Friday, June 22, 2012

FO: amigurami starfish

This was a great week for finishing things: I polished off a pair of mittens (still waiting to block and dry them), the first of a pair of Longitudinal socks

and this lovely little starfish:

Starfish knit from scraps of Cascade 220 Superwash on #2 needles. Pattern is by Hansi Singh, from Amigurami Knits.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New recipe: do sandwiches count?

Do sandwiches count as a new recipe? What if it's a panini, so there's heat involved?

Last night I supplemented dinner with a marvelous pear, Brie, and arugula panini courtesy of Serious Eats. We were trying to use up old pears, which were so overripe that they kind of melted into the Brie. I'd like to try this again with some crisp pears, like Bosc.

New recipe count: twenty

Monday, June 18, 2012

And yet another new recipe: apple ring pancakes

Apple ring pancakes! Such a good idea, a little complicated to execute but barely more work than making silver dollar pancakes.

I based my idea around this recipe by Carla Hall, but didn't have Bisquick in the house so I just used my standard Fanny Farmer pancake recipe and dipped in the apples.

It's crucial to slice the apples as thinly as you can... thick pieces don't get cooked in the time it takes to brown the pancakes, but thin slices get soft and almost jammy inside the batter.

New recipe count: nineteen

Note: yes, I know that it's over half-way through June and therefore I should be at about twenty-five recipes. First of all, I'm backlogged on my reporting and actually have two or three more in the pipeline. Second, summer is my primary cooking time. I'm sure I'll be ahead of the count by the end of July.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New recipe: hollandaise sauce

While we were in Boston last weekend we ate breakfast at IHOP, which I used to love in college but haven't visited in about a decade. I had a "healthy omelette" with egg substitute - bleah! I will never go there again - and DH had a pair of crepes wrapped around a vegetable omelette and topped with Hollandaise sauce. He was nice enough to give me a couple bites. Yowza! We both agreed that it was delicious and worthy of trying to reproduce at home.

So today is Father's Day. We don't make a big deal of it: DH grew up in a family that doesn't "do" "Hallmark holidays" and I'm not that close with my father. (Note: I was good about doing things for my grandfathers while they were still alive.) I had a brainwave last night, that I would try to recreate this dish for brunch today.

Crepes via this recipe (not new, I've made them before)
Scrambled eggs with thinly sliced peppers, Chinese chives, and a big handful of arugula.
Hollandaise sauce via this recipe. I had to improvise a double-boiler because I couldn't find the real one.

Verdict: pretty yummy but not as good as the ones at IHOP. I think I need to put mushrooms in the eggs.

New recipe count: eighteen

Friday, June 8, 2012

New recipe: roasted apple (no knead?) bread

I promise, I really am making progress on the knitting front.

However, it's the first week of my summer vacation so I'm cleaning up my recipe file with enthusiasm! (This level of energy is abnormal for me.) Starting yesterday and baking today, I tried King Arthur Flour's Roasted Apple No-Knead Bread via XO Breakfast's modifications. First, I have two confessions to make:
1) I baked the bread for too long
2) I accidentally forgot to include the nuts

Even with those problems, the bread was yummy! Not too sweet, but interesting, and with a great crust and crumb. I have to try it again with those problems fixed. Also, even though the recipe claims to be "No-Knead" that is totally inaccurate... "mix for 5 minutes with your hands" totally counts as kneading. Good thing I don't actually mind getting my hands into the flour!

New recipe count: seventeen

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New recipe: asparagus with almonds and garlic yogurt sauce

I found a pound of leftover roasted asparagus in the back of the fridge. Since nobody in the family likes leftover asparagus - hey, let's be honest, I'm the only one who likes the vegetable at all - I did a little searching for a recipe to gussy it up.

I found Smitten Kitchen's recent post on a side dish (or light main course) of asparagus with almonds, hard-boiled egg, and a spicy garlic yogurt sauce. It looked fabulous. The result was a little less impressive. I couldn't eat the sauce because of the raw garlic, and the asparagus had lost the pleasing bite it gets from being roasted and was just limp and stringy. I imagine the salad is better when made fresh that day, so I'm not disparaging SK's recipe. I'm just noting that it wasn't right for us.

New recipe count: sixteen

New recipe: okonomiyaki

For those of you who haven't tried it before, I should lead off by saying that okonomiyaki is sort of like a potato pancake except that it's got cabbage and sesame oil and scallions, and usually seafood or meat in it. It's served with mayo and ketchup on the side.

I've tried several different recipes for okonomiyaki over the years; DH says that this is the best yet.

Obviously, since DH is vegetarian, I omitted the pig trotters. Instead I used a chopped up veggie-burger and a handful of pine nuts. I also omitted the bonito flakes; next time I might use a vegetarian fukikake in its place, but this time I just went without and everything still tasted great.

New recipe count: fifteen

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New recipe: Korean spinach side salad

Today I tried another new recipe that had been on my radar for a while: sigumchi namul, or Korean spinach with sesame and sugar.

Oh... My... Gosh....

Boiling the spinach was a bit of effort, but the result was fabulously yummy. Best of all, it really tasted like the spinach they serve at my favorite Korean restaurants.

New recipe count: fourteen

Monday, June 4, 2012

New recipe: French Peasant Beets

I finally had the time to try another new recipe, and this one is utterly fabulous!

French Peasant Beets from Food52, via

I forgot to take pictures but my dish looked remarkably like the one on the recipe. No, seriously. It really did.

I only used three large beets and I had to cook it in two batches, with extra butter and wine, so I think when they say" 4 to 6 beets" they mean the really little ones.

We didn't have Bucheron so I just went with the cheap chevre you can buy at the local grocery, and it was still very, very good.

New recipe count: 13

Friday, June 1, 2012

A report on last night's dinner party

I had put a "vegetarian or pescetarian dinner for five" into the Senior Auction back in March. My friend and colleague, Donna, bought it. Last night, she and her sister and two friends (the last person couldn't make it) came over for dinner.

The menu:
fresh honey-oat bread
four cheeses (Brie, aged cheddar, smoked gouda, and white Stilton with apricots)
low fat spinach dip
carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, yellow grape tomatoes, cauliflower, and red pepper slices

(there was supposed to be a course of cold tomato soup and deviled eggs, but I forgot to serve it!)

white rice
Cambodian fish stew
mushrooms with butter garlic sauce
roasted asparagus

vanilla ice cream
fruit salad

ice tea with simple syrup on the side
ice water with lemon or lime slices

I think it hit a nice mix of the delicious and the healthy... everyone ate a lot and Kathy told stories for three hours!