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Posts Tagged ‘food’

I thought today might be a workshop or writing day, but instead it turned into a computing and sewing day. That’s fine, I’m happy I made progress with what I had.

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On that same note, last night’s dinner was a medley of things we had in the fridge. They are also the sorts of flavors I associate with summer: fresh herbs, tomatoes from the garden, and sweet corn. 

I was reminded of a dish I had in Boston years ago, a delicate, almost ethereal ravioli stuffed with shrimp and corn in cream sauce. The corn’s sweetness is complex enough not to seem one-note, and elevates the flavor of the shrimp. It’s a good memory, and while I don’t remember the year or the restaurant or the other eleven items on the tasting menu, that dish made a lasting impression.

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We also decided to try our hand at homemade pasta. The same friends who lent us the KitchenAid ice cream attachment also lent us their pasta rollers. Taste and texture were good, and the process was fairly straightforward, considering I’ve made pasta only once? before. 

I used this dough recipe: Fresh Pasta Recipe

Notes to Future Me: use the eggs we get from our local source, the ones from Costco were a little too small and threw off the ratio; knead more enthusiastically; and use more flour than you think you should for dusting the sheets before rolling and cutting.

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My father asked how I made the sauce. I have a fairly casual relationship with most recipes, but here it is, more or less. If you don’t have all of the ingredients, substitute red peppers for tomatoes, dried basil for fresh, or whatever’s in the pantry. That’s what I did:)

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Creamy Summer Shrimp Fettuccini

Ingredients

  • 2 slices bacon, chopped into bits
  • 1 shallot, sliced fine-ish
  • 1/2 C. corn kernels, cut from cooked cob, frozen, or canned
  • 1 C. cream
  • 1 T. lemon juice, or to taste
  • white wine, whatever you’re drinking, a splash or three
  • shrimp, big handful
  • cherry tomatoes, handful, halved
  • basil, six giant leaves from the garden, sliced 
  • reserved pasta water to taste, plus backup cornstarch if you add too much
  • salt, pepper, Parmesan
  • fettuccini

Instructions

  1. While the pasta water heats, sauté the bacon and shallots until translucent.
  2. Add corn, cream, lemon juice, white wine and cook down for a couple of minutes, until slightly thickened. 
  3. Add shrimp, cook until opaque.
  4. Add the tomatoes and basil and heat through.
  5. Adjust the sauce for flavor and thickness with salt, pepper, more wine, cream and/or and pasta water. If it’s too thin, mix up a slurry of 1 T. cornstarch and a cup of cold water, add until you have enough liquid and cook until thickened.
  6. Serve over pasta, topped with grated Parmesan.

* Note: I would say that have moderately-sized hands. 

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Photo by Tim Cooper on Unsplash

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Mr Man requested lemon meringue pie the other day. Do I have a recipe for it? I do, that’s not the problem. The problem is that I have too many recipes, taking many paths to the same destination.

And so I set out to make the pie, but also to reduce the stack of notes, hand-written adaptations, and other modifications into the One.

Here’s a snapshot of just some of the recipe pile:*

Does not include all of the many, many online references I used to triangulate the final recipe, but you get the idea.

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So here we have it, the One Pie To Rule Them All (if you lIke lemon, that is).

The recipe looks a bit complicated but it’s really just a quick crumb crust, a batch of lemon curd, and whipped egg whites.

This works for me, and uses ingredients I can easily access. (I also do things like ignore milliliters and weigh everything in grams.) If you aren’t as into tangy citrus or can’t find Biscoff, modify at will!

The One.

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Lemon Meringue Pie

Ingredients


Crust

  • 250g Biscoff or graham cracker crumbs 
  • 57g butter, melted

* If using graham crackers, you can boost the flavor by adding a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and a pinch of salt.

Filling

  • zest of one lemon, chopped v. fine (optional)
  • juice of ~6 lemons, 200g
  • 50g water
  • 25g cornstarch
  • 175g superfine or caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 25g butter

Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 112g superfine or caster sugar
  • 1/4 t. cream of tartar

Directions


Crust

  1. preheat oven to 350F
  2. crush Biscoff into fine crumbs with food processor or rolling pin
  3. mix in melted butter
  4. press into 9” pie plate (the bottom of a cup measure works well)
  5. bake for ~18 minutes, remove and lower oven to 325F

