lillibet: (Default)
In this journal I share a lot of the recipes I find online or develop myself. Since people often ask me for pointers to those, here's an index, dated to stay at the top of the page:

Click for Links to Recipe Entries )
lillibet: (Default)
In this journal I share a lot of the recipes I find online or develop myself. Since people often ask me for pointers to those, here's an index, dated to stay at the top of the page:

Click for Links to Recipe Entries )

Easter Day

Apr. 17th, 2017 12:13 am
lillibet: (Default)
Lately, Sundays have become especially busy. If I only have two or three events on my calendar for a Sunday, that's a pretty easy-going day--sometimes there are five. Perhaps because of that, today felt only moderately busy.

I was surprised to find, as Easter approached, that I was thinking of my mother more than usual. It felt so strange to be planning for the day without figuring out how to include her. Perhaps it's because for her it was still a very religious holiday, or just because I have so many memories, so many pictures of us all gathered in the sunshine in our Sunday best, with her tucked between her giant girls.

This year I actually wondered if we had to celebrate Easter as a family. And then I thought sure, keeping the tradition of getting the family together a few times a year is no bad thing. I wondered if I might turn to my sisters and ask what plan they might come up with that didn't involve my house, or me cooking. And I thought about hiring a chef, which I've done a few times, or going to a restaurant. But in the end I decided that I did want to cook and to gather family and friends around the table.

The day started early, getting to First Parish by 8am so we would have time to eat breakfast there and practice our skit before the choir gathered at 8:30. Jo and I were performing a piece based on The Yellow Tutu, with narration by our fabulous DRE and some mean-girl assistance from members of the choir. It was short and sweet and involved the indelible image of the two of us dancing in front of the congregation wearing tutus on our heads.

Our minister had asked us to wear silly hats and I'd decided to get this blue fascinator, which was an utter hoot to wear. The adult and children's choirs collaborated on "Easter Bonnet" and we sang lots of joyful hymns. We also did a responsive reading that I found really moving, adapted from a sermon by Nadia Bolz-Weber:

Some Modern Beatitudes )

During her invocation for communion, Marta also gave us a chance to speak the names of the dead who were in our thoughts today and I was so grateful for the chance to say my mother's name, to invoke the presence that has been hovering over me this week.

Alice had a grand time in the Easter Egg Hunt--her first year in the graveyard with the big kids. We stayed for the first part of the second service, in which Alice was one of the readers, while Jason and I reprised our performances, and then snuck out. The car said it was 82F as we pulled out and I was dreading turning on the oven for dinner. But while I took a nap, Jason turned on the AC and it was actually pleasant inside throughout the day. Alice found her Easter basket and seemed to enjoy the various treats and toys I'd included in it.

While Jason de-cluttered and got the dining room set for dinner, I roasted the lamb that had been marinating since yesterday, on top of potatoes, onions, mushrooms and garlic, which I seved with a very tasty demi-glace. I made way too many deviled eggs, with the help of Lisa, Paulo, and George at various points. Beckie & Neil brought the traditional too-much-nosh (shrimps and cheeses and summer sausage and pate and olives, oh my!). Anne & G. brought Greek-style braised green beans and I made a chopped Greek salad and heated up some Hawaiian rolls that miraculously survived several months in the freezer to be wonderfully soft and tasty. Dave and Jo collaborated to decorate the spiced carrot chiffon cake I had made yesterday with honey-cream cheese ice cream and pecans. By the time Hatem got out of work and could join us, we were just about ready to put it all on the table.

The food was reasonably good (not the best I've ever managed, but no one complained) and it seemed like an especially good group of people and conversations. Jo and Beckie helped enormously with the clean-up and by the time everyone had left around 5:30, another half hour got the kitchen to a state where I felt I could leave it. So I took another short nap, rising in time to be awake when the Mourning Becomes Electra arrived for a line-thru of the whole show.

