sylvar: (Default)
1 bell pepper: $0.40
1 onion: $0.23
1 jalapeño: $0.09
A few cloves of garlic: $0.15?
1 lb black beans: $1.29

Now that's a freaking "value meal".
sylvar: (Default)
I am no longer allowed to take Jodi to Olive Garden ever.

Flour: under $1
Eggs: under $1
Water and salt: nearly free
The look in her eyes: priceless.
sylvar: (Default)
I used some gift money to get a set of KitchenAid stand-mixer accessories: a pasta roller, a fettuccine cutter, and a spaghetti cutter. The water is boiling now.

I made fettuccine already, but it gummed up while the water was boiling. So I've rolled it out again into WELL-FLOURED sheets and will cut it when the water is ready to receive it as quickly as I can feed it through the rollers.

Maybe I should be looking for a pasta-drying rack... or just try the clothes-drying rack I already have!
sylvar: (Randomness: On mange avec plaisir et san)
Yesterday I made beer-cheese soup and a spinach torte. Since they were both delicious, I'm sharing my recipes.

The beer-cheese soup is based on Wisconsin Native's Beer Cheese Soup, but I changed it a bit:

1 cup diced carrots (two carrots)
1 cup diced celery (five ribs, minus the bell ends)
1-1/2 cups diced red potato (one very large tater)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I used Cholula)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups vegetable broth (I used Trader Joe's)
1 cup beer (I used Trader Joe's "Simpler Times Lager"—$4/six cans, and full of beery flavor)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups half and half
3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (I used Annie's vegetarian worcestershire)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

In a small pot, boil diced potato 10 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, stir together carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes to soften veggies. Stir in hot pepper sauce, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Pour in broth and beer. When potato is tender, drain it and add it to this mix. Simmer until carrots are tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Stir in flour with a wire whisk; cook, stirring until the flour is light brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Gradually stir in the half and half, whisking to prevent scorching, until thickened. Remove from heat, and gradually stir in cheese. Keep warm.

Stir beer mixture into cheese mixture. Stir in Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and dry mustard. Adjust for hot pepper sauce. Bring to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes.

If I make it again—and judging by Jodi's enthusiastic response, I'd better—I'll use equal parts beer and broth. The original recipe called for half as much broth as I used, but the consistency turned out to be great. I wouldn't hesitate to use just as much liquid as before.

The other thing I cooked yesterday was a spinach tart from a 1581 recipe. I used a pound of frozen spinach, which weighed half a pound once I defrosted and squeezed it. And, since I couldn't find nutmeg except at McCormick prices (where's Badia when you need it?), I used pre-ground nutmeg. I'm hanging my head in shame for that, but it was a fresh bottle and smelled very good when I opened it and I was young and I needed the money and I learned it from you, Dad. And it came out great! I'd definitely serve it to guests: warm for dinner or cold for brunch.
sylvar: (Default)
Currently sweating:
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Vidalia-grown onion, chopped
1/2 lb. frozen bell peppers (mostly yellow and red, I think)
Several enthusiastic dashes of sweet curry powder from Penzey's
On deck:
1 cup yellow lentils
3 cups water
I wish I had:
Golden raisins
$2.49 bottle of chardonnay from Trader Joe's (it's nearby, but I don't want to go out while this cooks)
So whaddaya call 'at, then?
Lentil pilaf, I guess.
sylvar: (Default)

Nutmeg Bread

850g bread flour
13g bread-machine yeast
2 cups warm water
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 Tbsp [orange blossom] honey
2/3 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Makes two loaves. I made one loaf for sandwiches and subdivided the rest of the dough.

Half a loaf's dough became a braided loaf to pull apart and dip into a sauce.

The other two quarters got stretched into roughly 10″ × 7″ (each) rectangles. I filled the bottom of each with something yummy (savory: leftover tomato-sage cream sauce, and sliced kalamata olives; sweet: cherry preserves) and folded them over into 5″ × 7″ pockets. Although I pushed down the edges, both of them leaked in the oven -- though not terribly much. Maybe I'll cut the slits into the top more deeply next time.

