Sunday, 30 November 2008

Eat your leftovers.

I hope all the americans out there had a lovely thanksgiving. I'm not american, and I didn't celebrate american thanksgiving, but I do have a lot of fancy dinner parties. I kinda got to thinking about big fancy dinners, and wanted to remind you that almost half of our edible food ends up in the garbage. Please use your leftovers, okay? Being wasteful isn't a sign of celebration, it's a sign of stupidity and entitlement, neither of which is worth celebrating.

Now, on to the food:

The best part about weekends is having time to do stuff like this for breakfast.

Green tea and chestnut swirls: Green tea bread dough (spelt flour, matcha, sugar, salt, yeast, soy milk, little tiny bit of almond extract) with chestnut filling (okara, chestnut flour, maple syrup). I make the buns the night before and let them rise overnight. My kitchen is cold, so I just leave them on the counter, but if you live somewhere warm, or keep your heat on at night (and dammit, you'd better have a good reason for that one), you could let them rise in the fridge. This is a picture of the night before. I fogot to take a photo the next morning. The next morning, I bake them and have hot buns for breakfast. Served with icing (icing sugar, soy milk, almond extract). I like these because it looks like Dr.Suess made my breakfast.

For the leftovers, make bread pudding: cut up the stale bread or buns in chunks and soak overnight in just enough soymilk to cover them, with a tbs or two of flax seeds and some sugar (if you want it). The next morning, add almonds if you want 'em, dump the whole goopy mess into a greased cake pan and bake it up for breakfast. It will take about half an hour at 180C, which is just enough time to have a cup of coffee and/or make out with your weekend guest (brush your teeth first if you go for the second option). Once the pudding is done, sprinkle with matcha and/or sugar. You can do this with any stale bread, and it's especially good with these or old cinnamon buns/raisin bread. You can add chopped up pears and walnuts and a bit of cardamom (to plain white or whole wheat bread), chopped up apples (to cinnamon buns) or slices of bananas (to anything, as far as I'm concerned, but it's strikingly good with any kind of nutty bread), or if you're feeling really decadent, you can add chocolate chips to the puddings before baking them. Go crazy. There are no rules!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

cold nights, warm soup

We spent day outside in the uncharacteristically sunny (but very cold) weather...until the sun set around 4. Then we came home and had this warming mushroom soup. I had some black eyed beans soaking, so I put them on to boil with two finely chopped onions and some bay leaves. When they were just about ready, I threw in a few cloves chopped garlic, some marmite, some white wine, sage and thyme and a whack of dried wild mushrooms, along with a bunch of leftover cooked brown rice. Then, just before serving it, I added a dash of tamari and a few drops of truffle oil. That's it. We ate it with salad (mustard greens, cabbage, fennel, pear in maple syrup/mustard/wine vinegar and pepper). This is really easy. You can use pretty much any combo of white bean and cooked grain you have lying around (wheat berries or barley are yum too). The only thing that you really *need* are dried mushrooms, or if you're lucky, a whole lot of fresh wild mushrooms. You don't actually need truffle oil, but if you're lucky enough to have some, use it for crying out loud. There is a special place in culinary hell for those who let truffle oil go rancid because they're continually "saving it for something special". What the hell are you waiting for? Oh, and go easy on the marmite/tamari, you don't want it to ovewhelm the other can always add more at the end of cooking, along with some black pepper if your mushrooms aren't *ahem* very good. If you have some fresh parsely lying around, I'd strongly suggest stiring a good handful of chopped parsley in at the end, but I didn't have any and it was just delish anyways, thank you very much.

warm, comforting music: jazz lounge

Also, from a few days ago when I was far too stressed to post (or make anything requiring more than about 10 minutes of cooking), a superquick dinner. You see, I have a pumpkin problem. I love pumpkin. LOVE IT. And I accidentally bought one that was too big. I couldn't stop myself. It was just so... orange. So I baked it up (along with a few potatoes and some onions, cuz it never hurts to have those around) on the weekend and put in in the fridge and ate pumpkin stuff all week, which turned out to be a great thing, since I hardly had time to eat this week, let alone cook, I was so damn busy. This is from the last day of pumpkin. This is buckwheat crepes (buckwheat flour, ground flaxseeds, soured soy milk, water, salt) filled with mashed pumpkin, baked onion, nutmeg, pepper and nooch. Side of greens with *lots* of garlic and lemon.

music: guten tag. wir sind helden.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Ume yum

More Japanse/Italian delights from the Scottish veg box.

