Tag Archives: cooking

Saturday evening at home

Saturday evening at home. Snow is falling outdoors, and the roads are rough. I’m staying in, which is what I had intended to do anyhow.

The MainStage programming is all complete, the pieces are written, and tomorrow I meet the band and rehearse for the first (and only) time. This time next week, two Circus Harmony Fluente shows will be down, with four to go.

I’m spending the evening indoors, working on the NASM self-study that must be in the post on Wednesday. This project is giving me that feeling I have when I’m on my last day abroad — I want to enjoy one more day, but I can feel the call of home, and my mind is already there. My mind is already on other things, especially since school begins Monday.

And tomorrow is a circus day.

Realizing this morning what the weather would be today, I decided to make some shepherd’s pie. I had one brick of frozen ground lamb left in the freezer, so I thawed it today. Minced lamb with carrots and thyme and gravy was the base; mashed Yukon Gold potatoes with butter and Parmesan the top layer. Cheddar cheese finished it off.

Snickerdoodles

Vegetable shortening has no place in my house, since I don’t use it enough for it to keep without going rancid.

Snickerdoodle recipes almost invariably call for part butter, part shortening, so I’ve been on a search for an all-butter recipe that I actually like.

Thank you, Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 10th edition  (© 1989) for this perfect recipe!

I spoke too soon in prepping this blog entry.

The cookies turned out like unleavened gooey butter cake.

A total disaster, except that that crumbs tasted like baked butter. Which I happen to think is a great flavor.

Tamale day

I finally put to use the recipes and skills learned in the tamale cooking class at Kitchen Conservatory some months ago.

On Monday I drove the 20 minutes west to Grace Jones’ home, where from scratch we cooked up pork tamales, a spicy tomatillo salsa, and a corn relish dip that actually worked beautifully as a side dish.

Along the way: a cup of lard, four different kinds of peppers of varying spiciness, eight ears of corn, an onion, a dozen limes, and much more.

Grace made a tres leches cake for dessert.  And a good time was had by all!

The masa is starting to come together. That’s just lard and cornmeal and salt.
And done!
Obligatory kitchen selfie.
Roasting corn and peppers for the corn dish.

That’s two dozen tamales in there….
The tomatillo salsa.
YUM!
All in all, a worthwhile effort.

Great flour explosion of 2019

Ordering online from Costco the other day (online meaning ordering for delivery the next day!), I decided for the 25-pound bag of all-purpose flour.

“I’ll save quite a bit of money,” I thought.

And so arrives the 25-pound bag. And it’s big.

“I’ll do a lot of baking,” I thought.

And so arrives Saturday week later. I’m in the kitchen after sundown, a cup of Earl Grey on the table, and making decisions about what to bake this weekend.

Bread, of course. Specifically peasant bread, my usual early-Sunday-before-church activity. Simple. Relatively fast. Foolproof. And done before I’m out the door to sing God’s praises.

Sunday evening, most likely sourdough, to be baked on Monday or Tuesday morning.

And Saturday evening? Cardamom buns, inspired by Henry on the Great British Baking Show.

All is well. Mise en place is set. And that 25-pound bag of flour is sitting on a bar-height kitchen stool.

I’m mixing away when I hear the bag start to slip. Before I could drop the ingredients in my hands, the bag is on the floor. As is at least two pounds of all-purpose flour.

I couldn’t bear to take a photo; the housekeeper was just here three days ago.

But it looked something like this:

As I write, the dough is on the first proof, and the kitchen is now clean again. Wall to wall. With broom and vacuum and towels and glass cleaner. I could lick this floor and it would be cleaner than my stovetop.

Let’s hope the cardamom buns turn out well.

Here ends the tale of the Great Flour Explosion of 2019.

Passionfruit curd

Labor Day.  I invite my Webster University voice students over for some Sunday finest home cookin’ — slow-cooked brisket, cheesy potatoes, cheesy corn, green beans, pie.

And passionfruit juice!

I had some passionfruit juice concentrate left over, so I decided this last weekend to make passionfruit curd.

Now anyone who knows me well knows that passionfruit, mango, and pineapple are three of my favorite fruits.  I have loved passionfruit (maracuja, in Portuguese) ever since my first trip to Brazil in 1994.  And on my weeks-long trip in 2001, I couldn’t get enough.

So I searched out a recipe, and used seven egg yolks, 10 tablespoons of butter, a cup of sugar, and a half cup of the passionfruit concentrate.

The result was spectacular.

I made crepes Sunday morning, since I was hosting a guest for brunch, and served with passionfruit curd.  And mango and pineapple on the side.

Heaven. Sheer heaven.

The recipe: https://www.garlicandzest.com/sweet-tart-passion-fruit-curd/

Next time, passionfruit tarts . . . . .

Here’s the Wednesday-morning breakfast plate: