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Saturday, July 16, 2011


Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of vichyssoise or gazpacho. It's not that I don't like soup--I love it, actually--but rather that I believe soup should be hot. However, a few weeks ago, I came upon this recipe during an oppressively hot week, and as I had tofu that needed to be used, I decided to give this a go.

Right now you're probably wondering why on earth tofu would be relevant, and thinking that this recipe is probably too weird for you to try.

However, it was amazing.

Ingredients (serves 2)
1/2 (pack? block?) silken tofu
1/2 onion
1/2 cup milk
1 consommé cube OR 1 tsp powdered consommé
  1. Thinly slice onions, and place them in a pot with water and consommé. Cook until onions are translucent.
  2. Let ➀ cool to room temperature, then combine it and tofu in a blender. Mix until smooth, then add milk.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste, then chill in refrigerator* and garnish with parsley before serving.

*I actually had this soup while still sort of warm and the rest after it had been chilled. Both are very good, so you don't necessarily have to wait...

Friday, July 15, 2011


This is the end of my big splurge of posts, I promise.

Basically, stroganoff is my favourite meal. Each of my siblings has a food that they get when they are leaving on vacation/back to school/etc; my middle brother gets pie, my younger brother gets mac and cheese, and I get stroganoff. So, when I noticed a recipe in How to Cook Everything that said it was "good, in spite of the bad versions you've had", my interest was piqued. This is the recipe:

Beef Stroganoff (p. 739)

3 T butter
2 large onions, sliced
Salt and pepper
8 oz mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (optional)
1.5-2 lb beef tenderloin or sirloin, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 T Dijon mustard
2 plum tomatoes (fresh or canned), or .5 cup good tomato sauce (optional)
1 cup beef or chicken stock
.5 cup sour cream
Chopped fresh dill or parsley, for garnish

Melt butter in a skillet with a lid or Dutch oven over medium heat. [unclear why you need the lid, since you aren't directed to cover it at any point]. When butter is melted, add onions with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and the mushrooms if you're using them. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft but not browned. Add the beef and cook, stirring, for just a minute. 
Stir in the mustard, tomatoes if using, and the stock. Adjust heat so the mixture bubbles steadily but not violently and cook till beef is teder, about 5 minutes. [At this point you can refrigerate the sauce for up to a day before continuing.] Stir in the sour cream, taste and adjust seasoning, garnish, and serve.

Now, I made this a while ago (in the spring), so I don't remember it too well; but it was disappointing, is what. Maybe my stock wasn't too great, or what, but it was merely a beef stew.  I was unconvinced! No, give me my delicious, salty-Campbell's-soup-filled, Betty Crocker recipe! Which I made the other day, and it was good. One flaw of this recipe is that the sour cream tends to separate if you don't eat it all right away; so I stored it without the sour cream, and then thawed and added dollops of sour cream later. This worked pretty well, I'd say. Also I happened not to have canned mushrooms and their delicious rubberiness, and was forced to use fresh ones--the horror. 


Browning meat. mm.
It's more delicious than it looks, I promise.
With sour cream!
-1 lb lean ground beef
-1 medium onion, chopped
-salt, pepper, garlic (to taste)
-1 can mushrooms
-1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
-1 cup sour cream
-some reasonable amount of parsley


Brown meat and chopped onion. (I believe in the original this is done in butter, but there's really no need.) Drain smushrooms and add some seasoning--I think there's a clove of garlic or two in there, but I can't remember rightly. Cook 5 mins. Thicken with some flour. Add  the can o' soup (in its concentrated glory).  Simmer about 10 mins. Dump in the sour cream and heat through. Add some parsley on top and serve over egg  noodles.


While I'm on the dessert topic, what constitutes the Ultimate Brownie? I was trying to get rid of some cream cheese the other day, and so made cream cheese brownies (which is like making regular brownies, only you also pour in a second batter of 4 oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and one egg). They were good, but I am not sure the sweet gooey brownie is really my favourite. Dense, nutty, maybe with a fudgy topping...but then, there are many opinions on brownies.

key lime pie

This recipe begins with tea. This year, I've been ordering a lot of tea ; I must have sampled at least 60 kinds of tea by now. Anyway, on my last shipment, they sent me a free tea that was supposed to be good ice tea; so I made it, but it was VERY strong. And I thought, you know what would make this delicious? Condensed milk. So I mixed the tea with condensed milk, and it was good.

