nwhiker: (Default)
Most people are familiar, when it comes to bacon based sandwiches with the "BLT". That it what normal people who like tomatoes (and usually mayo, ew) and bacon sandwiches eat.

My son... well, NSM.

He eats "BBC".

Bacon, butter, and cheese.

All I can say is... rowing.

He doesn't have weight issues, and probably won't even if he wants to row as a lightweight, but that is SO not healthy.

nwhiker: (Default)

We adapted a lemon bar recipe to be made with some lime juice. We'll see. I haven't had much luck with cooking with limes, they go from perfect to too bitter even for me in a very small amount.

Perry was doing the actual cooking. One of the recipes we cobbled together said to add a few drops of green food colouring, and I nixed that. But then he called me to tell me that without any, it looked really really gross.

So I told him to go ahead and add ONE -ONE!!!!!- drop of food colouring.

This was the result:

Green lime bar filling

OMG. One drop! I said ONE DROP.

He insisted he only added "a tiny amount".

One drop, I said.

And then.... we figured it out. He used gel food colouring not the standard liquid stuff. It never occurred to me that he'd go straight for the gels, though to be honest, it should have: I don't really ever use the liquid stuff, just the gels. I mean, if I am using food colouring at all... I am using FOOD COLOURING.

This is what the final product looks like:

VERY green lime bars

Hopefully they taste better than they look.

We shall see.

ETA 15 June 2017

Eh. They were mediocre. Much too sweet and without anything that said lime.

I forgot to take a photo of an actual bar, but here is what the edges looked like:

Lime bar
nwhiker: (sunset)
I posted this a few months back: Seekh Kabobs. It was a bit soft to actually grill, but we all liked the taste.

I had frozen some of the leftover (raw) meat, and made it tonight with some mods:

Sauté an onion until softened
Sauté the meat with the onion

Remove 3/4 of the meat, set aside.

Add 1.5 cups rice, saut&ecute for a few minutes, add 3 cups water and a blob of BtB Chicken.

Cook until rice is done, about 20 minutes, put meat back in.

Cook a bag of spinach, drain slightly, add the spinach into the rice/meat mixture.

Twas delicious. I think one could also add the spinach at the last minute, as the rice was cooking, but I forgot until the rice was done, so I just cooked it separately. I'd also add more spinach but one bag is all I had on hand.

ETA: it clearly smelled good. I took leftovers to school with me, and three of my fellow grad students were sniffing and wanting the recipe. :-)
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake)

OMG. Delicious. This recipe arrived in my email from Penzey's today and I decided to try it.

My mods are in blue.

Seekh Kabobs

If you don’t feel like fussing with skewers, the mixture would also make great burgers.

1 1/4 lbs. fresh ground beef (80/20 is a good mix); frozen doesn’t work as well2 tsp.

CAYENNE PEPPER About 1/2 tsp

2 tsp. salt









2 1/2 TB. garlic paste

2 TB. ginger paste

2 TB. roasted chickpea powder (this is helpful for keeping the kabobs from falling apart; use 1 TB. all-purpose flour if you can’t find chickpea powder) Flour, heh.

2 TB. lemon juice

1/2 Cup oil I used about 1/4 cup at most

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the oil. Mix well with your hands. Refrigerate for 21/2-3 hours. Add the oil and mix well. Roll the meat into small, round meatballs. Thread each meatball through a skewer. Dip your hands in water to prevent sticking, and flatten the meatballs in a thin layer around each skewer. Grill over low heat, turning the skewers at least once, after about 5 minutes, until the meat turns to brown on both sides. Don’t overcook or they will not be as deliciously tender.

I'm glad we decided to make these on a "veggie grate", because they were incredibly soft and felt apart. Next time I'll just make patties and not bother with the skewers

I cannot imagine using that much cayenne for that amount of meat. I used about 1/4 of what they suggest, and it's quite spicy but the flavours of the other spices still come through something I'm not sure would happen with four times the amount of cayenne.

