Saturday, September 13, 2008

Corn Chowder

Here we are in what, foodwise in New York state, is considered high summer. The tomatoes and sweet corn are here, and I've been hauling home so much from the CSA each week that if the shares get any bigger I might have to invest in some sort of cart. We've started getting so much food that if we're not fully engaged in the kitchen half of it will end up going to waste because omg is it even POSSIBLE to eat this many vegetables? Seriously, I have like 3 pounds of carrots in the fridge right now.

The solution, for me, is to spend weekends in the kitchen, making masses of food that stores well, and then either eating it throughout the week or freezing it for future "I dunno, what do you wanna eat?" weeknight dinners. I've exhausted my cajun repertoire, branched into Italian stuff until that cuisine, too, ran out of steam (there is only so much tomato sauce you can chuck into the freezer), and now I'm happy it's September because it's time to start exploring soups and stews.

I started with this awesome corn chowder, which I have to confess inspired me to come back to the blog because I found it on Chowhound, which is a site I'm not a member of, and I didn't want to lose it. It's from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan With A Vengeance, which I do not own because, prior to this recipe I had poo-poo'ed her whole approach due to what I deemed an obsession with putting fake soy stuff into recipes. I understand that vegan diets can be really limited, and so I'm sure that sometimes throwing a little soy in there can make the world seem like a much less depressing place (Isa revolutionized vegan baking, for instance). And I like tofu and edamame as much as the next girl. But I didn't see the point in blowing money on a cookbook where half the recipes call for TVP or Seitan or some other specialty soy product I prefer to use sparingly, if at all. Now I might have to take a second look to see how many recipes can be easily de-soyed.

OK, anyway, without further whining.

I stuck mainly to the recipe as linked, except I put in at least twice as many carrots as the recipe called for. This is partially because I didn't know off hand how many carrots make a cup, and partially because ZOMG IM DROWNING IN CARROTS HALP1!!1! And that was awesome -- I guess, in a sense, what I really made was Corn and Carrot Chowder. I threw in a whole tupperware stock-sicle, which unfortunately I couldn't measure precisely, and then I accidentally left the soup to simmer with the lid off, so I think I ended up using at least 4 cups of stock to the recipe's three. I also replaced the quarter cup of soy milk for probably almost a cup of half and half, because I had some languishing in the fridge and also because I am evil and like making nutritious vegetable dishes bad for me. Quadruple bypass here I come! If I were little miss vegan recipe queen, I would probably say to just leave out any sort of milk altogether, because after pureeing the resulting soup looked pretty damn perfect. Or maybe you could add a little extra stock or something if you really felt the need to thin it out. You could definitely make the recipe vegan sans soy milk. I also dumped in about a tablespoon of sriracha, because, heck, why not? If I'd had miso paste, I probably would have thrown in some of that, too.

Hooray! I'm back!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The American Hundred: Or, Nobody Reads My Blog

You probably know the rules by now. This one's from here, so blame the spelling errors on this guy.

Tomato Soup Cake
Chicken Feet
Limburger Cheese
Asian Pears
Ham Hocks
Corn Bread
Buffalo Mozzarella
Florida Stone Crabs
Som Tum
Sundried Tomatoes
Beef Jerkey
Calves Liver
Shoofly pie
Pulled Pork
Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting
Monk Fish
Hoja Santa Cheese
Whoopee pie
Peking Duck
Sopa de Ajo - Castilian Garlic Soup
Country Ham
Black and White Cookies
Potato Pancakes
Macoun Apples
Brooklyn Pizza
Star Fruit
Cherry Pierogi
Ambrosia Salad
Taylor Ham
Dungeoness Crabs
Grape Leaves
Pepper Jelly
Hanger Steak
A just picked vine ripened Tomato still hot from the sun
Stuffed Quahogs
Smoked Eggs
Chicken Kiev
Shropshire Blue Cheese
Real Moonshine
Chicken Katsu
Clams on the half shell
Scallion Pancakes
Maine Lobster
Romesco Sauce
Sour Cherries
Gulf Shrimp
Wild Blueberries
Black-eyed Peas
Hatch Chile Peppers
Water Chestnuts
Massaman Curry
Jamon Serrano
Quail Eggs
Salsify* per the vegetarian 100
Barbecue Baby Back Ribs
Pine Nuts
Basmati Rice
Pickled Herring

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vegetarian's Hundred

Same rules as the Omnivore's Hundred, below. I'm apparently EPIC FAIL at being a vegetarian, because I don't even know what a lot of this stuff is.

