"Fire burn, and cauldron bubble" MrsLee Cooks in 2019
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I love that part of the unnamed play. One could quote the whole thing here, but that's not really what I'm cooking this year, I only pretend to.
What is bubbling in my cauldron at the moment may very well look like what the witches were stirring up. I am making a bone broth. Mostly out of chicken, turkey and goose bones. Also lots of the ends of onions, trimmings of other veggies and leek ends. I save things in bags in the freezer until there isn't any room, then boil them into broth. We love homemade ramen in winter.
I hope to be baking some bread tonight as well, but thus far it is being reluctant to rise to the occasion. The sponge was very bubbly this morning, but the dough is being sluggish.
Books which inspired the above cooking:
I read something or watched something (more likely) about fermentation not too long ago (maybe 6 months). There was something about wild yeast and sourdough. Hrm. Maybe it was Cooked from Netflix -- the documentary based on the book Cooked, Pollan.
During the week I don't "cook" a lot, but usually put things together for dinner from what is left over from the weekend. I cook a lot on the weekend for that purpose. Usually I will prepare at least two large roasty bits of various animals and lots of veggies, either cooked, or washed and chopped to be eaten quickly. Sometimes a bean, rice or noodle dish.
Right now we have almost a whole chicken left of the two I roasted last weekend, and last night I baked two large fillets of salmon. There is some washed red-leaf lettuce, radishes, carrots, celery and I roasted some rutabagas last night. Probably chicken or salmon salad for dinner tonight.
I am sending husband to the store today for spinach, cabbage, cauliflower and a couple of surprise veggies, since we are trying to up our veggie intake again. I somehow got out of the routine over the holidays.
This weekend I will figure out how to incorporate the rest of the chicken into something. Perhaps a soup and a bean or rice dish. Stir-fry rice is one of my favorite ways to use up bits of things, and I have a lot of broth in the fridge right now, plus the weather here is cold, cloudy and rain, so soup weather!
I also plan to bake a cake from scratch. Will use the recipe for yellow spongecake from Easy Basics for Good Cooking. This cookbook rarely fails me for basic recipes. I made lemon curd, which was amazing 2 weekends ago and it needs using, so into layers of cake it will go.
Will make some more lemon curd, and I want to try the same recipe but with oranges. We have a bonanza of both fruits at the moment. I will probably freeze the curd and see how that works. If I process them it says they must be kept in the refrigerator and used within four months. I don't have room to store things in my refrigerator, and why go through the trouble of processing if it doesn't keep it longer?
Chunky chicken and rice soup tonight was delicious. I served it over thick slices of my brick bread, and it made a filling one bowl meal.
My cake didn't fluff. Very dense, but tasty. My thoughts are that either my baking soda isn't good (it's a cheap brand I've never tried), or, lacking a mixer, I either beat the batter too long or not long enough. Any experienced bakers out there know the answer? I also didn't have cake flour, so I sifted all purpose flour 2 times, then measured, then sifted 2 more times.
>6 MrsLee: Next time, beat it less time. The dough gets tough when you beat it too long. Replace some of the flour with cornstarch (no more than 1/4 cup). Get new baking soda as well.
>8 lesmel: All of the above. Did the recipe call for cake flour? That and the soda sound like the culprits. I am not much of a baker; but I have been told it is better to hand mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. That way, you can better judge when everything has just incorporated.
>7 Lyndatrue: & >8 lesmel: Thank you. I think I got confused by reading the cake recipe in Julia Child's book, where you beat the egg yolks until they form ribbons, and this book, where baking soda is used.
Of course you know what this means? I will have to bake another cake! Perfection will be found. Hopefully sooner than I'm doing with my sourdough bread.
Will be making some taco meat out of elk burger today. Also the lemon and orange curd, which reminds me, I'm going to go eat a piece of cake for breakfast.
I printed out a copy of a recipe for sourdough naan. Rather excited to try it, so I might do so. If that is the case, then perhaps instead of a Mexican/taco flavor in the elk meat, I should go for a curry flavor. Hmmmm. Yep. Now I get to go search my Curry cookbook to find the most suitable recipe. I also have some squash and cauliflower to cook, both of those will be good with a curry setting.
