cimorene: (call ikea)
I thought my 2nd favorite quick pasta dish - sauteed chanterelles and spinach topped with parmesan and lemon juice over pasta ) - was the perfect umami, but if you put two slices of buttered bread, thick slabs of gouda, slices of turkey, and leftover chanterelle-spinach-lemon-sautee mixture in between, and then melt the cheese in a skillet/microwave/(panini press??? I've never used one but probably the best way?).... it's maybe even better. Or just as good at least.

I think it would be even better with tiny slices of dill pickle though. Failing that, one could add sliced olives, but I don't have any at the moment.

I don't actually RECOMMEND melting the cheese for a sandwich in the microwave, and if you do, make sure you toast the bread first and turn it after 10-20ish seconds to make sure the bottom piece of bread doesn't get soggy from steam. But sometimes you just don't want to use a skillet.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (dragon)
This is my combination of about 3 different recipes.

couscous, 1 3/4 US cups (or a little over 4 deciliters)
a tiny bit more vegetable or chicken broth (or use 1 bouillon cube + water)
1 big bunch of parsley

Greek olives (recipes always want Kalamata, which I can't get here; I use green), 1 sm jar or about 1 cup/2½ deciliters
feta cheese, 1 package or about 1 cup/2½ dl
cherry tomatoes, 1 package
red grapes, ½ package
1 red onion
1 large cucumber

Dressing:
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp salt

Make the couscous according to package directions but using broth (or bouillon cube dissolved in the water), and make sure it's not dry by adding a bit more liquid if necessary. Fluff well so there are no clumps.

Wash & chop the vegetables: dice the onions finely, slice the cucumbers into bite-sized chunks, halve the tomatoes and grapes. I leave the olives whole. Chop the parsley roughly. Combine them in a big bowl, then add the couscous and stir to combine. Mix the dressing separately, drizzle it over the top, and stir again.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (goth)
I tried out a recipe for coffee cake ("breakfast cake", which is... what?) that looked interesting, and I think I accidentally discovered the perfect blueberry muffin. I'm not saying the recipe for the perfect blueberry muffin was a big secret or anything, I just didn't happen to know it: there are a lot of cookies in my baking repertoire and quite a few muffins, but my mom always made crumble and pie out of our blueberries.

And blueberry muffins are so popular in the US that the bad ones vastly outnumber the good, which has made me wary. It means that usually when I've had them it's the bad kind, and that doesn't exactly engender enthusiasm. But anyway, I was comparing lemon cake recipes online and had bought lemon extract for the planned Lemon Cake Try-Outs, and I substituted it for lemon zest in this coffee cake out of convenience, but WOW.

(I also used almond milk with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar instead of buttermilk and omitted the vanilla.) The only flaw in this recipe was the batter, which was really so thick it was almost dough. It uses whipped butter instead of oil, which of course is famous for tasting better, but I had a hard enough time wrestling it flat in a square cake pan - I shudder to think what it'd be like in individual muffin cups.

So probably what remains is to replace the butter with canola oil (it might need some more milk or water too) and scale the whole thing up for a bigger batch, which I'll definitely have to do in the near future.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (crack)
The other day I tried a stew recipe that I concluded was too spicy for my wife, and at the spicy end for me. The day after I tried a milder soup for her and then today I mixed the leftovers together for lunch, and found out that I liked that even better, so I'm going to try combining the recipes next time like this: Read more... )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
Apparently third time's the charm! My third attempt at spaghetti sauce is definitely the best yet. I sweated the onions in butter, added olive oil and a cube of veggie bouillon, then two cans crushed tomatoes, a can of tomato puree, around 4 deciliters red wine, a bay leaf, and about a tablespoon of sugar. Simmered for thirty minutes and seasoned with basil, oregano, rosemary and a dash of chili powder.

