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Candied oranges [24 Oct 2010|04:58pm]

djinrain
I found these while shopping around online and they struck my fancy pretty hard. But the price utterly floored me so I decided to try it out for myself. Best decision ever! They take two-four days to make, but they are really really good. Super awesome gift idea!

Candied oranges:

2 oranges of just about any variety. I used navel oranges.

3 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups water

First, scrub the oranges really well. If you buy them in the store they always have a bit of a waxy coating on them, so scrub it off. Don't peel the oranges. Cut the oranges in to slices (I cut my oranges in half lengthwise and then slice in to 1/8-1/4" thick slices). Toss the end bits that are all peel and stem-y thing.

In a large flat-bottomed pot or sauce pan: dissolve the sugar in the water over high heat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, then drop in the orange slices. Simmer for about an hour (until the white pith is translucent). Occasionally poke the oranges down in to the fluid, but don't stir them too hard or they will break apart. (hint: if you need more liquid to cover everything properly, just top up with a 50/50 sugar and water solution until you have enough. The proportions here don't seem to matter all that much)

When the pith is translucent, turn off the heat and allow to sit uncovered until the liquid returns to room temperature.
Use tongs or a slotted spoon to pull out the oranges and arrange them on wire racks to dry (this will take at least 24 hours and there are cats in my house, so I put them in my oven or another covered spot to keep them out of the way and fur-free. If it's super humid in your kitchen you can turn the oven on to it's lowest setting for an hour or two once per day until they are set. They will still be slightly tacky to the touch, but not floppy.

If you want you can roll them in granulated sugar at this point. Here is what I do:
With kitchen shears cut each slice in half again to form wedges. Then dip about 3/4 of each wedge in melted semi-sweet chocolate and allow to set on wax paper covered cookie sheets. After the chocolate sets, dip the exposed orange bit in sugar. Store in baggies or air-tight jars in a cool place.
So good!
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Summer salads [24 Aug 2010|06:36pm]

djinrain
It's too freakin' hot around here for actual cooking, so salad is the order of the day. Here are a couple of easy-peasy favorites. How about you guys? Any hot-weather recipes to share?:

Starbuck's Market Salad:
-romaine lettuce
-dried cranberries
-chopped red apple
-slivered roasted almonds
-crumbled bleu cheese
-carrots (I use a veggie peeler to "curl" them, rather than chopping)
-balsamic vinegrette
toss 'em all together and voila! A salad that is a lot cheaper to make yourself than it is to buy pre-packaged.

Pesto Pasta Salad:

-fresh stuffed pasta of your choice (my favorite is Trader Joe's cheese tortellini)
-cherry tomatoes, halved
-black forest ham (optional) cut in to strips or small cubes (proscuitto is also good)
-green onions, chopped
-pesto
-Newman's Own Family Recipe Italian dressing (it's the only Italian dressing worth eating, IMHO)
-anything else that happens to be lying around, like pine nuts, fresh basil, etc
Cook and drain the pasta, toss with a little Italian dressing to keep it from sticking to itself, cool in a covered container in the fridge. Toss in everything else to taste and stir it all up.
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Hello [15 Jul 2010|05:05pm]

heartspunmom
I'm pinging this community to keep it from getting purged. :)

Whatcha been cooking lately?
5 comments|post comment

tempeh! [26 Jan 2010|10:14pm]

dreamsherd
roughly chop an 8 ounce cake of tempeh and simmer for 45 min. in 1 cup of broth (veggie, chicken or beef)
drain and saute for 5 min. in olive oil
add 1/4 cup Trader Joe's Thai Black Pepper Stir Fry sauce and continue to saute for another 5 min.
toss in 1 large chopped tomato, a generous handful of fresh basil, a minced clove of garlic or two, and saute til heated through. Finish with the juice of a fresh lime.
Serve over rice if desired.
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raw! raw! raw! [18 May 2009|03:49pm]

dreamsherd
[ mood | hungry ]

so, i've been curious about the whole raw food thing.  i've tried some- it's ok, but a bit under-proteined for me.  but whatever i can do to increase my fresh fruits-and-veggies intake has got to be good, right?  so i got a dehydrator and have been experimenting with energy-foods that a) taste good to me and b) are easy to keep around at work for those don't-have-time-for-lunch days.  do you realize how much sugar most "energy bars" have in them?  right, suger *is* a source of energy, but i'm looking at getting my energy from non-sugary stuff, cuz of the diabetes.  and the lousy teeth.  so, without further adieu:

