cherydactyl: (Default)
From Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Julia Child et al.), this was my contribution for the fabulous MLFB event today.

Court Boullion (p. 536)
2 cups water
6 TB olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
2 TB minced shallot or green onion
(following, tied in cheesecloth if desired:)
6 sprigs parsley including roots if available
1 small celery stalk with leaves or 1/8 tsp celery seeds
1 sprig fresh fennel or 1/8 tsp fennel seeds
1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/8 tsp dried thyme
12 peppercorns
6 coriander seeds
2 to 3 TB minced parsley or mixed green herbs

Place all ingredients in a covered 2 1/2 qt covered saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.

Champignons à la Grecque (p. 537)
1 lb fresh mushrooms, button size if possible
2 1/2 cups simmering court bouillon

Trim and wash the mushrooms. Leave whole if small, quarter if large. Add them to the simmering court bouillon, tossing them to cover with the liquid. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the mushrooms from the saucepan with a slotted spoon, and arrange them in a serving dish. Rapidly boil down the court bouillon until it has reduced down to about 1/3 cup. Correct seasoning, and strain it over the mushrooms.

When cold, the mushrooms may be covered and refrigerated, and will keep for 2 to 3 days.

Sprinkle with herbs just before serving
cherydactyl: (cabbage)
Mother's Kitchen organized and Rena of Locavorious hosted a fabulous Michigan Lady Food Blogger event today. Our designated theme was Julia Child et al's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, or bring something French anyway, for an April in ParisAnn Arbor extravaganza. ::grin::

Read more... )
cherydactyl: (Cheryl The Monarch)
Via [ profile] nuadha_prime
Comment to this post and I will give you 5 subjects/things I associate
with you. Then post this in your LJ and elaborate on the subjects given.

He assigned these topics to me:
Well, this is either a very tangled subject or a very simple one. Like many Westerners who gravitate toward Buddhism, I had and have problems with the faith in which I was raised. My birth family attended a Presbyterian church when I was a kid (still do, just a different one), but I have other relatives who tend toward the evangelical. Some parts of Christianity make sense to me, but other parts I find utterly nonsensical, and the nonsensical parts were usually the tenets considered most important and central. I was rather reluctant to actually declare any other religion for a long time. I researched other faiths, but they were all just sources of interesting stories to me. Nothing resonated, even when I tried, sometimes tried hard, to make myself fit into them. I'm not really sure what turned me on to Buddhism, though I suspect it may have been me reading Mark Epstein's Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart, which I did about seven or eight years ago. Buddhism, like other major faiths, have lots of different sub-types. Some of those are devotional in nature, like much of Christianity. Some are not. It's quite possible to be a Buddhist and an atheist/humanist at the same time, unless I am much mistaken. And that's what I have gradually decided I am, after a lot more reading, trying out Vipassana ("lovingkindness") meditation, and other adventures in the last several years. I'm still not really "official" in that I don't have a sangha (congragation) and haven't gone through formal training or acceptance. Some of the stories about the Buddha strike me the same way the story of Jesus' conception does, as allegories that have little literal truth in them, but they do not seem so central to Buddhism in the way that the virgin birth is central to Christianity. And the basics, the central points of Buddhism: the Four Noble Truths, the Triple Gem, the Eight-Fold Path...those *do* resonate for me. So there it is.

I love my kids, and I tend to like kids in general. I sometimes wonder if I relate to kids better than to other adults. :/ I certainly act more like a kid than an adult at times. But, I'm in step with the times on this point, I think. lol.

Board Games
Easier to schedule than role-playing games, these are my major hobby. I only wish they didn't involve so much sitting! I actually got started with cribbage and pinochle as a kid. Dad was a ruthless cribbage player. My sister M and I learned pinochle at age 6 and 7 respectively. It was our evening family entertainment nearly every night for a long time. I didn't really get into the hobby in its present form for me until college, when it became the biggest thing [ profile] illyaa and I had in common. They are an easy escape, especially now in the age of online games. It keeps my too-brainy-for-my-own-good self busy when I might otherwise be tearing my hair out. By the way, have you tried BSW? I've been playing a lot of Dominion lately. And Power Grid before that. And I'm teaching my kids to play board games. And other people and other people's kids when I get the chance. And helping run train games tournaments at the major conventions.

