Posts by madamesaslow

Making Food and Food To Make

I’ve been making a lot of edibles lately. The most frequent are:

Rice Milk (the secret is cheese cloth for the right texture)

-Things with sautéed crimini mushrooms (spaghetti squash “pasta”, breakfast burritos, whatever)

– Fruit Smoothies with rice based protein powder and strange things like chia seeds, ground flax seed, and hemp seed (for my husband’s breakfasts)

Things I want to make are:

-My own fruit leather (like a really amazing fruit roll up)

-Maybe coconut “yogurt” since So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk doesn’t come in large containers and is kind of expensive

-Persimmon bread with pecans, chia seeds, flax seed, canned peaches, and oatmeal (because I’ve had those persimmons in the freezer for awhile and they are all thawed out now)

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OMG So Rich and Chocolatey Chocolate Sorbet

I found a great recipe for Chocolate Sorbet at Smitten Kitchen, which they adapted from The Perfect Scoop, a recipe book.  Oh, man!  The photos the Smitten Kitchen have were making me drool.

My photos aren’t as drool worthy, but the sorbet is.  And its vegan, if you care about those sorts of things.

I’m going to make you go to Smitten Kitchen for the recipe, they have it written out so well.

Here are my photos to inspire you.

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Aunt Trisha’s Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares were my dad’s favorite dessert for a long time (it might be straight chocolate now, but he still wouldn’t turn down a lemon square).  My Aunt Trisha wanted me to share her tasty recipe for lemon squares with you, and being as organic lemons are on sale at Oliver’s, I might just whip up  a batch this afternoon. I really like the last drizzle of raspberry puree.  How great would that look and taste?

Trisha’s Lemon Squares

Crust
1 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold butter
Filling
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest

1.Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 8″x8″ baking pan with foil.
2.In a medium bowl wisk together flour, sugar, zest and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Pat on bottom and 1/2″ up side of prepared pan. Chill for 20 minutes. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until barely light golden brown.
3.In the same bowl wisk together sugar, flour and baking powder. Wisk in eggs until well combined. Wisk in juice and zest until frothy. Pour over hot crust. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until set
4.Cool completely on wire rack. Cover and chill overnight.
5.Remove from pan, peel off foil and cut into 16 squares while cold. Let come to room temperatue before serving.
To make them extra special, drizzle with raspberry puree.

Peanut Butter Cookies!

I’ve been making a ridiculous amount of peanut butter cookies.  Which is funny, because until now, I’ve never made them.  They haven’t been my “favorite” before (like so many other cookies when I was working at Creekside Bakery.  But they have been really hitting the spot.

Recipe

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 egg

1 1/4 cup flour (“ve been using whole wheat and they are quite tasty)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking owder

1/4 teaspoon salt

refrigerate at least 3 hours wrapped in plastic

Bake at 370 degrees for 9 to 10 minutes (My oven needed about 14 minutes, but thats just my oven)

Makes about two dozen cookies.

 

 

Easy Roasted Butternut Squash

This recipe comes from Sam Chesley.  It might have been from Thanksgiving, or just some tasty dinner.  Either way, it is now a regular guest at my house.

Get a nicely shaped butternut squash.  The fewer contours the better, since you are going to have to peel it.

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I cut it into discs before trying to hack off the skin with a big ol’ knife.  Scoop out the seeds.  Roast and eat them if you are Noel (probably, I’m just guessing, but she’s into that sort of thing).

Cube your peeled squash into about 1 inch chunks.

Toss in a bowl with minced garlic (as much as you like.  I like a lot of garlic), oregano, salt, freshly ground pepper if you are as cool as I am ;), and olive oil.  Or just mix it up in the casserole dish to save on washing.

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Put in a casserole dish and bake at 350 for about an hour.  Stir it all up about halfway through.  The pieces will be nice and soft and your house will smell great (like garlic).

Butternut Squash is pretty darn good for you.  Its full of anti-oxidants, Vitamin A, B-Complex Vitamins, and fiber, with no fat.  Its cheap at the grocery store or farmer’s market and if you really don’t want to cut it up, it is available in the freezer section of most stores already cubed for you.   You have no excuses to not eat this tasty, tasty squash.

How do you like your squash?  Do you have a favorite type of squash?  I’ll admit, I’ve never cooked spaghetti squash or acorn squash.  The former you can do a weird fork thing to split it into “noodles” and acorn squash is good cut in half and roasted with cinnamon and maybe raisins… its been awhile since I’ve had it and my memory is a bit vague on that one.  Any suggestions for me to try it?

Things I Love Most in My Kitchen Right Now: Part 3

I love my Ninja Master Prep Food Processor!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was another outstanding wedding present from my friends Jessie and Trish (as seen in this post about MacNCheese).  The Ninja Master Prep is awesome. I use this bad boy all the time.

I’ve never used the Magic Bullet   But the Diana at Culinary Therapy loves hers.  That’s guacamole in there, btw.

I’ve used a food processor like this one, but much, much older and clunkier.  I was not a fan of all the hard to store sharp bits.

I use my Ninja at least three times a week, if not three times a day.  Today I used it to chop pecans for banana bread and chop olives for pasta salad (mexican inspired pasta salad with corn, olives, fresh tomatoes, taco seasoning, mayo, and Frank Hot Sauce, for those interested).  I use my ninja for garlic all the time and it still doesn’t smell like garlic.  Onion is also great to chop in here, since I usually cry from chopping onions myself.  Its great for pureeing soup or making smoothies, too.  My next big projects for it are going to be hummus and pesto.  I think why I really like this so much more than my blender is I can get every little bit of my food out of it.  My blender has a section in the bottom under the non-removable blades that just holds stuff.

