Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Vegetables and Fruits that Grow In Shade


Food Storage

So, after searching for a chart that I once had (it's of course missing), I know that my 3-gallon buckets will hold 48 cups of food, approximately 18 lbs. of any one item. It obviously varies. Also, apparently a year's supply of food for ONE person is 25 gallons of beans, rice, flour, etc. That is kinda crazy when you think about it. I can't imagine the storage for that much food! The question is: do I start hoarding now, and hiding it in my closet, or do I wait until we move and have proper storage?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

So, R, here is my interpretation of chicken pot pie. I'll post it how I made it, with how I SHOULD'VE at the bottom.

Ingredients (as I used them):
-- chicken (either leftover roast, or chicken breasts)
-- 1# puff pastry
-- butter
-- olive oil
-- flour
-- onion
-- carrot
-- celery
-- potato
-- beet
-- parsnip
-- chicken stock
-- milk
-- spices (I used salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, oregano, and bay)

If your chicken is not leftover from a roast, chop your chicken breasts into chunks and fry them in olive oil, with some pepper and rosemary. After they cooked completely, I chopped them further (with the spatula) into 1 cm squares (approx.).

Before I went any further, after preheating to 375F, I draped one of the pieces of puff pastry in the bottom of my casserole dish (8"x12"), peppered the bottom with fork holes, and popped it in the oven to get lightly golden and puffy. After it came out, I deflated much of it with the same fork.

Pretty toasted puff pastry shell.

While the puff pastry shell was in the oven, I chopped all of my vegetables into a fine dice. All total, I used one beet, one potato, one parsnip, two celery stalks and two carrots. I considered adding some squash, but decided I was too lazy. I also chopped the onion at this time.

All my chopped veggies.

I melted 3-4 Tbs. of butter in the same pan that I fried my chicken in, and added a handful or two of flour.* Mixed together well, and let cook until a little until lightly golden. I then added the onion, and some more olive oil to let the onion cook down a touch.

Butter, flour and onions.

After cooking for a bit, I threw in the rest of the vegetables, the spices, a few cups of chicken stock, and a splash of milk (while the stock was still cold). I let this cook down a bit, until the carrots were just a little chewy. I also added some more flour as it wasn't thickening as much as I'd like ('cause I'd burned the roux in this method).

Oh beets, why must you turn things pink?

After everything cooked down as much as I wanted, I threw in the chicken, gave it a good mix, and then poured it into the puff pastry shell. Note, I also removed the bay leaf, as I didn't want a surprise when eating.

Tossing the chicken in.

I covered it with the remaining piece of puff pastry, trimming as necessary to get it to fit properly, and put it in the oven at 375F until it was done (approx. 20 mins.). Also, I added some vents in the crust with a knife.

In the oven (with a drip pan beneath it).

It then cooled on a rack to settle for about 10 minutes before eating.

All crispy and done!

Verdict? Delicious. Could use more spices, but that's how I cook in general.

Lookit how it begs me to eat it!

*= I should have cooked the onions in the butter first, then added the flour. And immediately after the flour was toasted, added in the stock THEN followed by the rest of the veggies. But it still tasted good.

Recipes to Save

Pot Pie #1
Pot Pie #2
Pot Pie #3
Pot Pie #4
Pumpkin Apple Bread Pudding
Banana Bread Pudding
Steak with Fondue
Bacon, Onion, Cheddar Biscuits
Make Ahead Muffin Melts
Black Ginger Blondies <--- I should make these for my coworkers at LUSH for Christmas! yay for vegan food blogs!
Irish Cream liqueur
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spicy Caramel Apple sauce and Vanilla Creme Anglaise

Friday, November 26, 2010


I have all of the ingredients for pot pie. It shall be made SOON. As in, no later than this weekend. :-P


Well R, I intending on making pot pie yesterday. However, I didn't really have any veggies to go into it. So after sleeping until 4pm (it's my only day off in a month), we get our shit together to go to the grocery store. Only to find it closed. And the next one. And the next one. Why isn't there a single goddamned grocery store that's OPEN on Thanksgiving? The high holy day of food?