I really like that this dough complements either a savory or a sweet filling/topping. That means my sliced loaf will do a great job with cold cuts or with PB&J, and still have more flavor than boughten bread.
sylvar: (Default)
Great news kept me up late last night; this morning I'm clay tempered with coffee, and a bit on the runny side at that.  I'm amazed at my body's ability to function on three hours of often-interrupted sleep.  Tonight I'm planning to make 40 Cloves and a Chicken with Perfect Fingerling Potatoes and Vlad's Very Garlicky Greens, so I hope I'm still up to snuff then.

On the way to work I listened to Steven Sproat's cover of "Alone Again (Naturally)", and, man, did that ever make me cry.
It seems to me that there are more hearts broken in the world
Than can be mended
Left unattended
What do we do
What do we do?
Emo on a ukelele--but it's good.  And I, too, feel strangely good.
sylvar: (Default)
[ profile] turtlebat23 has learned how to use my account to bookmark recipes on She seems to be going through Alton Brown's entire archive to find stuff for me to cook.

Well, at least I won't have to think of something to cook for a while. :)
sylvar: (Default)
Since waking up at 6:30, I've already:
  • Emptied the dishwasher
  • Baked press-the-seam-with-a-spoon biscuits (I don't; I give it a little chop-socky tap with the blade of my hand)
  • Cooked scrambled eggs
  • Fried fake sausage (Gimme Lean! brand)
  • Assembled sausage-egg-and-cheese biscuits and put them back in the oven to get to know each other
  • Cooked some mushroom-and-cheese pierogies with the sausage oil
  • Made two liters of Summer Festival tea (from Your Dekalb Farmer's Market)
  • Cleaned up and started another load of dishes
  • Had one of the biscuits
And now it's time to have a bit more breakfast, take some pills, and get into the shower.  Beat that, Pepys!
sylvar: (Alton Brown: What Would Alton Do?)
Since Heathrita asked, here's the dirt on Penzey's:

There are two store in Jacksonville; we went to the one further east.  Its hours are ludicrously short (they're never open past 5:30), but we had over an hour to browse, and used almost all of it.

The store is difficult to find; it's in a strip mall.  But it's worth the hassle.  It's not the smallest store in the strip, and it's not an anchor either.  The interior is structured like a small but airy bookstore, with small "rooms" pocketed off by shelving.  The shelving looks like crates and old furniture; the spices are organized by themes (there's a curry section, a pepper section, an upended-rowboat shelf stocked with everything from coarse fleur de sel to ordinary fine sea salt).  There's also a section that's strictly alphabetical and has no other unifying theme.

Spices are priced just as on the website and in the catalog, but there are three major reasons why going to the store is functionally better. 

Most importantly, there are square jars with silicone gaskets on the lid (apothecary jars) with a sample of pretty much every spice, so you can smell everything in the store.  We even got to taste a sample of the grey sea salt to help convince Jodi that it's worth having around, but this may have been unusual; they replace the open samples every six months to keep them fresh, and we visited at the beginning of the cycle, so there was no reason for them not to open a fresh bag.  Still, I suspect they'd be willing to do that for others if you asked nicely.  I was also fangirling the place pretty hard, and they knew it was a special treat for me to be there.

Another important advantage of the store is that their employees truly love the place and know the spices fairly well.  We're not talking about master-sommelier expertise, but they're enthusiastic and informed, and will offer photocopied recipes using the spices you like, even though they're not generally on display.  They can tell you what ingredient makes "Sunny Paris" so expensive (purple shallots) or whether Dutch-process or natural cocoa is better for baking (Dutch-process).

