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Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

I took a little time today to test out a recipe for baked milk.

Sounds funny? A little, but I’m hoping it will also be good. Baked milk is one of those niche products that spark my culinary curiosity. We had some a couple of years ago (thanks, Costco!) but haven’t been able to find it since. It’s both fermented and naturally sweet, somewhere between milk and yogurt in thickness, with an interesting caramelized depth and slight tang.

I’m using this recipe via The New York Times as a springboard, but it will be a couple of days before I know if it works. Fingers crossed!

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Friends gave us a batch of chili this weekend and I thought:

1) Thank you! So kind. And spicy, delightfully spicy!

Also:

2) Fantastic, an excuse to make my favorite cornbread recipe.

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My Favorite Cornbread

(adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything)

Ingredients

  • 275g / 1¼ C kefir (or yogurt, buttermilk, or 1¼ C milk warmed with 1 T white vinegar)
  • 50g / ~3.5 T butter
  • 183g / 1½ C medium-grind cornmeal
  • 62g / ¼ C all-purpose flour
  • 7.5g / 1½ t baking powder
  • 6g / 1 t salt
  • 50g / ~3 T sugar
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  • preheat oven to 375F
  • add butter to an 8×8” pan, put it in the oven to melt*
  • whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl
  • whisk together kefir and eggs, add to dry ingredients and mix well
  • pour the batter into the pan with preheated butter
  • bake 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  • serve with more butter, because delicious.

* Alternately, melt butter and add to pan right before baking but why make more dishes? Getting it hot but not burnt is the goal.

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This is not my cornbread. It may be cake, for all I know, but it looks about right. The important thing is that this is not my cornbread because my cornbread smelled delicious and we ate it before I remembered that I might want a photo. Photo by Jose luis on Unsplash

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My doctor may not agree* but some days you just need to go all in. This recipe is one example**:

Mom’s Mashed Potatoes

Peel, cook, mash, mix. The secret to success is lots of everything good; more butter, more milk, more salt.

Simple. Good.

* I use this rule in moderation, which makes the times when I do even better.

** Lest one accuse my mother of writing an incomplete recipe, I admit that there was originally more to it than this. I’ve stripped it down to the essentials:)

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Photo by bernard buyse on Unsplash

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Today I am going to caramelize white chocolate, and then use it to make white chocolate passionfruit tofu pudding. 

There are a number of ways to caramelize the chocolate, the most traditional being a 250F oven for 45–60 minutes, stirring every ten minutes or so. A second option is to sous vide the chocolate at 90C for anywhere from 4 to 12 hours, but that’s a long time and I have dessert-making to do now.

I think I’ll start with the quickest of the options I’ve found so far: the microwave.

… (time passing)… (muzak from your preferred era)… (stepped away to make a lemon meringue pie because it’s Mr Man’s favorite and, you know, Valentine’s Day)…

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Success! It took seven minutes of microwave time total, plus all the opening the microwave and stirring and closing the microwave door and … you get the picture. I’m glad I tried it but next time I will test the sous vide method. It takes a lot longer but it’s all hands off.

Yes, that is my handwriting. Yes, it is terrible.

That said, all that microwave time paid off. Caramelized white chocolate is freaking delicious. 

I made another batch of tofu chocolate pudding, subbing in the caramelized white chocolate for dark, passionfruit simple syrup for plain, and lime juice for the vanilla. It is quite good but a little too sweet straight form the blender. It may balance out once it chills. If I try it again I’ll reduce the amount of syrup considerably (half? less?) and up the lime. (Actually, next time I’ll probably just toss a block of tofu in the blender with the white chocolate and go from there.) 

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I recently tried a variation on the previously-posted tofu chocolate pudding recipe, based on Mark Bittman’s Mexican Chocolate Tofu Pudding. It uses simple syrup, which makes it easy to add any flavor boosters you might like. I took the opportunity to make both plain for the pudding and a batch of passion fruit syrup to try with caramelized white chocolate later. (I may also try this with maple syrup. Go Canada!)

This recipe is gluten and lactose free (vegan too, depending on your chocolate). Don’t let that deter you, the final result is rich and creamy.

