daidoji_gisei: (Cooking)
Yesterday when I came home from work I noticed that my mustard greens had grown enough to allow a second harvest, so I decided to make the greens with cornmeal recipe that [personal profile] yhlee had introduced me to some time ago. I bought some cornmeal at work (mmmmmmm...polenta grind cornmeal), came home, and realized that with as much bread as I had in the house, making a grain-heavy dish for dinner was not the brightest thing in the world. So I put the cornmeal aside and started thinking.

What popped into my mind first was that Bittman's greens cookbook has a recipe for curried greens of some sort that had always sounded good, and I had onions and a new kind of curry powder I'm making friends with, and this was starting to sound like a plan. I could have gotten the relevant cookbook out at this point, but I'm not really that kind of a person. I've made curries, I've cooked greens; having given me the idea the cookbook had done its job and could put its feet up and relax.

I put one of my big Visions pots on the stove (some days you just need a pot you can see through), added 2 tablespoons of oil and started it heating over a low flame. Then I chopped a really big onion into chunks (I think it must have been 2 or 3 cups), added them to the pot, put the lit on, and let them sweat/braise until they were soft and almost starting to brown. Meanwhile I chopped the mustard I had picked (it was already washed; I'd done that as soon as I had brought it in from picking) and when I was done I had about 12 cups. This was slightly depressing, because I knew from experience that this would end up as an absurdly small amount of greens once it was cooked.

Anyway. My new brand of curry powder was one I picked up in a Middle Eastern grocery I had visited for the first time last week. It comes in a green metal tin with a ship on the front and it proudly proclaims itself as being "Arabia's best selling curry powder". Really, how could I resist it? And truthfully I am liking it so far; it seems to be better balanced than the kind we sell at the store. The onions being soft and almost-brown I added a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of the curry powder, stirred it up, and let it cook a bit in onion mess before adding the greens. Then I put the lid on and waited for the steam to start cooking them. After about 10 minutes they had begun to shrink, so I stirred them up a bit, distributing well the leaf-clumps that hadn't started to wilt yet, and then put the lid back on. In another 10 minutes they and all cooked down nicely, so snagged a bit with a clean fork and tasted. It was a little too sweet (hello, onions!) and not quite spicy enough, so I added another quarter-teaspoon of salt and another teaspoon of curry powder. Then I let it all cook a bit longer until it looked "enough".

I dished some out for my dinner and it was wonderful. It was just how I like my veggie curries, with the spice zinging up the flavor without masking the taste of the greens--odd as it sounds, I like the flavor of mustard greens and I want to be able to taste them. I could have eaten the whole pot, but I restrained myself--while cooking I had this great idea of, when reheating the leftovers, poaching a few eggs in the brothy greens and having an almost-instant dinner. I can't deal with poached eggs straight up, but a few years ago I discovered I liked cooking (and eating) them in something saucy.

In conclusion, I will be making this again.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
I regret to inform you that Porcupine Balls do not contain actual porcupines. Sorry.

What it does have is a quantity of rice and hamburger mixed together and shaped into meatballs which are then cooked in a tomatoish sauce (more on that later) so that the rice pokes out like porcupine quills. Seeing this requires a certain amount of imagination, but your reward is being able to eat something called "porcupine balls" which is, as any seven-year-old could tell you, highly entertaining.

It's also very, very good. It was one of my favorite dishes when I was a child, but until today I had never made it for myself. I have a recipe card in my box with my mom's recipe, written out in her beautiful old-fashioned cursive handwriting, and over the years when sorting through the box I have pulled out the recipe, thought 'oh, that sounds so good', and put the recipe back.

The problem was the rice. My mom always made it with Minute Rice, a product I abandoned without a backward glance over 20 years ago after discovering the real thing. I wasn't going to buy Minute Rice just for one recipe, and I didn't think that the recipe would work with real rice.

Enter the Internet. Or more exactly, Google. I was lying around my apartment on Friday (sick at home due to sinuses, *sigh*) when it occurred to me that someone else might have figured out how to make it with real rice, and if so they might have posted the discovery online. To my surprise, it turns out that Porcupine Meatballs (its more formal name) is a very old recipe (one source credits it to the 1901 Settlement House Cookbook), and it was originally made with real rice. Well, knock me over with a minced onion. I put a pound of hamburger in the fridge to thaw out and went off rejoicing.

