piranha: red origami crane (Default)
after putting together the power rack, i've taken a week off. i've just been tired and sore. i suspect i am not getting enough protein for the amount of working out i have done, so i am upping that. kinda got lazy with the cooking too. mostly in hibernation mode, as usual this time a year.

walked (long mailbox) with the paramour, 32 min. that's not as bad as i thought it might be. i'm gonna start the interval walks again as long as the weather doesn't turn icy.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
split pea soup

(recipe by the "instant pot" manufacturer)

1 cup of split peas (i used half green, half yellow)
1 medium onion
1 medium carrot
2 stalks celery
2 bay leaves
1 lb ham hock (i used ~200g low-fat, low-salt ham from schneider's)
4 cups of water

chop the hell out of the onion, carrot, and celery. dump everything in the cooker. cook on "soup" for 30 min. let depressurize naturally, which means +10 min. season to taste (i used about 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper and 1/2 tsp of sea salt).

this is the second incarnation of this soup, and it still needs work. yesterday's used 5 cups of water, and it was way too thin. today's is still on the thin side, so next time i'll use even less water. salting wasn't necessary yesterday; the ham had enough, but today needed some help. yesterday i threw in way too much ham (it had escaped my notice that 1 lb ham hock does not actually translate to 1 lb ham). this ham isn't good for letting cook the entire time; it becomes very mushy (and cooking it twice does not improve it; it didn't fall apart like i was hoping). if i make this again with ham, i'll cook it without and then put it in just to warm it.

the consistency, apart from being too thin, is good though -- normally i end up pureeing the soup if i cook it on the stove top; here that's not necessary.

this recipe contains measurements i usually don't like -- i prefer to weigh ingredients. what fits in a cup differs too much, and sizes like "medium" are even more meaningless. but since it's for soup, eh, i don't care; winging it varies the taste a little so it doesn't become completely boring after the 10th time i have it.

this isn't too different from my standard split pea soup recipe, so i think i can now adapt that one.

i really like how the pressure cooker concentrates flavour. apparently a lot more of it cooks away into the air during normal cooking than i expected.
piranha: origami crane with santa hat and holly on tail (xmas)
as the new year looms, i am planning to live vegetarian for a month, just to see whether i can do it. i'll probably not manage vegan because i like my milk products and eggs too much, but doing without meat will not be difficult. it'll be a challenge to myself to learn new recipes and be more mindful of what i am shoveling into my maw.

to that purpose, i am hopeful to make many new friends in the legume family. i'm thinking it might be useful to isolate them the first time, to get a better feeling for innate flavours. i've also got myself a pressure cooker (actually an "instant pot IPLUX-60" several-methods-in-one cooker; it can saute, steam, pressure-cook, slow-cook, make rice with just a button press).

the new year isn't there yet, but we're past the solstice, which is what really matters, so here we go. the paramour suggested i call it "logume", *sigh*.

2012-12-25: small white bean, noname package, presumably navy bean.

cooked 1 cup dry beans in 4 cups water for 30 min, pressure @ 11.6). came out as thin soup, slightly mushy; some beans completely disintegrated, others still intact. threw in just a bit of fleur de sel afterwards. quite tasty, actually. paramour says this is the "baked beans" bean, which wikipedia confirms. i've always hated baked beans, but i like this. delicate; a bit mealy, but not dry.


Dec. 22nd, 2012 22:47
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
dry pinto, red chili, and kidney beans

the best chili recipe we have uses 7 lbs of meat. being that my eating habits could always improve, i was wondering how it'd taste with beans instead. now, i am not a huge bean fan -- there are so many kinds, but most seem to taste the same to me, and honestly, i like green beans a heck of a lot more than dried ones. now, my beanly prejudices could well stem from lack of familiarity. my birth family didn't do any beans but green, and most of what i've had later has been canned, and canned beans, i am sorry, taste mushy and too salty, and just... not good. and i've just never come across an amazing bean dish before; what people usually claim is really great doesn't do anything for me (i don't much care for mexican food in general, for example).

so i decided to make beans from scratch. washed them, soaked them overnight, and then tossed them into my lovely chili sauce.


1.5 hours later they should have been done. weren't. 2 hours later, nope. 3 hours later, still not soft. that's when i gave up and pureed the whole mess, because the liquid had boiled down about as much as possible. it's quite tasty (the spicing of this chili is yummy), but somewhat lacking in texture. oh well, i can thin it out with vegetable juice, and it can serve as sauce over rice or pasta. we now have lots and lots of this sauce in the freezer.

then i went on the net. and i learned something very important about beans: they do not like acids or salt when they're cooking, or they won't soften. in fact it seems advisable to add a little baking soda to make sure they're not in an acid but base environment. well, the chili is loaded with acid and salt (low salt really, but still, there's salt).

it surprises me that i didn't learn this along the way some time. so last night when we had dinner with P&G i told them the sad story of my vegan chili, and they too didn't know this about beans. ok, maybe i am not totally out of it after all.

did y'all know this? do you have a favourite bean recipe?
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i've been doing rather well with cooking lately. now, i hope nobody mistakes me for a cooking wiz; i learned how to cook for a family of 5-10 people, but i don't really like the food of my childhood. consequently i don't have a big repertoire of real meals, and i don't cook much for others because i have peculiar tastes. and while i like the recipes i make up, i wouldn't normally offer the food to others. i make a mean herring salad, for example, but the paramour hates pickled things and dill, and that pretty much nixes this recipe for him because it has pickled herring, pickled onions, pickled gherkins, and much, MUCH dill. i'll make a huge pot of it, and then i'll eat it for several days straight, with new potatoes. OMG, so good.

