Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
- Eating out should be avoided. That being said, I will not turn down a free meal but all unplanned free meals must have a planned meal as a back-up (ie. I cannot go to work without a packed lunch because they're having training in my office and I might be able to snag something). In an effort to be sociable, I can have one planned meal out once a week. Starbucks can happen two times a month.
- Every effort should be made to make meals from scratch. I will eventually find something that I can't make myself or the equipment/materials to make the ingredient is cost prohibitive on a home scale. Balsamic vinegar comes to mind.
- Comparisons of commercially produced products to the homemade equivalent will be documented. I really enjoyed doing the pumpkin pie test.
- Food must be prepared for travel lasting less than two days. This is actually an extension of guideline #1 but I log a good number of frequent flier miles and I don't like ending lists on #4.
- DBF is exempt from guideline #1 if he's spending his own money but I will offer to pack him breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday.
Phase 2 will involve baking, lots of baking. I make an OK white bread and quick breads but I need to work on replacing the hamburger and hot dog rolls that I purchase from the store.
Phase 3 is getting into serious canning. I'll be making sauerkraut between Christmas and New Years but the major canning goals for 2011 are: apple sauce, tomato sauce, strawberry preserves, bread and butter pickles, corn (creamed and regular), and green beans. This will replace the majority of the canned goods that I purchase.
I'm still trying to figure this out so things will change. What are your food plans?
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I'm getting ahead of myself...every year, I order a pound of good Kona coffee for future father in-law's (FFIL) Christmas gift. I order from UCC because I've been to the plantation, done the tour and roasted my own coffee. In short, I know they have good product...just the sort of thing to give to a FIL.
Did I mention that they called me last week to apologize for their ordering system thinking that they had ground pea berry in stock? And they understood why I couldn't order the whole bean (whole bean pea berry is in stock)...it's a gift and I'm not buying a grinder to go with the coffee.
Anyway, I was impressed with their customer service. Not e-mails...personal service, something I find a rarity nowadays (especially when you consider that it's just a $30 order). If you're in the market for high quality Kona coffee then I recommend UCC. They're friendly people that are passionate about coffee.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I will be making corn bread (more on that later), mashed potatoes, minted peas, asparagus and pumpkin pie. I was going to make buttered carrots for some color contrast but DBF's mom doesn't like cooked carrots. We sat down to dinner last year and, to my horror, I realized that other than the broccoli and cranberries we were eating a meal in shades of brown. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn bread and sausage dressing...brown, brown, brown... So this year we'll have two greens.
Corn bread...corn bread...corn bread. I will be making 5 pans (that's 2.5 recipes) of corn bread this year. Two pans for DBF to take to his office party, two for a Thanksgiving dinner I'm not attending and one pan for the one that I'm hosting. I made the first two pans last night and they do not want to pop out of their pans...hopefully this is not foreshadowing of events to come. I only have two pans! I can't afford to let them leave the house, I need at least one for my own dinner, and I don't want to pre-cut the cornbread because that will lead to dryness. Seriously, the recipe starts with melting 3 sticks of butter...and lubing up the pan...and they're still stuck!
DBF's parents will be here tomorrow. The house is almost FMIL clean and I narrowly avoided being sick. Hurray for OTC cold medications!
I'd like to wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving. I hope that you're able to spend the day with people that you care about.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The crust was store bought, I'll probably make it from scratch for the big day, so the only difference between the two pies was the puree. Yes, the fresh puree was more yellow than the canned. They both...tasted like pumpkin. But when one's entire pumpkin experience is likely based upon consumption of the canned product...one does not have a good baseline for comparison. The consistency was the same, I was very careful to remove the stringy bits prior to puree.
A day of puree draining and an hour in the oven later...pies! As you can see, I used my ceramic pie plates. Can you guess which one is which? Hmm? Can you? The one on the right, green pie plate, is the one that I made from scratch.
As exciting as preparing to bake and actually baking the pies was...eating the pie is better. I conducted a blind taste test with DBF and Evil Minion.
