine (soft)
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 C sour cream

In a second bowl, mix together:
2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Blend the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until smooth, then stir in:
1 C cranberry curd (OR lemon curd)

Pour it all into a greased spring-form (or other) cake pan

OPTIONAL: Sprinkle on top:
Almond crumble (ground almonds, brown sugar, and margarine)

Bake at 350F for about an hour and a half (until it smells done and passes the fork test)

Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan, cut and serve with something floopy like vanilla yoghurt or raspberry sorbet or clotted cream or whatever. Enjoy!


Anyway. so that was the cranberries.

I also made a mint jelly (with a little white wine vinegar in it for an extra dimension of flavour and also the cut the sweetness of it a little bit) -- that used up my other remaining 500mL jar. I'm just glad I had a spare bottle (that used to house cocoanut oil) lying around, because that took the rest of it.
It occurs to me that you could, in this way, make a LOT of herbal jellies basically by making Very Strong Tea that uses a ration of 2:3 water:sugar, and then adding a package of pectin at the appropriate moment. I may give this a shot, just to see how it turns out. Hrm...

Anyway. So there was that.

I am also doing a pork roast for dinner. It was on for cheap, and I they are Very Tasty. Plus we've still got a tonne of apples in the fridge from Ghost's parents' place, so it didn't hurt to use one up (there was a very tiny worm in its heart. It will be happy in a compost heap somewhere, I'm sure).

The roast includes:
1 Apple
1 Beet
1/3 of a yellow onion (or there-abouts)
Savoury and Mustard on top of the meat
A dribble of red wine in the bottom of the pan

It has turned out very nicely, and now we are going to eat it.


Amazon. :-)

[1] Which, I gather, is total anathema and you're only ever supposed to use carefully juiced REAL lemons, ideally meyer, to do the job. It's never been any kind of a problem for me, fyi, to use the concentrated stuff and completely omit the lemon zest, but that's just me.

[2] My last one, as it happens - Hartmann's was all out, they had two packages of twelve 1L jars left, and that was it. I'm hoping they get in more in the sizes I need before the end of the week.
In the oven right now is something like a peach-blueberry custard pie.

I say "something like" because, unlike, say, pancakes or cookies, I'm not totally confident in my ability to 100% make things up as I go along when it comes to custard-based pies. I'm a little worried that it'll be an egg-y mess. (Although there's only one egg involved, since I wanted to make sure we had a couple for breakfast tomorrow).

BUT. What it all consists of is:

1) ground-almond-butter-vanilla-flour crumb crust (I used wheat flour and margarine, plus a pinch of salt, but y'know) I'm using a very small pie-pate. Like 6"-8" in diameter and relatively shallow.

2) 4 peaches (ripe enough) peeled <*shrug*> and roughly chopped + 1/2 C sugar + 1/4 flour, mixed together

3) 1 C froze blueberries + 1/2 C sugar

4) 1 egg + up to 1 C milk + a splash of vanilla + 1/2 C sugar + pinch of salt, well-blended

You partially-bake the crust while you deal with the fruit and the egg mixture

Then you layer the peaches and the blueberries in the pie-plate and pour the egg mixture over them. (Hint: If you've got some peach/apricot jam/sauce lying around, you might want to spread/dot a little bit on the crust before adding the layers of fruit).

Bake at ~350F until it looks and smells right. (I don't know what duration that is, but it's probably about half an hour in a fully-functional oven. Me and my single-element oven, however, are probably going to need 40+ minutes).

Serve and, I hope, enjoy. (I'll let you know how it goes).

- Amazon.

[EDIT to Add (at 8:40pm):
Okay, based on having put the pie in the oven at around 7pm - and possibly because I was using frozen blueberries (thus --> lots of water) - it looks like took a good hour-and-a-half to cook my pie.

Presently, it's cooling on the stove-top while Ghost makes us cream of mushroom soup and a side of cheese-and-tomato sandwiches. The berries are looking very, uh, cooked... but the peaches look good and the custardy stuff looks practically caramelized.

So... it should be sweet as fuck and probably fairly tasty. Time will tell. For a given value of "time" wherein "time" = 20 minutes.
Dinner now (or soon enough to now that it doesn't make a tonne of difference). Will report back on the state of the pie once we've tasted it. :-)

[EDIT to Add (at 10:00pm):
And the results are in.
I have managed to make what is, more or less, a giant fruity butter tart (involving shockingly little butter, granted, but a HEAP of sugar, so). I think it could have done with something extra - a hint of ginger or lemon or both, most likely - but beyond that? Yum!

