serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (BringPie)
So, remember those mashed potatoes I mentioned making for Thanksgiving? I'ma give you all the recipe, because they came out SO UNBELIEVABLY GOOD that I had a hard time believing I had made them. And it's not even a difficult recipe, at all. It just involves a paradigm shift in how you cook the potatoes. It's simple, really:


Tyler Florence (who seems to be the TV Cook du Jour these days) came up with a recipe that has you cook the potatoes directly in a mixture of milk and cream, instead of cooking them in water and then mixing in the dairy later. This does a couple of things. First, it captures all the flavor (and nutrition) that gets stripped away in the boiling process, and second, it intensifies the creaminess of the potatoes. The only thing that changes in the act of cooking is that the temperature has to be low (only gently simmering), and you have to keep an eye on it to prevent scalding.

The result is a revelation, seriously. I'd made mashed taters before, of course, but they were nothing like this. Creamy and rich and amazing. I served them with a garnish of cherry tomatoes and fried sage. (YES. This is too yummy for words. Heat some butter until it browns, then fry the leaves until crispy. They make a great garnish and are just yummy on their own as little chips.)

This recipe mixes in mustard, but you can make them any flavor you like, or just go with the taters and dairy. The recipe has some elasticity, too - I didn't have any salted butter thawed, so I put in cream cheese instead, and of course it was fine. (I'm sure sour cream or creme fraiche would work just as well.) Potatoes seem to be endlessly forgiving. :)

So I'm putting the recipe here for you guys to enjoy. It's changed the way I'll make taters from now on, you betcha!

Amd remember - these are MASHED potatoes. No food processor! No, no, NO! BAD DOG!

Tyler Florence's Mustard Mashed Potatoes... )

Oh, one more thing: You will have a LOT of that milk and cream mixture left over. Put it in the fridge and use it to make a wonderful warming soup. I sauteed some onion, poured in the milk mixture, added some broth and spices, then a chopped up Russet potato (they fall apart nicely), several cloves of garlic, and a garni of rosemary, sage, and bay. Cooked that (GENTLY) until the potato was softened, then threw in most of a pound of spinach and a grated carrot, and a couple of handfuls of rice. (I used basmati because it's very tender and cooks fast.) Once the rice was soft, I removed the herbs, whirred the whole thing with my stick blender, and ended up with a rich winter soup. I've been enjoying it over the last few days. OMG YUM.

Spices for the spicy

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 06:43 pm
serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (ChocolateJohnny)
Made my mom some Chocolate Garam Masala Gingerbread cookies for Mother's day.

Garam masala is a spice mixture from India, and the thing about is that there is no set recipe. Every family has its version, a bit more of this or less of that, adjustments to location, etc. You can buy it premade, but there are many recipes on the web. I use Madhur Jaffrey's.

Chocolate Garam Masala Gingerbread Cookies

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1½ tbsps unsalted butter
3 tbsps corn syrup
3 tbsps water
3 cups all purpose flour, plus for dusting
2/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp fine salt
1½ tsps garam masala
12 tbsps unsalted butter, at room temperature (1½ sticks)
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup molasses
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp garam masala (or more to taste)
1½ tbsps egg white powder
3 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tbsps water
Toasted fennel seed, dried rose petals and gold or silver dragees, for garnish

Combine the chocolate, butter, corn syrup, and water in a microwave-safe bowl... )
serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (CaseyZeke)
This were fussy to make, but very nice once done. You'll need cookie cutters, and among them one that cuts out a tiny star. Wilton makes a nested set of star-shaped cutters ostensibly for fondant, which also work very well for these cookies.

I didn't bother with making the jam. Trader Joe's has great jams, so I used some I bought there - raspberry, and blackberry.

Linzer Cookies with Ginger Cardamom Jam

6 oz frozen raspberries
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp cornstarch
¼ tsp powdered ginger
¼ tsp ground cardamom

12 tbsps unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups + 2 tbsps all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Powdered sugar

Add the frozen raspberries, sugar and cornstarch to a saucepan and start to cook on medium heat, stirring until everything is combined. Once the raspberries have thawed, add the ginger and the cardamom. Cook until the fruit is completely broken down and the jam thickened (about 10 minutes). Let cool.

Beat the butter and granulated sugar until well combined and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and the salt and beat until the dough comes together. Gather the dough into a ball, then flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Roll out the dough to ¼" thickness. Cut out the cookies, then cut a tiny star out of the center of half of them. Bake on the prepared sheet until they start to brown (12 to 15 minutes). Let the cookies cool completely.

Sift powdered sugar onto the cookies with the cut-out centers. Spoon a little bit of jam onto the whole cookies and top with a cut-out center cookie. Press the cookies together, wiggling them a bit if the jam doesn't spread out fully. Let uncovered for a day or so, to let the jam set and firm up, then store covered as usual.

Makes at least 14 cookies, depending on thickness and shape of the cutter.

Note: This dough is a bitch to work with. It's quite dry, and constantly wants to split or crumble. The chilling time, in my opinion, is too long. This dough should be chilled no more than 15 minutes, or else you'll just have to let it warm up once you get it out of the fridge. I found myself having to massage the dough with my hands just to get it to hang together because the cold made it so fragile. But with patience it works, and the results really are good. :)
serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (YouKnowYouWantItKaga)
Made this new cookie recipe today. They were super easy and taste wonderful.

And may I say being able to reach out my back door and pluck a lemon from the tree? In December? Is EXCELLENT.