Scratch: Spicier. More bitter.
Canned: Molassesy. Sweeter.
Does not want me to watch her as she eats the pie...a reasonable request.
Canned: Tastes more vegetably. Sweeter. Molassesy.
I don't know if it was worth the work to process the pumpkin. Either my pumpkins weren't very sweet to begin with or there's something in the canning process that causes the puree to become sweeter, probably the extra heat. If the goal is to capture the flavor of the harvest then yes, it is worth the extra work to prepare the puree yourself. If you believe, as I do, that the intentions of the cook can influence the flavor of the food then yes, cut out as much of the external processing as possible. If you only need to make one pie a year to keep the future mother-in-law (FMIL) happy then...make it from scratch or at least make it look like you made it from scratch. I have enough puree to make this year's pie from scratch but I might be dumping out a can of puree into a container that I can conveniently remove from the refrigerator when FMIL watches me bake. Me? Evil? Never...
Monday, November 15, 2010
“I had a monumental idea this morning, but I didn't like it.” - Samuel Goldwyn (1882 - 1974)
I have a couple of posts of actual substance kicking around in my brain but they aren’t fully formed, at least not enough for me to communicate to somebody that doesn’t know me in real life. What happened to the posting schedule? I could make excuses about how I had to work late, or how I’ve been cleaning the house, or I was agonizing over my contributions two “light lunches,” or that I might have had a gallbladder attack (bad Penguin didn’t go to the doctor). But I said I was going to do something and I didn’t do it; that seems to be a recurring theme in my life lately. I could have…should have…but didn’t…prepare a month of standalone posts that I could use if I didn’t have time to write a post prior to the “re-launch” of Kitchen Penguin. The past is past and the future will be here all too soon, the present situation is that I don’t have filler posts so I’m four posts behind.
What I do have is three pumpkins worth of puree sitting in a cheesecloth lined colander draining into a large bowl in my refrigerator. There will be pie in the office tomorrow! I used the method described on Eating Rules to process the sugar pumpkins. I also have a can of Farmer's Market Organic Pumpkin so this will be a side by side taste test...is processing the pumpkin worth the effort? My initial observation is that the fresh pumpkin is yellower, because it wasn't heated in a can, but I don't generally go around eating unadulterated pumpkin puree so I don't have a good comparison on the flavor. The fresh puree tastes...well...like pumpkin. I wouldn't call it sweet but I wouldn't call it flavorless; it would make a good soup. There will be photos and reactions from my test subjects...DBF and co-workers...
T-10 days to Thanksgiving...are you ready?
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Steamy tendrils rise
One less thing that I can burn
Three cups rice washed plus
One knuckle water, press start
What's in your kitchen that's worthy of counter space?
Monday, November 1, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The calendar widget is also a real time window into the scheduling part of my brain. The lentil soup moved a day back and the lunches shifted around to accommodate the glut of leftovers. I'll eventually expand the calendar entries to include ingredient lists as well.
Small post for today, I'm working on something longer for Friday. In the immortal words of Bill S. Preston, esq "Be excellent to each other."
Monday, October 25, 2010
It was a mad house in the store at 9 AM. Thankfully, my shopping companion and I already had our cards so we didn't have to stand in the 20+ people deep lines at all the entrances. The main entrance, as with every Wegmans that I've ever been to, funneled the crowd into the vegetable section and that was a huge bottle neck. However, I must commend Wegmans on signage, traffic control, and having an employee in every aisle.
Bigger than a bread box differences:
- There is a sit down restaurant. I had the mahi mahi sandwich and my companion had the crab cake sandwich, both very tasty meal options. We would have stayed for dessert but the band was starting their set and it was VERY loud in the Market Cafe. I understand that the restaurant is where they hold the cooking classes.
- The store layout is flipped. The bakery, meat and prepared meals are to the left of the entrance; these things are to the right in the Hunt Valley and Potomac locations. Yes, there are other locations with these things on the left of the entrance but I usually shop at Hunt Valley so it was initially confusing for me.