I was able to do the whole thing without my script, though I did get confused and have to call "line" a couple of times. I felt pretty good about it and most other people are also in pretty good shape. This is going to be a really powerful show and there are a lot of dark moments, but we had fun together and it was really nice to be in a room with most of the cast, since that hasn't happened much yet. Jason got Alice to bed during one of the stretches when he's not on stage, but I was able to pop up and kiss her goodnight.

The cast and crew took off and after a break, it was time to finish up the kitchen and get the garbage, recycling, and compost to the curb. And now, I think I can say that I am well and truly done. I'm very excited that Alice doesn't have school in the morning.
lillibet: (Default)
This year our guests had a wide range of dietary needs (no dairy, gluten-free, vegan, etc.) so I ended up making smaller quantities of more dishes than I usually attempt. All of them were tasty, so I wanted to note the recipes for future reference.

Various Nosh - baguette, an assortment of crackers, mousse truffee, lemon artichoke pesto, white anchovies, olives, cornichons, cheeses (Cremont, Belton, Beemster) and a couple of kinds of Qs Nuts.

Turkey Breast - Rather than do a whole turkey, I just roasted the largest breast I could find (8.2 lbs.), rubbed with herbed lard. That was a bit of an adventure--last year I tried and failed to find lard, eventually ending up with a jar of duck fat from Dave's Fresh Pasta, which was extremely tasty. I noticed the jars on their shelf a couple of months ago, but when I went to pick one up, they'd discontinued it. So I bought half a pound of lardo (a quarter-pound would have been enough), rendered it over low heat, combined the liquid fat with sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, and left it to re-congeal overnight. I threw the remaining chitlins into the stuffing--it was that or just stand around eating them straight. I think the lard worked well, but if I found duck fat again, or accumulate some in a timely fashion, I would go with that. I roasted the breast over a cup of chicken stock at 350 for just over two hours, covering the skin when it started to get dark and blister. The drippings were especially wonderful.

Slow-Cooker Stuffing - The crust that this recipe promised never developed, but since I wasn't sure that would be a good thing, that was fine. I made it with 20 oz. of mixed breads (some ciabatta, some Italian white, some regular white, some whole wheat--I missed the rye I sometimes add), onions, carrots, celery, sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, in addition to the aforementioned chitlins and some of the drippings from the turkey. This was a very nice way to free up some space in the oven and it made wonderfully moist dressing.

Turkey Gravy - Making the gravy ahead of time is my big discovery this year. I made this on Wednesday morning, then reheated it with added drippings just before serving. It was easily the best--and smoothest--gravy I've ever accomplished.

Mushroom Gravy - A vegan and gluten-free alternative gravy, it was tasty, but I think will be much better with beef than with turkey.

Mashed Potatoes - I quite liked these mashed potatoes made with margarine and almond milk. But when I realized that I needed to use two bowls, and I needed to warm another batch of liquid, I went ahead and made the other bowl with butter and cream, and those were tasty, too. I put chives in the vegan ones and cracked black pepper in the dairy ones and that made it easy to keep them straight on the table.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole - This came out very well and disappeared, so I guess other people liked it, too.

Brussels Sprouts Salad - Made with quinoa, cranberries, and pecans with an orange vinaigrette, it was a really delightful mix of textures and flavors.

Beet Salad - Another great combination of flavors and textures. We served the goat cheese and vinaigrette on the side.

Anne's Famous Cloved Yams - This year's version was vegan and gluten-free butternut squash with apples and cinnamon.

Brian's Pumpkin Bread - We got to sample this a couple of weeks ago and I think this loaf was even better--so light and tasty!

Lynne's Apple Butter - We have the best neighbors and this was delicious on the pumpkin bread.

Truffled Lobster Mac & Cheese - Alice has never been fond of any of the traditional Thanksgiving foods and that bothers me more than perhaps it should. So this year I said that I had noticed and would really like to make something special that she would be excited about. She liked that idea and suggested this. I was a little nervous--I've only made mac & cheese from scratch once before and this required a lot of attention just at the crazy "getting it all on the table" part of the process. But it worked really well and Alice and ate two servings and couldn't stop telling me how much she loved it.

