cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (god I'm awesome)
Via [livejournal.com profile] telophase: Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don't use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of.

I wonder how many pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese knives, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic presses, margarita glasses, tea strainers, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers (bains marie), sukiyaki stoves, food processors, ice cream makers, takoyaki makers, fondue sets, and mandolines languish dustily at the back of the nation's cupboards.

Woo! It's like I'm economical!
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (love at the carnival)

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

So, [livejournal.com profile] octopedingenue, off the following list of sugary things I can make that travel well, what strikes your fancy? (listed very roughly in order of how pleased I am with my results + level of popularity amongst my friends and family members who have sampled them, except for the Christmas cakes, which have their own scale). Oh, and how do you feel, in general, about nuts in baked goods? Almonds? Hazelnuts? Pecans? Walnuts?

*Chewy caramels (butterscotch, cream, or both)

*Chocolate-dipped candied fruit peel (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, or mixed; milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or mixed)

*Extremely decadent peanut butter cookies with peanut butter chips that fall apart when you eat them (invented by accident by yours truly and her dad when she switched recipes halfway through)

*Molasses cookies

*My dad's awesome variation on chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies, which are made with a minimum of oatmeal, mixed chips (chocolate and butterscotch, optionally, also white chocolate chips and pecans), and when you do 'em right, they're crunchy and the butterscotch chips are gorgeously caramelized

*Chocolate-chip cookies

*Snickerdoodles (mine always come out flat and crunchy, FYI, which is how I like them, so I've never adjusted the recipe. Personally, they remind me of Cinnamon Toast cereal, except they are made with butter and are even more unsuitable as a breakfast food)

*Chocolate cookies (your stated preference, I know, but fairly far down on my list because frankly, of all the desserts I know how to make, I am the least satisfied with my current chocolate cookie recipe, and the last time I made them, my cataloging professor described them as "some sort of brownie") Preferences for any of the following? White chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans?

*Ciambelle (crunchy little ring-shaped italian cookies made with olive oil and limoncello or red or white wine)

*Non-crunchy cookies made with rosemary, pepper, olive oil, and red wine

*Christmas cakes (I have three recipes, although one of them takes a minimum of six weeks to make--at least the way I do it--and one doesn't travel well, but there's always panforte--my version includes both cocoa powder and chocolate and ranks up with the caramels as "most popular food [livejournal.com profile] cerusee has ever given anyone as a present")

And if nothing on the above list wows you, I will think of something else!
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (woman with hamster)
I have really sharp knives these days, but I keep cutting myself with them. No, this is not a metaphor for anything. A few months back, I bought this awesome little knife sharpener thingie for ten bucks, and it's done wonders on all my old, dulled paring knives. Plus, I got a couple of fantastic chef's knives for Christmas--never cut up an onion with anything less than a good, sharp, chef's knife; it really cuts down on the tears if you can dice that sucker in fifteen seconds or less--which has really made cooking easier. Sometimes I use a roommate's knife to slice up an apple or something, and I'm appalled by how hard it is. I glory that I can now, you know, dice ripe tomatoes (a thing which I like to do, as a preface to eating them.)

But I keep cutting myself! Yes, you can really hurt yourself with dull knives, and I've done that too (I once nearly crippled myself using a dull knife to slice a frozen bagel), but damn, you can really hurt yourself with sharp knives too. I've got nearly as many sharp knife-related minor injuries as I do cat scratches, and I am a person who likes to flip her cat upside-down and make him yodel.

That is all.

P.S. You don't stuff them, but ripe pears are orgasmically good sliced up and tossed with a little bit of lemon juice and some plain goat cheese. Be sure, of course, to slice the pear with a sharp knife.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Kirino Natsuo: Out
(eww ewww ewwww. This is well-written, but the ratio of suspense to vivid descriptions of torture, murder, and dismemberment is too low for me. She has other books translated into English, but I'll stop here).

Heyer, Georgette: No Wind of Blame
(relatively low suspense content, but also a low torture/dismemberment content, and lots of wit).

Riccardi, Victoria Abbott: Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto
(Riccardi's memoir of her years spent in Kyoto in the late 1980s, studying tea kaiseki, which is a meal eaten by guests before a tea ceremony, prepared and served by the host. Riccardi is better at describing food than she is creating a sense of herself--her occasional segues to describe memories not directly related to food and her relationships with people are the weakest bits in the book--but since I picked this up because I was interested in reading about the food, this is perfectly fine with me and doesn't detract from the book. It's a fast, pleasant read, and not at all one of those travel memoirs that makes you want to punch the writer in the face for being a xenophobic, racist jerk--or for blindly cheerleading the virtues of foreign cultures without recognizing their faults, either. Riccardi's portrait of Japan from the perspective of a gaijin is affectionate, nuanced, and mature. Plus, nifty recipes! As soon as the weather cools down, I'm going to make beef-and-potato hot-pot and the drippy-sweet daikon wheels).


