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Showing posts from 2009

New Year's Eve 2009

Ok you know what? I am glad to be rid of 2009.

It was a horrible year* and frankly I am surprised that anyone is left alive or employed.

Seriously.

I am so ready for the new year that instead of my traditional Chinese food & trashy movie on the couch extravaganza, I made breakfast for dinner this year. That is how eager I am to get to tomorrow.

Yep, buttermilk crepes with lemon and sugar. And a big pot of coffee.

And now I am about ready to go to bed because I am really ready for the new year.



*Let me just say that there were a few good things that happened this year, but only because the universe clearly needed to throw us a couple of bones to prevent everyone from collectively jumping off the cliff.

Oh how I love the holiday of thanks!

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Can you believe that this teeny weeny kitchen....

Produced the food for this Thanksgiving table?!
Yep, me neither! But it did.


And it was delicious.

First Annual Memorial Turkey Shoot

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This year's Turkey Shoot was a bittersweet one for me. My trusty sidekick and blunderbuss operator, Grandpapa, passed away in late October - a few days short of his 94th birthday.

To be honest, I was really dreading Turkey Shoot without him. But I wasn't about to get a turkey from anywhere other than Diemand Farm.

So off we went. Except for we went on the Monday before Thanksgiving, not the Sunday. And we didn't eat at the Old Mill, because it happens to be closed on Mondays. Which I am sort of relieved about because I don't think I could have handled it.

We took two cars because it was me, Kimmie, Amanda, Tammy, the FBiL, and Dad and we were on a mission to get turkey. Lots of turkey.

Oh and deviled eggs and turkey sausage and turkey stock and whole chickens and chicken parts and pot pies and lots of other deliciousness.

And deliciousness certainly helped make everything feel better.

So here is to the First Annual Memorial Turkey Shoot 2009 and to many more to come.

Banana Essence - 1oz Cock

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Sometimes I just can't explain it myself.

Oh Canning, I have not forsaken you!

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Just because I haven't posted about it, doesn't mean I haven't...

Yeah, I am a full blown canning addict. How do I know this? Well because when I go to the supermarket I think "hmmmm what can I pickle?" or "hmmmm I wonder if I can pressure can that..."

Ah yeah. It's a problem. Oh and also it's a problem because I've run out of storage space.

Whoops.

It doesn't help that I also read up on canning when I am not in the kitchen.

The other day I read over on Cake and Commerce about making hot fudge and of course that's been on my mind ever since. Everywhere I looked online about home canning hot fudge said DON'T DO IT but no one said why. I emailed Linsey at C&C and asked her about this and she reassured me that the stuff would smell really bad if processed wrong.

That is the kind of answer that works for me.

And holly molly, this stuff IS really fricking good.

I made it per Linsey's recipe, ladled it out in eight 4oz jars, one pint …

Kale and Turkey Sausage Soup

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I have a hate/love/love relationship with kale. For about forever I thought kale was only good as a sort of leafy doily for a slice of orange on a breakfast plate. Or as a decorative plant in a fall garden.

Then a Brazilian fellow I worked with introduced me to kale salad with onion, tomato, and a little vinegar, which he promised was good excellent for my kidney. Or maybe my liver. Or possibly my pancreas. My Brazilian Portuguese was pretty terrible and mostly we communicated with pointing and nodding. Nicest guy I ever worked with.

So I started thinking about kale as more than a garnish. And then once I tried a kale and bean soup, I was officially hooked.

As yesterday was a total washout I decided to make kale and turkey sausage soup. Well really I started it yesterday and finished it today. Yesterday I made vegetable stock because I can't seem to find a brand I like.

Today I began by cooking the kale for a few minutes in lightly salted water. While the water was boiling for the k…

Dinner made for me

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Ok well maybe not just for me. But ages ago the lovely Flood came to the town of the Bean and the Cod and decided to make dinner for me, the Evil Twin, and the FBiL.

