marnanightingale: (Default)
It's cold and raw and windy and my allergies are still horrible, so I am making

Outaouais Onion Soup

(Not strictly canonically French Onion, but close and pretty damn' good.)

This can be easily doubled; I'm actually making twice what I'm giving directions for, so as to have soup for four and soup to freeze.

1800ml/2 quarts/2 boxes of beef broth. If you don't eat meat there are some fairly good 'beef flavour' broths you can use, or you can sub veggie broth, in which case it won't taste the same, but it will taste good.

4 large onions, sliced

1-2 T cooking oil.

1/8 C dried mushrooms, any vaguely European sort, powdered in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. If you lack either, chop them as finely as possible and you're good. This is pretty much what I do for mushroom broth these days, having given up on finding an affordable commercial version that isn't full of sugar and salt.

1/8 C or I head garlic, minced.

1 Tablespoon bouquet garni (which you can buy or make or fake: savory, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, dill weed, marjoram, sage and tarragon, in that order, or as many of them as you have. As long as you wind up with about a tablespoon total, you're good.)

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.

I don't generally salt this: even no-salt-added beef broth has a salty taste. Use your excellent judgement, carefully.

If you have 1/2 C red wine around, you can add it. I usually don't, so I usually don't.

Put the sliced onions and the oil in a frying pan or chef's pan and cook them at just under medium until they go clear, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile combine everything else in a large pot or slow-cooker and set it to medium (pot) or auto (slow-cooker). Add the onions when they're clear, bring it to a boil, turn it to simmer and leave it all to cook for 1-3 hours (pot) or put the lid on and walk away for 4-6 hours (slow-cooker).

Meanwhile slice 1/2 loaf of slightly stale bread (I like whole wheat, white's fine, sourdough's great, use whatever you have) into largeish cubes and put them into a 250F oven to dry out and toast very slightly. If you're using sandwich loaf, dry it out really well and then toast it golden-brown: sandwich loaf tends to sog easily.

Grate about a cup of cheese, too: whatever you have that's firm, not *too* sharp, and melts well. You can combine types. I can't really suggest a vegan alternative: if you want vegan you should probably google "vegan french onion soup" and do what they tell you.

When the soup is cooked turn the oven to 400 degrees. Put the bread on the soup and the cheese on the bread, and put it in the oven for roughly 30 minutes, keeping an eye on it. The cheese should be bubbly and a little brown.

Eat it on its own or with a salad.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
Boring Chicken Soup

This recipe has two major virtues: it's tastier and somewhat healthier (because fewer odd additives) -though probably not cheaper - than canned and the prep time is roughly 1 cup of tea, so the cook can leave it to simmer and go back to bed before they fall over.

A certain amount of advance hoarding is desireable, because cold and flu season, and if you're making this you don't feel like shopping, but you can skip pretty much any ingredient you don't have, including, oddly, the chicken (in which case add the beans if possible). Veggie broth and canned beans is a completely valid approach, if you want vegetarian soup, too. Turkey works fine and then you'll get a dose of tryptophan, which can only help. Chicken boullion is ok but salty: watch how many salted things you add or it's going to taste like ass and you'd have been happier with canned.

Depending on head-count, you need:

1-3 litres of chicken broth, which you made or bought a club pack of and squirreled away when cold season started.

1-3 lb frozen skinless boneless chicken pieces, which ditto. Thaw them and chop them into cubes. Chicken sausage works, if it's not too heavily spiced with something you don't feel like eating right now. I am not responsible for what happens if you use chicken or turkey dogs, though it will probaby be edible...

Celery, fresh, frozen or dried (you can buy three heads, chop it, bag it and freeze it, some day when you're feeling healthy and it's on sale, if you like. The dried is pretty useful though, and cheap and easy to store.)

Carrots, fresh or frozen. Babycut are pricey for soup but *very* handy.

Garlic, the prechopped stuff.

Dried or frozen onion

Fresh and/or frozen vegetables , as many as you can fit in. Pretty much anything you like enough that you have some around.

A can of beans, if you feel like it. Six-bean mix is good, but whatever you keep handy. If they're packed in anything but unsalted water, rinse them. Otherwise toss the liquid in, it's tasty.

