Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

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Experiments in Soda

So I got it in my head a while back that I wanted to make homemade ginger ale and root beer.  I poked around the net for a while and found several similar sets of directions for “brewing” soda at home.  Yup, brewing.  I gave it a try.  I followed a recipe for ginger ale.  It wasn’t terrible, though I found it fairly weak in the flavor department.  What I didn’t like was that if I wanted to keep it around I’d be going through that process about once a week as over time the yeast would keep making a little alcohol.  I’m not great at incorporating new chores into my routine, and with mediocre results I wasn’t motivated to try.

Then it dawned on me the other day – Italian soda would be easy.  Just add syrup to some kind of fizzy water and go.  So I’ve started making syrups from time to time – way less fussy and super quick.  A roughly 1 to 1 ratio of the liquid of my choice and some sugar in a pan on the stove for a minute or two and I was all set.  Give it a try – it’s pretty awesome!

So far I’ve tried:

Pappy’s Sassafrass Tea Concentrate (awesome root beer!!!)

Fresh Ginger steeped in boiling water (very nice, ginger teabags would work too)

A couple of pureed peaches (my little chopper left them a bit chunky, so the soda had floaties because I opted not to strain)

Bottle of Pom Wonderful straight up Pomegranate (not bad, but next time I’ll just buy a couple pomegranates and juice them, pasteurization changes the flavor a bit)

Nearly anything could work – any juice, tea, or infusion you like.  If you like it as much as we do, you too may be thinking about finding one of those old seltzer bottles and some CO2 cartridges.  Cheers!

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Posted August 26, 2010 by Queue

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Make Ahead Day

In Cooking,Knitting,Life,Spinning on April 14, 2010 by Queue

I’m not subbing today, so I planned our meals for the next week and went to the store.  When I got home I proceeded to make two dinners simultaneously, neither of which are for dinner tonight.  I got my receipts this week from Smitten Kitchen. I love this blog – she does great recipes and her photography is stellar!  I want light that good in my kitchen.

Today I made Spinach and Cheese Strata, which needs to chill overnight before cooking anyway, and Stuffed Cabbage Rolls which I intend to bag and freeze for sometime next week.  Tonight we’re having Tomato and Sausage Risotto.

It was a fair bit of prep work – though not as labor intensive as some things I love to cook.  But now I’ll have two nights of reheat dinners, basically.  Tomorrow is another subbing day, so the strata will be an easy dinner after a longish day.  Friday is birthday dinner for the boy, so we’re having (by request) fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and hopefully asparagus.  The asparagus at the store today was HUGE and a bit past its “expiration date” if you know what I mean.  Ew.  And to top all that oh so healthy food off, I’m making him a Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake.

There may have also been some knitting.  I started spinning a 4 oz. braid on Saturday, finished the singles on Sunday, plied, soaked, and dried on Monday.  The braid was three large sections of color.  I split each color into sixths and spun them in such an order than when I wound the singles on my ball winder and plied starting from the two ends and working towards the middle I’d get stripes.  Then I proceeded to cast on a hat.  I’m working a top down toboggan type loosely based on Brooklyntweed’s Turn a Square.  I’m going to keep going ’til I run out of yarn, so this hat may have a sizeable “cuff.”

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An Un-receipt*

Ordinarily I reheat something leftover from a past supper for lunch, but when I was hungry this afternoon I found the fridge devoid of all forms of previously made food.  It was time to improvise.

I cooked up the last of the 50% whole wheat penne – probably a cup and a half dry and saved the salty pasta water.   Whole wheat would certainly be fine if you like the stuff – I find it resembles cardboard a bit too closely.  Regular old “normal” pasta would also be fine – but I recommend penne or some other somewhat chunky pasta.  This is not a time for spaghetti.

I sauteed a handful of button mushrooms, which I quartered, and four pieces of acorn squash leftover from the previous recipe, which I cut into cubes, in some olive oil.  I added a little Italian seasoning and some chopped walnuts.

Once this was browned and crispy in spots I added a few tablespoons of heavy cream (half and half would totally work, didn’t have any – milk, on the other hand really wouldn’t) and a few crumbles of blue cheese.

Then I stirred in some chopped frozen basil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Once the pasta was done, I added some of the pasta water to the creamy sauce stuff to thin it down (it was almost a paste consistency before I did that) and stirred it together with the pasta.

Sorry there’s no picture today – I already ate my bowl.  It was good.  I highly recommend you play with your food from time to time, the results can be really tasty!

* This is my attempt to practice some of the things taught to me by my mother/grandmother/great-grandmother.  To quote my grandfather’s mother, my Gran, “a recipe is for medicine, a receipt for food.”

Posted April 10, 2010 by Queue

Quotes

For Supper Tonight

I don’t know about y’all, but I have a really hard time coming up with new and exciting things for dinner.  Sometimes I search the web.  Sometimes I hunt around the store for inspiration.  I pour through our myriad of cookbooks.  I buy more cookbooks.  This summer I’m hoping to sign us up for a CSA to keep myself in interesting produce for a while – it may help.  But eventually, I’m at a loss for what to cook.