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1½ cup AP flour
½ cup powdered sugar, reserved for rolling the cookies

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 3 baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, egg, lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat until well combined. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until they are combined. Place the powdered sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Scoop about a tablespoon of the cookie dough and roll into a ball. Roll in the powdered sugar, then gently toss the cookie back and forth between your hands to shake off the excess sugar. Place on the cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Bake for about 10 minutes, or just until the bottoms of the cookies begin to brown and the cookies are no longer shiny. Remove from the oven and let rest for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container when completely cooled.

NOTE: The baking time will depend on your oven, among other things. I found these cookies reached their best moment after nearly 20 minutes of baking (for full tablespoons), but start checking at about 9 minutes, and pull them out when you see the edges start to get just a little golden brown. With the time it'll take to get them from the oven to your counter, and then the time they'll rest, they'll be perfect when you move them to the rack. (And don't skip the resting stage, or you'll find half the cookie sticking to the paper when you try to pull it off.)

NOTE THE SECOND: Do not neglect to shake off the excess powdered sugar after rolling each cookie. If you leave thick patches of powdered sugar on the cookies, the dough underneath may not bake completely, and you may get little patches of sticky dough on the surface. Not a tragedy, but it does interfere with the texture you're going for here.

Last but not least: Be sure to let the cookies cool off completely before eating. They don't get that lovely crispness until they've set all the way.

Makes between 2 and 3 dozen, depending on the size of the cookie. Be sure to adjust your baking time if you decide to make smaller cookies.

Very easy, sweet and lemony, with a lovely crispness. Definitely a keeper, this one. :)



Saturday, November 28th, 2015 04:24 pm
serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (JoshShades)
Would you believe AO3 has no Fandom tag for Josh? Apparently I'm the first one to write a fic using his name as a fandom tag. (I posted my two photofics, Dump and Bright.) That really surprises me.

96 works I've got up and counting. Still really shocked by that number, by the way.

In other news, Thanksgiving was nice... )

As to being thankful? This year, I'm thankful to have sidled into a (somewhat) new fandom, with wonderful people who get it. You all are lovely, it's been so unexpected, and now I have to stop saying anything because I'm tearing up.

Love and hugs to all!

serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (DudeWhatever)
Catching up with Jon and Stephen while enjoying a yummy bowl of pasta. Mmm...

Angel Hair Pasta with Walnut-Carrot Sauce )
serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (GoodEnough)

A wonderful summer dessert.

Drunken Strawberry Parfait

1 basket (or more, depending) of fresh, sweet strawberries
Granulated sugar
Red wine
Plain yogurt
Honey (optional)
Wine goblets
Mint sprigs for garnish

Rinse and hull the strawberries. Cut into 1/2" chunks, reserving 1 strawberry per person. Toss in a bowl with plenty of sugar, enough to coat well. Let sit at least 1 hour.

Pour in enough wine to cover the berries. (You can use either red or white wine. I prefer red for the color and also because the result has a fuller, richer flavor. Whichever you choose, it should be a rich fruity wine, NOT dry.) Put in the fridge overnight.

Take out 1 hour prior to serving. (The flavor will be better if it's not very cold.) Mix yogurt with honey if using. Proportion is 1 cup yogurt to 1 tbsp honey, amount will depend on how many are being served. (Plain will accent the berries' flavor more, but I know some people don't like plain yogurt.) Don't mix the honey in too thoroughly, but just thread it through.

Layer the yogurt and berries in the wine goblets, being sure to include spoonfuls of the wine as well. Cut each reserved strawberry partway through and slip onto the edge of each glass. Garnish with mint sprigs.

You can cut the strawberries in slices instead of chunks, but I've found slices go soggy sooner. The leftover wine can be kept in the fridge. It makes a yummy addition to fruit juice! (You can also keep it to soak more strawberries, making an even richer syrup next time.)

This recipe can also be made with other fruits. Peaches, nectarines and pears go well with white wine, blackberries and apples do well with red. (Apples should be soaked overnight.)

serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (YouKnowYouWantItKaga)

My LJ pal [ profile] jblaque is a really interesting guy, and his posts have turned me on to many websites and happenings that I wouldn't have heard about otherwise. We don't agree on everything, but he's one of those people who can disagree with you and still make you glad you've heard his point of view, a rare talent (and one I wish I shared, pointy bitch me).

He also loves to cook. This is a significant point in his favor, in my book. Anyone who likes to make his own food and shares a passion for it is alright with me. Cooking good food gives one a hands-on appreciation of life, especially if some of that food is got for oneself, as Jon has just got back from doing. Now, I'm not a meat-eater at this time, restricting myself to only a monthly consumption of fish and otherwise being vegetarian, so most of the recipes he posts on his blog engage my interest in an academic way only. But since I appreciate a fellow gourmand, I hereby present some recipes from my larder, hoping you'll enjoy them, J. (I was gonna email these, but I thought I'd put them up here for others to try out as well.)

These are recipes I or my family have made a number of times, so I can back them up as being really damn good. As said, they are vegetarian, but they are exceptionally tasty, and would make great sides if you're inclined to center your meals around flesh dishes.

Spinach with Garbanzos (Chickpeas) )

Gazpacho Andaluz )

Garbanzo (Chickpea) Stew )

Spinach and Artichoke Casserole )

Hot and Spicy Green Beans )

Very Spicy, Delicious Chickpeas )

Okay, that's it for now. I hope you all will try some of these, as I can vouch that they really are wonderful dishes, very flavorful and filling.


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