The lesser issue with the recipe is that Mom used condensed tomato soup in the cooking liquid. This is something I never have in the house because 1) I am not a soup-eater and 2) commercial canned soups have heart-stopping amounts of sodium in them. I used a can of tomato sauce mixed with water and it worked great. I had come up with a number of ideas on how to thicken the sauce, but in the event it wasn't necessary--I'm guessing that the cooking rice gave off enough starches to give it the sauce some body.

So, I made them for dinner tonight and they were just as yummy as I remembered them so I think I'll be having them on a regular basis. One of the versions I found via google used allspice in the meatball mixture, and I mean to try that someday. But I don't think they need a lot of seasoning; their glory lies in the potent combination of beef and tomato. Sometimes simple is the best way to go.

Another addition to my electronic recipe box )
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
I realized yesterday that my cookbooks and such are about to be packed away for an indeterminate amount of time, so that I needed to get this posted.

As some of my readers know, the bakery I manage makes a really good chocolate cake, and if you have been to certain L5R tournaments you might even have tasted it. (L5R is quite possibly the only CCG in the world that would sponsor a baking contest. Yet another reason to love this game!) I have been asked for the recipe multiple times, but our store has a policy against giving out recipes and I have abided by it. (One cannot expect to enforce policy if one is not willing to bound by it.)

However.

Cake recipes fall into families, and so any given cake will have multiple versions. Thus, when I came across the recipe for Easy Chocolate Cake in the Favorite Recipes of the Nebraska Czechs cookbook, a cake whose ingredient list was word-for-word our cake recipe, I realized that our store policy didn't say anything about other people's recipes for similar cakes. I baked up the Easy Chocolate Cake to make sure it worked, and after tasting it I decided that it was ok, but it could be better. Thus, I spent the summer testing out variations on the Czech model until I got one I liked. This is not identical to the one we bake, but it is pretty darned good. And here it is. )
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
This past year I took some tea liqueurs to Bob Yager's post-Kotei party, and as with the previous years they were well-recieved. I got a number of requests for recipies, so I'm putting it here. Read more... )
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
This recipe is my variation of the Chicken Adobo recipe in Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook. This is one of my favorite cookbooks ever, as it gathers together recipes from all over the world. Not just any recipes: recipes for ordinary foods that ordinary people eat, not the haut cuisine of a culture. Yummy! I have given away several copies of it as gifts, and if you have any interest in cooking I recommend it highly.
The ingredients may look strange, but I promise you the end result is spectacular. I served it once to Karin and Ami (who are themselves great cooks) and Karin proclaimed it to be "the way God intended chicken to be cooked". I'm not sure that I'd go that far (I love me some good fried chicken), but it is tasty and mindlessly simple to make.
On to the recipe )
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
Thus far, I have been unable to identify the eagle? I saw last week. I am somewhat frustrated by this--if it had been a plant, I'd have had it ID'd six ways from Sunday by now. But birds? I can distinguish a red-winged blackbird from a grackle, but all smallish brown birds are "sparrows", unless I'm in the mood to call them "wrens". But if you need someone who can tell you what is yellow sorrel and what is black nightshade, I am your woman. (Happily, the two look nothing alike because the first is edible and the second is very much not.)

And while on the topic of edible things, I am posting my Ancestral Banana Bread Recipe. This is another of my Grandmother's recipes via my mom, and like the Ancestral Pumpkin Pie it is really good. I find it less heavy than most of the other ones I've sampled at other people's houses. Read more... )
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
Today's production at work: 200-something dinner rolls (each cut and shaped by hand), 24 loaves of pumpkin cranberry bread (16 small, 8 large), 2 pumpkin pies, 2 maple walnut pies, 11 pie shells. That's my personal output: I had a bakery assistant working today but I put her in charge of the bakery's non-holiday stuff. Tomorrow's production will be bigger--about double the amount of dinner rolls, to start with--but I'll have my assistant manager to help.


In the meantime, I thought I'd post my Ancestral Pumpkin Pie Recipe. This recipe came to me from my mother, who got it from her mother, who got it from her sister (my great-aunt Florance). It is possibly the best pumpkin pie in the world, a statement I make only because of the number of people who have abandoned their own family recipes and started making mine. Warning: Do not take this pumpkin pie to a family gathering unless you are comfortable with being declared "The Person Who Will Bring Pumpkin Pie To Thanksgiving For All Time". I'm not kidding--it happened to a co-worker of mine. Click here for recipe and notes )

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