Tanaka Meca: Pearl Pink vols. 3-4
(what an awesome acting debut. XD).

Anno Moyoco: Happy Mania vol. 9
(this volume seems a little unfocused even for Happy Mania, which is typically insane. Or maybe it was just me, since I was exhausted and struggling to stay awake when I read it).

Yamazaki Housui: Mail vols. 1-3
(I've been telling people that I read volume 1 of this while sitting around immediately after a massage, waiting for my sister to be done with hers, and I undid all of the masseuse's good work by shriveling up in terror. Jesus, this is creepy. Same artist as on Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, although that series has a different writer. It's a tad formulaic, and I was surprised at how consistently people survived their haunting experiences, but very enjoyable, in that terrifying way.).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (air: summer forest)
It's 96 degrees outside. I live in Massachusetts, and it's not even July, and I would like my money back.

Hot weather in Massachusetts sucks. It's always humid. By and large, only movie theaters and major shopping areas bother to air-condition anything (after all, it's New England. We don't have hot, humid weather, except in summer, when it doesn't count. This isn't the uncivilized wilds of some kind of south-of-the-Mason-Dixon-line/west-of-the-Mississippi area of the North American continent, after all; we just don't do unpleasant summers, even if they do come around every year), so practically the only nice thing to look forward to around here in summer is retreating to your pleasant little cottage on Cape Cod or in Maine (if you're filthy rich), or slowly getting drunk on various kinds of chilled alcohol during the evening.

As I am poor, behold, the recipes I have mastered:

Gin and Tonic

So British! I hated gin and tonics until the Boston Globe magazine told me to mix them at a strict ratio of 1 part gin to 2 parts tonic water plus a wedge of lime, of if you're poor like me, a dash of lime juice from one of those adorable fruit-shaped bottles of lime juice concentrate. All over ice. Since I'm a mosquito-magnet, this is a clearly a medicinal necessity for me, or else I might get malaria or something.

Whiskey Sour

God, I love whiskey. (I also drive a car with manual transmission and drink my coffee black. I am told that this makes me a man.) The cheapest and easiest recipe for a whiskey sour, I got from the Joy of Cooking: 1 1/2 oz. whiskey to 1 oz. lemon juice to 1 tsp. or so of sugar syrup (sugar syrup is so very easy to make that you're a jerk if you actually buy it). Shake, pour over ice, garnish with a maraschino cherry and a lemon wedge. I skip the lemon wedge on account of produce breaking the bank around here and me being so poor.


Oi, this makes me nostalgic. I used to drink this back when I was a student in Scotland, and the pretentious locals we drank with in the student pub made fun of me because it's not very alcoholic and doesn't have Guinness in. I wonder if having essentially been introduced to alcohol in Scotland explains my fondness for whiskey? Or maybe it's because whiskey is awesome and delicious. Anyway.

Mix 12 oz. cold lemonade with 12 oz. cold lager or pale ale. Optionally, add a dash of aromatic bitters. (Aromatic bitters are made from, like, cloves and cinnamon and shit and I swear I didn't seek them out solely because there's a stunningly gorgeous Erica Sakurazawa manga by that name, okay, I did. But I do like cloves.) Resist the urge to watch very reserved people wearing tennis whites and speaking RP hit tennis balls at each other while you drink this.

Lemonade has recently been added to the list of foods I will never again purchase, because it turns out that mixing cheap lemon juice and sugar with cold water produces a drink comparable to ninety-nine percent of all commercially made lemonades for a fraction of the cost. And I'm poor. Did I mention that I'm poor? I am.

Iced coffee

Brew coffee. Chill it. Pour it over ice and drink it. If you're a tremendous wuss, mix it with sugar or something.

Okay, I actually love mixing a small amount of cold, leftover coffee with lots of cold milk; I approach of it not as coffee, but as interesting milk. Whatever it takes to salvage your culinary pride. The New York Times' pretentious food section provided a recipe for cold-brewed ice coffee that is sitting downstairs, cold-brewing as I type; I'll let you know how it turns out. 1/3 c. ground coffee to I think? 1 1/2 c. cold water; combine; let sit 12 hrs, strain twice, mix 1 part to 1 part cold water. Remember, caffeine dependency does not subside just because unseasonally hot weather hits. You can protect yourself.

