Archive for January, 2011

There’s a good chance I’ll be moving into a house! A real house! (with hardly more counterspace than my current apartment, which wouldn’t be nearly as charming without owning this URL – but there’s lots of room to add furniture, shelving, and counters)

As part of looking forward to moving all of my belongings, I have a goal of not buying any groceries all month. I’ve already caved with a packet of soba noodles, but they’re small and light and I was in Chinatown.

So I’m going through my mind and reviewing what’s in my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer and pondering how they’d match together.

Okay, so I’ve been overeating because as soon as I come up with another plan for food, I have to do it right away, but still.

I’ve finished off three lingering containers of loose tea. Yay!

And I’ve started a plan for soup –

  • I have a bunch of leeks
  • I’ve pulled a random/unidentified cut of beef from the freezer to thaw
  • I have several large cans of black beans
  • I have an open jar of pipian sauce

Simple, right?

Only I was pondering this potential soup in my mouth, and I think it will not be pleasing to have chunks of meat in this soup.

My first thought, of course, was, “Oooo… if only I had bought a meat grinder for my recently acquired Kitchenaid.” (thanks, @geeksdo1tbetter) And, yeah, that would be lovely… but let’s be honest that it probably isn’t really something I want until I also own a dishwasher. And, either way, I don’t have one.

So the only other way I know to get a pleasing texture will be shredding the beef with slow braising. And, ~whine~ … I don’t want the soup to take that long.

But, on the plus side, it will help heat the house.

So here’s the rough draft of the soup plan:

Beef Black Bean Soup

In medium saucepan

  • beef
  • can of tomatoes
  • red wine
  • 1 tsp pipian (to get the flavor started in the meat, but I’m not sure about its pH and texture and all, so not too much)
  • -> braising

in large saucepan

  • whites of leeks
  • carrots
  • big can of black beans
  • quart of stock
  • -> cooked until beans are soft
  • -> add beef
  • -> add more pipian to taste

in large skillet

  • greens of leeks
  • 2 tsp oil
  • -> fried hard over high heat for greasy, salty, delicious garnish of joy

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10
Jan

Weekend of food and glory

   Posted by: JS74nCLOr6    in breakfast, Death Bi Chocolate, Events/Promotions

Thursday
Did not make progress of truffles because I had house buying mischief. Closing date is set to January 31st.

Mortgage rate would be 5%, which is higher than I’d hoped. Apparently rates went up right before the holidays. Do you think it would be weird/too late to shop around more?

I still don’t believe that the sellers will have all the repairs done in time, but I’m starting ye olde boxe collection of moving.

Gah!

Then met up with Hugh for dinner and socializing at Cheesecake Factory. I think they secretly add crack to their food because it’s bizarrely tasty.

And then I conned him into running errands with me: dropped of sewing machine for repair and bought rubber caps for the bottoms of my kitchen chairs (because it’s only okay for them to cut into the rented flooring.

Whee! Good times.

Friday
Made 5 batches of vegan ganache to be the center of truffles. Also made Smitten Kitchen’s buckeye filling.

And then I was wooed out of my kitchen by book group and potential movie watching, and I packed up my goods and rolled some chocolate balls that night. I even dipped some of them.

And then Smittywing showed up! I’d… erm… sort of forgotten having invited her up a couple months ago, but luckily my apartment was in decent shape and able to accommodate a guest with barely a hiccup. Plus I put her to work on the chocolate front. 🙂

Went home, went to bed, and resolved to wake up early to complete the truffle process.

Saturday
OMG – so nuts.

Breakfast of freshly baked bread while covering kitchen in chocolate as part of the frantic truffle making process.

Smittywing was kind enough to take orders and make labels for all the truffles. And a sign to post by the farmers market. And add signature garnishes to the tops for identification. Yay sous chefing!

And then I got a call reminding me that I hadn’t left the key with Lulu last night at book group, so I ran over quickly to open the door to the site before heading back home to finish making stuff and putting on clothing.

Ended up completing the following truffles: laurel, earl grey, peanut butter, and thai-inspired

Spent some time helping sell. Spent some time out front with Bitmonger doing a dance with the sign and encouraging people to come in and sample our wares.

And then we were running out of chocolate, and we were only a small fraction of the way into the bake sale… so I headed off back home to make more truffles (though as I was heading out, I did see more people with baked goods headed in). Smittywing came with me to review the shocking news of the day on her computer, and I twisted her arm into making a batch of (amazing!) cookies, too.

So we rolled chocolate in chocolate and talked politics of OMG.