Do you have a food processor?  Is it collecting dust or whirling away?  What is your favorite use for a food processor?

(No, I am not getting any money for writing this, or any previous post in which I love something.)

Things I Love Most in My Kitchen Right Now: Part 2

Even more basic than pepper, I love my new massive wooden spoon.

My husband and I got it from some dear friends for part of a wedding gift.  I don’t think it was on our registry, but Andrew knows I love to cook (we were room mates years and years ago, so he’s seen and tasted first hand).  With the spoon came cookie sheets, some darling measuring spoons (since I can’t have too many), and a lovely handwritten recipe for cookies.

I use this spoon all the time.  When it comes time to bake, I haven’t usually thought to take out butter ahead of time.  I try to microwave it just a bit, but its still usually hard.  This mighty spoon does the trick.  The thick handle is so easy to get a great grip on.  There is nothing flimsy about this spoon.  I can really beat the heck out of whatever it is that I need to mix up.  Its also nice for mixing up my pasta salad stuff, since it has a nice big part that isn’t the handle.  I have no idea if there is a specific name for the “bowl” end of a spoon.  Do you know?

Anyways, having a great utensil makes cooking that much easier and more enjoyable.  Do you have spoons or spatulas that need replacing?  Knives that need sharpening?  Wooden cutting boards that need a wipe of mineral oil?  Take a look at your tools and make sure they are in great working order for your next cooking adventure.

What’s your favorite cooking tool?

Things I Love Most in My Kitchen Right Now: Part 1

There are some things in my kitchen that are rocking my world right now.  Basic as they may be, I need to sing their praises.  Today:  Freshly ground pepper.  Yep.  Basic.  My dad bought Alex and me a simple Archer Farmers Pepper grinder from Target for Christmas.  But as basic as it is, I’m so in love with it.

Darn if I can find an image of an Archer Farms Pepper Grinder online and I am feeling too lazy to go take  a picture of mine, so you get to see practically the same thing by McCormic.  I am bummed its not a refillable grinder.  Next year I’ll have to add something like this to my Christmakah list:

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Alex’s mom did give us a ratchet grinder for Christmakah, and there is no reason I couldn’t put pepper in it.  But I sort of want to use it for rock salt or just milling other spices, since I made so much chai at home.

No matter what method you use, freshly ground pepper is much, much more fragrant and delicious that already ground, been sitting in your cabinet for 4 years because you bought it at Costco, pepper.  Using great ingredients is a way to make a good cook into a great cook.  Pepper is a basic ingredient that goes into a lot of my cooking.  If you aren’t already using a pepper grinder, why not give one a try?  Does anyone who does use a refillable mill have a suggestion on the best peppercorns to use?  I’ll probably end up just buying mine from the bulk section at Oliver’s Market.

I <3 Curry!

Curry is delicious.  I’ve got it on the brain since my friend Kat and I tried a new thai place yesterday.  Thai House on Fourth Street in Santa Rosa.  Delicious!  Its a strange location, since all you see from the sidewalk is a sign reading “Thai <–” and a narrow, kind of dark stairway going up.  We ventured up the oddly twisting stairs to a door that looked like a fire escape.  On the other side of that door… Paradise.  Its a comfortable, warm, space with huge windows and a large rock waterfall in the corner.  The coconut soup that came with our lunches was rich, creamy, and as sinful as soup can be.  My yellow chicken curry (mild) (Yes, very boring white girl, but I wanted a “standard” to compare) was great.  Also rich and creamy, which I was in the mood for that day, the vegetables weren’t over done, and the chicken was nice and tender.  I’m really looking forward to my leftovers for lunch today.  All of that was $7.95 plus tax.  Kat, my adventurous friend and Thai food nut, got a thai coffee, super yummy chicken satay (she let me have a piece), and mussaman curry.  I’m SO getting that next time!  Peanut sauce curry.  What’s not to love?  We were already nice and full and didn’t get any fried ice cream, but we were tempted.  (And, as you know, I’m trying to eat more slowly and less.  Which means lucky me has leftovers today!)  When Kat and I go back, we are bringing our guys and sitting in the special dinner section of the restaurant.  You take off your shoes and sit on cushions.  That area is really beautifully decorated with carved wood pieces and candles.  Just gorgeous.

As I’ve been cruising the internet today, I came across this recipe: Potato and Cauliflower Curry.  This sounds great!  I’ve been wanting to eat more cauliflower (as a way to sneak in more veggies).  And though my standard curry is pretty good, its always fun to have something different.

Eating Slowly: A List of Learning and Tips

As you probably read, I’m working on eating more slowly.  I want to chew, taste, and enjoy my food.  In the process I’ll be eating less food since I can be listening to the signals my body has for being “full” or even “not hungry” and I won’t feel as strong of a need to eat more simply because something is delicious.  I will have already gotten twice as much deliciousness out of it the first time.

In doing this I have learned a few things:

1.  I don’t like oatmeal enough to chew, chew, chew and taste it for that long.

2.  I can’t eat food as lava hot as I used to.  It is too hot if its in my mouth for that long.

3.  I can get bored of eating when I really pay attention.  Funny, since a lot of people eat when they are bored.

4.  Eating with a knife and fork makes it MUCH easier to eat slowly.  A burrito in my hands is gone faster.

5.  I try to always ask myself, “Can I cut this bite in half?”  The answer is usually, “Yes”.

 

I have lost a couple of pounds since starting this reformation of a lifelong habit.  Even if I don’t lose any weight and I eat the same amount of food I used to, eating it more slowly, more chewed, and over longer periods of time is much better for me and my digestion.  I can really revel in my In’N’Out double double with this new approach.  And man, do I LOVE In’N’Out Burger.