Thai Iced Tea

Holy fuck, but I love this stuff. Buy some Thai tea mix; I'm way too lazy to hunt down a recipe for mixing black tea with the appropriate spices. Toss a cup of Thai tea in with a stockpot's worth of cold water; mix well; bring to a boil and simmer for 20 min. Let cool. Strain out the tea leaves. Mix with...I forget. Lots of sugar. Enough sugar that it's not bitter and it's at the right degree of sweetness. Chill. Serve with light cream. Get fat. Thai iced tea is super-intense, sweet, and calorie intense. I'm so-so on Thai food in general (really, Indian food is my great weakness), but Thai iced tea, jeez. It's intensely tea-flavored, sweet, creamy. What more can you ask?

Iced Tea

You already have your own iced tea recipe, and it's probably perfectly serviceable. Just go with that one.

edit: I forgot stuff. And so I edit.

Mint Julip

Best goddamn drink in the world. The drink was custom made for sitting out on the porch, getting smashed, and sweating. You and your glass.

Muddle four or five fresh mint leaves with a teaspoon or so of sugar syrup. You heard me, muddle those suckers. Muddle, bitch. Joy of Cooking says 1 tsp., but I like mah julips sweet, so I use two. The sugar I don't put in my coffee, I put in my bourbon. Fill up your your highball glass with ice. Joy says crushed; I found that crushed ice immediately melted and made the drink grossly watery, so I use whole ice cubes, and I damn well like it that way. Add 1 1/2 oz. bourbon, stir once, garnish with a mint sprig. It really is better if you only stir it once, because that way it starts out very spiritous and bourbony, but then it gets cold and sweet towards the bottom. Yum. Assuming you like the taste of bourbon, that is; if not, I would redirect you towards the part of the store where they keep the wine coolers.

Plum Wine

Go to your local liquor store. (If it's a decent liquor store, they will have some plum wine next to the sake. If not, you're out of luck. If you're hardcore and you have your own recipe for making plum wine from scratch, please send me the recipe.) Buy a bottle. Open; drink.

You can also serve it over the rocks, for extra coldness, which I admit is the raison d'etre of this post: cold booze and other cold drinks. Note: I have never been to Japan. I have never drunk plum wine with a Japanese person. Nevertheless, when I was young and impressionable, I read Maison Ikkoku, which contains a chapter in which the cast sits around getting drunk on plum wine and talking about summer and the transience of life, etc. Then they get the dog drunk on sake and Godai gets into a snarling fit with him while Godai's grandma declares him unfit for marriage.

It's all pretty fucking awesome. Man, I love Maison Ikkoku. And plum wine. It's plummy.

Next to the cold-brewing iced coffee, I have an experimental batch of cold-brewing gazpacho soup, which will almost certainly turn out to be delicious. Anybody got any other good, cold food recipes for hot weather? Besides vichyssoise; I already know how to make vichyssoise, and I need to eat some foods that don't have heavy cream in them.

more food

Feb. 6th, 2007 12:52 am
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (tea weevil)
Culinary note to self: strawberries are not a good fruit side for French onion soup.

Stuffed dates, on the other hand, go beautifully.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (munchies)
Dates stuffed with goat cheese are the best thing ever, bar only rosemary-fig chutney with goat cheese.

Grape tomatoes stuffed with goat cheese, basil, and a teeny bit of salt and pepper come in third.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (munchies)
If I ever became a vegetarian, the first thing I would do would be to run out to the store and buy an Indian cookbook. And then I would get fat.

I totally swiped these recipes from Nigella Lawson's prissy little column in the New York Times' pretentious food section. (Her writing style makes me want to hit her, but I like her recipes.)

Red Lentil Dal )

Bright Rice )

Cucumber and Cilantro Raita )

At my mother's suggestion, we had whole wheat pita bread with this meal. I stuffed most of my dal into the bread, sometimes with the raita. It is truly, truly awesome. We also ate it with our home-made chutneys (tomato and a "mango" chutney that's actually made out of under-ripe peaches. I don't have those recipes on hand, and my father made the peach chutney, which means he probably winged most of it. He was worried about over-cooking this batch, so he stopped cooking it while it was still soupy, but that was actually better with the raita, because the yogurt mixed into the syrup. I have tasted heaven). Everything except the raita and the store-bought pita bread takes forever to make, but it is absolutely worth it, and unless you're feeding a lot of people, there will be leftovers.

I might also point out that if you left out the raita, this is a vegan meal.

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