darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
On the plus side:

- It is kinda sorta autumn! A bit! The sky is overcast, the weather is cool, and I saw my first pomegranate at the grocery store.

- I am wearing a totally cute skirt with robots all over it. And it has pockets! It makes me very happy. I hadn't worn it in a while because it had a small rip in one of the seams, but I mended it this morning and it is wearable again, hurrah.

- This weekend, I made excellent food things. I made a coconut custard pie on Saturday that was amazing and is now gone, and yesterday I made these pickled grapes, which are completely delicious and really easy to make. Mine have only been pickling for about a day, so they don't have a whole lot of tang yet, but they're already great and should only get better as the flavors meld.

- Also, I bought a new coloring book and markers and spent several hours this weekend coloring and listening to my backlog of Thrilling Adventure Hour. It was pretty great. I may continue coloring this evening - I find it very calming.
darchildre: a very sad t-rex (i do not know why i am so terrible)
Today, I made failure cake.

Tonight, we're having guests for dinner. Some weeks ago, my dad decided he was going to try his hand at making beer, and it should be ready by now. Tonight is the Beer Sampling Ceremony, and my sisters and my aunt are coming, and dad's making steak, and it should be lovely. And I said I'd make dessert.

So I went into my recipe bookmarks and found a cake recipe that sounded nice but that I had never tried before: a spicy mocha poundcake. Because poundcake is delicious and who doesn't like spicy baked goods? So I made it.

Oh man, you guys, it is the worst cake I've ever made. First of all, way too much cayenne. Secondly, even once you adjust to the spice, the chocolate and the coffee flavors are almost entirely absent. And it's not even sweet! (Also, it's not properly a pound cake - the dense solidity of the poundcake is totally missing. Just because you made it in a loaf pan does not make it poundcake.) It is a complete failure as a dessert, which is very sad.

So, with a heavy heart, I threw it away. And now I am making these instead. This time, I tasted the batter before I baked them, so I know they will not also be failure cakes.
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
It is the weekend and the parentals have gone on a mini-vacation, so I have the house to myself. Which is awesome, because the last few weeks have been a little over-full of people. Not having to talk to anyone for a couple days is really pleasant.

To celebrate my solitude, I am making grape pie. Grape pie is delicious and I am totally looking forward to eating it, but cutting 4 cups of grapes individually in half is a pain in the ass. Alas, I cannot figure out a way to speed up that step. (Though at least my grape pie doesn't call for the grapes to be peeled. Because I would never make that.)
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
Literally the only thing I like about St Patrick's Day is the fact that my dad has a tradition of making his own corned beef. He doesn't actually like corned beef that much - he just likes doing things like that. (He also makes his own bacon and prosciutto sometimes, and is moving into making sausage. We are looking forward to homemade linguiƧa.) I, on the other hand, love corned beef. So much.

Since I won't be home tomorrow night, due to choir, we had the corned beef tonight.

It was so delicious, OMG.
darchildre: a cup of tea.  text: "tea break" (tea break)
This past weekend, I bought a box of these honey ginger crystal things. Which are pretty delicious, but if you actually follow the directions on the packet (empty packet into mug, add 6 to 8 ounces of water, stir, drink) are so spicy as to be almost undrinkable.

So I emptied all of the packets into a tupperware and put it in my tea cabinet. This morning, I made lemon tea in my travel bottle, which is 16 ounces, and replaced one of my normal spoonfuls of sugar with the ginger crystals.

Oh man, it is super delicious.
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
First of all, Auntie Moe made it safely to Auntie Lamb's house and they seem to have reconciled somewhat. Or, at least, they went thrifting together, and thrifting with Auntie Lamb is not an activity for the faint of heart. So that's good.