This dinner was meant as a thank you to the ET for hosting the Lovely Flood and I was included because, well, frankly I will never turn down a great dinner.

And what a delicious dinner it was.

Especially since I didn't have to cook a single thing!

La Maman in the Kitchen with TK

Hmmmm..... I am not so sure that this flirtation La Maman has with Thomas Keller is going to work out.

I was there with her this weekend, in the kitchen with Ad Hoc. I saw how she treated him.

It all began with the chicken with sausage recipe.

(Let me just state for the record that La Maman and I have totally opposite approaches to cooking.

La Maman take a terribly complicated recipe, buys all the terribly complicated ingredients, gets home, slaves away in the kitchen wrestling the recipe into submission, emerging victorious and usually exhausted and never makes the recipe again.

I take a terribly complicated recipe, chop out as much of the terribly complicated ingredients as possible, whittle away as many steps as I can, and hope for the best. If I actually get around to making something complicated that is.)

So Saturday I went over to see La Maman, hoping for breakfast as my electricity was off and somehow found myself in the kitchen with her and Ad Hoc.

As she was preparing to make the ch…

Something not canned. For a change.

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Yes, I did do some canning today. Pickled beets, more tomatoes, and a very big jar of pickled ginger. But I did make a very nice dinner for myself that had nothing to do with canning or pickling or preservation of any kind.

In fact it is my most favorite kind of cold weather dish: baked chicken and rice.



The beauty of this dish is that it is not only delicious the night of, but it is equally tasty the next day for lunch and the following night for dinner.



I have a casserole that I pilfered from a box of yard sale bound items at a friends house. It is the perfect size for a two or three dish meal.

First I browned a few chicken thighs with a little sliced onion. I left the skin on one thigh, but took it off the others. Don't get me wrong I love me some fried chicken skin, but I just cannot stand it cold. So I only leave it on the one piece I have for dinner the night I cook it. After I brown the chicken, I remove the pieces to a plate and throw in about four cups of rinsed greens - ka…

And the fork ran away with the spoon...

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Uh oh, I think La Maman has a thumping new crush on someone OTHER than La Papa. And I think it is Thomas Keller.

His recipes have recently been scrawled all over the internet like a dirty girls phone number in a public lavatory, so I can't really blame her for being tempted.

And it's all because of his new book: Ad Hoc at Home.

I happen to own the French Laundry cookbook, which I love for the feel of the paper and for the lovely photos of the very complicated food. Which is probably why I am personally a little impervious to the hype around the 'hoc.

Now, you are probably wondering how I figured out about this new crush of La Maman? Well, let's just say there were a few clues.

I know she cooked something out of Bouchon and loved it. And then the other day she asked me if I'd read the article on him in the New York Times. Something about the Leek Bread Pudding she said.

But then she actually made the Leek Bread Pudding. I think the recipe turned out so perfectly heavenly …

C-o-R Challenge 2: Pear and Cava Preserves

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The Can-o-Rama Challenge Number Two involved pears and alcohol, which makes sense because typically the two go hand in hand.

Pears are like apricots to me. I always seem to pick a mushy/mealy one so I rarely eat either one raw, preferring instead to cook it into submission.

Two things about this recipe.

One: I cannot stand to chop peeled pears. I managed to chop about half of them before getting completely annoyed and switching over to the food processor. Peeled pears get sticky AND slippery at the same time and the juice of them makes the skin on my hands feel peculiar. Pulsing them through the food processor worked well enough, but it has to be done in small doses.

And two: I don't know why, but yesterday the final product tasted super sticky sweet and yet magically today the taste has really mellowed out. Where did that sugary sweetness go? Hmmmm.....

I made this recipe with cava because that is all I had on hand. Somehow I ended up with about 9 half-pints, I can't tell if that …

Pomegranate Jelly

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Yep, more jelly. I am STILL a mad canner, outta control.

The other day I got an email from the POM Wonderful folks, wanting to know if I'd be interested in trying out their product.