So yeah, we went out for Indian.

Who knows when this damn thing is getting made.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Update on Tablecloth

Hey guys, check it out! The main part of the tablecloth is done!

Here's a close-up of the main detail.

And a close-up of the end. I still need to tuck ends of thread, wash, block and possibly starch the damn thing, but for the most part, this is done. It got completed Sunday while I was at work. I initially then thought 'oh no, now I have no project to work on!' but then I remembered the 30' of lace edging for the table cloth that I could work on. :-P

So, now I've chained 30', and am going back and double crocheting (to give me a good base to attach to the fabric). I've completed about 5-6' of that so far. And then on to the pattern.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Making More Toasted Seeds

Remember when I made pumpkin seeds using this method? Well, the time has come yet again. I had the seeds from this pumpkin and the seeds from this squash just hanging out in my fridge, and I don't want them there any longer! I want to be able to eat them!

Look at how many cute little seeds I have! They're just BEGGING to be used!

After boiling, and then popping them in the oven, I hopped in the shower. Upon getting out of the shower, I kept hearing this POP from the kitchen. Some of my seeds were hopping out of the pan! As they'd be roasting for 12 mins, I decided that was good enough, and took them out to cool (eating the 5 that had leaped to their deaths).

I cannot wait to devour them!

Recipes to keep track of

Since I have nothing better to do than drool over cooking blogs, here are some things that are cluttering up my browser.

Fried Plantains with Coconut Caramel Sauce
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts, which is remarkably similar to...
Bacon Sprouts
Taiwanese Pork (Lo Ba)
Roast Banana Pumpkin Breakfast Bread
Hachis Parmentier (similar to Shepherd's Pie)

And to top it all off, Tasty Kitchen and Pioneer Woman are having Pie Week! What's a girl who's not celebrating Thanksgiving to do?!

Pumpkin Curry

So, R, as promised, here is the post on Indian food!

We had had a pumpkin at work. I drew a cute face on him, and had a sign next to him that said "Ask me about pumpkin ice cream!" Well, a couple of days ago, I noticed that he was falling in on himself at the top. (I had previously noted that the stem was turning purple with mold :-\) So, at the recommendation of a coworker who clearly thinks faster than I, I chopped the pumpkin in half, and cubed the usable parts of him. This sat in my fridge for a few days.

Last night, I was to have a cards night, and I had every intention of cooking that pumpkin. But cards night got cancelled (Mister and I have had a few late nights in a row, and weren't up to hosting), and I made pumpkin curry for a comfy night in.

olive oil
coconut milk
chicken stock

The pumpkin was already cubed, so I just cut off the rind. While I had the knife out, I also chopped a red onion, and a shallot. Heating olive oil in a large frying pan, when it was hot, I threw in the onion and cooked until the onions were translucent. At that point, I threw in the pumpkin. I fried the pumpkin for probably close to 20 mins, turning regularly with a spatula. Some of the pieces got the most beautiful caramelizing on them.

When the pumpkin was fried to my liking, I poured in the contents of a can of light coconut milk, probably 3 c. of chicken stock, the shallots, chopped carrots and parsnips, and my spices. I used two bay leaves, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper. I let this reach a boil, then let simmer (with a lid) until the veggies were cooked through -- perhaps an hour and a half (I took a nap and let Mister handle it from there :-P).

When the veggies were the proper consistency, I made a pot of rice, and we served the curry over rice. It was very tasty.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cooking for Tonight

Mister has invited a coworker back to our place for dinner and cards tonight. We have the Beekeeper's Cabbage that I made yesterday, some kielbasa that we picked up last night (FYI? we need a new source of kielbasa -- this will be the last that I buy from the grocery store... MSG...), and then what to have as another side? The beekeeper's cabbage would be enough for two, but probably not for three. So I poked around my fridge, and we also have green beans leftover from my stirfry, leeks from the farmer's market, potatoes, eggs, lots of options...