Oatmeal jerky

 

Equal parts:

Oatmeal (plain ol' non-quick rolled oats, ground or not as you desire)

Hot water

Nut meal or ground nuts (TJs makes almond meal or you could grind it yourself)

Fresh fruit, pureed or chopped

and
¼ flax meal

 

Mix into paste, adding water or fruit juice to achieve desired consistency. Eat hot as cereal or dehydrate in bars or sheets (8 -12 hrs at 135*F). Can add spices, chopped dried fruit (1/2 part), protein powder or dried milk. 


and i realize that this isn't strictly "raw", since the oats are steamed before they are rolled & dried, but most of the nutritional value is still there.  supposed be help reduce cholesterol & stabilize blood sugar.  lots of soluble fiber & all kinds of good-for-you!
the nuts are a source of protein and fat, but also antioxidants.
the rest you can research for yourself!
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the only way you'll ever want ramen again [29 Oct 2008|12:08pm]

djinrain
Yay! Soup season is coming back! Now, I love ramen as much as anyone who ever had to learn to cook for themselves, but I gave it up when I read the ingredients list for the seasoning packets. Yuck! So I went in search of a new way to flavor my delicious ramen while tossing out those yucky packets.
This is based on Alton Brown's Ramen Radiator recipe, but isn't quite as chi-chi because I wanted to use things I actually had in my kitchen. I experimented a little, and this is my favorite version so far:

-2 cups vegetable stock (or 2 cups water+2.5 teaspoons veggie stock paste)
-1/4 cup white wine
-1/4 medium onion, chopped
-1 large or two smaller green onions, sliced
-two pinches dried chili flakes
-salt and pepper to taste
-honey
-12 frozen pre-cooked shrimp
-frozen peas, about half a cup
-1 package dry ramen noodles, throw away the seasoning

Line two large soup bowls with aluminum foil, leaving plenty of extra hanging over the sides (a big square of foil works well).
Place half of the loaf of noodles in each bowl, then add onions, shrimp, chili flakes, peas, salt and pepper equally to each, add about 4 drops of honey to each bowl. Pour half the liquid into each bowl. Pull the foil up and over the ingredients and crimp together tightly to form a packet that contains everything and won't leak or lose air. Lift the packets out of the bowls onto a cookie sheet and bake at 400* for 25 minutes. Take the packets out of the oven and put back into the bowls, open up the foil and voila! Instant noodle soup! I don't bother taking the foil out of the bowl, I just leave it there and have less work to do later when I'm washing dishes.
3 comments|post comment

Potato leek soup [06 Apr 2008|08:08pm]

heartspunmom
[ mood | nostalgic ]

This soup is one of my ultimate comfort foods. When I was in college, the cafe down the street served up a generous bowl of the day's soup along with a baguette and butter, all for dirt cheap. Potato leek was always on the menu, and the fragrance of it brings back those days of hunkering down at a table near a steamy window, reading for an assignment or scribbling in a notebook, watching the buses splash past.

I spotted pre-trimmed and cleaned leeks, two to a package, at Trader Joe's and knew that I had to try to recreate this simple pleasure! As usual, this is not really much of a recipe. There are more elaborate and probably traditional recipes out there, but this simple approach cooks up lighting fast and tastes, to me, exactly like the daily bowl from my college days.

Simple potato leek soup

You'll need two leeks, with a long white section. Some stores sell these pre-trimmed and cleaned, but you can start with untrimmed leeks too. Make sure you clean them well because they can hide a lot of gritty crud in between those tightly packed leaves.

Slice up the leeks nice and thin, discarding the roots at the end. Only slice up to the pale green part of the leek, don't use the darker green ends of the leaves (if you're starting with untrimmed leeks).

TJ's also sells fingerling potatoes in a bag, which is what I used. A couple of handfuls of small white creamer or yukon gold potatoes will work as well. Chop these roughly into big slices, half an inch thick or so. The goal is just to get them mostly the same size so they'll cook quickly and evenly.

