Wednesday, June 18, 2008

procrastinator cookies

a quick cookie which makes for excellent paper-writing breaks. it's glutenfree, too.

chocolate peanut butter cookies
(courtesy of Epicurious)

1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup light brown sugar (or normal, or mixture of normal and need for fanciness: these are peanut butter cookies after all)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

mix the first five ingredients together in a bowl. add chocolate chips. form cookies using a tablespoon and your hands and drop them on a baking sheet.

bake at 350 F until puffed up and golden. about 10 minutes. don't overbake, an overbaked cookie is a sad cookie. enjoy!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Orange wacky cake,

or what to do when you have a bunch of citrus fruit and no more eggs.

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g butter
2 Clementine oranges

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the dry ingredients in a loaf pan, add a teaspoon of Clementine zest, and mix thoroughly. Melt the butter and juice the Clementines into a liquid measuring cup. Add water to the clementines until you have 1 cup of liquid. (If you have more Clementines instead of a bunch of grapefruit, you can just make 1 cup of juice.) Dump the butter and the orange juice mixture into the dry ingredients and stir just enough to mix. Pop the whole thing into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until a fork comes out of the center with just a few crumbs on it.

If you have more Clementines, I bet you could top this with a delicious glaze made of Clementine juice plus confectioner's sugar, mixed in the right proportions to generate a thin paste. Unfortunately, I just have grapefruit. Anybody have grapefruit recipes?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lemon sponge cake with lemon curd

My neighbor brought me a basket of citrus fruit from her garden, and this was what I did to use up some of the lemons, along with most of the eggs in my fridge.

lemon curd
5 eggs
juice of 3-5 lemons, plus a big helping of their zest
3/4 cup sugar
100 g butter, cut into cubes

You'll need to set up a steam double boiler for this recipe. Luckily, making a steam double boiler is nowhere near as complicated as it sounds. The end result you're shooting for is basically a saucepan with a mixing bowl inside it. The diameter of the mixing bowl should be greater than the diameter of the saucepan, so that the bowl sits on the saucepan's rim. Between the saucepan and the mixing bowl will be a layer of boiling water, not quite deep enough to touch the mixing bowl's bottom. Inside the mixing bowl will be lemon curd.

So, now that you've got this picture fixed in your mind, take the saucepan, and put some water in it (not quite enough water to touch the mixing bowl's bottom). Put the water on the stove to boil. While it boils, combine all the ingredients in the mixing bowl. When the water boils, put the bowl on top of the saucepan. Stir the lemon curd constantly until it thickens. (I find that after 15-20 minutes, it changes suddenly from a liquid to a sort of pudding thing). Take the lemon curd off the heat and let cool.

lemon sponge cake

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Sift together the flour and the baking soda. Combine the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice in a separate bowl, and beat until huge and fluffy (you're looking for this mixture to triple in size). Fold in flour, and bake at 425 degrees Farenheit for 15 minutes.

Serve with tea and cucumber sandwiches.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

3 minute gazpacho

The perfect way of using up half an avocado. Simple and divine.

2 large vine-ripened tomatoes
1/2 English hothouse cucumber, peeled
1/2 avocado
handful mint (or basil, or maybe even cilantro)
sea salt
red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil

Grate the tomato and cucumber into a bowl. (By the way, grating rather than dicing tomato as a topping for bruschetta is a trick that I learned from the wonderful cookbook 'Moro.' I highly recommend both the technique, and the book.)
Chop the avocado and mint, and add it in.
Season the mixture to taste with (about) a pinch of salt, (about) a teaspoon of the oil, and (about) a tablespoon of the vinegar.
Add a little bit of water if you want a soupier mixture.

A satisfying meal for one.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Philosopher's Lunchbox: Edition #5

I should be writing my second year paper now; hence this post.

Lentil and Chorizo Stew

4 little chorizo sausages (the cooking kind, not the slicing kind), sliced into hefty chunks
1 large shallot
pinch red pepper flakes
pinch Spanish paprika
1 can tomatoes
1/2 pound green lentils
pinch sea salt
2 bay leaves
32 fluid oz chicken stock
2 large chard leaves, rinsed and sliced (I used rainbow chard, but I'm sure swiss or ruby or even spinach would be fine here)
a few sprigs parsley
freshly ground black pepper

Optional saffron yoghurt garnish:
a small pinch saffron threads
1 tbsp boiling water
2 tbsp greek yoghurt (I used Fage 0% fat)
pinch sea salt

Pop the sausage into a heavy, broad soup pot, and saute over high heat until nicely browned.
Add the shallot; reduce the heat and saute until softened.
Add the red pepper flakes and paprika, and saute for another minute.
Add the tomatoes, lentils, bay leaves, salt and chicken stock.
Bring to a boil and let the mixture bubble away, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes (or until the lentils are soft but retain their integrity).
Meanwhile, make the yoghurt (if you want), by steeping the saffron threads in the boiling water for a few minutes. Then add the saffron water to the yoghurt, along with a pinch of salt.
Taste the stew and yoghurt for seasoning, and add the chard to the soup pot to soften for a minute.
Serve the stew with a small dollop of the saffron yoghurt, some minced parsley, and a good grind of black pepper.

Serves 4.

Substitutions: I think vegetarian sausage would work well in this, too, as long as it had a robust, assertive flavour. Vegetable stock would also be fine in place of the chicken.
Some garlic (added alongside the red pepper flakes and paprika) could be nice with this too, although I tend to think that garlic is somewhat overused in soups and stews.

A nice intellectual song

(Nothing in this post should be construed as denigration of Foster's Lager, a fine bibulation for all you Bruces.)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Philosopher's Lunchbox: edition #4

I made this on a whim, and suggest you follow suit.

Smoked salmon, fennel, avocado and tangelo salad

a few strips smoked salmon
a few slices of fennel bulb, diced
a few fennel fronds, finely chopped
1 tangelo, halved and 1 half segmented
1/2 avocado, sliced
freshly ground black pepper

zest from the tangelo
juice from reserved 1/2 tangelo
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt

Assemble the salmon, fennel, tangelo and avocado segments prettily on a plate.
Now mix up the dressing until thick (mustard is an emulsifier); taste and adjust the seasoning; drizzle it over the top of the salad.
Top with fennel fronds and a liberal amount of black pepper.

A perfect lunch for one.

P.S. I have a feeling a few oily black olives might be a nice addition too.