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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rut.

I haven't been making much new for dinner lately, just going with my old winter standbys (Butternut & Bacon Risotto, Red Lentil Dal, and Moroccan Couscous, Chicken with Mole Sauce (I tried it with boneless skinless thighs and it was even better than I had hoped--it just takes longer), Spaghetti Carbonara, Chicken & Dumplings, Maple-Glazed Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables, Sausage with Pearl Couscous, and Roast Beef with Orange and Green Mashed Potatoes. Tomorrow I'm planning on a nice Kale-Leek-Bacon Quiche, with a new locally-made Brindisi cheese. I have been pretty proud of myself for planning actual meals before it gets to be 5:15 and Mavis calls to say he's heading home and I tell him to pick up takeout on his way.

The one thing I've been experimenting with a little more is baking. I made Minty Chocolate Crinkles (and found that 12 minutes on uninsulated cookie sheets was better than the 10 they recommend). Here is the recipe for the delicious Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding with Bourbon Toffee Sauce that my sil made for the big shindig. I also made Garnet Yam Poundcake (can't find the recipe online, but it came from the paper, too), and was more than a little disappointed. I love poundcake, and would love to be able to bake it for myself, but why is it that every full-sized poundcake I've ever made was getting way too brown on the edges before the middle was close to being done? It's happened at different times and in different ovens, from different recipes. Do I need to divide the batter and cook it in smaller pans? Lower the cooking temperature? If anyone has a poundcake recipe that REALLY WORKS for baking at home, I'd love to try it.

Anyway, next on the docket is lavender shortbread like Adriana made recently. Mmm. Oh, and I'm getting around to the (award-winning!) fudge and caramels that didn't happen before Christmas. Now I'll be delivering homemade candy for Valentine's Day.

A note about toasting hazelnuts (I needed some for the Garnet Yam Poundcake)--I know I've said various things about methods in the past, but this was my most successful yet: spread nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and pop into cold oven. Set temp for 300 degrees, and check on them after 20-30 minutes. When the skins are cracked and they're just starting to smell fragrant, pull them out. Remove skins right away by rubbing in a towel, or wait until they've cooled and rub them off with your fingers.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Adriana Velez said...

Mmmm, that's a pretty tasty rut.

January 25, 2008 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Swizzies said...

No kidding - it all sounds SO good. I'm slobbering.

In your Dal recipe -- when you say coriander, do you mean the fresh leafy stuff, or the ground up jar of herby-spice stuff?

(I'm a pathetic foodie. Sigh.)

January 25, 2008 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger janeannechovy said...

Di--they are the same plant, but here in the US most folks are only referring to the seeds (whole or ground) when they say coriander, and say cilantro when they're talking about the leaves. In England (hello Naked Chef!) they're more likely to use coriander to refer to the leaves as well.

Quiche got put off until tonight because I forgot to buy half-and-half at the store the other day. Now (Mavis stopped at the store yesterday) I have enough for both the quiche and another batch of caramels. I had planned on putting almonds in them, but re-reading my post I'm wondering if some time I should try lavender ones? Hmm. Last night's dinner was Thai takeout.

Another thing we've been eating regularly lately is sourdough. I've remembered to take back out some starter each time (historically I often forgot, and had to start from scratch the next time), so we've had it almost every week. We've had pancakes and waffles as well as the ableskivers, and I think the consensus is that we like the waffles best--so crunchy and light! Last time we had them we had a few left over, but ran out of buttermilk syrup. I ate them one morning with the leftover bourbon toffee sauce. Oh my. It was delicious but a bit too sweet--I still like the buttermilk syrup better.

January 25, 2008 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Hevansrich said...

Adriana voiced my exact thoughts...yummy!

Someone gave me "Amish Friendship Bread" starter last week, with all these specific instructions on how to prepare it, bake it, save some starter, pass some starter on (hence the "friendship" part, continue to bake on a schedule, etc. etc.

I failed miserably, couldn't even get around to baking from the original starter. (I didn't have the required vanilla pudding mix)

someday maybe this woman will trust me with some more starter.

OTOH I did just make a delicious beef stirfry with veggies and peanuts Pete and I ate for lunch....

January 26, 2008 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger janeannechovy said...

Any recipe that includes vanilla pudding mix is probably one you can skip. :)

The lavender shortbread turned out awesome.

January 26, 2008 at 7:42 PM  

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