I am having a baking day! I have made peppermint cherry cookies, because those are my contribution to the panoply of Christmas cookies, and bread dough. The bread dough is for the tradition Christmas-Eve-morning cinnamon rolls, but since the dough can be refrigerated after the first rise until I need it, I decided to make it ahead of time. (Actually, I made about double the amount of dough I need, so I'm planning to freeze the other half. Then I will have bread dough/potential cinnamon rolls at some as-yet-unforeseen future time. Hurrah!)

I was planning to also make pie crust for a thing I'm doing later in the week, but I think that may wait till tomorrow.

And now, I am taking a break.
darchildre: text only:  "unlimited rice pudding!" (daleks are silly)
Adventures in cheesemaking!

So, I enjoyed the leipajuusto I bought last week so much that I decided it would be fun to make my own.* And now I have a huge pot of various kinds of milk slowly heating on my stove.

It's always exciting when you go to a grocery store and ask if they carry something and the person you asked looks at you like you're speaking Sebacean. I mean, I realize that rennet is not exactly the most popular item on most people's grocery lists but it's not that weird, right? The lady I asked had to call two other people for help and advice, and we finally found the rennet right next to the gelatin.

So far, cheese is slow and mostly hands-off, with temperature checking. I've never really done any cooking that required me to know the exact temperatures of things. I suppose that is why it's an adventure.





*This is not quite economical, nor practical, so unless it's amazing, it probably won't become a regular thing. Though, now that I have rennet and reusable cheesecloth, the cost is basically just the milk, so you never know. I will have to make it at least one more time, if it's good, as the site I got the recipe from calls for a quart of heavy cream but mentions in passing that you can substitute eggnog. That is, of course, amazing and must be tried.
darchildre: a cup of tea.  text: "tea break" (tea break)
Went to the grocery store to buy a tiny pie pumpkin, and somehow ended up also buying leipajuusto. This is why I should not be allowed to go to the store by myself.

The tiny pie pumpkin has been dismantled and is in the process of becoming a pumpkin spice shrub. Every year, I decide to make something with pumpkin that requires me to use the whole vegetable and not the canned kind. Every year, I swear to myself that I will never do it again because, good gods, pumpkins are annoying as hell to cut into manageable bits. And every year, I manage to forget this. Still, pumpkin spice shrub! That's exciting, right?

I pan-fried the leipajuusto and drizzled honey over it and it was amazing. And apparently, it's not that hard to make (though it does require rennet), so that is totally a thing I'm going to do. But not today, because I don't want to go back to the store to buy milk.
darchildre: a mad scientist lady doing mad science (malita is doing SCIENCE)
I am making cheese!

Because a) I have always wanted to learn to make cheese, b) this adds an item to my list of skills that will be useful after the apocalypse*, and c) I feel kinda nebulously grumpy and that means that I should distract myself by doing something productive. Thus, cheese. Hopefully, it will be delicious, because it is easy enough that I could do it often. And then I could progress to more difficult cheeses!

Someday, I will make my own cotija. That is my eventual goal.





*Currently, the list is "I can knit my own socks, bake bread, make a variety of variations on 'crust-stuffed-with-meat', and I know a lot of stories and songs. Also, I own a drop spindle, though I don't have any skill with it, but I imagine I could master it given enough practice." Cheese-making will be a valuable addition.
darchildre: a cup of tea.  text: "tea break" (tea break)
Today is cooking day!

This week has not really been a good food week. I haven't been home for dinner much, which means that la familia tends to cook things that I don't like. This is awesome for them, since I have an absurdly restricted diet and they like a lot of things that I don't, but it means that there aren't a lot of edible-to-Sara leftovers in the fridge for lunches or days when we don't cook for dinner. Thus, I am taking matters into my own hands and making little honeyed chicken pies to have for the week. I made these once before and they were fantastically delicious, so I'm looking forward to them.

