Wilted Swiss Chard with Garlic and Ricotta Salata Cheese
from Pasta e Verdura by Jack Bishop, with my variations.

So this is supposed to be a pasta recipe, but I wound up putting it on rice instead. I am claiming that this is to demonstrate how versatile a basic recipe for a sauce can be, and not because I was too lazy to go to the store *g*

Attempt at food photography and recipe/notes under cut )

As noted above, I would salt to taste towards the end of cooking instead - I'm not a big fan of salty salty greens - but I would recommend this as a good basic, versatile technique to make swiss chard into a sauce for pasta, rice, bread, what-have-you. We ate this with a side salad of our CSA lettuce for bonus CSA-box-emptying points.

Crossposted to [community profile] iron_chef_csa
Garlic roast potatoes with blanched kale. )

Pictoral evidence. )

I will repost the CSA haul from my daily DW later. Man, I'm really bad at keeping things separate/consolidated/whathaveyou.

Oh, yeah, bonus facepalm recipe:


- jar of salsa
- avocado
- corn chips
(I think we can guess where this is going).

1) Cut the avocado open, remove stone.
2) Fill the cavity left by the pit with salsa.
3) Mush with fork.
4) Eat resulting guacamole-like substance on chip.
5) Apply more salsa; continue.

It took me way too long to figure this one out.
Ever since I stopped being vegan, I have discovered the mysteries and wonder of Mixing Things With Eggs. Leftover curry and rice? Scramble with eggs! Can of sweetened condensed milk? Mix in some eggs and bake in a hot water bath! The egg apparently has infinite transformative power, which brings me to the latest Bizarre Thing I Have Eaten: lasagna french toast.

The cast:
- 2 cups leftover cheese-type lasagna filling (this recipe)
- about 5 slices rapidly staling bread
- maybe 1 cup pasta sauce left at bottom of jar
- 4 eggs
- A chunk of part-skim mozzarella that no one wants to eat because we are not low-fat-cheese people.
- Some salt and pepper (in shakers)

The equipment:
- a square baking pan
- a blender
- an oven at 350 degrees.

The plan:

- Puree the filling, the cheese, and the eggs together.
- Pour over the top of the slices of stale bread (whole wheat, in this case)
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top
- Glob some pasta sauce on there.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the knife test works.

The result:
Oddly satisfying, if a little moist. Also, overfilling.


Apple Pancake:

- I chopped up three apples into chunks, sprinkled them with about 1 tbsp of brown sugar, and put them in the oven-proof skillet while the oven preheated and I assembled the other ingredients, about 10 minutes.
- I dumped the batter for the Smitten Kitchen german pancakes over the top.
- I baked as instructed.

Not only is this freaking delicious (and a good way for me to use the bland, cheap apples-in-a-bag that I should have known were at that price for a reason), I feel like adding some fruit to German pancakes (which are just some dense buttery custard alone) makes it a lot more filling and nutrientlicious. It's basically a claufouti, who am I kidding. But I love claufouti!
1) I still have a lot of lasagna filling leftover. Should I make manicotti or quiche? I don't have manicotti noodles, but then, I don't have a pie crust either.

2) I'm making a German pancake tonight and no one can stop me. Well, I mean. Someone probably could. It just seems unlikely that they would, when you get right down to it.

3) Local blue goat cheese (... squee!) being on sale for $4 for 4 ounces doesn't make it any more sensible a purchase than $5 for 4 ounces, when you get right down to it, but I own it now and should probably make another Successful Salad.

4) I would love to make some scones/muffins/quickbreads over the weekend for next week's lunches. This is therefore a placeholder so that I can copy down a recipe from various brunch cookbooks.
- Made the same white beans I make every night, Pinky except with equal parts cubed roasted beets as cannellini beans and balsamic vinegar instead of lemon juice, so I threw in some extra oregano to compensate. It is awesome. It is pink! This recipe officially works with white beans and: greens, squash, beets, possibly turnips.

- Tried to make a german pancake. Was not assiduous enough to find the recipe I prefer and produced an over-buttered, under-appled pudding. Here's the recipe copied so that next time I will know better. )

- I still had a lot of lasagna filling left over from the calzones, so I've been warming it over with broccoli and large-grain couscous for my lunchbox.

- I also had my first major yogurt failure - the kitchen wasn't clean enough and it got slimy. From past experience, I still consider this stuff fine to cook with.

So I think next I want to redo the German pancakes with a whole giant pile of applesauce.

