patinagle: (cooking)
It's been a while since I put together an afternoon tea.  I decided to invite my friend and neighbor Judith, who gave me two lovely sets of tea plate and cup, to join me for tea today. 

Even though I work closely with the St. James Tearoom, I'd forgotten just how labor intensive it is to make a full tea by hand.  I started cooking two days ago.  Finished as my guest was arriving.  We had a lovely, leisurely chat.  Here's the menu (served with Lemon Myrtle Herbal Tea, as Judith doesn't drink black tea):

SAVORIES
Cucumber Sandwiches
Deviled Eggs
Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Thyme and Sage Blossoms
Stuffed Mushrooms

BREADS
Cream Scones with clotted cream, lemon curd, and brandy butter
Lemon Poppyseed Cake
 
SWEETS
Lavender Shortbread
Brownies topped with Ganache and Fresh Raspberries
Fresh Blueberries in Lemon Whipped Cream
 

patinagle: (cooking)
If you're like me you love pasta, and you love fresh grated Romano or Parmesan cheese sprinkled over it. Trouble is, the fresh cheese can be a pain - grating, cleaning up the grater, getting out and putting away everything.

For a while I bought pre-grated cheese at Costco. Convenient, but it wasn't as nice as fresh-grated, and once I found a bit of mold in the container even though the freshness date hadn't passed. Also, it's expensive.

Instead, I decided to try grating my own. I bought a big chunk of Romano (my favorite) at Costco for about half what the container of pre-grated cheese cost (and it weighed more). Brought it home and used my food processor to grate the whole thing, then put the grated cheese in a container in the fridge. I use it as needed. It stays fresh until I've used it up, and tastes grate! (er, great)

I do the same thing with big bricks of sharp cheddar cheese. That way I always have grated cheddar for making cheesy macs, enchiladas, or grilled cheese sandwiches. (Yes--grated cheddar for grilled cheese. And spread the melted butter on the bread, not in the pan. Learned that from America's Test Kitchen.)

There you go! Enjoy!
patinagle: (cooking)
I'm in love with chevre (soft goat cheese). I fell in love after tasting fresh chevre from a local goat dairy. It's divine just spread on a whole grain cracker. Great in salads, too.

Only trouble is, after it's been in the fridge for a while it gets very crumbly--falls apart when you try to spread it, goes all over the place. Well, I recently discovered a solution: nuke it in the microwave for about ten seconds. Not long enough to get hot, but enough to give it a smooth, creamy texture and make it easy to spread.

Here's one of my favorite ways to eat chevre:

EASY SUMMER CANAPE

chevre
whole-grain crackers
sun-dried tomatoes
capers (optional)

Microwave chevre for ten seconds. If tomatoes are dried, put in a dish with a teaspoon or so of water and microwave for 15-30 seconds.

Spread chevre on crackers, top with tomatoes. Garnish with capers if desired.

Enjoy!
patinagle: (cooking)
If you love New Mexican food you're familiar with the traditional garnish--a blob of shredded lettuce. Boring.

The other day I made some red chile enchiladas. I prepared the shredded lettuce, cause, well, it's gotta be there. It adds variety of color, and a bite of it can cool down the mouth if the chile's too hot.

But, so boring!

I made up a dressing for the stuff. Can't use a regular salad dressing--that just tastes wrong. But this dressing compliments New Mexican cuisine.

Cilantro Lime Dressing

Ingredients:

juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon water
leaves from about 10 stems of cilantro, minced
dash of garlic powder
dash of salt

Mix all ingredients, then toss with 2 cups of shredded lettuce. Enough to garnish four enchilada plates. Enjoy!

Wrote 10 pages today - a short story that I've been musing on.

Points in The Race:
24 for short stories
16 for novels
----------------------
40 total
patinagle: (cooking)

I was preparing to post here on the last day of July when our Internet got taken out by lightning. Most distressing. No email, no online poker! (I play the free games.) The cost of driving to the local coffee place and ordering a drink to check email was starting to add up, so we've bought a month of dial-up to tide us over until the provider gets their act together and fixes our equipment.

Here's what I had planned to post - a receipt for summertime cool:
Gazpacho
Ingredients:

1 can diced tomatos (or fresh in season)
1/2 c finely chopped green peppers
1/2 c finely chopped celery
1/2 c finely chopped cucumber
1/4 c finely chopped onion
2 T parsley, snipped
2 T cilantro, chopped
1 t chives, snipped

1 clove garlic, pressed
1 T wine vinegar
2 T lemon juice
2 T olive oil
1 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 t Worcestershire sauce
dash or three of Tabasco
3 c (2 12-oz cans) V-8 (I use one Spicy and one regular)

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in a glass or stainless steel bowl. Take out 1/3 of mixed ingredents, puree, mix back in. Cover and chill overnight.


2 pages written today

Points in The Race:
20 for short stories
32 for novels
----------------------
52 total
patinagle: (Default)


A fellow writer recently issued a challenge to share what we're reading, so here goes. I was attracted to the cover of this book (take note, marketing professionals!) because the woman on it, whose face is obscured by a plate of pasta, reminded me of a friend of mine.

Not much help is it? But wait - I was also intrigued by the title. In fact the title was what got me to look at the cover. And the subtitle - "The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise" - was what got me to track down the book.

I love dress-up, and I love food (Reichl was restaurant critic for The New York Times) so I figured it would be a fun read. And it definitely is.

Reichl is a good storyteller and her adventures going to restaurants in disguise are a hoot. She peppers the narrative with recipes and the texts of her published reviews. I especially enjoyed reading about the depth to which she inhabited each of her alter-egos. I laughed out loud at Chloe summoning a cab.

Great read. Snarfed it down in three days.

Warning: this book will give you the munchies.
patinagle: (Default)
This being a comonplace book, I thought it time for something rather comonplace. (And I love the archaic use of "receipt.") These raspberry flavored brownies, which I used to make a lot and recently made again, are delicious and dead easy to bake.

1. Acquire your favorite boxed brownie mix, and a bottle of Chambord raspberry liqueur (I don't recommend the cheaper stuff).

2. Make brownies according to directions, substituting Chambord for the water called for in the instructions.

That's it. Enjoy! Lick the bowl while they're baking, but be warned, you might get tipsy! [CAVEAT: My lawyer friends warned me that I should warn you that licking the bowl of a brownie mix made with raw eggs might be a Bad Idea, so if you do it anyway and get sick, Don't Blame Me!]

I imagine this would work with your favorite liqueur of any flavor. Creme de Menthe comes to mind at once, as does Kahlua. Go wild! (But skip the tequila. Bleh.)

Six pages and the teapot is holding strong, but alas, a recent guest broke the lid of my miniature violet chintz sugar bowl. The crockery saga continues.

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patinagle

June 2009

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