Friday, December 16, 2011

Stuff and Other Stuff. You Know, the Usual.

So I was transcribing at my desk, which faces out the back windows, this morning, keeping a casual eye on the guys doing some power line work across the way, when I suddenly heard alarmed shouts and caught a glimpse of them all scattering - to get out of the way, it turned out, of this:

Naturally, I found this highly amusing, and indeed my work suffered for the next hour as I watched their efforts to remove the ladder-thing from this poor guy's yard.

Perhaps you can guess from the existence of these photos that I was not,
shall we say,
working very hard.

This guy was equally interested in the proceedings
occurring in his neighbor's backyard.

Success at last!

After about an hour they finally got it out and down toward the street, and I had to go back to work, alas.

Anyway, what I was actually primarily intending to post about was, as usual, food! I'm working through savory recipes just as I'm working through sweet ones, with some delicious results:

Rice pilaf!

Rice pilaf is super easy and cheap and healthful and delicious. How rare is that?!? It's seriously just rice (I used brown rice), curry paste (which I had to get from Whole Foods because nobody else had it, but still), and whatever veggies you feel like (I used carrots, peas, and broccoli), sauteed in a little oil or butter and then simmered in a bunch of water or stock for like half an hour. I've been eating it with a little sour cream, which, obviously, decreases the health factor some (but it's light sour cream!), but also, equally obviously, increases the delicious factor way more.


Seymour Seid's Super Special Spuds!

The recipe on this is actually pretty unhelpful; the cooking directions are unclear, and it is definitely underseasoned, but it is basically like the dinner version of hash browns, so what's not to like? Potato, onion, and cheese, to which we added salt, pepper, ground mustard, and a little cayenne (actually, not enough of any of those things, or enough cheese - next time we'll know better), cooked covered in some butter, and then split between two for dinner! A keeper!

Currently we have a giant pot of what will be turkey stock sitting on the stove, with the remains of the Thanksgiving carcass inside. I have never made stock before, so it is fun!

Anyway, we also had four leftover Parker House rolls from Thanskgiving, which had gone super stale.

I was thinking about making them into bread pudding, but they weren't really enough, plus also I couldn't find my bread pudding recipe until too late, so instead, I them turned into...

...delicious tiny French toast!

I also tried two more scone recipes, and a clear favorite (actually the one I expected) emerged, so I tossed the rest. I haven't yet tried the chocolate walnut ones Ruthy sent me, though! That will be exciting.

I also tried two kinds of pound cake, with less definitive results.

The regular pound cake tasted ok and was a little denser and sweeter than I prefer, but had a truly perfect crust: light, crisp, delightful.

The light pound cake (which has leavening in it - baking powder and soda, if I remember correctly) has a fuller, less sweet taste, and is fluffy and soft. But the crust is just regular chewy boring crust.

I make pound cake so rarely it seems silly to have two recipes, so maybe next time I'll see if I can somehow combine the two. Debby posited that the amount of butter in the regular pound cake contributed to the crust; I wonder if the sugar has anything to do with it. Because I'd love to decrease the sugar and add leavening to the regular kind (plus trade in the nutmeg for mace, which is what the light kind calls for), and see if I can achieve beautiful crust + nicer taste + fluffy.

Anyway, I also made peanut butter cream filled cookies to take to book club (I now belong to two! - updates on those later), and they were a little bit of a pain, as are all two-part cookies, but totally delicious. They're basically oatmeal cookies sandwiched together with peanut butter buttercream. I think I would bake the cookies for slightly less time next time, as they were a littel crunchy (although Alex liked them that way), but I'm for sure keeping the recipe. They were a big hit at book club, for one thing! And they're way better than the stupid mocha pecan bars I made for a little party two weeks ago (actually, the other two people at the party really liked them, but my roommates and I, who have experience with actually delicious desserts, understood that they were subpar).