Spices: figure out what you like when you're sick and keep it on hand. I use Penzey's Adobo and pump it up with extra ancho pepper and cumin, which is pleasantly decongesting without being super-hot, but anything works: curry, italian, french ...

Herbs, dried: herbs de provence, bouquet garni, fines herbes, italian herbs, cilantro, dill, parsley, whatever you like and keep around and think will go with the spices.

Noodles. Or pasta, or rice, or quinoa, or diced-up plain oven fries or, oddly enough, tortilla chips or ripped-up corn tortillas, which will go very noodly in the soup but don't disintegrate. Mind your total salt if you use tortilla chips, especially if you're also using canned beans and commercial broth. Should be okay, just don't add more til it hits your bowl. It's going to condense some.

Salt, pepper, dried parsley to taste.

Bring it all to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, simmer at least 60 minutes, go back to bed. Serve with ... actually, people can serve themselves, you did your bit.

Freezes well, keeps 3-5 days in the fridge.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
Lemon-Rose Shortbread Cookies


(Note: I am working on my Cooking For People Who Don't technique. This recipe is (hopefully) written so that a person who has never cooked could use it, even though it is primarily for [personal profile] skud, who actually cooks better than I do. People of all skill levels are entreated to let me know how the style works for them.)

Time:

About 90 -120 minutes of work, depending on cookie size, spread over three - four hours of time.

Yield:

Makes about 3 dozen large or 7 dozen tiny cookies, depending on thickness. Thinner cookies are crisper, but tend to have a higher icing:cookie ratio; I advise thinning the icing to suit (dip one or two cookies and see what you think).

Difficulty:

Requires no exotic equipment or ingredients except the rosewater, which can be found at most Indian groceries; everything else can be gotten at a Western grocery store. Can be successfully made by a careful absolute beginner. Does require some arm strength for mixing and rolling a fairly stiff dough. Can be made sitting down. Does not require significant lifting or great physical precision. Rarely if ever fails: is not sensitive to drafts, humidity, room temperature, things getting dropped near the oven, etc. Can be doubled or halved easily.

Equipment:

1 large mixing bowl,
two cereal bowls,
wooden spoon,
cookie sheet,
paper towel,
cookie cutters or a water glass (large cookies) or shot glass (tiny cookies),
rolling pin,
2'x2' clear surface you can spread flour on,
thin metal lifter, such as you might flip an egg with.
oven, with a rack set 4" from the bottom element.
oven mitts or hotpads.
A working timer, or a visible timepiece, preferably with an alarm (because you'll be working while the batches bake).
two dinner plates lined with paper towel or a baking rack, to cool cookies on.
Waxed paper, to set cookies on while icing hardens.

Preheat oven to 375 F. With a paper towel, grease the cookie sheet with a thin layer of butter.

Cookies:

2 C table or caster (granulated) sugar
1 lb unsalted butter, let stand outside of fridge until it is at cool room temperature, so that it is workable but not completely soft or - god forbid - runny, which will make greasy cookies.
5 C all-purpose or cake flour
1/4 C vodka (this will evaporate during baking and the final product will be alcohol-free non-alcoholic.)
1 T vanilla

1/2 C flour for rolling, in a small bowl or coffee mug.
3 T butter for greasing cookie sheet, on a piece of paper towel.

Icing:
2 C icing (powdered) sugar
2 -3 T rosewater
2-3 T lemon juice
Optional: a few drops of yellow and red food colouring.

Cream the sugar and vanilla into butter (put the butter in the bowl, mash it up until it's a paste rather than a block, add the sugar 1/2 C at a time, mix it in thoroughly) with a pastry cutter or two knives or a wooden spoon, as you like.

Work in flour until mixture has the texture of cornmeal.

Add vodka slowly, mixing with a wooden spoon and with hard strokes, until you can make a soft ball of a teaspoonful of the dough. You may not need all of the vodka, or you may need a little more.

Let the dough stand while you clear, wash, and arrange a space to work in.

Wipe your surface clean and make sure it is completely dry.