1. Edamame
2. Cha Soba
3. Arame
4. Earth Balance Buttercream
5. "Homemade" sprouts (would like to try doing this, maybe if I don't ruin my herbs)
6. Green Bamboo Rice
7. Absinthe
8. Eat at a raw restaurant (would like to soon, but the only one I know of around here has a lot of mixed reviews)
9. Fresh (real) wasabi
10. Deep fried pickle - I've gotten to where I can deal with very fresh artisanally made kosher style pickles, but I cannot and probably will not ever like those nasty gigantic ones that come in the big jars that they deep fry at fairs in the south. Blegh. Ew. I don't even like thinking about them.
11. Fiddleheads
12. Garlic stuffed olives
13. Smen (get your minds out of the gutter!)
14. Goji Berries
15. Shiso or Perilla* (Maybe, it's apparently used a lot in Indian food)
16. Amaranth* (I really feel like I've had this, but I'm not sure)
17. Pomegranate molasses
18. Water convulvulus (Water Spinach)
19. Pea eggplant, Thai eggplant, green eggplant, Japanese eggplant, Indian eggplant, Sicilian eggplant...
20. A Zen Buddhist Vegan Meal
21. Kohya Dofu
22. Wild Asparagus
23. Elderberry (Just tried this the other day on the way home from Ikea!)
24. Candlenuts (kemiri)
25. Salsify* (Possible, it's pretty ubiquitous. But I've never cooked with it or anything.)
26. Nutritional Yeast
27. Pandan (I'm not going to cross this out, but from what I can gather it's mainly something to weave into baskets? Not terribly interested)
28. Roman cauliflower (this stuff is TRIPPY. I keep meaning to actually buy some one of these days)
29. Anything with acorn flour
30. Poi
31. Chaya (tree spinach)
32. Pitahaya (dragon fruit) (I've had some juice blends that include this, but I don't think that counts)
33. Asafoetida
34. Fried plantains
35. Basil seeds
36. Cardoon (this is like the 5th time I've run across a mention of cardoon in the last couple days -- need to check that out)
37. Durian (not actually sure I would try it, but I don't want to cross it out)
38. Ground Cherry or cape gooseberry
39. Fresh waterchestnut (so I take it the dusty can in my cupboard doesn't count?)
40. Cashewnut cheese
41. Nettles
42. Fake duck from a can, tofurky, or any prepared vegetarian product to resemble meat
43. Kimchi
44. Masala Dosa
45. Lotus Seed
46. Matcha
47. Loubie Bzeit (googling this caused me to stumble on the recipe, and I think I will make this soon)
48. Quince In paste form.
49. Blue Potatoes
50. Injera (I've always wanted to try Ethiopian food)
51. Nasturtium
52. Turkish Delight or Lokum (I used to hate this stuff, but I've started developing a real taste for it)
53. Spruce tips
54. Breadfruit
55. Mangosteen
56. Swede or Rutabaga
57. Garlic Scapes Hooray!
58. Lavash
59. Candied Angelica
60. Rambutan
61. Sambal One of the things I really miss about Indian food. Sad face.
62. Bhutanes Red Rice
63. Candy-cane or Chioggia beets
64. Mango
65. Ras el Hanout
66. Vegan marshmallow
67. Umeboshi
68. Red Currants
69. Puy or French lentils
70. Millet
71. Fresh Bamboo shoot
72. Jerusalem artichoke
73. Wild strawberry
74. Jambool
75. Po cha or Yak butter Tea NOM in moderation. Another bit of India nostalgia.
76. Adzuki beans* (I'm going to say yes, but I might have)
77. Shirataki
78. Manioc, yuca, cassava
79. Quinoa
80. Ramps
81. Chufa
82. Purslane
83. Curry Leaves (Kadipatta)
84. Sorrel
85. Sumac
86. Vegan cupcake (surprisingly yummy at Whole Foods)
87. Montreal bagel has nothing on a New York Style bagel
88. Peri-peri
89. Syllabub (would love to go into a bar and order this, but then again I don't really like being throttled)
90. Chartreuse (I always thought this was just another name for Absinthe or Pastis or Anisette or whatever -- guess not)
91. Kamut berries in flaky cereal form
92. Kalamansi Lime
93. Aloe
94. Morels (way at the top of my list)
95. Raw “bread”
96. Dandelion wine
97. Rosti (I don't see how this is different from a big latke, but out of respect for the Swiss, I won't claim it)
98. Loomi
99. Stinky tofu
100. Something grown by you~ (been working on basil, mint, and parsley all summer)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred

Yeah, so I don't post for ages, and then I come back with one of those assy meme things.

Here’s what I want you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding, if boudin noir counts
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp* -- Have I had carp? No idea.
9. Borscht (though I don't really like it)
10. Baba ghanoush (another dislike)
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart (Lucky Dogs!)
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes If Japanese plum wine counts.
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes (got some in the kitchen right now!)
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda (I take it Ro-Tel doesn't count?)
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (one of the things I really didn't expect to like in India, but I loved them!)
34. Sauerkraut (I need to just get over my fear of pickled cabbage already - I have an aversion to both this and kimchi)
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (VOM. Literal vom. Not pretty. If I'm going down, I want it to be with something good.)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (well, there are stories about my culinary experiments with bee sushi, al fresco, as a toddler. but not since I was potty trained, no.)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel (Unagi. Nom. ^^ )
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV Fin Du Monde, baby!
59. Poutine (double nom.)
60. Carob chips (why on earth is this on here? how random...)
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads Well, it could happen, but maybe after I work up my courage by trying all the weird Japanese things on the list first.)
63. Kaolin After taking it to Wikipedia, I discovered that this is a food additive, and thus yes, I'm sure I've eaten it. EZ Cheez, anyone?
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (triple nom.)
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain (AKA tostones, which is easily my favorite Spanish word to say.)
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (the correctly spelled "chitterlings" always cracks me up. Silly brits! They're "chitlins"!)
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini I've recently started thinking about how much I love caviar.
73. Louche absinthe (though I usually just stick to Pastis)
74. Gjetost, or brunost (Tried to make this once. It was foul. Damn vikings and their freaky cheese residue.)
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. -- Daddy, can I have...?
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare (I have a feeling rabbit doesn't count -- was just reading about this the other day...)
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam No way. This might be the biggest reason I left the south. Not Doing It. No.
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

My score is 32, which amazingly enough is better than Jaque Pepin's daughter Clothilde! Take that, offspring of famous chef who is now a cookbook author in her own right!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Le Menu

So I'm having breakfast (that Ronnybrook yogurt I said I was going to make raita with -- lies, all lies I tell you! avec cranberry pecan granola and a couple of apricots I just picked up from the greenmarket), and making the final decisions about what to have for dinner tonight. This is going to be a collaboration between Ranbir and I, which is a first. Because Sara Does Not Cook For Dinner Parties. Well, Sara does, except Ranbir gets territorial so she ends up not. Tonight he will be whipping up that Indian Turnip Thing I talked about a while back, and hopefully some black daal (but it might be yellow daal after all, we'll see).

I am responsible for:

Sea Bass fillets with a Goan masala rub (the masala is left over from a previous dinner party, so don't give me that much credit)

More of that lovely sauteed chard, which is going in with beet greens and spinach this time to make sort of a halfassed gora saag. Which would be kind of hilarious to see this dish called on a menu, actually.

Basil Sorbet

Homemade Nimbu Pani (sort of an Indian limeade or lime soda)

Aside from the need to juice thirteen lemons and make a simple syrup for the nimbu pani and sorbet, this looks way more ambitious on paper than it really is. I have an ice cream machine which will do most of the work on the sorbet, and both the sea bass and halfass gora saag will take all of 10 minutes.

