Questions for cooks

January 2, 2013

Is there a wok in your kitchen?

Is it a proper wok or one of those flattened-bottom monstrosities?

What’s it made of?

Recipe:

Swing by Trader Joes, pick up

-Prepared herb pizza dough

-mushrooms

-pesto

-mozzarella prosciutto log thingy

-arugula

Slice a couple of mozzarella thingies whilst lightly cooking the mushrooms. Wilt arugula.

Quarter the dough, spray some oil on a flat sheet. Smooch out the dough, getting it oily on both sides.

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Aliquot arugula, mushroom and mozzarella / prosciutto on the dough, splash on some pesto. Wrap it over and pinch the edges together. (I didn’t use anywhere near enough arugula on this one. And a little garlic would have been nice.)

Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes.

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As FizzyPoof says…..

Eatte itte!!!!

More Slow Cooker Cookin'

December 17, 2011

Why whatever are we making today, folks?

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Onion, garlic…could be anything….is that puréed tomatillo? Why yes it is….

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Open the bag…ah, yes, the roasted chiles are ready for peeling…

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…and chopping. Add garlic and cumin, plus some salt. (real salt, not that pretentious black salt crap favored by RisottoProffe)

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Cubed pork? But of course…
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Sauté the onions a bit, add the pork and brown with a couple of tablespoons of flour.

Put the pork in the slow cooker with the chiles, tomatillo, etc. Add 1 1/2 cups stock and set on Low for 5-6 hours.
Chop some cilantro, add in the last hour…reserve a bit for garnish…dollop of sour cream.

….and then, as the greatest of chefs recommend….

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Eatte thatte shitte!!!!!

What’s cookin’?

December 1, 2010

Since we’re in the holiday season between Thanksgiving to Christmas, I’m thinking a little more than usual about cooking. So I posted a couple of recipes for people that don’t have time for recipe war extravaganzas like Dr. Isis* and PhysioProf** did. Thought you all that haven’t made it over to Scientopia yet might want a look.
If I have any talents in the kitchen, I describe them as being a cook. I’m not a gourmet chef like MarkCC of Good Math, Bad Math (I mean seriously? get out!) and the two aforementioned recipe warriors. I mean, I can handle a complicated recipe and all and I do like that style of food smithing now and again. But where I really come alive is in opening the fridge, finding whatever is in there and trying to make something tasty based around the basic starches. Pasta. Rice. Potatoes. Or from a hunk of insert-meat-here. Or even from “There’s nothing to eat in here honeee!”
My spouse bakes. Oh, this is fantastic because if there is one thing I really don’t do in the kitchen it is bake. I can manage to not screw up a cheesecake too badly but… yeah, the oven and I do not get along. The range is my friend.
My spouse, OTOH, isn’t much of a cook. Recipe’d meals, no problem, and it all comes out tasty. Some of the signature work from that part of the household is awesome. But there just isn’t the same love there that I have for cooking. For having a basic knowledge of how you cook particular ingredients and throwing them together as variations on the basic themes for decidedly unfancy meal preparation.
I wonder how many of you all have this division of talent when it comes to food preparation? It isn’t like we did this by design but for the most part this balance of preferences works out well.
Hey, how ’bout a little poll? Select all that apply…

In the kitchen, I describe myself asonline surveys

Whoa, that was a diversion. Anyway, back to the point. Recipes for the rest of us.
Cranberry-orange bread
Slow cooker split pea soup
__
*mmmmm, carnitas. another recipe from Namnezia.
**credit where due, this recipe single handedly put me back on brussel sprouts. I hadn’t eaten them in probably two decades or more.

Another quick and easy recipe for those of us who don’t have a whole lot of time in the kitchen anymore. If you put it in mini-loaf pans you can even use it as a holiday gift for your neighbors, kids’ teachers, lab staff or local Tenured Deadwood F***s.

Combine:

1 1/2 C white or brown sugar
1/2 C melted butter
1 3/4 C orange juice
2 eggs, beaten

Sift (although in fact I never sift):
5 C flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tblsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Stir dry and liquid mixtures together until blended.

Fold in:
3-4 C chopped cranberries (this amounts to ~one of the usual packages, picked over. I just slice them in half, I don’t really chop ’em)
2 Tbsp orange zest (grated rind in case this doesn’t translate to non-USiAns)

Pour into 2 buttered loaf pans* and let stand for 20 minutes (hmm, think I forgot that part last time)

Bake in 350 deg F oven until browned and a knife in the center comes out clean, ~60 minutes

*or mini loaves for neighbors/teachers/TDFs, or probably would work as muffins but I haven’t ever tried that, oddly enough.

Cooking conversion calculator for non-US readers. Which seems to suck. Maybe this Conversion Table for Cooking is better.

Every since the infamous recipe war between Dr. Isis and PhysioProf, I kept meaning to get into RecipesForTheRestOfUs. Those of us who can’t find the time to actually cook gourmet multi-course extravaganzas anymore. Yesterday, I made this, which is simplicity itself in the CrockPot / slow cooker.

16 oz of split peas, pick em over a little in a strainer and toss ’em in the pot

~5 cloves of garlic (slightly smooshed, naturally)
-1 cup of chopped onion
-1 large carrot halved lengthwise and sliced
I browned these items lightly in a frying pan and tossed them in

1/2 c cubed ham

fresh sage and fresh oregano- I didn’t put enough in I think- ~6 sage leaves torn up & similar volume of oregano.

1/2 tsp salt (and then I leave the black pepper to personal taste)

add quart of chicken stock, half quart of water

5.5-6 hrs on high did the trick

I like it smooshed up a bit so give it a vigorous stirring if that’s your preference.

It seems like an opportune moment to revisit this post, for some reason or other.


The American Heart Associations recommendation to cut down on dietary sugar is all over the news. Discussion of this by Isis the Scientist triggered a comment from Callinectes :

Someone reading this may therefore assume diet drinks with Aspartame, Splenda, etc. may be okay because it’s 0 calories and added “sugar”. Can anyone comment authoritatively on this? The way I see it, it’s still just empty calories and not very good for you when consumed regularly on a weekly or (heaven forbid) daily basis.

To which Isis responded:

One might argue that diet drinks still activate the “Hedonistic food pathways” in the brain (centers in the ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens) that lead us to associate reward with food intake, causing us to take in more energy-dense food… That said, I don’t know of any multi-variate studies comparing risk between sugar drinks, diet drinks,… let’s be clear that Aspartame and Splenda are zero calorie sweeteners, meaning they would technically not contribute to the AHA’s recommended daily intake.

I am reminded of what I think of as a reasonably provocative series of observation from Susan Swithers and Terry Davidson at Purdue.

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