- Where are the penguins and cow? The model train was there but no penguins and cow.
- Still too far north for Cheerwine. Also, they don't have Diet Canada Dry Ginger Ale in anything smaller than a 2 liter bottle (important to my shopping companion).
- Fabulous cheese department. OK, I admit to being biased because I have a friend that works in this department.
- The only non-"baby" carrots in bags were Organic. While I do tend to prefer to purchase organic vegetables, I found the lack of options interesting.
- Maybe I don't pay enough attention in the fruit section of the Hunt Valley Wegmans...they have passion fruit in Woodmore.
- I really need to take a walk down the aisles in Hunt Valley because I didn't know that Wegmans includes the UK in their international foods section. They have McVitie's Penguins! Also, Jamaican guava jelly (a possible alternative when I run out of my supply from Hawaii).
- "Baby" carrots (on the short list of vegetables that DBF eats)
- Red seedless grapes
- Pacific Vegetable Stock
- Pacific Low Sodium Chicken Stock
- Pretzel rolls
- Bagels (plain, egg, blueberry, raisin & marco polo)
- Gluten free pretzels (for a picnic next week)
- Cream cheese
- Milk brie (should have used the $1 off coupon in the magazine but didn't see it until we got home) (for a picnic next week)
- Port Salut (for a picnic next week)
- Prosciutto (for a picnic next week)
- Sirloin steak ($1 off coupon)
- Butter (Free with $10 purchase)
- Bread (Free with $10 purchase)
Friday, October 22, 2010
What's happening in the kitchen? We have acquired a side board that is now storing the service for 8 that DBF's mother gave us, my teapot & tea bowl collection, and eventually the crystal glasses (I'm making DBF help me move those from the cupboard). I'm getting rid of a small George Foreman grill (an item from my college days), Sunbeam Hotshot, and V slicer (it's a pain to clean so I don't use it). All this freed up enough cupboard space so that I could get the big Cuisinart and Kitchen Aid stand mixer off the counter. Small appliances still on the counter: toaster oven (needs to be replaced), electric kettle (used every morning), coffee grinder (also used every morning), and rice cooker. Once I get the crystal out of the cupboard next to the sink then I can move all the cups and mugs that don't live on the display/book shelves into the same cupboard. Why am I doing all this? After three years, I'm finally organizing the kitchen in the way that makes sense to me...as opposed to how DBF set it up when he bought the house.
I have a very strong suspicion that I'll be receiving some small kitchen appliances for Christmas from DBF and his parents. His mother doesn't believe that I would actually want a waffle maker, stick blender, or blender...but I do...I REALLY do!
What about cooking? Oh yeah! There will be a pie comparison, homemade pumpkin puree vs canned. I need to test out side dishes. DBF is making lamb so I don't need to worry about cranberries this year. I was thinking about making a chorizo and mushroom strudel as a stuffing alternative for the turkey but I don't think chorizo and lamb go together very well. Or am I mistaken? Maybe some 3-Cheese Baked Cauliflower, this recipe looks promising and DBF just said that he might eat it. What do you like with your lamb?
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
So, what's happened since the last time I posted?
- Went to and returned from a month in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM).
- I am continuing to support our GOM operations from my home office.
- As a result, DBF and I have been eating out WAY too much.
- My bestest GF is moving to WA at the end of the week so we've been spending a lot of time together.
- Our garage freezer iced over, thus causing the door to wedge open, and we lost the contents while I was in GOM.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Happy Cooking! - KP
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Happy Cooking! - KP
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I thought that I could turn my sporadic posts on LiveJournal into a full fledged cooking blog and did alright, for the most part, for a month. But now I'm at a loss because, frankly, I don't think my cooking is that exciting. So I'm turning to you, my friends and readers, to figure out where this blog is going. I'd like to continue to create content but the more I write about cooking the more I realize that I just cook the same handful of dishes every month. Yes, I occasionally pull out something new or something that I haven't made in awhile but for the most part it's the same go-to meals.