Take a small handful of flour and spread it evenly over the surface. Flour both of your hands, as well, and the surface of the rolling pin.

Take a small handful of dough (1/8 - 1/5 of the total) and form it into a soft ball. * Place the ball in the centre of the work space and flatten it gently with your hands until it is a large, thick circle of dough.

Flatten it further with the rolling pin, being sure to a) roll gently, away from you, b) give the dough a quarter-turn every few strokes so it doesn't stick to the surface c) add flour to the top of the dough if the rolling pin begins to stick d) toss some flour under the dough as you turn it if the dough is beginning to stick. Don't flip the dough over: because we have carefully avoided activating the gluten (this is why vodka instead of water) it is much more fragile than bread or pizza dough and will break.

When your dough is about 1/4 inch thick, dip your cutter or glass rim into the flour and start cutting cookies. Cut each cookie as close to the others as possible to get the maximum number from each rolling. Place the cut cookies on the cookie sheet with your lifter, being careful that they have at least 1/4 ' of space between them so they won't expand into each other and stick together while baking.

When you can cut no more cookies, gather up the scraps, take another small handful of dough from the bowl, mix them together in your hands to make a ball of dough, and go back to the *.

Keep doing this until you can cut no more cookies.

When the sheet gets full, put it on the bottom rack for between 8 minutes (tiny cookies, baked but not browned) and 15 minutes (larger cookies, baked crisp and slightly brown).

These bake FAST. Set a timer for 3 minutes less than you plan to bake the cookies and check them, just to be safe. When they are crisp and golden and move easily when you shake the cookies sheet, they're done. Take them out and set them to cool, being careful not to pile them on top of each other. Regrease the cookie sheet lightly and start arranging the next batch.

When the final batch comes out of the oven, you can start making icing.

In a small bowl combine 1 C of your icing sugar with the lemon juice. Stir until it is completely dissolved. You should have a thin, rather watery icing, more of a glaze. Add more juice if necessary. If you like, add 2-3 drops of yellow food colouring to turn the glaze a pale yellow.

Dip each cooled cookie halfway into the lemon icing and lay it on the waxed paper to dry.

When all cookies have been dipped in the lemon icing, make the rose icing in the same way you made the lemon icing: icing sugar, rosewater, food colouring to make the icing a soft pink if you want.

Dip the bare side of each cookie into the rose icing, starting with the first ones you dipped in the lemon icing. Lay each cookie on new, clean waxed paper to harden again.

Allow 30 minutes for the icing to set from the time you dip the last one for the second time, then pack them in layers, seperated by paper towel, waxed paper, or tissue.

They will keep about a week, if they're well protected from humidity.

Options:

Instead of icing each cookie with lemon and rose, divide cookies into two batches and ice one batch with lemon, the other with rose, leaving half of each cookie un-iced.

Use orange blossom water, or another food-quality floral water, instead of rosewater.

Use lime or orange juice - or another fruit juice - instead of lemon.

Add 3T powdered basil or dill or powdered rosemary to the cookie dough at the butter-and-sugar stage, use citrus icing only.

Or 1T cinnamon, 1T cardamon, 1T black pepper, citrus icing only.

Ice only two corners of each cookie, not both halves.

Try whole-wheat flour or demerara sugar or both in the cookies.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
Which [personal profile] lasergirl has named "Berry Vesuvius". Or Berry Besubius. Or Bear is Dubious. It's sort of half-dumpling, half crumble. Or something. Looks like Ye AntiChrist, is very quick and easy, tastes excellent.

4 C frozen berries
1/2 C maple syrup (or 1/8 C sugar) (optional)
1 capful vanilla

Combine in a large, oven-safe pot and simmer on low until completely thawed and bubbling. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F and combine in a bowl:

2 C all-purpose flour
1 T Magic baking powder *
1 t cinnamon
1/4 C brown sugar (optional)

When the dry ingredients are mixed, add 1/2 C milk and 1/2 C water (or a full cup of water for vegan) and mix. You may need up to another 1/2 cup of liquid to get all of the dry ingredients wet. When you have a thick, lumpy dough:

(This is the only tricky bit: work fast and don't let the dough get hit by any amount of cool air or it will be really heavy)

Make sure that the oven is up to heat and the berry mix is bubbling briskly,
Pour the dough into the berries
Get it into the oven immediately
Leave it to cook uncovered for 45 minutes (which should give you time to eat supper)

Serve alone or with ice cream, or with a dollop of maple butter on the crust.
If you omit the sugar and syrup the texture will be different, but it's still good.