I have always liked cooking, but it is a love I have been re-discovering the in the last couple of years. I have been using my crock pot more often. I even acquired a second, smaller one, since there have been times that the leftovers, though delicious, were too much. The larger one is the right size for roasting a chicken. The smaller one is just right for a curry for dinner. Too much of our diet had become factory food...pre-prepared foodstuffs with unpronounceable ingredients and no care in their preparation are not good for our health, in my firm opinion. Slowing down to cook also helps fight the temptation to go along with the hurry-up world out there. There are so many great cooking resources on the internet. And I'm very grateful for the Michigan Lady Food Bloggers. I'm a rather peripheral member of this group, have not yet contributed to the joint blog, and am grateful to have been included in some of the gatherings.

The myriad ways humans tell stories to explain the inexplicable and contain their own fears and doubts are endlessly fascinating. We create gods in our own images, the best and worst images included, to try to get a handle on the big, wide, wild world. And then we re-tell, and morph, and alter and re-combine and tell again. Mythology is storytelling with high stakes.
cherydactyl: (Default)
I had waaaaay too many potatoes sitting around in my cupboard, and a couple of cans of clams, and some bacon fat I had saved, so I made chowder.

I chopped an onion, cooked the onions in the bacon fat until they were translucent, and then put them in the crock. I chopped up six potatoes and three stalks of celery and put those in the crock too. Then I opened my two cans of clams; juice and all went into the crock, along with some black pepper, and about three cups of water. I cooked that on high for about four hours, then added about a cup of soymilk and some arrowroot slurry, more black pepper, some lemon pepper blend, some salt, and a little paprika. It still wasn't as thick as I would have liked, but it was very tasty. I am adamantly against loading up soup with flour to thicken it, on the grounds that lots of refined flour in the diet is not a good thing.

Both [ profile] illyaa and S ate a bowl and declared it was good, so I am satisfied. M ate a cream cheese bagel and some olives. She hardly ever eats what we are eating, it seems. OTOH, I remember many a night of eating rice with salt and pepper on it when my family were having chop suey and I couldn't stand it. I figured out later that I have a strong reaction to MSG, so there was a very good reason to avoid the La Choy soy sauce in that dish. Which is why I don't force my kids to do more than try things I make, and offer alternatives. Sometimes the body is wiser than we know at the time. S eats a good variety, and she used to be a good deal pickier than even M is now. So was I as a kid. It will all resolve in time, I expect.

Veg 100

Dec. 27th, 2008 01:22 pm
cherydactyl: (Default)
via [ profile] fierce_femme21

1) Copy this list into your own journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

1. Natto - It is a fermented soy food traditionally eaten for breakfast in Japan, and I have heard that westerners generally think it's vile. I'd try it, but I wouldn't expect to like it.
Read more... )
cherydactyl: (lesbian sex)
On Saturday, I went to visit my friend A. A and I have been friends since middle school. In high school, she turned me into a movie watcher with numerous movie nights which inevitably included Little Caesars "garbage can" (everything) pizza. We lived together my freshman year at UM, which was her sophomore year, and lived in apartments together the next two years after that. But we haven't seen that much of each other in the last few years, partly because I have kids and she doesn't, partly because her work life has largely been drama-filled in the last several-to-many years (which appears to be well and truly over, yahoo!), and partly because it's a pretty far haul between our residences (especially if you don't use the freeway, like I didn't on Saturday).

Anyway, the reason I went was to pick up a very important item for our family Christmas... they gave us an extra Wii they had, which came from a misunderstanding about who was buying a group gift among some other friends. Shhhh. Rock Band 2 is in the closet, along with an extra controller and some other accessories. Double Shhhh.