i've been playing with the chili recipe i posted once, and it is now more flavourful than it was at the start; i should edit it, because this is eminently shareable (of course it is mostly somebody else's recipe, which accounts for that ;).

i concocted a split pea and ham soup with lovage, which i find really smooth and enjoyrable, i think i'll post that recipe so others can try it and let me know whether this actually passes as food for people-not-me. if any of you grow lovage, that is. of course now it's a little late for that in the northern hemisphere. but lovage is fun to grow (it gets HUGE in its 2nd year), and it tastes much like celery, only milder and more interesting, IMO.

i also made a carrot cake with ras-el-hanout (an arabic spice mixture which has become a fixture for me because it manages to taste different in everything i've thrown it into). the cake was so much on the moist side that it was a little unbaked in the centre, so this recipe needs more fiddling. it was very tasty though. this is how a lot of my ad hoc recipes come out; not quite ready for prime time.

the paramour has had a crappy few weeks; lots of frustration at work. so i did a little research and pulled together two different recipes, one for shortbread, and one for lemon curd, and made lemon squares. wow. these are a hit. a perfect marriage of sweet and tart (with all the fat and sugar you could possibly want, and then some *sigh*). the only drawback is that some of the squares have lot of lemon topping, and others not so much -- our stove is not level, and the mix starts out very liquid, so it settles on one side of the baking pan. next time i'll have to fashion little aluminum foil feet for the pan, *grin*.

i'm feeling accomplished, because cooking is something that doesn't come particularly easy to me, and i am not really patient and organized enough for it, but i enjoy coming up with something the paramour and/or the *poing* also like.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
tiny lobelia flowers

one wouldn't normally expect exquisite sushi from a place called "the firehouse", but these guys outdid themselves. if you're ever in nanaimo, give them a try. very inventive.

started working on a new project with this cool denim yarn i have, which is supposed to slowly wear off by washing like jeans: http://ravel.me/pi/pp. i'm trying to ease myself back into knitting by doing something a bit more demanding than stockinette, but that doesn't require careful counting like lace.

oh, and sio, you wanted to see the shawl i'm working on: http://ravel.me/pi/js -- i really like this pattern.

done with season 2 of leverage, will wait for season 3 to be done before i continue, i think. now watching season 2 of burn notice, which has really grown on me.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
1. those of you who have tried both cilantro and epazote, how similar do they taste? if cilantro tastes like soap to you, does epazote do as well?

2. in the subgenre "cowboys are gettin' it on" of my smut reading, the characters in texas and new mexico often have or make "queso". i used to think queso was just spanish for cheese (which it is), but they're very clearly not making cheese. google isn't very helpful. enlighten me?
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i just had one of the best teas i've experienced, ever. orchid oolong from murchie's down in victoria. i bought this ages ago as a gift but for one reason or another ended up not gifting it after all. today i came across it while cleaning my room (a project that i am determined to finish before my demise, which is basically why the paramour has called off the death watch).

so.very.good. amazing fragrance that carries straight into the taste. and beautiful golden colour.

i don't want to know about caffeine. i am drinking this, no matter what.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
thanks for all the good wishes; much appreciated.

no more fever. still weak, but managed to actually walk the dog for 15 min instead of a quick in-out. poor dog. they picked a bad weekend to be gone. also, it's monday evening and they're not back; is today a holiday? i keep telling myself that if they were here, the dog would probably not actually get walked any more. but at least she wouldn't be this much alone; i can't take her in here because it would result in all the cats fleeing, and damn, but they're all so comfortable, and it's enough of an effort to get them to all get along. the dog has a swelling the size of an egg on her right foreleg. i will have to guilt them into taking her to the vet again. fuck. sometimes i really hate these people.

since no fever anymore, can actually mostly string together whole sentences and read other people's LJ entries. and maybe even a book, if i can find one that wants reading. darwinia i think, everything else seems just too hard.

also, food now stays down. i was going to participate in the incendiary food thing, but didn't think a log of "2 large mugs of warm ginger drink" was going to be helpful to anyone. today's food intake is a bit better (2 mugs of ginger drink, 3 hardboiled eggs, chunk of gouda), but far from normal, so i'm gonna continue to wait with that. also, thought about how making lists of food is diet behaviour, and the way some people list theirs is making me uncomfortable (is it really empowering to read about somebody's 15ml of yogurt?).

there is lots of snow up in the mountains one can see from the landlord's doorstep.

piranha: red origami crane (Default)

summer salad harvest time

fresh from the garden:

cucumbers, banana pepper, borage, french sorrel, garlic chives, nasturtium leaves and flower, and the very first cherry tomatoes.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i should not be looking at food porn just before going to bed.

books in progress:

ralph mcinerny, the book of kills -- ha ha ha. pun in the title, how original for a mystery! :)

mandy aftel, essence and alchemy: a natural history of perfume -- i was right about the woowoo.


david m. pierce, angels in heaven -- ok, so this wasn't bad. a bit dated (late 80's; the narrator, a private eye, is proudly using an apple II and gets all excited about his first dot-matrix printer), but i don't generally mind. a wee bit heavy on the hard-boiled smartass commentary, but i liked the oddball characters and the banter between them. and -- the paramour should take note -- there's no killing in this mystery, though there's a wee bit of IMO gratuitous shooting, but hey, this is LA. the central case isn't a murder, but the narrator's childhood friend being imprisoned in a mexican jail for running contraband, and the inspired attempt to rescue him. also, that case, while central and providing for much of the plot, isn't consuming every worthwhile minute of the detecting; there's other stuff going on. the ending to the central case is almost ant-climactic which disconcerted me a bit at the time -- but that, and the assorted bits and pieces of the narrator's life also make the book feel real to me despite mucho oddball aspects. i think i might try and find other books by mr pierce.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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