nancylebov: blue moon (Default)
I've come up with a non-dairy comfort food.

1 medium butternut squash
4 medium small sweet potatoes
1 medium onion and a shallot
1/2 pound bacon
4 assorted somewhat hot peppers and a little hot sauce
garlic (Auntie Arwen's dried garlic mix)
salt
some maple syrup, maybe a couple of tablespoons

I steamed the squash (20 minutes). I found that the skin was edible, which was convenient-- some people don't like the texture, but it's a pain to remove the skin. (Second thought, maybe it's worth the trouble to pick the skin out.)

Microwaved the potatoes.

Fried the bacon, then fried the chopped peppers and onions in the bacon grease.

Mashed the squash, potatoes, bacon, peppers, and onions together. That was when I decided it needed more heat and salt, and added a little hot sauce and the maple syrup.

This is pretty comforting as it is, but would be more comforting without the hot peppers. My original plan included collard greens, but I don't think they were necessary.

The hot peppers (one light orange and wrinkly, one good-sized dark green and with an oval cross section, a smaller dark green pepper which wasn't quit as oval, and a medium-sized dark red spherical pepper) were from a mixed bag from Whole Foods. They had an interesting variety ot flavors, but I'm not sure what to do with them-- I'm not bad at improvised cooking but they were beyond my level of subtlety.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
some of this spiced cabbage
3 eggs
about an ounce or so of pancetta
half a quince, chopped up
some black pepper
some cream
salt

That half quince had been in the refrigerator for a few days, and I thought it might be a little dry-- quince is the driest fruit I know of, even when it's fresh.

I heated some olive oil and water, and put in the quince. When almost all of the water was gone, I put in the thinly sliced pancetta and the pepper. (Pancetta is something like bacon, but fattier.) I tried a very low heat, but the pancetta was barely making any progress, so I went to medium high.

Then I lowered the heat and mixed the cream and eggs together and put them in. Salt was added at some point.

This was really excellent, and perhaps better because the weather is cold.

Quinces aren't all that available for most of the year around here. A tart apple might be a good substitute.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
Either I wasn't as hungry as I thought, or this is *very* filling.

Large cabbage, chopped medium fine
Juice of one lemon
1 pound of mahi mahi
olive oil
salt
soy sauce
mild curry powder
ras-el hanout
forbidden rice noodle ramen
a couple of handfuls of roasted sunflower seeds

Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat. Put in cabbage and lemon juice.
(I had a lot of cabbage, it filled a 12" skillet.) I added the spices
while the cabbage was cooking, but they could have gone in with the oil. I
added the sunflower seeds late, too, and they might have benefited from
being toasted in the oil at the beginning.

Put large pot of water on to boil.

When the cabbage is partly cooked, put in the fish, and cover. When the
fish is cooked, uncover and turn the heat off.

When the water is boiling, put in the ramen. Cook according to
instructions, I guess.

Add soy sauce to taste when it's done. I put on more than I intended, but
it tasted good.

Notes: I was underwhelmed with the ramen-- I may have overcooked it. One
ramen certainly isn't enough for that much food, and I think I'll cook
rice to go with the rest of it.

Forbidden rice is a black rice. When it's good, it tastes like brown rice with a stronger brown rice flavor. When it's mediocre (I mean Whole Foods house brand) it's a black rice that tastes like brown rice but costs more.

Also, that's way too much cabbage for the amount of fish. I'm planning to
cook the rest of the cabbage with egg when I run out of fish.

The fish wasn't great-- I don't know whether mahi mahi shouldn't be steamed.

I'm still fairly happy with it-- the mild curry/ras-el hanout/soy sauce
combination on the cabbage is a big win.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
I have a cabbage. Normally, I'd just chop it up into a stirfry (cabbage is very nice in stirfry), but it occurred to me to ask people about their favorite cabbage recipes, partly because something good might turn up, and partly because I'm going to write more about that God of Love, God of War thing, and I want to have a break from religion, politics, and other fraught subjects.

Thanks, everyone. I've tagged this because now I have a library of cabbage recipes. I'm tending towards trying something with cream and/or butter, but I'm especially noting [livejournal.com profile] ritaxis's compendium for a lot of good ideas, especially if I want to try a little light pickling.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
Seafood Cream Soup with Saffron and Asparagus

I was surprised at how self-conscious I felt about posting about this really rather moderate sort of a luxury, so there's going to be somewhat about money as well as cooking.

1 half pound each of shrimp, salmon (cut into fork-sized pieces), minced clams, and bay scallops
most of a pint of heavy cream
most of a quart of (store-bought) chicken stock
about a pound of asparagus
about half a cup of sliced almonds
about half a pound of oyster mushrooms
some salt
some white pepper
2 good-sized shallots, maybe a half cup when chopped up
about a teaspoon of saffron which was probably older than it should have been
some Pouldre Forte: Black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, galangal, cardamom, nutmeg, long pepper
some butter

First step, research! I looked at cream seafood soups and cream of asparagus.

I got one very valuable piece of information-- shell your shrimp, then simmer the shells for 15 minutes. The result had an amazing amount of flavor.

While the shrimp shells are simmering, I used enough butter to gently fry the almonds, asparagus, shallots, and mushrooms in a good sized aluminum pot.

When the shallots were done, I dumped in the cream, chicken stock, salt, pepper, pouldre forte and saffron, and simmered for about half an hour. Then I put in the salmon and shrimp (the largest pieces of meat-- bay scallops are tiny and minced clams are, well, minced) for a couple of minutes. When they were barely done, I put in the clams and scallops for something like a minute and turned off the heat.

It was a little bland, but when I added some hot sauce it was really excellent. On a second meal (a bowl of this soup is quite filling), I added an anchovy and that also worked well. This suggests that it mostly needed salt, but I'm going to try adding hot mustard in a future meal. More and/or stronger saffron would be a good idea.

It probably would have been better with the toasted almonds added as a garnish, but I just didn't want to bother.

OK, money. This cost about $50 or so, and I'm going to get at least five meals out of it. In other words, pricewise, it's just a little more expensive than fast food and highly competitive with low end restaurant food. Still, part of the theme was expensive ingredients.

So I'm going to look at modifying it to be cheaper and to be more expensive. And to look at what it would need to be kosher.

The most expensive part is the seafood (and I could have cut the price some by buying at the Italian Market instead of Whole Foods). The cheapest seafood was the clams. And I think spinach is cheaper than asparagus. I used oyster mushrooms because it was a seafood soup, so I went with the name. In retrospect, I think portobella mushrooms would have been better, and I'm looking forward to clam/spinach/portobella cream soup at some point. I'm not sure what spices or herbs it should have.

When I thought about increasing the luxury level, my first thought was pheasant stock-- pheasant seems to be about $25/$30 per pound in the US. [livejournal.com profile] dcseain pointed out that it's much cheaper in the UK, and a little research suggests that it's more like $10/pound there. Pheasant is very tasty, and I have no idea why no one has farmed it on a reasonably large scale in the US.

Other than that, there's upgrading the mushrooms. I think black trumpet and morel would be very nice, and both of them are visually interesting. Truffles are very expensive, but I've been disappointed by truffle products. I had a slice of truffle at a gourmet restaurant and it was wonderful, but I'm not sure whether it would go with the soup.

Macadamia nuts might work well.

I'm also unsure about good choices for more expensive seafood. Sea scallops at least have the virtue of being larger and more noticeable. I've had wonderful conch once (chewy and tasty). It might be a good idea. I can't see any point in getting larger shrimp.

As for kosher, all that's needed is for all the seafood to be fish rather than shellfish. I'm interested in suggestions for other sorts of fish. Bass? Trout?
nancylebov: (green leaves)
I was thinking of doing a chili, but I didn't use a recipe and ending up with a soup that doesn't at all resemble a chili but which I'm quite happy with.

some olive oil
a cup or so of cooked kidney beans
a pound of buffalo burger (available from Trader Joe's)
2 medium-sized sweet onions
2 ears of corn (cut off the cobs)
some hot peppers of various sorts-- I think only one or two of the smaller ones were vicious-- call it 5 tablespoons' worth, with the total average not far off medium
a can of cooked tomatos, including the liquid-- maybe twice the size of a Campbell's soup can
a cup or so of chicken stock* and corn left over from a previous project

I chopped up the onions and peppers and pan-fried them in the olive oil. I think I started them at a high temperature, then turned it down. Soon after that, I broke up the hamburger (TJ's sells it in frozen patties), and added it. When the hamburger was brownish but not completely cooked, I put the hamburger, onions and peppers in a pot with the tomatoes, corn, beans, and chicken stock, and simmered it for a while-- maybe two hours.

