Category Archives: Other

The Scarecrow

I do not normally do this, but I had to share:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUtnas5ScSE

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Karl’s Fish Stock

Tomorrow I am making a French fish soup for which I need fish stock. There may be some store that sells canned fish stock, but it is not around here. It is time to create my own fish stock.

Karl’s Fish Stock

Karl’s Fish Stock

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Karl’s Orange Infused Sugar

Last Christmas Jan made Grand Marnier Balls as giveaways. The recipe she created called for candied orange peel, which is surprisingly expensive. I decided to make my own, to avoid the cost this year.  Once I was done, I was left with about two cups of orange infused sugar.

Karl’s Orange Infused Sugar

Karl’s Orange Infused Sugar

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Jan’s Grilled Fruit Skewers

Jan saw a bunch of fruit at the farmer’s market and thought, “What goes with lamb skewers? Fruit skewers!” Some of the fruit was not quite ripe and I suggested that since I would already have the grill going we could throw them on. Jan thought this was a good idea.

Jan’s Grilled Fruit Skewers

Jan’s Grilled Fruit Skewers

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Karl’s Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian Spiced Clarified Butter)

adapted from under12parsecs

Niter Kibbeh is a key ingredient in many Ethiopean dishes. I suspect that the clarifying process and spices were meant to keep the butter from going bad in Ethiopia’s hot climate before refrigeration. I made this the day before, so that it would be ready when I started cooking my feast. I will be using this ingredient in my doro wat, shiro wat, and abesha gomen.

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Karl’s Cajun Spice Blend

I lived on the West Bank of New Orleans (Gretna) for a couple of years in the 70’s. I have eaten my fair share of real Cajun food, and I have a good idea what it should taste like. If I am just cooking a dish for a weekday meal I will usually just use a Paul Prudhomme’s “Magic” blend. One thing I will not be doing is using the Prudhomme recipe I saw him make on TV one time.  While I am sure it was delicious, I am too much of a Californian to follow a recipe that starts, “when the two pounds of butter has stopped frothing, add the three cups of onions.”

Karl's Cajun Spice Blend

Karl’s Cajun Spice Blend

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Eilene’s Fresh Butter

This is not really a recipe in the strictest sense or original in any way. Eilene has made this the last two years and it really is better than stick butter. This is a good task for young children who want to be part of the Thanksgiving cooking process, but that you do not want handling sharp knives.

Ingredients and Equipment

1 pint whipping cream

1 qt. jar, clean with a tight fitting lid

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Filed under Desserts & Treats, Other, Treats

Dedicated to my mother, Claudia, the first great cook.

Myr has finally dragged me, kicking and screaming, to start posting my recipes on-line.

A bit of family history and cooking philosophy is perhaps in order so any gentle readers will understand where I am coming from.

My mother was a middle child in a large family.  As a result, the older sisters did all of the cooking and my mother never learned “family home cooking” in her mother’s style.  She liked to say that when she married my father she “could only boil an egg and make French Onion Soup.” Starting from scratch, as it were, she experimented with a variety of cuisines, frequently influenced by my father’s travels to Japan and Europe. Dad would return with tales of foods he had eaten and she would attempt to replicate the dishes with the ingredients available at the time (the 1950s to 1960s). At a time when most Americans were eating hot dogs, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, she served us Pizza , Chicken Teriyaki, and hot German Potato Salad (long before these became standard American foods).

My mother taught me her style of experimental cooking and I ran with it. When I was working in the North Sea, I paid attention to what the Spanish cooks were making for dinner.  The same was true when I traveled in Europe and when we lived in Chengdu and Hong Kong. I picked up cook books the way many people pick up novels.  It became a challenge to find cuisines I had not experimented with, but I was experienced enough now that I could rarely make any dish exactly as written.  I always had to tinker, particularly when my wife’s health required an extremely low fat diet.

What makes a dish a particular dish?

Five recipes might have the same name but have only a few main ingredients in common.  I learned to read and compare recipes and select the elements that I felt should make the dish.  I might take ingredients from some of the recipes and cooking techniques from the others and come up with something unique and my own. I realized recently that this is the same technique used by the “Cook’s Illustrated” staff in creating their recipes. (I am a faithful reader by the way, but I have serious issues with some of their base ecological and culinary assumptions.)  Sometimes this process would produce spectacular culinary disasters, but more often than not my dishes were successful.

Myr has convinced me to begin posting my journey on this blog from time to time.

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It Starts!

My dad’s a really good cook.  Okay, he’s a great cook.  Every Sunday my husband and I go to my parents house for dinner.  Every Sunday, he sends me an email the next day with the recipe.  But he refuses to start the food blog that’s waiting to happen.  So, I’ve started it for him.  Recipes and rants will follow, with photos whenever possible. Enjoy.

 

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