May. 28th, 2007 08:36 pm
mountain_laurel: (Default)
it's just so goddamn wonderful to have Daddy-O back! it's amazing how the absence of ~10 lbs. of cat can make an entire apartment feel so empty.

he's gotten more petting than is probably good for me, claimed the top of the new Victrola as his personal Cat Pedestal, and enjoyed the leftovers of an improvised, vaguely middle eastern dinner )

as a final note, Daddy-O approved strongly of the meager leftovers. for dessert i recommend a glass of bourbon and a clove cigarette, to be enjoyed in the fresh evening air with suitable background music.
mountain_laurel: (cognitive hazard)
courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] haineux, who is really living up to his name today, one of the most appalling recipes i've ever encountered: Bacon Snack Bars.

because what could be better for body and soul than a snack made from bacon, peanut butter, Tang, breakfast cereal, refined sugar, and corn syrup?

i mean, other than rat poison.

(yes, i've already seen the Gallery of Regrettable Food.)


Apr. 5th, 2007 09:21 am
mountain_laurel: (Default)
yesterday on my way home from work, i had to finally buy some actual groceries, so i stopped at the Mexican market on the corner. it's a pretty sad little market, really -- the prices are amazing, but the produce is pathetic (what there is of it -- they sell one kind of lettuce: wilted iceberg, and only three kinds of fresh peppers even).

at the butcher counter, i was momentarily stymied, because i couldn't identify most of what was in the glass case. i'm going to have to look this stuff up so i can figure out what's actually edible. but i knew what chorizo suerto was, so i bought some of that, and also some puerco al pastor, pre-marinated. the butcher asked if i spoke Spanish and i panicked and said no, even though i actually do speak a little. i always panic when i have to speak any non-english language to a native speaker, for some reason. either i try and i stutter and hopelessly mispronounce things i can ordinarily say just fine, or i pretend i don't speak any at all. it's stupid and lame and if i'm going to get around in Austin i'm going to HAVE to pick up more Spanish than i know. (for god's sake, i could have at least managed '¿qué es?'.)

anyway, he leered at me. i'd never been actually seriously leered at. i would've laughed except i was afraid of offending him. and then he charged me half price for the al pastor and said "special for you!" so now he's my favorite butcher, even if he does leer.

so i took home a pound each of chorizo and al pastor, a couple of pounds of onions, a couple of pounds of tomatoes, some jalapenos, lettuce, limes, cilantro, and 36 corn tortillas (the smallest package they had) for $10. i could get to like this place, although i wish they at least had romaine lettuce.

i also found there's a Central Market not too far from me, so now i know where to go if i need romaine and a non-leering butcher.

did i ever mention that i had an aunt Romaine? she was a Marine during the Korean war, but i think she died a few years ago. i only ever met her once that i remember; she married a descendant of Valentín Canalizo and lived in Long Island, where she had dogs instead of children. i think i'd probably have liked her if i'd had a chance to know her.

i made tacos al pastor for dinner, and god damn, but that was some fine pork -- tender, well-seasoned, and muy delicioso. and while i ate it, i watched the Mythbusters guys try to cut a pig in half with a steel cable. so i guess puerco was the theme of the evening.
mountain_laurel: (BABY!)
yesterday in the Half Price Books, i joked to [livejournal.com profile] valkyrie_kitten that i'd looked everywhere but they just didn't have any "bland midwestern" cookbooks.

"oh," she said, "don't worry, i have lots."

sure enough, when we got home she produced the "A Taste Of Country" cookbook, published by the Jasper County Care Facility.

so. here's what country tastes like:

5 Soup Casserole

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can chicken and rice soup
1 can vegetable beef soup
2 lbs. hamburger
1 lg. bag chow mein noodles

Brown hamburger and drain. Add all soups and half of noodles. Top with remaining noodles. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes. This makes alot! [sic] -- Kelly Seals

and i thought that was pretty bad. then i found this:

6 Can Casserole

1 can chicken rice soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can Chinese noodle (sm.)
1 can French style green beans (drained)
1 can evaporated milk
1 can tuna, turkey, chicken, or ham

