wombat1138: (Default)
Fused this previously-mentioned recipe with this new one, in an attempt to get more chocolate flavor into the main custard section of the little custard cups.

Result: Tasty, but the texture is much less custard-like and more like a moist cupcake, which makes sense wrt comparison to standard recipes for flourless chocolate tortes. It's probably because of the high volume of cocoa powder bulking it up.

I only made four of them and two are et now, so maybe I'll try reverting back toward the original "chocolate chai custard" recipe but substituting cold-brewed coffee concentrate for the chai. (Yes I am terrible at following directions normally why do you ask :b )

Unnecessarily[*] detailed procedure/notes after cut.

[*: considering that I don't think I'll be making this again in the imemdiate future, but I am awake in the middle of the night and garrulously woozy.]Read more... )
wombat1138: (Simpsonized)
Trader Joe's uncrystallized candied ginger finally reappeared, a bit after I'd bought a huge bag of fresh ginger from Costco to scale up the candying recipe.

Tonight I finally embarked on a multi-step process to deal with all of the fresh ginger, though I'm still not entirely certain what to do with it in the end.

The ginger itself has been peeled, sliced into ~1/4-1/2" slices, and is simmering on the stove until it gets tender. All of the ginger peel scraps are simmering in a neighboring large pot with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and peppercorns to start a new batch of chai concentrate. Once the ginger slices are tender, I'm going to drain them, reserve ~1 cup liquid, and pour the rest of the ginger liquid into the chai concentrate batch. Everything then gets to sit in the refrigerator or at room temperature overnight (there's no sugar involved yet and everything's going to get brought back up to boiling again).

Tomorrow, I'm going to add tea and sugar to the chai concentrate, bring it back to a boil, and then strain it into a pitcher. The semi-depleted chai spices will then go into a large stockpot with several bags of scraps and bones fom the freezer to make stock. (Last week, after I noticed that the wombat-consort had stopped drinking the existing batch of chai concentrate because it had gotten to the fine spice-particulate sediment level at the bottom of the pitcher, I impulsively chucked the sediment into the oxtails I'd just started stewing, since the pho-related seasonings I'd already put in were pretty similar. The result resembles a five-spice mixture with a touch of orange, which is what cardamom strongly resembles to my palate. And the freezer bags already contain all of the oxtail bones from that as well as some assorted roasted pork knuckle bones, so I think it should work out pretty well.)

As for the ginger itself... it seems superfluous to candy it at this point, though OTOH it's a pretty easy process and easy to store afterward. I could try turning it into ginger-lime marmalade, except that would take up room and we'd never eat it all (esp. since the wombat-consort still shies away from bread most of the time). I'll figure something out.

Meanwhile, once the chai concentrate is done, some of it can get funneled into re-making that chai chocolate custard from a while back. Eventually.

And all the poor wombat-consort did tonight was suggest making custard. Custard will appear eventually. But not tonight.
wombat1138: (spot)
For some reason, I've been on a sardine-buying kick for the past few months, but not so much with the sardine-eating since the end of summer. I mean, I'm perfectly happy in hot weather to peel open a can and eat it plain, but cold weather seems to call for something more substantial. I kept thinking about combining them with noodles in some way, but something else still seemed to be needed.

While looking for sardine recipes, I came across some mentions of Alton Brown's sardine'n'avocado sandwich, which seems to be amenable to all sorts of minor ingredient modifications (and incidentlly, is ascribed a major role in his comfortably shedding 50 lbs). I'm not a big fan of avocados, but I figured I'd give it a try. (Recipe tweak below.)

Wow. It's tasty and intense (like a tuna salad turned up to eleven) and very very filling. And reasonably cheap, depending on your ingredient choices/sourcing. One small sandwich, made with a Trader Joe's michelette roll, was quite sufficient for lunch, and there's definitely enough left of the sardine/avocado mix to make another sandwich for dinner. Though on the way back from TJ's, I aslo stopped by Safeway to hit the ATM and they had chicken on sale, so there's also 5 lbs of chicken thighs waiting to be baked for dinner and later application toward pot pie or soup or whatnot. And I've also creamed together enough butter and sugar for the seasonal batch of the wombat-consort's ancestral orange cookies, which I'll finish mixing up after the chicken is baked.