I still haven't got around to trying it with white wine though. That's next.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (distance)
My favorite way to eat pasta is with some form of pesto sauce but my second favorite way (because tomato sauces sometimes don't agree with me and artichoke sauces take a bit more prep) is: Read more... )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (tea cup)
Recipe courtesy of my crunchy aunt Jenny

1 cup (2.4 deciliters) sunflower seeds: hulled, soaked 2 hrs., rinsed, then sprouted (0-18 hrs)
1 cup (2.4 dl) walnut halves/pieces, soaked 4 hrs., rinsed, & sprouted (0-8 hrs)
juice of 1 lemon
4 cloves garlic
~1/8 large onion
3-4 Tablespoons miso paste, or to taste
1 cup (2.4 dl) water

Chop garlic & onion in a food processor. Add walnuts and chop coarsely. Combine miso and water. Add miso/water and all other ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth.

Serve with vegetables, crackers or bread, in spring or nori rolls, for stuffing peppers or mushrooms, etc.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (tea cup)
Aside from me (I don't like fudge), everybody who saw this fudge ate it, made alarming noises and loved it. Usually they ate tons of it. I will clearly be making it again.

Fudge with pecans by Swedish celebrity dessert chef Elisabeth Johansson
This recipe from Lantliv Mat & Vin 6.2013, translation mine
24-30 pcs

100 g milk chocolate (3.5 oz)
100 g dark chocolate (3.5 oz)
15 g butter (1 Tbsp)
½ can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla sugar (can substitute 1/4-1/3 tsp vanilla extract)
1 ½ dl marshmallows, mini or large ones chopped up (0.63 US cups)
1 dl pecans, coarsely chopped (0.42 US cups)

  1. Chop the chocolate and melt it with the butter and condensed milk in a double boiler setup [e.g. in a metal bowl resting on top of a saucepan in which a half inch of water is simmering - not boiling - over medium heat]. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, and stir in the vanilla sugar [or vanilla].

  2. Fold in the marshmallows and pecans without stirring too much, as that will melt the marshmallows.

  3. Spread out the mixture into a foil pan lined with baking paper. Let cool in the refrigerator a couple of hours, then cut into cubes with a sharp knife.


Note: I've read elsewhere that the bowl on top doesn't have to be metal, but I can't remember what the other option was.

Note 2: Stirring the chocolate with a spatula as it melts is not strictly necessary, as it's impossible to burn it with a double boiler... but it does ensure it melts completely. And more importantly, it's fun because it looks really cool. However, since the mixture is incredibly thick and sticky, good luck getting it out of the bowl without a spatula.

Note 3: I doubled the recipe because I couldn't think of anything else to do with half a can of condensed milk, but I had no problem getting rid of the fudge. In fact, it was all gone within 4 days, over the course of 2 family parties.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (godlike)
I've perfected what to make when I have a cold or flu and cannot stand for too long, or cheating chicken soup with rice. )

Obviously, chicken soup made with cooked-down chicken is better. My mom used to make that for me when I was sick sometimes and it was the best. This is okay though.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (jeeves/wooster)
I found a recipe for creamy mushroom pasta sauce that substitutes yogurt for the typical dairy products and I've used it for a while with varying success, but lately I've been trying to cut out dairy because unfortunately I find that I feel healthier that way than eating lactose-free versions. So after I fried the mushrooms in butter with basil, then cooked them with the spinach, I added rapeseed oil and lime juice instead of yogurt, then grated a generous handful's worth of parmesan into it and tossed it. And I liked the result better than the version with yogurt! Now I feel cheated for all the times I needlessly used yogurt (frequently adding it too soon and curdling it).
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (dragon)
Slightly revised, now with more notes to myself/tips. I've posted the recipe before of course. A long time ago. Read more... )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (eyebrow)
Here's my new favorite dish! I was googling for artichoke pasta dishes and read various different ones before throwing this together and it's not exactly like any of them. I always cook for two.

  1. Heat a chunk of butter and a few tbsp olive oil in a wok or big skillet.


  2. This is where you would saute ½ a diced onion and a few cloves of crushed garlic, before adding any other ingredients, if you didn't have sensitivities that prevent it. (My stomach can only take tiny amounts of cooked onion and [personal profile] waxjism can't stand the smell of fresh garlic in the house, so I substitute powders or, sometimes, chives or leeks for the onion.)