In any case, as is common when we get together, I had to make myself leave, several hours later, because we can talk for hours and hours. I told her and her husband of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, of which they had not heard. They showed me some Top Gear video (of their amphibious cars episode). We talked and talked and talked. About Tibetian Buddhism and roleplaying and movies and our lives and many other things. And there was tea.

Which leads to the revelation of the day: Agave nectar is a low glycemic sweetener. Score!
cherydactyl: (Default)
I made roasted sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving. I peeled and cut the sweet potatoes into cubes, tossed with olive oil and a mixture of ground ancho chili pepper, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, freshly ground black pepper, and kosher salt, and then roasted it in a 350-degree oven for about 50 minutes.

They were delicious. However, most of my family thought they were way too spicy. I specifically used ancho chili because it's one of the milder chilies with very little heat. To me, they were barely spicy; I would have said not at all spicy, but, having been told the sweet potatoes had "too much kick," I tasted again and detected a very slight kick. At least [ profile] elsbon said they were good, and [ profile] illyaa and I enjoyed them.

Next time, I'll use cumin with no chili and see if they still say it's too spicy. ;-)
cherydactyl: (Default)
I don't usually think casserole when I make dinner. I have this image of casseroles being bad things; or at least unhealthy things, like Swedish meatballs, made with canned mushroom soup. Which, actually, I loved as a kid, but, c'mon, it's not exactly healthy.

OTOH, I had a mess of "salsa chicken" left from Saturday's birthday party for S. Salsa chicken is a recipe I got from one of the crock pot cooking feeds I follow; I think it may have been [ profile] 365crockpot. Essentially it is chicken stewed in salsa. I made it as the basis for assemble-your-own tacos/burritos/quesedillas for the 9-12 year old kids at the party we had for S's birthday party on Saturday. After several hours of stewing two packages of chicken with a cup of corn, a can of black beans, and about a cup of mild salsa, I just had to stir to shred the chicken. Easy as pie. Only I made too much, about twice what we needed for the party.

So in brainstorming for an easy meal for tonight, [ profile] illyaa and S both thought a Mexican casserole using the leftover salsa chicken was the way to go. I cooked some rice in veggie broth, layered more corn and black beans under salsa chicken, sprinkled some garlic, onion, and ancho chile powder over that, and put a little salsa over the mixture. I would have put some crushed tortilla on top of that if I'd had some chips. Then I heated it through in a 350-degree oven, about 20-25 minutes. I intended the dish to be served with shredded cheddar on top and sour cream on the side for those like S who are dairy-obsessed.

Around 4pm when we usually have after school snack/early dinner around my house, I served S a scoop of casserole, with a generous sprinkling of cheese on top, and put the sour cream out for her to add if desired. She tried it and immediately declared the casserole an immense success. "No, mom, I didn't say I like this casserole. I *love* this casserole!!" She never even opened the sour cream. This is a ringing endorsement from her if I ever had one. [ profile] illyaa also liked the casserole, though he added hot sauce, and I have to say it's not bad.

So, I guess I have officially added casseroles to my repertoire.
cherydactyl: (Default)
For breakfast this morning, I am having Martian Toast. That is, buttered toast with mint jelly. It's green! But it's not people.
cherydactyl: (Default)
On a recommendation from Diana Dyer, today I went to check out the newer of the Ypsilanti Farmer's Markets. I checked; it's only about a 7-mile round trip from my house. I *really* want those shopping panniers for my bike now! (They are ordered and I am waiting not-so-patiently for them to arrive late this month.) For <$30, I got two big bags of fruit and veg (A melon, beans, corn, a red onion, a very large sweet potato, Macintosh apples, Bartlett pears, a half gallon of apple cider, some hot peppers) and two packages of frozen bison, one of stew meat and one of ground meat. The bison was about half of my total expenditure.

