I'm making an effort to post more often, so today you get baking talk. :) I had some bananas that had gone way past their eat-by date (in my house that's when they have no green left on the skin) and I didn't want to just pitch them, so I figured I'd make banana nut bread. Being a little bored with my usual recipe, I decided to tweak it a bit. I thought chai flavors would go well with banana so I added a couple of teaspoons of chai masala. Then I had a brainstorm and threw in a bit of cayenne. It turned out amazingly well! The kidunit agreed, so I am definitely making this again. I don't have any pictures of it because I didn't think to do that before we ate it all, but here's the recipe in case any of you want to try it.

Spicy Banana Nut Bread

1 3/4 C flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp chai masala*
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne (a guess- I didn't really measure)
2/3 C brown sugar
1/3 C vegetable shortening
2 eggs
2 Tbsp milk or half-and-half
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C mashed ripe banana (about 3 small)
½ C coarsely chopped pecans (I usually use more like a cup, because I love pecans!)

Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a 8"x4"x2" loaf pan. I like to line my loaf pan with a long “U” of parchment paper which helps you lift out the loaf without it sticking. I use ordinary binder clips to clip the paper to the rim of the pan and keep it from curling in over the bread while baking.

Stir together dry ingredients, set aside. Cream shortening and sugar. Add the eggs to creamed mixture one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition, then add the vanilla. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the banana to the creamed mixture, beating until smooth after each addition. Fold in nuts. Turn batter into pan and bake for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool at least 10 minutes before attempting to cut.

*a blend of ground ginger, cardamom, coriander seed, black pepper & cinnamon used in the making of chai tea. Sometimes it also has bay leaf, fennel seed, and/or anise seed as well. The one I used was an inexpensive mass-produced blend I found at a local Asian market, but if you can't find this locally, it would be easy to blend your own. Or, the Savory Spice Shop has a version for sale online.

And here is a bonus recipe. A friend with a surfeit of green tomatoes asked me for this and since it's the time of year for those (pick them before the first frost!) I figured I would share my grandmother's recipe for a spicy green tomato relish. Gramma used 'farm' measurements which I've tried to convert to more standard ones, but it's hard to find conversion charts for specific produce. It would be pretty easy to halve or even quarter the recipe, if you wanted to.

Damn Hot Stuff**

2 quarts green tomatoes (about 5 pounds)
2 quarts onions (about 4 pounds)
2 pints jalapenos (about 1.5 pounds)
2 pints (4 C.) cider vinegar
2 pints (4 C.) sugar
16 oz prepared mustard (she used plain yellow but you can use your favorite)
1 tsp. salt

Roughly puree tomatoes, onions and hot peppers (she used a meat grinder but a food processor probably works just as well). Don't puree it smooth, there should be lots of chunks. Pour into a large non-reactive dutch oven or stock pot. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Pack in jars, seal. Great with pinto beans, green beans, ham, on hot dogs- lots of things!

**yes, this was Gramma's official name for it. ;D
kelliem: misc spices (spice1)
( Jul. 23rd, 2009 11:44 am)
Wow, I don't post as much when I don't have bird news to share. Hm, what's new? My mom had a scare last weekend, she fainted in church and they called an ambulance and took her to the emergency room. Fortunately she's fine, they don't really know what caused the syncopy (that term always sounds so darned festive for just meaning 'fainting'!) but suspect a combination of factors including heat, low sodium, and hyperventilation.

I guess all the fun birds are off nesting, I'm mostly seeing finches, sparrows, starlings and grackles (#!@!!) at the feeder at the moment. Occasionally a jay or a flicker, but that's about it. The very fat suet-feeder-raiding squirrel hasn't been seen in some time, I suspect our fox may have gotten him, either that, or he had heart-failure from all the suet he'd snarfed. ;D Despite our having planted a bunch of flowers purported to attract hummingbirds to feeders, we've only seen two hummingbirds so far. They seem confused by the 'flying saucer' style feeder I have, so I think I may need to replace it with a more traditional one. We also are having to fight slugs and snails in our tiny flower garden for the first time I can remember. It's been weirdly humid here this summer. Beer didn't seem to be working, so I ended up getting a product that's basically granulated iron phosphate which apparently keels the snails and slugs ded, but does not harm other animals or plants. So far it seems to be working.

I've been trying some new recipes. Last night I made some hummus, combining 3 different recipes and it came out amazingly well, very lemony-garlicky-spicy, so I'm pimping the recipe behind the cut.Read more... )

