29 May 2009

whiskey sour



So I'm not a huge mixed drinks fan, but I love me my whiskey and this is my favorite way to drink it. The method is to grab a tall glass, pour a few fingers worth of whiskey, fill glass to brim with ice. Add sour mix to just short of brim, leave room for a handful of frozen fruit. Add straw, stir and enjoy.

23 May 2009

MEATBALL CHALLENGE: a champion!











I hereby crown Mairead the winner of the meatball challenge!

Congratulatons!





Um why didn't more of you vote for me? I didn't even beat JaBootaay.

Whatever, I'm over all you people.

13 May 2009

Celeriac-Apple-Potato Puree

Ever since cookbooks became bedside reading material for me, I've been reading about how hand blenders and electric beaters and food processors are anathema to mashed potatoes. Evidently, by whizzing them up with such a device, the glucose or something is released, and it results in heavy, sticky, "gluey" potatoes. At my first restaurant job, which was when I first came across this law of potatoes (because I swear, every cookbook published after 1999 makes reference to it; if you don't own a food mill, there is something wrong with you), I asked the sous chef what a potato ricer [which is basically the same thing as a food mill but handheld] was; the next day he brought me one. I've never been one to break rules, so the potato ricer has since been the device of choice when I mash any vegetable at my own home, but I've always wondered what said sticky potatoes taste like.

Well, I have tried this recipe two ways now, one with the food processor and one with the food mill, and finally, I know what these cookbook authors are talking about. The food processor potatoes were sticky and viscous, and the food mill ones had a lighter mouthfeel and were more delicate and precious in a way that Alice Waters might approve of. Though I will serve the food mill ones to people I want to impress, I secretly liked the gluey stuff. That version was more like dessert--apple-potato-celeriac dulce de leche or something.

(Apologies for the quarter-chicken sitting next to the mash.)

Celeriac-Apple-Potato puree

4 T butter, separated
1 head of celeriac (celery root), 1/2-inch dice (peeled!)
1 granny smith apple, 1/2 inch dice (peeled!)
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, 1/2-inch dice (peeled!)
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 cup water
1/4 c heavy cream
1/4 c milk
squeeze of lemon

In medium skillet melt 2 tablespoons of the butter, and then add the celeriac, apples, potatoes, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or so, until it just begins to soften. Add the water (you could also use wine, or cider), cover, and cook for 25-40 minutes, stirring often, until everything is very soft. Add more liquid if it begins to burn. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or put it through a food mill and puree. Heat the cream, milk, and rest of the butter in a small saucepan. Return the potato-apple mixture to the original pan. When the cream/milk mixture is hot, stir it into the puree. Add lemon, taste for seasoning, serve hot.

11 May 2009

MEATBALL CHALLENGE: call for votes!

http://annmah.net/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/meatball_sweden.jpg

(this great photo was stolen from ann mah's food blog, where they have a recipe for porcupine meatballs!  check em out!)

A call for votes!  Please check out our four entrants and come back to vote!  

The winner will be heaped with praise!

09 May 2009

MEATBALL CHALLENGE! fourth entry



Super Italian / Juicy-as-HELL / Better-Than-Dave Meatballs

Ingredients:
  • 1 package of Gimme Lean ground tofu
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup toasted almond slivers
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parm cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 to 2 tsp salt
  • 1 to 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 to 3 tsp chili powder
  • 2 dashes of nutmeg
  • 2 dashes of garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375f
  2. Spray 9x13 or larger baking dish with non stick spray
  3. In a small bowl beat egg and cream together (omit cream if you are using real meat)
  4. In a large bowl add and mix thoroughly the meat, almonds, all cheeses, salt, pepper, parsley, nutmeg, and chili powder
  5. Mix together egg/cream mixture into the meat mixture
  6. Add breadcrumbs half at a time until main mixture is able to form peaks and hold its shape
  7. Using your hands scoop out golf ball size amounts of mix and roll into ball and place in your greased baking dish
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes
  9. Remove foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes
  10. Serve hot ;-)
Commentary:
I make pretty damn good turkey meatballs, but havent be able to make them in ages....coughcough. These meatballs are BANGIN!! I was so impressed with myself!! The only veggie meatballs I have had have been made by dave and mine are better. daves are good, but mine are better! Its totally the ricotta cheese and the cream. I was inspired to try those two ingredients from a few Italian style cooking shows on the Food Network. I am glad I gave it a shot b/c now I make veggie meatballs like the ones I used to make :-). I encourage EVERYONE to give this recipe a try. I used the larger amounts of pepper and chili powder to give it an extra kick. I think adding minced jalpeno to this would be a good replacement to the chili powder.