>11 hfglen: Actually, I'm going to try boboti. That is what I have a recipe for. :) I have all the ingredients, so a big plus. The custard on top gives me pause, but I will try most anything once.
Brilliant! In Bo-Kaap (its spiritual home) it would come with yellow rice (turmeric and cinnamon sticks), but Leipoldt insists than only plain white steamed rice should ever be considered. Pity I'm probably too late, or I'd send you off to your nearest South African shop / online dealer in search of a bottle of Mrs Ball's chutney. Nothing else is quite like it, and some Anglo-Indian chutneys are very different.
>13 hfglen: Here is my effort. The recipe called for bread soaked in milk. It also called for Mrs. Ball's chutney in the bobotie, but not having a source nearby, I used some of the pear/mango chutney I made this summer. Fantastic! All reservations about the custard on top are gone. This was so good! Real comfort food.
I took a swerve from tradition and served the sourdough naan I made earlier. Brushed it with butter, sprinkled with sesame seeds and salt. Yum! I think as I get a feel for the naan I will do better. There were several steps that needed experience, but I only had intuition. Now I have a little experience too. It came out flatter than naan I am used to, but tasted wonderful. Best immediately out of the broiler, we tried it then, but it stiffened up a bit waiting for the bobotie to finish cooking. That took about 20 more minutes than the recipe said.
Oh! I learned that I can cook with lemon leaves! Somehow, even though I use kefir lime leaves, that fact never entered my head. They impart a delicate lemon flavor into to custard, although, husband discovered that you don't eat them when he was sucking the custard out of them. They are bitter.
One thing about living in California, I can grow some of the unicorn ingredients for recipes. I have lemon grass, a lime tree, I got a banana plant for Christmas so I can use the leaves to wrap things and steam or grill or bake them. There is a lot more in my yard that is edible.
That looks like a bobotie should! Maybe a few seconds under the grill to tan the custard a bit, and you've got it nailed. Now the other thing you need, unless you're strictly following Bo-Kaap tradition (where the vast majority are Muslims and keep a halaal table) would be a nice, well aged Pinotage to go with it (you can always claim to be following Leipoldt and making a Boere-bobotie) -- Platter lists scores of examples, from 5* downwards.
ETA: You can use bay leaves if your lemon tree looks as sad as ours -- we usually do.
>15 hfglen: I have a bay tree too, the recipe listed it as an alternative, but I wanted to try the lemon as I hadn't before. My poor lemon tree is so sad I wasn't sure I could get six leaves off of it! It froze hard the year after I planted it, and what is there now is from the root stock, not the graft, so I never get lemons. Now that I know I can use the leaves, I won't resent it so. :)
For imbibing, I chose a dirty martini, three olives. It seemed to like it fine.
I wondered about the custard look. Took forever to get the brown I did. Next time the broiler will be used. There will be a next time.
Last night was vegetable night. I cleaned and prepared cucumbers, jicama and radishes for easy snacks. Storing them in glass containers in the fridge.
Also made my grandmother's baked parsnip dish. I don't make it often, as you will see from the recipe, it is not for those trying to lower their weight! Usually I roast parsnips with like root veggies and a little oil, salt and pepper. Delicious.
Grandmother Nora's Parsnips
2 large parsnips, peeled and sliced very thin (I used a mandolin)
2-4 T. butter
1-3 T. brown sugar
Layer the parsnips in a buttered baking dish with butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper (more or less to your taste, I put pea-size dollops of butter and a very thin sprinkle of brown sugar on at least 2 layers, and again on the top. Pour enough milk and cream to come almost to the top of the parsnips. Bake at 350° for about an hour, until parsnips are soft, milk/cream mixture has thickened and browned a bit on top. It is good to press parsnips down into milk about every 20 min.
A perfect dish for a wild winter night.
Oh, now you've done it. Here's a recipe for something that uses Parsnips that has (I swear) practically zero calories.
