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I made a great salad tonight- sauteed two ears of sweet corn kernels in olive oil and let them cool, added 10 cherry tomatoes sliced in half and one half of a cucumber diced/peeled, sauced/spiced it with some roughly ripped up fresh mint, thyme w/some black pepper, a tiny amount of lemon juice and one and a half tablespoons full fat yogurt. Chilled for a bit before eating. Served two as a side. It was really yummy.

It was a good accompaniment to the "Greek-esque" flavored burgers I also made- dried mint, fresh oregano and minced garlic in the burger topped with chevre and tomato (feta in the burger prolly would've been better but didn't have it).

I have more sweet corn to use up, too, anyone got any good recipes?
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I need to institute a no bread baking after 6 PM rule. Hot Cross Buns are just now coming out of the oven. I have to work tomorrow. Good grief. And I managed to forget the egg wash and I'm skipping the cross part, and some managed to get scorched (lame!). I'd give the recipe another go and not use all whole wheat flour next time (a modification I made because that's all I had), starting at a sensible hour. Recipe here:
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Hot-Cross-Buns-101452

It does satisfy my urge to have baked the darn Hot Cross Buns though. I'd never even eaten them before, and I got it in my head that I should make them and couldn't shake it. It reminded me of the time as a wee one when I woke up at 5 AM and barged into my parents bedroom, demanding that we make a gingerbread house that day no matter what or I was going to have a colossal never ending melt down. They caved, we made gingerbread houses that day. The hot cross buns urge was equally powerful and irrational. I'll probably be more exhausted and cranky as a consequence of my late night than when I was a kid waking in the wee hours though.
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It has been a weekend of good eating.

Tonight I made "succotash" (its more of a corn salad than traditional succotash), from the smitten kitchen recipe. But I varied it a bunch. I made it for two people, so I cut down on the main ingredients but kept the rest roughly the same. I had no sherry vinegar so I used white wine vinegar and reduced the amount slightly. I used canned black beans (heresy, I know, but honestly, they are what my hubby likes) because I couldn't find any fresh beans, or even frozen ones (except limas, which I don't like or edamame, which the hubby doesn't like). I didn't use any arugula, instead I upped the basil a bit because I love basil. And I used a shallot instead of onion. Oh, and when I made the croutons I used some olive oil in the pan too, along with a little dried oregano and garlic. She says the croutons are optional, really, I think they are a vital component.

I think omitting the bacon for a vegetarian dish would work all right, just use some olive oil in the main and in making the croutons so it doesn't lack richness and maybe add a bit more salt.

I like it quite well and may make it again as long as I can get affordable cherry tomatoes (a bit more than a pint at the farmers market was 3 bucks, and I used most of it, but not all- the rest is going into a pad thai variation tomorrow).

Last night we went to Allen and Sons BBQ on Hwy 86 (new 86) on a whim coming back from the station, which is something I've been meaning to do for a very long time. Its fairly close, and I expect we'll be back there. The ambiance was typical rural greezy spoon, which was okay, because it had character (the taxidermy fox added a lot of character). Service was competent and speedy (we were bade to sit down at a table that seated six because it was available, and the two tops were full/uncleaned up, which was cool) The BBQ was succulent, not over dry in the way that I've had around here. The sides were good, especially the hush puppies. My major quibble was with their sauce, really, it could've been a bit more zippy. And I wish they had a variety of sauces, a la Voodoo BBQ in New Orleans or even, if I remember right, Que Shack in Durham. But oh well. I would like to try their BBQ chicken next time and I've heard the ribs are really good too. And I could totally see getting a pound of bbq take out and bringing it home to add my own sauce, which is also fairly economical, the prices were really reasonable, especially for take out. We had Key Lime cake for dessert, which was quite good and tart (and has me inspired to modify my favorite cake recipe to try a variation on it). So thumbs up on Allen and Sons.
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Home again home again and at loose ends for dinner. The hubby is trying out with a funk band this evening, so I was solo for dinner.

I just tried a new recipe yesterday from the Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook by Fuschia Dunlap. General Tsao's Chicken. It turned out well. So did the cream cheese wontons I made. I finally nailed the filling that I like so well at the Lotus in Mpls. Curry powder and a wee bit o' tomato paste. I had been missing the tomato paste. I am planning on making more things from the cookbook, the recipes are straight forward and the ingredients are easy to find at the Asian market. At first I thought that the recipes were too simple in the flavorings, but the order of operations in frying does seem to have a strong impact, and the steps she gives are different than the ones I would put things in, even if the ingredients are the same. One flavor combo I really like, and I never would have thought of this on my own, is frying bacon (just a wee bit) with tofu. It gives the tofu a great smokey flavor. Its weird though, the vegetables and the meat dishes seem really separate. I just go ahead and add veggies. I guess if I was a real Chinese chef I'd just be doing multiple courses (I've noticed this same phenomena in Indian cuisine as well...).