Brewing is turning out to be a dud. I haven't made anything since last year and I still haven't bottled that stout, it's going down the drain. I also still haven't finished my ice wine kit, hopefully it isn't skunked because that's a $100 kit.
Things are stuck at KP HQ and something needs to change. Due to some budget constraints, I need to save up for a trip in October, we're going to eating out of the pantry and freezers for a few months with supplemental fresh produce from the farmers' market and eventually the garden (if I ever get around to buying top soil).
Bueller? Bueller? Anybody out there?
Happy cooking! - KP
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
It has been quiet here in KP HQ. We just bought a new washer and dryer so I was focusing on researching the purchase. Work has been hectic and the days are flying by; I think I lost Monday and Tuesday last week...I was shocked when Wednesday rolled around. Unfortunately, the house doesn't clean itself and I haven't had the inclination to cook. I'm in a funk but I have an upcoming project to pull me out of the haze.
I'm doing a day board in August. Nothing fancy, just little finger foods for a local event. There isn't a specific theme, no time period or country, so I'm looking to Eastern Europe for inspiration. The tentative menu includes:
- Cucumber & yogurt dip (I might make the yogurt from scratch)
- Flat bread (not sure if I'm buying or making my own)
- Spiced and plain feta
- Eggs stuffed with mushrooms (really tasty, I made it for a feast years ago)
- Chicken with walnut sauce (cold)
- Tiny meatballs with pine nuts and raisins (kept warm in a crock pot)
- Eggplant caviar
- Tea and lemonade (from syrup of lemon)
Happy Cooking! - KP
Friday, April 23, 2010
What is a whisk? It's a tool that aerates and blends your food. The precursor to the modern whisk was a bundle of twigs; I don't even want to think about making Snow with a bundle of twigs.
Why a balloon whisk? Their shape is ideal for whisking things in bowls and in most pans. There are many different shapes, most of them for specific purposes or pan shapes, but I think this is the best all purpose option.
What should you look for? Firstly, a comfortable grip/handle Nobody is going to want to use a tool that doesn't feel good in the hand. A heat resistant silicone coated model would be useful if you intend to make a roux or use the whisk on any of your nonstick or enameled cookware. The loops should be sturdy and the piece that keeps them separated should also be sturdy.
What can you do with it? Make whipped cream, mousse, meringue, roux, Snow, matcha (powdered green tea)...
Happy cooking! - KP
Thursday, April 22, 2010
So yeah, hamburgers with homemade gouda that I got for Christmas. I still need to pick up some lettuce and organic condiments.
Things coming up: gear post tomorrow, oyako donburi post on Monday, and Brew Moon on Wednesday.
Happy Cooking! - KP
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I'm going to check out the David's Natural Market in Gambrills on my way home tonight and will hopefully have more luck. If not, I'll have to go to Whole Foods where I know they carry local eggs, dairy, meat and some produce.
I still need to buy dirt for my vegetable garden because 3 years of compost doesn't amount to enough to fill my planter boxes. Yes, planter boxes because I'm not building raised beds this year. Why? Because I forgot that I have daffodils in the front of the house, where I was planning on putting some lettuce, so I need to spend the year recording what comes up in what bed. Self watering planter boxes made from recycled plastic. I can put the boxes on the lanai and hopefully won't forget to water them. The little basil plant that DBF got me is still alive and I'm trying to grow some green onion that I bought at the store. I buy the green onion for cooking then save the bottoms, that usually have some root left over, and let the roots grow out a little in a cup of water before planting them in a pot. This is how my great grandmother grew her green onion so I know it works.
Ideally I'll cook something locally sourced tomorrow. If not local then organic. If not organic then from a locally owned store.
Happy cooking! - KP
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
- Use a reusable bottle/travel mug/grocery bag.
- Buy and eat locally grown products.
- Cook a vegetarian meal.
- Bring a lunch from home in a reusable container and skip the packaging associated with buying lunch.
- Eat a piece of fruit instead of drinking the juice, you get more fiber and generally less packaging this way.
- Plant some vegetables or herbs.