English Parsnip Pie
2 lb. parsnips
2 tsp. salt
4-6 tbs. honey
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. mace
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. grated orange peel
1 tbs. lemon juice
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
double crust pie shell
Boil unpeeled parsnips until very tender; drain and peel; while still hot blend them. Add rest of ingredients. Partially bake pie shell; turn mixture into cooled shell and top with latticework of pastry strips. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, or until pastry is browned. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Oven temperature is critical; if oven heats high, use a 400-425 degree setting.
It's been a long time since I made this, but I promise that it's delicious, and very low in calories. Maybe. :-}
>18 Lyndatrue: Sounds lovely except for the peeling parsnips while keeping them hot. Gloves?
>19 PhaedraB: I admit to mostly ignoring that admonition. I don't mind them unpeeled; that's a very thin skin, and no different really than a carrot's. I seldom peel anything unless it would honestly make a huge difference (oranges, for example, should probably be peeled). I used to make mashed potatoes with unpeeled potatoes, and I recommend it. They taste better (in my opinion), and they're only a vehicle for using butter anyway (I loathe gravy, on almost anything).
Still, if you're going to peel parsnips, the skin slides off quickly when they're still hot, if you do insist. Now I want parsnips. I'd better go put them on the grocery list for tomorrow. :-}
>20 Lyndatrue: ...oranges, for example, should probably be peeled... except when it is boiled oranges cake -- then you blitz the heck out of the whole fruit after a long (1 hr) boil. It's fantabulous!
>21 lesmel: You don't get to say that without providing a recipe. Boiled Oranges Cake is now required, please. Does it require specific types? Currently, I'm favoring the Clementines, which are in season, and very tasty. :-}
>22 Lyndatrue: This is the recipe I've used (from a site now defunct):
2 cups ground almonds
4 heaped tbsp good quality cocoa
5 heaped tbsp honey
5 free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
Place whole oranges in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and boil for 1 hour. Drain and then allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 320F and grease a cake tin with butter or coconut oil. Cut oranges in half and place in to a food processor (skin pith, flesh and all). Blitz until smooth. Add the remaining cake ingredients and blitz again until smooth.
Pour in to the prepared cake tin and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before removing from tin or it may break.
Once the cake has cooled down completely, dust with cocoa if desired.
It doesn't specify a variety. Nigella Lawson calls for "a thin-skinned orange." Another recipe calls for Valencia.
Valencia probably makes the most sense in this. I'm not sure I'd call it a cake, since it doesn't use flour, but the almonds probably take the place. I'm awfully tempted to try this, even though finding enough almonds to make two cups of ground almonds will probably put a pause on it. It sounds interesting though. What an interesting recipe; I'm glad I asked for it. :-}
>24 Lyndatrue: I just use the almond flour from the bulk bins at my local grocery.
>18 Lyndatrue: & >23 lesmel: Thanks for the intriguing and delicious sounding recipes! I may try that orange cake this weekend.
I've been trying to think how to use decidedly tart mandarin oranges. We have an abundance at work. A windfall crop brought in by a customer. I see people fermenting all sorts of fruit in honey, and this could work, but to what end?
Here is the plan for the weekend.
Tonight, homemade ramen soup (I don't make the noodles, just the broth).
Tomorrow, I am going to process (can) Mandarin orange slices, also will start a ferment of orange peels, lemon peels, ginger and some spices in honey (I've been told that if I dehydrate the honey after fermentation so that it thickens again, I will have something special for cooking, I think. I'm also going to try fermenting some lemons. Depending on how many I have, I may make more lemon curd, and possibly some orange curd. After that, I plan to juice/process in my Vitamix (with some of the peel) and make some sorbet.
Sunday we will go spend the night with my son and his wife in their new apartment in the Bay Area.
Monday we will attend the Napa Truffle Festival! It will be a day of tasting heavenly treats (I am very much looking forward to some grilled oysters with truffle), and shopping in the Oxbow Market for Unicorn ingredients! lol This is in celebration of my birthday, and I will be purchasing some (possibly only 2!) truffles to bring home. Monday night I will make the best dish I've ever made with truffles (this is only the second year I've tasted them), a creamy pasta, smothered in fresh truffles. I plan to infuse some eggs with the truffle smell, then grate up the rest of the truffle and put it in a Brie which I bring home from the market to consume in a few days. Ah the glory and the briefness of the joy.