I served it with rice pilaf (Trader Joe's, doctored up a bit), but it would be wonderful in a wrap with lettuce and yogurt sauce.

There is still something missing compared to the ones I've eaten at various restaurants, but I can't figure out what it is yet. I think next time I'll skip the cayenne entirely to see if I can better evaluate the balance of spices.

Anyhow, if anyone else got this recipe, I highly recommend it!

nwhiker: (Cottage Lake)
50 invited. I expect 30-40. The one request I'm making is if people want to bring anything, that they bring fruit, which is a last minute PITA to cut up.

Brunch isn't until 10 and I have two ovens.

Muffins: done in advance.

Grapefruit quickbread (Smitten Kitchen, loooove that recipe): done in advance.

Bacon, maybe sausages: done in advance.

Sourdough bread: done (by Perry) that morning, he'll sign up for oven time. Bread will proof in the fridge overnight.

Cheese platter: done in advance.

Fake food but everyone loooove them caramel delights: prep overnight, oven time in morning.

Scones: mix and bake in the morning. Flour/levening will be premixed, so no thought necessary.

Starbucks Travelers for the coffee, I can handle the tea.

The big last minute is scrambled eggs, but I have two pans, and Perry will help.

I'm still figuring out paper/plastic vs renting plates and silverware, and I'll "hire" Anne-Chloe and the teenager next door as unskilled labour (note that Perry is skilled labour on this one!).

One important thing: AC's espresso machine will be PUT AWAY. I do not want to get into the espresso drinks for everyone mode, THAT would be a pain!

I just hope my deck is done by then. :)
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake snow)
It's straight, give or take spicing, from the Penzey's catalog. I did go to the website and didn't find it linked, so I'm typing it in, with my minute changes.

Note that Penzey's, always a bunch of suckers :) for a cooking/kindness/happiness angle, has some wonderful stories on their site about four of the couples who challenged Wisconsin's marriage laws and eventually won. As one of the people commenting on the story said, "I didn’t think a spice catalog would ever make me cry, but yours did, and it wasn’t from the onions! When I read “kindness works” in your catalog, I thought “how nice”, but I wondered if you meant what you said, and if you really meant “all people”, and if you really meant to be as inclusive as you sounded. The reason I wondered is that often “nice people” and “kind people” think of themselves as inclusive but are not."

So. Recipe. My comments in purple.

Molasses Cut-Out Cookies Gingerbread Cut-out Cookies

1 Cup butter
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/3 Cup dark molasses
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp powdered ginger I'm pretty sure I x4 that, and then some!
1/8 tsp nutmeg Probably doubled.
1/8 tsp cinnamon Probably doubled as well
Large pinch of allspice.

I didn't quite measure the amounts of spices that I added, and I adjusted by taste. I always add a sprinkle of allspice and I'm wary of cloves, but any combination of those spices mentioned is probably great.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy; gradually add the sugar. Blend in the molasses, flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix well. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in waxed paper. Chill for several hours. I was out of wax paper, and it was easy to roll between two pieces of plastic wrap. It did not need to be chilled at all, though it was easier to work with slightly chilled. Several hours was too long, I had to let it sit for a long time.

Preheat oven to 350F. Remove 1 package of dough from the refrigerator at a time See above. Roll the dough very thin and cut with desire cookie cutters. I went a bit thicker than "very thin, probably 4mm or so.. Bake on greased cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes. Greased cookie sheets? I. Don't. Think. So. Parchment paper. Watch closely as thin cookies tend to overcook in no time. Cool. Frost and decorate as desired.

The cookies aren't very sweet, and since I was adding royal icing frosting, that was fine, but if planning on eating plain, they might benefit from a sprinkling of sugar or some such. The dough was wonderful to work with, even right from the mixer, parchment paper was perfect. Greased cookie sheets. I do boggle at that. I haven't greased a cookie sheet in.... Humm... Since I had the money to buy parchment paper, so probably grad school!

