home_and_away: (moonbathing)
Tonight's dinner:

* ~One pound of chicken thighs, excess fat cut off, meat cut into chunks about the same mass as my distal thumbjoint. (see what I mean? What a unit of measure. But when you're chopping, it's good to have something nearby to compare to. Is this too big? ~looks at thumb, looks at chicken~ yeah a little; halve this bit of meat...)

* One packet Taco Bell taco seasoning. It's not just the spices; I could find authentic spice proportions somewhere and use those...but then I'd miss out on whatever thickening agent rides along with the spices and MSG in the packet and turns the spices into sauce while they cook. If you know how to use cornstarch responsibly, you can probably work from scratch. I will continue to use the little packets till they stop producing them or my system rejects the MSG dosage with violence. Makes measuring easy.

* An arbitrary amount of frozen bell peppers & onions from the bag I snagged at Mal-Wart for about two bucks. In this case, the amount was "what's left in the bag"; in future, it'll be maybe...mmmnnnn, say a 1:3 ratio, veg:chicken? Depends how far I need the chicken to go, you know? Anyway, throw 'em in frozen--the liquid that thaws out of them will eventually contribute to the sauce.

Those things all go into a bowl (or a gallon-sized ziploc bag if you're like that) and get massaged together then left to sit for a half hour or so, till the veg thaws.

Then! It's time for...
* At least one short stick of chorizo. I used one, tonight, and it was lovely but spread a little thin. Next time, TWO short sticks. Because I hearts me some chorizo.

Squeeze the chorizo out of its plastic skin into your waiting skillet and scramble it over medium high heat. You know it's done cooking when it looks a little gravelly and it starts hissing and trying to jump out of the pan. It will jump at you. I hope you're wearing a high-necked shirt. Be brave: the chorizo can smell fear.
At that point, remove the chorizo to a small bowl. The feisty thing.

Don't clean the pan. Just throw a little olive oil at it so the chicken mix doesn't stick.

Then add the chicken mix and cook over high or medium high heat.
Tonight, I put the whole thing into the pan; we have a big pan and it was a short pound. Next time, I might cook it in two shifts. We'll see. Anyway, you want kindof a stirfry situation happening in the skillet, thus the great temperature. Cook the chicken kindof fast before its juice can flee or the peppers can get soggy. Tonight, the short pound of chicken took about 10 minutes of flipping and pushing round the pan to cook. It was crowded; things more steamed than fried in there. Macht nichts: it still cooked through.
JUUUUSSSSST BEFORE you declare the chicken-bits cooked, put the chorizo back into the pan and give it a good few turns to integrate the sausage with the everything else.

To serve? Heh. What do you like? Mark & Dae had their share wrapped in tortillas; Mark put cheese in atop his. They seemed quite pleased. I put mine over a bowl of lettuce and topped it with cheese. Next time, maybe I'll put salsa in too; it needed some tartness to perk up all the savour/sweet and spice. Rice might make a nice option. Try things.
home_and_away: (Default)
* The great green garbage cans that the city uses to collect a household's garbage? Those are stout. And tall. How tall? Oh, about as tall as my van's side mirror. Next time I'm presented the choice between trying to clear one of those monsters and ducking into the other lane for a tic, I'm taking the lane. Oncoming traffic can see me and make way; those bins don't even rock.

* Huntsville drivers--normally cut-throat, thoughtless bastards who see a turn signal as a personal challenge--become incredibly polite at the sight of a lifeless mirror dangling from a door.

* Those who say that duct tape is like the Force are wholly correct. Four well placed strips, and now I can see a spiderwebby image of what's happening on the sidewalk behind and beside the van. Better than nothing...

* Publix carries Hungarian Paprika! Now a host of recipes like this are more nearly in my reach! (just have to figure out mouseweed.)
home_and_away: (Default)
So, to offer backstory for those who've just tuned in, a few years ago, my father was home from work (which is to say, that he was between contracts and so at home with Mom and underfoot), beset with a headcold. One night, Mom called to shoot the breeze and find out when next I'd be home, and Dad asked for the phone.