The upshot of all this is browsing through the cookbook gave me a notion for an eccentric dinner.

Soaked rice noodles, two handfuls, drain when appropriate
Peanut oil, 3 tbs
A wee bit o' bacon
Handful of crushed pecans
1/4 cup frozen peas
Two dried red chilies, minced sans seeds
Quarter sized ginger slice, minced
Green onion, green parts, twee slices
Sauce: 1 teaspoon tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce, capful of brown rice vinegar, 1/2 or less teaspoon brown sugar, 3 tablespoons water

Heat peanut oil on highish heat (which may need to be adjusted down as you go, but it should stay highish at least) add bacon and pecans, brown them up. Add chilies, 20 seconds. Add ginger, 20 more seconds. And peas, expect crazy oil spittings, let that go 20 seconds or until the spitting stops. Then add rice noodles, expect more spittings, wait till spittings subside make sure to keep them moving or they'll stick. Then add sauce. Wait till sauce cooks down (it will, fast) add onion and keep cooking till the noodles are as soft as you like em'. (you may have to really work and add a bit o' water or more peanut oil to keep the noodles from sticking to the pan). Eh voila!
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Thanks everyone who came to our Gothic Luau Housewarming. I had a good time. I hope everyone else did too. Thanks to Joel for all the pre-party help and for wrangling the kabobs. And thanks to everyone who gave us thoughtful and pretty gifts.

I promptly got a cold after the party. Go figure. So I'm working at home today.

I made a nice eccentric lunch today- soup, because I'm sick.

Ze recipe:

One and one half cups water
A dab of better than bullion chicken flavor (miso would probably work)
One half cup coconut milk
Handful of frozen shrimp
3/4 cup chopped frozen spinach or other veggies
1/2 teaspoon red curry paste
1/2 teaspoon cardamon seeds
Small amount (about a quarter diameter grab) of angel hair pasta, broken up into inch sized strands
A dab of Indian style pickled ginger or hot sauce over the top

Add everything to a pot except the hot sauce. Warm up (it can boil) until the angel hair pasta gets soft enough (this will happen faster than you think). Then its done. Yum yum.

Ouch!

Sep. 3rd, 2009 02:32 pm
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I twisted my ankle badly today. I had just been thinking how week and weird my ankles had been seeming as of late, and how I should do some balancing exercises to work on that, and blammo, I step wrong on a rock and fall down. Growl. I have applied Aspercreme and it still hurts. I don't think I've ever twisted by ankle so badly, when it happened I was gasping in pain for a good few minutes.

I made myself an eccentric lunch and I feel a bit better now. An eccentric lunch is when I improvise while cooking in a big way.
Here is my recipe for today's eccentric lunch:
Vegetables- Two cups chopped peeled broccoli stem, cabbage, thinly sliced carrot, frozen peas
Nuts- Pepitos (handful)
Spices- Garlic powder, ginger powder, garam masala, curry powder, black pepper
Other- Oil- 1 tsp, Tomato Paste 1 tbsp, soy sauce 1 tbsp, Coconut milk barely 1/4 cup, hot sauce
Pasta- About 2 cups cooked pasta or rice noodles

Saute veggies, nuts and spices till barely tender. Add tomato paste and soy sauce and stir it around. Add coconut milk in a few steps- it should bubble and reduce. Turn heat to lowish. Let sit while pasta cooks. Drain and add pasta. Top with a bit of hot sauce. Yum.

Got good news about the mortgage today to. Looks like we are closing on the 10th. Fingers crossed, I'm not gonna believe it till we have the keys to the house handed to us. And I am terribly worried about getting our current apartment rented.

I need to call my brother and see what advice he's got about bum ankles (he is a soccer coach, he knows things about twisted ankle treatment, I bet). Though the odds of reaching him are slim to none. We haven't really talked in months, unfortunately. He is too busy.

Ted Koppel is on NPR right now. By god, why isn't that man in politics? He should be. Or at the very least, NPR should hire him. He is so sensible. He drips sense with every syllable. More Ted Koppel please.
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I just had Pomegranate Mouhamara for lunch. It was fantastic. I think, though, given the bother of roasting red peppers and the reasonable price at the Med Deli, I will just go to the Med Deli if I want more in spite of having found a recipe.

Oh! And more octopus news. Isn't that little fella just the cutest!?

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