Monday I made a (new to me) curry- a red "Madras" style one which includes potatoes and chickpeas. I used chicken for the protein and it was tasty, but think it would be better with beef or lamb. If anyone wants that recipe, I can post it after I get home, just let me know. It includes a recipe for the Madras curry paste used to make it, which makes enough for a small jar to use on other occasions.
I had a cooking first last night. Though I've been cooking for decades, I had never made macaroni and cheese from scratch before. It was always too easy to just reach for that box with the radioactive orange cheese powder in it. Recently, though, I keep hearing people talk about the home made kind, and seeing some interesting variations on it, and decided I wanted to give it a shot. So I hunted up a recipe on FoodNetwork's website and got to work. First I had to halve it, because it made a huge amount. Then, I realized I didn't have any gruyere, or parmesan or heavy cream. I did have generic swiss, and romano, and half & half, though. I didn't have any elbo 'roni, but I had a big box of conchigliette. And I didn't have any bread crumbs, but I did have some commercial garlic & butter croutons I could pulse in the food processor to make some. Also, my kidunit always wants some sort of meat substance at dinner, so I decided to add a token amount of bacon. So this is the recipe I ended up with, which is bears only a familial resemblance to the original. Read more... )
kelliem: bread (bread)
( Feb. 1st, 2009 09:30 pm)
A few weeks back I saw a display of Dalmatia Fig Spread with Orange at one of the stores I frequent. I bought some, just out of curiosity, and it sat on my counter while I tried to decide what to do with it. I was pretty sure it would be great with cheese (especially brie, or chevre) and crackers but I wanted something a little more interesting. Then when I went to the hospital yesterday to visit my mom (still improving!), we stopped by thei hospital coffee kiosk and I noticed some muffins they were selling which appeared to have figs in them (turns out I was wrong, it was some sort of vegan muffin and what I thought were fig seeds were something else entirely) which got me thinking about making fig muffins. So I went home and went through all my muffin recipes and some I found online, did a little tweaking, and came up with a recipe which turned out to be really delicious. The orange flavor was surprisingly strong, but the figs gave the muffins a rich, earthy sweetness, while the oatmeal and pecans added great texture. I didn't even let them cool the recommended 10 minutes before I was chowing down on one alongside a cup of nice, strong pu-erh tea.

Fig & Orange Muffins

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp each, dried orange peel and ground coriander seed
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 8 oz. jar Dalmatia fig spread with orange
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400F

Mix dry ingredients together, including nuts.

Warm the milk slightly, just enough to keep the butter from solidifying but not enough to cook the eggs, then mix milk, melted butter, brown sugar, preserves, and eggs.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir just to mix. Batter will be lumpy. Let rest for 5 minutes. Spoon into lined muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and done. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Makes 12 large muffins.

If you don't have access to the fig and orange spread, I think you could use 4 oz. of fig preserves and 4 oz. of orange marmalade and get a similar result.
kelliem: bistro table (bistro)
( Oct. 24th, 2008 08:25 am)
As you all know, I love Fall, so I won't go on about it, other than to say one of my favorite things about it is that it's finally Soup Season again. I don't know why, but I just don't like to make or eat soup in the Summer. I was craving potato soup last night, which I haven't made in years because... well, I am not sure why! Just haven't. Unfortunately, without a substantial amount of protein in his meals the kidunit becomes The Uber Crank, so I didn't want to make my usual potato soup which is basically just potatoes, milk, and some seasoning. So to increase the protein level I added two of the foods that make other foods better! Cheese, and bacon (mmmmm, bacon!). Then I decided using some broth instead of just milk would increase the protein, too, so I did that. And I had some liebfraumilch on hand so I added some of that for flavor interest. (I really wanted to add some golden beets to this recipe, but the regular grocery store didn't have any and I didn't want to make a special trip to Whole Paycheck to find some. I'll do that next time, I guess.) In the end, the soup turned out really well, so I'm sharing the recipe in case others are interested.

Potato Soup with Cheddar and Bacon

6 slices bacon
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 C chicken broth (low sodium)
1 C white wine
1 1/2 C table cream or half-and-half
4 cups diced potatoes*
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

In a 3-quart saucepan, cook bacon until crisp, remove and drain well on paper towels. Remove all but about two tablespoons of the bacon grease. Add the vegetables and garlic to the bacon grease and saute until the onions are soft and translucent, but not brown (3-4 minutes). Stir in chicken broth, wine, potatoes, and spices; bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. At that point, add the cream and cook over low heat for 10 more minutes. At this point, take about a cup of the vegetables out of the soup and mash them in a small bowl with a potato masher (or you could use a blender or food processor) and then return the mashed vegetables to the pot and stir them in to blend. Turn off the heat and stir in cheese until just melted (the soup will be hot enough to melt the cheese without the heat being on). Crumble/shred the bacon into small pieces and add to soup (I didn't add it during the primary cooking process so all the flavor wouldn't cook out of the bacon). Makes about 6 servings.

* I used a mixture of russet and red potatoes so I had different textures. The russets are mealy and will mash easily to thicken the soup, the reds stay firm so you have lots of nice chunks.

If you want to make this ovo-lacto vegetarian, leave out the bacon, substitute olive oil for the bacon grease, and use vegetable broth instead of chicken.
kelliem: bistro table (bistro)
( Sep. 15th, 2008 09:37 pm)
Earlier today I posted about the pesto I made... my first attempt. It turned out very well and someone asked for a pic and someone else asked for the recipe so here they are. :)

Citrus & purple basil pesto over tortellini and grilled chicken with roasted red peppers
recipe behind the cut )
kelliem: peach halves (peaches)
( Aug. 13th, 2008 10:55 pm)
Local Colorado peaches have begun showing up in the stores, always one of my favorite times of year. I love peaches. The ones I picked up tonight were perfectly ripe, fragrant, and bigger than a softball (I swear they were practically grapefruit sized!). For weeks now I've been thinking about a cold fruit soup I used to make decades ago, so since the peaches were perfect, I dug out the recipe and made up a batch, and it turned out even better than I remembered! So, I'm sharing the recipe. It's really simple and delicious.

Cold Peach Raspberry Soup

6 ripe peaches
2 C. raspberry juice (or cran-raspberry if you can't find plain raspberry)
1 C water
1 cinnamon stick
8 cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg or mace
1 stem (2-3 leaves)fresh basil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C sugar
1 C plain or vanilla yogurt (reduce sugar a bit if you use vanilla)
1/2 C white wine (I used a vino verde which has a bit of sparkle and it really worked well)

Peel and seed the peaches. To peel more easily, cut an X in the bottom of the peach and drop it whole into a pot of boiling water for about three minutes. When you take it out, the skin will slip off easily from the cut end, but take care not to burn your fingers. Cut the peaches into quarters, combine peaches, juice, water and spices in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the peaches are soft but not discolored.

