cooking Archive

Pretty Pics of my Surroundings

Brunch is especially yummy today #cooking

Pretty Pics of my Surroundings

Curry (minus inflammatory spices) in progress #cooking #curry

Pretty Pics of my Surroundings

Trying out making parsnips and wilted spinach. Needed to read label at grocery store to identify bunches of spinach. #cooking #healthy #spinach #goodthingicanread

Pretty Pics of my Surroundings

Quinoa-thickened mushroom broccoli leek soup with chicken, in progress. #cooking #soup #quinoa

Pretty Pics of my Surroundings

Shrimp scampi turned out yummy and feels so good on my sore throat #yummy #cooking

Pretty Pics of my Surroundings

Dried mushrooms too time consuming. Substituted broccoli, ginger, and shallots for showrooms in soup recipe. #cooking #soup #diy

Gingerbread Cookies, Vegetarian Sushi and Snow Peas Beef (PICS)

I had a really nice time during the holiday season this year. Had a great time with my family and learned to cook some new things. Never really used to cook, although I’m a champion eater, but I’ve been getting pretty good at it since the economy tanked. My curious brain requires constant stimuli and challenges and, oddly enough, cooking apparently bubbled to the top, in the absence of enough business stuff to keep the system whirring 24/7. I made gingerbread cookies for the first time since when I would have done it with my mom and been knee-high to her. My recipe was very different because I wanted really soft cookies. They turned out kind of ugly but delicious.

Partly, I did not want to make gingerbread men. Eating anthropomorphized food kind of troubles me. If you are going to be a cannibal, do it for real or don’t, go big or go home. So, anyway, my gingerbread cookies were just kind of misshapen circles and wedges and not gingerbread men or whatever gingerbread boys are. I swear I saw a lot of recipes for gingerbread boys, when I was figuring out options, but I didn’t look too closely at what the difference is between gingerbread boys and gingerbread men.

I also learned how to make snow peas beef. Being able to make giant portions of something I love so much, only being able to make them with all organic and high quality ingredients is kinda great.

And I learned how to make vegetarian sushi. I stuffed mine with gobo, carrots, avocado, and scallions. The white rice sushi rolls were way easier to get right than the brown rice ones. My brown rice sushi rolls looked drunk and pretty much had to be eaten with a spoon (or both hands, if messy.) But I’m pleasantly surprised and proud of how the white rice ones turned out.

How do you make marshmallows? (PICS)

My second attempt at making marshmallows has gone so swimmingly much better than my first that I felt words could not do the difference justice. Fortunately, I have a whole lot of photographic equipment I should be using to shoot rockstars and naked people. But there isn’t a lot of budget for that sort of thing in the current economy. So here is my marshmallows visual aid. Both batches were made with roughly the same recipe.

how to make marshmallows

This time, when I heated the sugar, I was very careful to mix it thoroughly. I also set the candy thermometer to sound the alarm at a lower temperature than I was aiming for, and I aimed for a temp approx seven degrees cooler than last time. Plus I heated the gelatin. The result has only been setting for a few hours, so it is not quite ready for me to melt down portions to make crispy rice treats. But I think it is definitely going to work well this time.

Full disclosure: The really gross-looking glop on the left tasted more like a fruit glace and caramel than marshmallows and it made the crispy rice treats kinda soggy. But it actually was pretty yummy too.

Because marshmallows are made with only the whites of eggs, I now feel compelled to make crème brulée with every batch. Crème brulée is surprisingly easy to make, especially as compared with marshmallows.

The Expendables, Inglourious Basterds, and Honey from the Tombs of Pharaohs

The Expendables, Inglourious Basterds, and Honey from the Tombs of Pharaohs
by Amelia G : August 20th, 2010

My refrigerator smells like a hangover.

Thanks so much for all the great birthday wishes yesterday, everyone! I had a really enjoyable birthday and the well-wishes definitely contributed.

I kicked off the day watching Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. I’m a big Tarantino fan, and I think Brad Pitt and Eli Roth are really cool, but, if you’ve ever watched somebody else fill out forms in triplicate or tie their shoes really slowly, then you’ve basically already seen this movie. Creative cinematography, amusing character concepts, good directing, and good acting could not save the dullness of Inglorious Basterds. The flick seemed like it had a host of nifty little Easter egg sort of factoids for film students, but I didn’t find that aspect gripped. Still, I’d been meaning to watch it, so getting to was still a good thing.

Then I learned how to make slow-roasted barbecue ribs. The reason my refrigerator still smells like a hangover is that, after I did the dry rub portion of the process, Jack Daniels figured prominently in the recipe I put together. It was more challenging than I expected to put together a ribs recipe because barbecue is more regionally variable in the United Stats than I had had any idea. According to Amazing Ribs, one of the most useful sites of the many I referenced, there are twelve distinct styles of barbecue saucing and spicing.

Blue Blood

I decided I wanted to use honey as part of my recipe. Some years ago, I used to take honey in my morning iced latte, and I bought some really delicious raw gourmet honey. I eventually cut it out, because I was trying to lower my calorie and sugar intake, but I still had most of a container sitting in the fridge. The honey still smelled as delicious as the day I bought it and it looked the same. So I asked the internet how long does honey keep before it goes bad.

Barroom trivia question: What is the only food which never ever goes bad? Answer: You guessed correctly, if you assumed from context (or already knew) that the answer is honey. People have been able to enjoy eating (and successfully digesting) honey from 5,000-year-old pyramids.

It is a really good thing I’m not obscenely rich. I always make resolutions around my birthday and around New Years. If I had no responsibilities, I would totally dedicate the next year of my life to getting to taste the honey deemed worthy for the afterlife of dead kings. The ancient Egyptians apparently believed that the dead needed good snacks and honey was felt to be such a perfect food offering that many mummies were entombed with a honey jar next to their final resting places. Well, final until Egyptologist archeologists and pyramids grave robbers came along to taste their snacks and take their treasures. Supposedly, honey made in the 1800’s can still be purchased today and tastes quite different from modern honey, but I haven’t successfully found any available online yet. (All links to such sources are very welcome.)

So, after learning all about barbecue and honey, and making ribs, then it was time for cake. I had triple berry cake and princess cake (and walnut wheat bread) from Sweet Lady Jane, which is, for my money, the best cake in Southern California. (Although a book club I’m in did get cupcakes from somewhere else earlier this month, in honor of my birthday, and they were pretty delicious too.)

I topped off the evening watching Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables in . . .

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