Prep time: 30 minutes plus chilling time.
Baking time: 8-10 minutes per sheet
Yield: 4.5-5 doxen depending on the size of your cookie cutters.
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake snow)
I have had a herd of 69 blue hippos on my dining room table. I started this yesterday but didn't finish til today.

This morning, they were eyeless (note: I will NOT make any jokes about the "eyeless" gene, which is the master regulator of eye formation in Drosophila, though my spouse, who I guess has been listening to me chatter this quarter, did. Heh.) hippos.


But now, they have eyes! They're too cute, imo!


Got all the baking done, the boxes are all ready, Perry should have distributed his, AC is not doing anythign this year (because her school decided to start finals a day earlier than in previous years, so she's got finals and won't be seeing her teachers. I hate her school.)

Here's this year's panorama shot!


Notice that there is one hippo who faces a different way! She got cut when I distractedly used the wrong side of the cookie cutter! Ooops.

Since I didn't find out that I didn't have to do AC's teachers until after I'd started baking, there are a few extra cookies of one or two types.

For the record, for 20 boxes, because I will look at these next year to figure how many I need to bake!

-- Chocolate: 2, have leftovers
-- Walnut-caramel bars: 2
-- Cranberry bars: 3
-- Brown butter oatmeal: 4, have leftovers
-- Gooey lemon: 2, have one batch in the freezers, but should have done more
-- Pecan sandies: 3 have leftovers
-- Gingerbread: 3.5 and I do have a few hippos left!

If anyone wants it, I'll post the gingerbread recipe. I upped the spices, but it's a wonderful cut cookie recipe. Tastes pretty good, was easy to roll, didn't sit, we had zero breakage etc.

Done. I have some leftover pecans, and I bought some almonds and when I have a few minutes, I'm going to make some chai-spiced nuts... The recipe is for almonds, but I think it'll work for pecans as well. I have loads of leftover walnuts, I'll freeze those.

I also have to make and steam a Christmas pudding.

But I really love my blue hippos!
nwhiker: (peo-vangogh)
Last year I was feeling clever because I was acing molecular biology. This year, I'm feeling very clever because I managed a cool bit of baking...


sliced up to this:


Don't know if I should laugh or cry at the difference between October 2012 and October 2013, but I do know that Perry's teammates at crew will be at the very least amused.

The Methodology
nwhiker: (heart)
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman.

I know I've linked to recipes on Deb's blog before, and they're all pretty damn good.

I got the book from the library. I'm pretty picky about my cookbooks at this point, but I will be buying this one.

I figured I'd like the food in the book, and indeed I do. It's both adventurous and pretty tame at the same time, new twists on old favourite.... like the brown butter rice krispie treats. Genius. Because of her kitchen "philosophy" nothing requires weird implements, or bizarre equipment that you will use once a year at most.

The recipes have all been good. One of the problems I've had with a few recipes from her blog have been cooking times, but in the book, it's been more consistent. I'm looking forward to trying her sweet bread doughs, once of my lacks as a baker, as well as comparing her pizza dough to the fabulous one I have now.

Like on the blog, the photography is very good, and what you get at home is either not far off, of you can easily see how you could make yours look as nice, if you wanted. I like this.

Also, just a word of warning, this is NOT a diet friendly cookbook in the slightest. Which is perfectly fine, and leaves the flexibility to make it a bit better if you want. It's also not cheese heavy, which is what allows that flexibility.

Note to the publisher: the provided summary says: "The long-awaited cookbook from the food-blogging phenom Deb Perelman", bolding mine. PHENOM? Really? Yech. One of my pet peeve I DETEST that word things, perhpas, but Really? I mean, REALLY? Ugh. Go away, publisher summary! I wish I hadn't read you!

Now the one.... well, it's not really a gripe, it's more of a.... dunno... impression maybe?

This book speaks autumn to me. Oh yeah, there are quite a few recipes that showcase the ingredients of summer, but overall, it feels like a good solid fall book. I love that, even if it was not intended, and while I'm trying recipes now, I'll probably buy the book in the autumn, when so many of the recipes fit seamlessly into the shorter and cooler days.