Remove the whole spices. Reserve the liquid in the pan, transfer the peaches to a food processor or blender and puree the fruit with the sugar until smooth. Add the puree back to the liquid in the pan, whisk to combine well, and let it cool for half an hour. Add the yogurt and whisk it in until well blended. Finally, gently stir in the wine, then transfer the soup to a sealable container and chill for several hours before serving. You can garnish it wish fresh raspberries and mint or basil leaves if you like. If you make too much, the soup freezes very well.
I have a vegetarian* friend coming out to visit in a couple of weeks, and I'm looking for some 'tried and true' vegetarian entree recipes since kidunit and I are in main carnivores and most of my entree recipes contain meat. I could go look up vegetarian entrees on foodnetwork.com or epicurious.com but what I want are your recipes, ones you've made a zillion times and love and would like to share. So please comment to this post with your favorite vegetarian recipe.

Thank you all!

*ETA: Specifically looking for ovo-lacto style recipes-- eggs and dairy are okay but not meat or seafood.
kelliem: cat licking window (lick)
( Jun. 9th, 2008 10:50 am)
Just some rambling...

I was disappointed to watch the first ep of the new Ice Road Truckers season and find that neither of my faves from last season are back this year. On the other hand, it's cool that they're based out of Inuvik this time. I found myself looking for Ray and Fraser in the background, then I remembered... they're fictional. ;P I'm continually amused that IRT has been lumped into the History Channel's "American Originals" series. I suppose if you take "America" to be "North America" not "United States of America" it works.

In Top Chef news, I am absolutely disgusted that Antonia is out and squinchy-faced black-cloud Lisa is still in the running. Gah. Why her? Other than that she makes a good bad guy? ETA: Tom Colicchio explains it all. I guess that the "lucky-dog-who-keeps-skating-by-effect," in which a chef of decent, but not stellar, skills gets lucky and doesn't screw up at precisely the moment that one of their more gifted opponents does." makes sense.

I've watched the first two eps of Next Food Network Star. I am not impressed with any of them. Also, is it just me or does Lisa Garza (another odd chef named Lisa?) bear an uncanny resemblance to Sandra Bullock? (separated at birth, I tell ya!) I keep wanting tell her to step away from the spray tan... yikes! Sometimes she looks like a reverse raccoon.

My Flickers have apparently been chased out of their nest by squirrels. This bums me out muchly but there isn't anything I can do about it. Nature red in tooth and claw and all that. :( In the backyard the feeders are attracting a wide variety of pretties though. Cassin's finches, house finches, house sparrows, chickadees (mountain and black-capped), goldfinches, blue jays, black-throated sparrows, mourning doves, and once I saw a red-headed woodpecker. Oh, and there is also the usual assortment of greedy grackles. I have to move my main feeder to a hook up under the eaves every evening at sunset or the raccoons come and raid it. I could just leave it there, I suppose, but it's much harder to watch the birds there.

I tried a new recipe last night. It was supposed to be an asian pork roast cooked in the crock pot but by the time I got to the store to buy ingredients and then prepped it was too late to do it in the crock pot so instead I cubed the pork and used the sauce recipe with a few additions and just cooked it on the stove for an hour. It actually turned out quite well-- sort of a cross between teriyaki pork and curried pork-- nicely mouth-warming but not painfully spicy. I served it over rice with steamed broccoli and it was yummy! I don't want to forget the recipe so I'm posting it here behind the cut )
kelliem: plates of food (plates)
( Apr. 23rd, 2008 10:21 am)
I've discovered a simple and very yummy new spring vegetable dish. Take six brussels sprouts and six spears of fresh asparagus. Quarter the sprouts and cut the asparagus into 1" pieces (make sure to cut off the woody bottom parts). Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the vegetables, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt, and sautee until the asparagus is bright green and the sprouts have begun to brown in spots. (This serves one person.) I had it with a salmon filet crusted in panko bread crumbs, black sesame seeds and wasabi powder, all the above served over some Japonica rice and it was mmmm-mmmm good!

Monday was kind of chilly and I wanted something warm & hearty, plus Kham had been asking to try lentils after seeing the Alton Brown show featuring them, so I tried a new dish. I sent the leftovers with Kham to a get-together and apparently it went over like gangbusters and I've been asked for the recipe, so I thought it would be easiest to post it here so they can grab it.

Vegetable Lentils with Sausage recipe behind the cut )

Finally, a couple of Springy shots from my indefatigable cell-phone camera:

(Yes, this is the same building I posted a picture of last week with snow on the ground. Springtime in the Rockies, take two.)

A male Cassin's Finch at the feeder in the back yard. Photo taken through two layers of very dirty kitchen window, so it's not the best, but I didn't want to scare him off by opening the back door for a better shot.
The return of Jericho is making me happy so far. It does not hurt that I think Esai Morales is v. v. hunky in a kind of rough-edged George Clooney sort of way. I hope Maj. Beck turns out to be an innocent dupe or something so I don't have to feel guilty for finding him attractive. :) Actually, all my current TV is making me fairly happy. Project Runway has been really good this season, and Kyle XY, Stargate: Atlantis, Sarah Connor Chronicles have all been, for the most part, keeping me pleased. Ghosthunters International was kind of lame but at least it's been entertaining watching the incredibly credulous Barry and Brian scare each other half to death. I've been loving Torchwood this season-- it's head and shoulders better than last season, thank heavens. And Primeval is a blast, with its intrepid yet slightly hapless good guys versus CGI dinosaurs, sulpherous worms, and a Wonderbra-enhanced MadMaxian femme fatale! Also, [livejournal.com profile] ardent_muses has introduced me to Band of Brothers, which so far (2.25 eps in) is excellent!