However, I soon ran out of tea, but still had most of a can of condensed milk left over. i also had, through an accident of who-was-buying-which-groceries, a vast number of eggs. Thus signs were favourable that I ought to make some PIE.
The pie recipe itself came (if I have my story right) from a genuine Floridian, by way of my brother; he was on a choir tour in those parts, and so admired the pie that his host sent along the recipe. Here it is:

Separate 4 eggs. Blend yolks with 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk. Add 3 oz (that's 6 Tbsp) lime (or lemon) juice, a little at a time; blend till smooth. Pour into a graham cracker crust.  Whip the eggs whites and top pie; bake at 350 for 10 minutes until pie is set and whites are lightly browed. Chill and serve.

The recipe notes you can also not bother with the separating and instead top the pie with whipped cream: pfft! Anyway, my pie turned out pretty goopy. I thought maybe it was not baked long enough, but apparently there is controversy as to whether you are even supposed to bake the pie at all, so I'm guessing that's not it. I did had less than the full amount of condensed milk; also my kitchen was hot as blazes. I think I just didn't let it set long enough. It was still good though. But it wasn't attractive for pictures.

rice salad.

This next recipe starts with a can of fish. A while ago, I got really excited by Bar Harbor and decided I was going to try ALL THEIR FLAVOURS. So I ended up purchasing a whole bunch of cans of herring, in various sorts of preparations; and I have slowly been consuming these when I am feeling too lazy to do anything much beyond opening a can and acquiring nutrition. So I did just that, recently; but the cans are pretty bug, and I only ate half. So I used the other half for SALAD (more salad!) that I adapted from How to Cook Everything.  It is dead easy, and pretty delicious. You want to cook up a cup of rice; then add 1 Tbsp garlic, 1/4 cup red onion, fishies (it has 2 to 4 anchovy fillets, but I used herring), and 1 cup tomatoes. I  didn't have tomatoes, except for the sun-dried kind; so I used about 4 of those.  Then add 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of your favourite vinaigrette--mine was sort of mustard-y with a bit of sour cream for thickness, but do whatever you like. 1/2 a tsp dried rosemary and 1/2 a cup Parmesan seal the deal; mix it up and add salt and pepper as desired!

I forgot to take a picture again. Boo, me.

coconut is delicious

So, a while ago, I left New Haven while totally forgetting I was supposed to be cat-sitting. So I had to ask another friend to do it, and as a reward, I made her cookies.  However, James stole my cookie cookbook;  so I made do with my new favourite cookie recipe from online, namely "Choconut Cookies."  I actually modified them a bit--I didn't have enough coconut, so I added in some walnuts I had lying around. They were good--added a nice texture--but it's really the coconut that makes these so dangerously addictive.

While I'm on the subject of coconut, a while ago I made banana bread, on account of I had some old bananas. And I used the recipe in How to Cook Everything, which also uses coconut! It is certifiably delicious. 

1 stick butter, softened
1.5 cups flour
.5 cup whole what flour (didn't actually have any; I think I approximated with the dry cereal again)
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
.75 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
.5 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I used both!)
.5 cup coconut

Mix together dry ingredients. Cream butted and beat in eggs and bananas. Stir into dry ingredients, just to combine. Stir in vanilla, nuts, and coconut.  Put into greased 9 by 5 loaf tin and bake at 350 for 45 to 60 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before removing from pan. 


Thursday, July 7, 2011

more salad

The easiest of our picnic salads requires some time in the fridge, but is so worth it, especially with extra garlic.

Chick-pea salad with red onion and tomato

1           can (19oz) chick-peas, drained
2 tbsp    finely chopped red onion or green onions
2           cloves garlic, minced
1           tomato, diced
1/2 cup  chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp    olive oil
1 tbsp    lemon juice
             salt and freshly ground pepper

In salad bowl, combine all ingredients and toss. Chill for 2 hours to blend and develop flavors before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning. Makes 4 servings (about 1/2 cup each).

July salad

It is July! That means it is picnic season. Or, if you're me, actually-having-to-pack-a-lunch-to-work season. Or maybe potluck cookout season. At any rate, it is a time for salads, and I got my mother to send me our family favourites, so here they are.