[eta] The recipes I've tried, with a word or two on 'em. Forgot this earlier.

Harvest roast chicken with grapes, olives, and rosemary. Delish. That was what I made last night, so the sauce wasn't as expected, dh just plunked it on the table while I held ice packs on my hand, yet it was still so good. She's right, the olives and grapes are perfect together, and the rosemary (which dh initially forgot) was a perfect last second addition. Will be on my repeat list with one modification: she suggests leaving skin on the chicken to brown it, but since there is a rather moist even cooking phase, the skin might be brown, but it's a bit soggy, and ew. I'll remove it next time.

Sesame-spiced turkey meatballs and smashed chickpea salad. Another major hit at my house. Think, as she mentions, felafel, only with turkey instead of veg. The smashed chickpea salad was wonderful, nice flavour balance, the kids all liked it (MIL did not, she's picky). One small change for me would be to pop the skins off the canned chickpeas, but it's not essential. I bought a spice for the recipe (sumac), but it's been one I've been meaning to for a while.

Buttered popcorn cookies. Totally bizarre. Think chocolate chip cookie with popcorn instead of chocolate chips. I didn't salt the popcorn enough, I think, and they were really good when just cooled, less after they'd gotten a bit softer, but again, a very interesting pairing, that Perry's 7th grade class really liked.

Salted brown butter crispy rice treats OMG-wonderful! Seriously, if you like rice krispie treats at all (I do, even though I wish they were less sweet), these do take them to a new level. The brown butter flavour comes through nicely.

Chocolate peanut butter cookies. The peanut butter cookie itself is pretty good, turning it into a chocolate-and-peanut butter sandwich cookies makes it even better.

Grapefruit olive oil pound cake. This will probably become my go-to cake of this type. I like plain, dense poundcake, this is less like that, but more like... a velvety-citrussy cake. The texture was really nice, and the grapefruit a nice departure from more traditional lemon flavoured. I'll certainly make this one again and again and...

Blueberry cornmeal butter cake. I love cornmeal and/or semolina in cakes, they avoid the floury pancake texture that some cakes get, and give the cake more... dense-ness, I guess. Anyhow, this one was great, the strudel with cornmeal was crispy, and the buttery-blueberry cake was well balanced, with, again, a nice texture, and a good blueberry to cake ratio. Another one which will become a summer classic in my repertoire, I think!

Lots of sweets, but I had several school (kids, mine) events to bake for, as well as two dinners with guests.
nwhiker: (heart)
The original recipe was here. She suggests 4 duck eggs (yech, sorry), or 5 medium regular eggs, but I found that made them much to eggy, so took it to 4. Not whirring the oats first probably works, but it's an easy step that makes my life easier. Also her whole rigmarole with the oats and soaking to make sure the oats don't leech good stuff out of our bodies? Yeah, no, not so much. So I modified quite a bit to make them easier to make, and imo tastier than her version.

Higher Protein Waffles

1 cup oats

1 cup cottage cheese

4 eggs

1 T brown sugar, or more to taste

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp vanilla, or more to taste (I use more).

Whir the oats for a few seconds in a blender (or a food processor), add the rest of the stuff, blend, make waffles.

Makes 5 round waffles. 4WW points each and about 12g protein/waffle
nwhiker: (Default)
So, the week of no rice! So far, we're good.

I'm not eating most of this. After yesterday's traumatic 4lb weight gain, I'm doing a two day veggies and chicken breast only plan. I won't stay on it long, but I desperately need to see some of that weight come off quickly. I had just -last week- gotten down to where I was last November, and those four pounds could take me 6 months to lose. Cannot. I thought about a short fast, but I know that I tend to go overboard on those: I feel so wonderful! and free! and light! that I go longer than I should. Since I loathe chicken breast and steamed veggies (BORING!) I know I won't want to do it long term. Anyhow.