Grease casserole dish. Mix all ingredients and put in pan. Crush potato chips over top. Bake at 350° until bubbly, 45 minutes to 1 hour. -- Jo Smead

help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. you're my only hope.
mountain_laurel: (Default)
i realized this morning that it's been a really long time since i posted anything substantive about how things are going, so i thought i'd try to catch up.

overall, i have to say i'm doing reasonably well. )
mountain_laurel: (she-hulk)
this morning, with about $3 in change to my name until the insurance check arrives, i contemplated what groceries would be the most sensible and satisfying to get me through the next week. i was low on onions, too low for the poulet à la niçoise i had planned for tonight, so a stop at the greengrocers scored me three onions and two potatoes for $1.62. and while i've made this dish without it, it's just not the same, so i hit the butcher shop and got 2/3 of a pound of lean salt pork for $1.47.

this may not sound particularly exciting to you, but it's damned hard to find salt pork these days, because people think of it as an unhealthy food. and sure, it's unhealthy if you batter and deep-fry it -- so's zucchini -- but a tablespoon's worth (per serving, of course; keep in mind i cook for one), finely minced and sauteed with some onions, improves most any dish, and dresses up beans just like cinderella's fairy godmother.

and so: a baked potato for lunch, with butter and minced parsley and plenty of coarsely ground black pepper. my bread machine just announced the completion of a beautiful loaf of bread with fresh rosemary filched from the landscaping to go with dinner. still, i'm getting to be mightily sick of my own cooking. i'm the type to pine after what i can't have, so of course i've been craving Doritos and sauvignon blanc like a fiend all week. (and i never eat Doritos, either -- i just happened to see them in a movie. i am so suggestible.)

i was sitting here, beginning a post rhapsodizing about how good my bread smells, when i suddenly noticed a flash of orange peeping out from beneath a recently-rearranged pile of papers on my desk. and what did it turn out to be but a single wrapped Reese's peanut butter cup that i probably misplaced sometime around Halloween, when my suggestibility got the better of me yet again. it's probably a bit stale by now, but... candy! i have CANDY! for DESSERT! it's been WEEKS since i had dessert, ever since i ate all the yogurt and jam.

i have ensconced it upon the coffee table like the treasure it is, where it shall remain until its appointed time has come. and once again, i give thanks to the universe for my crazy luck.

(i consider this to be repayment for the notice of levy i received from the IRS today, which required me to call and wait on interminable hold listening to an adequate performance of the Nutcracker Suite so i could remind them yet again that they've classified my account as currently uncollectable, and thus should not be levying my bank account, not that there's anything in it anyway. they apologized for the error, but it was still a waste of an hour i could have spent working on my entry for the final round of the sims2community Mr. Teen USA contest. because i sailed right through rounds two and three, landing squarely in the top five among several very talented veterans of such contests. i'm actually rather stunned by it all. for the final round i must submit pictures from his PROM! i have simply NO idea what Dale is going to wear. perhaps i'll recolor a tuxedo in lavender to match his dreamy violet eyes...)

p.s. i really must get myself a food-related userpic one of these days.
mountain_laurel: (cherchez le poisson)
most of y'all are science geeks -- someone explain this to me.

just now, i was about to apply the last dregs of some tasty BBQ sauce (try the spicy kind) to a chicken leg quarter in the oven. the bottle, a 20-oz. glass one with a wide bottom but relatively narrow neck, had been sitting upside down (at the high end of normal room temperature) for a half-hour so i could get all the sauce out.

i opened the oven (at 325F), pulled out the rack with the chicken on it, and, holding the bottle at about a 135 degree angle, twisted off the cap.


the accumulated sauce burst out of the bottle like it had been pressurized, and splattered over a four foot wide area, mostly onto the cabinets.

fortunately, i was able to get enough out of the cap to sufficiently enhance the already-sauced chicken, so dinner is still cooking. but i'm curious about what happened because i wouldn't have thought the temperature differential would be so strong, or that the sauce was close enough to the oven for long enough to make a difference. i've done the same thing before and never had this happen. i am bemused.

you have the floor.