Um, yeah! I LOVE pomegranate. I always have. Not as sweet as a grape, not as tart as a cranberry and a total workout to eat.

Well lucky me I got a whole box of POM Wonderful. I drank one bottle with fizzy water and lemon. And made a little grenadine with another bottle. But then I decided that what I really wanted to do was to figure out how best to make the gift last as long as possible.

I made ice cubes out of one bottle. Which is good for future use, but still, not quite it.

So I made jelly with the rest. And it tastes DELICIOUS! It is not as sweet as the grape jelly I made earlier this week, and it tastes exactly like pomegranate. Shocker, I know.

Just so you know, I typically don't use pectin. But I wasn't sure how the pomegranate juice would cook up and I did not want to risk wasting all that p…

Under pressure.

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Behold the All American Pressure Canner
Ahhhhhhhhhh......

I bought it from a fellow on Craigslist and all it needed was a weight which I ordered from Red Hill General Store (best price) and a swipe of oil around the lid.

To test it out, I pressure canned water. The nice lady at the manufacturer suggested that idea to check for leaks and accurate pressure. Once I figured out how not to explode a big aluminum bolt bomb of boiling hot water under pressure, I decided to try out making real food.



Vegetarian baked beans!

All the recipes I found said to process the beans at 10 pounds for 65 minutes, which I did. But I am curious if that is because every recipe added a square of salt pork. Does anyone know if the time is less for purely vegetarian beans? I am not entirely against adding salt pork, but I didn't have any on hand.

For this recipe I used Baer's Navy beans and a molasses sauce - molasses, cider vinegar, a pinch of salt, dry mustard, a shake of ginger, and some onion pulp.

Next I …

Goodnight Grandpa.

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Some of you out there might know that me and m'Grandpa were like two peas hanging out in a pod. Sadly he passed away yesterday morning.

A shared love of PBS and maple syrup and geraniums and coffee with light cream and cinnamon donuts and long aimless drives to "see stuff" and many annual November Turkey Shootweekends definitely made us friends as well as family. I really enjoyed hanging out with him. I especially loved to call him late at night - in my family everyone goes to bed by 9pm (I know! Bunch of geriatrics!) but Grandpa would still be up at 10pm to chat about everything and nothing.

Grandpa loved to garden, he made jam, baked banana bread, let me take him to his first McDonalds drive through, he was unfailingly patient and took all my abuse with good humor. I mean, the Evil Twin and I used to refer to him as "The Turtle" and not always behind his back. And sometimes when he was dawdling especially slowly we'd look at each other and say "ok, wh…

Green Tomatoes

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I happened to mention to my dear friend Spruce Bruce that I was currently in the fevered throes of canning and he said "I have a few green tomatoes for you".

Hmm.

He showed up with tub of tiny gourd shaped green tomatoes and assorted other sized green tomatoes.

It was a lot. And I was sort of at a loss. So I made little green tomato pickles (4 half-pints). And a couple of jars of green tomato marmalade (4 half-pints). And I still have a bunch of tomatoes left.

Jeezus.


The colander was full of tomatoes. I started jarring them when I remembered to take out my camera. As per usual really.


I filled about 4 half-pint jars, or maybe 5. I can't remember now.


Then I poured the hot pickling brine over it, sealed them up, and processed them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

They actually look pretty good to me right now, but I am going to let them sit for a bit and, well, pickle.

After making the pickle I made some green tomato marmalade. When I told La Maman that I had a sh*t ton of gre…

Another Birthday Cake

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La Maman's birthday was last week and there is only one kind of cake she REALLY loves - hazelnut dacquoise.

You might recall that I made a massive one at Easter, but now that everyone is dieting for the Evil Twin's wedding I was not about to make anything ginormous.

So I made individual dacquoise for her party.

Let me interject here that I am all about cutting corners when I cook, except when it comes to canning. But if a recipe has more than a dozen ingredients and steps, I look to see what I can cut out.