Last year I made truffle butter and froze it, but did not feel that shone enough when I used it later in the year, so this year I won't worry about preserving them, only enjoying their moment.
>23 lesmel: I followed your recipe to the letter and love this cake! It has more of a pudding feel than a cake feel, but the orange and cocoa are ambrosia! (my mom's description.
Will share a photo when I'm on my desktop instead of the tablet. Why are these things not compatible?
Today I dealt with all the mandarin oranges.
4 jars canned segments (would have been 5, but one jar broke)
4 jars plus extra mandarin orange curd
4 jars plus extra lemon curd
1 delicious cake
1 jar honey ferment of mandarin orange and lemon rind, with spices. Hopefully this will have a fives spices vibe to be used in dressing, marinade, etc.
1 tray of drying mandarin peels to be used in cooking
1 jar of mandarin and lemon rind soaking in vinegar (to be mixed with water after 2 weeks and used as a cleaning spray.
3 quarts mandarin orange sections to be frozen and used to make sherbet in the summer.
>28 MrsLee: I'm so glad you liked it! It's been some time since I made it. I should make it soon.
Of course, now that I've made all that curd, I need to make some scones.
Went to the truffle festival, came home with a truffle! A black diamond from the Perigord they said, only they said it came from Italy. Mark me slightly confused, but happy to have a marathon of truffle cooking this week!
Last night I invited my one friend who is a foodie over and served creamy shallot sauce on pasta, topped with truffles, a truffled sausage patty wrapped with caul fat (sliced thin for tasting because one patty was $10), baby salad greens with Mandarin orange sections dressed with garlic-mustard vinaigrette, and roasted Brussels sprouts tossed with a bit of the truffled lardo brought from the festival. I forgot to take a picture of the meal, as I was too anxious to dig in and eat it. Satisfactory, but next time I will make more sauce for the amount of pasta. I was working from the notes I made last year when I did this, but it is hard when you don't remember to write down what you did until 3 days later.
I also brought home some truffled caviar (I should have read the ingredients first, this has truffle oil in it which is a no-no and I would probably have been happier with plain caviar. It isn't the lovely VERY expensive black goodness, but a whitefish caviar which is probably good enough for the likes of me). Several cheeses found their way home with me as well. Three of the blue variety, one from France (creamy goodness), one from Briton (Stilton, my first time trying it) and one from Sebastopol, CA, also a Brie called Mt. Tam filled with truffles. Then there were the spices. I bought Asafoetida, sumac, star anise, galangal root and nigella seeds. Mostly to use for curry.
Now I'll make you green with envy by saying I can see my galangal plant from my study window, if I look around the side of the computer I'm typing this on. Bay leaves round the corner and annatto on the other side of the house >:-)
But I could easily envy you the rest.
Truffles! Yum. And Truffle cheese is amazing.
Way back at >13 hfglen: - Mrs Balls peach sauce? We get that in the UK and I've been using it on sandwiches with ham etc, which works well. I've always just assumed it was another chutney brand, and didn't know it had S African connections?
>33 hfglen: Only a little chartreuse. :) I have a bay tree, lime, lemon and orange trees, lemon grass, lemon verbena, many herbs and such. Isn't it fun to read a recipe and go pluck the seasonings from your yard?
>36 MrsLee: That is indeed when trying a new recipe becomes fun (unless it's in the middle of a thunderstorm).
Here is a picture of my favorite truffle dish this year. Fresh scallops, pan-seared and topped with shredded truffles. I did not bake the bread, served with a fresh salad. I made a sort of sherry/butter sauce with the butter I seared the scallops in.
Last night we took a break from truffles and I made stir-fry with prawns and veggies. It wasn't a recipe, just cleaning out the fridge sort of. The prawns were purchased when my husband bought the scallops. Yum.
