sylvar: (Default)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] loucheroo (via [livejournal.com profile] knobody) for inspiring me!

INGREDIENTS
  • 100 grams ground coffee (I set my mill for 18 cups)
  • 2-quart pitcher
  • Water
  • Milk and sugar to taste
Put ground coffee in pitcher. Fill with water.  Refrigerate for 4-12 hours.  Pour through a filter (drip filter is 100% fine; cheesecloth will also work).  Add milk and sugar to taste.  Jodi prefers about 1/3 cup white sugar in this much coffee, plus enough milk to make up the lost volume of the soaked grounds (maybe 2 cups).

Makes 2 quarts.

From the kitchen of Jon Vallee.

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)

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: (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)
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: (What Would Alton Do?)
1 bag Morningstar Farms Meal Starters "steak" strips
1 can Campbell's mushroom gravy (maybe this should be 2 cans)
1 pound assorted mushrooms, sliced (I used half portobello and half ordinary)
2 Tbsp. butter
Egg noodles, or white rice, your choice

Cook the pasta/rice. While it cooks, heat up a large pan, throw in the butter, and put the mushrooms on top. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are mostly limp. Throw in the fake-steak strips and cook until they're hot. Pour in the gravy and cook until it's all nice and bubbly. Serve over pasta/rice.
sylvar: (Polyamory Heart)
I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and got some fresh broccoli, lemons, potatoes and portobello mushrooms. As soon as I came home, I started making Alton Brown's Chocolate Chip Muffins #7. Half the chocolate chips (by mass) were semi-sweet mini-chips, and half were huge honking Ghirardelli bittersweet chips. The cocoa, of course, was Penzeys natural-process.

While the muffins baked, I cut up a large bag of potatoes, about 4 liters when roughly cubed. I tossed these with olive oil, then mixed 1/4 cup Penzeys Greek seasoning, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1/4 cup olive oil. I poured this Greek marinade and the potatoes into a two-gallon Ziploc bag and tossed it all together. It sat on the countertop absorbing yumminess as...

I then cut up two bunches of broccoli, about 2-3 pounds of it. I ran out of room in the steamer basket, so I ended up ignoring the bottom part of the stalks. The broccoli sat in the wire basket, suspended above a few cups of water in a large pot, as...

I used my new microplane grater to get the zest of two lemons, then I juiced the lemons. I measured out one tablespoon of cornstarch and set it aside while...

I sprayed a thick aluminum baking sheet with canola oil, then poured in a single layer of marinated potatoes, and popped the whole thing into a hot oven. (I found that 350F didn't do much in half an hour, so I bumped it up to 425F for about another half-hour.)

When Jodi came home, I turned the broccoli-steaming water to high heat, put the cornstarch into a small pot, added the zest and juice of the two lemons, and whisked constantly for two or three minutes until it thickened. As an afterthought, I ground some peppercorns into the lemon sauce, then put it on the cold burner.

The mushrooms went on the electric grill at some point, and despite absolutely no preparation, came out pretty well. (I'll marinate 'em next time.) Once the broccoli was done, I served it with the lemon-pepper sauce drizzled over it, aside the Greek oven potatoes and a limp mushroom cap.

That went over very well, although it took most of the evening to make.

And just now, I've started a double batch (2 cups bread flour, 2 cups whole wheat flour) of pizza dough, which is now doing its slow momentous rise in the refrigerator. It could be ready for tomorrow night, or it could wait until the weekend.

I still want to find sherry vinegar for Alton's pantry-friendly tomato sauce, but I'll use white wine vinegar if I must. And then there's the question of fresh herbs... I guess I'll be buying a basil plant or two to mercilessly mutilate into a chiffonade. Muhahahaha.

And I even managed to find time to take care of a load or two of laundry.

I was meant to be a housewife. I love this stuff. I love my wife and my mei-mei. This kicks ass.

...and now I'm gonna go get six hours of sleep.
sylvar: (What Would Alton Do?)
Yesterday I made some dough in the bread maker with this recipe:

1 cup water
1-1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 cups bread flour
2-1/2 tsp yeast

I kneaded the dough, shaped it into a freeform loaf, and let it rise for an hour before sticking it in a piping hot (preheated for about 15 minutes after it reached nominal temperature) 500-degree oven for 10 minutes, then dropping it down to 400 for another 30 minutes. It came out great.

So later in the day I decided to make some more. I doubled the recipe, but since I knew I'd never get the bread machine to knead a lump that size, I used a silicone spatula (and, later, my hands) to put the dough together. It started off looking really ragged, but it came together nicely. After it rose for an hour (the top of my stereo system is the ideal warm spot), I punched it down again, cut it into four pieces, shaped them into balls, and let them rise on individual squares of parchment paper. Just before I popped them in the oven, I sliced an X with my handy-dandy vorpal blade onto the top of each ball, then brushed them all with a raw scrambled egg. Same heat, slightly less time -- 10 minutes hot-hot-hot, 25 minutes hot. They came out great.

[livejournal.com profile] turtlebat23 said it reminded her of bread from France. [livejournal.com profile] jitterbug5bi5 was too busy eating to say much of anything.

And remember, this is just white bread. No sourdough sponge, no rye flour, no whole wheat flour, no oil or milk or potato or seeds or orange peel or anything. Just water, flour, yeast, sugar, salt and properly applied heat.

Why on earth did I ever let a bread machine cook my dough? It's not bad for making the dough, but if I ever get a stand mixer with a dough hook, that bread machine is going to be out on its electronic ass before you can say Wonder Bread.

November 2010

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