Wednesday, December 31, 2008

100th post

Today's delicious breakfast:

A local bosc pear, Armenian braided string cheese, unbelievably wonderful cardamom tea with lots of sugar and a little milk.

Life is good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The best way to cook chanterelles

My current favorite method of preparing my favorite mushroom:

-Brush clean with pastry brush. If they're really grukky, wash them GENTLY and dab off excess moisture with towel.
-Use fingers to shred into long, thin pieces.
-Heat cast iron skillet fairly hot (medium-high on my stove)
-Add mushrooms (nothing else!) and cook briefly, stirring often, to get some of the moisture out. Don't put too many in the pan at once or they'll just be rubbery.
-Add some butter and continue cooking until mushrooms are quite a bit smaller than they started, browned, and some are even starting to look crispy.
-Remove from pan, salt, eat.
-Exclaim with delight.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When Anglophilia, science nerds, and cooking collide

I bought lamb kidneys at the farmers market and made steak and kidney pie.

It was pretty good, and as a bonus cutting open the kidneys (shown here) was COMPLETELY AWESOME.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I win at Anglophile

I made a steak and kidney pie.

It's actually quite good! But I added too much broth.

Kidneys basically taste like liver, strong flavor with a creamy texture. I think I like them. Of course, the pie is loaded with Worcestershire sauce, so it would be hard for me to NOT like it.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


My favorite Chipotle burrito is going to be lead to my death. I knew this, but seeing the numbers all laid out like this is just horrifying.

(My burrito: tortilla, rice, carnitas, tomato salsa, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole.)


God, just thinking about it makes me want one, and I'm not even hungry.

Speaking of things that are going to kill me, my new life goal is to make a Luther Burger.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Zounds! The Omnivore's 100!

Check out this fantastic post at Very Good Taste:

"Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.

Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results."

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
Okay so I am cheating a little here, I have had nettles as an edible green but I'm not certain I've had them as tea. I'm counting it anyway.
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
This one I'm not positive. I know I've had carpaccio, which is obviously very similar, but I don't know for certain if I've had actual steak tartare -- I would like to.
5. Crocodile Okay okay, so I haven't had croc. But I have had alligator, and I think that should count.
6. Black pudding I tried a little in Ireland. I think it kind of reminded me of eating scabs. I would maybe like to give this one another chance, as an adult.
7. Cheese fondue But of course! A popular dish when my mom is cooking.
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
Oh yesssssssssssss
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle Again I am cheating -- I'm only sort of sure I've had something flavored with black truffle. However, I have had a great quantity of Oregon White Truffles, and Oh God, the tasty.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes Of course! I've made blackberry wine and Arbutus wine.
19. Steamed pork buns alugalahgalugalgualghagl... (that's the drool noise)
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries

23. Foie gras I can't see myself eating this because the thought of it makes me sad.
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese -- I would only eat this if I made it myself from a pig I raised myself and knew did not POSSIBLE have any kind of spongiform encephalopathy. Things with brains freak me the hell out.
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
And I've made it, too!
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar I like how cigars smell but I can't see myself ever smoking.
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects

43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk Once, when I was very little. I didn't like it.
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin

51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV

59. Poutine -- No but I want it SO. BAD.
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads -- This one is high on my "to be eaten" list.
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst -- Another food I long to try but never seem to get around to.
65. Durian Don't believe the lies, this shit is delicious. It's like custard.
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake

68. Haggis -- I'm sourcing ingredients to make my own! The problem is, there are complex laws on selling sheep organs. As usual, the goddamn government is keeping me down.
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette I use intestines to make sausages, but there's something about chitlins that turns my stomach.
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
I think my mom made this once.
73. Louche absinthe --- Ooooooh, want!
74. Gjetost, or brunost This is another one that I think I've had but I'm not certain.
75. Roadkill Only if I killed it myself, and then I'd still be pretty wary. I have a funny story about eating roadkill -- you know what, I'm not telling that story on the internet.
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie -- Packaged foods scare me. I have also never eaten a Twinkie, and I intend to keep it that way.
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
I'm sure I've tried it but I don't remember it making an impression.
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef -- Not that I am aware of, but good Gods, what I would give to eat this.
86. Hare Actually, wait, no, I've had farmed rabbit but not wild hare. Does it still count?
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse I don't know, I don't have a lot of standards but this somehow is beyond me.
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa -- Sounds tasty!
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor -- Oooooooo, want!
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee -- I'm not much of a coffee freak.
100. Snake

For those keeping track at home, that's 65 out of 100, which I think is pretty damn good considering.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sausages parte deux

I have once again turned my hands toward producing delicious pork products.

The recipe I used is, of course, one of my own devising, which I call "Thank You, Mom! Sausages" (the reason for this will be quickly made clear).