I also made a pot of white beans with wheat berries and mushrooms for the weekend. I will top each serving of that by shredding the remaining truffle over the top. Again, no recipe, but something similar was served at the truffle festival.
I will, I really, really will, make ramen soup this weekend. Other plans include making a batch of mayo, some tamarind paste, if I can find any tamarinds, some sourdough bread and sourdough crackers. We usually have a batch of sourdough waffles on Sunday morning.
That looks amazing. I want to live with you.
Salad with clementines / pine nuts? Salad with fruit and nuts is one of the perfect combinations.
I made scones again this morning with the same recipe that didn't rise last week, but new baking powder. They didn't rise this time either. At least not as much as I like. So, scratch that recipe.
Also made sourdough crackers to go with all my cheese. Yum. And started some bread, but it won't be ready to bake until tomorrow.
Oh wow. Husband felt the need to grill something tonight so he bought some tri-tip steaks. I made some Chinese plum sauce earlier today using a can of wild plumb preserves I had. Together they are a perfect thing.
>41 MrsLee: Grr! I always get so disappointed with recipe writers when recipes fail. The internet is full of them! Although, it's not uncommon in cookbooks, either. I'm sorry the scones didn't work. What source were you using?
>43 lesmel: It was Christmas Carol Cookbook which I had had such good result from in other recipes. Perhaps my idea of scones, which are thick, and their idea of scones are different? I'm not an expert by any means, but my Sunset cookbook of Easy Basics has a delicious recipe. I will go back to it. :)
>45 reading_fox: Thanks, I will have a look. I'm wondering if I can't just modify my father's baking powder biscuit recipe by using cream and additional sugar to get a great scone. Since I am speaking to a native, are scones supposed to be 1-2" thick, so they can be cut in half and filled with yumminess? That is what I am looking for, but with this last recipe it made me wonder if they weren't meant to cut in half, but only be topped with yumminess.
>46 MrsLee: Even better, they should have a plane of weakness halfway up the 1-2" thickness (no idea how you achieve that) so you can ease them apart without cutting, and put yumminess on each half. They should be light enough to require anchoring in a high wind.
>46 MrsLee: and >47 hfglen: Somewhere, I have recipes for old-fashioned scones, and like the old-fashioned sopapilla, they develop an air pocket in the center, and easily tear in half. They should be light, and airy. I've had scones in recent years, and I have actually asked the wait staff to remove the last one I had, and just bring some toast instead.
Fooey. Now I want a scone for breakfast.
>48 Lyndatrue: Hmm, I've consistently encountered heavy duty scones on this side of the Atlantic. I've been contemplating making my own, so at least now I know what to shoot for.
I must only know American scones (I pronounce it skowns and not skawns, how does everyone pronounce it?) -- boat anchory scones crammed with add-ins like cranberries or blueberries or chocolate bits. Doing some minor Googling for "proper british scones" shows me that yes, I have no idea what non-American scones look like or taste like. Hmmmmmmm.
I'm not familiar with this non-American scone either.
Scones are triangle shaped because you cut the slab of dough like a pie before baking. Made with sugar and heavy cream. Flaky but not something you'd expect to rise a lot.
>50 lesmel: The website is run by monsters. You have to be a member to view the recipe.
>49 PhaedraB: & >54 lesmel: At least I won't be alone in my experiments! My father's baking powder biscuits rise about 2" in the oven, are flakey, yet hold together, and pull apart easily. I'm going to play with that recipe.
My frame of reference is the mystery series called Father Brown mysteries. The church secretary makes "award winning" strawberry scones (which she pronounces "scawns"). They look to be round and filled with whipped cream and strawberries.
>53 lesmel: Thank you! I suspect I'll be experimenting from the git-go because I normally bake with spelt flour. Wheat doesn't always agree with me. But maybe for the first go, I'll use regular flour.
>49 PhaedraB: Some of us in South Africa call those "doodgoois" (Afrikaans dood = dead + gooi = throw), i.e. something that may kill if thrown at the victim. They are unfortunately all too common here.