*Baking powders seem to vary; if you use a different one and this comes out heavy or full of airholes, experiment: a bit more, a little less... increments of 1 teaspoon seems to work best.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
Preheat oven to 350F and move bottom rack to second-from-the-bottom position.

Cookies:

1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C salted butter (if using unsalted butter, add 1/8 t salt)
1/4 C white sugar
4 T lemon juice

Cut butter into flour and sugar with a pastry cutter or two knives until you have a sort of pile of crumbs effect; add lemon juice and mix gently until you have a ball of dough.

Turn the dough out on a floured surface and roll it thin (about 1/4 inch). Cut it into interesting shapes with cookie cutters, or just slice it into rectangles if you prefer. Arrange the cookies on a very lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, checking them at 8 minutes in case your oven is a bit too efficient. They are done when they are puffed up and crisp; they should not brown much, maybe a bit goldenish at most.

Turn them out to cool and combine

1 C icing sugar
2 T lemon juice
1 drop yellow food colouring (optional)

Beat until you have a thickish, smooth liquid, cautiously adding more lemon juice as you need to - icing sugar needs what always seems like astonishingly little fluid added to it. When all cookies are baked and cool, apply a thin coat of icing to each with a spoon and leave to harden on waxed paper.

This would double or even triple fairly well. Also, this would probably be good, if less homespun, as well: substitute for 1-2 T of lemon juice in the icing with rosewater. Next time, perhaps.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
4 lambshanks
1 large can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 litre box beef broth
1 t rogan josh curry powder
1 t maharajah curry powder. (Substitute sweet or balti curry for milder, vindaloo for hotter, etc.)
1 generous handful onion flakes

Preheat oven to 350F
Brown shanks in a large ovenproof pan with a lid.

Add broth, tomatoes, onion, curry. Cover, bake for four or five hours, until very tender. Serve over rice, possibly with Inauthentic Saag, q.v.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
1 pkt Knorr Vegetable soup mix.
4 C water
1 large can beans, 6-bean mix or great northern or whatever sounds good.
2 large potatoes, cut into 1" pieces.
Dash of cumin, handful of tarragon, handful of onion flakes.

Combine, bring to a boil, let simmer until potatoes are soft. Could certainly add some veggies, frozen or not. Is improved by sitting on low, if you happen to do it early.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
Spinach, chopped fine. Fresh, frozen, canned...
1-2 onions, sauteed until clear in a large pan.
Vegetable broth.
Garam Masala paste or powder.
Sweet or Maharajah or Rogan Josh paste or powder.
Vindaloo paste or powder, if you like super hot.

3 T oil or ghee if using curry powder
1 T ground cumin.

Paneer or sauteed mushrooms or diced lamb stewed in broth or diced chicken, sauteed in lemon juice.

Add curry, cumin, and oil if needed to the onions. Add equal parts of each curry paste or powder.

Add the spinach, and broth to cover. Let it all simmer until the spinach is soft. Puree with a stick blender, or mash, or do neither, as you prefer.

Add paneer/mushrooms/meat.

Serve over rice.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
1 lb pecans, in halves.
2 C maple syrup
2 C demerara sugar, or regular dark-brown sugar.
1 C butter.
1T vanilla extract or lemon extract or both.

Toast pecans in a large frying pan over medium heat, stirring regularly. When they look and smell done pour them onto a greased cookie sheet and spread them evenly.

Combine syrup, sugar and butter in a LARGE saucepan with a fairly heavy bottom. This mixture foams as it boils, give it lots of room.