"What do you know that's good for a cold?" he asked me.
"Garlic, cranberry juice, broccoli, and sleep. Mostly sleep," I answered.
"Tried all of them. What else you got?"
"... Well. Here's an idea. You go out to Wal-Mart..."
"I hate Wal-Mart."
"I know, but unless McEwen or Waverly have spontaneously generated oriental grocery stores, it's the only place you're going to find a ginger root."
"Alright. What's that look like?"
"Rather like a doll, actually; it'll be in the produce area, in the refrigeration bins with the snap peas and beansprouts."
"So. Get a ginger root. Cut a chunk off about the size of the end joint of your thumb. Peel it, cut its surface, don't chop it unless you feel like fishing ginger bits out of your glass. Now. Do you still have that bottle of Crown you used to threaten me with?"
"Eyah. Oh, your mom's gonna love this."
"Mmhm. Medicinal purposes. Take a shot glass and drop your ginger lump in, cover it in whiskey, let it sit a while, then drink the whole thing and eat the ginger."

Silence on the line.
"And that'll help the cold?"
"You won't mind it quite as much, that's for certain."
"What do you recommend I do with the rest of the bottle?" he asked wryly, knowing how my mother hates an open bottle of booze in her house.
"Well, you can always cut more ginger into it..."
Dad laughed, Mom vetoed the idea, and I've been curious how the solution would've fared ever since.


Last week, I found a guinea pig. After two weeks of only being able to breathe through one nostril, I figured I had nothing to lose. So while Mark was over at Seamus's with Mike, doing gun things, I was curled up in a hot bath with The Last Unicorn and a variant of the Thumb Of Ginger/Shot Of Crown. )

Now, whether I owe the ability to breathe to the ginger, the uisge beatha, the steam, or the citrus/berry juice, I don't know.

But I must say, I'm pleased with the results...
home_and_away: (Fae)
"This is how I fed myself when I was a bachelor," he says, lighting an after-dinner cigarette.

"Mmmm," I answer, mostly because I'm more interested in watching the last of the garlic/ginger/soy sauce/beef/onion flavour fade off my tongue. Only partly because I also remember a stack of takeout boxes as tall as my son, the first time he let me into his apartment.

Still, I stand by my hypothesis that the women of Huntsville must've been out of their minds to not want to let this man feed them like he feeds himself, because my husband is one hell of a cook.

Tonight, for example. Fried rice. Glorious fried rice! Granted, it's a bit labour intensive and fast-paced, and it works much better when the cook has an assistant, but hey! Work shared is work halved, right? I chop/measure things and dump them in the wok when he says go; he keeps things moving in said wok and doesn't feed the gods* too much or set the house on fire.** It's all good!

So, in the interest of sharing the wealth (and backing up the hardcopy, just in case we do lose it one of these days): Have a recipe! )

* When food falls off the stove during cooking or out of its container during prep, it's become the family habit to mutter "Eh. One for the gods," before chucking the fallen tidbit either out to the beasties in the hedges or into the trashcan. Heaven only knows what my son thinks is happening or what superstitions we're building in his head, but it should make for an interesting story later.

** Note to self: next time you wash the wok and spatula mid-cooking session? Remember to dry all the water off the spatula before putting it back into hot oil. On the upside--fire only lasts as long as there's fuel!


Apr. 8th, 2007 09:12 am
home_and_away: (World of Hurt)
Longtime sufferers... that is, readers... will remember my coldweather crack about a thumbjoint of ginger and a shot of whisky curing the common cold.

I've found a Hungarian recipe that's not far removed from that.
Yah, justification!!!!!!
Okay, so the only thing they really have in common is the whiskey, and that gets set ablaze....
But I still think the ginger would make a nice addition to this one. Shave it fine and cook it with the lemon, chew it all up when you've downed the liquid.