So I thought I’d share the good dinner recipes when I have them.  And I’m hoping that the few of you that read this from time to time might chime in with some of your own.

So, without further ado, I bring you tonight’s supper:

Blue Cheese Burgers w/ Grilled Onion on Texas Toast

Really should make 4, possibly 5 burgers

1 lb. ground beef

A few  shakes of Worcestershire Sauce

A few shakes of garlic salt

A few twists from the pepper grinder

2-3 tbsp of cream cheese and a roughly equal amount of blue cheese

One large red onion

Six slices of garlic butter Texas Toast (make your own, buy frozen, or see if there are fresh ones in the bakery section – it doesn’t matter overly much)

Put the ground beef into a bowl and work in the Worcestershire Sauce, onion salt, and pepper with your hands.  I’m pretty sure I used a good tablespoon of Worcestershire, maybe more – it’s a taste thing, adjust it to yours.  Form this into eight or ten flatish patties that don’t quite cover the palm of your hand.  In another bowl mix the cheeses together with a spoon.  Spread the cheese mixture onto the middles of three of your patties.  Make beef patty oreos and pinch and press the edges together so you can’t see any cheese.

Slice red onion into 1/2 inch slices (or less, Seth asked for less next time) and rub a little olive oil on each side.

Cook the burgers by your desired method (I’m a grill girl myself) until they are as done as you like your burgers.  This will likely take a little longer than you’re used to due to the thickness.  Some cheese may ooze out, this is ok.  You can either grill or pan saute the onions right along with the burgers.  You can either grill or oven bake the texas toast.  I lit the webber and laid everything on there, pulling things off as they were done.  Once they’re all done, assemble and enjoy.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Sage Butter

1-2 Acorn squash

2-4 Tbsp. salted butter

1 Tbsp. rubbed sage (fresh would be better, we didn’t have any tonight)

Cut open your squash and scoop out the seeds.  Cut each whole squash into about six wedges.  Melt your butter and stir the sage into it.  Brush this onto the squash and let a little pool in the “bottom of the boat.”  Bake these in a 350 degree oven until the squash is soft when poked with a fork.  I put mine on a pizza stone in a cold oven, set for 350, and it took about 35 minutes.

I hope this helps someone who needs a good idea for dinner.  Feel free to pass it along to anyone who might like it; these are far from being entirely my original ideas, so share the love!

Posted April 6, 2010 by Queue

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A little discipline

In Baking,Cooking,Gardening,Knitting on March 16, 2010 by Queue

I’ve said it before, and I’ll likely say it again.

I’m going to make an attempt to post more regularly.  My goal is weekly.

So let’s see, what’s been going on around here . . .

Well, I’ve told you about the puppy.

I’ve got one finished sweater and one that’s nearly done.  I’ve finished a couple pairs of socks.  I’ve got a couple hats I made back when my head was cold.  I’m working on a really pretty lace piece and I have a shrug to finish for Curly. When I’ve got some good light, I’ll get Seth to help me get some pictures!

Also, I’ve decided not to garden too seriously this year.  I just don’t want to play with tomatoes in big pots and the hazards of dry weather, or cool weather, or a lack of sunshine.  One of the nearby farmer’s markets has a CSA, and I’m going to try to get us subscribed.  Between that, my garden crazy MIL, and the other farmer’s markets around we should be just fine.

I’ve been using my copy of Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day more lately.  It’s fantastic to have dough on hold in the fridge for when you want some warm bread with dinner.  Or burger buns, which I never remember to buy or make until we’ve already dug the ground beef out of the freezer to make patties.  I found some great instructions for making sliders here.  And we had a great time making and eating them.

We’ve been having some good fun here.

Quotes

Winter Evening Soup

Mom spent a long day in a chilly pool yesterday, so I came over and whipped this up for supper.

Heat in a large pot:

2 boxes Beef Broth (if you have your own stock, more power to ya, I have no access to a
butcher so I have no beef bones) approximately 2 litres

about as much water

1 sweet potato in 1/2 inch cubes

1 bunch curly kale trimmed from the stems and cut into small pieces

A bunch of whole herb stems (thyme, rosemary, oregano)

Simmer for a half hour or so.

About 15-20 minutes before you’re ready to serve, add

one bag cheese tortellini

1/3 lb. mushrooms, quartered

salt and pepper to taste ( I like to add “Crazy Mixed Up Salt” too)

Remove the herb bunch.

**Once you add the pasta, try not to stir much, as they tend to burst. Although, if they do, it’s not too big of a loss, as the cheese filling adds something nice to the broth.

Posted November 17, 2007 by Queue

Articles

Thoughts on the Granola

In Baking on October 3, 2007 by Queue

It was good! I made another batch this week. This might be my new favorite snack!