A not atypical weekend
August 4th, 2013

Harking back to the old days of blogging, I decided to keep track of all the cool stuff I did this weekend!

There is an intentional double negative in the title. This weekend contained 3 types of activities: things I do regularly, things I do every once in a while, and things I do semi-regularly but with certain specific details.

So, speaking of #3, Friday started out with (almost) free tickets to see Bobcat Goldthwait do standup. I have never seen Bobcat in person before, but I have gone to see comedy at this club (Cobb’s) a few times since I’ve lived here. Then we said hi and got this picture that I look awkward in:

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Note: I am a really big fan of Bobcat, and his set was a lot of fun. Apparently the early show before us featured a less enthusiastic crowd, but he seemed to think we were cool and told a lot of stories (in addition to his rehearsed standup).

The next day, J left to go to a bachelorette party for the night, leaving me to get into trouble. I chose to go shopping, make food, and watch movies.

Before I left to shop, I started some No-Knead Bread in the Dutch Oven, the first thing we’ve made in the D.O. You just mix the flour/yeast/salt/water and let sit for 12-24 hours for the “slow-rise”.

bread-dough1

The first thing I set to work on when I got back was some potato-leek-cauliflower soup in the slow cooker. I found it here, who found it here:

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Its just potatos, cauliflower, leeks, onion, carrot, broth, and some rosemary & s/p. Chop it up, stick it in the slow-cooker for 6 hours on low. Then blend as much as you like for consistency, and you have 6 quarts of soup!

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(You will notice a quarter glass of beer next to it, that’s home-brew styled after the “Cooper’s Sparkling” australian brew).

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Behind my slow-cooker is the beer tree I bought J, which can both sanitize (using an attachment) and dry beer bottles.

Next to it is fruit for kombucha! I’ve made kombucha a few times now and am trying to get more comfortable with the process. It’s supposed to be good for you, but I just like how it tastes and makes me feel. This kombucha has been brewing 3 weeks:

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Most other people’s kombucha is a little darker than this, but this is SF so the weather isn’t too warm and I don’t get great airflow in my kitchen, so this is probably less fermented than other 3-week kombuchas.

I mostly follow this recipe to brew, using jasmine or oolong tea, and let sit on top of my fridge. Then I do a secondary fermentation in beer bottles, adding either ginger + lemon or juice + chia seeds. This time the ginger I got was kind of dry, so I did less ginger lemon than usual, and used fresh raspberries that I blended in my food processor.

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My current kombucha bottling process is still a little annoying, but I’m getting faster at it (it’s all about planning!) I’m sure with some better bottles and brewing vessel I could make it go faster. This one involves funnels and saran wrap.

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Now it was about time to go back to the bread I put together last night, but first I was a good boyfriend and swept the living room for the people who were going to crash here tonight:

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(I also got our music room, afterwards I was temporarily distracted by my fretless bass, despite the air mattress)

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Ok, enough bragging about our awesome apartment.

Next I had to roll the sticky gunky bread dough together into a ball, even though it had yet to really take on any sort of shape. So this really meant covering it in flour, which kept it from spilling out everywhere, giving it a sense of form.

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Then I stuck it in the dutch oven I’d been pre-heating in the stove (although not for long enough), and let it do its thing. 45 mins later it was finished and lookin pretty good!

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In retrospect, I should have let it rise for a little after “forming” it, and let the dutch oven cook up a bit. I also realized that my dutch oven is giant for such a small loaf of bread. But, it was easy and tasted good! Sweet.

During this I watched movies that I haven’t been able to motivate myself to watch. This included Gang Tapes (which was interesting if not a little draining), then The Girl Next Door (a disturbing yet incredibly well-made account of real-life torture – why do I do this to myself?), and then cleansed my palate with 48 Hours (ridiculous, but fun and easy).

It wasn’t over though, even when I ate the soup! The next day I went to a free concert at Stern Grove (a beautiful donated park in SF) featuring The Relatives and Shuggie Otis, which was awesome. I also got there right on time for the music and scored the best seats I’ve had at the venue:

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(I snapped this picture during intermission, so no one is there, but the Relatives were amazing and Shuggie Otis is a funk-legend (who played bass on one of my favorite Frank Zappa tunes!)