Vitamin C to help the immune system; a nice pungent heat to burn off the cold...
Makes sense to me anyway...

EDIT, 11APR07:
Brni's ladylove Linda wins.
Go check out her Fire Cider in the comments. Wow.
home_and_away: (Pan)

What kind of pirate am I? You decide!
You can also view a breakdown of results or put one of these on your own page!
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey

I always intend to remember this holiday and never do until it's upon me. All for the best, I suppose, because at the moment I'm four books into Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin series and when all is quiet in my mind, the only thing I see is a sneezy sloth tugging at Jack's sleeve eyeing him sweetly for more grog and cake. All I hear later is "JACK! You've debauched my sloth!"

Give me the opportunity and I can bluster like an overweight post-captain or enthuse like an underfed Irish/Catalan spy.

But I haven't yet found that verbal swagger particular to a pirate.

Maybe later in the series, when Jack goes privateer.
Ah well.

Have a personal-serving sized grog mix until then:
from Lissuns in the Galley's rum section. Lissuns in the Galley, for what it's worth, also seems to be maintained by folk with a soft spot in their hearts for yon post-captain and spy.

1 shot rum
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
Squeeze of lime juice
Cinnamon stick
Boiling water

Stir all ingredients, adding enough boiling water to fill mug or glass.
home_and_away: (Pan)
(or When the Squeak's Away, the Adults Get Brave)

We've decided to try cooking our involved, somewhat experimental meals on the weekends when Dae's not at home, especially if it's the recipe's debut.

Our reasoning is this: it's not that we don't want to expose Dae to new tastes...we just don't want to expose him to the mad cursing weaving dance that invariably happens when we each try to create a dish for the meal in two large pots on the same stove/oven, using the same counter, cuttingboard, stool, and knives.
Maybe if the first run doesn't go to hell, we'll try him out on the second one.
When we have a clue what we're doing.
But not the first time, with the sharp knives and the boiling or frying hot pots and the yelling to locate a spice. (note for next time: the spice you need is in your partner's hand. Always. Unless it's the salt, in which case it and the windex may be wherever the last spill was. Which is why we need to buy more tomorrow.)

Also: It's 19:28 now, as I type; we've got 45 minutes to go before this is food. So something like 20:15, we'd all be sitting down to dinner. What do you do if the baby tries it and hates it at thirty minutes to bedtime? Yes, we could've started earlier, but then we wouldn't've had a diningroom table to sit at to eat. Not that we *will*; just that we *could*.

(It's been a busy day, you see; we've been de-boxing the diningroom and livingroom and coatcloset. It may not sound like much, but you've got to imagine what happens when the years-of-accumulated-boxes-of-shyte of two and a half packratty people move into the same apartment. It was madness. But it's getting better. Soon, there'll be room for more than two people to come over and maybe even game. And a table to do it at! This is nothing short of seismic, my friends. Be in awe. "It wasn't *that* bad, was it?" says Mark, reading over my shoulder. This is bull; he knows it was every Troy ounce that bad. ~snicker~)

For the next time we try this concoction:

* Buy the parsley and the chicken fresh the day you cook.
You get prettier parsley that way (no chance for the Mead-jacking Refridgerator of Doom to freeze it solid) and you save an hour by not having to defrost the chicken.

* When Monk says, "the freshest and best quality you can afford" when talking about the garlic, HEED.
Or else lay in twice the garlic you expect to need to compensate for how much you'll have to toss as too old.
We bought four heads of garlic in the neatly packaged boxes (it was what we could find) and when we broke it apart, three of them gave us 42 cloves. Swell, right? Then we started skinning the cloves...and found a full half of them green at one end and spotted oddly at the other. So we picked apart the remaining head, which, thankfully, was in good health... Final count of cloves? Thirty-seven. ~sigh~ Which reminds me:

* Either set aside a half-hour or so to break and skin garlic, or find a faster/better/neater way.
If you happen to be the keeper of that Way (remembering that the cloves need to stay whole and un-squished), I'd be in your debt if you'd let me in on the secret.