Happy Cooking! - KP
Friday, April 16, 2010
Some people prefer pencil thin stalks and others prefer the more mature thick stalks; I like them all! Cleaning asparagus for cooking is simple, cut or break off the ends on and you're done. Some people like to shave down the thicker stalks. The important thing is to have stalks of similar diameter so that you have even cooking.
Asparagus can be steamed on the stove or in the microwave. The photo for this post is from the feast kitchen at an event I attended recently. The cooks had tied up the bunches with aluminum foil, you can also use string, so they could stand the asparagus up in the pot for steaming. I walked past the door and thought that the little bouquets of asparagus were so beautiful that I had to take a picture.
How do you like to prepare your asparagus? DBF will only eat it if it has been pickled in balsamic vinegar. I like mine chilled and dipped in mayonnaise, on a salad, in a stir fry, wrapped in bacon...I just plain like asparagus.
|Happy cooking! - KP|
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I hope to do a better update later today or tomorrow. Until then, happy cooking!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
As I've mentioned before, I like to cook multiple batches of food then freeze the leftovers for future meals. I have containers of various soups, baked pasta, and things on rice sitting in my freezer at home; but I don't have any at work. DBF and I went over to our friends' house for a monthly gathering and I made a batch of tuna tofu patties. I packed up a lunch for DBF but didn't pack one for myself because I thought that we were ordering out at work today. We ended up not eating out so now I'm eating this California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizza for one and a Naked Red Machine that I picked up at Safeway. The moral of the story? Don't eat the last emergency lunch at work without replacing it.
Happy cooking! - KP
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
To Buy Here
- Lunch meats & cheese (pick up on Thursday after work)
- Avocado (so it has time to ripen)
- Lettuce (I have a salad spinner and she doesn't)
- Alfalfa (I like the stuff at the organic market)
- Frozen spinach
- Bacon bits
- Bread (from the bakery outlet by work and a loaf of gluten and dairy free at the organic market)
- French vanilla soy creamer
- Baby carrots
- Sweet onion
- Sweet peppers
- Squeeze bottle mayonaise
- Squeeze bottle mustard
- Graham cracker pie crust
- Cabbage, carrots & potatoes (for the corned beef)
- Sour cream (for the spinach dip)
- Mayonaise (for the spinach dip and egg salad)
- Ranch mix (for the spinach dip)
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Lemon juice
- Sugar & Splenda (for syrup of lemon)
- Corned beef (16 lbs)
- Pickling spices
- Chocolate chips
- Coconut milk
- Canned pumpkin
- Brown sugar
- Gluten free AP flour
- Spinach dip
- Syrup of lemon
- Pumpkin pie
Happy cooking! - KP
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Hobbits have a passion for mushrooms, surpassing even the greediest likings of Big People. A fact which partly explains young Frodo's long expeditions to the renowned fields of the Marish, and the wrath of the injured Maggot. On this occasion there was plenty for all, even according to hobbit standards. - J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings
First, an apology for not posting on Friday or Monday. I want to say that it's because I had two busy days at work and my computer at home doesn't like to edit photos but that's a lame excuse. I had intended to make the Friday Challenge mushrooms but Friday has come and gone. I had intended to do the Challenge follow-up with beef stroganoff but Monday is also come and gone. So, dear reader, what follows is my big catch-up post.
Mr. Brown suggests storing fresh mushrooms in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator. Moisture can condense on mushrooms stored in their Styrofoam containers wrapped with plastic and moisture can lead to accelerated decay.
I pick up a container of crimini mushrooms almost every week at Costco. They're a little more expensive than the white button mushrooms but I think that the crimini have more depth of flavor. I like to use my egg slicer to make quick work of fresh mushrooms that need to be sliced.
What can you do with mushrooms?
