Wednesday, November 26, 2008

no but for real

sorry about that lack of posting... new job + boston makes jack a dull boy.

so yeah-- true life: i've been living on deli sandwiches. but happy thanksgiving, everybody!

today was big news in the dessert world:

salted caramel sauce
a cheesecake
and pumpkin souffles.

more on savories tomorrow.

even though there are no pictures, the salted caramel sauce is totally kickass and delicious... like bougie style in hot chocolate, over cheesecake, ice cream. oh salt, let me count the ways. ps read this book; it's awesome.

1 cup sugar
4 oz butter (half a stick)
1/2 cup cream
sea salt to taste (2 pinches)

put the sugar in your sturdiest pot and heat it over medium high heat. don't stir it, just lift the pan and let the sugar sift back and forth. eventually it'll melt and turn nutty brown. that's the good stuff-- caramel/butterscotch never ceases to amaze me.

add the butter (foam!), stir and take the pot off the heat. add a pinch of salt. now pour in the cream and stir well. see if you think it needs more salt-- another pinch makes it really punchy and delicious.

let it cool, pour it over something.

but more importantly... PUMPKIN SOUFFLES.
i was kind of beat-ass tired while making these, but they really are a fluffy and fun alternative to pumpkin pie. gourmet magazine knows what's up.

1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice & cloves (1 tsp total) or just 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin (not a whole can, which is kind of a pain in the ass. but you could use the rest for.... anythingomgpumpkinpumpkinpumpkinfallfallfall)
10 egg whites
pinch salt

--heat up the milk, cornstarch and spices until the milk boils and it thickens. like pudding! hoowee.
--remove from heat & add pumpkin & let it hang out another burner.
--oven to 400. butter those ramekins and dust with some sugar. what's that you say? no ramekins? yeah, i don't know.
--beat the egg whites with a little salt in a cleaner than clean bowl until they hold soft peaks. add the sugar (3/4 cups) and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy (a few more minutes)
--fold (gently!) 1/3 of the whites into the pumpkin mix. then add the rest. "gently but thoroughly"
--fill up your ramekins. i guess you could try it in a bigger dish, but my large-scale souffle attempts have turned out really sheisty.
--bake until the tops are golden, 18-20 minutes.
--gotta catch 'em all! each up before they deflate.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

fondue stuffed squash

Well team, it's almost time for that most food-related of holidays. I also fare pretty well on the allergy front: except for some nutty stuffings and the occasional a-hole who brings pecan pie, thanksgiving dinner is pretty lily-proof.

And while I actually pretty much just gorge myself on dad's stuffing and cranberry sauce and squash and call it a night, Thanksgiving has kind of a bad rep of being "food sensitivity" unfriendly.

And so this entry begins the list of delicious nut-free soy-free vegetarian fall-like dishes... add your own ideas or "lily's test kitchen" possibilities in the comments.

This recipe comes with a book review! I just finished Tender at the Bone, Ruth Reichl (NYT food editor and editor-in-chief of Gourmet) 's memoir. It's one of those brilliant "not-mentally-taxing-but-not-trashy" books that are kind of hard to find. Because while none of the stories involve her doing anything too noteworthy, her writing is big fun and the stories are all about food. Which makes me happy because everything in my life is kind of about food, too.

After cooking my fondue-stuffed squash featured in this month's Gourmet, I got to the part of the book where she invents the dish in college. Something about the double whammy of reading about the delicious lunch I had just made warmed my heart.

Fondue-stuffed squash

QUICK AND DIRTY (serves one or two. really just one if it's your meal):
a squash (acorn! or your favorite, but round is good)
a crusty roll
fondue in a box

Preheat the oven to 450.
Slice the roll and toast it well.
Cut the squash 3/4 and 1/4, so that it is like a bowl with a small cap on top, scoop out the seeds and create a good sized hollow.
Layer the toast and fondue generously inside the hollowed out squash, put the cap back on, cook for an hour or so until the squash is tender. Now eat it!

a pumpkin
a sliced baguette (probably will be leftovers, just... eat them!)
1 cup cream
1 cup veggie broth
pinch nutmeg
glug white wine
2 1/2 cups each, Gruyere and Emmenthal

You get the drill: 450, toast the bread and prepare the pumpkin.
Mix the nutmeg into the cream.
Layer the toast with the cheese, broth, cream and wine. It will all get copacetic inside the oven, so don't fret too much about mixing.
Cook for about an hour and a half until the pumpkin is soft and your kitchen smells like heaven.

breaking election news

this cracks me up.

spotted here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

curried sweet potato pressed wraps

Moosewood calls these roti, but I am such a gringo that I can't really call them that with a straight face, especially since I forgot to steam the tortillas and I would never want to disgrace the real roti love of my life... roti roll. I did hand grind the spices in our mortar and pestle though-- if only to laugh at the fact that we have a mortar and pestle kicking around-- so that was kind of "authentic." But mostly, yeah, these are just delicious wraps.

Also, I think the fact that the authenticity or not of my sandwiches makes me think of Baudrillard means it's time for grad school. You hear that, grad schools?

Anyways, this is kind of a lot of prep for a goddamn sandwich, but the filling is extremely delicious and they were still good cold at work the next day. So try it out, y'all.

Curried Sweet Potato Roti

from the moosewood low-fat cookbook... kind of.

handful of seitan strips, chopped pretty small (would be fine without it though)
3 sweet potatoes
half an onion
some garlic
half a lime (ok, you got me! a whole lime, put the other half in your corona)
pinch of each:
mustard seeds
cayenne pepper
ginger (fresh, if you have it)
(if you are missing some of these, don't sweat. "caribbean tasting spices" could also include nutmeg or allspice. if all else fails, got any garam masala?)

