electricpaladin: (Default)
This is my second or third favorite recipe in the world. If followed correctly, it produces the fluffiest, savoriest, most delicious couscous I have ever eaten. This recipe comes to us from [livejournal.com profile] homais, who clearly knows his couscous. The recipe was a huge hit on Thursday night, where it was served alongside maple-soy glazed salmon to [livejournal.com profile] centaur and a good time was had by all.

  • 2 cups of couscous (one per person or so - though, I did three cups for three people and still have a huge quantity of couscous in the fridge)
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 tsp turmeric (I don't know what this is and I didn't have any, and the couscous was fine)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • Dry dates (or raisins)
  • Feta cheese (don't overdo it)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Assorted Crap: currants, almonds, pine nuts, finely chopped dill or parsely, etc.

Note: what you want is large-grain couscous. Apparently, something terrible happens if you try using ordinary couscous. It's often called Israeli or Moroccan couscous, and it should be little balls of couscous, rather than that grainy stuff you get in most couscous boxes. Here's a picture.

1. Chop the onion coarsely (that means into big chunks). If you're using dates chop them into raisin-sized chunks. If you're using raisins, leave them alone.

2. Put the chicken broth into a saucepan and set it to high.

3. Melt your butter in a big (bigger than you think you need - the biggest you have) skillet or wok, then sauté the onions until they are clear and just starting to brown. Then add the tumeric and onion, and then pour in the dry couscous and stir it all around so everything is coated in onion, spices, and butter.

4. Fry it a little (like a minute) just for good measure.

5. Pour on the chicken broth (which should be boiling by now). Turn off the heat and cover the enormous skillet or wok.

6. At this point, you leave it alone for 20 to 30 minutes while the fried couscous absorbs the boiling chicken broth. You can stir it from time to time, if that makes you feel good, but you don't really have to.

7. When the broth is absorbed, salt and pepper it to taste, mix in the dates and whatever other crap you've got, and then add the feta. Granish with a little feta on top for prettyness, and you're set!

Final Note: Successful variants on this have also mixed in various meat products (kefta meatballs go particularly well in this), but you definitely want to cook those separately and just add them in at the end. Trying to cook them with the couscous apparently ends in tears.
electricpaladin: (Default)
This is a recipe I got from [livejournal.com profile] faerykat. I'm copying it here, with my alterations ([livejournal.com profile] ladypimpernel is allergic to almonds.), mostly so I can stop sorting through [livejournal.com profile] faerykat's livejournal for the recipe every time I want to bake them.

1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted if clumpy)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the raspberry preserves, sugar, canola oil, vanilla, and almond extract.

In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the other ingredients. Add the dry to the wet in three batches, mixing well with a fork after each addition. When you get to the last batch, you may need to use your hands to work the batter into a soft and pliable dough.

Roll the dough into walnut-size balls and then flatten them with your hands into 2 1/2-inch-diameter disks. Place on a cookie sheet (they need be only 1/2 inch apart because they don't spread out when baking). Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. You can also serve these cookies still warm over a scoop of ice cream. Or three.

Makes about 55 cookies

. . .

Also, it's all about me. I am old and I want hair.
electricpaladin: (Default)
Here's a funny thing.

Not only is it really tasty to make a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich on Trader Joe's cinnamon-raisin swirl bread... it's actually not any worse for you than making it on ordinary bread, at least according to Weight Watchers.
electricpaladin: (Default)
This is a great recipe for when you're running out of food (like, for example, when you're moving and don't want to go shopping). All it takes is a little rice, a little cheese, a little butter, and a frying pan. And yet, it's surprisingly filling. Source is an ancient 1970s edition of The Joy of Cooking, but I can't tell you what page it's on because I packed it already...


Leftover Rice
Grated Cheese
A Little Butter


Step 1: Mix the cheese with the rice. You should use equal parts rice and cheese.
Step 2: Melt the butter in the frying pan over medium heat.
Step 3: Make handfuls of cheese-rice mixture into little cakes and drop them onto the melted butter. Heat them until the cheese is melted (NOTE: longer than you think!) and then flip them. Flip the cakes back and forth until the rice is beginning to pop and the rice cakes achieve coherency.
Step 4: Eat!

Note: I'm pretty sure you can mix some spices with the rice-and-cheese mixture to make them even more exciting. Maybe a little red pepper or paprika or garlic... I'll try it next time.
electricpaladin: (Default)
Courtesy of Weight Watchers, which Abby and I have recently joined, courtesy of her mother.

Don't laugh! I'm lighter than I've been in years, and feeling great. There are some things in life I need structure for, and apparently eating is one of them. Having an online tool to tell me how much of something I can eat is great for me, since I haven't been able to develop the instincts myself.