>55 MrsLee: Never heard it pronounced like that! The usual pronunciations rhyme with either bone or gone, and some people assert that one pronunciation or the other is more genteel, or upper-class, or whatever, or that the one that rhymes with bone is Scottish, or something. The Shorter Oxford Dictionary prefers the one rhyming with gone (which is the only one I ever heard in Australia), and asserts that the bone one is indeed Scottish. I gather that the parish secretary in question was Irish (and I cannot imagine G. K. Chesterton ever describing anything as "award-winning", so some liberties have clearly been taken).
>58 haydninvienna: Oh my, so many liberties taken! I had a like/hate relationship with that show. On the one hand, there was a lot of picturesque English countryside and houses, the settings were wonderful. On the other hand, I cringed through every show, and especially any of them that were the least theological, knowing that Chesterton would probably blow a fuse if he saw it. :) Yes, housekeeper was Irish, Mrs. McCarty, I believe, not sure about the spelling of her name.
Now here is where dialect comes into play I suppose. In my California accent, scawn rhymes with gone. :) I have always pronounced the word scone to rhyme with bone. I do have a Scottish ancestor or two, but I'm not sure whether I heard it pronounced that way, or whether it is one of those words that a reader decides in their head how it is pronounced and then finds out years later that it isn't. We never ate them growing up, we ate buttermilk/baking powder biscuits which are light and fluffy, but not sweet at all. Until I was an adult, I never tasted a scone, only read about them in mysteries and such. My first tasting experience was when I made them myself to try.
>59 MrsLee: OMG NEVER HAD A SCONE! Whatever is the world coming to. Seriously, I've never has a "biscuit" in your sense either, but I suspect that if you added a bit of sugar to a "biscuit" recipe, you'd end up with something very like a scone.
In Oz, gone could then (mumble-mumble years ago) be pronounced either gon (short "o") or gorn but the latter was regarded as uncouth. Many Irish dialect pronunciations were regarded as uncouth; I leave you to speculate about why.
>55 MrsLee: - yes round. traditionally that would be clotted cream* and strawberry jam and butter. The order remains in dispute with heathens, but the One True Layer is Scone, butter, jam, cream.
*search the web. You can make your own, but it's an incredible amount of faff involving boiling thin cream, skimming and setting. Which makes it sound much less delicious than it is. Believed to have been imported into Cornwall via turkish metal traders.
>56 PhaedraB: I was just listening to a podcast about "inclusive" baking or "free from" baking. The baker recommends sorghum flour for cookies. She actually offers several suggestions for gluten-free flours depending on the bake but cookies is all I remember at the moment. While it might not be the gluten you are avoiding, what I found interesting is that different flours work for different bakes for different reasons.
>63 lesmel: Thanks. I do use a variety of flours, though I'm no expert, mostly because I won't turn the oven on in the summer (who can afford ovens and air conditioning at the same time -- not me). It's over the winter I bake, which is pretty much why I gain weight over the winter, too! We get an early spring here, so I'm at the tail end of this winter's efforts. Then I start calorie counting until I can fit into my summer clothes again.
>60 haydninvienna: Deprived, I tell you. ;)
>61 reading_fox: I shall most certainly use the One True Layer formula next time I do this. Right now we have to eat up the excessive amounts of orange and lemon curd before they go bad, so no clotted cream for a bit. Will have to make strawberry jam too, so this project may have to wait until strawberry season!
Today's cooking aspirations:
roasted chickens (I usually do two to get through a week) over root veggies,
scones (made from my dad's biscuit recipe with slight alterations,
more sourdough crackers (same recipe, trying different technique to make it easier, which might end in disaster),
possibly sourdough crumpets, although I may wait on that.
OH! Crumpets! If I get to vote, crumpets FTW! I luuuuurv crumpets. And English muffins. Are English muffins really English? What makes them English? Who am I kidding. I love bread. Period. Full stop.
Here are the results of yesterday's baking. I've made better crumpets. These were flavorful, but too thin IMO. A good way to use excess sourdough starter I suppose, but I prefer eating the crackers. Those you can dip, or spread with cheese.
