Become a contributor!

This button doesn't work at all, but you're welcome to press it. And to contact me (Dustin), should you wish to become a contributor.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Kale Potage Soup

Uh... I am back to my usual ways. I'm not even sure if "potage" is a word commonly used in the English language.

1 bunch kale
2 potatoes
1 onion
500 ml milk
400 ml water
2 bouillon cubes
  1. Wash and cut kale into 5-cm strips. Wash and peel potatoes, and cut into small pieces. Thinly slice the onions.
  2. Boil the vegetables in the 400 ml water until the potatoes and the kale stalks are soft. Set aside and allow to cool until no longer actively steaming.
  3. Transfer the vegetables and water into a blender (or possibly a food processor) and blend until everything is smooth. Be careful: the steam released during this process will need to be occasionally vented, kind of like a sep funnel, or else the lid will try to fly off and splatter its contents.
  4. Return the blended vegetable mixture to the pot. Use the 400 ml milk in approximately 100-ml increments to rinse out the inside of the blender, and add to the pot.
  5. Bring to a boil, then add bouillon, salt, and pepper.

❧ Cocoa Brownies ❧

So there are two out-of-the-ordinary aspects to these brownies. For one thing, I never cook from English-language recipes, or rather non-Japanese recipes, but this is adapted from Smitten Kitchen. (You'll therefore notice that for once, ingredient amounts will be given in volume instead of mass, which I actually hate.) For another, I don't repeat recipes, because one of the few New Year's resolutions I've actually been successful at trying to keep is to attempt as many different recipes as possible and post them to this cooking site. You can follow my progress here, but you won't want to. Anyway, the point is, the fact that I broke these two fundamental rules to my cooking is pretty indicative that these brownies are good.

To be completely honest, I would probably cut down on the butter and sugar if I were making these brownies for myself, but I think that's my inner Japa talking. Everyone who's had these brownies says I shouldn't mess with them.


1 1/4 sticks butter (I actually used margarine and it's fine)
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
  1. Allow the butter to soften at room temperature. Preheat oven to 325 F. If you are using a traditional baking pan, line the bottom and sides with parchment paper or foil. If you are improvising with a muffin pan, like me, use muffin cups or lightly grease the sides.
  2. Whisk together the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium microwavable bowl. Microwave the bowl for 30 seconds (at 700 watts, in case you were wondering), then whisk further. Repeat until the mixture is smoothly mixed (although possibly gritty) and hot.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one until the batter is thick, shiny, smooth, and well-blended.
  4. Add the flour and whisk until completely incorporated*. Continue to whisk for 40 more strokes. (This is actually not as bad as it sounds--if you whisk vigorously, it takes under a minute, and in any case you'll need to burn some calories to justify eating these brownies.)
  5. Pour batter into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool before attempting to cut the brownies or to remove them from the pan. If you are using a muffin pan without liners, be warned: the brownies will break in half (under the muffin top line) if they are not completely cooled.

*I picked up this word from another English-language recipe blog. I'm kind of proud of myself but I hope I'm using it right.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

kitchen improv: white bean linguini

Kitchen Improv is where I read a recipe, in this case, this one, am missing many of the ingredients, go into the kitchen, and try to cook up something like it anyway, reconstructing the gist of what I read before.
So, I may have mentioned once upon a time that I had a lot of frozen white beans? Well, I still have some of them, and  I'm about to move, so it is time to Clean Up Frozen Things. Here is what I did.

1. Cook linguine. That part should be easy.
2. Fry up some onions and garlic in generous olive oil. I used three fat cloves of garlic and most of a small onion ("most" because part of it looked funny), but I would recommend using more, because garlic is awesome.
3. Add to this about a cup, heaping, of white beans, and a cup of chicken stock. Also salt, pepper, and a large portion of oregano.
4. Cook this down to sauce-like consistency, and mash up the beans as you go. If you are impatient and have too much liquid, which I did, you can add tomato paste--which I had, and the original recipe had sun dried tomatoes in it so I thought something tomatoey would be good. The exciting part about this is that I do not have a can opener, although I have canned goods, because it got rusty or something and my roommate threw it away. In this situation, you can still open cans by poking a hole in them with the back end of a hammer, and then cutting a hole with a knife. Tomato paste cans are a poor choice, because they are small and thus more structurally intact, and also their contents don't pour, so then you have to scoop it out spoonful by spoonful while attempting not to cut yourself on the ragged metal edges of the little hole you made. Guys, I don't recommend this course of action. Keep your rusty can openers. Anyway, add maybe half the tomato paste.
5. Serve! Add lots o' cheese.

This produces about two portions of sauce, I'd say. It needed to be slightly more vigourous in flavour, but I am not sure what it needed, so I'll go with garlic. Maybe salt, too. It was pretty delicious, but it needs beta-testing. I wouldn't make it for a dinner party, but maybe for people who were hungry and not judgmental would like it.