Yummy peanut butter cream filled cookies

I'm also on a little bit of a pudding kick this week, starting yesterday. I found recipes for bread pudding, rice pudding, chocolate mousse, and assorted recipes for vanilla, coconut, chocolate, and tapioca pudding (if I can ever find tapioca to put in the pudding. Foodtown, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods are all lacking in this arena, as is the 24-hour mart on the corner). Yesterday I made two different kinds of chocolate pudding.

Pudding actually looks pretty gross in photographs

The one on the left is from a page I have of four different custard and pudding recipes, photocopied from page 185 of I have no idea what. The recipes on that page include Vanilla Cream Pudding (with variations for butterscotch and chocolate, and which is the one I used), Pot de Creme au Chocolate (which I have made before and which is totally delicious, especially with whipped cream), Mock Creme Brulee (which calls for a package of vanilla pudding and pie filling, so I probably will never make it), and Tapioca Cream (see note above about tapioca). Basically, this chocolate pudding tastes more or less like store-bought chocolate pudding - aka, completely delicious.

The one on the right is from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert, and uses actual chocolate instead of cocoa. It is bitter and rich, and I would keep it except that the Pot de Creme from the photocopied page does the same thing better. So that recipe got tossed!

And that's about it for food right now! Here is some miscellany from my life:

beautiful new comforter
due to having
I assume
left the old comforter at the dry cleaner
since it was nowhere to be found
and I don't know how else it is possible
to lose a comforter

woman in Times Square subway station
who looked like a poodle
thanks to her very silly legging and shoe combination

Chanuka presents from Judy and David!
I look forward to these all year!
They are so fun to individually unwrap each night!
Plus they included chocolate gelt for Alex,
and it is delicious.

and last and best,
Ricco is visiting from Texas!
Yay, Ricco!
He is a friend from UCI,
and he is great.


  1. 1. Did you go to the dry cleaner and ask?
    2. Which scone recipe you like? Send!
    3. How to make p.b. cream? Would it be tooooo much to do p.b. cream between p.b. cookies? How about chocolate cookies?
    4. How gigantic were those parker house rolls?
    5. I have never made my father's potato dish. In those days I didn't actually like it. In fact, now I only like the outside. It was similar to his mother's potata-nik, I think. WHich also I only liked the outside. That was Bobe Regina.
    6. I can't figure out how to get email notices of your blog and comments. Very annoying. I keep thinking I'm subscribing and nothing occurs.

  2. 1. No, because it would have been in March, and they have an explicit policy that they don't hold more than 90 days.
    2. I probably got it from you, but I'll send. It's the one where you make two circles and cut them into quarters. Actually, here is the recipe:
    Preheat 400
    2 C flour
    3 t baking powder
    2 T sugar
    1/2 t salt
    4 T butter
    2 beaten eggs
    1/3 C cream
    2 t sugar

    Stir together flour, powder, 2 T sugar, salt; cut in butter; stir in eggs (reserve 1 T) and cream; knead lightly on floured surface; divide in two, make into two flat circles, cut in quarters; brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar; bake on ungreased sheet 15 min.

    3. Pb cream was 3/4 C smooth pb, 1/2 C softened butter, 2 T half and half (I used 1 T cream and 1 T milk), 1 t vanilla, 1 1/2 C (or slightly less) powdered sugar. I think it would be completely delicious between any kind of cookie.
    4. Not gigantic. Regular sized. I think they just look bigger in the picture of them in the pan.
    5. The outside is the best, but the inside wasn't too mushy, so I liked that too.
    6. I don't know how to help. Have you tried asking the internet?

  3. What I now use to spice things up instead of sour cream is crumbled feta cheese. Goes with everything. Yum. Try it on the rice pilaf.

  4. That sounds so delicious. I actually had a block of feta for a while that I was crumbling onto everything - I found that the block was way better than the pre-crumbled kind - and I had forgotten already how good it was.

  5. That is from Sunset book of breads. Just sweet and good.
    Feta is a great idea!

  6. i like the poodle.

    also i have your winter holiday present here with me.