Hmm. Perhaps I should remember to eat breakfast before making food production plans.

Anyway, my modified sardine/avocado stuff follows the cut. Read more... )
wombat1138: (Default)
Bookmark for future reference.

Working notes:

This is an almost suspiciously easy recipe, esp. if the first step is transposed to microwaving a glass measuring cup. I was worried about the non-uniform chocolate dispersal, since it doesn't fully disssolve into the aqueous chai concentrate to begin with, and then solidifies into lots of small granules when added to the milk. The granules also sink to the bottom of the milk mixture and subsequent egg batter, and need to be vigorously stirred/scraped when transferred.

However, when actually baked and cooled, most of the chocolate rises to the top to create a firm dark layer on top, almost like a creme brulee except with a somewhat spongier, more aerated texture. It is tasty.

The actual custard layer has limited residual chocolate content, but I'm thinking of tweaking that by adding some cocoa powder to the first step. At least after we finish this initial batch of six servings-- I made a 1.5x upscaled batch, and also used ~2 oz of unsweetened chocolate instead of 1.5 oz because of the limitations of my kitchen scale.

It's also pleasantly not-too-sweet, at least when made with our homebrew chai concentrate. I've been making the latter with only about half as much sugar compared to commercial chai syrups, at least in proportion to the quantities of tea and spices-- conversely, I've been using less water to end up with a more concentrated concentrate in the interest of minimizing the fridge storage footprint.
wombat1138: (Default)
Contemplating another ASOIAF re-read on the Kindle before book 5 finally comes out in July. I bought the e-book bundle of 1-4 earlier this year and read them all, but mainly for a basic memory refresher. Another re-read might be better at picking up various hints and foreshadowings. I must say that reading the series on the Kindle is vastly superior to paper books, since it enables an instant text search on the names of extremely minor characters who previous fleeting mention was 200 pages ago.

Also contemplating the HBO official recipe for Sansa's lemon cakes. Based on pix, they're basically sponge custards as described in the 1975 edition of The Joy of Cooking, whose recipe I might follow instead since I don't want the bother of buying buttermilk. It also gives alternate directions for a single large structure-- instead of 45 minutes in a water bath for 4 3.5" ramekins, it's 1 hour for the entire batch in a 7" diameter dish-- and notes that the spongy texture can be modified to a more meringue-like one by incorporating the sugar in a different way: instead of creaming it into the butter, fold it into the beaten egg whites before combining into the the yolk-based batter.

I see that the HBO recipe doesn't even have butter WTF. Probably a casualty of the "fat-free" craze.


Dec. 27th, 2009 05:26 pm
wombat1138: (marker sketch)
The wombatcave's usual nominal festivities:

1.) Bake cookies.
2.) Eat them.

Interestingly, the wombat-consort's ancestral orange cookies[*] seem to be relatively obscure in most of the US. I don't know where the recipe originally came from, but he grew up in Western Pennsylvania and there are multiple variants in Pittsburgh-local cookbooks. This one was his granny's, from the stash of handwritten index cards in his mom's kitchen. They look very similar to the ones shown here; some of the reviews there would probably also apply to these.

[*: The term "orange cookie" is somewhat misleading for this recipe, in that the dough a.) actually produces soft cakelets instead of the more typical crispy/crunchy cookie texture, and b.) (in the wombat-consort's recipe) does not actually contain any orange-type components. The cakelets are fairly bland by themselves, but they provide a great platform for the zingy orange frosting. They need to be assembled at least several hours in advance of serving, but will store for at least a week if they survive uneaten for that long.]Read more... )

pot roast

Dec. 3rd, 2009 01:29 pm
wombat1138: (Default)
By the time we got back from our Thanksgiving visits, the local supermarket was out of deep-discount turkeys (except for one 16+ pound specimen that definitely seemed like Too Much Turkey), but they had boneless chunks of roast for a fairly good price (<$2/lb). Bought one of them and a large onion, then started rummaging around in the fridge/pantry to see what we still had left in there.Read more... )


Sep. 20th, 2009 07:24 pm
wombat1138: (marker sketch)
After remembering that we had a partially-used bag of Trader Joe's almond meal in our pantry and some bags of poppy seeds in our freezer (from the former walk-in sales days of a local gourmet food wholesaler that [livejournal.com profile] travelingtiger pointed us to), I wondered if I could find a recipe that could use both ingredients. Answer: Yum.Read more... )
wombat1138: (Default)
Nasty hot weather again lately (upper 90s today) -> lots of cold tea-based beverages.

