Sunday, December 9, 2007

I'm back! The onslaught begins

Alright folks, I did it. I did the stupid thing that every blogger does at least once: I stopped blogging. While I could list a myriad of excuses, I plan to simply move on as if it had never happened. Though I have not blogged, I have cooked, and cooked and cooked. To be sure you witness the fruits of my labor, this post will serve as a sort of directory-on-request. I will put up photos and the names of what I've cooked. If you want the recipe, comment and I'll add it as a separate post. Got it? Great. At the bottom of this post, you will find a brief discussion of the Thanksgiving turkey project (and an unfulfilled vow to be more vigilant about my blogging) Here goes-

For Stuffed Zucchini

A CRAZY tomato called Ugly Ripe "The tomato that tastes like a tomato". This is a freakish commercial tomato that has been bred to have the trademark shape of an heirloom tomato. They succeeded in getting this shape correct, but they unfortunately kept the color and super-firm texture of everyday supermarket tomatoes, neither of which resemble heirloom varieties, and that's not to mention the taste. I'd planned to do a whole post about this guy called "My Tomato Has a Website; or How I learned to stop thinking and love the Ugly Ripe", but those were more ambitious times. Frankly, I find it just plain ugly, and it looks like it'd bounce right back into your hand if you dropped it. Here's its pretty face-

Spicy Breaded Cod with Bacon Saffron Pea Risotto

I figured out how to use the closeup on my camera...

This was a time when one could see the ground, that's how long ago it was.

So I have this super little pan made of cast iron for cornbread. It's cast iron, so it's perfect for making cornbread, and the wedge shapes make for extra crust for everybody. Yum. Gotta love American Lodge Cast Iron. Everything they make is very reasonably priced and lasts forever. Cornbread is great in a plain ol' cast iron skillet, too. Be sure to preheat the pan with a little oil in it.

See the bubbles?

Cranberry Walnut Celebration Bread
made for Thanksgiving. So delicious warm with butter. Didn't get a photo of the finished product, as ususal. Another great success from The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

I made one larger loaf and one smaller one. I used his instructions for braiding, which were very simple.

These gurgling sacks of dough sat on my counter for a long time. They are the starter for Amish Friendship Bread. I was given one starter by my department's secretary. The intention is that you give away the starters that you produce by feeding your starter after you've baked your bread. I kept the 4 starters it generated and baked lots of mini-loaves and gave them away at Christmas. These photos are of the process of their mother loaf.

And then it got icy-

Fresh Pasta! I finally found a pasta roller. I've been looking for one at thrift stores for ages and found this beauty for $7.

I rolled it out into ravioli that I filled with a ricotta sausage mixture.

This photo is called "I'm too hungry to stage the food"

Turkey Meatballs. The secret- grated onion.

Baked Pasta

This has become my every day dish. If I'm feeling uncreative or just plain exhausted, white fish with tomato sauce is the easiest and best thing.

* Dark Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies*

These are insanely delicious.
We made mini-milk chocolate oatmeal cookies as favors for our wedding. This is my twist on that recipe.

Well, here's the section I wrote a long time ago about the Thanksgiving turkey, if you're somehow still interested.

"I apologize, dear readers, for the nearly-month-long lull in blogging. With finals time already upon us, I'm up to my ears in essays. This is not to say that I haven't been cooking my butt off, but I have entirely failed to manage to blog about it.
It's been so long that I had to look at my camera and iphoto to figure out what I need to document. I'm vowing pre-new year to be more vigilant, and being on break will help. I'm thinking I need to do something really elaborate, but we'll see.

The turkey was, well, turkey. Not to say that it wasn't beautiful and tasty, but it's still just bird.
So, here's the short version of a long story.
1) Brine the bird overnight. This should be a salt/sugar solution with any aromatics you'd like to include. (I used rosemary and pepper)
2) rinse and dry the bird, then coat it with oil.
3) start the bird in a VERY hot oven (try 500 degrees) for about 20 minutes. This crisps up the skin. If you start the bird at a temperature lower than this, the layer of fat below the skin will render before it has time to fry the skin. After 20 minutes, cover the breast area of the bird with aluminum foil to keep it from browning. Then...
4) reduce the oven temp. to 350 or so and cook until the thigh meat reaches 160.
Let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving."

That's all folks. We've got a few extra inches of snow to deal with right now, but things are good.

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