Nov. 21st, 2005 11:43 pm
mountain_laurel: (Default)
i've been on an alcohol-free diet for a while because finances don't allow for such extravagances, but i splurged the other night and bought a $5 bottle of 1991 Corvo Rosso. it's a surprisingly good wine for $5. i'd expect to pay about $12 for a wine of equivalent quality -- it's not fantastic, but it's quite nice, a mellow, moderately complex Italian red with a little tannic depth. made mostly from nero d'avola grapes. i'll be looking for more from this label.

then, the cooking. )

by the way

Nov. 16th, 2005 08:38 pm
mountain_laurel: (Default)
last night i went for a simple dinner. i grilled a couple of chicken legs seasoned with salt and pepper, and had them with a nice-sized garnet yam, peeled and cut up and wrapped in foil. i grilled both for about half an hour. the yams were nicely caramelized. i just added a little butter, salt, and pepper. i wish i'd had a nice crisp sauvignon blanc.

lovely. but next time i'll use some herbs on the chicken.

tonight: ramen. it's been a 0-spoon day.
mountain_laurel: (Default)
i am not known for my skill with baking. thus it was with some trepidation that a few minutes ago i put what i hope will be a pumpkin spice cake into the oven. things began simply enough. i planned to use the instructions for applesauce spice cake from the Better Homes cookbook, and substitute pumpkin for applesauce. then i discovered i had no baking soda. aie!

the recipe called for a teaspoon each of baking soda and baking powder. looking up the appropriate substitution, i found that i could replace each half-teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of baking powder, and then replace the acidic liquid in the recipe with something else. so. five teaspoons of baking powder. wow, i hope that doesn't completely throw off the flavor of the cake.

i replaced the buttermilk with milk. easy enough. i spooned in the pumpkin. the recipe called for a quarter-cup of vegetable oil and a quarter-cup of softened butter. i didn't have enough butter, so i substituted another quarter-cup of pumpkin and called it "low-fat." to make up for all that, i found a few dried cranberries languishing in a cupboard and tossed them in at the end.

making a wild guess, i decided my largest springform pan is about equivalent to a 13x9" pan and poured the batter on in. then, into the oven. miraculously, i had guessed right when i cleverly set the oven to preheat at about 240F; the interior was at precisely 350, as recommended by the recipe. of course, it may not stay there. i have to check periodically. my oven is a capricious and unpredictable beast.

this is either going to be a very satisfying cake or a very embarrassing failure. the cake does appear to be rising, at any rate. but then, it would, with five teaspoons of baking powder.

i am reminded of something [livejournal.com profile] crisper once said to me when we were working together: "When I look in the dictionary under 'control', there's a picture of where you were standing before you fell over." he never said if in the picture, i landed in a cake.
mountain_laurel: (Default)
with the temperature in Pacifica still at 89 degrees at 8pm, clearly light fare was called for. i assembled the following:

mixed greens with kiwis and prickly pear vinaigrette
sliced pears
cracked pepper water crackers (no bread handy, didn't want to run the breadmaker)
Fife 2001 Redhead rosé

i'd never had taleggio before... it's fantastic. the pears, as it turns out, aren't as good a match with it as i'd imagined; however, it goes very nicely with the champagne jelly Shirley bought me at the farmer's market... mmmmmmmmm.

the wine, an impulse buy based entirely on its unbelievably beautiful color, is bone-dry, light, and really does, as the fact sheet claims, have notes of pomegranate and jolly rancher watermelon. good with the cheese (but a real red would be better, maybe zinfandel) and perfect with the salad. inexpensive at something like $10 the bottle at BevMo. tastiest lightly chilled, but not cold.

re: prickly pears, i think they're more trouble than they're worth, overall. when i cut them open, i found one thin layer of fruit beneath the skin without much flavor and a sweet, crimson, tasty center with lots of small, rock-hard seeds. i ended up spooning out the centers and pressing them through a sieve to make a puree. warning: the juice will stain like pomegranate.

overall, not a stunning success, but still, everything's tasty. and i tried a bunch of new things, and now i know what to do with them later on.


mountain_laurel: (Default)

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