After checking in at Heidi Swanson's site, I think that I've decided upon Vibrant Green Beans as my second side. It uses the leeks, uses the beans, and I'll use a spice other than dill (as I apparently don't care for it).

Also, would love to try this recipe for delicata squash, as I have a couple of those around, and am interested in fun and exciting ways to cook them!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hollandaise Sauce

The Hollandaise that was poured over Asparagus was thrown together by me, under N's tutelage.

We started with two eggs beaten really well. We used a small whisk, in the pan that we were to cook the sauce in. While whisking, some mayonnaise was added (although no recipes call for it, mayo already has an emulsifier, and the sauce will not curdle. Thanks N!). We also added some lime juice. We added a stick of melted butter, whisking all the while, a little at a time. We then left it for a bit, while tending to the rest of the meal.

5 mins before needing the sauce, we got a pot of water boiling, and put our little pot of sauce INSIDE the pot of water, and whisked. The sauce was beaten continuously until thickened. When thickened, it was taken off heat, and poured over the asparagus.

This was amazing. It was easier than I imagined it being, and I will definately be making this again.

Mushroom Gravy

The mushroom gravy that we poured over our steak on Saturday, Mister made under N (his uncle's SO)'s tutelage. It started with a dark roux.

Melt butter in a saucepan, and throw in some flour. Mix it together well, and turning the heat up, toast the flour. You'll want it fairly dark (almost coffee colored), and when the butter no longer melds with the flour, that's where you want it. Turn the heat down a bit, and add more flour and more butter if necessary. You'll need it to be a sauce again. Mixing it on the heat, add a little bit of water. You can now set it on the back burner to do what you need with the rest of your meal.

Note: this is the basic part -- we also thought that this gravy would make an amazing stroganoff -- we shall find out soon!

At this point, we also added sliced baby bellas and a generous amount of cabernet. Later on, when we wanted to actually eat this sauce, we added cream to the consistency that we wanted, and spices. Salt, pepper, and a "Moroccan Spice Blend" that clearly had turmeric, cumin, and paprika. It was at this point that we took it off the heat, and put it in a gravy boat.

Folks, this was the tastiest gravy I've ever had, and I don't eat mushrooms OR gravy. MAKE THIS GRAVY TODAY.

Lots of Cooking

So on Thursday (initially intended for Wednesday night) I made a stir-fry. It's been SO LONG since I've made one, that people who've only had my cooking within the past 6 months or so don't honestly know that a stir-fry used to be my standby (it's apparently now baked pasta :-P). Very tasty, in case you were wondering!

Friday night, Mister and I went out for Tex-Mex, as we had to go shopping, and neither of us had eaten much that day.

Saturday night, Mister and I went to his uncle's house for dinner. More specifically, his uncle's SO was to show us how to make sauces. We wound up making: Root Vegetable turnovers (beet, parsnip, puff pastry), Tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce (see post), Diced Potatoes with Herbs, Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce (see post), and Individual Apple Crisps with Vanilla Sauce (didn't get recipe... :-\). It was an amazing meal, and all involved agreed that it needs to happen again soon.

And now, as I write, I have Beekeeper's Cabbage in the oven. The cabbage, the parsnips, and the apple NEEDED to get cooked a.s.a.p., and I kept meaning to get around to it... so while I while away the time before work, I figured I'd pop it in the oven. My modifications to the recipe are: set to 325F instead of 300F (I need to cook it faster :-P), it's half of a decent sized green onion, not red, it's 3-4 small parsnips, probably closer to 2 Tbs. of honey, and the vinegar that I have is apple cider vinegar, that had had shallots in it at one point. Also, phooey on the parchment paper and close-fitting lid -- I just buttered a cookie sheet, and laid it on top.

So all in all, it might turn out disastrous! But I'd rather cook and have it flop, than throw out food that I never touched.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Also a recipe!

I made this squash recipe the other day, only I used Carnival Squash. Absolutely fabulous. It is my new favorite squash. Also, they're small and cute, and cut in half is a perfect meal for Mister and me.