Heat up some butter - I used an *ahem* generous amount - in a large saucepan and cook the leeks until they are wilted, soft and beginning to brown. I grind in some sea salt and black pepper at this point. Toss in the potatoes as well, and cook those with the soft leeks for a few minutes. Pour a can of chicken broth over the top - just enough to cover the potatoes, then cover the pot and bring to a boil. Turn it down and let it simmer until the potatoes are nice and tender. Now comes the really fun part - mashing! I used a potato masher and broke up all the potato until the soup was chunky, not too smooth and not too many big pieces left. Pour in some heavy cream - how much is up to you. I didn't really measure, just eyeballed it. Stir it all up, check the salt and pepper, and serve in a nice heavy bowl with crusty bread and butter alongside.

Yum.

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potatoes au gratin [07 Jan 2008|04:31pm]

dreamsherd

more a method than a recipe

thinly sliced fresh raw potatoes (a bunch)
butter
salt 
pepper
a little flour
melty cheese, grated
milk

layer the ingredients above (about 1/3 of each to a layer) in a buttered pie or lasagna dish.  cover with foil and bake at 400F til they're soft when you stick a knife into them & the cheese is melted.  
this was the basic recipe i got from my mom; she used velveeta cheese.  i grew older and realized that there was better cheese to be had, so i switched to making a basic cheese sauce using real cheddar (same ingredients as above) and layering that over the sliced potatoes.  ta da!  easy cheesy.
many sorts of cheese can be used- gruyere is good.  or you can leave out the cheese & have scalloped potatoes ( i usually add some herbs/spices & onions to this).  you can use cream or half&half instead of milk if you don't care about calories.  you can even substitute cooked pasta for the potatoes- ooops, then it's mac & cheese!
edit:  just remember to add enough liquid to let the potato slices cook through (the liquid should be about level with the rest of the ingredients when you're done). takes about one to two hours to cook, depending on how many potatoes you use.

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vanilla bean risotto [05 Jan 2008|02:31pm]

dreamsherd
for those dreary winter days best spent in front of the fire cocooning:

1 cup short grain rice (i used sushi rice; risotto traditionally is made form arborio)
2 cups half & half
2 cups milk
1/2 cup honey
pinch salt
1 vanilla pod
2 fresh eggs, beaten (optional)

Cut the vanilla pod into several sections and add to the rest of the ingredients (except eggs) in a saute pan.  Heat over low-to-medium heat (it shouldn't boil) and stir every couple of minutes til the liquids are absorbed and the rice is soft.  It may have a bit of "tooth" or chewiness in the center, but not be hard any longer.  Add more milk if necessary.  When it's the consistency of thick cream, you can add a couple of beaten eggs for extra yumminess.  Stir in well and keep stirring for a couple of minutes to thoroughly cook the eggs.  Retrieve the vanilla pod (you can wash and dry it, and add it to sugar for a lovely scent)  and serve warm or cold.  Makes enough for four. 
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Two Potato Pancakes [21 Dec 2007|04:45pm]

heartspunmom
I love this latke recipe from the Six O Clock Scramble! I made it a few nights ago to rave reviews, even from the picky young princess in the house. I made some lime-cilantro sour cream to serve along with these pancakes, and the tangy flavors went really nicely with the earthy sweet potatoes. These are awesome to heat up in the toaster oven the next day, too.

1 large sweet potato
1 large russet potato
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional of course)

vegetable oil for frying

Peel and grate the potatoes. Drain them by placing the grated potatoes into a clean tea towel and squeezing out as much moisture as you can. Combine with the egg, flour, and seasonings in a large bowl. Cook in several tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium to medium-high heat, until crispy and brown on both sides.
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Holidaze are here again! [20 Dec 2007|10:07am]

heartspunmom
Hey! Remember this community? I just browsed through the archives and found so many amazing recipes that we've shared over the years. In the new year, I'll be posting a few new family favorites, and I hope you'll join me!

So, of course, this time of year is special - we all love a home-cooked holiday meal, be it traditional or modern. Even when cooking the rest of the year's meals can become a daily grind, I know that I look forward to planning and preparing food for the holidays. So what are you cooking? Got any special plans? What are you most looking forward to eating?
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cake eggs [10 May 2007|10:07pm]

djinrain
This was really way too cool an idea not to share. I haven't made them, but they sound totally awesome.
http://www.deliciousdays.com/archives/2007/04/08/last-minute-easter-eggs/
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pumpkin cupcakes [10 Oct 2006|01:24am]

djinrain
mmm. I just made these today. I admit they came from Martha Stewart originally. But in my defense I actually got the recipe from this site: http://cupcakeblog.com/
They were vereh yummeh, though I added ground cloves, left out the allspice because I didn't have any, and used more nutmeg than they called for. They are pretty much solid butter. Pumpkin and butter. But sooooo gooood. I put chocolate frosting on, and for Thanksgiving I'll probably try making it as a layer cake with chocolate/cinnamon frosting.
Makes about 24 cupcakes.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 can pumpkin purée (15 ounces)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin purée.