Winter Fruit Compote - This is really easy and very tasty. It would work really well mixed with oatmeal. The one thing I would change is to cut the liquid to about a quarter of what's called for in the recipe.

Whipped Coconut Cream - Today's didn't work out as well as when I followed this recipe precisely, but it's delicious and you should do as they say.

Petsi's Pies - Beckie brought pecan and pumpkin pies and they were both really yummy.

Whipped Dairy Cream - sweetened with maple syrup!

Brian's Wonderful Fudge - because he loves us and wants us to be happy.

I did a lot of prep over the past couple of days and had a lot of help, both preparing the food and table, and cleaning up afterward. In some ways this felt like one of the easiest Thanksgivings I've ever done. There's one more load of dishes for the dishwasher, but otherwise the kitchen is clean and I'm thinking I'll turn in early, feeling extremely thankful.
lillibet: (Default)
I made dinner tonight for a couple of vegan friends (one of whom is also gluten free). They seemed to like it, so I'm keeping notes:

Tuscan Vegetable Soup - I played around with this recipe--didn't use zucchini, added some tamari for increased umami, pureed everything and then threw in a few handfuls of gluten-free elbows.

Vegan Caesar - I stuck to the recipe pretty closely. The dressing and the faux-parmesan were both tasty and remarkably like the flavors of what they imitate, but grittier. I added tomatoes to the romaine and served olives, marinated mushrooms and marinated roasted artichoke hearts on the side, which worked well and let people adjust their salads to taste.

Hot Fruit Compote - This was quite tasty, but I think I would do it in a smaller casserole next time.

Coconut Whipped Cream - This is definitely a good substitute for whipped cream and worked especially well with the pineapple-containing compote.
lillibet: (Default)
I'm closing up tabs and wanted to note that after Thanksgiving I made the best stock of my life, using this recipe. I used it to make the soup that's also on that page, using noodles instead of rice or barley, at Alice's request. The mushrooms and marjoram gave it a very different flavor than usual and it was a very hearty, wintery soup. I've used another quart of the stock for celeriac soup--that was pretty good, but not so much that I'd use the recipe again, so I'm not linking to it--and I've got three left that I'll hope to use in the coming weeks. Suggestions for good-with-turkey-stock soup are welcome.

Also worth noting--this year I was struck by the tips from Kitchen Surfing. I brined the turkey for the first time and have to say I didn't think that part was worth the hassle. It was not more moist than usual and a couple of people complained about the salt-level. I wasn't able to find lard on short notice (it occurred to me later that Savenor's was probably the answer) but Dave's Fresh Pasta carries jars of duck fat (you're welcome). Because the turkey cooked so much faster than expected (a 27 lb. turkey was done in 3 hours, 30 minutes at 400, 90 at 350--should have been 60, and then 250 for another hour) I didn't use up all the herbed duck fat. So suggestions for things-to-cook-in-herbed-duck-fat are also welcome--I know about hash browns.
lillibet: (Default)
I've made Jason Santos' pastrami bolognese twice now. The recipe calls for FOUR POUNDS of pastrami, which seemed just way too much, so the first time I made it, I got a pound of pastrami and quartered the recipe. The flavor was great, but almost too meaty, so I decided the next time I'd halve the meat and add mushrooms. Unfortunately, I didn't remember clearly what I had done and wanted to do, so last night what I ended up doing was making a double batch of the recipe, with one pound of pastrami--so one-eighth the suggested meat content--and one pound of mushrooms. It was still good, though now not quite meaty tasting enough and still not enough mushrooms, but it took forever to reduce to sauce-consistency. So for the next time I am hereby noting that what I want to do is to use one pound of pastrami, 1.5 lbs. of mushrooms, and otherwise make a half-batch.