To go with them, I made a simple pasta casserole and an even simpler cucumber side salad.





Hope yall enjoy!

07 May 2009

MEATBALL CHALLENGE! entry three

Meatballs were one of the things that I still missed for a long time after I went vegetarian. So this is my version of the fake ball of meat, and let me tell you, it preceded JaBootaay's by long shot. I taught him everything he knows about fake meat. For reals.

ingredients
  • 1 package of fake meat (i'm all about gimme lean)
  • 1 large onion chopped finely
  • a large handful of parsley chopped finely
  • a large handful of pepitas/pumpkin seeds
  • half a cup of bread crumbs
  • 3 eggs
  • season with basil, salt and crushed chili flakes!

So fake meat usually is kept in the fridge. It doesn't start out crumbly, so zap it in the microwave for a minute while you're chopping your onion. Add things to a mixing bowl as they're ready. If you get your portions wrong, err on the side of dryness since you can always add another egg but you probably only have so much fake meat. I encourage experimentation when seasoning these, but myself I often go for salt, basil and a considerable amount of crushed chili flakes!

When you have a mixing bowl full of unmeaty goodness, you have to get your hands dirty. I know egg on hands is the grossest thing ever, but be grateful this time its not egg and raw meat on hands. You want to press the fake meatballs into their titular shape, using more force than you would with regular meatballs because fake meat isn't as inherently wet. These portions should make just under 20 small meatballs.

I like to serve meatballs either as a main with salad and some other dish, but this time I was in a hurry so I just whipped up a zuchini & pepper pesto sauce to throw on some pasta. And voila.


05 May 2009

MEATBALL CHALLENGE! entry two



So for our second entry, I'm nominating a dish over at deglaze me, where Christina Kim has made some really tasty looking meatballs based on a recipe by E. Lee at Bacon Concentrate. So this recipe has certainly travelled. Please link through to see all of Christina Kim's lovely photos, and check out E. Lee's food blog for similar inspiration.

03 May 2009

MEATBALL CHALLENGE!!!!!!! Entry one.
















Ingredients
  • 1 pound mince (serves 2)
  • 1 onion
  • half a red pepper
  • 4-6 mushrooms
  • natural yoghurt
  • tin condensed tomato soup
  • couscous.
  • olive oil
  • water
  • salt/pepper/herbs (basil, coriander etc).
Can use any kind of pan, but best is a wide low saucepan, with a lid. This gets very splashy!
















1. Peel and chop the onion. Mix it in with the mince meat in a bowl. Then, with your hands, role the mincemeat into 6 balls.
2. Heat some olive oil in the pan. Gently place the meatballs into the pan. Let them brown on one side, and then gently turn them every 3 or 4 minutes until all sides of the meatballs are browned.
3. Boil some water, and add to the condensed soup (the amount of water doesn't matter here as you will be adding more as you need while cooking). Pour the mixture into the saucepan with the meatballs. Stir everything, making sure the meatballs are fully coated in the soup. If the soup is quite thick you can add some more water and stir.
















4. Put the lid on the saucepan and allow the mixture to boil then bring down to simmer. The meatballs should cook like this for 45 minutes, to make sure they are cooked right through, while you keep stirring and adding more ingredients into the sauce.
5. Chop the pepper and mushrooms (or indeed any other veggie you want...courgette would be good!), and add them into the saucepan. Add in the pepper, salt and all herbs. Stir everything.
6. While cooking, if the mixture becomes too thick, mix in some water slowly.
7. When 10 minutes are left, mix in 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt. Cover the saucepan and allow to cook for the remaining time.
8. For the remaining time, prepare the couscous.
9. To serve, place the couscous in a bowl, then spoon the meatballs on top, 3 each. Spoon the sauce and vegetables on top of the meatballs. Finish with one spoonful of natural yoghurt, a sprinkling of pepper and a little coriander.

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