- saute slices with some butter, onion, salt, pepper and red wine to serve with meat
- added texture in spaghetti sauce
- remove the stems, fill the cavity with minced garlic, wrap in bacon (securing the bacon with toothpicks) and broil or cook on the grill until the bacon is crispy and done
- sliced raw on salads
- portabella mushroom sandwitch
- a lovely gift for your friendly neighborhood hobbit or penguin ;-)
1 bag egg noodle(cooked)
2 t olive oil
1 lb lean beef sliced or 1 lb of lean ground beef formed into meatballs (the original recipe is for meatballs)
1 small onion, diced
2 T AP flour
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cup beef broth
Salt, pepper, & Worchestershire sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
Remove from the pan and add the onion. Saute onion until translucent.
Happy cooking! - KP
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Forgive me Mr. Brown for my taste buds doth deceive me...I like to eat Vienna sausage. Why do I ask Mr. Brown for forgiveness? He made the following comment on The Man Food Show episode.
By the way, the word 'wiener' comes from 'wienerwurst,' which is German for 'Vienna sausage', which is American for 'little meat stick you feed kids who don't know any better but to eat them.Vienna sausage is one of those things that I grew up eating in the 80's. My mom would pan fry them when we had pancakes. Slice them up into little rounds and add them to a can of pork and beans over rice for a quick meal. Is it good for me? Probably not. There's 1.5 g of saturated fat and 155 mg of salt in one link. Maybe it's the nostalgia, I did grow up eating them. Maybe it's the mouth feel, the silky smooth texture rolling over the tongue. Maybe I just like canned meat. But I am NOT eating that can of bison in the back of the cupboard that DBFs mother brought bask from Alaska.
Food challenge tomorrow, get your cutting boards ready ;-)
Happy Cooking! - KP
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
DBF's review was that it was OK but I should actually use the dark corn syrup instead of the molasses that I substituted. He liked it enough to eat 2 slices so I'd say that it was successful.
I also need to find a good egg salad recipe. I happen to like my bare bones boiled egg, mayo, relish, salt and pepper egg salad but I don't know if other people will want something fancier. Perhaps some mustard powder? Does anybody have an egg salad recipe that they like?
Happy cooking! - KP
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The recipe was easy to follow. I made the pie crust and pressed it into my ceramic pie plate. I brought the crust up to the lip but not over because I thought that it was getting a little thin. It baked for 15 minutes in a 400°F oven to a lovely golden brown. Then I dropped the oven temperature to 350°F and added the filling. There was some filling left, my pie plate was thrown on a wheel so it isn't exactly 9", so I had a little taste and it was edible. It wasn't as thick as the Libby's recipe but the pumpkin puree I got was thinner and there's no eggs or evaporated milk in the recipe I was testing. The spicing was milder than I was lead to expect from the reviews but I'm sure that the flavor profile changed after cooking.
Yes, I need to take more photos of what I'm cooking. I also need to find an auxiliary lighting source because all the lights in the kitchen seem to cause my food to look jaundiced.
Happy baking! - KP
Monday, March 29, 2010
The original plan went like this:
Lunch - quiche (1 spinach and 1 with meat); make your own sandwiches, pita pockets or roll-ups (lunch meats, tuna or chicken salad, cheese and vegetables); and crudites with spinach dip and hummus.
Dinner - corned beef (I already have a 16 lb piece), potatoes, carrots and cabbage
Dessert - I need to plan a dessert because I keep forgetting that people eat dessert, I rarely do.
Nibbly Bits (to be left out throughout the day) - mixed nuts, fruit, and the crudite platter
Drinks - water, tea, coffee (possible logistical problem since she doesn't drink coffee and I don't have a large coffee maker, possible DD purchase) and lemonade
Dinner is fine for everybody but the vegetarian. Lunch will be fine if I can find a non-gluten bread or wrap. My friend says that they sell really good gluten free chips at the store by her house and she'll pick up a couple of bags.
All my go-to desserts involve dairy and one of the no dairy no gluten people is an 11 year old girl so I want to make sure that I can accommodate her needs. Fruit pie with a gluten free crust? Wheat free, dairy free pumpkin pie? I'll try out the pumpkin pie recipe tonight. Does anybody else have any ideas?