The scones were amazing. Next time I will cut them in circles though. These seemed to spread at the bottom a bit, so the top was smaller. Not really a problem, I'm just fine tuning.
Last night the cauldron actually did bubble, but all I threw into it was cabbage, spinach, parsley and roasted onions which I had tossed with some chili oil. The stock was already seasoned for ramen soup, but I added some Worcestershire sauce and sherry. All this was poured into oven-safe bowls, topped with my very thinly sliced sourdough rye bread which I had toasted, shredded cheese, then popped under the broiler until the cheese was melty and golden. A delicious dinner for a frosty cold evening.
The rye bread was the same which I had tried to make what my grandmother called zwieback, but hers always came out edible, and mine was a tooth breaker. The soup made it deliciously edible again. I wonder if I didn't leave the bread to toast in the oven long enough, or if it was simply the wrong kind of bread. As I remember, my grandmother used any bread that was not fresh, leaving it in the oven at a low temperature for a long time.
I have been drinking a cup of ramen broth late in the afternoon at work. In fact, I am down to my last serving tomorrow. Boooooo. Guess I will be making broth this weekend!
Why not just use self-raising flour? With plain flour baking soda isn't enough on its own without something acid like buttermilk to set it off, you should be using baking powder. It's worth reading Harold McGee on the subject of raising agents.
>72 dajashby: Not quite sure what your post is in reference to? The biscuits/scones I am working with have baking powder in them, although my dad always added a pinch of baking soda in addition to the baking powder. I personally don't use self-raising flour because I like to be in control of how much baking powder I am adding. Probably because they didn't sell self-raising flour here for years, and even now it isn't easy to come by, so I am not familiar with its properties and how it works in recipes.
>73 MrsLee: American-style self-rising (no a) flour has baking powder & salt. British-style self-raising flour has only baking powder. Discovered this just this year while trying to decide if I wanted to bother buying another bag of flour to play with. I am with you. I'd rather control the baking powder myself.
Fair enough that you want to be in control, and of course some recipes specify plain flour with baking powder, usually because the batter is rather heavy and SR flour won't give enough lift. I did that recently with Nigel Slater's plum cake recipe. However, most of the cake recipes I make actually specify SR flour - I am of course using British or Australian recipes. Its availability is taken for granted here and it is available in wholemeal and plain.
This is why American cookbooks don't travel well across the Atlantic or the Pacific. It's not just Fanny Farmer's measurement system, a lot of ingredients are unavailable unless you have access to a boutique grocer catering to American expats!
I made more sourdough crackers today, plain to carry cheese or my sour cream and truffled caviar. Turns out the caviar was better on a cucumber. But the crackers are great by themselves, or with cheese.
I also started another batch of sourdough bread to be baked tomorrow, and that reminds me, I have to go start the batter for waffles now, before I go to bed.
This was the best batch of bread I've had yet from my sourdough. What I mean is, it was what I have been striving for. A loaf of bread which rises, works in a loaf pan (because we prefer that shape for sandwiches and toast), is light and has a tender texture. You know, bread instead of bricks. :) If I can manage to repeat this every other week, we will be happy campers.
I used the King Arthur sourdough bread recipe. Modifications were the baking pan (I'm not going to buy a $150 pan to bake bread in), and the recipe called for some sort of malt which to me is a unicorn ingredient, so I looked it up and substituted a bit of sugar. No kneading. The only disadvantage is the time it takes. Several hours for the folding/rising process, then you pop the dough in the fridge overnight or at least 8 hours, then you have several more hours of warming and rising after you shape it. It isn't hard, but you have to be home. Which isn't really a drawback for me, I like to stay home. Instead of the old excuse, "I have to wash my hair." I can say, "I have to nurse my bread dough."