Life coming full-circle. Then I came home and watched Herzog’s Grizzly Man, which brought back found memories of Alaska (oh yeah, I went to Alaska courtesy of my family and it was so wonderfully humbling – I will throw something together for that).

Now it’s Monday and life is back to normal as seems to happen on such Monday’s. Reality is full of deadlines and root canals (I wish I was lying about the root canals)….

Zucchini Cornbread Casserole
August 17th, 2010

I’m trying to use up some of this goddamn zucchini, so I made some super easy casserole at the recommendation of a friend of mine. The recipe is here, and I suggest you read most of the comments for ideas on how to tweak this before making. I did salt and then squeeze all the zucchini before adding it, and it still ended up a little watery, but not too bad. Here’s a haphazard shot of (most of) the ingredients:

Not pictured, the jiffy mix that really makes this easy.

Anyway, I followed the directions for the most part, just salted the zucchini and let it sit for an hour in a colander, then squeezed before adding to everything else. I also upped the cheese a little bit, specifically for the mix part, and added one (small) chopped red pepper. After cooking for about an hour, it was mostly done, but I ended up sticking it back in the oven for another 10 minutes after eating a piece. Then I put it out to share:

One of the perks of living w. me is that I have too much food so I share

While not the tastiest thing ever, anything that uses up 4 cups of zucchini is a good recipe for me right now. I finally finished the first giant zucchini so am working on the next one. Of course, I’m also growing regular sized zucchini’s from the other plants as well. If my tomatoes turn out to be half as prolific, I’ll be ecstatic!

Next up – what to do w. all the green beans….

Zucchini Bread (barely makes a dent in my huge zucchini)
August 1st, 2010

I’ll update this later with the recipe and any instructions, but look at how much bread I can make from such a small bit of my giant zucchini from tha previous post!

I love it when I remember to take before pictures

Mmmm, zucchini bread

Update! This recipe comes from my Mom. It’s a very sweet bread – she also makes a pumpkin bread that I’ve found I prefer more savory, but this zucchini bread is delicious with the amount of sugar indicated in the recipe. This recipe will make about 2 bundt-sized loaves – I used 1.5 times as much to make the amount above.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 3 t cinnamon
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ to 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 c chopped walnuts

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 c vegetable oil (actually, I would use just a little bit less then 2 cups, this bread came out a little on the oily side)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 t vanilla

& of course, 2 c grated zucchini

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients except for the walnuts together.
  3. Add the zucchini to the dry ingredients.
  4. Making sure not to beat, mix in the wet ingredients one at a time, with the oil first.
  5. Add the walnuts last
  6. Pour into a greased bundt pan and cook for 40 – 60 minutes (I find it’s closer to 60 minutes).

And that’s it! It’s really easy and tasty!

Sweet Potato & Kale Curry
July 2nd, 2010

I’ve made this three times now and am starting to get the hang of it. I especially like that the recipe I started from was very barebones in what spices to use and in what quantity. I probably checked another website to get an idea of what dishes add more of what and less of other things b/c I’m still figuring stuff like that out. However the process is pretty easy and the results are quite tasty. It uses a few more canned ingredients then an ideal meal for me, but since the Kale and Sweet Potatoes I’ve been using are from the farmers market (or sometimes, my backyard) I don’t feel like I’m cheating too much.

I likely found this recipe just by googling kale recipes because I had so much of it at the end of last year, but found it on Spark Recipes. One of the things I look for is how complicated ingredients are, and how necessary they are to the meal.

Anyway, I highly suggest you check out the original recipe, but I cut some things in half and add more then others. It ends up being mildly sweet w. a nice background spice – I could probably make it a quite a bit spicier and not lose any of the inherent sweetness from the sweet potatoes.