Monday: Frozen pizza (it was a HECTIC day. I had scrambled eggs with mushrooms.)

Tuesday: Chicken stew with carrots and mashed potatoes

Wednesday: Tacos

Thursday: Roasted buttermilk chicken, green beans, pasta.

Friday: Chili, with carrots and bread

Saturday: Chicken vindaloo with potatoes and naan, roasted cauliflower

Sunday: Grilled chicken sausages with mashed potatoes and green beans
nwhiker: (Default)
Dh, Perry, and I are off for a bike ride today (down by Lacey/Yelm, plan is about 40 miles).

Anyhow, that is just incidental. This is the post I wanted to make:

Today is the Letter Carrier's food drive and when I went to the supermarket the other day, I bought Stuff for that. Tuna, canned chicken, canned ham, baked beans, a few boxes of mac and cheese, plenty of (highest protein I could find) soup. And peanut butter. Four jars.

Not the organic of-course-we-blend-in-the-red-skins kinds that we usually get. No, the sugar and whatEVER laden Other Peanut Butter that my kids adore and that I can't keep in the house because AC will eat a whole jar in a day.

OMG, Perry and Linnea were so excited, going through the bag, They kept on asking hopefully "Is this for us?" "What about this?" and going on and on about how wonderful the prepared foods I was going to donate were, SO much better than the icky stuff I feed them.

Heh. I don't take it personally and I'm reasonably sure that after a week of Hamburger Helper with ground beef, they'd be back to wanting MaPo Tofu with ground chicken (ground at home, blah blah blah) with extra Sriracha sauce for Perry.
nwhiker: (Default)
So I've whined about my kids and carbs before.

Namely, as a group, they don't like rice, pasta, potatoes, gnocci, polenta, or couscous (which I know is a pasta).

AC claims not to like rice "unless it's cooked in a rice cooker" or fat is added and it's a long process to make, ie risotto.

However, I can usually get rice or bread on the table without too much whining.

BTW, they're not too fond of meat or veggies either.

They do eat, mostly, the carbs I serve. Potatoes, unless roasted in olive oil or fried (which I never do at home and is a rare treat out), aren't well liked. Pasta is tolerated, some shapes better than others. They do all like bread. Perry detests polenta, AC refused gnocci. Linnea, for all, it depends on the day.

So, basically, we eat a lot of rice.

A lot of rice.

At least two or three times a week, closer to three. And since there are usually rice leftovers, again on leftover night.

Dh is sick of rice, and of complaints about everything else, and has decreed a no rice week next week. Hee.

The kids are already protesting. They're each putting in their "no this!" and "no that!" requests. Someone is going to be unhappy every night next week.

My challenge is going to be coming up with a week of meals without rice! I've gotten so used to it as a starch, and it's so easy, that I find myself thinking things like 'chicken vindaloo with... oh wait, not. OK, what about jambalaya, no, rice, what about...' Heh. It will probably end up being a much more boring and bland week than usual.
nwhiker: (Default)
I still have to write up my shopping list. After some rather gruesome dental work, I'm on antibiotics and they appear to make my stomach hurt, and OMG, the nausea. It's not going to be a fun 10 days. End result is a very uninspired set of menus. We're having yellow curry on Saturday because AC hates it, and she'll be off on her backpacking/climbing trip.

Monday: Mole chicken, onions, rice, green beans

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Orange chicken, rice, broccoli

Thursday: Rotisserie chicken, roasted potatoes, green beans

Friday: LO chicken spring rolls, sprouts, lettuce, rice noodles and paper

Saturday: Yellow curry with turkey meatballs, rice, roasted cauliflower

Sunday: Chicken stew with the last of the rotisserie chicken, carrots, mashed potatoes

I just noticed that it's a very chicken-y week too!
nwhiker: (Default)
I wish I were as awesome as the gal who makes these.

I wish.