* I don't know how it'll taste yet (two minutes to go; Mark's put our cooled mashed potatoes into ovensafe bowls in the oven to warm; I'm typing and drooling like one of Pavlov's best.), but for the white wine in question, we've followed Justin Wilson's advice ("When in doubt, cook wit' a wine you LIKE.") and used a Louis Jadot Macon-Villages Chardonnay 2003. It smells divine.

I hear flatware and plates in the livingroom.
It's time.
~grin~ If you're interested, I'll post my mashed potatoes mix later. Hate to call it a recipe when not one damn thing gets measured.
But right now, I've got the chicken of love to devour.
Here, look:

Bonne nuit, mes amis. :D
home_and_away: (Peek)
Now I won't have to go through a year of archives here and at Monk's blog every time I lust after his chicken-with-40-cloves-of-garlic.

Which I think we'll be making this weekend, and huzzah for cast iron dutch ovens.

Now you can find any foodie goodness I've posted (and a link to Kai's glorious half-baked cake. ;D ) by clicking ye olde tags marked "recipe".

Bout damn time I joined this revolution, ain't it?
Happy cooking, kids.
home_and_away: (Peek)
To say "I like Japanese food" is perhaps a bit hasty. I like things that're cooked in ginger and soy sauce and are strong enough to be stabbed with a chopstick if the usual pincer movement fails repeatedly. I like stir-fried things whose ingrediants take forever to assemble and whose cooking time is roughly two minutes. I like the occasional battered-and-deepfried- cephalopod. Things like sushi require a delicate touch that I have witnessed (w00t, Hawk) but have yet to develop.

But that's okay. Because to say "the site I'm about to plug covers recipes for Japanese food" would be a bit hasty, too.

Kim McFarland has a passion for bento boxes (like this and this) and for the delighfully balanced meals one can stuff into the wee little segments. Such is her passion that she's decided to compile a page of recipes for the various things she's made a lunch of. Some are at least modern-Japanese, some aren't. But so far, most of them look damned tasty, right down to the little cephalopod dumplings.

Here're a few of the ones whose ingredients I'm stalking as of today:
Yakitori, AKA chicken on a stick
Sesame seed balls
Gyoza in general, and fruit gyoza specifically.
home_and_away: (Pan)
For once, it's not a recipe from Monk. It is, however, one Mark found. Which, I think, should be close enough to carry on the tradition.
Potato Soup )
home_and_away: (Default)
Since I was pregnant with Dae, I've gotten an ear infection every winter. The good news is, Dae's eardrums've thus far been perfect--I think I gave him what resistance I'd built.
This year, I thought I dodged the bullet: December came and went sans otitis media, and January was fastly fading...
Then Friday I woke up with an exceptional idea of where my eustacian tube was.
Guess what.
Damn it.

So yeah. The search for large, pretty, simple scarves begins anew. Because it seems the only way to skip out on Divine humor is to keep the wind out of my ears.

In the meantime, I get to get well-aquainted with all the acupressure points for the relief of sinus tension, tinnitus, and earache; I also get to figure out how one modifies one's diet so as to exorcise a Cold, Dry Wind from one's system. (I've got enough Vata to deal with, just in my nature; I don't need any outside help.)

Great study op for the Oriental Theory section of the NCETMB (which I've applied for, finally!!!). Yeah. Thanks, God. Nice of you. >.<

Today's experiment:

Fruit Juice Suicide.
In the container of your choice, combine
50% apple cider (unclarified, if you can get it)
20% orange juice
20% pomogranite (or cranberry) juice
10% lemon juice

If your container is mug-sized, add one stick of cinnamon and a chunk of ginger root roughly the size of a pencil eraser, washed and scored with a knife.

