Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Greens this time: Red chard and Shanghai bok choy

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Of course, there’s more to it than that: a large red onion and 3 good-sized crimini mushrooms chopped and sautéed in a little olive oil with salt and pepper. Once onions were softened, I added chopped red chard, chopped Shanghai bok choy, a diced lemon, some vegetable stock, shoyu sauce, mirin, brown rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. It’s covered and simmering now.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 April 2021 at 10:03 am

Quick snack: Asparagus deluxe

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I don’t know that it’s reall all that deluxe, but it was very tasty:

• 1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 6 large scallions (or 3 spring onions), chopped (including leaves)
• 4 good sized crimini mushrooms, sliced thick
• pinch Maldon salt
• good dash of fish sauce
• 1 lemon, diced after ends discarded
• handful asparagus stalks (about a dozen)
• 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (hicory-smoked in this case)
• 2 teaspoons dried mint

Sauté onions, mushrooms, and salt in olive oil, stirring frequently, over medium heat until mushrooms start to lose their water. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue cooking, stirring frequently, unti asparagus is tender.

It was tasty, and easy to fix.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 April 2021 at 8:14 pm

A low-energy day, but with collards

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Today I have low energy and feel like just sitting in my chair, but I suddenly remembered I have a very nice bunch of collards and some spring onions in the fridge, and that got me charged up to cook them — and to show them to you. I should have included something for scale in the photo above because these are petite collard leaves — rather than the usual elephant ear size, these are barely bigger than my hand and — dare I say it — rather cute.

Collards and spring onions strikes me as a good combination. I think I’ll not use garlic, and I’m trying to decide between a diced lemon and a splash of vinegar. I suppose I could do both.

I have some vegetable broth on hand, and that will be a good simmering liquid. Collards become silky smooth when simmered for a long time.

I’ll mince the stems and sauté those with the onions — probably four of them — and then add the chopped leaves and vegetable broth and something for umami (fish sauce or soy sauce, and if I use soy sauce I’ll include a splash of mirin).

I think I’ll sauté one jalapeño with the onions and minced stems — just enough heat to give it some presence.

Now I feel cheerful and energized. 🙂

Update: I decided on soy sauce and mirin, and I used brown rice vinegar for the vinegar. I did use a diced lemon as well, and just a pinch of salt. (And I’m out of salt, and though I don’t use much I’m convinced now I need a little. My choice is Diamond Crystal kosher salt, which is the best of the kosher salts I’ve tried. Morton’s kosher salt is, IMO, pretty bad: the salt is in tiny pellets that don’t stick well to foods.)

Update again: I had some after it finished cooking. Extremely tasty — and the jalapeño did provide presence without excessive heat.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 April 2021 at 12:46 pm

Braised beef short ribs

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I do follow a whole-food plant-based diet on the whole, but occasionally I have a hankering for something not included in the diet. It started with watching a video by Chef John of FoodWishes.com, and then I found a video whose technique I liked better (and made more sense to me) by Helen Rennie. Moreover, in the notes to the video on YouTube, she provides the full text of the recipe.

Obviously, I’m not making six pounds. I just got 3 shorts, though after seeing them in the pan I’m using (2-qt All-Clad d3 Stainless sauté pan), I think that if I ever do this again I will go with 4 short ribs which would fit the pan better.

UPDATE: The parchment-paper lid worked much better than I expected. It occurred to me that you could avoid the boiling problem by cooking at 200ºF for 6-8 hours. Also, a fat separator obviates the need for refrigerating overnight. It was very tasty with tarragon mustard and horseradish (and the rest of the red wine).

Here’s her video:

Written by LeisureGuy

6 April 2021 at 3:28 pm

Induction burner update and upgrade

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I grow increasingly suspicious of Wirecutter’s recommendations. They support the site through affiliate links, near as I can tell, and thus have a conflict of interest built in. Their top rated induction burner was the Duxtop 9100MC 1800-watt induction burner, which turns out to have only a 4″ coil, so the enter of your pot or pan is heated by the burner and from there heat must be conducted to the full cooking surface. This works fairly well for small pans and for larger pans with a core that conducts heat efficiently (e.g., All-Clad Copper Core or All-Clad d3  Stainless, which has an aluminum core), but it doesn’t work so well with cast-iron and in particular with 12″ cast-iron skillets.

After reading the Cook’s Illustrated review (CI is supported by subscription fees, so less likely to have overt conflicts of interest), I have ordered a Max Burton 6450 1800-watt Digital Induction cooktop, which has a 6.3″ coil. At the link they explain the drawbacks (beyond price) of a 9″-coil model . (Note to click “Read more” at the link.)

The ideal would be a Bosch 800 Series 30 in. 4.6 cu. ft. Slide-In Induction Range with Self-Cleaning Convection Oven in Stainless Steel, but that’s not going to happen.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 April 2021 at 3:08 pm

Ad hoc greens (the best kind)

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Finished cooking and one bowl removed and eaten with great gusto.

These turned out exceptionally tasty, all cooked from what’s on hand because I didn’t want to go to the supermarket. Use 4-qt All-Clad d3 Stainless sauté pan.