Warning for delicate palates-- I rather like the maligned taste of "stewed" tea because the frequent alternative is anemic "tea" that's only been steeped long enough to give the hot water some color without any flavor. When making a single cup of tea with a teabag, I leave it in until the cup is dry; I used to finish by putting the teabag into my mouth to slurp out any residual tea, with the tag string hanging out like the tail of a little mousie.

Obviously these recipes could be made with shorter steep times, though.Read more... )


Aug. 3rd, 2009 06:05 pm
wombat1138: (Default)
Excavated a bag of dried cherries from the cupboard a few weeks ago; the sugars seemed to've crystallized, so I dumped them into an airtight container with some brandy for partial rehydration while figuring out what to do with them.

Found an excellent cake recipe to use them in, though they may've been somewhat more cherries than the recipe actually calls for (and I used ordinary brandy instead of the clear raspberry brandy suggested). The result is certainly tasty, although I'm sure the quality mostly depends on what sort of chocolate you use. Another bonus is easy cleanup-- one small saucepan for simmering the dried cherries with brandy, one large mixing bowl for pretty much everything else (and a pot of water to put under it, for melting the chocolate and butter at the start), one cake pan, one whisk, and one spatula.
wombat1138: (Default)
Having been regularly snarfing down a variety of anpan with a green tea-flavored filling, I decided to try making a small trial batch of matcha bean paste, starting with soaking 1/2 cup of small white dried lima beans in water overnight.

For actually cooking them, a slow stovetop simmer didn't work out for me; eventually dumped them into my mini-crockpot to continue a low simmer until morning. By that time, there was a hint of caramelized browning in the cooking liquid, but I don't think it had any major side effects on the beans themselves, since I fished out the beans with a small skimmer-sieve. Draining them would've also worked, but I wanted to hang onto the cooking liquid in case it might be needed. (It wasn't.)Read more... )
wombat1138: (Default)
The wombat-consort has been home sick all week-- nothing serious, just a low-level debilitating flu-like thing. As a semi-consequence, I decided to try making pho at home according to this recipe, since beef back ribs were on sale at Safeway and I was getting bored with chicken soup.Read more... )

Overall, it's hard to say whether the recipe was worthwhile-- yes, the result is very nice, but the time/ingredients just aren't very cost-effective if you have several local places to just walk in and get a big bowl of pho for less than $10. OTOH, I do like having LOTS of this broth to play with.

And as a random note, I believe that this comment from a Cassie Edwards defender is one of the finest examples I've ever seen of Not Getting It. "Ms. Edwards writes about Nature in a very beautiful way", egads.

whey to go

Apr. 17th, 2008 07:52 pm
wombat1138: (Default)
Wow. Making fresh paneer is dead easy-- if [livejournal.com profile] eeedge recalls my instant science demo back in 4th grade or so, where I dramatically coagulated the proteins out of milk by adding some blue vinegar, it was pretty much like that, except on a larger scale and less blue.

Of course, now I have over a gallon of whey to deal with. Yeek. Supposedly it makes very tasty lemonade, so I might try that with a quart or two-- it already has a pleasant, subtle sweet/tart taste on its own-- while considering other recipes to recycle the rest into. Soup seems impractical as an immediate solution, given that I'm about to make nearly six pounds of butter chicken which'll probably be enough leftovers to last into next week, unless the wombat-consort eats truly heroic quantities. The next step in the butter chicken recipe is going to strip all the bones out of there... maybe I can just chuck the bones directly into the whey to make a fresh pot of stock?

miso horny

Oct. 22nd, 2007 08:17 pm
wombat1138: (Default)
While out shopping to replenish my miso supply (various types of instant miso soup, as well as a plain tub o' miso; still have plenty of instant dashi granules to go with the latter), I saw some koji on the fridge shelf-- rice that's been pre-inoculated with the proper fermentation thingies for making miso from scratch-- and snapped it up to take home and read the directions. I figured I'd have to buy soybeans, but wasn't sure how many; looks like I'll need about a pound, as well as a ~1-gallon wide-mouthed container that can be closed off in a non-airtight manner. Glass sounds ideal, in terms of being able see what's going on in there without disrupting the process.