Happy cooking! - KP
Friday, March 26, 2010
I purchased a rice cooker for DBF when we started getting serious because I knew I'd be spending a lot of time in his kitchen. It's the exact same model that my father purchased and I think that a 3 cup rice cooker is perfect for two people. 1 cup is enough, if I do the portioning, for one night's meal. 2 cups means that DBF can eat as much rice as he wants with dinner and we still have enough for 1 lunch. 3 cups means that I might have some leftover after packing lunches. Leftover rice is great, it's the central ingredient in fried rice and sticky rice reheats well in the microwave.
Supposedly one can cook things other than rice in a rice cooker. Mine came with a steamer insert that I've used to steam small quantities of vegetables. Some of the fancier ones have settings for soups and I've read about people making oatmeal in their rice cookers, something I need to try this weekend. So, technically one CAN make other things in a rice cooker...and thus it isn't a uni-tasker :)
I hope you all have a great weekend! - KP
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I go through these periods when the entertainment category of my budget far exceeds my grocery category because I'm just not home or I don't want to cook. I debated re-posting something I wrote about mindful eating on my personal journal back in December but since most of my readers cross pollinate I didn't want to do that to you. So, I'm sorry but I do not have any recipes or cooking adventures to share with you today. I am thinking about you, dear readers, and that's why I wrote a post about not cooking. There will be a gear post tomorrow and hopefully a trip to the Asian market this weekend.
Happy eating! - KP
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I finally ran out of pre-ground coffee so I picked up a Cusinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind at Costco yesterday. It was $19.97, about the same price as a blade grinder. However, a burr grinder should create a more uniform grind. We'll see how this goes.
Office Ninja requires coffee. - KP
Monday, March 22, 2010
post on Friday, I made cornbread. Isn't that pretty on DBF's mother's silver?
There is some debate in my family as to where this recipe came from; I swear it's from Girl Scout camp and my mom claims she got it from a friend. Either way, it makes a sweet moist cornbread that usually earns me rave reviews.
3 blocks butter
4 c Bisquick
1 1/3 c sugar
1 t baking soda
4 beaten eggs
2 c milk
1 c yellow cornmeal
Melt butter, add to milk and eggs. Add sugar and dry ingredients. Mix. Pour into greased 9"x13" pan. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Friday, March 19, 2010
I've been reading Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and so far it reads like corn is in everything. What can you do with cornmeal?
- They're like little ball bearings under your pizza and bread helping to keep it from sticking to the peel.
- Thickening agent in creamed corn.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Things I should have but don't. (This is NOT a request for my real life friends to buy me any of these items; this is list parking.)
- Melon baller.
- Grapefruit spoon.
- Honing steel.
- Flour canister (I currently measure my AP flour directly from the 50 lb bag then vacuum the area around the bag).
- Kitchen shears.
- Juicer (one of those wooden ones).
- Strainer (for when I need to dust things with powdered sugar or sift flour).
- Basting/pastry brush.
- A stainless steel pot somewhere between the 5 quart and the 5 gallon capacity.
- Fancy bread pans.
- A bigger kitchen and pantry.
- A grill
- Gas appliances.
- Double bowl sink.
- Shun knives.
- V slicer (it's a pain to clean and the blades aren't very sharp).
- George Foreman grill (it was useful in college but now just sits in the cabinet; something for the April yard sale).
- Pipkin (but it's so sexy on the shelf with my other medieval replicas...).
- Two shelves of cookbooks.
Cheers! - KP
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Example #1 I have a hunters stew that I like to make but it usually takes me at least an hour to do all the prep. I have to cube the stew meat (it's generally cheaper to buy a roast), cut up bacon, cut the kielbasa, slice the onions, slice the mushrooms, peel and slice the apples, and rinse the sauerkraut. Then there's two hours of simmering everything until the meat starts to fall apart. So I make a triple batch and freeze any leftovers in both single serve containers for grab-and-go ("oops I forgot/don't have leftovers to pack a lunch" or "honey, I have to go out of town/have a doctor's appointment after work this week and you're on your own") meals and larger containers for a lazy weeknight dinner.