Therefore when it comes to making meringue, I kind of wing it. I get it that the bowl has to be oil free and the egg whites have to be at room temperature and that the oven has to be at just the right heat and you can't make them on a rainy day and all sorts of scary rules like that.

Which is just too much effort for me. I just whip up my egg whites a bit (hopefully I remembered to take them out early to get to room temp, and degrease the bowl and the whip, but chances are I …

Freezing Food

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You know what I love? I love lots of things, but I especially love blueberry pancakes on a snow day.

And you know what else? The snow is coming. Maybe not today, probably not tomorrow, but there will be snow before blueberries are back in season!

Which means that all summer long I've been stockpiling a store of frozen blueberries, frozen at the height of the season. I have about 6 cups worth and had been storing them in regular ziploc bags until I noticed that they were getting covered in ice crystals.

That's not a good sign.

So in order to protect my precious supply of blueberries I decided to invest in a vacuum sealing system. Which are startlingly expensive in some cases. Yipes!

I decided against the fancy, higher end versions that involve heat and bags that can only be ordered online . Frankly I don't need a big system because it's just me and really I don't freeze all that much. Well, at least that is what I tell myself because just thinking about it now...... hmm…

Canning Fever - Part 2

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As you may have guessed from the past couple of posts, I have recently been on a canning binge. And as promised, here are a few photos of the results.

As a result of the canning class with Eugenia Bone, I am now obsessed with preserving tomatoes. I eat a ridiculous amount of crushed tomato, especially in the winter when I just want to start a stew cooking while I have a hot shower. But mostly I like to eat a little pasta with a can of tomatoes dumped on top with tons of garlic and parsley.

The jar on the right is how freshly canned tomatoes sometimes look just out of the water bath. The clear yellow liquid is the pectin separating which is apparently quite normal. Just turn the jar upside down a few times and you will get something like what you see on the left.



This is a little pot of tomato concentrate. I have a love/hate relationship with tomato paste. I will eat it directly out of the tube, squeezing it straight into my mouth. But I hate how sometimes tomato paste can taste a little …

More on food preservation

Ok, ok, yes, I am obsessed. Moving right along, shall we...

So far this week I have processed the following:

-- 6 pints of pickled cauliflower
-- 8 half pints of spiced apples
-- 5 pints of marinated red peppers
-- 6 pints of crushed tomatoes

I am picking up a secondhand pressure canner tomorrow and am looking forward to canning soup. Right now red peppers are nice and cheap so I was thinking about roasted red pepper soup. And now that the cauliflower is looking so nice right now, I am thinking to make more pickle.

So this winter, when it blizzards out, come on over! There will be plenty for all.

Canning Fever.

I have a problem and canning is thy name.

Pictures to come, but let me just say that I pickled cauliflower yesterday - 6 pints. And then today I was stuck in a long work meeting so by the time I got home I needed to do something to calm the self so I made 8 half pints of spiced apples.

My house smells lovely and I feel like I accomplished something and NOW I am ready for bed.

Why this is a problem? Because I am already planning what to can tomorrow.



*sigh*

This can't be good.

Down Cape Eat-a-Thon Part 2

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Uhhhh oh yeah, there was a part one to this... you can read about that HERE.

And realistically it is a little late to be posting about Labor Day now, but a chocolate bag was involved so I can't really let it go.

Oh but first let me explain about this place:



This is the Improper Bostonian - the Evil Twin called it "tea dance for straight people". It is where Jim Plunkett plays songs and heckles his audience. It is where I went and got so blind drunk that I passed out for 12 hours straight. Flat out on the bed, fully dressed.

Woof.

When I finally could get mostly vertical without dry heaving, the ET and I drove up to Provincetown to visit Uncle Don and KenDoll who fed us delicious food that I could not stop eating:



There is NOTHING better than pasta and meat sauce for restoring a person after a massive hangover.

I know, I know, you were thinking that the chocolate bag would have sorted me...

After the jaunt to P-town (one of my most favorite places on earth!) we headed back Down C…