~2.5 lbs pork butt (bought for me by my mom)
.5 lb pork back fat (bought for me by my mom)
handful fresh sage from my mom's garden
2 whole maces, from Granada (a treat given to me by my mom)
~1 tsp pepper
2 heaped tsp sea salt

Cube the fat and pork (trim as much fat and weirdness as you can from the meat). Freeze 30 minutes, then grind (fine disk). Chop sage very, very fine (I used a mini food processor), grind spices, add sage, spices, and salt to pig and knead well. Return mixture to freezer, freeze another 30 minutes. Grind again.

At this point you would stuff the casings (also bought for me by my mom). I am waiting on this part (it's hard work and I have friends coming over later to help!). To make sure it's tasty, I fried up a patty of it and OH MY STARS. The mace and the sage especially go really well together.

Friday, August 08, 2008

What I eat when Better Half isn't home

nom nom nom
Originally uploaded by laurelfactorial
Yes, the pinnacle of world cuisine: Spam and rice!

I grew up in Hawaii, and yes, I really do eat Spam. Not a lot (and I never ate much when I lived there), but about once a year I say to myself "Damn, I really want some Spam." So I get a can and make this. Calrose rice cooked in the Zojirushi, a small amount of salt added after cooking. Spam sliced and cooked in a pan, no oil (the Spam is greasy enough). If this were really Spam musubi, it would have a little seaweed wrap on it.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Berry Season

I may possibly have purchased and eaten 5 pounds of raspberries in a single week and I may in fact have no regrets whatsoever.

Oh Oregon, I love you!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Little Baby Sheepies

I really love lamb. I was grocery shopping today and got four French lamb chops (rib chops) for about 5 bucks because the sell by date is tomorrow. I brought them home and pan seared them (yay cast iron pan) with salt and pepper. I ate one and it was squisito, and I saved the rest for lunches for next week.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Happy 3.14!

Happy 3.14!
Originally uploaded by laurelfactorial
I made pi cookies for pi day yesterday! I shaped them by hand, but I bet somebody makes a cutter.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cross post! Medieval Mongolian food experiment

For background information on medieval Mongolian cuisine, see the Red Khaganate's very nice page on food.

General remarks: Dairy figured prominently, as did lamb. Vegetables are almost entirely absent (exceptions being onions and garlic, I presume wild versions). Grain products (rice, millet, flour) would have been acquired via trading or raiding. There is little information on medieval Mongol cooking. However, rice cooked in milk and boiled meat served with salt water for dipping are found in at least a few references. I have not seen strong evidence for buuz (the dumplings of modern day Mongolia) but I think that they are an extremely plausible period food. The quantities given here (for buuz and rice, specifically) would serve about four -- I made lots so I would have leftovers. (My coworkers are always facinated by my lunches!)

My recreation:

See previous entry for details on buuz.

The cheese, meant to recreate the "fresh curds" mentioned in several sources, is whole milk brought to a gentle boil and curdled via addition of sour cream. Drain off the whey by straining through a cloth. Salt.

The meat was simply lamb (I used what was cheap at the meat counter, which happened to be blade steak), boiled. I did not boil it long enough. Boiled meat should be served separate from the broth, with a bowl of salt water for dipping. This is actually a pretty tasty way to eat meat, and I will probably do it again. However, I have decided to completely revise my view of this dish and instead do it like (duh, this seems obvious now) shabu-shabu or Mongolian hot pot -- small slices of meat cooked rapidly in boiling liquid. And for the record, I know that modern hot pot is not Mongolian. But I think that the approach (quickly cooking little bits rather than boiling larger hunks for a long time) seems like a good one.

For the rice, I combined 2 cups of short grain rice with 4 cups of milk, brought it to a boil, covered, lowered the heat (to medium, then later to low) and simmered for 20 minutes (15 may be sufficient). When it was done I added salt. I hate rice pudding, so I deliberately avoided having a mushy end product.

Remarks: This was a tasty dinner! My next foray into Mongolian historical cooking, though, will definitely be to re-read period references to the boiled meat feasts of the Mongols as a precursor to hot pot and see if this seems like a reasonable cooking method. I've never had hot pot, but I loooooooooooooove shabu-shabu. In fact just thinking about it has gotten me hungry...

Monday, March 10, 2008


Mongolian dumplings. Cross posted from Eulalia hath a blogge.

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour (unbleached)
Boiling water

Add water to flour, stirring constantly, until you have a slightly sticky dough. You don't need much water, I would estimate about half a cup. Knead several strokes (careful! it might still be really hot!) and set aside.

4 ounces lamb (fatty cuts are good; I used blade steak)
3 scallions
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt

Finely mince lamb, scallions, and garlic cloves; add salt, mix well.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll them out into fairly thin rounds. Divide filling between dough. Fold into little dumplings, sealing edges well (the easiest way is to fold them in half; or experiment with different ways of folding -- for inspiration, look here and scroll down). Oil the bottom of each dumpling and place in a steamer basket. Steam, covered, for 20 minutes.

Can be stored and reheated easily

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ha ha.

It appears I have joined the rest of America: I 'sploded the handle on my new enameled cast iron dutch oven while baking bread.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I can't wait for Christmas dinner.

Each diner shall have a bowl of stew, and each bowl shall have floating in it a single maraschino cherry.