And finally, there's the advantage of not having to pay shipping costs, which can be a nice advantage when you get about $50 worth of spices (about half of which were a wedding gift).  And you can buy little empty jars at very reasonable prices, too.
sylvar: (Alton Brown: Mine is an evil laugh)
Three things that made me happy today:
  • Since my opponent didn't play 12. Kf1 Nc2, I stayed alive in this game.  I'd probably have resigned at that point.  I've also stayed alive against [profile] whispersessions.  I'm not claiming I'll even draw either game; I'm just happy to still be in both games.
  • Getting compliments on the enchilada lasagna  and guacamole dinner I made.  I didn't see dried chipotles at the store, and I plumb forgot to pick up a jalapeño, and I used celery instead of a cup of the onions, and somehow this was pretty much exactly right.
  • Getting ++ed for my jokes in #code4lib.

Three things I accomplished today:
  • Identified the source of a Java error in our vendor's product, despite the fact that I don't know enough Java to write hello world.
  • Cleaned the catbox
  • Got to bed before midnight
sylvar: (B5: Sheridan: Big Damn Hero)
Three things that made me happy today:
Three things I did right today:
  • Put photos of Pied onto Jodi's iPod
  • Got the car to the garage and back again (even though I'll have to do it again tomorrow, since the brakes still squeak sometimes, and the steering pulls to the right)
  • Cooked Yukon Gold potatoes marinated in 1/4 c lemon juice, 1/3 c olive oil, 2 Tbsp Penzeys Greek Seasoning, and 1 Tbsp rosemary
sylvar: (Default)
Three things that made me happy yesterday:
  • Finding out that some of my PaperBackSwap books have arrived in their new homes
  • Reading a Callahan's Crosstime Saloon short story ("Dog Day Evening") to Jodi
  • Learning how to use Google SketchUp (work-in-progress below)
Three things I did right:
  • Got a virtual SunCat 2.0 server up and running, made a few CSS changes, and set up Programmer's Notepad with ProggyTiny
  • Cooked curried sweet potato roti and golden basmati rice for dinner
  • Set my alarm properly in order to take the car in for a brake job this morning
sylvar: (Oh purr!)
Lots of people I know seem to be enjoying this, so I'll give it a try.

Three things that made me happy today:
  • Seeing BzzAgent's new site, which is wonderfully informative and well-designed
  • Teaching Jodi the basics of chess at Kaleisia
  • Overcoming her beginner's luck twice, both times somewhere around her KB2.
Three things I accomplished today:
  • Diced celery, onions, and sweet potatoes, and minced carrots in preparation for dinner tomorrow
  • Played chauffeur for Jodi and Amanda so they could see Because I Said So
  • Got three more books ready to send out to PaperBackSwappers
sylvar: (What Would Alton Do?)
[Poll #875909]
sylvar: (Star Trek: TNG: Rocking Out In Car)
I'm getting pretty good at coded crossword puzzles -- I finished this one in 1m17s after about 32oz of beer (Double Chocolate Stout and organic weissbier, both from Wild Oats).

I've been looking forward all week to The Pirates of Penzance. I got it on tape from the library. But since Jodi didn't watch it with me last night or tonight (which I'd been looking forward to), and says she'll watch it Sunday, I may have a chance to get the DVD version from another library -- if we can manage to get to Casa Tina during lunchtime, the only time their food is affordable for us. (It's still WORTH what they charge at dinner, but we don't have it.)

The week has gone fairly well, I think. Last night I went all ninja in the kitchen and made stuffed mushrooms (stuffed with spinach and tofu, baked in tamari and topped with mozzarella), insalata caprese, and an apple-cranberry tart/cake/pie thingy from the Penzeys catalog. Only a fraction of the dessert remains. The rest has been devoured, and I'm looking forward to doing it again. Perhaps stuffed zucchini tomorrow...
sylvar: (Default)
Does anyone sell alphabet pasta in individual letters? (Let's say I wanted to buy a pound of Q, or a few ounces each of B, J, and S.)

Is alphabet soup available in different alphabets? Could I buy a pound of Greek or Russian or Cherokee letters? (I'm pretty sure Braille wouldn't work. Sorry, [ profile] tregoweth, you needn't suggest that.)

Do different brands of alphabet pasta have different frequency distributions? Do some have a Scrabble-like distribution that's useful for spelling out words, while others have about as many Es as Qs?