Technically, they are going to be tiny honeyed chicken empanadas, rather than pies, as I don't feel like messing with muffin tins today. Also, I'm going to sub in dried cranberries for half the raisins, because I like them better. 8)

Also! Our big everyone-in-the-library-all-day-meeting is coming up, and the branches always donate baskets to raffle off. This year, Kingston's basket is going to be full of various homemade goodies, so I am making a shrub to put in it. I started it this morning - it is asian pears, basil, and black pepper, with white sugar and white balsamic vinegar. I think it's going to be pretty awesome and I'm a little bit jealous of whoever is going to eventually win it.

Yay, food!
darchildre: text only:  "unlimited rice pudding!" (daleks are silly)
So, today, on a whim, I bought squid-flavored peanuts from the Japanese snackfood aisle of my grocery store.

(I would here like to note how much I love my local grocery store.)

You guys, they are amazing. Like, seriously-deliciously-addictive, I-am-going-to-eat-these-all-the-time amazing. I am now a little sad that I only bought one bag.

Squid-flavored peanuts. Who knew?
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
PSA - If any of you do decide to make the cantaloupe pickles I mentioned a couple posts back, they are absolutely delicious chopped up over a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

I know it sounds like a bad pregnancy joke but, really, OMG so good.
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)
Things:

- Today, I am making cantaloupe pickles! Technically, I started making them yesterday, as they have to sit in a vinegar-and-spice mixture overnight. Now the pickles are simmering on the stove and the whole house smells like vinegar. I'm not actually canning them, which is nice, as I find the process of canning somewhat scary and also I don't have any new lids.

- Yesterday, I went swimming! And kinda sucked at it, since I hadn't gone swimming in about a decade, but it was still fun. Today, my arms are sore, but it's a good kind of sore. And I will be going again on Wednesday.

- I've started working on my quilt again, so that possibly it will get finished sometime this summer, before it's too lightweight to be the main bedcovering. I have discovered that, if I keep the laptop actually on my lap, I can watch subtitled episodes of Sailor Moon while sewing. Which is easier than doing so while knitting, so the resurgence of my desire to work on my quilt was well-timed.

- I am enjoying Sailor Moon to a somewhat ridiculous degree, btw. Last night, I watched an episode with an evil tennis demon. It was great.




ETA - The pickles are now in jars, waiting for the pickling liquid to reach syrup consistency. I poked one of the pickles to check on consistency and texture - I wanted them to be soft but not mushy - and then licked my fingers and, wow, you guys, these taste awesome. If you like cantaloupe and pickles, you should totally make these.

I halved the amount of pepper in them and found them exactly spicy enough for my taste, for those of you who want to play the home game, but YMMV.
darchildre: a mad scientist lady doing mad science (malita is doing SCIENCE)
I am making dandelion jelly!

I saw a recipe for it in a library book on eating wild plants several months ago and filed the idea away but it's only today that I noticed we had a whole bunch of dandelions blooming out back of our house. So I picked a bunch, made a dandelion tea with them, and I am currently turning that tea into jelly. After which, there will be jelly processing.

The dandelion tea turned out to be a somewhat disquieting dark brown color and the finished product may not be any good at all, but all I will have wasted is time and the money I spent on pectin. And maybe the jelly will be wonderful!


And now, a picture! )
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)
Today, I am Cooking All The Things.

This morning, I made a Buttered Toast and Jam Pudding, which looks gorgeous. And, right now, I am making Honeyed Chicken Handpies.

Sometimes, I worry about the fact that 90% of all the savory dishes I can make are basically fancy variations on the theme of sandwich. Seriously, I can make excellent bao, bierocks, empanadas, and at least three kinds of meat pie. All of which are basically "meat inside a crust, sometimes with vegetables".

And then I think about the fact that, basically, I eat a lot of sandwiches anyway, so if I can fancy them up and occasionally impress people with them, that is all to the good.




ETA - Okay, I've now properly tasted the pie filling, rather than just smelling it.

You guys. You should make the Honeyed Chicken Pies.
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
Today seemed like a pie kind of a day so (because I have meant to make one for quite some time), I have a Schadenfreude pie currently in the oven.

