Tuesday, December 30, 2008

scalloped potatoes

scalloped potatoes

Here's my scalloped potato recipe (it's better than it looks in that unappealing picture), guaranteed not to turn out tough and dry. I made it with unsweetened soy milk, since that's what I have around (it makes the potatoes turn out darker, but that's about the only difference). Double it to make a 9"x13" pan for a party dinner instead of just yourself, but the baking times stay the same.

Scalloped Potatoes

1 1/2T flour
1t salt
1/8t pepper
1 1/2 lb potatoes (I usually use Yukon Gold, but this time used anonymous red ones I already had), thinly sliced (1/8"-1/16")
1 1/2T butter (or margarine)
1 1/2C milk (your preferred variety)

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Arrange 1/3 of the potato slices in a greased 9"x6" pan. sprinkle with half of the flour mixture and dot with half of the butter. Add a layer of potatoes, sprinkle with the rest of the flour and dot with the rest of the butter, and finish off with the remaining potatoes. Pour the milk over the top, cover with tin foil, and bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes. Turn the heat down to 325ºF, take the tin foil off, and bake for another 45 minutes--until the potatoes are tender and the top's a pretty golden color.

Monday, December 29, 2008

pale sauerkraut

sauerkraut ingredients i

I started a new batch of sauerkraut last night, this time with only pale, greenish ingredients so that it should look more like ordinary sauerkraut. I used 2.5kg green cabbage; 3 Granny Smith apples; 2 big yellow onions; 4 stalks of leafy celery; some dill, stemmed thyme, and parsley; 2T coriander and 3T mustard seeds; and 8g kosher salt per kg fruit and veg. I'll see how it turned out in the middle of January!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Xmas cookies

xmas cookies

I wasn't as ambitious as usual with my Christmas baking, and only made seven kinds of cookies. Starting at the top and working around clockwise, I made coffee cookies (I was the only one who liked these, though Rachael thought they had an exceptional texture), David Lebovitz's fig cookies (yummy, and so far I haven't given any away), toasted almond thins (taste nice, but spread out to look like cat-vomit), clove hearts (I thought these were the most successful), windmills (Rachael didn't like these all-butter ones as well as my Crisco-and-margarine standby), potato chip cookies (like pecan sandies with squashed potato chips added), and, in the middle, Pfeffernüsse (Annie's favorite).

Friday, December 26, 2008

Xmas eve

xmas cake ii

I worked on Christmas so we decided to do our presents on Christmas eve. We planned to eat our dinner at Jamjuree after Rachael's 5:30 Mass at St James, then go back to Annie's house to eat cake and open presents.

snowy sidewalk
The weather intervened, though, and I ended up trudging through the snow, with a knapsack full of presents and a 4.15kg Christmas cake, the 2 1/2 miles to Annie's house. Fortunately, Rachael met me partway and took over the cake.

Once I got there and left off my packages, Rachael and I went back to the store to get stuff for me to fix us dinner. Rachael wanted fettucine alfredo (which, when it was too late, it turned out Annie doesn't like), and in addition I made this nice Christmas salad:
xmas salad

Christmas Salad

For the dressing:
2T each olive oil and red wine vinegar
salt, pepper, and mustard flour

For the salad:
a small red onion, thinly sliced into rings
a red pear, cored and sliced into thin wedges
a handful of dandelion leaves, or other strongly-flavored but tender greens, torn into bite-sized pieces
a red grapefruit, supremed
a couple of cara cara oranges (pinkish navels) or, better, blood oranges, supremed
6oz green olives, pitted (I got Castelvetrano olives for their bright color)

Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a medium bowl, then add the onion slice and stir them around. Let them rest in the dressing getting limp while you prepare the other ingredients. After they've limpened up, transfer them to another bowl and add the pear slices to the dressing and stir them around.

Spread the dandelion leaves on a platter, and dribble a little dressing over them. Artfully arrange the pears on top, then add the onions. Toss the citrus in the remaining dressing, then add to the salad. Finally, carefully stud with pretty green olives.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

late Thanksgiving

I had a very late mini-Thanksgiving last week with Dakki and Rachael. Rachael said she didn't need a Tofurkey, so I just made all the other important things:

Cranberries, made by bringing 3/4C water and a 12 oz bag of cranberries to the boil, then adding 3/4C sugar and letting simmer, uncovered and undisturbed, till the sugar's dissolved and the cranberries have popped;

thanksgiving food
potatoes and gravy; stuffing; string bean casserole;

pie i
and Rachael's favorite pumpkin pie.

Here's my stuffing recipe, adapted from Old Mother Guppy's giblet water version:

Ma Dorothy/Old Mother Bec's Stuffing
2 stalks celery with leaves, sliced
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/3 loaf sliced French, dried, cubed and crumbled in blender
1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/2 a bag of Essential Baking Company stuffing crumbs
1/4 cup gram flour
a big handful of fresh herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme....), roughly chopped
a couple of cups of vegetable broth

Sauté the onion and celery in the butter in an oven-proof pan big enough to hold all the stuffing. When it's soft, add the French bread crumbs and cook till they begin to brown. Transfer to a big bowl, add the remaining dry ingredients, and toss to mix thoroughly before adding the broth. Squish it into the big stuffing crumbs with your hands so they're well saturated. Transfer it all back to the big pan and bake at 325ºF for about 45 minutes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

failure at every turn


A couple of days ago I started to make my Xmas pfeffernüsse from my usual recipe from The Spice Cookbook when I realized that my giant can of Trader Joe's honey was almost empty. I went to the QFC and got some more expensive honey to tide me over, as I needed quite a bit for my cookies. I left my molasses bottle standing on its lid while I was gone, as I was also very low on that. By the time I got my dough all made (it takes a while, since you have to heat the honey and molasses, then let it cool before you add the egg, plus you have to grind the anise and cardamom) it was 10:00--too late for me to bake.

I got up the next morning and started working on my cookies as soon as I'd drunk my tea. I was surprised to find that my dough only yielded 7 dozen cookies: a unique feature of this recipe is that, as well as making pfeffernüsse that taste just like store-bought, you end up with just about the number of cookies you're supposed to--11 dozen. It was not till the first batch were in the oven that I realised that I'd measured the flour out with my 3/4 cup measuring cup instead of the 1 cup one, so my dough had only 75% of the flour it should have! The cookies spread out a little bit more than usual, and tasted a little of baking soda, but I figured they'd be okay once I rolled them in their frosting: a cardamom-flavored royal icing, half of it dyed pink.

I separated the egg to get the white for the frosting, then went to gather the other ingredients. I had no pink cake frosting color! I distinctly remember buying it last year at this time, but it was nowhere to be found. I had to go downtown to Sur la Table to get some, as my pfeffernüsse wouldn't be right without half of them being pink. I went to the grocery store on my way home to get some more honey and molasses. When I finally got home and started adding frosting ingredients to my egg white, I couldn't find the corn syrup! I remember buying it not long ago--it was QFC brand, in a bottle with a rectangular rather than round base, but it was nowhere to be found. By this time it was dark and freezing cold. I'd just been in the corn syrup aisle of Safeway, buying molasses: if only I'd known! Anyway, I went back out and got the corn syrup, made the frosting, and frosted the cookies. They were a success! The frosting covered up the baking soda taste, they were pleasantly moist from lack of flour, and I didn't really need 11 dozen of them anyway.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

retro casserole

hippie health food lunch

This is the lunch I took to work all last week: New Zealandish pumpkin chickpea salad, sauerkraut, fennel-celery salad, and this yummy casserole that reminded me of the food of my youth.

Barley Casserole

1 1/2C hulled barley, cooked with 1t salt-free Spike, or you could substitute brown rice
a batch of cashew ricotta, or a pound of cottage cheese mixed with an egg
a bunch of spinach, cooked and roughly chopped
1T olive oil
10 oz mushrooms, sliced
an onion, chopped
a handful of almond flakes

Heat oven to 350ºF. Fry the mushrooms and onion in the olive oil till the mushrooms are limp and the onion translucent. Season with nutmeg and salt. Mix the barley with the ricotta, and spread half of it in a greased casserole dish. Add the spinach, then the mushrooms, then the rest of the barley. Sprinkle almond flakes over the top, then bake for 30-40 minutes--till it's golden, and hot all the way through.

Monday, December 1, 2008



I made this for my work lunches last week, to eat with cashew cheese. I ate it up too quickly, though, so next time I think I'll double the recipe.

MultiGrain Julknäckebröd

100g rye levain, 80% hydration
200g water
1/4t instant yeast
130g dark rye flour
50g oat flour
20g barley flour
5 cardamoms and 1/2t fennel seed, ground
3/4t salt

Whisk levain, water, and yeast together, then mix in remaining ingredients and let rise for a couple of hours. Roll out onto parchment paper, using plenty of rye flour to prevent sticking, till it's 1/2cm thick. Cover with a cloth and let rise again for a couple of more hours, till doubled in height. Dimple all over with the end of a wooden spoon and score with a little knife into the size you'd like your crackers to be. Bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes, then turn down to 325ºF and bake till beginning to look golden, about 15 more minutes. Let cool overnight, then break into squares and store in a tin.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008



This is my usual cornbread recipe, suitable for everyone except those with legume allergies. I actually usually make only half this much, in my little tiny frying pan, to serve Rachael and me. I made a big pan this time, though, because I wanted the leftovers for dressing.

It's surprisingly fluffy and un-dry for a cornmeal-only cornbread. If you like your cornbread sweet, increase the sugar to 2T.

My Cornbread (vegan, gluten-free)

3T corn oil, divided
2C cornmeal
1t each sugar, salt, and baking powder
1/4C water whisked together with
1/4C garbanzo bean flour
1T each potato starch, tapioca flour, and flax meal
2C soy yogurt

Heat oven to 425ºF. Put 2T oil in your 10" round or 9" square cast-iron skillet, and put in the oven to heat while you mix up your batter. Mix the cornmeal, sugar, salt, and yogurt in a medium bowl and mix the remaining ingredients in another bowl. Stir the two mixtures together till just combined, then scrape into the hot skillet and bake for about 25 minutes, till it's golden-brown and has nice crusty edges.

squash gratin

Here's another squash recipe. I had it with some nice cornbread and fried cabbage.

cabbage and squash

Provençal Squash Gratin

Adapted from René Jouveau's La Cuisine Provençal

1kg winter squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1cm cubes
1/4C flour
6 cloves garlic finely chopped with
1/2C parsley and several sage leaves
salt and pepper
1/4C walnut oil

Toss squash with remaining ingredients, except the oil. Spread evenly into a shallow baking dish and drizzle with the oil. Bake at 325ºF for 2 hours, until it's very soft and has a nice, dark crust.

squash gratin

Monday, November 24, 2008

pumpkin lunch

pumpkin lunch

I took squash-and-apple casserole to lunch every day during my last stretch of working, and it really was good. It held up well over the week, and went nicely with my squash bread and the sagey, cabbagey beans I made to go with it.

Squash Apple Casserole

1T olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
600g squash, peeled and sliced as thin as you can
800g apples (Winesaps are good, as would be Pink Ladies; Granny Smiths wouldn't soften up enough with baking), peeled, cored, and sliced about 1/2cm thick
1/3 cup brown sugar
1T tapioca flour
1t cinnamon
1/4t each nutmeg and salt
1/8t each pepper and cloves
1/2C almond flakes

Heat you oven to 400ºF. Fry the onion in the olive oil till limp and golden. If you have a casserole that can go on the stove do it in that, otherwise transfer the onions to your casserole when they're cooked. Mix all the dry ingredients besides the almonds in a little bowl. Arrange half of the squash slices over the onions, then scatter 1/4 of the sugar mixture over. Continue layering--apple, sugar, squash, sugar, apple, sugar--and top it off with the almond flakes. Cover it all up with tin foil and bake for half an hour. Take the tin foil off and bake for another 15 minutes, or until it feels done when you poke it with a little knife. Serve warm.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

beety dinner

beets dinner

I finally cooked some of the beets I bought from the Billy Bob guy, and ate them with some brown rice cooked with banana squash, beet greens, and garlicky chanterelles. They were pretty successful, and this was a quick and easy way of fixing them.

Spicy Beets

1-2T peanut oil
1t each cumin and black mustard seed
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2t curry powder
1 serrano pepper, halved lengthwise and sliced (leave out or substitute a miler chile if you don't like hot food)
1T grated ginger
3 medium beets, trimmed but not peeled, coarsely grated
2 Roma tomatoes, cored, halved lengthwise, and sliced
1/2t salt
A handful of coarsely chopped coriander
lime wedges

Fry the seeds in the peanut oil over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes, then add the onion and cook till it begins to yellow. Add the curry powder, chile and ginger and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the beets, tomato, and salt. Cook for a little while, stirring around, then cover and turn the heat down and let stew for five minutes. Take off the heat and mix in the coriander. Squirt with some lime juice before eating.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

squash bread

squash bread i

I lopped off a big piece of my squash and baked it, peeled it, and divided it up into 300g packets for the freezer. I used up a little bit on this Poilâne-inspired bread:

Sunflower Squash Bread

200g 60% hydration whole wheat or spelt starter
240g whole wheat flour
170g whole spelt flour
70g dark rye flour
250g bread flour
300g puréed squash
300g water
100g sunflower seeds
20g salt

Mix everything but the sunflower seeds and salt together, then let rest for about 20 minutes. Add the salt and seeds and knead till nice and elastic. Let rise till doubled. Shape into a boule, and let rise in a linen-lined basket till doubled. Don't let over-proof (I let this go a little too long, which I think reduced its oven-spring and made it be a little more dense than I'd hoped)! Slash, and bake on a stone preheated to 425ºF. Bake for 20 minutes, squirting with water a couple of times in the first 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375º. Bake 20-30 more minutes, till its internal temperature's about 208º.

squash bread iv

Saturday, November 15, 2008

apple tea

apple tea vivid ii

I was about to cut up some unpeeled apples for a squash-apple casserole (using up some of my banana squash) when I realised that if I peeled them, I could use the peels to make apple tea. I used to make apple tea for Tom Stratman and myself whenever I made an apple pie, and we both liked it better than the kind that's powdered like Tang (that kind's good, too, of course).

It tastes nice with any apple peels, but these winesaps made it a particularly pretty color.

Apple Tea

To make enough for two people, simmer the peels of four apples in 2.5C water for 5-10 minutes, then add a rounded teaspoonful of sugar. Pluck out the peels, then pour the tea into cups and drink it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

yummy, yummy sauerkraut


My sauerkraut was a great success! I opened it up on its two-week anniversary, and it was perfectly fermented, with no icky scum or yeastiness. The little bit of red cabbage turned everything but the pear peels pink. All the additional, non-cabbage ingredients made it taste kind of like the sauerkraut salad I make for our Fourth of July picnics. I ate it for all my subsequent work lunches, unembellished.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

tozy's tofu pâté

tozy lunch

I accidentally signed up to work 8 1/2 days in a row, so I decided I'd better fix myself a lot of food in advance so I'd have nice work lunches all ready for me. This tofu pâté (my version of Toby's) lasted me for six days. I ate it on Dunkeldinkelbrot, sprinkled with cabbage.

Tozy's Tofu Pâté

1/2C Brazil nuts, chopped
1 lb firm tofu
1T rice vinegar
1T lime (or lemon) juice
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 stalk of celery, with its leaves, chopped
1/2t salt
1/2t black salt
1 1/2t turmeric
1t dried onion flakes
1/4t black pepper
1/4t mustard flour

Grind the nuts in your blender or food processor, then add the remaining ingredients and grind until smooth. Unless you have a hippie blender, you will have to stop several times to stir things around.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

cute squash

banana squash ii

I bought this cute banana squash at the farmer's market--I was initially attracted to it because it was so vulgar looking, but I've heard that they're also tasty.

Next to it are the beets I bought from a nice man who looked and sounded much like Billy Bob Thornton. While I was waiting to pay for my beets he told (in a cute Arky accent) the lady in front of me that if she ate too many of those radishes she'd be channeling Timothy Leary.

baby shower

elmira's cake i

We had a potluck/baby shower for Elmira at work yesterday. It wasn't my usual weekend to work, so Elmira hadn't been expecting me to be there. When she saw me she was horrified, and said if she'd known I was coming she'd have left the meat out of her otherwise yummy-looking rice pilaf. It was made of basmati with tomatoes, string beans, and some kind of mammal flesh.

elmira's pot

I made her these baby socks out of non-vegetarian yarn (Tofutsies, which includes chitin for its supposed antibacterial properties) because it was the most unisex of the machine-washable fingering-weight yarns at the Weaving Works.

baby socks

I got up at 3:30 to make Moroccan apple salad

apple salad

and Lebanese eggplant purée, both from Arabesque,


along with some little Turkish breads to eat them with.


Turkish Pides

375g/3C all-purpose flour
3C water
1/8t instant yeast

the sponge
500g/4C flour
1.5T salt
1/3C olive oil
1t yeast

The morning before you plan to bake, mix the sponge ingredients together, cover, and let rest till you're about to go to bed that night. Then add the dough ingredients and knead till nicely elastic(it should be a pretty soft, well-hydrated dough). Cover back up and let rise while you sleep.