Oh, and there was also experimental orange peel candying. Is there a trick to getting them dry enough not to make syrup?

completed truffles: masala and green tea
completed cookies: mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles

Went back. Rendezvoused with MeriSunshine , who had made black cocoa brownies that were all light and fluffy.

More chocolate was sold, and a significant profit was made – another year’s worth of BiUnity’s operating expenses covered. Whee!

Geeksdoitbetter showed up, looking glorious, just in time for final call and the wrap up auction.

And then we went back to Lulu’s and Bitmonger’s place and had dinner. Much gratitude to Geeksdoitbetter for making dinner of infinite amounts of pizza go. I had no idea how much I needed that until it happened.

Sadly, we still didn’t watch Memento (which had been an option for both book group and tonight) – maybe next Thursday?

We did spontaneously schedule a dim sum brunch for next week.

And as I left, I surreptitiously snuck both Smittywing and D into the prospective house for a looksee.

Sunday
There was sleeping in on Sunday!

And then I started on cleaning the kitchen… and it was bad enough that I used the technique of just picking an edge and working along methodically. Then a round of dishes… then more cleaning… And we got it all in decent shape by noon (well, aside from some spots on the floor…). And that was good because I’d had a moment of insanity the previous week of inviting SCA people over for crafting at 1pm! Way to overbook my weekends.

There was still time, in the midst of the cleaning, for a fancipants breakfast. Bagels. Fried eggs. Potatoes. Scallion cream cheese made just that morning from scallions picked from the pot on my porch. An orange.

So then Smittywing departed and the SCA people started arriving.

The first one brought rosemary and garlic bread, for which I made some honey butter, and a kumihimo project (I think). We spent some time talking calligraphy and bookmaking, and I sent her home with a pen nib that I acquired in the Great Bryn Mawr Paste Room pillage of ’02.

The second person showed up with a bar of good chocolate, some yarn to ball, and a sewing project.

We ended up discussing garden plans, and it looks like I’ll have a set of 4 large raised beds to plant in next summer! Whoooo!

That makes my next summer diversified gardening plan up to:

  • 2 small vining vegetables in Lulu’s front bed
  • hot peppers, maybe a squash, maybe some other vegetable not tomatoes in Jen’s back yard
  • tomatoes, hot peppers, and some things not susceptible to late blight yet tasty to my parents in (you guessed it) my parents’ back yard
  • And raised beds of awesome, too!
  • And I think I’ll still pursue negotiations with the funeral home next to the prospective house to see if I can garden on the roof of their garage

I made a dinner out of random things hanging around in my fridge:

  • ground meat (beef, veal, pork) cooked down very thoroughly with some onions. Sauced up with some sheep’s milk version of gorgonzola. And then mellowed with some light, fluffy ricotta. Tossed with whole wheat penne. Topped with parsley.
  • Side dish of Dandelion greens wilted down in olive oil with ground savory, parsley, clove, red wine, fish sauce, and a lot of pepper.

I sewed a wee coptic book with a 2 needle version. I am not sure I did it correctly, but it worked. Next step will be gluing the covers together and trimming them to size, and then I’ll decide whether it needs a book or some sort of closure.

Monday
And I have almost all of the dishes done and everything! Whee!

And still had time for a brag-worthy breakfast. I minced the last of the ghost chilies (saving the seeds) and cooked that down with a portabella in bacon fat. Once that was thoroughly cooked and seasoned, I mixed that with the very last of the ricotta and used that as the filling for an omelet. Toasted up a bagel and had more of the scallion cheese. And a bit of tea. \o/!

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7
Jan

Project: Chocolate Truffles

   Posted by: JS74nCLOr6    in Death Bi Chocolate, Events/Promotions

I have two charity things going for which I am offering truffles: The Purple Dove – raising money to support LGBT youth and Death Bi Chocolate.

The latter had a call for vegan things, so the first round will be vegan – that just means I have spices steeping in coconut milk, instead of heavy cream.

Flavors I have started so far:

Earl Grey – 3 tea bags. Steeping so slow. – ganache made

Thai-ish – lemon grass, galangal, and green cardamom, Demerara sugar – ganache made

Green Tea – matcha, wasabi powder (will add black sesame later and maybe grated fresh ginger), Demerara sugar, buckwheat honey – ganache made

Masala – Penzey’s Rogan Josh, Garam Masala, and Kala Jeera (a favorite from last year), brown sugar

Laurel – Bay leaves, pink salt, buckwheat honey

Now I need to start on breaking up the chocolate.

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