Cooking log

Mar. 8th, 2010 01:03 pm
Made yesterday:

- Mini-claufoutis in muffin cups and one big claufouti, using this recipe: (Smitten Kitchen). Fruits were grape (red, seedless, about to go bad), banana, apple, and one quarter-bar of dark chocolate left over from something in my cupboard. So far I haven't tried these cold; hot, the grapes were really nice.

- Calzones, using the Laurel's Bread Book pizza dough recipe, filled with the tofu-spinach-ricotta mix from Cohabitation Lasagna with about 2 cups of shredded mozzarella and a can of pizza sauce. The crust is basically your standard 6-cups-of-whole-wheat-flour bread recipe; next time I think I'm going to add butter and maybe eggs for richness and lightness, knead longer (I was in a hurry), and work really hard on rolling the dough as thin as possible, which will be more possible if the gluten is super-developed. As is it's kind of like gnawing on a bread loaf with a cheesy spinach center.

- Roasted beets in parchment paper, as per that pasta recipe. I was just doing these to stick them in with the calzones for thirty minutes, and then I turned the oven off and left them overnight, which worked fine except that 1) there was one beet that was grapefruit-sized instead of orange-sized, and it is still plenty crunchy in the middle 2) I hadn't thought about how hard it was going to be to skin roasted beets first thing in the morning. My cohabitant, who is off work today, has inherited a kitchen that looks like it was the site of a horrifying beet catastrophe. I am hoping the deliciousness will outweigh the mess?

- Also boring-ass broccoli cooked by dumping the remainder of the boiling water from coffee over it in a metal bowl. It was very nice warm, but now that it's been in a lunch box for a couple of hours, I'm thinking next time I want some dip or something.
Since most of my reason for keeping this online is to track things I actually cook and eat: here, have some lime pickle sandwich recipe.

- a toaster oven or saucepan
- sandwichable bread that doesn't suck (alternately, corn tortillas)
- can black beans, or 1 cup cooked black beans
- lime or mango pickle (I use lime), 1 - 3 tbps depending on if you like your mouth to burn for hours
- Pepperjack cheese, sliced or grated, to personal cheese preference.
- Baby spinach or leaf lettuce if you're feeling vegetably.

Drain and rinse beans. Mix lime pickle with beans. Mix in cheese if grated; otherwise layer cheese on top. If toaster, toast open-faced; if stove, smush sandwich halves together and toast in pan on low heat. Pick stray beans out of pan and nibble. Apply lettuce to sandwich. Consume sandwich.

If you are going to eat the sandwich later, wait until it has cooled to apply lettuce.
1) Successful salad: head lettuce washed and torn up, 3 slices good multigrain bread, about 8 stray walnuts, handful dried cranberries, 1 clove garlic (sliced), olive oil, about 1/4 cup good blue cheese (crumbled), cubed apple, and a splash of this ridiculous pinot grigio vinegar that I kind of used out of spite because my mostly-moved-out roommates took my balsamic vinegar on accident but forgot this. (They've also got my salt and my open bag of sugar, and my brother's bike panniers, and some mail. It's not their fault! They were just really busy?)

So I broke up the bread and walnuts into crumbles, mixed the sliced garlic with about a tbsp of olive oil and some salt, and then tossed it with the bread/walnuts. Then I layed it flat on a pizza pan and baked it on 350 for about five minutes, took it out, stirred it around, and baked it for another five minutes. In the meantime, we assembled everything else, dressed it with the vinegar, and tossed it.

It was good.

2) Failed sponge cake. I definitely didn't whip the eggs for long enough, sifting is kind of important, the blender was probably on the wrong setting, et cetera. Woe. It'll make good bread pudding!

3) Still in the works: mixer-kneaded bread, crock-pot yogurt. I will report back as appropriate?
1) I am reading You Won't Believe It's Vegan!" by Lacey Sher and Gail Doherty, mostly for pleasure instead of actual cooking intent. (I am so many cookbooks behind as far as actual cooking intent that the list starts sometime in 1998.) Still, it's funny to me how much reading vegan cookbooks feels like slipping on an old, comfortable pair of shoes. There's the socca! There's the ganache! There's the overlong chapter on desserts because when you eat a low-fat diet you crave sugar all the time! There's the scrambled tofu! There's the recipe involving tamarind paste, two kinds of miso, red wine, nutritional yeast, umeboshi plum paste, and I don't know, corn smut oil just to make a simple gravy! Oh, vegan cooking, how comforting and familiar you are, what with the ten different condiments requiring five trips to different ethnic groceries just to faintly approximate the taste of salt pork.

2) This has been on my main lj/dw, but I'm reposting with current measurements and method.
White beans in lemon garlic oil, my recipe, from yesterday. )

I love my microwave, but man, microwaves do make everything a lot mushier.
What I made: homemade egg noodles and "sauteed white mushrooms scented with orange and marjoram", except I have no marjoram, so read that as "oregano".

What I did: I used the one cup of flour to one extra-large egg plus a bit of water formula for the pasta, and also threw in the leftover saffron egg wash from yesterday's baking. The mushroom sautee was another from Pasta e Verdura by Jack Bishop and went together pretty straight-forwardly, except that I should note that once again I was joined by Gerbal, who can sliver a mushroom, where I can only render it into chunks. That probably helped.

What it cost: Mushrooms: $5 (I substituted in some portabellas, just to be stubborn), shallots $2, orange $1.20 (yeesh), oregano $3.00, flour $2.00, 4 eggs $0.80. Plus olive oil and salt. So the whole thing would have come in under $10 if I had remembered that I have minced herbs in the freezer. Whoops.

How it tasted: The hint of orange was really nice; I think another orange's worth of zest would have really brought the flavors together. Also, possibly it would have been good to have marjoram. G and I agreed that while alliums and sauteed mushrooms are delicious together, to us they will always have a note of disappointing veggie burger to them. The pasta was still too chewy, alas. A hearty dose of grated irish cheddar across the top really pulled the dish together.

What I learned: That if I'm making a full pot of pasta I should use something bigger than my dutch oven; that I need to cut the pasta finer and cook it longer; that sticking my head in the freezer for sixty seconds really does take away the pain from mincing shallots.

Next up: I do believe the proper remedy for overly chewy saffron egg noodles may be kugel?

Pictures: uncooked noodles and cooking mushrooms, noodles inna bowl.
I discovered to my chagrin that not only is there totally still a weekly farmer's market (in three locations around town), but that it's full of not just hardy greens, but also radishes, lettuces, cheese, sweet potatoes, and greenhouse sweet peppers.

I really think I want to try a localvore month sometime in 2010. In the meantime, getting back to cooking regularly (and by "cooking" I mean "more than combining yogurt, cereal, toast, and eggs all day") is my first priority, but my local co-op now stocks locally-grown and -ground flours. This makes the list of local products:

Vegetables (year-round)
Fruit (summer)
Sweet potatoes (winter)
Potatoes (summer)
Flour (whole-wheat and white)
Meats of various sorts (not a big carnivore).
Pecans (expensive)

It's that combination of flour, butter, milk, honey, and eggs that really makes it possible for this lacto-ovo-type, though I don't know whether cutting out coffee and spending the first week of this experiment with a pisser of a headache hating everyone would be worth it (given that I drink snob coffee that's been through four or five different certifications, especially). I am ordering a full CSA share this year, which means a return to the days of fearing the kohlrabi man. Maybe that's enough of a start.
What I cooked: Lussekatter! (Saffron buns for St. Lucia's day, one week late). See a picture here.

How much it cost: About as much as bread normally does, plus 0.99 of whole milk and $3.00 of saffron.

How it worked: Recipe copied from King Arthur's Flour website under the cut. )

This is not our usual recipe, which is much dryer and more bread-like (and less dinner-roll). I used all white wheat flour instead of a mix of all-purpose and potato flour, used less saffron as I only had the one small envelope on-hand, and added a tiny bit of cardamom (not enough). I also glazed the buns with a saffron egg wash instead of the weird and previously unknown-to-me frosting suggested in the recipe. Because of the cookie sheet shortage mentioned in the last entry, I wound up baking these all together in pyrex instead of separately.

Just a note that kneading these things kicked my butt, and I split the kneading 50/50 with Gerbal. I have sore abs this morning, and used a lot of the muscles in my back that I've recently despaired of recuperating. Maybe I should knead bread every day.

Also, I think my roommates were alarmed when I started buttering down the countertop, but I scrubbed it before and after and it came clean just fine.

Taste: White wheat continues to be on probation, for me. These are entirely decent; I would put in more cardamom next time, as the saffron at the store was way expensive and left these insufficiently fragrant. The baking style also made them moister and less dry than I'm used to. Next time I would cut 50-50 bread flour and whole wheat flour, like I usually do. The golden raisins were added by my roommate, who got really into the Santa Lucia myth when I told him about the whole candles-on-head dealio, but I will not leave the raisins off myself next time, as they improve the whole thing.