Onward! This is the recipe. I'll add how it turned out as an edit later.

1 pound tuna steak
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
cooking spray
2 no, 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1 teaspoon lime zest, minced (you thought i was going to say chopped, didn't you.)
1/4 tablespoon salt (to taste)
1/8 tablespoon black pepper (to taste)

The original recipe called for steamed spinach, but as Abby doesn't eat green things, we're replacing that with whole wheat pasta.

Step 1: Coat both sides of the fish in the olive oil and the lime juice. Since I'm getting my lime juice straight from a lime, I'm going to just squeeze the lime all over the fish. Now my fish is limey and oiley. Delightful.

Step 2: Coat the grill with cooking spray and heat it over high heat. Since I'm actually pan-frying my fish (on account of not owning a grill - shhh! don't tell anyone!) I'll skip that step. The last thing I need is to burn my oil. But if you were using a grill, this is where you'd want to start your grill preheating.

Step 3: In a metal bowl, combine the softened butter with the chives, parsley, tarragon, lime zest, salt, and pepper. This is the point at which I call this recipe a liar. A dirty, rotten liar. There is no way in hell that all that... stuff is going to fit in that little butter. I'm adding butter. Just you try and stop me.

Step 4: Grill the tuna, 3 minutes on each side (or however much you like your tuna grilled, or pan seared, or whatever). Also, melt your herby butter. The recipe says to do so on your grill, but since I'm cheating, into the microwave it goes!

When you serve it, you can do so with steamed spinach (as per the recipe) or whole wheat pasta. You pour the melted butter over the fish and pasta/spinach and eat it right up. Yum.


End result: an enthusiastic success. I'd eat it again. The only troubling thing was the pan-searing. I've been having a hard time getting my pan-seared things to turn out, well, not raw. The fish was ok, according to one of my cookbooks' illustrations, but rather raw, and disturbingly cool in the center. Hopefully I won't die. I think the trouble is that I tend to freeze my meats.

Anyway, if you try the recipe, let me know how it turns out for you.
electricpaladin: (Default)
I carried the bowl and the two samples to my mistress. I could not look her in the eyes.

"It is done," I said, handing her one of the samples. The tarry black mixture clung to the steel tines of the instrument. The mixture was so thick it did not move when the instrument passed from my dark, stained paw to my mistress's pale, elegant white hand. She lifted the instrument to her lips and licked it with a long, red tongue. I did the same.

"It is good," she replied. "You did well."

"It's not too late," I said, suddenly insistent. "You could change your mind. We could bring something else. A cheese plate, perhaps."

"No," my mistress said, in a tone that brooked no compromise. "We will do as we have planned."

"Yes, mistress. With your permission, I will begin the annealing."

"Please do."

. . .

Some time later, I saw my mistress in the laboratory, consuming more of the mixture.

"It does have a certain addictiveness," she said.

"That is only the least of it's qualities, my lady." I snatched the bowl away from her and prepared it for the annealing. One by one I spooned the tarry mixture onto the heating plates and then fed them into the furnace that had been prepared for them.

While I worked, my mistress had left. I stared into the furnace, in horror at myself, lost in self-loathing.

"I am become temptation," I said, "destroyer of diets."
electricpaladin: (Default)
The apartment is quiet, and a little lonely. Jon and Abby are both asleep (Jon on the couch next to my chair, Abby in our bed). For those of you not in the know, Jon is staying with Abby and me as a holiday-season houseguest. He'll be leaving shortly to spend the rest of the month bumming around the Bay Area. I'm not sleepy enough to join them, so I have done some dishes, made a quiche, and put said quiche in the oven. I have my Waite-Rider Tarot next to me, and I may noodle around with the cards a bit. There will likely be after-dinner Tarot readings - I may post about mine. Dinner will be quiche.

Incidentally, it's a chicken-apple sausage, onion, and brie quiche. The recipe is cobbled together from the internet and Monica (Abby's mom, for you stragglers out there). Here's the recipe I use:

2 Chicken-Apple Sausages
1/2 Onion
1 Frozen Pie Crust
A Little Butter
2 Eggs
2 Egg Whites
1/2 Cup Half & Half (milk works, too)
Some Amount of Brie
Handy Spices