Right now I’m only able to find silken tofu in Tetra Pak boxes that hold 12.3 ounces and the easily available chocolate comes in 6 ounce packages, so I tweaked the recipe to match. I also left out Bittman’s cinnamon and chili but that version’s good too.

And hark, Valentine’s Day approacheth!

If your local store has silken tofu and decent chocolate it’s hard to find a quicker, easier dessert that’s still delicious. (It’s also possible to use the pudding as pie filling with a graham cracker crust, but I haven’t tried that yet.)

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Tofu Chocolate Pudding v2.0

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 oz. silken tofu, firm
  • 6 oz good chocolate, dark to semisweet
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  1. Heat sugar and water over medium heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then add chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
  2. Blend all ingredients together until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Chill for at least 30 minutes, although longer gives a denser texture. Serve straight, or with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

Serves four. Or two. Or one. You’ll find no judgment here.

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Photo by Max Griss on Unsplash

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Today, a recipe that has an important place in our family history.

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Swedish Pancakes
(Mike Johnson)

Mike: The history of this recipe begins with Olga, my father’s father’s (far far in Swedish) sister. For most of her life she was a live-in maid and nanny for a rich family across town, from the time when Swedish girls were brought over to replace other ethnicities in the service industry. She also cooked for her brother and his children, and later grandchildren on the weekends. After that she took care of her son. She worked all her life, living with the same family for 30 years and only retiring at 85. She died at the age of 99, tired and more than ready to go.

Jen: My father often spoke of Olga and how she would stand at his grandfather’s stove flipping seven thin pancakes at a time in the special cast iron pan, piling plates high on Sunday mornings. She didn’t have a recipe, just mixed the ingredients together until they “looked right.” Dad finally made up his own and still uses it to play the role of Swedish grandmother, eating over the stove as the rest of us spread butter and sugar and lemon or lingonberries on the pancakes,* then roll them up to eat. Delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¼ C. milk
  • ¾ C. flour
  • ¼ C. sugar
Photo by M Draa on Unsplash

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* We do the dishes after so Dad can relax. We’re not monsters!

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I’m looking for a good German plum cake recipe. There are (of course) many versions available online, but the problem with that is you never quite know what you’re getting, and I only have the one batch of plums.

There’s also an added complication. I am looking for a plum cake recipe because I made one as a teenager, and it was astoundingly good. Flavorful pastry base, creamy plum filling, and delightful streusel crumble on top. Now, that remembered experience is the standard to which I hold all future plum cakes. 

Was it actually as good as it is in my mind? Maybe not, but I think so:) My mother also remembers the cake. It was her favorite type of German dessert, from when she lived in that country once upon a time. She brought home a classic German cookbook, source of the original plum cake recipe. 

I hold out hope that she still has the cookbook, and can find that recipe, but until then, I am on the hunt for the kuchen of my dreams.

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Photo by Alexandra Kikot on Unsplash

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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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I’ve loved coffee ice cream since before I drank coffee, but it’s one of those flavors that doesn’t appeal to everyone. We don’t buy a lot of ice cream and when we do, something like vanilla is more flexible.*

I’m still experimenting with our borrowed Kitchenaid ice cream maker and coffee sounded good. I modified Mark Bittman’s egg-free recipe again, and it worked for me. Perfect for a hot and sticky summer day!

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Coffee Ice Cream
Makes ~1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C. milk (2% worked)
  • 1 C. heavy cream (35%)
  • 1/2 C. coffee
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 2 T. cornstarch 
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Stir the cornstarch with 2 T. of the milk make a smooth slurry.

2. Put the remaining milk, cream, coffee, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture nearly comes to a simmer. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and vanilla and continue to stir until the mixture thickens a bit, 2 or 3 minutes.

3. Strain the mixture into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until completely cool, at least 2 hours and preferably overnight. Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions.

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* Alone, with pie, with grape juice, with orange concentrate and chocolate shavings, with caramel, with peanut butter and chocolate, with bananas and pecans, with pomegranate seeds, with lemon curd, with… you get the idea.

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Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

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