Monday, December 26, 2011

an easy, make-ahead squash dish

roast squash

I went to potlucks two days in a row recently, with no time to cook for the second one ( it was a work party so  my food had to be all ready when I left the house at 6:20 in the morning), so I needed a recipe which could be made well ahead of time and served at room temp but still be festive and delicious. Luckily for me, the always reliable Yotam Ottolenghi had a suitable looking recipe in the Guardian. I tripled it and took two-thirds to an event peopled by a bunch of squash-haters--so I'll have nice leftovers for my upcoming work lunches--and the rest of it to my work the next day where it was a triumphant success!

It really was quick and easy; the only part that took any real time was peeling and cutting up the squash. I used a kuri, because I like them better than butternuts, but if you used a butternut even that would be quick and easy.

I took the above picture before I remembered to add the za'atar, so in real life it was a little more brown. Za'atar is the only ingredient in this which might be hard to find. In Seattle you can get it at PFI or The Souk; otherwise, Penzey's has it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

dried pineapple

pineapple, fresh and dried

If you find yourself in possession of a pineapple or two and don't feel like making pineapple salad or pineapple crud (really quick and yummy!), you could always make dried pineapple. I like the kind I make better than the kind you get from the store, mainly because of its texture; I don't dry it as long, because I expect to eat it up within a few weeks, so it turns out much more tender. I also like to sprinkle a little herb salt over the pineapple pieces before they go in the dehydrator. You should end up with about a quart of dried pineapple per whole fruit (the jar pictured above has two pineapple's worth in it).

Dried Pineapple
a pineapple, peeled and cut up into fairly thin pieces--a little less than a centimeter, maybe
a small amount of Yamuna's herb salt
    3T dried cilantro 
    2T dried basil
    1T dried dill 
    2t dried marjoram 
    1t dried oregano 
    1/2t dried cayenne 
    4T coarse sea salt 
    Grind everything together in a blender, then store in a little jar.

 Spread the pineapple pieces out on your dehydrator trays, then sprinkle lightly with herb salt. Dry at 118° till dry but still  tender and pliable. The time required will vary according to the thickness of your pineapple slices, but should be somewhere between 8 and 24 hours. Just keep checking every once in a while!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rachael's birthday pineapple salad

lowfi pineapple salad

I guess pineapple's really in season in the spring, but they've been on sale in all the stores here lately so I've been eating lots of them. I took a pineapple salad to a potluck last week--not my usual Indian one, but a Vietnamesish version I used to make for Rachael's birthday dinners. This salad's not as universally popular as the Indian one--only one person asked me for the recipe--but I like it equally well. A key ingredient is tuong cu-da, a soybean sauce which has a stinkiness similar to that of fish sauce.

SE Asian Pineapple Salad
A nice, ripe pineapple, peeled and cut up
a red bell pepper, cut into short strips
a couple of firm but ripe tomatoes, if there are good ones available to you, halved and cut into thin semicircles
a generous handful of peanuts, toasted in a pan on the stove and then roughly chopped
a shallot, minced
a chile, minced
herbs (coriander, Thai basil, mint--whatever you think will be good)
juice of a lime
tuong cu-da, the same amount as the lime juice
a clove of garlic, crushed
sugar (palm sugar if you have some), optional, depending on how sweet the pineapple is

Mix the salad ingredients together in a big bowl, and the dressing  in a smaller bowl.  Taste the dressing for balance of flavors before tossing it into the salad.

sauce ii

This sauce can be hard to find--when Annie and I were looking for it at the Viet Wah, where I'd bought it previously, a helpful employee directed us to the thick, cloudy fish sauces as they have a similar taste. When we said we wanted a fish-free sauce, she found a man who told us that they didn't carry it any more but that we could get it at nearby Minh Tam. If you can't find it and you don't care if your salad is vegetarian, fish sauce would be a good substitute; otherwise, try some regular soy sauce.

Monday, December 5, 2011

yet another post about kale chips....

kale chips

It seems like every blog in the world has posted about kale chips and how delicious and easy to make they are, but I thought I'd better add one of my own in case any of my followers haven't gotten the message. You should make them! They're so easy and good! And if you can't help but eat a whole batch at one sitting, well, it's better than if you'd eaten a bag of potato chips.

I think it's easiest of all to make them in a food dehydrator, as you just leave them in till they're dry and don't have to worry about overdoing them, but if you don't have one you can bake them in your oven. I've read various recommendations for temperatures and baking times--from 30 minutes at 250° to 5 minutes at 450°--but the key to success when using an oven is frequent stirring and checking so they don't get too dried out and brittle.