If your container is pot-sized, add three sticks cinnamon and a chunk of ginger the size of the end-knuckle of your thumb, washed and scored.

If your container is mug-sized, microwave the concoction for roughly two minutes. It should be nice and warm, but not scalding.

If your container will withstand being heated on a stovetop, bring it to a nice rolling boil and then let simmer quietly on a back burner for a while. The longer the simmer, the thicker the mix, the stronger the taste.

In the drinking of the concoction, when you come to the chunk of ginger? Don't be a pantywaist--chew it up and swallow. It's nowhere near as pungent now as it would be raw, and it's good for you.

I know, I know, again with the thumbjoint of ginger.
Trust me here; for once I'm testing this shit out on myself.
It may not touch the ear infection, but it'll kick the sore throat's ass.
One mug down, and I already feel more human than I have in the past 48 hours.
I'm going back for more...
home_and_away: (Default)
Can I interest you in dessert?

Mildly busy day today, but most of it shiny and good.

First to dinner with Mark, then to pick up my boy from his father's place. Then the entertaining task of figuring out just how we're going to work this whole visiting-Daddy's-side-of-the-family thing if Daddy's pulling up stakes and moving to Atlanta in a week-and-a-half.

(Which is a whole new entry, for a slightly less busy day.)

Then a lovely 2.5 hour drive, most likely through snow, to come home.
Snow's pretty. And I can drive in it--did last Christmas, anyway. But that doesn't mean I'm'a like it. So keep yer fingers crossed for me, if you think to.

And in the meantime, LINKS!!!

1) Thoughts from my new favorite Waiter on seduction. *This* man is the devil...

2) A bit from Opinionistas regarding the joys and terrors of cohabitation (I promise, I'm as terrified of Pumpkin Spice handsoap as you are. Maybe moreso.)

3) And last but not least, just because it's been a while between other people's recipes, and because I'm a datafiend, THIS!

Have a happy Sunday, world.
God knows I'm going to try.
home_and_away: (Default)
"Breaking Bread With Father Dominic"? Meet "Cooking at the Abbey"...

Tomato-Mozzarella Salad with Spiked Pine Nuts and Basil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper
Generous pinch hot red pepper flakes
1/2 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon currants
Salt to taste
2 tightly-packed tablespoons fresh basil, torn
7 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Tomatoes and Mozzarella:
6 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, sliced
vertically about 1/2-inch thick
3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, packed in liquid,
sliced 1/2-inch thick
About 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, garlic, the two peppers, onion, currants and
salt to taste. Let stand 20 to 30 minutes. Just before assembling the dish, stir
in the basil, and all but 1/2 teaspoon or so of the pine nuts.
2. Alternate slices of tomato and cheese on a plate, lightly seasoning each tomato slice with a little salt. Sprinkle each mozzarella slice with a teaspoon or so of the onion ixture and sprinkle it with about 1/2 teaspoon pine nuts.

Sprinkle the entire dish with the olive oil, and any leftover pine nuts and onion mixture. Serve at room temperature

Monk's Indian-style Curry

2 tb Butter and 1 tb oil
1 1/2 lb Beef or lamb, 1 1/2" cubes
2 Onions, large, chopped
2 Unpeeled cooking apples Cored and chopped
2 tb Curry powder
4 tb Flour
2 c Beef stock
1/2 c Seedless raisins
1 tb Tomato paste
1 tb Major Grey’s chutney
Salt and pepper

In a large skillet or Dutch oven heat the butter and oil over
moderately high heat. When the foam subsides, thoroughly brown the
meat a few pieces at a time and remove to a side dish. Cook onions
and apples in the same fat until lightly browned, and add to the
meat. Add the curry powder and cook slowly for a few minutes. Whisk
the flour into the beef stock, pour over the curry mixture, whisking
to prevent lumps. Heat to simmer, stirring constantly. You want a
smooth, thickened sauce. Add remaining ingredients, simmer a few
minutes more and return the meat, onions and apples to the pan. Cover
and set in the middle of a preheated 350 degree oven for 2 hours.
Serve with plain boiled rice.
home_and_away: (Pan)
God. Bless. This. Man.