Though, I left out the Kahlua (since I'm not really a coffee person) and added a teaspoon of ginger (because there is nothing that cannot be improved by the addition of ginger, especially not desserts). The uncooked filling tastes amazing, so I have high hopes for the cooked version.
darchildre: a cup of tea.  text: "tea break" (tea break)
Yesterday, on a whim, I made this.

It looks totally fun and tastes good (I would make the bread again without coloring it) but you have to knead the bread in order to get the food coloring in. I don't usually knead bread by hand when I bake - I either make no-knead bread or I let the stand mixer do it for me.

This morning, my abs are totally sore. From kneading. If kneading bread is going to provide some sort of muscle-working exercise as well as tasty baked goods, maybe I should hand-knead bread more often.
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
This is concert weekend and we provide refreshments, so I am making cookies.

One of the great mysteries of my life is that every cookie recipe I've ever made reliably produces about double the amount of cookies that it's supposed to. I mean, I'm not complaining - more cookies is always better - but it's weird. It's not like I make particularly small cookies or anything.

Martha Stewart especially. Her recipes will say "makes 1 dozen cookies" and I'll inevitably end up with 4 dozen. Woman must make frelling enormous cookies.
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
Radish pickles were, in general, a success. I think I would ideally like them a little sweeter, but they have a very nice taste and a very pleasant crunch and are bright pink. So that's exciting. I put some in my lunch today, along with some pumpkin pickles, and they were delicious in combination. Tomorrow, I will try them on a sandwich.

Since today is Tuesday and thus a two-meals-at-work day, I went to the grocery store to buy dinner and stopped in the bulk section to look at dried fruit, because I was out of apricots. And they had new things, so I had to try them. They had dried pluots and dried apples with cinnamon. The pluots were, alas, much too sour for my taste, but I only spent 36 cents on them, so I don't feel bad about not eating them. The apples, on the other hand, are amazing. I mean, dried apples are pretty good on their own, but these are like eating apple pie filling except less messy, more portable, and I can pretend that I'm eating healthy things. Seriously, this is my best dried fruit discovery since the dried cantaloupe.

Today, thus far, is being a very good food day.
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
Today in experimental cooking, I am making radish pickles! Because a) I like radishes, b) I like pickles, and c) I like making pretty things that go in jars. I especially like things that go in jars that don't require actual processing, which these don't.

Currently, they are cooling on the counter. The only problem is that they take time to actually, y'know, pickle, so I won't know if they're any good for a day or so.
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
Things:

- My mom went to a tea shop in Poulsbo that I haven't been to yet and bought me this tea that is almond cookie flavored. And it does, indeed, taste just like a drinkable almond cookie. It is amazing. I think I am going to have to go to this shop and buy everything they sell.

- I was seized this morning with the urge to rewatch Blakes 7. I can't think of any reason why that would be a bad idea and anyway, I need a new knitting show. So, the only reason I am not watching Blakes 7 right now is that I'm at work. Cursed need for employment!

- We have this sort of vague Adult Winter Reading program* going on right now that's mystery themed and I have to do a week-long mystery display next week. So far, my coworkers have done mysteries set in foreign countries, romantic mysteries, and mysteries about food. I am running true to type and doing spec fic mysteries, so I've been placing holds all afternoon. I'm calling my display "It Came From Beyond the Mystery Section" because I am nothing if not ridiculous. (While doing this, I have discovered that my library doesn't have a copy of The Demolished Man, which is obviously unacceptable.)

- Yesterday, my shelving story started out being about some sort of robot separatist colony and then I eventually realized that what I was doing was essentially telling myself the plot of The Dispossessed with added robots. So maybe I should reread that some time soon. I do still kinda like my separatist robots, though.

- And then, a man named Steve Rogers called to sign up for a program we're having this weekend. I am now imagining Captain America attending our little Kingston library mystery event. It is a happy-making thought.