3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
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Samahin's coming [06 Oct 2006|02:13pm]

dreamsherd
These remind me of Ranger cookies, which I adored.  You can add cut-up dired fruits if you like.

"A soul, a soul, a soul cake,
Please good missus a soul cake,
An apple, pear a plum or cherry
Any good thing to make us all merry"
TRADITIONAL SOUL CAKE
Serves 6-8
            8oz butter
            1lb dark molasses
            12 oz fine oatmeal (grind up regular oatmeal)
            12 oz plain flour
            8 oz dark soft brown sugar
            1 - 2 teaspoons ground ginger
            1 teaspoon salt
            2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
            4 fl oz milk (lukewarm)

Preheat the oven to 325F or 160C. Grease two tart tins or a large baking sheet..

Warm the butter and molasses in an ovenproof bowl in the oven to melt them. Mix all the dry ingredients in another bowl.
Pour the melted fat mixture into the dry ingredients and then add the milk. Stir thoroughly, turn the mixture into the tin(s) and level off the top.

Bake in the tins for 1 hour 15 min or in the sheet for 1 hour 30 min to 2 hours. (Test using the dry skewer method.)
Cool in the tins. Keep the cake (well-wrapped in a clean cloth) for AT LEAST two weeks before cutting.
Serve cut into squares or bars. 
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hot weather, cool noodle salad [27 Jun 2006|04:13pm]

heartspunmom
[ mood | yum! ]

Cold Vietnamese noodle salad - wonderfully refreshing on hot summer days, and easy to make! This is more of a formula than a recipe.

Noodles: 1 package of thin rice noodles. Easy to find at your local Asian market, or sometimes even a Big Chain Grocer in the "International" aisle. Cook these in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, just until al dente, then drain and rinse in cold water until completely cooled. If you want to keep them from sticking, toss with a smidge of veggie oil. Set aside.

Veggies: Shredded carrots, shredded daikon, mung bean sprouts, thinly sliced cucumber, diced sugar snap peas, and shredded lettuce (optional) in the proportions you desire

Herbs: Basil, cilantro, and mint, in fairly equal quantities - don't skimp on the herbs, they are a big part of the flavor and freshness of this dish!

Shrimp: Get a two pound bag of frozen raw shrimp (the peeled kind is easiest). Thaw them and pinch off the tails, then chop roughly in a food processor or with a knife. Mix with two teaspoons of brown sugar, two teaspoons of coarse salt, and two or three big cloves of chopped garlic. Heat a couple of teaspoons of veggie oil over medium heat and cook the shrimp mixture until the shrimp are just cooked through and pink all over; transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature (or stick in the fridge to chill).

Sauce: This is a variation on Nuoc Cham, a traditional Vietnamese sauce. You can simmer this over the stove to dissolve the sugar, but I just mix everything in a Pyrex measuring cup and stick it in the nuker for a minute or so. Here's the general list of ingredients - tweak to your taste: 1/4 cup fish sauce, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, fresh juice from two limes, freshly grated ginger (I use the stuff in a tube from the produce section), a healthy squeeze of Sriracha hot sauce or Asian chili paste, and about 1/2 cup of water.

Garnish: Chopped unsalted peanuts (stick them in a Ziploc and smash them with a can, if you don't want to bother chopping them).

Assembly: In a big bowl, pile up some of the veggie and herb mixtures, then pile on a generous amount of the cold rice noodles. Spoon on the cooled shrimp mixture, sprinkle with chopped peanuts, and drizzle with sauce. Ahhhh! Delicious! You can top this with a little Hoisin sauce or more Sriracha as you desire.

Variations on the theme: Instead of the cold shrimp mixture, use char-grilled flank steak, sliced thin; crunchy spring rolls, cut into slices; marinated tofu; or just leave it out entirely and have a yummy bowl of veggies and noodles.