For those of you curious "Why him?" I offer two things.

One: "Yes, we are all a composite of every lover who came before."

and Two:
Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic )

... I love the way things mingle in Monk's mind...
home_and_away: (Pan)
One more for the filing cabinet, courtesy http://www.patrin.com

Morenas - Lamb Stew with String Beans (Kalderash)


1 pound lamb
5 potatoes
3/4 pound of fresh string beans
olive oil or lard
fresh parsley
cayenne and crushed pepper, garlic powder
HOT small peppers
red and yellow bell peppers (optional)
tomato paste and fresh tomato

Chop one onion into small pieces. Cut the lamb into little pieces. Stir fry with oil until brown. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes with lid on. Add diced onion and parsley. Cover and simmer for another ten minutes.

Add cut and peeled potatoes and the string beans (just cut the very ends off). Add water as needed, not to let it dry out. Simmer another 15-20 minutes. Add tomato paste for red sauce with one can of water. As needed, stir in garlic powder, salt, cayenne, crushed pepper, small hot peppers and garlic.

Throw in red and green peppers while stirring (optional: add yellow, red, and green bell peppers for color).

Add rice on the side. Serve with fresh french bread.
home_and_away: (Pan)
Been a while since I made use o' the filing cabinet for recipie purposes.
As we all know, Jess isn't a very domestic cat. Domesticated, yes. Domestic, no. So cooking is usually something that happens with a spatula in one hand and a box, bag, or can with instructions in the other.

Sue me. I love my easy comfort food.

Apparently I'm not alone.
This one was gleaned from someone who loved his wife and hated her habit for orange cheese-powder Mac & Cheese.
Now go make some for someone you love.

1 medium onion -- chopped
1 clove garlic – minced
1 cup ham - diced
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 tablespoons margarine
4 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups skim milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups white cheddar cheese -- shredded, divided (or a mix of Romano, Parmesan, and Assagio)
8 ounces macaroni -- cooked
1/3 cup toasted bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add onions, garlic, and red pepper and sauté
until tender. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture
bubbles slightly, about 2 minutes. Add milk, a little at a time, mixing
thoroughly after each addition. Bring to a boil, add salt, peppers, and one
cup of the cheddar cheese. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Spray a 1.5-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Place cooked macaroni in
the dish. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and mix gently. Sprinkle the
remaining cheese (1/2 cup) over the top. Spread the breadcrumbs over the
cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and
the sauce is bubbling.
home_and_away: (Pan)
you know, aside from the fact that most of my nourishment comes from the skillit of mein liebchen, cooking fascinates me.

Particularly little decadences like half-baked chocolate cakes and one of my aunts-in-law's Toffee Cookie Bites. Never been this much of a chocoholic before...

For any curious soul among you, and for myself (since this is my only really reliable filing cabinet), the recipe: )

In other news, it's been a good week! Work to do every day thus far. Used my NMT training more in the past three weeks than I had in the three months previous, but that's cool--I'm being useful!

the little one's stopped kicking the same floating rib every time, too, so yeah...I'm a happy human.

Still so wierd to think that in a little more than a month, I'll get to see his face...
home_and_away: (Pan)
Cheapo "costume" today: "Portrait of the artist in High School"--Adam's black cords and "I Leave Bite Marks" shirt, hair in high pigtails, the usual cold-weather year-and-a-half-old boots. I'm debating painting up tonight.

Somehow, celebrating the dead while pregnant is...really bloody odd.

Anyhow, a couple of recipies for the season and so I don't lose them. Good stuff here.
Atole )

And despite the fact that it's technically a "Christmas drink, Wassail ) because the smell of it is right.

Happy veil-thinning, all.
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