Go put on long pants and clear the room of unsupervised small children and pets. Boiling sugar syrup is basically napalm; it sticks to skin and burns horribly. If you do get some on you DO NOT put the burn into cold water: the surface will harden and the inside will cook. As will you. Scrape the syrup off gently with a butter knife and then put the burn in cold water.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously. Continue to stir and let it boil for 15 minutes or until it darkens slightly or until your candy thermometer says 220 F. Add 1 Tablespoon of vanilla or of lemon extract or both and pour the mixture over the pecans. Let cool completely, break into pieces.

Maple syrup carmelises at a low enough temperature that you can't quite make brittle with it, but this makes a fairly hard candy. You can substitute other kinds of nuts if you like; we just like pecans. I bet salted nuts would be interesting, too.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
Tsardust seasoning can be bought at Penzeys, or you can do what I did, not having enough on hand, and mix your own from the ingredient list in the site. Though I had some handy to compare with, so. Just keep the amounts in the order given and you'll be fine.

Make two deep slices in your lamb roast and rub in great gobs of the seasoning mix; put a sprig of rosemary at the top of each slice; tie the roast up with twine to close the slices. Note that this will make it cook a bit faster and keep an eye on the thermometer. Scrape out the spice mix when carving; it's too strong to leave in.

Sour cherry and onion sauce: carmelise 6 large spanish onions. Pour one large jar of preserved sour cherries over them, add a tablespoon of Tsardust, and simmer the sauce until the lamb is done. Add about a half cup of meat juices. Serve.

Bourbon brussel sprouts:

This is actually [personal profile] fairestcat's triumph, not mine.

Wash and trim sprouts, boil in lightly salted water until slightly underdone. In a large saucepan melt 1/8 C butter, add 1/8 C bourbon, whiskey or rye, and a pinch of sugar.

Add sprouts and chase them around until they are well coated. Add more booze and butter in equal amounts if the sprouts don't seem covered enough. Serve.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
Ginger spinach:

Dice 2-3 inches of fresh ginger, place in a quart/litre mason jar. Fill jar with sherry, medium or dry. This makes sauce for 3-4 dishes of spinach. Let sit for 3-7 days.

Sautee spinach in a frying pan or chef's pan on medium, with a dollop of sesame oil.

When spinach is wilted, pour on generous dose of sherry, sautee for 3 minutes, return extra liquid to jar, serve. Store jar in refrigerator once you've used it once.

Mushroom gravy:

Slice portobellos, 1/2 per person, fairly thin, and put them on to sautee with butter. If desired, add 1-2 sliced onions.

While mushrooms cook melt 1/4 C (for 8 people; tweak as desired) butter in a saucepan and make a dark blonde roux, that is, add flour until you have a matte paste and continue to cook it over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is a sort of tanned yellow. For vegan gravy use olive oil.

Add sauteed mushrooms and vegetable broth or reserved water from other vegetables, or both, until mushrooms are floating freely. If you want to, add garlic, one or two minced cloves.

Bring to a boil, still over medium heat, stirring continually, to cook flour and thicken gravy.

Add pepper, salt, dill, and/or any other desired herbs or spices (I used Ozark Seasoning this time, and if the main dish has rosemary I often use that, and so forth) to taste. If gravy seems too pale add soy sauce instead of salt.

Serve over potatoes or anything else you like gravy with.

This recipe is highly tolerant of experimentation, and of other kinds of mushrooms. I have not liked the texture when I used dried mushrooms, but if you don't mind that or can grind them to powder, the flavour works well.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
I am attempting to make enough pea soup to feed exactly four people, with no leftovers.

As dried peas appear to be directly descended from Napoleon (la soup du jour de gloire?) this is something of a challenge.

I think I've cracked it, though:

One small hambone or a handful of cooked, diced ham (omit if desired)

1 1/2 C dried green peas
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 3 C veggie broth
4 6 C water
1/4 C onion flakes
2 bay leaves
1 t Pepper
2 T Ozark seasoning

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, stir every so often for 3 hours or until the peas are correctly mushed)

So far so good ...

ETA

Exactly four servings. Happy slurping has ensued.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
I'm not saying I've been ill but tonight Rayne made pot roast and I made dumplings and I'm calling that "cooking".

Always and precisely (the proportions; you can halve, double, wev.)