Filling

  1. mix lemon zest, juice, water and cornstarch until smooth
  2. stir sugar and egg yolks together in a non-reactive pan, place over medium-low heat and add cornstarch mixture and butter
  3. stir frequently until it just simmers and thickens like custard, about 5 minutes for me (taste and add another teaspoon+ of sugar if you fear the tang)
  4. pour into crust and top with meringue

Meringue

  1. combine sugar and cream of tartar in a small bowl
  2. in a larger bowl, whip egg whites to soft peaks
  3. add sugar mixture one tablespoon or so at a time, whipping between, until stiff and shiny
  4. spoon or pipe over filling, touching meringue to crust edges to prevent shrinkage
  5. bake 15 minutes until golden

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Bonus: Lemon Syrup

Because I had organic lemons, I was also able to use the peels for this lemon syrup:

Stop Throwing Lemon Rinds Away! Make This No-Cook Syrup Instead

“True” lemon syrup, to distinguish it from the bottle of spiced white wine and lemon syrup I also have in the fridge right now.

I let it steep for about four hours. I don’t have a great citrus press so I strained the peels, then put them in a plastic bag and used a rolling pin to extract the rest of the juice. The result is sweet with a touch of bitterness to ground the flavor, and perfect with seltzer and fresh mint on a hot afternoon.

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* I have attributions for some of these recipes but not all. That can happen when I’m away from home and trying to put together a recipe for the in-laws on the fly, with a kitchen and equipment not my own. Thanks for ideas for what to do (and not do) go out to Stella Parks, Mark Bittman, Alton Brown, and many bakers and commenters online.

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The Verdict Is In

Lemon cinnamon cardamom ice cream is amazing.

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Photos by Cristina Anne Costello
Tetiana Bykovets & Jaspreet Kalsi on Unsplash

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Today is sourdough Friday, tonight is pizza night, and at some point this weekend I’ll make and freeze chocolate chip cookie dough.

I’m also prepping lemon cinnamon cardamom ice cream. I wanted to try a custard-free version, so yesterday I started with this Bittman recipe:

Homemade Ice Cream, Many Ways

Notes:

— I had a little over a cup of cream so the rest was milk. 

— For flavor, I used a touch of vanilla, about a dozen green cardamom pods, with a stick of cinnamon and some ground when the stick wasn’t steeping fast enough.

— I started with a handful of the most beautiful lemon balm from the garden, but the flavor wasn’t strong enough for this so I strained it out and opted for lemon curd, which I’ll add to the base mix as it whips and freezes.

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Today is lemon curd day. 

Here’s my recipe. I don’t remember where I found it, but it’s been very reliable for me, plus no tedious double-boiler. And the pre-mixing means that I’ve never had to strain it to remove clumps. 

Lemon Curd

— makes ~500g / 2C

Ingredients:

  • 85g / 6T butter, softened
  • 200g / 1C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 163g / 2/3C lemon juice
  • 1t. lemon zest (optional, I find it’s too chewy/waxy and skip it)

Instructions:

  • beat the butter and sugar together
  • add eggs and yolks, mix
  • add juice, mix
  • cook over low to medium heat, stirring frequently until smooth and thick, coating the back of a spoon without dripping (~10-15 minutes or 170*F). Do not boil.

Notes: I toasted the sugar briefly in the pan and then accidentally melted the butter, but it worked out fine. I also ran out of regular lemon juice and had to use Meyer lemons, but adding a little citric acid boosted the flavor to “Tang Factor: Ideal.” Which is not a thing. But should be.

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Tomorrow, we’re testing out a borrowed KitchenAid ice cream attachment. The owners of said attachment made some delicious vanilla ice cream with it, so any failures will be on us. 

I’m ok with that.

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We’ll See!

Today, my plan is to make bread, prep and roast a batch of mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, cafe), make black currant jam, and a batch of smoothies. I might also test out the KitchenAid ice cream attachment we borrowed from friends yesterday, free my tomatoes from the dastardly clutches of the cucamelon vine, and make strawberry Pop Tarts hand pies.

Or I’ll get distracted by a good book, a cozy Sunday, and the Olympics.

We’ll see!

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This is fun: 

Eat Like Jane Austen With Recipes From Her Sister-In-Law’s Cookbook – Gastro Obscura

If you’ve ever wondered what Jane Austen ate, or if the menus in her books were true to life, this is the link for you. Here’s the book the article highlights.

And if you’ve ever thought about what life was like on the other side of the scullery door, check out Longbourn by Jo Baker

In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. 

I found the world below-stairs fascinating, and not just because I’m the sort of person who likes to learn about practical and medicinal plant properties, or what chilblains felt like.