Storage: I am not sure these will last long enough to be stored.
Let's just start with the very important lesson: when making cookies in a shared and somewhat haphazardly supplied kitchen, it is very important to count one's cookie sheets and make additions / borrow accordingly before one makes 2.33 bar batches of spritzer dough, which must be pressed directly onto a hot cookie sheet from the cookie press. (I should take a picture of mine, which is old, metal, and scary-looking). To make a long story short, after two hours and about twenty rounds of pressing, baking, checking, removing, de-sheeting, and re-pressing cookies on a ten inch pizza pan, I had a minor meltdown and begged my erstwhile assistant to take over while I literally cooled my head. Let this be a lesson to, well, me.

What I cooked: Spritzar cookies, aka almond shortbread from a cookie gun. Recipe and pictures below cut. )

How much it cost: I did not keep good track of this one! I will find the receipts. However, see below for notes on my ridiculously expensive natural food coloring, which doubled the price of the recipe.

How it worked: Mix, mix, load spritzer into cookie gun, deploy cookies, bake. That all went pretty well: the major failure was the unloading/cooling step, in which lack of space and cooling racks meant I stacked the cookies to cool them, and so they're soft and kind of sticky instead of crisp and crunchy. My mother has instructed me to clear an end table or other flat surface and cool these in a single layer on a cut-open brown paper bag next time.

Taste: The yellow food coloring had a strong tumeric taste which did not go away with cooking; the beet juice cookies, despite shaping fail, had this nice fruity note. Spritzer's general almond buttery-ness makes them my favorite xmas cookie, hands-down. I did use a grainy fair-trade sugar instead of Dixie Crystals, and that did affect the texture somewhat, to the degree that next year I might look for something less turbinado-y or pulverize my sugar in my coffee grinder first. The white whole wheat was weird and definitely tasted whole-wheaty, more than a 50/50 cut of white all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flour would have. But it was what I had on hand.

Storage: Note to self never to put these away while still warm. Oops. Otherwise, shelf-stable for about a week in tupperware.

SO, about that natural food coloring. Reviews of India Tree natural food coloring and making your own from beets, neither successful )

This one was definitely a cookie rough draft, rather than a cookie victory, but you know the nice thing about cookie rough drafts? People still eat the heck out of cookie rough drafts.
What I cooked: Roasted Beets and Red Onion with Balsamic Vinegar and Rosemary, from Pasta e Verdura: 140 Vegetable Sauces for Spaghetti, Fusilli, Rigatoni, and All Other Noodles.

How much it cost: Beets were a surprising $4.50 (organic); also bought balsamic vinegar at cheapskate $3, pasta at $2. Since those are pantry staples, let's call this $6 for 4 servings, rounding out at about $1.50 a serving.

How it worked: This is the first time I've ever oven-roasted beets en papillote - the recipe said to wrap them in tinfoil, which I try not to use, but the principle is the same - and it actually worked really well. I baked them at 400 for an hour - along with the recommended onion and some squash I was planning to make into soup later - while I ate dinner and played some card games with roommates, and then I let them cool and used paper towels to rub the skins off. Slicing and putting the sauce together after that took maybe six minutes. This is a well-timed recipe for an afternoon where you're putzing around the house but aren't making a full-on attack on your kitchen.

Taste: I was dubious at first because the beets were softer than I tend to eat them - I tend to like some crunch - but it actually worked really well with the pasta texture. While the sauce was definitely best fresh off the stove, I had already dined and put it in the fridge overnight, and it's very nice this morning. Balsamic vinegar is one of the things I usually use to dress up substandard beets, but on nice beets it's - well - nicer. I was surprised, with the rosemary and onion, how pasta-y this pasta sauce tasted. I was expecting it to come off far weirder. A+ beet recipe, would cook again.

Storage: Did well in the fridge overnight (pasta cooked separately later). Will wrap up some portions and freeze them and report back after a week.

Lunchbox worthiness: Packing today, will report back.
I am [personal profile] sapote also, but I wanted a sub-lj for pictures of my lunchbox and the chronicling of my messy cupboard and growing terror of the CSA man who will bring more and more and yet more kohlrabi. Right now I spend about $15 a day eating outside the home. It would be nice to see that decline?



May 2010

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