There also may be a salad (we might be having a sixth dinner guest), and if these apricots last we will also have that. And several bottles of white and rose. And some sparkling orangeade if the nimbu pani doesn't last (two of our guests are nondrinkers).

Bon appetit! Recipes to come after I actually make them...

Friday, July 4, 2008

CSA Week 3 -- July 3, 2008

Oh, dear.

I think I'm sensing a pattern, here. I have to say that when Ranbir and I decided to join the CSA this year, I thought our biggest hurdle would be cooking and eating so many fresh vegetables. I was also a little worried about getting stuff we weren't used to eating or didn't like very much. I did not, however, think to worry about the issue of repetition.

So far we seem to be getting a lot of the same stuff every week. I feel like if I see another pile of turnips I might scream. My love of leafy greens is starting to wear thin. I actually think that, from here on out, I might stop taking our allotment of lettuce, because it's just too goddamn much. We cannot eat this much lettuce fresh, and I can't come up with anything else to do with it or any way of preserving it for the future.

Anyway, here's what we got: a head of lettuce and yet another huge mess o' salad mix (and the especially annoying thing is that we're having friends to dinner tomorrow night and I don't think we have room for salad on the menu for all the turnips, cooked greens, etc. we're shoving down their throats), the aforementioned turnips and bok choi, green onions, purple basil, swiss chard.

And beets. Blech. I have ideas for the beet greens (and cheated by picking out a bunch with lots of lovely greens and very small roots), but beets? Oh, I was really hoping we wouldn't be stuck with any beets until at least the fall. However two of our dinner guests are beet lovers, so we can send the 5 paltry little baby beet roots home with them. Maybe the other dinner guest will take some lettuce?

Stay tuned for my dinner party menu!

PS - made the garlic scape pesto again, probably for the last time this year because we didn't get any more this week. And It Was Awesome. Again. That is all.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Recipe 2.3 -- Sauteed Chard

This is seriously the most stupid obvious easy recipe ever. Man, I can't believe I ever said I didn't know how to cook -- so many of the recipes I'm experimenting with keep turning out to be super easy and nothing I couldn't handle.

BTW, CSA Week 2 update: Ranbir made a frittata this morning that incorporated the rest of the green onions, so yay, we can also cross that off our list. Now we only have the bok choi, radishes, turnips, and the rest of the lettuce to finish off. And I think I finally have a plan for the radishes; I picked up a quart of Ronnybrook yogurt at the greenmarket, with which I'm going to make a radish raita to go with the Indian turnip thing Ranbir is going to make.

OK, on to the chard recipe.


Chard. Duh. I put in the big hunk we got from the CSA, and it cooked down to nothing. I was really happy I'd incorporated it into a big meal with scallops, potatoes, and salad because otherwise we'd have gone seriously hungry.

Olive oil. Duh again. I will restate that we have a big cruet of olive oil next to the stove. It's pretty much my go-to cooking oil, more because I'm lazy than anything else.

Garlic. I picked up some "young garlic" at the greenmarket yesterday. The outer skins are less papery, which makes it a little harder to work with. It's also a little milder than full-grown garlic, so I used a whole head, which had 6-8 big cloves (young garlic is a lot smaller than mature garlic, too).

Salt, Pepper, and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes. I think of those flakes as more of a thing to put on pizza, rather than something to cook with, but apparently I'm wrong about that.

The Rest Of The Recipe

Wash the chard and remove the big white stems. Chop loosely. Peel and chop the garlic.

Coat the bottom of a pan in oil and put over medium heat. Add garlic, pepper, and red pepper flakes. When the oil is warm, add the chard and salt liberally. Stir it up a little and cover the pan. Check on it after 5-10 minutes and it should be nicely wilted. Stir again and give it another minute or so just to make sure it's definitely done. When it starts to look like cooked greens are supposed to look, it's really done and ready to eat. Make sure to get lots of garlic and liquid in there when you plate it.