When you get up, set your oven (with your baking stone on an upper shelf) to 450ºF. Scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface and divide into 40 pieces. Round them into little balls, and let rest for half an hour.

rounded pides

Stretch them into discs with the middles thinner than the outside edges, so they look like big, pale red blood cells. Arrange them on a piece of parchment paper (you should be able to fit 12-15 on a cookie sheet-sized piece) and slide them onto the hot baking stone.

rbc pides

Bake for about 7 minutes.

baked pides

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I got a fancy new sauerkraut-making apparatus with some Amazon gift certificates. It's supposed to make sauerkraut-making easier with its built-in weights and water-sealing lid. The water seal means there's no scum-skimming, and the weight means I don't have to find a clean stone to set on a plate to squash the cabbage down below the brine. It also means you can make sauerkraut with little or no salt, but I don't think that would taste like sauerkraut.

I had a bag of pears from Mary Verdery's tree, and some nice green tomatoes from Annie, so I decided to incorporate these into my first batch of sauerkraut. I ended up using about 2 kg cabbage (a mixture of red and green), 4 pears, 500g green tomatoes, 2 onions, 5 cloves of garlic, 5 bay leaves, a branch of tarragon, 1T coriander, 3T mustard seed, and 8g of salt per kg of fruit and veg. I squished it all together to make the brine, then sealed it up in the crock. I'm not to peek for two weeks!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

muffins from leftovers

I made myself some nice juice this morning, from a quarter of a pineapple, a couple of carrots and apples, a stalk of celery, and a little ginger and lime.

I always feel kind of bad about throwing away all that pulp left over from juicing, though, so I made health muffins with it. The only trouble with this is having to prepare your juice ingredients a little more thoroughly--you'd have to cut the prickles off your nopales, for instance.

Pulpy Muffins

2C (250g) spelt flour
1t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t salt (Annie thought these were undersalted, so if you like your muffins salty add a little more)
1t powdered ginger (maybe next time I'll add some nutmeg or cinnamon)
1 1/3C juice pulp (that's the amount I got from the above juice)
3/4C soy milk
1/4C oil
1/3C maple syrup
1/2C raisins (I'll add some nuts next time)

Heat oven to 425ºF. Whisk dry ingredients together, then add wet ingredients and mix till everything's wet. Stir in raisins. Divide dough up among 12 muffin cups. Bake for about 18 minutes.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Annie asked me to take some lichen pictures to illustrate her new sock pattern, since she's eager to get it finished with and is laid up in bed with a terrible cold. I went to Volunteer Park and took lots and lots of pictures--here are a few:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

quince jam

The squirrels seem to have learned that raw quinces are hard and sour and not very tasty, so they left my little quince tree unmolested this year and it made six quinces, enough for a batch of jam.

In years past I've made plain quince jam, apple-oolong-quince, and Nostradamus' quince jam (a recipe adapted from his jam book!). This year I made Christmasy jam from Mes Confitures--it's Christmasy because it has épices de pain d'épices, gingerbread spices with anise predominating.

I only had 1.1kg of quinces, enough for 85% of the recipe, but ended up with a nice batch of six half-pints.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

my cute new lunchbox

I got this cute new lunchbox at Uwajimaya's during Korean foods week, when all Lock & Lock containers were on sale. Inside it has three square air-tight locking containers, one of them with four lift-out dividers, and I can fit my little chopsticks case along the side. I can fit in lots of food without worrying about it leaking all over my knapsack on my way to work.

Here's my lunch from yesterday: potato cabbage buns, made similarly to my beet green pies, lettucey salad with Annie's Goddess Dressing in one of the tiny containers, and pomegranate-beet salad in the other tiny containers(it's better if it's not mixed up till the last minute).

Sunday, September 28, 2008

hot apple pie juice

I made another juice the other day which was yummy plus a way to use up an overripe banana. The recipe was from reFresh, a Canadian restaurant cookbook with a juice emphasis. I think you could make it with boughten apple juice, if you didn't feel like getting out and then washing your juicer, with results almost as good.

Juice 4 smallish apples, a 1/2" piece of ginger, and 1/2 a peeled lemon, yielding about 500ml of juice (or use premade apple juice, and squeeze the lemon in, and grate the ginger and squeeze the juice trough a little cloth). Run it through the blender with an old, blackened banana and a big pinch of cinnamon, then heat it on the stove till it's a nice temperature (or, if you have a hippie blender, you could just blend till it gets hot and save washing a pan).