Monday, December 31, 2012

Yes, I actually made it to 52 recipes

It is SUCH a good thing that I post all my recipes to FaceBook, because I certainly don't remember to blog about them here.

Tonight, I cooked a massive dinner for my friends who just had a new baby. (Their third. Her name is Eleanor.) I managed to include two new dishes, including Shutterbean's brussel sprout, butternut, apple, and cranberry roast and a wonderful variant on Aloo Gobi from the cookbook The Indian Vegetarian by Neelam Batra. Everyone loved the Sukha Gobi Alu Aur Mirch and everyone but me also enjoyed the roasted vegetable dish.

New recipe count: 51, 52


Catching up on old-new recipes

I got this first recipe idea from Carole Knits when she had us all list our 10 favorite holiday cookie recipes.The Cherry Chocolate Kisses were rather fussy to make but so lovely and yummy that none survived to be photographed.

I got the recipe for Congo Bars from Sheri at the Loopy Ewe, who posted it a few weeks ago. They were incredibly sweet but the crunchy top made them very appealing to the students.

David Lebovitz is one of my favorite food bloggers. I've been meaning to make his Whole Lemon Bars for over a year, and I finally got around to it in early December. I used a Meyer Lemon despite his warning not to; I supplemented it with 1/2 a lime since my lemon weighed a lot less than the 6 ounces he recommended. These were totally delicious, particularly after mellowing for a day or two.

I made two new recipes for our vegetarian Thanksgiving: the stuffed acorn squash and mushroom gravy found in The New York Times as part of a "Southern" feast. I thought they were amazing but the rest of the family was ambivalent at best.

I made the Mushroom Bourguignon from Smitten Kitchen on the day before Thanksgiving (to use up the 3 pounds of mushrooms I had absentmindedly purchased).

I tried to make pumpkin butter from one of our Hallow'een pumpkins and it was a disaster.

I turned a giant sweet-meat squash into this soup and it was pretty good... but I wasn't motivated to make it again.

My mom helped me make Chinese Boiled Peanuts when she visited us over Christmas. Holy moly, these are good!

I made rhubarb chutney at some point in summer and forgot to write down which recipe I used. That's OK, because the chutney was only so-so

New recipe count: 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50

Yet another new recipe: steamed sesame ginger chicken

No pictures - my dish isn't photogenic, but it is DELICIOUS!

I have a feeling it will also be very yummy served cold.

I was trying to capture something like the Sesame Steamed Chicken from my favorite Chinese restaurant. This isn't quite like theirs - more ginger in mine - but it's reasonably close.

New recipe count: 40

Molasses Cookies

Another new recipe from The Festival of Cookies, aka Winter Vacation:

Molasses Cookies!

The first tray came out a little burnt because I hadn't used parchment paper. The remaining 4 trays (on parchment paper) came out perfectly. I made the cookies tiny, and got 65 instead of the recipe's suggested 24.

New recipe count: 39

Sunday, December 30, 2012

What to do with your leftover bits of cheese

It is well known that I adore Smitten Kitchen's blog, but her recipes have batted rather under 100% with my family. Therefore, I am particularly pleased to report that her most recent post, Fromage Fort, is a winner!

In my particular version, I used
1.5 oz blue cheese (Baraboo Blue from Michigan, to be precise)
1 oz cheese stick
4 oz chèvre
4 oz Gouda
4 oz fresh mozzarella
1.5 oz very aged Brie
1/2 cup Chardonay
1 small clove garlic
2 Tablespoons snipped Chinese chives

Next time, I might try it with only chives and no garlic.

New recipe count: 38

Shutterbean's chocolate chunk blondies

I made half with nuts and half without, since 90% of the pan is intended as a gift for the parents and older siblings of a new baby. Both are delicious.

The recipe was ridiculously easy and the output is outstandingly good. The batter is low on sugar to compensate for all the sweetness added by the chocolate chunks.

New recipe count: 37

Friday, December 28, 2012


To make a long story very short, we had some very aged Gouda that no one was eating up (because it's only good at room temperature and we're all bad at thinking far enough ahead to start warming up the cheese 3 hours before we plan to eat it). We also had a huge thing of CostCo Gouda that no one was eating up (because none of us likes plain gouda. It was purchased by mistake when the shopper couldn't find the smoked gouda that was on the list.)

So I searched for ways to use up a lot of gouda at once and came up with this fondue recipe. I had to go shopping for Kirsch, and couldn't find any so now we have rather a lot of cherry brandy, but I have plans for the rest of it... and anyway, it was delicious. We tried it with roasted potatoes, steamed broccoli, pan-fried yellow peppers, and four different types of bread.

New recipe count: 36

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A fruitcake even Americans will eat

And oh, boy, did these Americans eat it!

The recipe comes from Milkweed and Teasel, one of my favorite blogs. She's an American ex-pat who married a British groundskeeper on one of the great estates. She has a keen sense of which British recipes will translate well for Americans - this is one of them.

My only regret is that the cake involved no alcohol. I may experiment with that, next time.

New recipe count: 35

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New take on an old favorite: bread pudding

My mother, visiting us for Christmas, unearthed a VERY stale loaf of challah from its wrappings in two clean dish towels. Since it had no visible signs of decay, I turned it into bread pudding. I didn't make the hard sauce (too many calories) but the pudding itself was dense, flavorful, and decadent.

New recipe count: 34

Monday, December 24, 2012

New recipe: sweet potato panini sandwich

I'm catching up on my new recipes, which accumulate all year but need to get made during my vacations.

Today: a sweet potato panini, including a thinly sliced Granny Smith, chevre, and a roasted sweet potato. I didn't have any coleslaw available, so I substituted thinly sliced olives (yeah, in retrospect, that wasn't so obvious) and I blame this substitution for the fact that the sandwich was good but not great.

New recipe count: 33

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Buddha's Hand Citron

As far as gifts go, this has to be one of the oddest: my father in law, who shares and encourages my love of cooking, brought me a Buddha's Hand citron.

For scale, the red trivet under the fruit has a diameter of 8 inches. The citron weighed over 14 ounces before I trimmed off the stem and the two "fingers" that were starting to look moldy.

I have now turned it into candied citron. It tastes quite yummy and whole house smells delicious. I have plans to turn it into fruitcake.

New recipe count: 32

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: 10 favorite holiday cookies

Yikes! It's almost Wednesday and I haven't even thought about my list...

1) rolled and cut-out sugar cookies with sprinkles
2) rugelach
3) nutella mochi
4) cranberry-pecan bars
5) lemon bars
6) oatmeal cranberry cookies (just follow the recipe on the Quaker Oats box, but use Craisins in place of raisins.
7) biscotti
8) peanut butter blossoms 
9) pizzelles
10) almond cookies (I'm so tired that I cannot Google the correct recipe right now, but they're super almond-tasting and have something like almond paste in the center.)

Monday, December 3, 2012

New recipe: challah

I also made challah for lunch today. Given that I set the rack at the wrong level and singed it pretty badly, who knows if the recipe is any good?

I tell myself that I will try it again next week.

New recipe count: 31

New recipe: chicken pot pie

Today I had my advisees over for lunch. We had the usual: fresh bread, cookies, cheese and crackers, veggies and dip. And then I tried something new, which actually worked out pretty well..

Chicken pot pie!

Now, chicken pot pie is something of a tradition at our school, and I make no claims to having met that high standard, but this was darned good for a first try. I will put in fewer leeks and remember the parsley next time.

New recipe count: 30