Sunday, November 15, 2009

Banana Essence - 1oz Cock

Sometimes I just can't explain it myself.

Oh Canning, I have not forsaken you!

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.


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 jar, and one half pint, sealed it all up, and processed it for 20 minutes at 10lbs even though Linsey's recipe says it's ok to process for 35 minutes in a boiling water bath. There was no real reason for this change, I read in Putting Food By that you could jar Indian Pudding and process it thusly, and as that recipe has dairy in it, well I just figured I could.

And if it stinks, literally, I will have learned my lesson.

Looks good, tastes amazing.

Kale and Turkey Sausage Soup

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 kale, I sauteed sweet turkey sausage in a bit of olive oil - the turkey sausage is from Diemand Farm and is perfectly seasoned already.

Once the kale was cooked, I drained it - reserving the cooking water. Without rinsing the pot, I put it back on the heat, added a splash of olive oil then dumped in about a half cup of sliced mushrooms, two chopped carrots, half a chopped onion, and a few chopped cloves of garlic. Cook that until light golden or so - sometimes I like to cook it darker if it is a really blustery day. Add in about a quart of vegetable stock. If it is unsalted stock, add in the kale cooking water if you like, or just add in plain water.

Add in the cooked kale and the browned turkey sausage and serve hot. With torn off pieces of crusty bread. And a glass of wine.

Vegetarians: This soup can be made without the sausage. Be sure to use a well seasoned alternative like Lightlife Chik'n SmartStrips. Or you can season the soup a little more and add in firm tofu chopped into very small dice.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dinner made for me

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!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

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 chicken dish, I reviewed it with her.

Me: "So, um, did you get the piquillo peppers?"

Her: "Ah no. I could not find them."

Me: "Ahh right. Ok. Well did you start the sofrito?"

Her: "Wellllll no. I'll just start that now."

Me: "Er did you know that the sofrito takes like 4 hours to make."

Her: "Hmm. Ok forget it. You know what? I am going to go ahead and make it my way."
Her way is a delicious way to make chicken with sausage, roasted red peppers, black olives, and tomatoes. No part of which takes four plus hours to make.

She did end up making the Pineapple Upside Down cake which IS truly delicious and probably the only reason La Maman will give TK and Ad Hoc a second chance after the whole sofrito debacle.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Something not canned. For a change.

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 - kale, escarole, or spinach work well. Let those saute down a little bit - just wilted really, the water that clings to the rinsed leaves will make it easier to scrape up the tasty bits stuck to the pan.

Into the bottom of the casserole dump in about a cup of brown rice and a quarter to a half cup of water. Over that layer in the wilted greens to cover the rice. The browned chicken goes on top of the greens, and then I like to cover that with another veg, like carrots or cauliflower or potato. Add in a few whole peeled cloves of garlic if you like, maybe pour in another quarter cup of water, then cover the casserole and pop in a 375o oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Oh yeah and one other thing: I salt and pepper it after I cook it. I am a salt addict and so it is really easy for me to over salt everything so I have to be a little careful. Experience has taught me well.

And the fork ran away with the spoon...

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 that it made her a little delirious because a few days later she asked me if I knew if the book was available for sale yet - she didn't see it on Amazon. And then when I mentioned that I'd seen other recipes from Ad Hoc around the Internet she wanted to know where exactly. And what they were recipes for precisely.

Hmmmmm. I know this behavior.

This is how my single girlfriends fish around for information about my single guy friends: one casual question at a time.


And then today.

The first phone call came in around 2:30-ish:
"Hi. What is the name of that book?"
Me, being sort of on to her, say:
"Ad Hoc in the Home. Why?"
Coyly she says:
"Oh no reason. I am at the bookstore. All the books look alike. Talk to you later"
And she rings off.

A few minutes later my phone buzzes again.
"What did you say the title was? What was his name again?"
At that moment I knew just what she was doing. Naughty La Maman was buying a copy of Ad Hoc right then and there because she could NOT wait to get into the kitchen with Thomas Keller!

Poor La Papa. At least he will be well fed.

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

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 is way too many, or just right.

It is tasty stuff though and lovely to look at. Although I personally think ALL translucent fruit looks lovely.

Oooh money shot....:

PS: How adorable is that little tiny dish? My auntie is a potter (among many other wonderful things) and she made me a whole set of tiny little nested bowls. How can you not love them?!