I think I will change my shopping day to Tuesday from Wednesday, and even change my BookMooch mailing day to Tuesday, since the Ypsi downtown post office is across the street from the Tuesday market. Oh bike panniers nau, please!!
cherydactyl: (fire)
I guess no new crock pot for me. ;^D

Replacement pot lid handle knob and screw: $2.25 plus tax at Ace Barnes Hardware

Employee who sawed the previous screw to get it off the lid after it stripped: PRICELESS
cherydactyl: (fire)
Saturday's adventure had an added twist: the black plastic handle of my crock pot lid came completely off when I went to pack the cooker for transport. Well, the screw and nut are still there, but everything else came off. It's been getting looser and looser for a couple of months. It was rather annoying trying to serve the Moroccan Chicken with the lid in that condition, but what can ya do?

Today I called Rival's customer service to inquire about a replacement lid for this oval 6 (or is it 5.5?) qt cooker. I was told, sure, they have that listed; $10 plus tax and shipping. Oh, except they don't have any in stock, and don't know when they would or if they would at a future date. I should call back in three weeks, even though they took my name and phone number (and linked it up to my product registration record, apparently, because she had my last name on file) to record that I wanted a lid. Maybe they will decide that they need to get more lids of this style made in the next three weeks? And the kicker is the customer service then suggested going to a hardware store to get temporary hardware for my lid to use in the meantime. Argh.

I'm considering just up and buying a Hamilton Beach slow cooker with multiple crocks, which has three different models in different colors. I first saw this on one of the lj food communities I follow. [ profile] therck has one now. It comes with a 2-qt, a 4-qt and a 6-qt crock, all of which use the same lid and heating unit. I would likely instantly go buy one or two replacement lids; otherwise I'd be robbing the lid from one dish to cook another all the time. So, [ profile] therck, do you think I could cook a whole chicken in the 6-quart crock? Because if it's not feasible, I may have to re-think. Maybe I'd patch up the lid I have and use that when I want to roast and make chicken stock. In which case maybe I should get the black-and-stainless version so they match? I don't know. I don't think I want to wait three weeks to find out if my less-than-two-years-old slow cooker is close to junk.

Unfortunately, I can't go to the hardware store with the lid this evening, because there's gumbo in that thar pot right now. I had to make gumbo, because I got okra at the farmer's market last week, you see. ;^)
cherydactyl: (Default)
This past Saturday, I was blessed to attend a second "Lady Foodblogger" event, at Shayne's house in Livonia. Or, rather, in her wonderfully appointed backyard. SO's and even families were invited to this follow-up event, so [ profile] illyaa, M, and S joined me. M and Shayne's oldest, Z, got along very well. The food was again amazing. I still feel like a poseur, since my blog is a vanity blog/journal and not a dedicated foodblog like that of many of the other attendees', but I was not about to turn down a chance to eat the wonderful food of the other attendees! As a bonus, we were serenaded by the Livonia Franklin Marching Band practice nearby for most of the party.

BTW, If you're clicking through from one of their blogs and looking for my food posts, click on the "cooking" tag link on the sidebar, since they are sprinkled through my lj in no particular order. Or, click here.
Click through for the complete entry, including recipe. )
cherydactyl: (Default)
A vegan entree that even my 9-year-old loves. :) Posted partly in honor of preparing it for dinner tonight, and partly in honor of I like G.

Green Bean Stirfry with Cashews
A [ profile] cherydactyl original (you can tell by the oh-so-precise measurements)

About 2 cups green beans, preferably fresh from the farmer's market
peanut or other vegetable oil, one to two tablespoons
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1-2 minced red hot peppers, seeds removed unless you like it fiery, or crushed red pepper (optional)
a quarter to a third cup (low sodium) soy sauce
A large handful of roasted, unsalted whole cashews; about a half cup or so

After washing beans, snap into large bite size chunks. Heat large saute pan or wok to high heat. When pan is hot, add peanut oil to coat and immediately add minced garlic and hot pepper, if using. Saute briefly, one minute or less, and then add the green beans. Stir fry until beans get tender and wilt a bit, about 8-10 minutes (unless you like them crunchier, in which case stir fry until they are how you like them). Add soy sauce and cashews. Stir to coat everything, stir about a minute more, then serve.