You can use any flavors you like--make them fancy and cheesy like these, or add lime and chile if you'd like them zippy.  I usually make them like this:

Kale Chips
1 bunch of kale, minus the stems, torn into chip-sized pieces
 a couple of cloves of garlic, crushed
a couple of sprigs of thyme, roughly chopped
a big pinch of salt
a smaller pinch of Aleppo pepper
1 T nutritional yeast
1T olive oil

Mix everything together in a big bowl, and kind of massage the seasonings into the leaves till they're really well coated.  Spread out on a Silpat-lined cookie sheet if you're using your oven (be sure not to crowd the leaves; you may have to do a couple of batches) or on your dehydrator racks. If you're dehydrating, it should take about six hours at 115°. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

a quick idea

pumpkin milk

I made myself some squash soup recently and didn't feel like making pumpkin seeds with the squash's guts. I hated to just throw them away, though, so I made some pumpkin milk. I just covered the seeds and stringy stuff with water and let it soak while I worked on my soup, and after a couple of hours whizzed it all in my blender till it was very smooth. I squeezed it through a nut milk bag (If you don't have one, a big piece of cheesecloth would work nearly as well) and put it in the fridge. The next morning I used some as the liquid for a spinach smoothie. I think it would also be good used in place of water when cooking rice or oats.

Monday, November 7, 2011

cauliflower tomato

cauliflower tomato

I've made this dish a couple of times lately, and I really like it so I thought I'd better record it so that I don't forget all about it. It's good either fresh out of the oven or later on at room temp ( the second time I made it I took it to a potluck, where it was a success), and you can get all the vegetables cooked the night before so that it only needs a quick run through the oven right before you plan to eat it.

Cauliflower Tomato Bake
serves 2, and can easily be multiplied to serve more.

1 small cauliflower, thinly sliced so that the pieces look like little tree silhouettes
8 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
olive oil
ground cumin and coriander
a couple of sprigs of marjoram, leaves stripped from stems and roughly chopped
salt and pepper

1/4C tahini
juice of a lemon
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
walnut parmesan*

If you're cooking your vegetables in advance, do them on a tin foil lined cookie sheet so they take less time. Otherwise cook them in a greased 8"x8" pan. Toss the sliced cauliflower with some olive oil, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Spread it in your prepared pan and bake at 450°F  till tender.  Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes with a little more olive oil and salt and pepper, plus the marjoram. When the  cauliflower's ready, scatter the tomatoes on top and cook for ten more minutes.  At this point you can let the vegetables wait till the next day, or proceed to the final bake.
Heat (or turn down) the oven to 350°F . Whisk the tahini, lemon juice and garlic together, then add enough water to make it into a pourable sauce. Pour it over the vegetables in their 8"x8" pan, spread it around, and sprinkle some walnut parmesan over the top. Bake for 10-20 minutes more (it will vary according to how hot things are when you start), till browned and tasty looking.
*Walnut parmesan: walnuts,nutritional yeast, salt, and a little lemon zest, all chopped together to a fine meal in a food processor. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

this year's quinces

quinces in bag

My quince tree did well this year--I picked 2700g of quinces altogether, leaving one stunted, under-ripe one behind. The squirrels seem to have learned that quinces are sour and hard and unlike apples, so they've stopped picking one and throwing it away in disgust after ruining it by taking a single bite.

baked fruit

The first thing I did with them was to include one in a batch of baked fruit, along with apples, pears, prunes and dried apricots. A single quince really enhanced the flavor!

quince jam ii

Then I made some jam according to Christine Ferber's version of Nostradamus's recipe. This recipe takes five days--each day you simmer it for a couple of minutes, then let it rest till the next day--and I finally finished it today. It got a little singed on the bottom of the pan, but still tastes really good.

According to the Telegraph, greenish quinces will ripen off the tree, so I'm letting my remaining quinces sit in a bowl and perfume my house till they're ripe enough to make some quince vodka and roast quinces.

quinces in bowl

Monday, October 3, 2011

health-food chocolate pudding

pudding ingredients
 I've made this pudding a couple of times lately, and it really does seem pretty healthy for how good it is. I used to make puddings out of tofu sometimes, and they were never satisfactory as there was always a jarring note of soy. In this recipe the avocado fits right in, and the chia seeds add a pleasantly tapioca-y texture. It would even be suitable for a raw-foodist if you used raw cacao instead of the regular cocoa I had on hand.

  soaked seeds

Chocolate Pudding
serves 1-3, depending on your appetites
3/4C + 1/3C milk (I used almond milk)
 3T chia seeds
1 small, ripe avocado, peeled and seeded
4 dates, seeded and torn apart
1/4C cocoa or cacao
1/4t cinnamon and a pinch of salt

Mix the chia seeds with 3/4C milk in a big bowl and let soak about half an hour. Try to remember to give them a whisk every few minutes as you proceed, so they don't clump together too much.

 Whiz the remaining ingredients--including the 1/3C milk--together in your blender till they're really smooth. Stir into the soaked chia seeds. Cover and let rest in the fridge for a while. It will taste unpleasantly of raw cocoa at first, so don't bother to taste for seasoning till it's been there at least half an hour.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

apologies, and a recipe

I just realized that I haven't posted in over a month! If any of my followers have been fretting and wondering what I'm up to, I'm truly sorry. I've been taking lots of pictures with blog posts in mind, but until today hadn't even transferred them from my camera to the computer, let alone to flickr and thence to the blog.

cucumber eggplant ii

I made a pretty good cucumber-eggplant dish--a good use of all the cucumbers and eggplants I got in my vegetable box recently--and took a picture so I could tell you about it.

two jams

I made a couple of kinds of jam--Victoria plum with star anise and vanilla, and peach melba with cardamom--and planned to tell all about it.


I've just been too lazy, though, till today. Today I mean to sew together the sweater I've been knitting for the last several months (above is pictured the half-knitted collar). That task seems much more onerous than a mere blog post, so I decided to get my pictures in order and give you a nice recipe for hemp seed tabbouleh. I've made this a couple of times and really like it. It's not quite the same, texturally, as regular tabbouleh with bulgar, but has the advantages of being gluten-free and higher in omega-3 fatty acids.

Hemp Tabbouleh
makes enough for about 4 people

1/2C hemp seed, soaked in water for a couple of hours, then thoroughly drained
a small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
a handful of mint leaves, chopped
a medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
about 12oz tomatoes, chopped
2 or 3 green onions, thinly sliced
a couple of Anaheim peppers, or the equivalent, seeded and chopped
a pinch of allspice
1/2t cinnamon
juice of a lemon
a couple of glugs of olive oil

Mix everything together, then let sit for a while before you taste for seasoning. Does it need more salt? More lemon? Adjust, then serve.

hemp tabbouleh

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

another hippie salad dressing

salad dressing with lettuce and watermelon

Here's a recipe for one of my favorite salad dressings, Annie's Goddess. It's really easy, and is better than Annie's in a couple of ways: my version is cheap, and it can be gluten-free if you use wheat-free tamari.

Goddess Dressing

makes about 1 1/3C

120g tahini
1T tamari
2T apple cider vinegar
1/2C water
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
2 or 3 sprigs of parsley--leaves only

If you have an immersion blender you can make this right in a wide-mouthed jar. Just add the ingredients in the order written, then blend till the parsley's pretty finely chopped. Otherwise blend it in your big blender, being careful not to thoroughly emulsify the parsley into the rest of it, and transfer to a jar. When it's first made it's the right thickness for salad dressing, but as it rests in the fridge it thickens up so that it's more like a dip. I like it like that, and roll my lettuce leaves to dip in a little cup of it, but you could always add more water if you want it to be runnier.

I couldn't decide which photo to use to illustrate this post: the top on was taken with a toy camera, and the watermelon's the only thing in focus, but I sort of like it; the bottom one is a better representation, I guess, but it's kind of dull.

lettuce and salad dressing

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

zucchini spelt salad

spelt zucchini salad ii

I got zucchini in my vegetable box last week because I forgot to ask them for a substitute in time. Since I hate zucchini I had to think of a way to prepare it which would disguise its flavor. This recipe from the Los Angeles Times looked good, except that the zucchini would still taste of zucchini if prepared as written, so I changed it around a little and was really pleased with the result:

Spelt Salad with Zucchini and Augula

180g cracked spelt*
450ml water
250g zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 spring onion, halved lengthwise
juice of half a lemon
1T olive oil
salt and pepper
2t fresh marjoram, minced
half a bunch of arugula, torn
40g pine nuts**, toasted

Cook the spelt with the water in your rice cooker on the brown rice cycle, or on the stove for about 25 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the vegetables. Rub the cut surfaces of the zucchini with salt and let rest for at least half an hour. Brush the spring onion with olive oil and cook on a stripy pan till softened. When the zucchini's time is up, squeeze the juice from it as best you can, brush the pieces with oil and cook on your stripy pan till no longer springy but still al dente. After they've cooled sufficiently, slice the onion and zucchini into thickish slices--maybe 1/4".

When the spelt's done cooking, transfer it to a big bowl and toss with the olive oil, lemon juice, marjoram, and salt and pepper. Add the cooked veg, but let it cool a while before mixing in the arugula. Scatter the pine nuts over the top right before serving.

* I cracked it myself with my little mill; if you don't have a mill you could substitute cracked wheat or coarse bulgar. If you use bulgar, cook it on the white rice cycle, or for 10 minutes on the stove.

** Trader Joe's now has pine nuts from Korea, which should not cause 'pine mouth' as that's associated with pine nuts from China.

spelt zucchini salad i

Thursday, July 28, 2011

a whiny day

new fan

My Hotpoint stove (you can see it above, hiding behind the fan) has been wearing out for a while; two of the burners have gotten pretty wimpy, and one cracked right in half, making me afraid to use it. I asked my landlady if she could get me a couple of new elements, and after she looked into it she decided that it would be cheaper to get me a whole new stove than to fix my current one up. She found a bargain Frigidaire similar to my Hotpoint at the Sears in Chehalis, and arranged for it to be delivered on Monday between 11:30 and 1:30.

I worked on Monday, so Annie said she would wait at my apartment to let the stove men in and keep Maria from escaping. I got up at the crack of dawn on Monday to empty out my stove (it has a big cupboard on the side, and a big drawer underneath, so most of my pots and pans fit in it) and clear a path from the front door to the stove.

kitchen i

At work, I checked my phone for messages at noon and there was a voicemail from my landlady saying that the stove would not be coming at all that day, and had been rescheduled to Friday. I'm glad I checked my messages! I called Annie right up. She hadn't been there very long but was already bored, so she was happy to go home.

The stove was supposed to come between 11:00 and 1:00 on Friday, so I planned a day of reading and knitting and being alert for the stove men. I was afraid to play music too loud, lest I miss their knock. They had not arrived by 2:00, so I called them up to see when I should expect them. I had to try a couple of times, the second time impersonating my landlady since the woman I got at the call center in India would only speak to the person who had actually ordered the stove. She said she would send the men a message to call me and tell me how they were coming. I hadn't heard from them by 3:00, so I tried the call center again and this time was informed that the stove was not coming at all! When I expostulated she said she would give my landlady a $30 gift certificate to make up for my inconvenience, and then said the stove men would try again on Tuesday.

cooking on the floor

My kitchen was still taken-apart, with all the counters and tables covered with the contents of my stove. I decided to try to get by without putting things temporarily away, so over the weekend I did most of my cooking on the floor, like an Indian lady. I actually quite liked doing it except that I had to keep getting up and down, as my stove and sink are high and require standing. Maybe I should have asked my landlady for a traditional Indian stove!

Sears called the night before to say that the stove should arrive between 11:30 and 1:30. I was prepared for another long wait and lots of phone calls to India, but The Sears truck pulled up right at noon. I was so pleased!

stove truck

The stove men were very efficient, so getting the old stove out and the new one in only took about half an hour. Their invoice said they were supposed to drop off the new stove in its carton, leaving me to plug it in myself, but I whined and pled and they agreed to hook it up.

stove men

Below is my new stove on the morning after delivery, when all I had made with it was a pot of tea (it boiled the water very quickly). So far it seems pretty nice. The oven only goes up to 500° instead of 550° like my old one, but I think I can fiddle with the thermostat to make it a little hotter. Its main deficiency I've discovered so far is that it doesn't have an electrical outlet where I can plug in my mixer or immersion blender.

At the very bottom of this post you can see the first bread I made with it, just this morning. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks like it turned out well.

new stove

first bread

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

maque choux

maque choux

(or is it 'maquechoux'?)

Annie and I had our Fourth of July party nearly a week late this year, since I worked on the actual day. We skipped the baked beans and sauerkraut salad, but otherwise made our usual menu: potato salad, coleslaw, weenie bread (challah dough with vegetarian weenies embedded, baked in a Pullman pan), watermelon (which we forgot to serve), and maque choux. The first time I made maque choux I carefully followed the recipe in Talk about Good, and it wasn't very good. Ever since then I've made it pretty much the same way, except that I leave out the sugar and don't cook it nearly as long, and it has always been very good indeed.

Maque Choux

makes a lot, but it makes good leftovers

6 ears of corn, husked and desilked as much as possible
1T olive oil
a small onion, chopped
3 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
a big green bell pepper, chopped
4 small ripe tomatoes, or a couple of bigger ones, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper and optional cayenne

Cut the kernels from the corn cobs into a big bowl, and then use the dull side of your knife to scrape the milk from them. While you're working on the corn, start cooking the onion on medium high heat in the olive oil in a big frying pan (one with a lid). When the onion's about ready add the celery, then the bell pepper and tomato. Let everything cook till it's done how you like it, then add the corn along with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Stir around a little bit, then cover the pan and let cook on medium heat for about seven minutes. Taste for seasoning, then serve!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

quincemopolitan party

rachael barmaid iv

I finally got around to making Quincemopolitans nearly two years after I made my quince vodka, and I thought the quince really added something to the drink. I had never actually tasted a regular Cosmopolitan at the time of my party, but when I tried one the next day I thought it was lacking in comparison; the quince added a delicious sour fruitiness.


ice cubes
2oz quince vodka
1 oz clementine cordial (or Cointreau or triple sec)
1oz Vincent Family Cranberry Agave Juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
lime slice for garnish

Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, then add the remaining ingredients (except for the lime slice). Shake well, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the lime slice.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

an announcement


Maria has changed the pronunciation of her name to 'Mar-eye-ah,' after Maria Wyeth of Play it as it Lays.

I took the above picture of her using my new lens; I think it turned out pretty well considering that I took it in my dim, naturally-lit bedroom at 9:17 at night. Below are a couple of other pictures showing it off:



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

easiest polenta

polenta dinner

If you have a rice cooker with a porridge cycle, you can easily make nice, fluffy polenta which is much tastier than the kind you can buy premade in log form. If you want it to be sliceable and stiff you can make it the day before and let it set up in the fridge.

1C polenta
4C water
salt and pepper to taste
a big pinch of nutritional yeast
a glug or two of olive oil

Mix everything except the olive oil together in your rice cooker, then run the porridge cycle. If you've started well in advance, you can have it go through the cycle twice, stirring it in-between; this will make it extra soft and fluffy, but isn't really necessary. Stir in the olive oil right before serving.

Pictured above is my dinner from last night: polenta with garbanzo bean and potato stew, herby baked tomatoes, and braised dandelion leaves.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

best sauerkraut ever!

sauerkraut i

I'm sorry that I forgot to update you on my seaweed sauerkraut. It was ready a week or two ago and was really good. It was not too seaweedy at all--I could easily have added twice as much seaweed as its flavor was barely perceptible--but was deliciously gingery. When I've eaten it all I'll make it again with more seaweed, or maybe with a more strongly flavored kind like hijiki.

sauerkraut iii

Friday, June 24, 2011

guest post



work treats

Strawberry tartlets

I made the above-pictured strawberry tartlets for a work meeting yesterday, and they were a great success. Lori said they were the best thing she'd ever eaten, and everyone else seemed to like them too. I saved one for Rachael, and she said it was the best use she'd ever seen me put quinoa to.

I got the recipe from an article in the Chronicle about gluten-free desserts. I followed the recipe as written except that I used regular sugar instead of coconut sugar (I think that's the same thing as palm sugar) and a little bit of pomegranate molasses instead of the pomegranate juice I forgot to buy. With my tartlet pans I ended up with seventeen, but if I had used mini cupcake pans as the recipe suggested I bet I would have squeezed out twenty.

Friday, June 10, 2011

sweet or savory mush

savory oats

I have been working on making a dent in my huge container of oats, and have found that my fuzzy logic rice cooker does a really good job of making delicious mush for me, ready whenever I want it. I can put all the ingredients in before I go to bed and tell it to cook them on the porridge cycle, and that I'd like it to be done right at 5:30 when I plan to get out of my bath, and it's done! I tried making savory mush in my proto-crock-pot (an experiment on behalf of my readers who don't have fancy rice cookers)and it worked nearly as well, but stuck to the bottom a little: I think I would add a little extra water in the future.

electric bean pot ii

With the rice cooker, I just put in one part oats to three parts water (1/3C cup oats and 1C water should be about right for a hearty eater), and then various fruity or vegetably additions to suit my anticipated morning mood. For the above-pictured savory mush, I added a couple of slices of kabocha (you don't even have to peel it, as the peel softens sufficiently with cooking), a couple of thin wedges of cabbage, and a big pinch of Tianjin preserved vegetable or nutritional yeast. You can add a tablespoon or so of adzuki beans to the oats if you're using a crockpot; I don't think they would get thoroughly cooked in the rice cooker unless you pre-soaked them. Add a little salt if you're not using the preserved vegetable. I like it served with lots of pepper, but no milk.