I was upset to find that, when nearing my farmer's market, most of the stalls were all packed up and gone! Apparently, due to Daylight Savings, the people running the market decided that they would close an hour earlier from now on. So instead of 12-6, it would be 12-5. For me, a person who worked 11-5 today, that is evil and horrible. They did not mention this in their email newsletter, and I am seriously bothered by the high-handedness of assuming that people would not be out at their normal times.

Luckily, my favorite stall was still selling some stuff, and one stall had a table of free veggies -- they were to be donated, and the pickup never showed. Yay! So I have a peck of apples, 4 squash, and for free: 4 leeks, bok choy, and a head of lettuce. I could have grabbed more, but I know that we don't eat that much of lettuce! Perhaps this is a good excuse to start...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Note to self...

Dried banana chips are NOT good in oatmeal. They lose all flavor and merely become mealy. Ick.

Bad Habits

I am an incredibly lazy person. However, this is what leads to the current Western lifestyle. Why dry your clothes on the line, when you can just pop it in the dryer? Why wash your clothes by hand when you can pop it in the washer? Why wash your dishes? Why cook your food? Why clean your house?

It is all of these questions and more that I strive to answer with an enthusiastic 'because I want to!' However, some of it is hard-coming. I'm also quick with the blame. Those dishes? Oh it's Mister's turn. Oh it's because our kitchen is so small. Oh it's because there's next to no storage.

It's this laziness that leads me to mix coffee (yesterday), hot chocolate (today) and oatmeal (today) with a knife -- because it was out to cut coffee cake! Now, Mister is a stickler for some forms of "proper" behavior -- he'd not have let me stir his coffee with a knife - which is why I didn't let him see it. The discrepancies between us are now so well-known that when I am prepping food, Mister will immediately ask if it's a clean knife. (Did I wash it? No... but it only cut a potato yesterday!) Luckily for the both of us, we don't use meat often, as one has to be much more careful with raw meat.

How am I finding ways to combat this prevalent laziness? By trying to care. Do I care about having a clean kitchen space to make food? Do I care about having a clean living room for guests? Where do I currently stop caring? And that's where I'll draw the line. Currently, it's laundry. It's everywhere. I can blame that on several things, or I can just say that I'm lazy. (Or that I'm becoming afraid of the dogs -- they've upped their percentage of attack from 0% to about 80% -- and I have to go in the backyard to get to the laundry.)

But, I work on finding ways to overcome laziness. Tonight, I tackle the kitchen!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pumpkin Seeds

Making some pumpkin seeds a la this method. I'll post a pic of the finished product.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tablecloth Update

Remember this? Check it out!

I have 14 out of 15 motifs completed! I will finish this last one, connect them all, wash it, and attach it to the fabric that I have yet to buy... (good thing I have a friend who works at a fabric store!) All that remains after THAT is to do the lace edging along the fabric's edge.

I am so close to done!


So, I have several projects lined up for the holidays. One, I have to finish the tablecloth for Sharon (and I'm almost done with the crochet work -- aside from the edging). Two, I am making steampunk clothing for my mum and sis for Christmas (we're going to a Con in February). That's probably at least two corsets, a skirt, some ruffled petticoats and maybe a jacket-y thing or two. Three, I would like to make two scarves for Mister's female relatives. One fuzzy, warm, and mobius (probably knitted), and the other delicate and lacy (crocheted of course!).

So a quick search on Ravelry and I found the most beautiful crocheted lace pattern.

Isn't it gorgeous? However, the girl is charging $7 for that lovely pattern. Are you crazy? Asking for money for a pattern on the internet is highly silly IMO. Also, she gave an up-close picture. I now know how to make it. :-D

Here's how I figure: it's obvious a bunch of motifs which are attached together at the end. So, for each motif, start at that grid -- that's a double crochet separated by 2 chain grid. After making the grid, you start going around the edges with a single crochet. When you get to the center of a side, you chain about... let's say 8 or so. You then go back around your little chain with single crochets, adding little picots and finish single crocheting the side of the grid. After having completed all four sides with picots, you start on the next round out. Easiest way to do that one is to go twice around -- once with all of the chains connecting to picots, the next with the single crochets over the chains with additional picots. Et voila, one motif! To connect them all, is more chains connecting picots, with a second time around of single crochets and additional picots. I AM GOING TO MAKE THIS.