This is addictive--I think it's the dill and garlic--and has lots of yummy veggies in it. Looks attractive too, although apparently I ate it before taking a photo because I can't find a picture on my computer.

3 1/2 cup  (rotini) pasta   [[The store was out of rotini when I went, so farfalle are also delicious]]
1/4 lb        snow peas or green beans
3 cups       cauliflower, in small pieces
1 cup         thinly sliced carrots
2               sweet peppers (green, red, yellow or mix), chopped
2               green onions, chopped
1/4 cup      fresh parsley 
1 tsp each  dried dill weed and either basil or origano
2               cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup      red wine vinegar
1 tbsp        granulated sugar
1/3 cup      oil
3 tbsp        water
salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook pasta.  Drain and rinse under cold water.
Blanch snow peas or green beans in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain; rinse under cold water. Cut in 2" pieces. [[N.b. I was using those fresh snap peas and cooking them seemed a waste, but then I also dislike cooked vegetable generally.]]
In large bowl, combine cauliflower, carrots, peppers, green onions, parsley, dillweed, basil or oregano, snowpeas or beans,pasta
Dressing: In bowl, combine garlic, vinegar and sugar; mix well with whisk. Add oil and water; mix well. Pour over salad and toss to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 10 servings (1 cup each).

NOTE: This is so much more delicious the longer you let it sit in your fridge. 


A lot of potato salads are kind of mushy and sweet and weird; I don't like that. This one is mostly potato-y; the secret is in making a good dressing.

Potato salad

2 lbs potatoes (about 6 medium)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup italian dressing (or, what I do, oil-and-vinegar dressing)*
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 hard cooked eggs, cut up.

Heat salted water to boiling. Add unpared (and washed) potatoes. Cover, cook till tender. (Betty Crocker says 30 to 35 minutes; might be a bit long. Keep an eye on them, you want them "done" but still firm enough to cut into pieces.) Cool; peel; cut into cubes. Mix with onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix with italian dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Just before serving, add mayonnaise. Toss until potatoes are well coated. Stir in celery and eggs.

* My mother cleverly does not divulge what her dressing is, exactly, but it's probably a lot like our house salad dressing, which includes a touch of Dijon and garlic. 

an odd combination

Life is full of surprises. Today I was very hungry coming home from work, owing to not having had lunch, and also had a very strange assortment of leftovers. My dinner (late lunch? Linner?) thus ended up being a tortilla with tahini, zucchini, and chutney. Surprisingly delicious!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer cobbler

It is strawberry season in New England, and a while ago they were selling some local pints and it was SO EXCITING I had to get some there and then. And then they were selling rhubarb too, so I got some of that, because it is likewise delicious. The obvious thing to do then was to make a delicious cobbler from a favourite recipe. Here it is (I wrote this up in an email freshman year that I am copy-pasting).

Pretty Darned Tasty Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler (not original title)
Courtesy of the 1986 Milk calendar (this has been around a while) for the month of June.  Published by the Ontario milk marketing Board for the Saskatchewan Farmers' Dairy. Just fyi.

1 pt. strawberries, sliced
1 lb rhubarb, cut into 1" chunks (about 3.5 cups)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp butter, cut into bits
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour.
2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
3 Tbsp uncooked oatmeal
3 Tbsp chopped walnuts (preferably toasted, it says; they taste fine without.)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, cut into bits
1 cup Milk (sic)
2 Tbsp icing sugar, sifted.

1.  Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a 9"x9" baking dish. (or casserole pan)
2. Combine strawberries, rhubarb, lemon juice, sugar, and butter. Place in bottom of pan.
3.  For the topping combine flour with baking powder, sugar, lemon rind, oatmeal, nuts, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until it is in tiny bits.  Sprinkle mixture with Milk. (sic). Stir together just until a heavy batter is formed.
4. Drop batter by spoonfuls over top of the rhubarb.
5. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. Sprinkle with icing sugar.

Serves 6. 

Annotations are that I didn't realize until I was making it that we didn't have regular oats, just steel-cut; I replaced them with some sort of hot cereal we had lying around (another abandoned thing), which was slightly more bitter than oats, but worked. Also I omitted the icing sugar. I also had to clean out a super gross 9 by 9 pan to make this, and I SCOURED it to be white instead of brown and felt like I had CLEANING POWERS. 
Anyway, this is delicious warm, with ice cream, to ingratiate yourself to roommates; it is also good cold as a snack. Basically, it's delicious. 