And yes, I'm totally serious.
sylvar: (Default)
Thank heavens for the Internet Archive!

The recipe for plain ole fudge brownies in the first printing of I'm Just Here for More Food is obviously in need of correction, but the errata are no longer on the site. Fortunately I followed a blogger's link, via the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, to an archived copy of errata for I'm Just Here for More Food. And now I have a corrected recipe.

(How did I know it was wrong? It told me to steep the cocoa powder in "tk" of boiling water. A cook who measures ingredients in grams rather than teaspoon fractions wouldn't have said that. And what the Rachael Ray is a "tk" anyway? A teakettleful?)

Page 188-189, this is the corrected version of the recipe for Plain Ole Brownies

Hardware: Digital scale, wet measuring cups, dry measuring cups, measuring spoons, food processor, 8-inch square aluminum cake pan, electric stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, medium saucepan, medium mixing bowl, balloon whisk, rubber or silicone spatula, parchment paper, toothpick, cooling rack, pizza cutter.

The Dry Goods:

Cocoa powder: 1 1/3 cups (113 grams/4 ounces)

All-purpose flour: 2/3 cup (99 grams/3-1/2 ounces), sifted

Kosher salt: 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams/less than 1/8 ounce)

The Wet Works:

Eggs: 4 large (200 grams/7 ounces)

Vanilla extract: 2 teaspoons (9 grams/1/3 ounce)

Sugar: 1 cup (198 grams/7 ounces), sifted

Brown sugar: 1 cup (227 grams/8 ounces), sifted

Unsalted butter: 2 sticks (1 cup/227 grams/8 ounces), melted

The Extras:

Walnuts: 1 cup (85 grams/3 ounces)

Baker’s Joy or AB’s Kustom Kitchen Lube for the pan

• Place an oven rack in position C and preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8-inch aluminum baking pan (see pages 180-183).

• Sift together the dry ingredients in the food processor.

• In an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the eggs at medium speed until light (both in texture and color). Add the vanilla.

• Mix the sugars together, reduce the mixer speed to 30-percent power, and add the sugars to the eggs, incorporating thoroughly.

• Add the butter and remaining dry ingredients in three alternating doses, starting with the wet and finishing with the dry. Fold in the nuts.

• Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean.

• Remove the pan to a cooling rack and resist the temptation to cut until the brownies are completely cool. When ready, cut into squares with a pizza cutter.

Yield: Sixteen 2-inch square brownies
sylvar: (Library Nut)
Just in case...

The rain never actually appeared, so I rode south to the USF library (the campus is designed to resist convenient vehicular travel, but it's not too bad on a bike).

When I got there, I recognized a bit of music in Starbucks that had been sampled for either Kanye West's "Gold Digger" or a remix thereof. It turned out to be Ray Charles' I Got a Woman.

And now it's time to take out the soggy teabags, add honey, and pour over ice. After ten miles of riding, I think it's time to relax and watch the boob tube.
sylvar: (Breakfast Club: Princess)
Well, I tried Coke Blak this morning. I had fond memories of Cafe Cola, and Coke Blak reminded me of that flavor. Unfortunately, at $1.59 for 8 ounces, I don't think I'll be buying very much of it. Which is probably just as well. Although it only has 45 calories per bottle, those calories come from 12 grams of sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. No thanks!

I was pleased to discover that Kash 'n Karry is open today. Publix was closed without even the courtesy of a note explaining themselves. Anti-secularist @$(*s... But Kash 'n Karry had some good fondue cheeses (Swiss Emmentaler and smoked gouda), crusty baguettes, red potatoes, etc. I may go out later and pick up some fresh apples and strawberries.

And now, time to shower and get ready for the day. I've got a library run to do, for Jodi's papers (it's crunch time; this is the beginning of Dead Week, if you're a Gator or know that tradition -- except that USF doesn't actually have a Dead Week, so there's still loads of stuff due). And then there will be fondue to do.

And, heck, I've got the makings of sushi. Maybe I'll make it to take to work for lunch.

November 2010

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