ru: (Default)
Some of you know about the avocado butter experiment, where I modified this recipe for my lunch, using one avocado, melted instead of softened butter, and no cilantro, as I'm not fond of cilantro. So I figured I'd give the second-day report.

Well, unfortunately, I don't think there was enough lemon juice in it, as it still turned brown, much to my chagrin. However! That did not stop it from being tasty. <3 I had it in delicious pocket bread with melted mozzarella, and it was part of a tasty lunch. I plan to have the other half of it with my lunch tomorrow.

Thanks you guys for recommending it to me! <3 <3 <3
ru: (Default)
As mentioned in my last entry, I made butter. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly tipped me off that I wanted to make butter. I dunno if it was a sudden rememberance of making it in the first grade, or just the need to be all old fashioned, or what, but the desire was there. And so, I bought myself a couple of cartons of heavy cream, a container to shake it in, and yesterday I got down to the ancient art of butter making.

For the benefit of the studio audience, a brief overview of the evolution of cream -> butter:
--Cream
--Thick cream
--Whipped cream
--Dead whipped cream
--Protobutter
--Butter and buttermilk

Yes, that's right, if you were to keep whipping that homemade whipped cream you make, you would eventually end up with butter, even if you used 'whipping cream'. So anyway, since I had two cartons of cream, I made butter in two different ways.

First: The oh so nostalgic put-it-in-a-glass-jar-and-shake-the-bejeezus-out-of-it method. Unfortunately, I couldn't get my hands on a glass jar, so I got a plastic container instead. In retrospect, I think I can see why glass jars work better, as the glass is less forgiving than plastic, and it allows more clashing of the cream against itself. It took a lot longer than I expected--almost an hour. I don't remember it taking it that long when I was wee. Then again, I think we all sat in a circle and took turns shaking the jar, so the amount of time I took shaking it wouldn't have been that long. Either way, I was quite happy when I finally heard the sloshy sound of the butter separating out, especially after a long time of the cream being impossibly thick.

If nothing else, it's quite a workout.

Second: Hand mixer! The procedure went a *lot* faster this time, and it seemed to me that it produced more butter. The downside, however, is that you don't get the butter in a nice, happy lump in the middle. Instead, you kinda have to mold it together so you can separate it out from the buttermilk. But, it's a good way to do it if you're in a hurry.

After making said butter, I added some salt and Italian seasoning to it, and sent it off with my family to Thanksgiving whilst I spent it with Eien-chan's family. According to my family, it went over extremely well, which is good. Luckily, however, there was a little left over so I could give it a try. While it's rather hard to manipulate when cold, it's pretty durn tasty, if I do say so myself. It's not something I'd want to make every day, since I imagine full-on butter would really pack on the pounds (we use a lowfat margarine for breads and stuff most of the time). However, for holidays and the like, it's a nice thing to do. <3
ru: (Default)
I like avocados. Yes, big surprise. In particular, I like avocados in sandwiches. Avocado, some tomato and onion, and melted motzarella? Mmm, tasty. The problem, however, is the fact that avocados, like apples, quickly brown and go icky upon being cut. Lemon juice, however, seems to stay this process. Lately, when I wanted to have avocado for lunch at work, what I've had to do is basically take a lemon-soaked avocado half to school with me, and peel and cut it at the table. It's not only impractical, but quite messy.

So, I got to thinking, what if I were to take guacamole? It'd certainly be less messy. So I bought some guacamole and took some with me to work. Unfortunately, it didn't work too well--it still turned brown, and I didn't care much for it anyway, since it had jalepenos in it. I'm not fond of the insanely spicy.

Therefore, I went to plan b: If I can't find a ready-made guacamole that satisfies me, why don't I make some myself? I could mix in lemon juice to keep it from going brown, and I could season it myself so it isn't flamingly hot. The result was a mix of avocado, garlic, chives, pepper, and lots and lots of lemon juice. Unfortunately, it didn't mix very well, I think perhaps because the avocado was a bit underripe, but it was certainly functional, so it went with me today.