2 C white flour
1 T Magic[1] baking powder.
1 t baking soda

The Part You Can So Totally Mess With:

1-2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 T tarragon, dried, pounded to dust.
1t Rocky Mountain Seasoning (Penzey's)
1t Ozark Seasoning (Penzey's)

Mix all dry ingredients very well.

Bring broth/stock/thin gravy/stew to a rolling boil in a pot with a lid that seals.

Add 1 1/2 C cold water, mix coarsely, i.e. just until all the dry is wet, and ladle into boiling broth.

Replace lid immediately, lower heat to just below medium, keep at high simmer for 17 minutes, serve immediately onto warmed plates with rest of dinner.

This will make enough large, old-fashioned, floury dumplings to feed three to four hungry people.

Don't open the lid, or mess with the timing, or let them get chilled, unless you like Lead Zepplins :)

[1] I am not usually a brand fiend, but here's the thing: baking *soda* is baking soda, but baking powders are all different. So, yeah, Magic, and if you want to use another brand you might want to do some googling for equivalencies.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
We're all variously Unwell today. Nothing serious, just floopy.

In roughly the length of kitchen time it took me to make various cups of tea and one snack of toast-and-jam I have assembled a three-bean soup (Canellini, Mother Stallard, Black Valentine) based on chicken broth, bay leaves, Adobo seasoning with extras here and there[1], a scoop of dried veggie flakes, a tablespoon of chopped garlic and a handful of dried onion, to be accompanied by onion-dill soda bread.

I then announced that anyone who went through the kitchen was to please give the soup a stir and check the liquid level and took myself off to the tub.

When the beans are ready I'll add the liquid to the dry ingredients for the bread and turn it onto a cookie sheet, or possibly into muffin tins, put it in the oven at 350, and supper's done.

[1] It's not that I'm unwilling to specify; I actually feel groggy enough that I disremember. At any rate, it was by the add-and-sniff principle, and probably the better for it.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
Heavy pot with lid.

About 15 garlic scapes, washed and chopped to 1" lengths
1/4 cup dried chopped mushrooms, presoaked by covering them with water and giving them 1 minute in the microwave (covering them with boiling water would work too)
1 C golden basmati rice
pinch salt
2 C water
1 T Sunny Paris seasoning or other bouquet garni.
2 T olive oil.

Sautee garlic scapes in olive oil until dark green and just beginning to brown.

Add mushrooms, mix in, sautee together for 3-5 minutes.

Add rice, water, salt, and bouquet garni. Cover, bring to boil, turn off electric burner or reduce gas to minimum.

Let stand 15 minutes, fluff, serve.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
1 C flagolet beans (you could sub in a cup of nearly any pale, mild-coloured bean)
1 C veggie broth
2 C water
1 small onion, diced

When beans are tender (90 minutes, +/-, unless of course you start with canned), add

1 large can (798 ml) diced tomatoes
dash salt

And seasonings to taste.

This time I used:

2 T Mural of Flavour
1 T Oregano Indio
4 T cilantro

I am eating some with bread right now and I am Pleased.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
We bbq'd steak tonight and I didn't feel like The Usual Can Of Baked Beans.

1 can (1 1/2 cups, cooked) chick peas/garbanzo beans, drained.
1 large can (2 cups) of diced tomatoes, undrained.
1/8 cup lime or lemon juice.
1/2 bunch[1] dill, chopped finely.

Pensey's Mural of Flavour, to taste[2].
Black pepper, to taste.
Salt, to taste, very very cautiously.

Cook on medium until flavours have mingled, liquid is slightly reduced, and rest of meal is ready.

Sometimes it's good to just let chick peas taste like chick peas.

[1] Not a misprint. Seriously that much dill, and if you really like dill, more. If you really dislike dill, basil or cilantro or thyme or tarragon would probably be good. Whatever you use, be generous with it.

[2] It's okay if this means "none".

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marnanightingale: (Default)
Is May 1.

We'd much prefer you to post late than not at all, but if you can post on time, please do so; people get really excited about having lots of great posts to read on the day.