Whole wheat pasta with baked veg (okra, cabbage, onions) and ume sauce: ume paste, lemon juice, maple syrup, olive oil, shiso, salt. It ain't pretty, but it is yummy. And fast. And plummy. Fast and plummy are important when you're halfway through NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo music: My baby loves a bunch of authors. from Moxy Früvous.

Friday, 7 November 2008

fusion gone horribly right

Japanese/Italian dinner party. Weeeeheeeee!

the menu
Green tea polenta with edamame and aduki beans. Pine nut/ume/basil rolls. Caramelized carrots with fancy-pants mustard. Blanched daikon with miso and mirin. Salad. Sliced plums. Green tea tiramisu. Japanse whiskey (Nikka).

For the green tea polenta (serves 8): 3c polenta (not quick cooking). Water, salt. Start cooking as usual for polenta, using about 3c water. While this is going on, make 1 cup strong green tea, preferably genmaicha (green tea with brown rice). When the polenta is about halfway cooked, add 1/2- 1c. sake and let it absorb that. Continue adding water until it's almost done. The trick is that you want the polenta to absorb the tea, but not cook long after you add the tea, or it will get bitter. Then add the tea (strained). Cook until done. Pour into a pan and pop it in the fridge overnight. Have cooked aduki beans on hand, and some shelled edamame. About 30mins before serving, slice up the polenta, schmear it with olive oil and bake. While it's baking, fry up a chopped leek and make another cup of double strong green tea. When that begins to brown, deglaze with sake. Add the edamame and some salt. Turn the heat down and simmer. Let the green tea cool. About 5 mins before serving, stir a tablespoon of cornstarch into the green tea, and then pour that into the leek/edamame mix. Heat until the sauce thickens. Add cooked aduki. Place the polenta on a serving dish and pour the bean/tea mix over it. Sprinkle with a few crushed tea leaves.

For the pine nut/ume/basil rolls, which are kind of like asian pesto sushi: Soak 1c pine nuts in just enough water to cover overnight. Drain. Blend along with a bit of fresh ginger and some salt. Chill. If it's still too liquid to scoop, stir in pulverized almonds until the paste is thick enough to hold it's shape when you scoop it. Spread on soy paper sheets, then add fresh basil leaves and some chopped up ume, using the same technique that you would use if you were making miniature sushi rolls where the pine nut spread is the rice and the basil leaves/ume are the filling. Chop up the rolls into 6-8 pieces per roll. You want to make these small because they're pretty rich and intense. The soy wrappers (used in place of nori sheets) are called soy wrappers, and are from a company called yamamotoyama, and I'd never seen them before, but I'm a fan now. They weren't blurry in real life. I just had to show you the pretty colours.

The carrots are really just caramelized carrots with some fancy mustard added. The green tea tiramisu is from My Sweet Vegan.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

I might be a party pooper

...but voting overwhelmingly to deny gay people the same rights as straight people takes the veneer of "progress" off electing a black president. One step forward, several steps back.

Anyway. No time for deep political commentary here. Must go have hot, out-of-wedlock queer sex. Over and over. Bye!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

try a little priest...

Ahem. We interrupt Ducky's Modern Medieval to bring you: Halloween! My favorite holliday of the year. Why can't we do this every month? My costume this year had a culinary component. The Demon Barber of Fleet Street presents: PIES!

Filling: 2 onions, chopped. 1 cup or so of walnuts, also chopped. About a pound of mushrooms, also chopped (are you seeing a theme with the chopping here?) and tvp (it comes pre-chopped, sadly). Fry everything in your best olive oil except the tvp. Add sage, thyme, a bit of garlic and more black pepper than you really think is advisable. This thing depends on the pepper, so don't be shy. Add tvp and enough soup stock to cover, or water + a good tablespoon of marmite. Make pies. Dress up like Sweeney Todd. Sing. Eat.

If you replace the tvp with cooked puy lentils and then blend it all up, this makes a killer pate. Oh yes.

I used the pastry recipe from Tofu for Two, but I used water instead of soy milk. Usually I hate making pastry, but this was nearly painless.

music: uh... do I really have to tell you?

I also couldn't resist posting this turnip soup. It was fast and oh-so-autumnal and yummy

Onions, turnip, water, garlic, cumin, bay leaf, salt (cook these) and when the turnip is done add: lemon, saffron, chopped bok choy and heat through but don't make the bok choy mushy. Garnish with pomegranite seeds. That's it. Fast and simple.

No aplogies for the short and near-incoherent post. I'm doing NaNoWriMo and still have a job, so all of my grammar is going towards those at the moment. Deal with it. The soup is still the yum. What more do you want?