Also, this has been a great week, cooking wise. Saturday night I had [livejournal.com profile] ardent_muses over for a belated birthday dinner and the Beef Stroganoff turned out perfectly, as did the Guinness Cake for dessert. Actually, it wasn't a real Guinness cake, as I used a St. Peter's Cream Stout instead, but it was just as good. :) Then Sunday night I made a big pot of navy-bean and ham soup. I was so happy with how it turned out, the beans just meltingly tender and the broth all smoky from the ham. Mmmmm. Then tonight I tried reproducing a recipe my kidunit loves at a local restaurant, and it turned out both fairly easy and really yummy. I'm typing up the recipe here so I don't forget it.

Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Goat Cheese )
kelliem: icy lakefront sunrise (Default)
( Dec. 22nd, 2007 09:32 pm)
Not only am I finished shopping three whole days before Christmas, but I have also wrapped and tagged everything. I got the packages that needed mailing mailed in time (I hope!) earlier this week... this is unheard of. The tree has been up and decorated for a week. The holiday party at work went off without a hitch. I have my oyster stew makings ready for Monday night (it's a Christmas Eve tradition around here, since the kidunit's usually at his dad's so I can cook seafood!). The only thing I didn't do this year was holiday cards. I didn't see any that really grabbed me, other than some at the Tattered Cover featuring two ravens, which I should have bought the day I saw them. But I didn't, and I didn't want to make a special trip to Denver just to get holiday cards so I went without. Ah well.

I made an impromptu dessert a bit ago and it turned out amazingly well, so I'm sharing the 'recipe' such as it is. I was craving something a little sweet but am a bit tired of cookies, so I took a Pink Lady apple, cored and peeled it, evened off the bottom and put it in a small baking dish. Then I filled the core with a mixture of brown sugar, coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg, and drizzled a couple of tablespoons of Marsala wine mixed with a drop of vanilla extract over the whole and baked it in the toaster oven at 400F for about half an hour. The Marsala caramelized, so when I pulled it out of the oven I melted a tiny bit of butter into that to loosen it up, then cut up the apple into bite-sized pieces. Cutting the apple, of course, released the brown sugar/apple juice into the caramelized Marsala and made a fantastic syrup. The apple was still nice and firm, and it was warm and spicy and delicious.
kelliem: icy lakefront sunrise (cookies2)
( Dec. 10th, 2007 09:43 am)
I've been taken to task for not posting these recipes instead of emailing them, so, here, for [livejournal.com profile] shrewreader, are a bunch of mint cookie recipes I found using Google. :-)

recipes behind the cut )

PS: If you have a cookie recipe that combines oatmeal, chocolate chips and crushed candy canes, [livejournal.com profile] aukestrel is looking for one!
kelliem: fall leaves & lamp (fall)
( Nov. 22nd, 2007 11:07 pm)
I am thankful for so many things-- my fantastic kidunit, my amazing family, wonderful friends, a decent job, a roof over my head, generally good health and many many more things from the major to the trivial. I don't think about that often enough. Truly, thanksgiving should happen more than once a year-- and I don't mean the feast and holiday and all the attendant fuss. I just mean the act of being consciously thankful for all the good in my life. Must be better about that.

Today wasn't our 'primary' Thanksgiving with family. Due to vagaries of scheduling, that will actually happen on Friday instead. I did, however, go ahead and make a mostly-traditional Thankgiving meal today, so we'd have leftovers, which we won't tomorrow since it'll be at my mom's. Here's the menu:

Pancetta-sage turkey and gravy
Cornbread dressing with pine-nuts
Roasted harvest vegetables
Mulled port cranberry sauce
Mashed potatoes
Bourbon-pecan pie
Spicy Pumpkin pie (I use a fairly bog-standard pie recipe and add a ton of spices, including a shake of cayenne!)

I found the turkey recipe at Bon Appetit/epicurious.com and adapted it because I can never leave well-enough alone (plus there were a couple of things about their version that sounded unappetizing to me). You can find the original pancetta-sage turkey recipe here, but my version is below the cut. I also tinkered with their cranberry sauce with port and cinnamon recipe. My version of that one's down below too, along with the veggies one. recipes ho! )
kelliem: plates of food (plates)
( Oct. 11th, 2007 01:06 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] aukestrel mentioned this recipe in her LJ the other day so I decided to share it. I created it in response to an "Old Bay Seasoning" recipe contest back in... oh, I think it was 1990 or so. Anyway, the recipe didn't win a prize but it was a runner-up and it did make it into the contest cookbook. It's an easy recipe, but not quick. ;)

Kellie’s Old Bay Pork Green Chili

2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs pork loin, trimmed and cubed
1 lb. ground pork
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic
2 28 oz. can whole Italian tomatoes
2 28 oz cans tomatillos*, drained
2 4 oz. cans diced green chilies (or 1/2 cup of fresh roasted chilies, cut up)
3 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 4oz. can diced jalapeños (or 2 fresh jalapeños, chopped) if you like it extra spicy.