Depending on which miso procedure I try-- red miso has a higher soybean-to-koji ratio, but takes longer; I don't think there's enough koji in this container to scale up the white miso ingredients in the way they suggest-- I may have some koji left over; otoh, they also provide directions for making amazake, a rice-based beverage that only needs to ferment overnight, just long enough to break down most of the starch into simple sugars without producing much ethanol. The main hurdle there will probably be figuring out how to sustain the proper incubation temperature; a thermos would probably work, but it would have to be a BIG thermos. I don't think a gas stove's pilot light would be warm enough, and our stove is electric anyway.
wombat1138: (marker sketch)
...so for a while, I've been saving the scooped-out seeds from cantaloupes for the eventual purpose of trying to make them into horchata. To get dried out really well, they need to be washed free of all the little stringy bits of melon pulp from the middle, but recently it occurred to me that there should still be a fair amount of melony goodness still in there.Read more... )
wombat1138: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] jennifer3dtd brought over some yummy heirloom-tomato salsa from her local farmers' market last weekend, toward the end of her trip. It lasted for two days before we ended up forlornly licking the empty container :)Read more... )

the pits

May. 16th, 2007 11:32 am
wombat1138: (Default)
A connection I hadn't made before:

In the RK OVA, the morning after Kenshin first meets Tomoe and brings her back to the inn, Iizuka teases him about her while eating an umeboshi. Kenshin gets up and leaves, with a cold intensity that freezes the room (a much more subtle response than in the original manga, where Kenshin get overtly angry and makes Iizuka panic). Recovering, Iizuka calls after him, "Hey, you made me swallow the [umeboshi] pit!"Read more... )


May. 3rd, 2007 11:28 am
wombat1138: (marker sketch)
About to head out on vacation for a week or so, requiring a purge of perishable food. One item was an entire package of lavash flatbreads from Trader Joe's that had been sitting around for several days but hadn't even opened yet. By experience, TJ's preservative-free baked goods are fiendishly vulnerable to molding within a very short time; these were still okay, but there wasn't much chance I'd eat them all before we leave. So I made them into snack chips.Read more... )
wombat1138: (Default)
I am totally carbing out again today. Argh. Stupid PMS or whatever.

Meanwhile, earlier in the week, I read a description of one of the Clintons' favorite family desserts which horrified the White House chef but he made it for them all the same; based on the details mentioned, it must be some variation of a recipe with the improbable name of "Coca Cola Salad".Read more... )

Addendum (btw, what does the apparently synonymous acronym ETA stand for?): as fate would have it, when I first made this post, I had not yet seen the recipe for maple-glazed bacon in yesterday's paper. It's the last recipe in that article, just before the author's blurb which notes in part that one of her books is Fast & Festive Meals for the Jewish Holidays.

tea cakes

Oct. 27th, 2006 06:22 pm
wombat1138: (Default)
I have a vague memory of reading that during the first century or two of tea's introduction to the West, it wasn't unknown for people to take steeped-out tea leaves and eat them like any other boiled vegetable, seasoned with salt and butter. (Apparently fresh tea leaves were sometimes consumed as a vegetable back in China, so the categorization wasn't completely without precedent.)

This morning, I decided to make some green-tea concentrate; I couldn't get the pantry to cough up the spices I'd had in mind for green tea chai, so limited the extra flavor agents to a few lightly pestled pods of black cardamom and rather a lot of rose-flavored raisins which I hadn't been able to think of much else to do with. Afterward, I had a strainer full of the usual dead tea leaves and less usual bloated raisins, and remembered the above anecdote. Hmmm, I thought. I may not want to eat tea leaves straight, but at the least they've got to have some useful digestive fiber.Read more... )


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