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twice baked potatoes [16 Mar 2006|01:53pm]

djinrain
pretty easy, though a little time consuming in places:

four 8-10 ounce potatoes
1/4-1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
garlic salt
black pepper
about a cup of shredded cheese
two green onions, chopped

poke holes in the potatoes and microwave each for about 6 minutes or until tender when stuck with a fork. Cool in the fridge.
Slice cool potatoes in half, and dig out the insides, leaving a 1/4 inch shell. Save shells on sheet pan. Smash up the potato insides with an electric mixer, add milk until soft and fluffy. Add butter, pepper, garlic salt to taste (it takes more than you think), and cheese, whip together. Toss in onions and mix. Spoon goo back into shells and bake at 400* for twenty minutes.
EXTRA SPECIAL BIT: before baking, if you are cool with that sort of thing, bacon pieces on top makes an awfully nice touch. Next time I will probably stir the bacon right into the goop.
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pollo pulqueros (potato, chicken, tomatillo, and jalapeno stew) [17 Oct 2005|01:42pm]

heartspunmom
I've made this a couple of times now and it's already on my list of all-time favorite recipes. Simple, easy and inexpensive to put together, and quite delicious with just a dollop of sour cream on top. This is called a stew, but there isn't much liquid left in the pot when it's done, so sop up all those good juices with a thick flour tortilla.

This is a Rick Bayless recipe from the Feb-March 2005 issue of Eating Well. Thanks, Rick!

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, if you eat them, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
4-6 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
6-8 skinless chicken thighs (bone in or out, your preference - I like bone in)
1 large bunch cilantro, rinsed and chopped
12 to 16 medium to large tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed and sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 can sliced pickled jalapeno peppers, drained, 2-4 tb of pickling liquid reserved
1/4 tsp salt

Use a large dutch oven or a stock pot with a tight-fitting lid. Grease the bottom of the pan with a little olive oil, then layer in the onions, potatoes, 1/8 tsp salt, chicken thighs, remaining 1/8 tsp salt, cilantro, tomatillos, and jalapenos. Sprinkle with reserved pickling liquid, put the lid on, and bake in a 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes, or until the chicken is done (time varies for bone in or boneless thighs). Remove the lid and let it bake a little while longer to reduce the liquid. Serve with sour cream and thick flour tortillas.
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One of my favorite recipes [11 Oct 2005|09:53am]

dreamsherd
[ mood | Tudorish ]

GYNGERBREDE
Take an quart of hony and sethe it and skime it clene; take Safroun, pouder Pepir and throw theron; take gratyd Brede and make it so chargeaunt that it wol be y-lechyd; then take pouder canelle and straw ther-on y-now; then make yt square, lyke as thou wolt leche yt; take when tho lechyst hyt, an caste Box leves a-bowyn, y-stykyd ther-on, on clowys. An if thou wolt have it Red, colour it with Saunderys y-now.

**Note that this isn't even baked- it makes a very thick paste that can be shaped and sliced. You pat powdered cinnamon all over the outside to reduce the stickiness. And I'd recommend using food color paste rather than powdered red sandlewood if you want it red.

Translation (rough):
Boil a quart of honey and skim it (probably not necessary here in the States)
Stir in saffron and powered black pepper
Add enough fine breadcrumbs to make a paste thick enough to cut
Gather into a ball, roll in powdered cinnamon, and pat it into a square or loaf.
To serve: Slice. Garnish each slice with box leaves impaled on cloves
And if you want it colored red, add enough red sandlewood sawdust to color it.

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cheeeese sauce [09 Oct 2005|09:30pm]

djinrain
This is probably the definitive "rumahouli" recipe, one of those that mother always made that has no real measurements beyond "cheese... a bunch", "salt... some", etc. For mac and cheeeese or broccoli with cheeeeese. Or anything else upon which you would like to pour mass quantities of cheese. MMMMMM. Cheese.

one and a half Tablespoons butter
two cups milk
two Tablespoons flour
salt, pepper, and various spices (we use curry powder. mmmmm) to taste
A big hunk of grated cheese of any variety (medium-sharp cheddar is best for mac and cheese, in my humble opinion, though good results have been obtained with extra-sharp and white cheddar over here)

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the spices and flour and let simmer over low heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly.
Gradually add milk. Stir over low heat and allow to simmer a few more minutes.
Add cheese big heaping handfulls at a time. Stir until each addition is melted before adding more. It's "right' when it has reached your personal degree of cheesiness.
My personal degree of cheesiness usually uses a whole whomp-load of cheese.
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