  3. Dump a bowlful of halved cherry tomatoes in the pan to sautee (medium high) until softened. I sprinkle the powdered garlic in at this point. You can also use canned crushed tomatoes (1 can), but the result can easily get too heavily tomato-y so be careful.


  4. When they're soft, the tomato juice and oil will have started to thicken. Sprinkle in a tsp or so of dried basil if you don't have the fresh stuff (I add the fresh kind much later). I add some liquid, sometimes some more oil if there's too little sauce in the pan, and, if I have it, a small amount of frozen spinach (fresh is fine too!). Cook covered on medium-low till the spinach is melted/wilted, stir, and add some more seasonings, like a pinch of chili powder and cumin and a generous sprinkling of oregano.


  5. Stir in a lot of quartered artichoke hearts. I prefer the unseasoned kind, but I usually end up trying to rinse off the flavored oil and it never all comes off. Cook until they're soft. Turn off the heat.


  6. Stir in a bunch of halved (or sliced) olives. I prefer green but lots of people prefer black. You can also use both of course!
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (yes)
I tweaked a bean & tomato soup recipe to use slightly more Italian seasoning and the result was a bit like minestrone without the pasta, but super tasty:

1 portion of chickpeas
1 portion of black beans
1 container of tomato purée
about the same amount of water as the tomato

Simmered a while, then added a cube of chicken bouillon and seasoned with a small dash of basil, a large dash of oregano, a tiny pinch of cayenne, a pinch of garlic powder, and some onion powder (if I'd had onions fresh sauteed would be better, though).

Also thinking diced bits of potato and red pepper would've been a good addition. Could also add pasta, but it's fun to eat with hunks of bread dipped in it, in which case it doesn't really need the starch.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (sex)
I've been meaning to try making black bean veggie burgers ever since I had some really delicious ones at my favorite uncle's favorite microbrewery in Lawrence, Kansas*. This recipe might actually have been the first result on All Recipes, I'm not positive. And it was even more delicious than anticipated! They contain an egg, though if you follow the link above there's a vegan alternative in the top of the comments.

Tweaked slightly for metric measures and to make sure they weren't too spicy for my wife's delicate Scandinavian palate, DELICIOUS black bean veggie burgers )

See, I stopped eating meat in larger than miniscule amounts about 8 years ago because my sad, sensitive digestive system just doesn't like it. I decided then that I was going to cut things out of my diet that reliably upset my stomach, and meat dishes - which tragically included both cheeseburgers and bacon - always did.

It only took a couple of months before they stopped even smelling good - I distinctly remember being stationed at the isolated cash register by the deli end of that Texas supermarket one Sunday, and being nauseated the entire time because they were cooking bacon nearby.

Cheeseburgers don't smell good anymore either, but it doesn't stop me from missing them. I still remember how delicious they smelled and tasted when I did eat meat, and sometimes I dream about them or otherwise get some wacky craving and it's pretty sad that even if I wanted to break my diet and then spend twelve hours or whatever feeling sick and miserable, they wouldn't even taste good now.

These burgers, as delicious as they are, don't actually taste like cheeseburgers at all. Beans definitely have that meaty flavor to them - what's the Japanese word for that? It totally starts with a u and food blogs use it and stuff umami, thank you, [personal profile] flamebyrd - but it's more meat-family than meat-like-it-would-fool-you. But the combination of everything is still delicious and fits in with your typical hamburger (cheeseburger) toppings just as well as beef does, or possibly better from my POV. Even more amazing, it's complexly seasoned and flavorful and kinda spicy without even being too spicy for Wax! Even more success.


*Okay, so that was the week we got married, 10/09, almost three years ago, but whatever, I'm not the world's most adventurous chef.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (serious)
I think this is Wax's favorite of all the things I make, which is a bit sad because it doesn't really use any skills on my part, since I don't bother making pesto or tomato sauce from scratch... Cheesy spinach (or other vegetable) and tomato pasta bake )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (yum)
This is one of my mom's standard Thanksgiving recipes and a standby that she often serves at dinner parties. I served it last Sunday night to my friends alongside Pilafian's Pilaf. We also had [personal profile] bluesbell's hummus on bread, lentil koftas brought by [personal profile] morningfine, and [personal profile] pierydys's pecan pie for dessert.