Wash the skins, now microwave those sweet potatoes in a bowl for like 5-6 minutes until they're cooked... while you're doing that, chop and fry the onion and garlic.
Let the potatoes cool, then wrestle them out of their skins, stick in a bowl and mash with a fork, squeezing the lime juice in there. Now add the spices and the onion and seitan. Smells gooood.

Microwave the tortillas for a few seconds with a wet paper towel so that they are pliable, then fill up and stick 'em in a sandwich press, forman grill, or in a skillet with a smaller pan on top until they are kind of brown and quite warm. Get a load of Moosewood's suggestion: wrap in tin foil and heat in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Wacca wacca wacca.

Monday, November 10, 2008

candied bacon

Ever since I first googled it I have been captivated-- utterly-- by the idea of making candied bacon. I love bacon so much that one time I ate a beggin' strip because it looked so much like bacon. They taste pretty bad though, take my word for it.

Anyways, even after that feel-good kosher-friendly seitan binge of last week (& I'm snackin' on those chewy little guys right now, don't you worry) something rang out in my soul when I was reading this edible brooklyn magazine in Alex's apartment and some dude said "pigs are 95 percent candy." And that is the truth.

bacon candy

a couple strips of bacon
a handful or so of brown sugar

Lay the bacon on a cookie sheet or better yet, a rack over a cookie sheet. Parchment paper is your friend, here, if you have some lying around. Pat the sugar down on top of the bacon.

Bake on 350 for 25 minutes.

Oh yes, success. What's that you say? I am a latter day Homer Simpson and going to die soon? Yes and probably. But you are going to have to pry this bacon from my cold, dead hands.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

hippie seitan

Since I am allergic to soy, I am no great believer in fake meats. Plus, as a border-line hippie I am always nervous of hard-core hippies with their ideals and patchouli. But if there's one thing I learned from Zen Palate, it is that I freaking love seitan. It's so chewy and wholesome feeling and not fatty or filled with reminders that you are eating an animal. Seitan is kind of the poster child for Michael Pollan's "diet advice" that the Shiras related this weekend and I kind of fell in love with:

eat food, not too much, mostly plants.

In any event, I would never think to reintroduce something so p.c. and urbane into my suburban lifestyle, but some cockamamie Moosewood recipe called for seitan, so I booked it to the independent natural foods store in town to pick up some vital wheat protein (awww) and tried my hand. Seitan is actually really easy and cheap to make, so if you don't like to cook meat (like this kid) you should for sure make some seitan, because it is hardcore protein and also cooks up real nice in a stir fry and you don't have to have the weight of a brutal meat industry on your shoulders or worry about getting salmonella or whatever it is that those hippie vegans are always telling you. Score!


1 1/3 cup vital wheat gluten (if you live somewhere normal, pick this up at the grocery store or whole foods. if you live somewhere with trees, it might be more of a hunt)
1 cup water
vegetable broth or some kind of substitute (soy sauce, veggie bouillion, ginger, garlic, grill seasoning, dried mushrooms...)

Mix the gluten into the water, and then knead like crazy. It'll probably take a good five minutes or so. You want to toughen those gluten fibers-- like the opposite of muffins, you know that whole stir until barely combined thing-- so really go for it. Especially if you want your end product to be dense and chewy instead of... kind of puffy and chewy.

Form a log as best you can and let it rest while you boil your broth. I didn't realize that there would be broth involved in this operation, but found in my cupboard none other than the BOOTLEG VEGAN BOUILLION that Miles & I used to steal from the cupboards in germany to flavor pretty much everything we tried to cook. Turns out it still makes a horrifying veggie broth; I dumped it and started over with mushrooms, soy sauce, that kind of stuff. As it boils, cut your well rested seitan into strips. Boil these guys for 5-10 minutes.

You now have the equivalent of uncooked tofu! But way better. So cook it up instead of meat and chew your way to a more ethical lifestyle. Change you can believe in.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mustardy Kale with Bacon

Aaaah, back from the most recent stop on my "weekend socialization" campaign. It has been rocking my world to visit old roommates and eat my favorite foods-- apparently my fondest memories of college are all completely food-centric. Maybe someday soon Shira will guest-blog about how to make her amazing pasta with onions I was so thrilled to have again this weekend. Those leftovers saved my stressed-out, veggie-corn-dog munching ass from total uselessness about a thousand times.

Anyways...D.C! The only bummer was that on the last day, I ordered a coconut rice pudding and what should have been a delicious mid-morning snack was covered in almonds. Serves me right. Double drama: my recreation in which I tried to be a top chef and make up my own recipe is HIDEOUS. The milk separated and I am ashamed. It was actually very tasty, but no recipe, because I don't want something up here that you have to eat with your eyes closed.

But my mom made something delicious! Behold:

Mustardy Kale with Bacon
from Gourmet

3 lbs kale, chop roughly and toss the tough bits
4 bacon slices
1 bunch scallions, chopped
2 tbsp grainy mustard

Cook the kale in a big pot of water until it is tender (12 minutes or so)
Fry up the bacon! Oh bacon, you are so beautiful to me. Also, my new hobby is prostheletizing for this candy bar:

If you eat meat, eat one of these asap. Maybe someday I will make my own... or maybe it will just end up looking exactly like the rice pudding, so eerily similar to barf that I wish I had tried it before halloween so that I could serve it as a spoooooky dessert.

Oh yeah, now put the bacon on some paper towels, pour off the fat, and cook the scallions. Now put the kale and mustard in there too.

Sautee until the greens are very tender, another 10 mintues or so, then crumble the bacon on top. Hooooweee.

PS: VOTE. Obviously you will, but, you know, just vote. Also Starbucks will give you a free coffee if you do!