*whole chicken simmered in store-bought chicken broth, so the result is pretty rich. I don't skim off the chicken fat.
nancylebov: blue moon (Default)
I was thinking of doing a chili, but I didn't use a recipe and ending up with a soup that doesn't at all resemble a chili but which I'm quite happy with.

some olive oil
a cup or so of cooked kidney beans
a pound of buffalo burger (available from Trader Joe's)
2 medium-sized sweet onions
2 ears of corn (cut off the cobs)
some hot peppers of various sorts-- I think only one or two of the smaller ones were vicious-- call it 5 tablespoons' worth, with the total average not far off medium
a can of cooked tomatos, including the liquid-- maybe twice the size of a Campbell's soup can
a cup or so of chicken stock* and corn left over from a previous project

I chopped up the onions and peppers and pan-fried them in the olive oil. I think I started them at a high temperature, then turned it down. Soon after that, I broke up the hamburger (TJ's sells it in frozen patties), and added it. When the hamburger was brownish but not completely cooked, I put the hamburger, onions and peppers in a pot with the tomatoes, corn, beans, and chicken stock, and simmered it for a while-- maybe two hours.

*whole chicken simmered in store-bought chicken broth, so the result is pretty rich. I don't skim off the chicken fat.
nancylebov: blue moon (Default)
Three eggs, beaten
Three shallots, chopped coarsely (all hail the Chinese grocery store which has cheap shallots)
Three garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
A moderate amount of brown rice (this is eggs with rice rather than eggy rice)
A large yellow heirloom tomato (its volume probably was comparable to the volume of the eggs, in chopped in forkable but not small chunks)
A little Dynamite for the Soul (a hot pepper mix--but really, just a little--this isn't a spicy dish)
Some olive oil
Some fresh dill
Some lavender
A little salt

Heat olive oil fairly hot. Stir things around now and then through the whole sequence.
Fry garlic first, then shallots, then rice. Lower the heat some and put in the tomato and dill.
Add eggs and lower the heat a lot. The eggs take enough time to allow for washing out the rice cooker.
Add lavender just before the eggs are done. I was worried about whether that would be too late, but the lavender was demanding to be added, and it worked quite well--not crunchy or anything and is a very nice flavor. In fact, it ended up being the strongest flavor in the mix.

General principle: scrambled eggs are better with some liquid added. It doesn't seem to matter if it's milk, cream, wine, or released from a watery vegetable. Mushrooms are another notably water-releasing veggie. Red wine in eggs turns them an unpleasant color, but is very tasty.

I know this isn't a formal recipe, but I hope this sort of thing encourages folks to play with their food.
nancylebov: blue moon (Default)
Three eggs, beaten
Three shallots, chopped coarsely (all hail the Chinese grocery store which has cheap shallots)
Three garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
A moderate amount of brown rice (this is eggs with rice rather than eggy rice)
A large yellow heirloom tomato (its volume probably was comparable to the volume of the eggs, in chopped in forkable but not small chunks)
A little Dynamite for the Soul (a hot pepper mix--but really, just a little--this isn't a spicy dish)
Some olive oil
Some fresh dill
Some lavender
A little salt

Heat olive oil fairly hot. Stir things around now and then through the whole sequence.
Fry garlic first, then shallots, then rice. Lower the heat some and put in the tomato and dill.
Add eggs and lower the heat a lot. The eggs take enough time to allow for washing out the rice cooker.
Add lavender just before the eggs are done. I was worried about whether that would be too late, but the lavender was demanding to be added, and it worked quite well--not crunchy or anything and is a very nice flavor. In fact, it ended up being the strongest flavor in the mix.

General principle: scrambled eggs are better with some liquid added. It doesn't seem to matter if it's milk, cream, wine, or released from a watery vegetable. Mushrooms are another notably water-releasing veggie. Red wine in eggs turns them an unpleasant color, but is very tasty.

I know this isn't a formal recipe, but I hope this sort of thing encourages folks to play with their food.

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