0. (Like the Zeroeth Law of Robots!) Preheat oven to 375°F.
1. Cook the sausages however you choose. I like to poach them in my frying pan (cast iron!), then pour out the water and brown them. It helps that I use pre-cooked sausage from Trader Joe's. Otherwise we'd probably all die.
2. Cut the cooked sausage into little sausage discs.
3. Chop of the onion into as small pieces as you have patience for.
4. Sauté the onion in a little butter, in the frying pan.
5. Add the chopped sausage to the onion and sauté them together for a while
6. Pour the sausage and sautéd onions into the pie crust.
7. Chop the brie into little cubes and sprinkle it over the onions and sausage. You should use enough brie to generously sprinkle the layer below. The recipe I got off the internet gave some number of ounces of brie, but I don't have a scale in my kitchen, or any idea how dense brie is, so I improvised.
8. Beat the two eggs and egg whites, and the half cup of dairy stuff, until it's homogenous.
9. Pour the egg-and-dairy liquid into the pie crust.
10. Season with whatever's handy. Today, I used garlic, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper. In fact, the only seasonings I have that I didn't use are cinnamon, cyanne pepper, and paprika. I have no idea how to proportion or choose seasonings, so at this point you're basically on your own.
11. This is the point at which I usually remember that I have to preheat the oven, so I run over and turn it on, and then spend the next five minutes cleaning up and cuddling Abby while the oven heats up and the uncooked quiche sits on the kitchen counter, forlorn. Normal people do this first. In fact, I'd better add preheating the oven to the directions list (see above). If you remembered to preheat the oven, this is where you put it in. Leave it there for 45 minutes, or until you can stick a butter knife into the quiche and it comes out clean (greasy, but clean). You should probably also cut the quiche open and make sure it cooked inside, too. I made the mistake of taking a quiche out too early once. The top was cooked, and it smelled great, but the inside was a yellow, eggy mess. We ate it anyway.
12. After 45 minutes, take out the quiche. Let it cool a bit. Eat it.

Last night was great. Abby and I gave the old year a great send-off, with our second party, an unprecedented success. It was even nicer than last year's party. The population was a little smaller, so the part was quieter and more conducive to talking. There was also a long series of games of Guitar Hero II, which is almost cooler than DDR. Almost. I'm sure I've just marked myself as one of the least cool people of my generation, but this is me not caring.

Today was a nice start to the year. Jon was gone when Abby and me dragged ourselves out of bed, off to have lunch with a non-mutual friend. It was a good choice. Jon got some valuable not-with-Mark-and-Abby time, and Abby and I got some valuable Mark and Abby time, and everyone was pleased when Jon got back. Then we made Unknown Armies characters (I'm running a one-shot), and then everyone went to sleep. Then I made a quiche. This pretty much brings the entry full circle.

I'll try to post more tonight about a few Unknown Armies-related personal revelations, other personal revelations, Tarot readings, the possibility of New Years LJ memes, and, of course, how the quiche turned out, but it's time for me to go wake Abby up.

Happy New Years, my friends. Cheers

EDIT: The quiche turned out brilliantly!
electricpaladin: (Default)
Today I had my first ever kitchen fire!

It was pretty cool. A little oil sloshed over the edge of my frying pan, and the next thing I knew, I had happy yellow flames dancing over the burner, and happy black fumes rising up and setting off the fire alarm.

But the french fries were good, and that's what counts.
electricpaladin: (Default)
A Sleepytalk Update from a few nights ago:

Me: (sitting up suddenly) You can go now.
Abby: (laughs) What?
Me: (reproachfully) I just finished negotiations with the- (passes out again)

Abby said my voice had a quality to it that implied that I was in character. I had just finished running game for her, so maybe, in my head, I was still running, despite the fact that I had ended the session and gone to sleep on the floor.

That night, I also dreamed a fantasy story. There was lots of confusion and lots of things that aren't cool enough to report, though they might make their way into the finishd version of the story if it ever gets written, but there were clockwork magical power-armors, past life memories and evil undead kings, and a hot chick. I think the upshot was that I was the reincarnation of some dead prince, and she was the reincarnation of the courtesan who the bad guy had employed to distract him from his cause, only she fell in love with him and joined him. The coolest thing was that apparantly the reason the bad guy could come back from the dead was that the prince hadn't married the courtesan, instead passing her over for someone more appropriate, who would help him rule his new kingdom. It was all on good terms, the courtesan understood what was going on and why, and they stayed good friends, but the fact that the hero and the heroine, who loved each other, hadn't ended up togethe meant that the story wasn't finished, and with the story left incomplete, the villain was incompletely bound, and could return.

I have also discovered baking. Two nights ago, I made my first loaf of bread. It was brilliant, and I can't wait to do more. My cooking repetoire now consists of:

Chicken Lemongrass Curry Soup
Chicken Teryaki Marinade
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Deviled Eggs
Salmon Teryaki Marinade
Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

And all the easy stuff: salad tossing, frozen-food cooking, and so on.


electricpaladin: (Default)

June 2012

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