Cinco de Mayo piñata cookies Seriously, check this out. She has step by step instructions on how to make them. I could so see making rooster or piggie cookies. Linnea would love piggie ones.

nwhiker: (Default)
We're going out to eat on Wednesday. There. Decided. It's been... well, probably a few months since the last time we went out, I can't remember when it was? Perry's birthday, maybe? We don't eat out often. But I'm feeling burnt out on cooking and shopping, and I think pizza out will go a long way towards helping! :-) I mean, pizza out, right? How can that not help?


Monday: leftovers

Tuesday: Leftover frozen mac and cheese

Wednesday: Out. We need the break.

Thursday: Mayberry's sticky chicken, roasted carrots, orzo

Friday: MaPo tofu, rice, green beans

Saturday: Jerk chicken breast, yam purée, broccoli

Sunday: Butter chicken, saffron rice, roasted cauliflower.

I'm really sick of food and cooking. I think I could eat toast for a few months.
nwhiker: (Default)
I had a few meals pre-planned this week, so I didn't sit down to finish this up until this morning. It's a relatively uninspired week, but I'm using some stuff from the pantry/freezer, and I guess that's good.

Perry is going to have a snit fit, since he detests polenta, but I just want something different. None of the kids really like any starches except bread, so there are bitter complaints about everything AC: hates rice, except risotto, pasta, and potatoes except fried, eats polenta, tolerates gnocci. Perry: loves all rices, some pasta, depends on the shape, not fond of potatoes except fries, detests polenta and tolerates gnocci. Linnea: likes pasta, love friestolerates everything else, though she insists on eating any carb separate from whatever it's served with, and with ketchup. All of these preferences can changes on a day to day basis, and I'm never sure when I put a carb out on the table which children are going to be complaining. And no, they don't get fries at all. I make roasted potatoes from time to time, and they all like those. Sometimes. But I don't fry anything.


Monday: Caramel chickenw with rice and steamed broccoli

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Beef stew with bread and some veg

Thursday: Polenta with sautéed spinach and fried egg

Friday: Pulled pork (leftover) and baked beans with carrots

Saturday: Chili with cornbread and broccoli

Sunday: Grilled tandori-spiced chicken with rice and roasted cauliflower
nwhiker: (Default)
Not the most inspiring week ever, but we're all very tired, and easy is the name of the game. Plus on Saturday, dh, Perry, and I are going up to the tulip fields in Skagit County to do the Tulip Pedal We'll be doing the 40 miles, we hope.

Anyhow. This week.

Monday: Leftovers

Tuesday: Leftover saffron rice with frozen butter chicken

Wednesday: Apple-and-onion strata

Thursday: Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Friday: Chicken with lemon-pepper pasta and capers, steamed green beans

Saturday: Slow Cooker pulled pork on rolls, carrots.

Sunday: Caramel chicken with rice, steamed broccoli
nwhiker: (Default)
I don't think I will ever understand how coriander, a wonderful, perfumed spice, can come from the same plant that produces the soapy-vomit flavoured leaves that are cilantro.

I just make chicken vindaloo. It's in the fridge, Sunday I'll dump in in the crockpot. Damn but it smells good. In part thanks to the coriander.
nwhiker: (Default)
I'm late on this one! Leftover night was moved from Monday night, our usual, to Saturday. No particular reason for Saturday, btw. Maybe it'll be Sunday. We'll see.

For the record, I used one of my stew bricks for the beef stew, and I was planning on starting it before we left in the morning, but forgot. Was able to send dh, who went home to pick up crutches and a few other things, instructions for getting it on via text: And put on dinner. Take one stew brick from outside freezer and one quart beef broth, either pantry or downstairs. In crockpot on high. Confirm, ok? Thx and love. Heh.

Monday: Sticky rice in bamboo leaves, green beans

Tuesday: AC surgery: beef stew in crockpot

Wednesday: Gnocchi with tomato sauce and broccoli

Thursday: Muffuletta and green bean salad

Friday: Grilled chicken with roasted potatoes and green beans

Saturday: Leftovers night

Sunday: Chicken vindaloo with curried cauliflower and saffron rice.

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