French beans with sesame seeds )

I had also found a recipe for "Vegan Olive Oil Challah" at autostraddle.com, a lesbian lifestyle site that I follow via Tumblr. I wanted to try it because of the vegan, vegetarian, and lactose-intolerant guests I was expecting, but neglected to notice that the dough needed to chill overnight, so it wasn't actually ready until breakfast the next morning. We made do with some older homemade bread and it was fine, but more importantly, this recipe is wrong and hilarious for many reasons.

  1. It doesn't taste like challah. (In fact, it tastes exactly like Italian breadsticks. "Olive Garden breadsticks" was both the first thing that came to mind when I was asked how it tasted and the first thing that came to mind for [personal profile] pierydys as well.)

  2. It doesn't have the texture of challah. Not a big surprise as challah contains a lot of egg, but I did sort of expect it to be similar I guess.

  3. It doesn't belong to the same taste family as challah. To wit, it is savory and slightly salty with a detectable olive oil tint. Challah is sweet.

  4. The recipe included measurements in US cups and in grams, but someone was apparently confused about how big a gram was, according to Wax.


So in the end, this is not challah at all. It is vegan, though, and it's very tasty and extremely crusty, which some people (including me) like, although you need to watch it carefully so it doesn't bake itself dry. It starts to dry out fast. So here is the recipe edited by me according to Wax's comments. (Wax likes bread and I hate kneading things, so she is in charge of bread in our household.)

Overnight-chilled crusty olive oil bread that isn't challah although feel free to braid it if the mood takes you )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (godlike)
I have arrived at this recipe, which is my new favorite thing to eat this winter (and also my wife's, and when I served it on the 11th my guests asked for the recipe), after tweaking a recipe posted by [personal profile] vass. I will include notes inside about her version.

This recipe is vegan and relies on canned tomatoes for the broth, but because it includes both a legume and a whole grain, it is also protein complete. And deliciously filling.

Tomato barley stew with lentils )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (google)
I'm having a craving and I've realized it is for foods made with chili oil. Besides the fact that I don't know with 100% certainty where I can buy it, I also don't know any recipes that use it off hand.

Does anybody have any uses for chili oil in cooking? The simpler the better, probably. I know it's an ingredient and that it's involved in some Chinese food and that's about it. I can definitely identify it as the dominant flavor in this one brand of instant prepackaged fake-Chinese noodles that you can buy here in Finland, but the ingredients of the packet are basically impossible to decipher further than identifying a few of the flavors (there's definitely some onions in there! And possibly ginger. I'm not great at identifying flavors. I know that I know them but it's hard to put a name to them once they're combined with other stuff).

So anyway, the one place I know for SURE I can get it is prepackaged, full of red dye #2, and not actually all that tasty except in that it contains chili oil. I'd rather explore it other contexts now that I know it's there. I do know how to use google and all, but I have had good luck with rlist advice relating to quick and easy meals before, so I thought I'd try you guys first.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (face!pie)
I found this photo online a week or so ago and instantly knew I had to try the cookies in the picture. They were probably made with orange marmelade, but my mind instantly went to apricot jam and I became convinced that it would be divine in combination with dark chocolate and buttery shortbread. It took me a while to get around to actually making them, but I did it a couple of days ago, when the instant verdict was INSTAFAVORITE! And these cookies join Toll House Cookies, Green Tea Shortbreads, No-Bake Cookies, and Peanut Butter Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies in the short list of... really awesome best cookies. Or something. (Look, the list doesn't have an official name.)

Don't be fooled by the combination of jam and chocolate: these aren't much like Jaffa cakes. The ratios are different, and the shortbread has a very different texture, too.

Ingredients for Chocolate-Dipped Apricot Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies:

1 recipe shortbread dough (225g butter's worth)
apricot jam
200 g dark or baking chocolate


My standby shortbread recipe is this Scottish shortbread ), but you can obviously use any; there are slight variants.

Chocolate-dipped apricot thumbprint shortbread cookies )

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