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven, add the pork, onions, garlic and spices. Cook over medium heat until the pork is browned. Drain excess fat. Crush the tomatoes and tomatillos in your hands, add to the pork along with remaining ingredients, including the liquid from the tomatoes. Do not add salt, there is plenty of salt in the Old Bay. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours until meat is fork-tender. Serve over burritos or with flour tortillas as a stew.

*For those of you unfamiliar with southwestern cooking, a tomatillo is a small green tomato-like fruit. You could use fresh tomatillos in this sauce if you have them available, but you'd need to husk, wash, and roughly chop them since you can't 'squeeze-smush' them like the canned kind.
kelliem: icy lakefront sunrise (Default)
( Sep. 20th, 2007 08:48 am)
I'm just a posting fool lately, but I had to share this. The northwest corner of our yard is overrun by concord grape vines-- they've climbed up and around every tree and bush within reach, and this year they are bearing like crazy. Usually I leave them for the critters (of which we have many) but there were so many this year that I went out the other day and picked a couple of pounds of them for myself, and there was still a lot on the vines. Then I realized I had no idea what to do with them.

I didn't want to make jelly since the one time I tried that before I failed miserably (I got grape syrup, pretty much), so I went online and looked for non-jelly concord grape recipes. Well, there are about a million recipes for grape pie, which, um, sounded kind of nasty to me. But scattered in amongst the pie recipes I found one for a chutney and one for a conserve. The chutney sounded good but called for an ingredient I didn't have on hand and I didn't feel like going out for. The conserve, on the other hand, I had all the ingredients for except Ruby Port, but I had a bottle of Dubonnet which is kinda-sorta similar so I went with that recipe, but added a couple of ingredients from the chutney recipe (more spices) just because they sounded good.

It was kind of a pain slipping the skins of 2 pounds of grapes but OMG, so worth it! The fragrance of the conserve as it cooked was like perfume, and it tastes amazing, too. Tonight I need to make some fresh bread to eat it on, though the original recipe was supposed to accompany duck. Anyway, just in case some of you have concord grapes you need to do something with, here's the recipe: )

Also, I took that Flesch-Kincaid thing that I saw over at [livejournal.com profile] aukestrel's and now I feel like I ought to be using more and bigger words or something. ;D

kelliem's Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 9
Average number of words per sentence:19.91
Average number of syllables per word:1.42
Total words in sample:1573
Analyze your journal! Username:
Another fun meme brought to you by rfreebern
I made the BEST stuff for dessert last night. It was so good I ended up eating the leftovers for breakfast.

Tropical Rice Pudding

2 C cooked short-grain rice (I used Kokuro rice from our local Asian grocery)
1 mango, diced
1 peach, diced
1 C sliced strawberries
1 C. coconut milk
2 Tbsp maple syrup
a pinch or so each ground cinnamon, ground coriander and ground cardamom (to taste)

Stir the maple syrup into the coconut milk, then mix all ingredients together. Taste. Add a little more maple syrup if you want it sweeter. Eat. :-)

(And yes, [livejournal.com profile] theamusedone of course it has coriander in it! ;-D)

Had a wonderful lunch yesterday with [livejournal.com profile] brywulf and [livejournal.com profile] annezo at Sushi Zanmai. We shared veggie tempura and their fantastic seaweed salad, and I had ebi, tako, unagi, and cucumber roll. Then [livejournal.com profile] brywulf couldn't finish her Philly Roll (smoked salmon and cream cheese) so I got to have some of that too. We groused about the fact that none of use are feeling fannishly connected right now and got all nostalgic for our old mailing lists.

In other news, I've been sort of half-assedly keeping track of the latest LJ kerfuffle, and mostly I'm just waiting to see how things shake out. I guess if I had to offer an opinion it would be that 1) LJ/6A is abysmally bad at communication and they should really wait to implement new policies until they have all the ramifications figured out first (also, they should muzzle their staff until they have a single official answer to a question!), and 2) Fandom will face the exact same issues currently inducing all the problems at LJ/6A no matter where it goes, once the perpetually panty-twisted in the world figure out where fandom went and follow them there to cause trouble.

Oh, and GIP! New icon-- a photo of the delicious and beautiful waffle served to my kidunit at breakfast the other day at the Southside Walnut Cafe.
kelliem: bistro table (bistro)
( Jul. 12th, 2007 09:49 am)
[livejournal.com profile] brynwulf reminds us all that today is National Pecan Pie Day. In honor of which I am posting a recipe for Pecan Pie Bars that I've had for years. I don't remember where I got it originally, but it's a quick and easy way to celebrate Pecan Pie Day without all the hassle of making a rolled crust. :)

Pecan Pie Bars

1/4 cup + 2 T. sugar
3/4 cup butter
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt

4 eggs, slightly beaten
3 T. butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups corn syrup (light or dark)
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350ºF
Grease a 9x13" pan. Cut butter into dry ingredients until crumbly (a food processor works great for this if you have one). Press firmly into the bottom of the pan. Bake at 350º about 20 minutes or until golden brown. While it bakes, mix together all filling ingredients. Once the crust has finished baking, pour the filling over the crust and return the pan to the oven and bake until set, about 20 to 25 minutes more. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares.
kelliem: plates of food (plates)
( Jun. 30th, 2007 09:58 pm)
I have no idea if people like me posting recipes, but I like posting them so I'm going to keep doing it. :)

Tonight I tried my hand at Pad Kee Mao a.k.a. Drunkard's Noodles a.k.a. Drunken Noodles. I've had them at various Asian restaurants and I always love them so I figured I ought to try making them myself. I took several recipes I found online and mixed and matched to come up with the recipe below. It came out really well, tasting almost exactly like the restaurant version. BTW, there is no alcohol in the recipe-- from what I could gather they are called Drunkard's Noodles either because the spiciness makes you want to drink a lot of beer or wine, or because they are a good hangover cure, take your pick. This recipe is about a medium level of spiciness. IMHO of course.

Pad Kee Mao (aka Drunkard's Noodles)

7 oz (½ pkg) wide rice-stick noodles
½ lb skinless, boneless chicken breast or thigh meat, cubed
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 fresh jalapeno chili pepper, seeded, sliced thinly (use 2 if you like it very spicy)
1 small Anaheim chili, seeded and julienned
3 large scallions, bulb ends sliced thinly, tops cut into 2" pieces
½ - 1 oz each, fresh basil and fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 lime, cut in half, (leave one half alone, cut the other into wedges)

2 Tbsp each Oyster sauce, Fish sauce, palm (or brown) sugar
1 Tbsp each Mirin (sweetened rice wine), rice vinegar, Maggi (or Golden Mountain) sauce
1 tsp Thai chili-garlic paste (or 1 tsp red chili flakes)
Juice of half a lime (use the un-wedged piece from above)
rest of recipe behind the cut )
kelliem: SGA Radek headdesk (d'oh)
( May. 1st, 2007 09:42 am)
Well, that was a weekend I don't want to repeat.

Friday afternoon I started getting a sore throat. By Saturday morning it was a full-fledged cold. I woke up craving a Dutch Baby (aka German baked pancake) from the Original House of Pancakes but since I was sick I didn't want to go out, so I hunted up a recipe and it looked pretty simple so I decided to try it myself. I made the batter, and put a skillet in the oven with butter in it (that's how you do it-- you get the skillet full of butter sizzling hot in the oven first and then pour in the batter, then put it back in the oven to finish baking.) All went well through the pouring-in of the batter, and then I went to put the whole shebang back in the oven and spaced out that the pan was REALLY REALLY FRAKKING HOT and I grabbed the handle with my bare hand.

Needless to say I let go very quickly. But not quickly enough. So on top of having a nasty cold, my right hand was burned across four fingers and part of my palm. I immediately ran cold water over it and the kidunit ran upstairs and got me the aloe which I slathered all over my hand, but it still hurt like hell

The Dutch Baby actually turned out pretty well, though it was hard to eat left-handed. After breakfast I got the kidunit to take me over to Rite Aid where I bought some Water Jel burn ointment with lidocaine in it (ahhhhh!) and some weird bandages with a gel pad (I think they were called Second Skin Moist Gel Pads) and slapped those on and amazingly, after only one day, the burns were pretty much gone, so I recommend those if you burn yourself.

I was still sick as a dog though, so I stayed home from work yesterday, and went to the doc, and got some nice drugs, and I'm feeling a little better today, though still wrung out. And then life got a bit better when I watched last night's Heroes which was awesome and totally blew me away!

And just in case you want to try making the pancake (hopefully without burning yourself!) I've put the Dutch Baby pancake recipe behind a cut )
kelliem: bistro table (bistro)
( Apr. 9th, 2007 09:58 pm)
Ahoy, [livejournal.com profile] the_haunt! I was going through my recipes today because I knew I had a fantastic-sounding flourless chocolate cake recipe that I'd saved a while back, intending to try it out on my celiac friend. I haven't gotten around to doing so, but I thought you might be interested in it now that you're avoiding wheat. So here it is, behind the cut.

Flourless Chocolate Cake With Fresh Blackberry Sauce )
I tried another Indian recipe tonight. Okay, well, it's an adaptation of an Indian recipe because they don't use much beef, but the kidunit's not fond of lamb so I substituted. If you like lamb I am sure it would be good that way too. Anyway, it turned out very well (richly flavored and spicy without being mouth-burningly hot) and was pretty easy so I thought I would put the recipe up in case anyone else wants to try it.

Curried Beef with Green Beans

½ lb green beans, stemmed & cut in 2" lengths
2 Tbsp peanut (or other high-temperature) oil
1 medium onion, sliced in 12ths (longitudinally)
1 Tbsp fresh ginger pulp (about a 1.5" piece, peeled and grated)
1 Tbsp mashed garlic
1 tsp paprika or mild red chili powder
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
2 bay or curry leaves
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 lb sirloin (or other steak) cubed
2 C. water
2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (aka coriander leaf)
1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 anaheim chili finely chopped (or 1 sm. can chopped green chilies)

Have all ingredients ready before you start cooking. First boil the green beans for about 8 minutes in salted water until just tender. Drain and set aside. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden-brown (This takes a while, and the heat needs to be fairly high. Don't stir too much or they will just get soggy and not brown). While they are cooking, combine the ginger, garlic, spices, green chilies & chopped tomatoes. Once the onions are browned, add the spice mixture and stir fry together for about 5 minutes. Add the beef and fry for a further 5 minutes (until the beef is slightly browned), then add the water. Cover loosely and cook for about 45 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated and the meat is tender. You may need to remove the cover toward the end of the cooking time to let the liquid evaporate better. When only a small amount of liquid is left, add the green beans, cilantro, and red peppers, cover and cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve with steamed basmati rice
kelliem: bistro table (bistro)
( Jan. 21st, 2007 09:59 pm)
My Indian feast turned out exceedingly well, especially for a first attempt. I need more practice making naan though, I didn't manage to get it thin enough, plus I burned one piece. Still, I was very happy. Even the kidunit loved the chicken korma, which I wasn't expecting since the term 'picky eater' is an understatement. (Okay, so the aloo gobi went untasted on that front, but hey, I'll take every little victory I can. )

Also, I really enjoyed The Dresden Files. I thought the actor they cast for Harry was perfect, and even though Bob is a little more... robust than in the books, it was well done and I understand why they did it that way. Hopefully they will keep up the quality in future episodes. (And my due South fan soul thinks it is very amusing that there's a Dead Bob in this show, too.) Altogether it was a really great day, despite the snow.

In case anyone's interested, I'm putting the recipes for Chicken Korma, Aloo Gobi, and Cherry Naan behind the cut )
kelliem: bread (bread)
( Aug. 12th, 2006 12:53 pm)
The blueberries we're getting this year are awesome. Is it just me, or have they gotten more flavorful over the last couple of years? It seems like there was a period there when they just tasted vaguely sweet, without any unique 'blueberry' flavor. To celebrate the bounty, I tried a new low-fat blueberry muffin recipe I found in the local paper.

I modified it very slightly -- reduced the brown sugar to half a cup from 3/4ths, added a teaspoon of ground coriander seed, and used regular instead of unsalted butter because I didn't have any unsalted on hand. I think they're the best blueberry muffins I have ever had. Here's the recipe (with modifications) if you're interested. It also has a cool (literally) trick to keep the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the muffin, although the batter is so thick I'm not sure it's really needed. recipe behind the cut )
kelliem: bistro table (bistro)
( Jul. 15th, 2006 04:02 pm)
For some reason, even though it's a zillion degrees today, I wanted soup for lunch. But I didn't want any of the pre-prepared soups I had on hand so I decided to make some with what I had on hand. It was incredibly easy and it turned out really well so I thought I'd share. It's sort of like what you'd get if you crossed minestrone with chili.

Super Easy Mexitalian Bean Soup

¼ cup onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
½ C. yellow squash, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 15-oz. can black beans w/liquid
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes & green chilies w/liquid
1 15-oz. can mixed chili beans, drained
1 can cut green beans, drained
1 (or 2) links Italian sausage, cooked & diced (hot or mild as preferred)
⅛ tsp each oregano, marjoram, basil
½ tsp salt (or to taste)

In a medium saucepan, saute the onion, garlic and squash in olive oil over medium-high heat until it softens. Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for half an hour. Serve. It's really good with tortilla chips. :)

If you prefer it vegetarian, leave out the sausage. I used Eden Organic brand beans & tomatoes, which are salt-free, so if you use a non-organic, salted brand, you can probably omit the salt. Fresh green beans would be better than canned, but I had no fresh ones on hand. You could use zucchini instead of yellow squash, too.
kelliem: coffee & croissant (coffee & croissant)
( Mar. 31st, 2006 09:02 pm)
Today was our 'spring break' day at work. The rest of the university gets the week off, but staff only get a day. I slept in, then went out and ran errands, got a pedicure, and went to the grocery store to get the things I need to make a couple of dishes for my mom's 80th's birthday on Sunday. Tonight I made stir-fry for dinner, and then the kid-unit and I made banana fritters and ate them while watching Dr. Who. We both love the candied banana fritters you can get at some Chinese restaurants, but it seems like fewer and fewer of them are offering them on the menu. Tonight we learned why. Making banana fritters is a lot of work, and you dirty up half the pans and bowls in the kitchen. Not to mention the fact that getting molten sugar on your finger hurts and leaves a nice white blister behind.

'Honey' Banana Fritters

3 large bananas
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 large bowl of ice water
oil for frying

Peel bananas and cut them into 1" chunks. Combine flour, cornstarch, egg, water (Maybe it's just me, but I ended up using about 4 Tbsp of water to get the batter thin enough to dip the banana chunks in. 1 tsp. only yielded a thick paste.) and mix till smooth.

Heat frying oil till moderately hot. Dip the banana chunks into the batter, lift them out one at a time, tap off the excess batter and put them into the hot oil. Fry for 1-2 minutes, till the batter is golden. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

Put sugar and sesame seed together in a clean dry pot. Melt the sugar till it darkens a little. Reduce heat to very low, just to keep it warm but not burned. (Make sure the sugar is warm enough to be almost watery in texture or you will end up with too thick a coat on the fritters. The fritters are much better with a thin coating of sugar not a heavy one.)

Have the bowl of ice water nearby. Dip the fried banana chunks in the melted sugar syrup, a few at a time, coat them thoroughly. Transfer them into the ice water to harden, remove them very quickly so they don't get soggy. This dish doesn't keep at all, and you should serve it right away while the fritters are still warm.

Another recipe I found doesn't add the sesame seed to the sugar, but rather sprinkles them on top afterward. I may try that next time.
kelliem: bread (bread)
( Mar. 22nd, 2006 08:32 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] theamusedone was asking for bread recipes with which to test drive his new KitchenAid mixer, so I'm putting 3 of them behind the cut below. If you have one you'd like to share, feel free to put it in the comments.

Recipes Ho! )
kelliem: icy lakefront sunrise (winter too)
( Dec. 22nd, 2005 10:33 pm)
I can't help it. This time of year makes me want to cook. This time I was talking with [livejournal.com profile] ardent_muses about The Olive Garden, where my favorite thing on the menu is their Zuppa Toscana. Inspired, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home and picked up some ingredients and went home to experiment. This was the result. Not quite the same as TOG's version, but pretty tasty nonetheless.