It’s good to give every person a chance to be the main character, you know?

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Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

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We bought a metric ton of peaches at Costco (not literally, but it can feel like it). My plan? Make this wacky, physics-defying dessert:

This Puzzling Dessert Calls for Peaches and Physics – Gastro Obscura

Reality? It’s Tuesday, the peaches are too soft for this, I think, and we’re already making scallion cakes tonight. Maybe next time. 

Instead I’m going to try this Bittman sorbet recipe because it sounds delicious, but also because it means I can just slice everything up and freeze it until I’m good and ready. 

Super-Simple Sorbet – The New York Times

Unless I come up with another idea between now and later. Like… grilled peaches with lime and maple syrup, peach pie, roasted peach halves with cinnamon crumble on top, stewed peaches with cinnamon, lemon and cardamom, peach salsa, savory peach-lime chutney, or…?

I might be hungry.

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Photo by Kateryna T on Unsplash

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Chilling

Today is Fridge Day. As previously mentioned, Mr Man and I were unlucky enough to need a new fridge, but ! fortunate in that we were able to find a replacement that would arrive before Fall.* The replacement is being delivered sometime in the next couple of hours, so we’re getting ready.

Step 1: empty the old fridge

Step 2: marvel at the ancient relics to be found therein!

The old fridge has a very deep deli drawer and things could, and did, obviously, get lost in there. Like these Riviera yogurts from 2016 that somehow (incredibly!) still look 100% edible five years later. How?! (Magic, that’s how.) Or the mint vodka I made lo those many years ago (that’s code for I have no idea how old it is).

It’s true that best before dates are food quality guidelines, rather than “you will absolutely, positively die if you eat this even one minute after this date” warnings, but even so, I’ll skip the decade-old fish.

Everything that can be composted/recycled was. The dining room is full of coolers and insulated bags. Drawers were emptied, shelves cleared, and sacrifices to the Appliance Gods were made in the usual fashion.

Now we wait.

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What I wish I were drinking.
Photo by Whitney Wright on Unsplash

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* I’m not kidding about this timeline, as you will know if you have had to purchase a new appliance lately. Supply chain issues from computer chips to shipping bottlenecks are rampant these days, but it will all get sorted out… eventually.

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Some of my food choices have not made the transition to adulthood. Lightbulb fried salami. My Kraft Mac & Cheese and ramen habit.* Fruit Loops when I could get them, which was once a year or less (it was a good rule, parental units, but don’t think I’m over it! 😉

But some have.

Consider the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.** Is it a perfect balance of densities, sweet and savory, carbs, protein and flavor? Crunchy or smooth, with your choice of fruit flavors. Spark it up with homemade bread if you’re into that sort of thing. And so easy to assemble!

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* What? Alternate days, it was all perfectly reasonable.

** Am I posting this because it’s lunchtime, because I enjoy reminders of my often unconventional culinary childhood, or because I want to remind my mother that a PB&J is a terrific option for those days when lunch seems like a lot? Let’s go with all of the above.


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Photo by Freddy G on Unsplash

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Yesterday’s post has me thinking of Spring.

Maybe I should be thinking about new projects and ways to be productive, but I’m about to go get a Covid test and I’ve got work to do and it’s lunchtime, so instead I’m thinking about food.

Today that means I’m thinking about stuffed grape leaves. Our neighbor has a grapevine that has reached out to us and now covers a significant part of the fencing in the back. The vine is starting to bud and soon we’ll have new growth. 

My culinarily-talented brother gave me this recipe years ago. I love citrus so I serve these with egg-lemon sauce, but adjust as you like.


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Stuffed Grape Leaves

2 lb. ground lamb
1 large onion
⅓ cup tomato paste
½ tsp. each thyme, basil, garlic powder
1 tsp. each oregano, dillweed, salt
1 cup cooked rice
1½ oz. Pernod
Grape leaves (canned or bottled)

  1. Dice onion and sauté in a little butter until tender. Add tomato paste, then lamb, stirring constantly as it cooks.
  2. When lamb is almost cooked through, remove from heat, add spices, then stir in rice and Pernod.
  3. Drain excess fat and refrigerate until use.
  4. To assemble, lay out a grape leaf with the stem pointing toward you. Place a spoonful of stuffing at the bottom of the leaf, and roll leaf around it, working away from you. Tuck in the sides of the leaf as you go.
  5. Heat in microwave for a minute or two just prior to serving. May be dressed with fresh lemon juice or egg-lemon sauce.


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Photo by David on Pexels.com

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