I declare this pie to be A Success! :-D
Today, I made jam. Specifically, I made THIS jam:

Cherry Berry Jam )


This recipe, which is kind of a cheater’s jam, since it waters down the fruit and adds sugar by volume after that, makes about two 2C mason jars worth of jam. Having only just made the stuff, I haven’t got a clue what it’s consistency is going to be like (whether it’ll be closer to jam or jelly, for example), but going by the stuff I used in the cold-plate test, it’s going to (a) be ridiculously sweet, and (b) taste pretty good, in spite of that. :-)

Rayne says: This isn't just bio-reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeegional, it's, like, micro bio-reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeegional. Do I get extra points for that? ;-)

- Amazon.
Today I wrote 1000 words of fiction
2 drafted poems
9 recipes.

Bwah. Writing for hte WIN. :-D
Amazon's Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

3 C granulated sugar
1 C margarine
1 C peanut butter
½ C yoghurt
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs

1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
4 C flour
1 C cocoa
1 C large chocolate chips

3 C icing sugar
2 C butter
1½ C peanut butter

1) Combine the sugar and the wet ingredients and cream them together

2) Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour, and blend until smooth

3) Add the chocolate chips and stir until well-mixed

4) Add the cocoa and blend carefully to achieve a "marble" effect (or just add the cocoa with the rest of the dry stuff -- it works either way)

5) Spoon into lined muffin cups (much easier to clean up AND to remove from the pan)

6) Bake until done (in my oven, this takes about 40 minutes, however my oven is a bit messed up. You'll probably find that it takes only about 20 minutes in yours)

7) Allow to cool completely

8) Frost with peanutbutter (or chocolate) icing

9) Serve and enjoy

10) Om-Nom-Nom!

Makes about 36 cupcakes. (I think -- the original recipe I made makes about 18, and the recipe I've presented here is the doubled version thereof).
So I actually ended up going to Umi for writing today because Raw Sugar is closed for the rest of the weekend.

Oh, well.

(I confess, I'm not a massive fan of writing in Umi. I'm not sure if this is because there are more people (noise?) at Umi or because the tables and chairs at RawRaw are more stable/comfortable (probably the latter). But still. I got some writing done. huzzah!)

But I came home because I was insanely hungry. As in: Couldn't think straight due to not having eaten since breakfast.
Which wasn't particularly breakfasty.

So I headed home and went to the Kowloon Market on the way.
Holy Shamoli, have they ever renovated in there (this is an ongoing process).

I picked up:

Garlic tips (stems?)
baby bok choy
milk (cow)
tofu (1/2 kilo = $2.50, 1kg = $4.00)
snow peas
inoki mushrooms (fresh!)
cilantro (NOM!)

Then I came home and made the following:


1/2C each: Millet and Quinoa (rinced)
2C water
1/4 tsp salt

Cook until grain is done (chewy but not crunch)

In the mean time, take:
1 bunch cilantro
12+ cherry tomatoes
1 thick/long cucumber
4 garlic stems (or a couple of cloves of garlic OR, if you prefer, some green onions)

Wash them and chop them roughly (okay, the garlic got chopped small) and chuck them in a big bowl with some dried (or fresh!) dill, basil and peppermint. (The mint and, to a lesser extent, the basil, should be a very light note, but the dill you can go haywire with).

Mix together:
2-4 tbsp roasted-garlic hummus (left over)
1 tbsp tahini
1-2 tsp fancy hot mustart
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp cooking oil (ideally olive, but sunflower/canola/whatever will do)

So that you have a small wodge of ever-so-creamy dressing that smells tasty and tangy, but not overpowering.

Rince and drain a tin of romano (or other) beans.

When the grain is cooked, add to it the dressing and the beans. Mix well and allow to cool (at least a little bit).

Add the grains mixture to the cilantro mixture in the big bowl. Mix until everything is evenly distributed.

Chill and/or serve & enjoy. :-D

It is an acceptable improvisation.
amazon_syren: (Default)
( May. 31st, 2010 06:04 pm)

6 cups of thinly sliced citrus fruits (or mixed citrus and Other fruits)
Water to cover
6 cups of sugar
1 pkg pectin

Simmer like hell until the cold-plate test works (dribble some goo onto a cold place. If, after a couple of seconds, you can cut a line through the goo that doesn't re-fill, you're good to go and can start canning it).

Pour into STERILE glass jars

Boil the full, lidded jars in water (completely submerged) for five minutes or a little bit longer.

Allow to cool, then pop them in the fridge, or where-ever. :-)


This also works with any other fruit you're inclined to use, as far as I can tell, for the making of jams and similar (purree anything bigger than a blueberry, mind you, if you want Really Smooth Jam as opposed to Chunks Of Fruit Jam).


This has been a public service announcement / mental note.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled LJ. :-)

- Amazon. :-)


amazon_syren: (Default)


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags