cooking adventures crafts

Made and Making: September 2015

Pear Bread: It seems that Pear Bread is okay but not my favorite; it reminded me a little too strongly of banana bread which I’m not a fan of at all. Re-reading Deb’s introduction to the recipe this seems like a problem I should have anticipated.

Jammy Roasted Onions: This is easy and delicious, and wonderful to put on sandwiches or add to other vegetables. Or eat out of the pan, as I have been known to do.

Baguette & Wensleydale: I ate a lot of baguette and cheese sandwiches in the early part of September.

Carry Out Casserole: This was a family favorite growing up, and I have a nostalgic fondness for it. I always use ground beef (not ground turkey as this recipe says) and left out the peppers this time (because I didn’t have any).

Horseradish Potato Salad: Creamy and horseradishy, this was a nice variation on potato salad.

Yogurt & Brown Sugar Cake: I meant to make this as written, but my yogurt had gone bad so I used buttermilk, and I added sliced plums to the top. I would like to make it again with yogurt, because I think it would be a little denser, but it’s hard to argue with buttermilk & plums.

Tvorog: This sounded interesting, so I decided to try making it. It’s a long process, though not particularly involved. The cheese itself has a nice tangy flavor from the buttermilk.

Red Wine Cabbage: I used white cabbage instead of red as that’s what I had, but made the recipe pretty much as written otherwise. A nice side dish with bratwurst.

Apple, Olive Oil, and Lavender Cake from Le Pain Quotidien: I wasn’t sure how I would feel about apple and lavender together, but I ended up liking the combination quite a bit! I warmed honey and dried lavender together and would probably drizzle a little in the batter next time, rather than just letting it collect in the apples.

Easy Mushroom Gravy: Made this and served it over rotini. I really liked the flavors here and would definitely make this one again.

Sauteed Black Beans: Something I made up and didn’t love but which fed me.

Egg Sauce from Moosewood Cookbook: I added a bit more seasoning, as I often find Moosewood recipes a little bland for my taste. I served this over rice and I suspect it would better on potatoes or pasta. Oh, and I didn’t blend the egg into tiny bits because the very thought made me gag; it’s still good with the eggs simply diced.

Plum Muffins: Heavily adapted from the Poppy Seed Plum Muffin recipe in the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

Macaroni and Cheese: Just the cheese sauce recipe I always make, although I added paprika and mustard this time for a slightly zippier sauce.

Apple and Honey Challah: So good! I’ve been eating it toasted, with creme fraiche, and with butter, with honey, and even soft boiled eggs.

Oatmeal Scones: I cut down on the butter a bit, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but they’re a little on the dry & crumbly side. I like the texture of the oats, however!

Kichidi from Cooking Season by Season: Lentils, butternut squash, and rice. I think the proportions of lentils to rice were off; if I made this again, I would add more lentils for a heartier meal. But the flavors were nice.

The big project of the month is Wheatsheaves! This made with a bulky yarn and there’s not much shaping, so once you get past the shoulders it goes pretty quickly. I really like the effect of the border. Now, of course, I have to do the sleeves. I wish I liked vests as clothing, because I want to knit all of the sweaters and none of the sleeves.

After this, I plan to knit a Damask shawl. I already have the yarn for it. We’ll see if I manage to get through without crying over Code Name Verity; it’s not looking very likely.

cooking adventures

Christmas cooking and baking

(Christmas breakfast)

I did a lot of baking and cooking over the holiday season and I thought I’d share some of those recipes separately.

Black Forest Christmas cookies: I liked these but I halved the cherries and next time I wouldn’t; mine spread a bit and there wasn’t quite enough cherry to cookie.
Bachelor Buttons: RJ Anderson’s recipe, which I changed by using pear butter instead of raspberry jam. Quite a different effect, but a nice one! And now I want to make the raspberry version too.
Honeyed Rosemary Shortbread: These are definitely for people who like that sweet/savory combination, but they’re really good if you do like that.
Rum Currant Cookies: There is nothing about these that is not good. Bonus: the recipe makes a lot of little cookies, which is great for filling in the cracks on a cookie plate.
– Cranberry Shortbread: This was a bit of an experiment–namely, shortbread with chopped up bits of fresh cranberry. That part was successful, I thought, but the shortbread recipe I used for this one turned out a little too dry.
– Lebkuchen: My family has always done a lot of German Christmas cookies. Lebkuchen are the only ones I attempted this year, but I thought they turned out quite well!
– Cream Cheese Dainties: This is a staple of my mom’s Christmas baking, with rice krispie treats and a maraschino cherry. I didn’t have either, so I left off the rice krispie treats entirely and topped them with a walnut piece. It’s a different effect, but I thought they turned out well.
Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies: SO GOOD. Obviously not if you dislike either nutmeg or maple syrup, but the flavors are more subtle than you might expect

Other desserts
– Hazelnut Chocolate and Orange Tart: From Cooking Season by Season. If you like the combination of the three flavors, you’ll like this tart. Also nice for people who don’t like desserts that are very sweet.

Savory things
– Hungarian Mushroom Soup: From the old Moosewood Cookbook; this is probably my favorite mushroom soup recipe ever. Creamy, a little on the thick side, and very flavorful.
– Potato Refrigerator Rolls: An old family favorite from Betty Crocker. I did half plain and half rolled up with cheese and herbs. I liked that effect a lot, but they needed more filling to really be effective.
Mushroom dumplings: I attempted to cook mine in a sour cream-garlic sauce and they completely fell apart. Lesson learned! Cook the dumplings separately! But they still tasted pretty excellent.

cooking adventures

Applesauce muffins

I made these recently and ate them with great enjoyment. Since I’m always on the lookout for good vegan recipes, I thought I’d share it. (These are vegan and fasting, and I like that they don’t rely on substitutions to make the recipe work.)

Applesauce Muffins
1/2 c oil (I used canola)
1/2 c sugar (I decreased this and thought 1/2 c was about right)
1 c applesauce
1 t baking soda
2 c flour (I used white whole wheat)
spices to taste (I used homemade applesauce which was quite cinnamony already, so I didn’t add more spices, but nutmeg and allspice would be good)
1/2 c additions: raisins, currants, dried cranberries, chopped nuts, more chopped apple or pear

Preheat oven to 350* and get your muffin tin ready. Cream oil and sugar in a medium bowl. Add applesauce and baking soda and mix thoroughly. Add flour and spices and stir just until combined, then add whatever additions you want. Fill muffin tins 2/3-3/4 full and bake 15-20 minutes. Mine made 12 muffins. The nice thing about this recipe is how versatile it is. Too wet? Add some flour. Too dry? Add some more applesauce or oil. Like nuts? Nut it up. You really can’t go wrong. (Adapted from Food From Paradise)