Example #2 I'm making corned beef hash for dinner tonight. I know that one can of corned beef, half an onion, two medium sized potatoes and an egg makes enough corned beef hash patties for both of us to have dinner and a lunch the next day (assuming DBF doesn't decide to eat more than usual). I cook two cups of rice, make some extra vegetables and we're set for two meals.
I made a double batch of pizza dough on Monday night so we had four medium sized pizzas. Enough for dinner, lunch the next day (with enough to share with my Minion), and a whole pizza left for dinner on Thursday.
This is how my kitchen works. I haven't had to prepare a separate meal just to pack lunch in over a year and that makes me happy.
Happy cooking! - KP
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
DBF is on this weird diet for some stomach discomfort. Basically, no dairy, onions, bread, tomatoes, carrots, and some other things that I can't recall off the top of my head. He has been filching pieces of the chocolate haupia pie (essentially the same recipe that I use but I don't have coconut extract and I used a graham cracker crust) that I made on Sunday and swears that it isn't causing discomfort. But I digress.
I had thawed two packages of chicken breasts, 2 breast halves per package, with the intention of making teriyaki chicken for dinner last night. However, I didn't want to start the oven for 4 little chicken breasts. So I dug around in the fridge and freezer to see what I had available.
- a handfull of cremini mushrooms
- a bag of frozen peas
- a bag of frozen broccoli florets
- a bag of carrots
- the dregs of the Yoshida bottle (I have a fresh replacement bottle)
- maybe half a cup of sake
- oyster sauce
- sesame oil
Enough food to feed 2 adults 3 meals each.I need to start taking more photos of the cooking process.
Happy cooking! - KP
Monday, March 15, 2010
What's in the carboy? Well, right now I have a stout that needs to be bottled and a Riesling ice wine that needs to be racked. There's 3 gallons of mead at my friends' house that I need to check on. I've got grain for another stout, I want to do a recipe comparison, and some soda extract for DBF.
Rule #1 of brewing is sanitation. Cross contamination is bad in cooking and it's equally bad in brewing. Rogue microbes can lead to skunking and unwanted growth. I remember the first time that my former brewing partner tried making beer, he got one of those beer kits from Wal-Mart...you know the ones with the plastic carboy and the screw on cap? They don't make a very good seal and something got into the wort that created white tendrils. It was gross, I teased him about having a yeast infection.
However, primary fermentation is often done in a plastic bucket and the home brewer needs to be aware that plastic is a porous material. If you have scratches inside the bucket then you might want to consider replacing it, the same goes for hose; I replace my hose every year. Soda extract can be very potent and can permeate a plastic bucket so it might be a good idea to have a dedicated bucket if you want to make soda. How do I know this? The #1 comment about my latest batch of beer is that it "smells and faintly tastes of root beer." The batch was a crap shoot anyway, I bought the wrong ingredients, so it might still taste like root beer if I tried to replicate the batch. Either way, I can smell the root beer extract even when the cap is on the bottle so I'm going to have a dedicated soda bucket.
"Relax. Don't worry. Have a home-brew." -Charlie Papazian
Friday, March 12, 2010
For those of you that didn't pay attention during fire safety month, usually October, in elementary school; a fire needs four things to burn (the fire tetrahedron): oxygen, heat, fuel and a chemical reaction between the other 3 elements. Take away any of those and the fire should go out. As I mentioned previously, we had a small oven fire in my kitchen a couple of weeks ago. We closed the door to the oven and the fire stopped but when we tried to open the door again, the fire came back. Why? Closing the door deprived the fire of oxygen but opening it again completed the tetrahedron. We probably could have just closed the door, turned off the broiler and waited for the oven to cool down (taking away the heat side of the tetrahedron).
I have two, I had three, fire extinguishers in my house and I know how to properly operate them. They come in different varieties but an ABC will take care of most fires in the home. Be safe, use your brain; it's better to ruin a meal than to watch your dwelling go up in flames.
Please be safe when you cook. - KP