[Note: it looks like there are TWO connecting rounds -- what I thought was the last motif round is actually connected on the North and South to other motifs...]

That is what I love about crochet -- I know it well enough that just staring at the picture I can figure it out.

Cabbage remains

As I used half of a GLORIOUS cabbage yesterday (I love those guys -- I am buying all of my cabbage from them!), I needed to figure out what I'm doing with the remainder. I think I'll cook Beekeeper's Cabbage as it looks tasty, and I have all of the ingredients that are begging to be used!

The question is what to cook for food tonight, since I'll be at work until close, but then having friends over. I make baked pasta a lot, so I'd rather avoid that. I also need to cook squash this week, and Thursday was a good day last year...

Man, I wish my crockpot wasn't in storage atm...

Also, some random recipes to save:
Pounded Walnut Pesto
Giant Chipotle White Beans
Bean Mole with Winter Squash <-- definately doing this next week! We have a bottle of mole that's been sitting here for as long as Mister and I have been together.


'Tis a happy soup season. I love soup, and I love making soup. The funny thing is, that even though I tried to make a light, thin soup, it still came out thick on me!

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
a big pinch of salt
1/2 pound potatoes, skin on, cut 1/4-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cups stock
1 1/2 cups white beans, precooked or canned (drained & rinsed well)
1/2 medium cabbage, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch ribbons

more good-quality extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Soak beans overnight. Drain, and cook at a simmer for 1.5 hours.

Actually start by weighing potatoes. Realize that 1/2# potatoes is ONE potato, grab another, and a little shrivled redskin potato as well. Chop. Dice onion, and 4.5 cloves of garlic (one little one had so many bad spots...).

Heat olive oil in a frying pan, and start frying potatoes. When they start to get a little color, throw in the onions and garlic and cook until they become aromatic and NOT burned. If you have too many potatoes for your pan (*cough), please do it in batches, and do 1/2 of the onions/garlic in each batch. When potatoes/onion/garlic is cooked, toss it in a pot.

Add the beans that you had been previously soaking (after draining them), without bothering to measure.

Add the carton of stock (~4 cups of chicken stock) and 2 cups of water. Yes, I added more liquid. Also throw in salt, pepper, bay leaf, cumin and paprika. Cook until the stock is fully heated.

Add the sliced cabbage to the soup and despair that your pot is rather small. Cook the cabbage until soft.

Serve with bread, and topped with grated romano and fried onions.

Is that not the most beautiful food picture I've ever taken?

Verdict? Absolutely delicious. And we have yet to have the anticipated problems arising from beans + cabbage... :-P Also, would probably taste delicious with the potatoes fried in bacon fat. But then again, most things taste better with bacon.

N.B. -- after looking at the original recipe again, I realized that she DICED her potato, not sliced into 1/4" pieces... that's how she can get away with only one potato.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Food/Meal Design

So as winter is coming on, I'm buying squashes at the Farmer's Market, and Mister and I had a spate of eating out for every meal, I figured it's time to go through what I'd like to be doing food-wise for the winter.

Pantry Items
-- rice (maybe -- Mister is less of a fan than I am)
-- pasta
-- oatmeal
-- any other grains in bulk that look good
-- tapioca
-- red lentils
-- brown lentils
-- up to five kinds of beans
-- split peas
-- nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios)
-- dried fruit
-- quick meal foods
-- applesauce
-- pickles
-- tomato sauce
-- baked beans
-- canned tomatoes
-- stock
-- salsa
-- nut butters
-- jelly

Meat(in freezer)
-- two rings of kielbasa at all times
-- 1-2 roasts
-- 1-2 chickens
-- two pork loans (one cut into chops)
-- ground beef
-- sausages of several varieties for soups
-- bacon?