Great with or without brown rice to put it over.

x-posted to [ profile] vegancooking
cherydactyl: (Default)
Last weekend, I was honored to be invited to a Lady Food Blogger's Potluck Picnic by my friend [ profile] pattimst3k. I felt rather like a posuer among the invitees, as they included many local food bloggers and group founders who post much more about food than I. I think I have maybe 15 food posts in several years' worth of this journal.

In any case, I dithered and dithered about what to bring, but eventually settled on raspberry lemonade and a green salad with grilled chicken. The lemonade was as easy as possible: I just added some washed and bruised raspberries from the farmers' market to a pitcher of lemonade. The salad was because I hadn't seen much for entrees amongst the dishes that were being planned, and I figured I needed some protein so I wasn't eating only carbs, and there might be other people who felt the same. The chicken had been marinating for a couple of days and needed to be grilled anyway. The marinade included some sage and winter savory from [ profile] therck's garden, freshly ground black pepper, lemon juice, some lime marmalade that I wanted to use up, and some balsamic vinegar. The salad was a simple one of romaine and red leaf lettuces, baby peppers cut into rings, sweet onions in slivers and sunflower seeds for some texture. I took two dressings, a simple mustard-based french vinaigrette and a lemon-thyme vinegrette.

There was a delicious cous cous dish, delicious spreads (goat cheese with honey and herbs and a bean spread) with good bread, a chard custard dish, a wonderful bean dish with oodles of garlic, barbecue beef, fried sage leaves (yum!), a green salad with fresh lettuce from the Ann Arbor Community Farm, herbal tea, a red currant tart, an olive oil cake with balsamic plums on the side, a cherry pie, and amazing company of people to talk to. I had a complete and utter blast. I am sure I am forgetting some of the food, so please accept my apologies if I left out a mention of your dish, and please correct me!

Here's the blog list of the attendees: (64 sq ft kitchen)
[ profile] pattimst3k

Also, I note with satisfaction the LJ news posted today that LiveJournal has reinstated the Basic level for new accounts. It is again possible to start a new LiveJournal account without dealing with ads and without paying a fee. Yay!
cherydactyl: (Default)
Last Thursday was the last day of school for S. As a last-day treat, a pot-luck breakfast was held, before the kids were shuttled off to the playground of the nearby county park. At the suggestion of Will of [ profile] ravened, I brought the ingredients for a large batch of multi-grain pancakes. I have used more or less the same recipe for years and years; well, I vary it a lot, but the basics are the same, and I know it by heart. They got good reviews, and I think almost all of the quadruple batch got eaten. I vary it all over the place, but here's the basic recipe:

Cheryl's Famous Multi-Grain Pancakes *grin*
adapted from Jane Brody's Good Food Book, which was a wedding present
Recipe and variations behind the cut. )
Let me know if you try this recipe and how you liked it, or what pancake recipe(s) you favor.
cherydactyl: (Default)
Interesting article about the emerging so-called Homo Obeseus. It puts forward the idea that the typical western diet is screwing us over by sending signals to our DNA to turn us into a "species" unable to cope with inflammation or balance our own metabolisms.

Dairy is a main culprit of promoting inflammation that the article's author cites. As some of you know, I've been struggling at removing dairy from my diet for going on four years now. I have regularly relapsed into eating dairy, but seeing as how I suffer from a certain pesky inflammatory ailment, asthma, reducing inflammation is of great interest to me. Most of my falling off the wagon is when we eat out, as most American cuisine has butter, milk, and cheese all through. It's practically impossible to avoid dairy completely at certain restaurants.