The good news is that the avocado stayed perfectly green. The bad news is that I felt like I was eating less avocado and more Pine Sol. So I definitely need to ratchet back the lemon juice, and maybe use an avocado that's a bit riper (although since it was going onto a sandwich instead of being used for chips, I didn't worry too much about the texture). I can probably also mess with the spices a bit too. I'm hoping I can come up with something functional. ^_^
ru: (Default)
Hoo boy. I'll fully admit to the fact that I rarely (actually, never) follow a recipe to the letter. I look at a recipe and go, "Hey, I think this needs x spices, and I don't want capers in there. I'll replace them with olives." Usually, this works out fairly well, especially when a recipe's spices are salt, pepper, salt, and maybe a little white pepper, for the really adventurous. I'm not a fan of OMGSPICY, but I do like my dishes to have flavor. Italian seasoning is the best.

However, the dish currently in the oven marks the first time I've really screwed with the infrastructure of a recipe. I've adapted a recipe put forth by one of my cousins, and blended it with another recipe (then added my own mutations), resulting in a creature that should hopefully be something like a taco with potatoes in a dish with veggies and tater tots on top. The thing is, making it has really required some thought on my part as to how to make it, as I need to rethink how to cook the potatoes, and when the other ingredients should be added so the potatoes have enough time to finish cooking, and at the same time, the tater tots will have enough time to cook as well. I honestly have no idea how it's going to turn out. Either way, I'm thinking of calling it the Very Veggie Tater Tot Taco Bake.

The funny thing is that his recipe is adapted from *another* recipe. It's like culinary evolution in action! The question is, will the dish survive the wilds that is the dinner table, far away from the safety of the oven, long enough to pass its recipe on?

ETA: I think it's a keeper. The only thing I need to change is how long the potatoes bake before adding everything else to it. They were a wee bit raw. Luckily, they cook by themselves, so it's easy enough to fix--just leave them in a bit longer so they have extra time.
ru: (strange)
I'm making mushroom quiche! It's currently baking right now. I hope it'll turn out alright--I'm concerned the quiche filling might be a liiiittle too full for the pan, and I'll have Mt. Egguvius on my hands. Not to mention something about the idea of making quiche is somewhat intimidating to me. Not quite sure what. Either way, here's hoping for eggy and mushroomy goodness!

On a different note, in which we switch into fandom happiness, I've recently been going back with Eien-chan and watching season one of Dr. Who, since I didn't really get into the series until the beginning of season two. While I love my Tenth Doctor goodness, I'm starting to come to the conclusion that the first season has better stories overall. They seem a little more indepth to me, and have a tendency to be a little more involving. I saw "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" yesterday, and it now ranks currently as my favorite story arc from the first season, and not just because of script hilarity ("Bananas are good!") and gas mask zombies.

"The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit" is my favorite from the second season. It has some really wonderful moments between the Doctor and Rose, and there's also fun with religious references and Satan! And also, if there's ever an ep wherein I desperately wanted to see more of the supporting cast it was this one. I would love to see some stories about the crew before the Doctor and Rose came along. Or after, even.
ru: (Default)
#5 isn't something I personally did, but I was nearly witness to what would have been a flavor atrocity had it actually been done. We were standing in line at the local Bruegger's to get lunch when the girl in front of us ordered a BLT. Nothing unusual about that, until the bagel-assembler asked what sort of bagel she wanted, and she replied with chocolate chip. While we were all inwardly going "Ew ew ew ew ew!" she started to come to her senses and asked if a BLT on a chocolate chip bagel would taste good. The bagel-assembler wisely suggested to her that she might want to try something different, and settled on plain. Thus was a culinary crisis averted.

For #6, I found a really spiffy recipe in the newspaper for vegetarian bean soup. What caught my eye about it was that it had noodles in it, and I'm a sucker for noodle soups. So I decided to make it tonight for dinner. While making it, I learned that it's both extremely easy to make, and *fast*--I had to keep it on simmer for an hour or so while I waited for people to come home, because I thought it was going to take much longer than it did to cook. I think it was because of this that it lost so much water and eventually became more stew-like. Either way though, the flavor didn't seem to be affected (I added a bit more italian seasoning than what it called for), and it was rather tasty. It's also incredibly healthy--very little fat and no cholesterol, and since we used all low-sodium things for the canned beans etc, it was pretty low salt too. And thanks to the beans, it was very filling. All in all, I think it went well. ^_^
ru: (Default)
After buying too much baby bok choy for a stir fry we had last week, I decided that it might be fun to, instead of trying to cram the extra into the stir fry, to save the bunches to play around with. People always equate bok choy with stir fry, so I thought to myself, "Well, self, what other sorts of things could we do with it?" I had three bunches to try different things with.