Anyway, here we go:

  • 1/2 cup onion (I use onion sparingly, if at all)
  • 1 clove garlic (just the one, sometimes I don’t even use it all. I use garlic less often then onions)
  • Spices – I usually use between 1/2 tbsp and a full tbsp of the following (Because it’s what I have in my kitchen):
    • tumeric
    • cumin
    • coriander
    • chili powder
    • curry powder (I use a little more of this)
    • nutmeg (I use a little less of this)
    • ginger
    • cinnamon (not a lot)
    • cayenne pepper (I use less of this then the chili powder).
  • 2 1/2 cups kale (more then the recipe calls for, because I always have a ton). Wash, remove the stems, and chop.
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (this ends up being less then two sweet potatoes usually, again, add more if you want)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or the equivalent)
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes (or equivalent)
  • less then a can of coconut milk (or if you use it all, up the amount of spices you use. The Original recipe doesn’t call for much coconut milk, but it’s so good!)
  • honey to taste (I like honey)
  • water as needed
  • olive oil as needed

Prep is easy, although you need to pay a little attention. First, go ahead and stem the kale, cut the onions, and dice the sweet potatoes.

I've used both yams and sweet potatoes - this time I used both

Now, sautee the onions in some olive oil for a couple minutes until it’s tender.

Add the garlic and spices and just a little bit of water (around a 1/4 cup – start w. less) and cook that for a few (4 or 5 is fine) minutes. You want enough liquid to simmer the kale in, but you don’t need that much. Go ahead and add the kale in here now – it will start to wilt and take up less space in the saucepan so you don’t need too much liquid in the pan. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer this for 10 minutes.

Add the Kale

Next, add your sweet potatoes, tomatoes, chick peas, coconut milk, and the honey. You may need a little bit more water here so you have enough liquid to cover the potatoes and make sure they get cooked. If you have stock to add, I would use that instead though. (always use stock instead of water!) Increase the heat just a touch and simmer for 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. You want the sweet potatoes to be soft but not mushy. Everything else should retain it’s texture (I’ve worried about overcooking the kale before but it’s come out fine) in that time period too, providing you are just simmering.

Let it simmer...

And that’s it! I serve over brown rice, but I serve almost everything over brown rice.

Lunch!

Success w. Amaranth!
May 19th, 2010

It’s a little interesting that the first Cooking entry on this blog is about Amaranth, considering that I don’t often cook with this grain. In fact, this is only the second time – the first it was an attempt at making a sweet breakfast-like Amaranth that I just didn’t enjoy, but could eat.

Amaranth doesn’t taste like that much, but it holds flavor pretty well. However, the main reason I’m assuming this grain isn’t widely used is that, despite being incredibly healthy, it has one of the oddest consistencies I’ve ever encountered. Slightly squishy little blobs, more or less congealed together (depending on the method of cooking [or really amount of water from what I can figure out]), that kind of “pop” (or at least ooze) when you bite them. It’s not necessarily bad, although it’s not exactly growing on me just yet.

I made the first dish on the website I linked to, w. a few notes:

  • I jotted my notes down on both sides of a post note to take to the kitchen with me. My notes were very shorthand, and I spent the majority of the time cooking it on the phone w. my Uncle
  • Because of this, I boiled the amaranth in the water, instead of adding afterwards
  • This one will alarm you – I don’t generally cook w. garlic or onions, and when I do, I use drastically less. I often substitute ginger, chopped bell peppers, or just oil and seasoning. This time I used a teaspoon or so of chopped ginger and a shake of garlic powder, along w. the dried basil and oregano. I should have used something a little spicier, some cayenne or ground chili powder, although it didn’t need much spice to taste good. I always use more olive oil then recipes say.
  • I added the mushrooms late, forgetting about them
  • Finally, I used a little veg stock to the tomato mixture because it seemed dry and I was using a frying pan. I think you usually can’t go wrong w. adding a little veg stock, especially if you want to simmer your food
  • It came about pretty good, so I definitely advocate giving this recipe a try. I’m just realizing now that I forgot any pictures, I’ll need to take some and will update this post soon. For now, I need to do a little yoga in my room to help my knee stop bugging me.

  • Tha OBAR!




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