For a sweeter version, add whatever fresh or dried fruits you have on hand that appeal to you and seem like they will hold up to being well cooked (not strawberries!). I usually use an apple, quartered and cored; a banana, peeled and quartered; and a handful of raisins. I like to eat this version with milk, mainly because it seems to stay too hot longer than the savory version.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

seaweed sauerkraut

seaweed sauerkraut ingredients

I started the above sauerkraut a week ago, so it should be ready to try in another week. It's made of 2375g white cabbage; 90g peeled, julienned ginger; 270g chiffonaded green onions; 208g rehydrated dulse and wakame and 28g salt. I worried that it wasn't making enough noise (with my fancy sauerkraut crock, it usually makes pretty frequent 'blub' sounds as gasses rise through the water seal), so I peeked yesterday and found that it's already smelling nice and sour. I just hope the seaweed doesn't make it too peculiar.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


raw ramps and spargel iii

Every spring I read about ramps--stories about ramp fests, and what people have made with the ramps they've found--and I have always felt left out because it seems to be an East Coast thing. This year I found them in the Pike Place Market at Frank's and Sosio's. I wonder where they grow around here... or maybe they're cultivated.

In any case, I got some and made myself a nice springtime dinner of ramps and asparagus with scrambled tofu and rice. I rubbed a little olive oil on the ramps and asparagus, salted and peppered them, and cooked them on my stripy pan. I gave the asparagus a four minute head start, and it only took eleven minutes altogether. I carefully didn't eat everything in one sitting so that I would be able to mix it all up into ramps fried rice for breakfast the next day. The ramps tasted just as I imagined: like extra flavorful, garlicky leeks. I look forward to getting them again next year, maybe finding a hidden ramp patch in some local park.

cooked ramps and spargel i

Monday, May 23, 2011


madeleines ii

Nurse Jennie got the new BabyCakes book and promised to bring it to work to show me, but when I looked it up and saw that it has doughnuts! and madeleines! I couldn't wait and bought it then and there.

I tried a year or so ago to make vegan madeleines, and they were sad failures: horrible, greasy blobs. As you can see above, these were much prettier, and they tasted pretty good too. I followed the recipe just as written except that I reduced the vanilla by two thirds--3 tablespoons sounded like an awful lot. I thought they were a little too sweet--next time I'll try reducing the sugar by a third or so, and see if they keep their nice structure--but Rachael disagreed and ate them right up. I only have two left, which I've hidden away for Annie.

I made twelve of them in a real, metal madeleine pan that I borrowed from Annie, and nine in a silicone pan and, strangely, the silicone ones got a better crust with nicer browning. I put the ones from the metal pan back in the oven, upside down, for a few minutes till they turned golden.

Friday, May 20, 2011

a springtime salad

asparagus and strawberries i
We had a potluck at work this week with the evening housekeepers, who brought yummy Ethiopian food--one of them even made her own injera. I couldn't think of any Irish specialties to bring, so I settled for seasonality instead and brought asparagus strawberry salad. I knew I had heard of this, but when I searched for recipes they all called for the asparagus to be cooked. I was sure that my salad would be more fresh-tasting and springy if I left it raw, so I had to invent it. It ended up being very tasty and pretty.

Strawberry Asparagus Salad
6 servings

1lb fat asparagus
1lb strawberries
30z walnuts, toasted for 10-15 minutes at 350°F
a small handful tarragon
2T balsamic vinegar
2T walnut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Peel the bottom halves of the asparaus, then slice them as thin as you can manage. Core and slice the strawberries, and add them to the asparagus. Roughly chop the walnuts and tarragon, and set aside. Whisk the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper together.

Add the dressing to the strawberries and asparagus about an hour before you plan to serve the salad to allow things to mingle and let the raw asparagus get softened by the vinegar. Mix in the walnuts and tarragon at the last minute, to maintain the crunch of the walnuts and the sprightliness of the tarragon.

strawberry asparagus salad