• about 1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 spring onions, chopped with leaves

• 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled, chopped, and rested for 15 minutes
• 2 300g block of frozen chopped spinach
• 6 miniature San Lorenzo tomatoes (finished them off)
• 6 very small domestic white mushrooms, halved
• 1 lemon, ends discarded, cut into slabs and diced
• 2 chipotle peppers, ends discard, cut into small pieces with seeds
• about a dozen kalamata olives with a little of the juice (finished the jar)
• 5-6 good dashes fish sauce
• pinch of salt

Sauté onions until transparent and almost starting to brown. Add other ingredients, cover, and cook on low (3.0) for 35 minutes, going in after 20 minutes to break up the two blocks of spinach.

It is very tasty. I thought about adding a few shavings of nutmeg, but forgot. I do add a spoonful of pumpkin seed to a serving and stir it in.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 March 2021 at 3:59 pm

Spring onion meets asparagus (and mushrooms)

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Photo was taken after one fairly large serving had been removed (and eaten)

The weather this morning was on the dreary side, so cooking seemed like a good idea. I used my 4-qt All-Clad d3 Stainless sauté pan, since I figured there would be some acidic simmering.

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 spring onions, chopped — I quarter the bulb end lengthwise and then chop (and chop all the green as well)
• cloves from one head of garlic, chopped small
• 1 large bunch of relatively thin asparagus, chopped
• 3 cups halved small mushrooms (there were a few a little larger; I quartered those)
• 10 miniature San Marzano tomatoes, sliced (each into 3 pieces)
• about a tablespoon or so of ground black pepper
• about a tablespoono or so of dried mint
• 2 chipotle peppers, cut into pieces with kitchen shears
• several dashes fish sauce

I sautéed the onions in the olive oil for several minutes at 5.0, then added the garlic. I don’t know whether the store has resumed getting garlic from Spain, but the garlic was very easy to peel: cut away the attachment end, twist, and the peel popped off.

After the garlic cooked a minute, I added the remaining ingredients, sautéed for a few minutes stirring often, then reduced heat to 3.0, covered, and let it cook 12 minutes.

When it was done, I added:

• juice of 1 pretty juicy lemon

Just had a bowl. Very tasty. And onions, garlic, and asparagus are high in a type of dietary fiber enjoyed by good microbes in the microbiome.

Update. A little Bragg’s nutritional yeast sprinkled over the top is very nice.

And, later: a bowl mixed with some pumpkin seeds, and then drizzled with Enzo’s Table Fig Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. Very tasty.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 March 2021 at 2:25 pm

Broccolini & Butternut (squash)

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This was taken just a few minutes after everything was in the pan in cooking. About 20 minutes more cooking to go.

Just sort of idle cooking. I had bought a smallish butternut squash, but I didn’t want to roast it, and it occurred to me to steam it. When I went to peel it, I looked at the label and that suggested steaming. I often don’t peel when roasting, but I thought I’d peel it for steaming. It had very little in the way of seeds, so I just discarded them.

I cut it into small (about 2cm) chunks and steamed those for 13 minutes, which was plenty. I planned to cook it more, and I think next time I might steam it just for 10 or 11 minutes.

Broccolini & Butternut

This idea came to me, so I did it.

• about 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 bunch scallions chopped
• 1 large jalapeño, chopped (with core and seeds)
• small pinch of salt
• cloves from 1 head of garlic, peeled, chopped small, allowed to rest 15 minutes
• 1 bunch broccolini (AKA baby broccoli), chopped
• about 10 small domestic white mushrooms, halved (they were pretty small)
• half the steamed butternut squash
• about 1 tsp ground black pepper
• about 1/2 tsp hickory-smoked paprika
• about 2 tsp dried mint

I used the Stargazer 12″ skillet. I put oil, scallions, jalapeño, and salt into the skillet, turned on heat to medium (4.0 on my induction burner), and cooked for about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

I added the garlic and cooked that for a couple of minutes, then the rest.

I cooked it for a few minutes, stirring to mix, then covered the skillet with the third-party lid, turned heat to low (3.0) and cooked it for 15 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

I’m eating some now, mixed with 1/4 cup kodo millet, 1/4 cup black beans, and 1/2 cup of the red/purple kale and spinach (recipe at link). It’s a meal right out of the Daily Dozen: Grain, Beans, Greens, and Other Vegetables. (For breakfast, I had a tangerine, pear, and apple, and mid-afternoon I had a bowl of mixed berries. Lunch was where I got the ground flaxseed, turmeric, nutritional yeast (with B12), and quarter cup of walnuts, which I ate with the usual combination of Grain, Beans, Greens, and Other Vegetables (the experimental ratatouille).

If I hadn’t had the walnuts earlier, I probably would have added 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds to the recipe above.

My recipes, it should be noted, are nothing more than descriptions of what I did with what I had. Do not, for example, go looking for hickory-smoked paprika. I just happened to see that in a local store, bought it to try, and so had it on hand. Adapt to what you have.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 March 2021 at 5:14 pm

Experimental ratatouille

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To my surprise, when I was picking up some more bricks of chopped frozen spinach, I spotted a bag of frozen roasted vegetables: zucchinii, eggplant, red onion, red pepper, yellow onion, yellow pepper. Those are exactly what I roast to make my version of ratatouille, so I thought I’d try a bag and see what they were like.