The first idea was to use it as a sort of lettuce substitute. I used fresh bok choy in a tuna pita, which was an interesting experience. I think using the whole bok choy leaf was a bad idea, since it seemed a little bitter. Alternatively, it might be okay if I used less than what I did, as the bunch was pretty substantial for baby bok choy. I do wonder, though, how it would've been with a different sandwich-type item, such as egg salad. I think this'll require a bit more experimentation.

The second bunch was admittedly used in a cop out--I made stir fry with it. ^_^;; I used half of a bag of Morning Star fake steak, some onion, pepper, and the bok choy, and it was absolutely tasty. <3 <3

The third bunch I think was better utilized than the first. I used it as an addition to a motzarella and tomato grilled cheese sandwich. The first flip of the sandwich was difficult, as it completely fell apart, requiring me to use two spatulas to reassemble it, but cooking it went a little smoother afterwards. Bok choy in grilled cheese tasted a little like broccoli, which makes sense, since they're related and all. I think this is something to try again at some point. ^_^
ru: (Default)
In a fit of inspiration, I decided to play Iron Chef: Lunch last night, and came up with what I think was essentially tomato-motzarella salad on a bagel. I like tomato-motzarella salad, but the oil can wreak havoc on my stomach, so I figured I'd take the good parts from it and make it into a sandwich type thing. The result was motzarella cheese on a sesame bagel that was then popped into the microwave for about 30 seconds, then followed by sliced roma tomatoes and a few basil leaves. The result I found to be rather tasty, though the basil was somewhat overpowering. I think next time I'll use less. It was, however, a yummy change from the egg salad kick I've been on. <3 <3 <3
ru: (Default)
A while back, I picked up a vegetarian cookbook from the local used book store, looking for some tasty new recipes to try out. One of them caught my eye, because it involved several vegetables I've never really tried before, including parsnips, rudabegas, turnips, and kohlrabi. And so, I made it as a side dish for dinner tonight. Unfortunately, two of the root veggies it called for (celeriac and kohlrabi, namely. I'm still annoyed that I couldn't find the latter. After all, you can find brussels sprouts and broccoli at the grocery store. They're all the same species.), so I substituted them with potatoes. The cookbook has a tendency to be a little detail-obsessive (ex: A lot of recipes call for not just tomatoes, but peeled and de-seeded tomatoes. That's a lot of unnecessary work), so I adjusted a lot of the items in it, such as using an equivalent of dried ginger for the fresh grated ginger the recipe calls for.

I still have mixed feelings about how it turned out. It's definitely unusual, and it has an intense orange flavor that I'm still wondering might need to be toned down a bit. It grew on me after a while, though. In any case, though, I think it would be a really good fall/Thanksgiving dish. I'll need to fuss with it though, and see if I can improve the flavor a bit. There was the suggestion to add sweet potatoes into it, or to add raisins as a garnish to it, so I'll probably mess around with those ideas.
ru: (luna-weirdness)
I've decided to start documenting my adventures in cooking in a more formatted way, and as such are naming them as experiments, seeing as many of them really are. I think even new recipes out of a cookbook are experiments in their own right, since one's trying them out for the first time, and you never really know how they'll turn out, in that instance.

But in this instance, this is something I've created on my own, modifying a key lime pie recipe and adding a second recipe to it. I took the normal key lime pie recipe I've been using, and instead of putting it into one big crust, I put them into 12 little tart crusts. After baking them, I made some chocolate ganache using a second recipe I found, stuck that on top, and then threw them into the fridge to chill.

My initial reaction to this experiment is that they baked okay, and I think I have something here, as indicated by my own tasting and through the analysis of my official taste tester (who goes by the name "Dad"), but the chocolate portion needs work. As is, it's much too weak to stand up to the intense limey flavor. I'm guessing I need to either find a stronger chocolate, or decrease the amount of cream in the recipe. Hm. This'll require some more experimentation.

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