If you can't post to Dreamwidth, or perfer to post somewhere else, please use Open ID to drop a comment to the round-up post I plan to make on the day.

*is excited*

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marnanightingale: (Default)
I am fairly sure that a version of this exists in every kitchen in the Southwest US that does cooking for large groups, especially vegetarian or part vegetarian groups. I learnt it at Royal in 2000 or so and have made it periodically ever since. It is somewhere between reasonably inexpensive and dirt cheap, it is easy, it is fast (if made with canned beans or once the beans are dealt with), it is remarkably adaptable, and it is, in my opinion, very good.

With a salad, it's a good lunch or light supper. It can easily be doubled, quadrupled, or halved on the fly, once you're familiar with the basic desired results.

Base:

Two cans of black turtle beans with liquid or 250 ml dry, soaked and cooked until tender, liquid retained.
Three large cans of diced tomatoes
One tetra pack vegetable broth
Two cooking onions, diced
Six cloves garlic, diced.

Optional: 1/2 to 1 lb stew beef or stew pork (or ground beef or ground pork, if need be), marinated overnight in the salsa of your choice. I like to use verde. Can also be simmered in the salsa separately and added to bowls at the table, if feeding vegetarians and omnivores.

Spice:
Adobo seasoning, 2T or to taste.
Ancho pepper, 1 T or to taste.
Cumin, 1 T or to taste.
Mexican Oregano, 2T or to taste.
Salt, to taste.

(Measurements as given will make a medium spicy soup. If making more or less soup season cautiously and taste your results a lot: it is almost never a good idea to casually double spices or salt. Try half as much again and then edge up higher. Other peppers and other chili mixes can also be used if you don't have or like adobo/ancho.)

Vegetables: (omit any which are unavailable or disliked, though if you have to omit more than two this may not be the recipe for you; at some point it gets kind of thin and bland without veggies)
One bunch collard greens or chard or kale, ribbon cut or chopped finely.
2-4 C frozen corn
2-4 C cooked diced squash
2-4 stalks chopped celery
2-4 chopped carrots

Simmer until all ingredients are tender and flavours are well-mixed: 1 hour if starting with tender, cooked beans and no meat, 2-3 hours if starting with soaked beans and raw meat.

Toppings: (to be added to each bowl at the table)

Red, yellow or green bell pepper, raw, sliced or chopped.
Queso, crumbled
Cilantro, chopped
Tortillas, flour or corn, or cornchips, for dipping. You can also put the cornchips or corn tortillas, ripped into bite-sized pieces, into the soup about half an hour before serving; they will take on the consistency of pasta, and keep a very good flavour.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
So I needed a really fast, everyone-is-tired-and-starving kind of supper tonight.

I made pasta with sauce, or, more accurately, Classico and I made pasta with sauce.

There are a lot of things I buy intending to adulterate them extensively before serving. Pasta sauce is a big one.

Making red sauce from scratch is possibly worth it if you have a huge tomato patch or a bushel from the market, or if you're an absolute wizard at Italian spicing, or if your honour is involved, but I suspect most people start a step or two along (and when they DO make sauce from scratch, make some to freeze and adulterate later).

Sometimes I start with plain tinned diced tomatoes.
More often, I start with spiced tinned diced tomatoes.
Mostly, I start with a jar of pasta sauce.

Tonight I started with a bottle of Classico Vodka and I:

1) Browned 2 mild Italian sausages and a chicken breast in a deepish frying pan,

2) Dumped the sauce over them,

3) Added 2 Tablespoons of diced dehydrated garlic, a heaping Tablespoon of Mexican oregano, sniffed it a bit, added a good pinch of adobo pepper and a good pinch of chipotle, tasted it, and added a good pinch of black pepper,

4) Added in about a cup of frozen chopped spinach,

5) Let it simmer while the noodles cooked, and served it with grated parmesan on top, garlic bread (split baguette, buttered and with more dehydrated garlic sprinkled on, then 15 minutes in a 350 F oven) on the side, and chopped tomato and cucumber salad heavily sprinkled with Penzey's Mural of Flavour.

It took about 30 minutes all in, and was good.

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marnanightingale

May 2014

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