And here's the recipe )

Caramel

Nov. 24th, 2011 11:45 pm
lillibet: (Default)
The first (and last) time I tried to make caramel, I failed miserably. It kept boiling over and getting burnt and generally not turning into anything useful. So it was with trepidation, having decided to make a pear-caramel upside down cake that I set about trying again. It took a lot longer than the recipe thought it would, but look!


lillibet: (Default)
Occasionally I wonder why I read The Amateur Gourmet, especially now that he's living in LA. And then he posts a totally game-changing recipe like this one for Roasted Hamburgers. So easy, so much less mess than any other method, scalable, and delicious! Hamburgers have been a rare occurrence in our household, but I think that may be changing.

I paired them with this recipe for Duck Fat Hash Browns, which were also very tasty. I doubled the recipe, which may have been unnecessary, and think I didn't use quite enough fat, so further experimentation may be in order. On the other hand, when I've already got a 475F oven, maybe I'll try roasting the potatoes instead.
lillibet: (Default)
Wow, it's been a long time since I've cooked something new, or at least since I've recorded it.

Tonight we had friends over for dinner and tried:

#10 - Duck Rag├╣ )

#11 Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries )
lillibet: (Default)
One of Jason's favorite things is strawberry shortcake. So for his birthday cake I made this recipe. He was amused and pleased and it was really light and delicious, a wonderful summer dssert!
lillibet: (Default)
I've fallen behind, but the tabs are still open, so let me first say that for Valentine's Day I made...#8 Pan-Seared Pork Belly )

I am reminded to post about that, because tonight I cooked something else I'd never made before: sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes. I noticed them at the market and thought it was time for something new, so I bought a couple of pounds of them and made...#9 Lemon Chicken with Jerusalem Artichokes )
lillibet: (Default)
It's the start of a new year, so I'm starting my count again. With the two new recipes I made for Christmas dinner, I hit fifty for 2010. I didn't have a specific goal last year, so I'm pleased with a nice round number and excited to keep challenging myself to try new things.

Greek Couscous with Chicken & Feta )
lillibet: (Default)
It's the start of a new year, so I'm starting my count again. With the two new recipes I made for Christmas dinner, I hit fifty for 2010. I didn't have a specific goal last year, so I'm pleased with a nice round number and excited to keep challenging myself to try new things.

Greek Couscous with Chicken & Feta )
lillibet: (Default)
I find I get very interesting results by using "ultimate" in my recipe search terms. Tonight I decided to try this recipe, which had an intriguing secret ingredient. The sauce was wonderful! Rich and complex and delicious. Served with mashed potatoes and roasted garlic cabbage it made a very good, hearty meal. I'd be very interested to serve it to someone who doesn't like pickles and see what they'd make of it (fortunately the pork is quite good even without the sauce).
lillibet: (Default)
I find I get very interesting results by using "ultimate" in my recipe search terms. Tonight I decided to try this recipe, which had an intriguing secret ingredient. The sauce was wonderful! Rich and complex and delicious. Served with mashed potatoes and roasted garlic cabbage it made a very good, hearty meal. I'd be very interested to serve it to someone who doesn't like pickles and see what they'd make of it (fortunately the pork is quite good even without the sauce).
lillibet: (Default)
Fine Cooking had a lot of appealing recipes in their Thanksgiving issue, so I chose several of them. They require registration, so if you don't want to do that, but would really like any particular recipe, let me know and I'll get it to you.

tday 2010 menu

#43 Roasted Turkey Breast Porchetta Style )

#44 Stuffed Turkey Thighs )

Bread Stuffing with Fresh Herbs )

tday 2010 buffet

#45 Jewel-Roasted Vegetables )

Cranberry-Orange Relish with Ginger )

tday 2010 dessert

#46 Pear-Cranberry Crisp )

#47 Brown-Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake )

I also made mashed potatoes and Mom made gravy, Trish got rolls and made the sausage stuffing, and Anne made her Famous Cloved Yams (which this year was Roasted Pumpkin with Cranberries and Sage Brown Butter). And that was our Thanksgiving feast!

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