Root Veggies
-- 2 dozen squash (have one a week)
-- potatoes
-- cabbage
-- parsnips
-- rutabaga
-- carrots
-- frozen corn
-- frozen peas
-- eggs
-- milk
-- cheeses (esp. cheddar, mozz., ricotta)
-- bread
-- coffee
-- tea
-- sugar
-- flours/starches
-- breadcrumbs

So there's the food planning, some menu planning:

-- eat one squash a week
-- aim for casseroles/soups/crockpot/make-ahead meals
-- eat the things that I've made (*cough pickles cough)
-- minimize food waste
-- maximize food storage (without Mister's knowledge if necessary)
-- use less meat/dairy

Tuesday's Dinner

I made a delicious meal for Tuesday night, and completely forgot to take pictures of it!

This is all that remains of the meal. But, here's the recipe! Note: I made this specifically because it was what I had in the house, and I wanted to have food ready to go in the oven when I got off training at 11 pm (and to ensure that Mister and I not eat out!).

-- rice
-- canned tomatoes with chilies
-- ricotta
-- chopped onion
-- mozzerella
-- cheddar
-- olive oil

Cook the rice. While the rice is cooking, grease a casserole dish, mix the tomatoes, onion, ricotta and olive oil together, and grate mozz. and cheddar together.

When rice is cooked, mix with the tomato/ricotta/oil sauce, pour in the casserole dish, and cover with cheese. Bake at 400F oven for 35 mins.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Grr Cabbage

So the cabbage that I bought last Wednesday is dead (or maybe two weeks?). This is the second time that this has happened. The first time, I was storing it next to the potatoes under the sink, and it died. Rapidly. So we looked up how to store cabbage and it said the fridge. I store it in the fridge, and I can now scoosh the cabbage in my hands until they're almost touching. I am NOT happy. This is the last time that I buy cabbage from that seller, and I'm not excited about having had 5 cabbages go bad on me.

Fuck it, I'm buying cabbage tomorrow from someone else, and I'm making it tomorrow night.

Tasty Dinner

So yesterday, with $5 in my pocket from tips, I marched to the meat market, as Mister informed me that he wouldn't be bringing his car home, going to Whole Foods was out of the way, etc., etc. I returned with two steak-cut top round pieces. Oh beef, how I love you...

Since I've made the mistake of thinking of them as steak before, I figured I'd braise them or something, but that I'd at least get them marinating at first. So I put in apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper. [Mister was like "we had italian dressing?"]

After marinating for an hour or so, we got down to the nitty-gritty of figuring out what we were doing to this meat. Braising, awesome. Hmm, you have to sear it first...

We pull out the cast iron frying pan and Mister starts searing the sides while I prep the very sad looking parsnips and potatoes.

As we don't really have anything appropriate for the liquid to braise in, we decide upon water with bourbon, and some tasty spices, tucking little bits of parsnip, shallot and potato on the sides. We cover the pan, and put it in the oven at 250F (also making a dish of potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper).

After about 2.5 hours, we pull the meat out, and it is beautiful. So we plop the veggies and the meat onto a plate, and Mister sets about making a glaze. (Note, the potatoes on their own were still in the oven, we added a bit more olive oil to the top, and then broiled them at 500F.)

Mister added some more bourbon, sugar, corn starch, and probably more spices and set about making the most delicious gravy ever. He also came to the conclusion that bourbon is a spice. :-P

Verdict? Freaking amazing. Would eat that every day if I could! (The amazingly crunchy, salty, tasty potatoes didn't hurt... :-P)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Giveaway etc.

So in August I made a post about a print that I loved. It turns out, EricaLea is having a giveaway with one of her Etsy prints! I immediately hopped over to her site to apply, and one of the requirements is blogging about the contest.

Easily done! I probably would have mentioned it anyways. Here's to hoping I win that pretty print!

[Side note: when showing Mister the print way back when, I was like "wouldn't this look really pretty in a kitchen? It could go next to my tea kettle print!" and he was like "that is so you -- also, you're a goof."]