A while ago, I noticed How to Cook Everything has a falafel recipe. As I have dried chickpeas, and tahini, and love falafel, I decided to try it out! Here is how it went (I made half this recipe)

1.75 cups dried chickpeas
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion
1 tsp coriander
1 Tbsp cumin
~ 1 tsp cayenne
1 cup parsley or cilantro
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 baking soda
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Lots o' oil.

Blended chickpea mash.
Step 1. Soak the beans in a big bowl, covered by a few inches of water, for 24 hours.
At this point the instructions tell you to put everything (except the oil) into your food processor. I do not have such a thing, and they cost more than I have. I do, however, have an aging blender; so I tried that. Here is the problem: blenders have sort of conical bowls, which is great for liquids but for solids means only the bottom stuff really gets chopped and the top stays kind of whole. if I'd thought about it, I could have done it in batches, but I didn't think to. So I ended up with a bunch of semi-processed chickpea stuff, and had to add extra water to it to blend it up. The results of this step do not really look delicious.
Frying is exciting.
3. Fryin'. I have never really fried something before, so this was exciting. You are instructed to put 2 inches of oil into a saucepan. THIS IS SO MUCH OIL. I did one inch, and that was a lot. Then, you are supposed to make little spheres from your mash. This also did not work well; in the end, I mostly got fried chickpea-matter, occasionally in coagulated lumps. (You toss them in the hot oil, and remove when brown). Then, you eat!

My evaluation is that this is a pretty time-consuming process, especially with having to poke around the chickpeas in the blender and then having to fry the non-balls three by three. I would probably not do this again soon, or at least not without a food processor. That said, the results are delicious, even if they are not as pretty as at a restaurant; there is something about things you fried freshly yourself that is hard to achieve in any other way. They were crispy and flavourful (though I would probably doctor the spices a bit on second go-round) and really rather delicious.

Mustard Curry Pork Chops

Alright, so I said I had a lot of recipes to share, but this one is coming first. It comes first because I think it may be the most delicious meal I have ever made for myself. It was SO GOOD i actually had to stop myself to leave room for dessert--and that never happens.
Basically, today's special at the grocery store was pork chops. Or a pork cut of some kind; I foolishly forgot to ask, but it looked basically chopp-y.  So I made the following meal. It took about an hour, and made my kitchen very hot. (recipes from How to Cook Everything)

1. Make chutney. This is not totally necessary, it turns out, because the meat is pretty delicious by itself; but then, so is the chutney. Your chutney will require: chopped red onion (I used about a half cup, or about an eighth of an enormous red onion); half tsp salt; 1/4 tsp pepper; dash of some sort of paprika/cayenne, etc; and 1/4 cup red wine vinegar. Put in a bowl and let sit.
2. With about half an hour to go, prepare the chops (and heat up your oven broiler. Basically, mix 1 Tbsp Dijon and 1 Tbsp curry powder (this is for two chops); rub in thoroughly. Broil. Turn over after about 5 minutes. The chops should be cooked after 15 minutes or so; let stand 10 mins before serving.
3. With about 10 minutes to go, heat up some oil in a pan and fry up one thinly sliced potato with salt, pepper, rosemary.

EAT OM NOM NOM. I would serve this to guests. I would serve this to anyone. I probably would not make it in July though.

p.s. I bided my time between steps 2 and 3 by making brownies; results still in the oven.


Alright, I don't know what all y'all are up to, but I have been cooking a LOT so I am sharing.

The first thing I'd like to mention, though, is not a recipe, but a reminder: food is a good way to hang out with people! Last week my new apartmentmates and I decided we should do something with the pizza dough hanging out in our freezer, and so we made pizza! I don't think you need to know how to make pizza, but here is a picture of the finished product: Not only was it 100 percent awesome, it was also 100 percent a cool thing to do. So if life gives you pizza dough, you should make pizza.

Among the other mysterious things in our kitchen that got abandoned during the course of many move-ins and outs is a jar of sun-dried tomatoes. I don't really know what to do with these--I made some sort of tomato-pine nut-spaghetti, but any other suggestions would be welcome.