I don't think I'm ready to go vegan, but I am beyond ready to go completely dairy-free. My kids and husband, however, are not at all enthusiastic. My younger child's caloric intake would plummet, at least in the short term, if I removed dairy, as she takes most of it in the form of either yogurt or mac 'n' cheese or cheese pizza. My older child has turned her nose up at my dairy substitutes, especially soy yogurt and ice cream substitutes. Do you have any freaking idea how hard it is to get fully non-dairy cheese? Most soy and rice cheeses have caesin in them, a milk protein, so they melt like regular cheese. So it's dairy but not? Right. I am glad she likes falafel at Jerusalem Garden; there is some hope that I can build on that to reduce dairy in the future. Here's hoping I can find ways for us to unhook from the dairy economy.
cherydactyl: (Default)
Last night's experimental dinner turned out pretty well. I looked up a few corn chowder recipes on, and didn't find anything like I was looking for. The model I had in mind is Whole Foods Market's soup bar smoked salmon-corn chowder, which is a guilty pleasure of mine since I'm supposedly going for a non-dairy diet. I ended up only vaguely using a vegan corn chowder recipe. I say vaguely because the recipe not only had no salmon, it also had no potato in it, used bullion cubes (shudder), and garlic powder as well as actual garlic (why??). It was merely a general guide to proportions in the end.

Clicky for recipe with notes. )

The three of us that ate it agreed it was delicious. M had a peanut butter sandwich. I sure hope she learns to appreciate more foods's the one thing I wish I could get her to do that she won't.
cherydactyl: (Default)
It's been a busy "break" week in my household. My two kidlins and I kept ourselves busy with playdates, errands, some extra videos from the library, and a spot of sledding. The snow this week kept us from adventures further afield as I had planned...I didn't really want to go to Cranbrook during a snow advisory, for example.

Yesterday, I got to go walking with [ profile] shekkara at the county farm park, which was a challenge due to the snow. Powdery and several inches deep, it made walking rather more of a slog. We didn't see any other walkers in the park itself, but we did see a number of cross-country skiers. A pair of walkers passed us on the sidewalk along Washtenaw when we took a loop around the park instead of through. I felt kind of funny about that...we need to pick up the pace a bit, I guess. There's still lots of time before the Freep Half Marathon in the fall. I am rather jealous of the cross-country skiers. I want some skis!!

Then I came home and had just enough time to shower, season the soup in the crock cooker, and clean up a little bit before our first gamer guest arrived for some 18XX action. I spent the first hour or so shooting the breeze with guests and preparing more food while I tried to herd us into playing 1861; I got my wish. The kids watched movies and played games and tried to get our guests to tickle them, mostly successfully. It amuses me greatly that I was still able to beat the competition, even though I was doing a fair amount of cooking and hostessing through the game. Women playing 18XX games are rather a rarity, so it gives me great satisfaction when I show I can play well. I've passed 'resigned' on this issue of hostessing and gone on to be able to say I enjoy being able to cook for people and still play well. I guess it's just what I get for playing a "man's game." :) 1861 is definitely my current favorite among 18XX games...I will have to look in to getting a copy when I have a little extra cash.

Unfortunately, it looks like [ profile] illyaa may have gotten the nasty flu that's going around. It didn't show up until yesterday evening after our guests had left, in the form of a fever. My best guess is he got something from [ profile] tammylc, because she's been battling infection after infection for several weeks, and he saw her briefly earlier this week. I fervently hope the rest of us can escape whatever ick he has. *crosses fingers* He's on the couch snoring gently as I write.

I helped older daughter S make breakfast this morning, then cleaned and sanitized the kitchen in an effort to kill any stray viruses. Take that!!! There's stew in the crock cooker for dinner later (beef, shallots, garlic, red potatoes, carrots, rosemary, black pepper, bay laurel, and the remainder of a bottle of wine I had left in the fridge). I plan to get out the the library with the kids today, and I hope to tackle my desk too, as the paper tigers have rather multiplied this week.
cherydactyl: (Default)
Via [ profile] tammylc's foodblog, and courtesy of the Evil Mad Scientists' Laboratories' new completely edible googly eyes:

Here's more info on the Flying Spaghetti Monster, if you don't know what the heck that is.

I just love teh internets.


cherydactyl: (Default)

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