Kellie's Fake Zuppa Toscana

3 mild Italian-style link sausages
6 'new' Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced thinly (or use new Red potatoes)
2 slices onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 C coarsely chopped green kale
1 C half-and-half
2 C milk
2 small bay leaves
a pinch or two each: nutmeg, black pepper, marjoram and thyme
Salt to taste

Cook the sausages and slice them thinly, set aside. Place the potato slices, onion and garlic in a large pot or dutch oven on the stove, cover with water (barely) and simmer, covered, over medium heat until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart. Add water if needed to keep the potatoes from burning and sticking. Add the sausage, and kale. Steam for a 2-3 minutes. When the kale is limp, add the milk and spices. Stir gently to blend. Turn heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes. Serve hot with good bread (rosemary focaccia, sourdough, cibatta, etc.). (Note that you want to chop the kale bi-directionally so you don't end up with long strings of kale that drip all over when you try to eat them, like I did this time. Next time I'll know better.)
Several people have tagged 'anyone who hasn't taken it' for this meme, and it was interesting so I thought I'd see if I could come up with five quirks, so here goes:

1) I have an irrational fear of finding a dead body in a public bathroom stall, which leads to a moment of trepidation every time I open one. :-) It has also led to a tendency to watch a lot of forensic investigation shows (like The New Detectives) in a vague and equally irrational hope that should I ever actually find a body, I won't be so freaked out.

2) My jewelry has to match. If I have a necklace, I have to have earrings that match it. As a corrollary, if I go out of the house without any jewelry on, I feel naked.

3) I have a terrible time throwing things away. Especially things which were once useful but are no longer, like... worn out clothing, non-functional appliances, cardboard boxes, bubblewrap and other packing material, and zip-lock baggies. Having curbside recycling has helped with some of things, like newspapers and cans, bottles, and plastic containers, but I still find I have a tendency to WASH the empty plastic sour-cream container and put it in the cupboard with my other storage containers, rather than pitching it in recycling bin like I should. I don't have trouble giving away still-functional items to a good home like Goodwill/Salvation Army/VVA, etc., but I just have an awful time actually throwing things out. I blame my mother and her Depression-era housekeeping, which I learned growing up. Never throw away anything that could be useful. Needless to say this is problematic in terms of storage space.

4) I write pornography. (Some people would argue this isn't a quirk, but I think in the eyes of "society" it would be considered one.)

5) I sometimes talk to crows. They're awfully smart birds, and they seem to enjoy conversation. :-)

And then here's that Sex-Role test that's going around. I don't think it's very accurate, because the questions are clearly based on stereotypical archetypes of what is masculine and what is feminine, which are pretty outdated. Still, it was interesting. answer behind the tag. )

Miscellaneous randomness: I don't know what strange alignment of the planets is going on, but twice lately while dining out with [livejournal.com profile] ardent_muses, once in Denver and once in Boulder, we've ended up with waiters who look like Major Lorne from Stargate: Atlantis. (See icon if you don't know who Lorne is.) oooEEEEEooooo! Not that I mind this occurance. It could even keep happening as far as I am concerned. :-)

Finally, [livejournal.com profile] sithdragn asked me for these two recipes, and I thought I'd share. The first is Hot Italian Sausage Dip (aka Heart-Attack in a Crockpot) which is addictive. The folks at my office nearly came after me with pitchforks and torches last year when I didn't bring it in for the annual holiday goodie day. The other is a Quick Fruit & Nut bread (not fruitcake!) that works really well for gift-giving, and office potlucks this time of year. Recipes are behind the second cut. )
Thanksgiving was very pleasant this year, my mother made the turkey and dressing, my brother made the green bean casserole and rolls, my 'adoptive' sister made the mashed potatoes (with real butter and real cream!) and I made pumpkin and pecan pies, and the fresh cranberry-tangerine salad, so no one person got stuck with all the work. No one 'picked on' (aka teased) the kid-unit (an email to the family beforehand took care of that), we avoided talking politics so my Republican brother (the only one in the family) didn't get his knickers in a twist, and my ADD sister-in-law managed not to talk our ears off for a change. All in all it was a very nice day.

Friday I got together with two local friends and our old Wiccan teacher, Marah, whom none of us had seen in about 20 years since she moved away from Colorado to become a professor of Anthropology. I had stumbled across her email address while googling to try and find a copy of an old pagan music tape (Songs for All Seasons by Aradia) that I would love to get a new copy of (sadly, it is not available); and decided to email her. As it turned out, she was going to be in town for the holiday, and we decided it would be nice to get together. We had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants in town (Brasserie 1010) and caught up on all the marriages, births, divorces, and life experiences that had passed under the bridge in the last twenty years and then spent the rest of a glorious fall afternoon walking down Boulder's all-too-chainified pedestrian mall looking for places that had been here when she left, before Boulder got so yuppified. (Is it wrong of me to be slightly gleeful that Abercrombie & Fitch went out of business and was replaced by a local store?) There were a sad few, amongst the newer, less unique stores-- The Boulder Bookstore, Lighthouse Metaphysical Books, and El Loro among them (I found some very cool Inuit holiday cards at the Boulder Bookstore!). Of the newer stores, Lush, which though a chain, still has a bit of that old hippy-dippy Boulder feel to it, and Old Tibet had several things Marah liked. All in all it was a lovely day and I was very glad we got to reconnect.

[livejournal.com profile] sithdragn asked for this recipe the other day, and I thought I'd share. It's really just a standard pecan pie recipe with some booze thrown in, but it never fails to garner compliments.

Bourbon Pecan Pie behind the cut )


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