*There are no prizes.
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
Do you ever do that thing where you find out about a certain food product or recipe and it just strikes you as so bizarre that you have to try it? Even though it's probable that you won't like it?

Yeah. Today, randomly in the comments of a blog post, the internet told me about egg tea. Which is where you make tea, put an egg and some sugar in a tea cup, beat the egg and sugar together, and then pour the tea over the sweetened egg.

And on the one hand, the idea kinda makes me recoil a little bit, because eggs are weird and it's like you're putting a raw egg in your tea, which is not acceptable. Though, presumably, the hot tea cooks the egg. and, on the other hand, there is a part of my brain going, "Well, if we add milk, that's basically hot, tea-flavored custard, right? I like custard."

I think I will have to experiment. Though I think that, when I do, I will have to make a whole pot of tea, so that I have something to drink if it all ends up being horrible.
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
Empanadas are done! And they are awesome.

Well, okay, the bacon jam is awesome. I haven't actually eaten any of the empanadas yet, but they look and smell great. The recipe says that it makes seven empanadas with a lot of jam left over, but I got 13 empanadas out of the crust recipe. And I still have a lot of jam in my fridge! I have designs on it and a pumpernickel bagel for breakfast tomorrow.

The bacon jam takes a long time to make - it's been an almost all-day project. You have to render the bacon, then caramelize the onions, then add all the other stuff and let all the liquid reduce out of it. The reducing takes about an hour and you have to stir it pretty frequently so it doesn't burn. I set up a stool by the stove and just sat there, reading comics on my phone and stirring. And if you're making empanadas, you have to make the dough and then it has to chill for an hour at least (I would recommend making the crust first and then making the jam while the dough is chilling). The dough has to come up to room temperature and the jam has to cool, so you can go do something else for about 20 minutes, which is nice. I found that I had to bake the empanadas for much longer than the recipe said, but I'm beginning to think that my oven runs cool, so your mileage may vary.

Oh, and I left out the rosemary. Because I don't like rosemary. But you may, so, y'know, go with that.

It is a good bit of work, but the bacon jam is totally worth it.
darchildre: Tiny Flash with his arms up going "yay!" (flash says yay!)
Today is Bacon Jam Empanadas day! Truly the most exciting of holiday traditions - or, at least, it will be if these don't turn out terrible. I don't really see how they could.

So far, I have rendered bacon. Yay! I am about to start caramelizing onions. I am so excited for bacon jam!
darchildre: Tiny Flash with his arms up going "yay!" (flash says yay!)
It is snowing! I am torn between childlike enthusiasm and the desperate hope that it will turn to rain soon because tonight is the night we have tickets to the Revels. The Revels are my favorite thing that we do outside our house during the holiday season and if we can't go because of snow, I will be so sad. It is supposed to turn to rain later though, so fingers crossed. I took today off because of the Revels, so at least I don't have to drive in the snow.

Today is cookie day. Mom is making dough for the sugar cookies and gingerbread, and later I am going to make lemon crinkle cookies, because it seems to me that yellow lemony cookies are appropriate for the solstice. So they will be my Yule cookies. Except I am not going to roll them in powdered sugar (because I don't like powdered sugar) but am instead going to mix together all the different colors of sparkly sugar we have in the house and roll them in that. So my Yule cookies will be multicolored! Everyone loves sparkly and multicolored!

Also, I recently found a recipe for bacon jam empanadas. That is amazing. I mean, bacon jam by itself would be a thing that I would have to make, but I am ridiculously excited about pretty much any recipe that involves meat wrapped in a pastry crust. So I have to make those as well, though not today. I think those are going to wait for the weekend. I will let you know how it goes.

Oh, hooray - it looks like it stopped snowing!

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darchildre: a candle in the dark.  text:  "a light in dark places". (Default)
Renfield

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