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Not As Good As Pork Cracklins

misadventures in cooking

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Portobellos with Pappardelle

It's been so long since I've cooked, I was afraid I'd forgotten how. But I dug deep and pulled out another one of those low carb (not) dinners that Katie thinks I eat.

This is the second time I've made this recipe, which Cheryl originally recommended to me. It's absolutely delicious, and very easy. Every time I cook from this cookbook, I think I should use it more. Too many recipes, too little time.

Use fettuccine if you don't have pappardelle, although I did have it this time. If you don't have an abundance of rosemary out your door, you should. That's all I have to say about that. If you don't like mushrooms, you're out of luck here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Blogging By Mail

Cathy at My Little Kitchen arranged a pen pal type swap for food lovers and bloggers. I sent a package to Mare, and Katherine at ToastPoint sent a package to me! It arrived just before I left to visit family for Thanksgiving. I opened it right away of course, but I didn't get a chance to update Not As Good As Pork Cracklins.

It was so fun to tear into the box and see what might be in it. Katherine wrote a lovely note in a book for me to keep recipes and clippings in. She explained a special project that I can't wait to try at Christmas!

She shared her mother's family recipe for Onion Relish, made with paprika and included a lovely jar of it to eat with roasted chicken or bbq. There is a huge box of homemade fudge (yum!), some dried chiles, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg. I can't wait to taste the almonds in rosemary honey; that just sounds delicious. I also got the food sections from the Washington Post and New York Times.

Thank you, Katherine!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Chicken with Tarragon & Vermouth

Tarragon is one of my favorite herbs, but I don't have many recipes that use it. Sadly, I didn't like the last one I made. I think I figured out that I like it best added at the very end, not cooked for long.

However, Sheri and I made this recipe together once in her kitchen and I've made it several times since. I love it and could eat it over and over again. It's from an article called "Chicken in a Flash", and it has several different recipes based on slicing boneless, skinless breasts on angle and searing the pieces. They cook quickly and stay very moist and tender. The sauce is fabulous and demands bread to soak it all up.

  • Chicken with Tarragon & Vermouth (Fine Cooking #63, p. 42)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Honey Yeast Rolls

I've only made rolls once, and it made me want to watch someone else do it. A couple of months ago, I saw an blurb in the newspaper, and twisted Cheryl's arm to get her to sign up with me.

So today we went to a cooking class at Juniper Hills Farm. On the plus side, the location is fabulous! I would love to have that Viking range! And the a wonderful assortment of bowls, platters, dishes, gadgets, cookware, etc. The instructor was very organized, had lots of things going at once, and really kept things moving with little down time. She did a good job of getting people involved, "here measure out 4 teaspoons of this", "put 5 cups of flour in this bowl", and "brush these with melted butter". The other huge plus (um, in theory, although not in practice) was what we went home with: printed recipes and instructions, dough for 2 different types of rolls, and 2 kinds of finished rolls.

On the minus side, neither Cheryl nor I liked the recipes. I'm so glad it wasn't just me. Also on the minus side, I didn't get to practice the roll technique that I've been wanting. We made several styles, but not the one I had expected. When I got home, I practiced that style with my take-home dough, and then toss them the results in the compost bin. I can't believe I just admitted that.

I don't plan to make rolls again soon. I promise. Except these. And then I'll quit. I promise.

Friday, November 04, 2005


When I make cioppino, I don't usually follow a recipe. So it's different every time, but always good. I sweat some onion, add garlic and crushed red pepper, maybe herbs, chicken broth or clam juice, and diced tomatoes. I simmer that for a while, then add 4 or 5 clams and 4 or 5 mussels. I take them out as they open, and then I put in a few shrimp and scallops, just until they're cooked through.

  • Cioppino with Grilled Ciabatta


Ever since Sheri helped me with marbled rye, I've been on a bread mission. My first solo attempt was the multgrain extraordinaire, and I need to make that again because it's excellent toasted for sandwiches. Then I made focaccia, which Gary and I both loved. I decided that I like the book that it came from, so I should try some other recipes.

I buy the ciabatta from Central Market regularly. It's deliciously chewy and full of holes. I had no idea whether I'd be able to recreate it or not, especially with my limited bread baking experience.

The recipe was easy to follow, and the bread is very good. Not as good as Central Market's but I'm willing to keep trying and see what happens.
p.s. This would make an excellent Big Tomato Sandwich!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Just Lemon Scones

I love lemon. Such a clean, refreshing flavor. These scones are faintly but fragrantly lemon, made with fresh zest and candied peel. They would probably be better with tea than coffee, but that didn't stop me from taking a cup back to bed and snuggling under the comforter with a book.

They have an excellent, tender, biscuit-y texture. Yes, yes, I know the recipe says to form them into balls, but I did that with the corn cherry scones from the same book and wished I hadn't. I gently patted the dough into a circle and used the bench scraper to cut into triangles. If I did them again, I'd brush the tops with melted butter before sprinkling on the sugar.

They probably aren't exciting enough for me to make again, though, but that's mostly because there are so many recipes to try, any given one has to be really special for me to do it repeatedly.

Just Lemon Scones

Makes 10-12 scones
Preparation time including baking: 45 minutes

1/4 cup finely minced candied lemon peel
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
3/4 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.

Combine the lemon peel, lemon zest, and the 3/4 cup sugar in a small bowl.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and baking powder together into the bowl of a sand mixer or large bowl.

Add the salt and lemon sugar to the bowl and mix until combined. Add the butter and cut it in on low speed for about 4 minutes (or use a pastry cutter or 2 dinner knives), or until it is the size of small peas. Make a well in the center and add the cream and buttermilk. Mix briefly, just until the ingredients come together; some loose flour should remain at the bottom of the bowl.

Gently shape the dough into balls about 2 1/4 inches in diameter (they should have rough, rocky exterior) and place them on the prepared pan about 2 inches apart.

Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of sugar on top of the scones. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Candied Lemon Peel

After Sheri took me to the Cheese Board Collective, Cheryl loaned me the cookbook. One recipe that I've been wanting to try is "Just Lemon Scones", which calls for candied lemon peel. I thought they might have it at Central Market, where I get the yummy candied ginger, but no such luck. I considered ordering some from King Arthur, but it seems a bit foolish when the shipping fee is nearly twice as much as the item I'd be ordering!

So, I looked at a few recipes, and chose the one in the charter issue of Cook's Illustrated. All the recipes were similar, but this one makes wider, thicker peels, which I decided might be nice because I can always mince or julienne them later. This recipe simmers them longer, too.

I've nibbled on a few pieces and it's oddly addictive. I need to put them away so I'll have some left to make the scones with.

  • Candied Lemon Peel (Cook's Illustrated Charter Issue, p. 3)