Other than that, not much cooking by me. Not sure why, but my zeal has departed. We have company coming two nights in a row and I cannot work up any enthusiasm. Happily, he went on a cooking rampage yesterday and whipped up enough of his specialty, macaroni and meat casserole, to feed 100 people. Possibly an exaggeration, but really, 5 lbs. of dry macaroni noodles. Hopefully my freezer can squeeze some in. I love his casserole. In addition to the meat and macaroni, there are copious amounts of cheese and mushrooms, with sour cream and plain whole fat yogurt. It doesn't get more comforting than that, but is Hell on my low-grain diet. :/
I managed to turn out two veg. dishes that were yummy last night. Roasted turnips and kohlrabi drizzled with chili oil and sautéd broccoli with a bit of sesame oil and soy sauce, tossed with fried peanuts and sesame seeds.
>77 MrsLee: I quite like the sound of the sauteed broccoli. I think I'll try that.
>78 haydninvienna: Believe it or not, I only learned to do a quick sauté in the last year or two. Aside from roasting and raw, that is now one of our favorite cooking methods for vegetables because depending on the liquids you use to create the steam, you can go many flavor directions.
>79 lesmel: That the malt! The closest I could find for a substitute was a fermented barley concoction. Although I like to ferment things, that probably won't happen when a "good enough" substitute is 1:1 sugar!
Macaroni and meat casserole was a recipe from my husband's mother. She used hamburger, cream of mushroom soup, sour cream and cheddar cheese. Over the years, we have evolved it to eliminate the cream of mushroom soup by cooking loads of mushrooms (we usually fry them, although I would probably roast them now), plain whole yogurt (I use Greek Gods) or sour cream or both, thinned if needed with some milk or whipping cream. I have in the past, done the whole white sauce thing, but it really isn't necessary because the noodles soak up any excess moisture. We fry the hamburger with onion and garlic, salt, pepper, a bit of chili flakes, any dry herbs you like, if you like, I usually throw in a pinch of allspice and nutmeg. Mark tossed in some wine this time, which was nice. When you have the meat, mushrooms and noodles cooked, and you've mixed up the yogurt/sour cream to be more of a thick sauce consistency, you can either layer it all in a casserole with copious amounts of cheese, or toss everything together, then pack it in the casserole and top with more cheese. Bake about 35 - 40 minutes.
I'm sorry I can't give you amounts. We have never measured anything. It should be "goopy" when you mix it and not too dry, but not runny, either.
Great comfort food!
By the way, the guests we were expecting for last night, and for tomorrow have cancelled due to weather and my mom being sick. I guess somehow my mojo knew it would happen and that's why I couldn't get worked up? Anyway, comfort food is a good idea at the moment. We were without power for about 5 hours last night due to this big storm. My brother, about 30 miles to the north of us, had 8" of snow last night. We just got buckets of rain. It's all good, we certainly need the moisture.
Your thread makes me hungry. The only problem is a stomach bug is making me stick to simple foods at the moment.
>81 thornton37814: :( I have a recipe for Graveyard Stew, or as my sister called it, Cemetery Soup.
Toast one slice of white bread, put in a bowl, spread very thin layer of butter (the real deal), sprinkle lightly with sugar, pour warm milk over.
Be well soon!
The pot has been bubbling most of the day. I'm making a pork stew. Odd assortment of vegetables, parsnips, carrots, sunchokes, onions, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, parsley. Also a bit of bacon, wine, and small bits of dried plums.
Tomorrow will be a sort of fruit cake baked. Lemon curd (I will do it!), waffles, some sort of salad. That isn't a menu, just random things I plan to get done tomorrow.
>83 MrsLee: - I've made curd once. It wasn't hard it just took ages - A lot longer than you might think, at least until you're braver than we were on how gently you can heat it without curdling.
>84 reading_fox: I've actually made this recipe twice. It turned out lovely both times, but what holds me up in my mind is the processing of the jars. Not hard, just time consuming, etc. Funny, the first time I was surprised at how fast it went (I had company visiting that helped me stir and talked to me while I was stirring). The second time, it was a bit tedious, but not too bad. Time consuming though, and what I really want to do is sit and read. :)
>83 MrsLee: That pork stew was one of the best I've ever made!
Today I am cooking red beans and a pot of rice. Just to supplement meals this week.
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