The ratatouille is cooking now in the 4-qt All-Clad d3 Stainless sauté pan. I used that instead of cast iron because I planned to simmer acidic ingredients at some length — plus it has good capacity. I sautéed a red onion in some olive oil with a small pinch of salt, and when the onions had cooked and softened and almost started to brown, i added chopped garlic (the cloves from 1 head of garlic) and 4 dried chipotles that I had cut up (including the seeds). After the garlic had cooked a couple of minutes, I added a small can of no-salt-added tomato paste and cooked that until it changed color (darkened).

I then added the bag of roasted vegetables, an 18-oz can of diced tomatoes, a 10-oz can Ro-Tel Original, about a dozen small domestic white mushrooms halved (quartered if they were larger), and about a cup of pitted Kalamata olives, along with:

• About 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
• 6 or so good dashes fish sauce
• about 3 Tbsp Mexican orgeano
• about 1 Tbsp dried thyme
• about 1 Tbsp dried marjoram
• about 1 Tbsp cracked dried rosemary
• about 1 Tbsp black pepper
• about 1 tsp hickory-smoked paprika
• 1 tsp liquid smoke (for more “roasted” flavor)

It’s simmering now. I’ll have it over kodo millet with a teaspoon of Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast sprinkled on top.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 March 2021 at 4:17 pm

Just some cooking: Greens and a Grain (kodo millet)

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Today’s Greens

• about 1 tablespoon olive oil, drizzled across 4-qt All-Clad d3 Stainless sauté pan
• 1 bunch scallions, chopped
• small pinch of kosher salt (Diamond Crystal is the best)
• 8 cloves garlic, chopped small and allowed to rest 15 minutes
• 4 huge domestic white mushrooms, halved and sliced
• 1 lemon, ends discarded then diced
• 6 small (miniature) San Marzano tomatoes, sliced
• 1 tablespoon dried mint
• 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
• good shaking of crushed red pepper, probably 1/2 teaspoon
• several generous dashes fish sauce
• 1 small bunch intensely dark red kale
* 2 300g packages frozen chopped spinach
• 1/2 cup mushroom broth

Sauté scallions for a while, then add garlic and mushrooms. Continue to cook until mushrooms start to release their liquid. Add the rest. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, uncover to break up the blocks of spinach, stir to mix well, then cover again and continue cooking.

Today’s Grain: Kodo millet

• 1 cup kodo millet
• small pinch of salt
• 2 cups mushroom broth
• 1 pat butter or about 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Put millet and salt in a pan and toast over high heat until it smells toasty. Add broth and butter, reduce heat to a low simmer, cover, cook 15 minutes. Then remove from heat and leave covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and refrigerate (to make the starch resistant).

Dinner

1/2 cup of the greens
1/2 cup of my ratatouille variant
1/4 cup black beans
1/4 cup kodo millet
1 teaspoon Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast (for B12 and flavor)

Mix in bowl, eat.

Then for dessert, I had some of the millet with a little black-truffle oil and a pinch of Maldon salt.

Millet is a grain — seeds of plants from the grass family.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 March 2021 at 5:50 pm

Great sandwiches for non-vegans

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I don’t eat this stuff, but I did, and I enjoyed it — and I still like to watch it being made.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 March 2021 at 11:15 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Choice chayote with red onion and asparagus

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I needed a dish of Other Vegetables — I have Greens on hand (rapini), but I ate the last Other Vegetables yesterday. I did have on hand a chayote squash (see photo at right) and one bunch of asparagus.

I came up with this, using my Stargazer 12″ cast-iron skillet.

• about 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 large red onion, chopped
• a small pinch of salt
• several cloves garlic, chopped small and allowed to rest
• 1 chayote squash, diced
• a bunch thin asparagus, chopped
• 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
• about 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

I peeled and chopped the garlic cloves first, and let them rest about 15 minutes. Then I put the skillet on my induction burner at 3.0 and let it heat while I chopped the onions.

Once the onion was chopped I drizzled some olive oil into the hot skillet, immediately added the onion and a small pinch of salt, stirred, and turned the heat to 4.5.

While the onions cooked — and I stirred them every now and then — I diced the chayote squash by cutting it into 3 slabs lengthwise, then cutting those into dice. I gave the onions a few more minutes, and then they had softened, I stirred in the garlic, cooked that for a minute, then added the chayote squash.

As it cooked, I chopped the asparagus, then added them along with the marjoram and crushed red pepper. I turned the heat down to 3.0 and covered the skillet, using an 11″ third-party lid (which also fits my No. 10 Field Company skillet very nicely).

I cooked the veggies for about 20 minutes after I covered them, stirring them a couple of times during the cooking. I wanted to cook until the chayote lost its crispness and became tender.

It’s very tasty, and as you can see from the photo at the top, I have enough for several 1/2 cup servings. And a cast-iron skillet performs extremely well in this sort of dish; the radiated heat does make a difference.

I certainly would have included a couple of Anaheim peppers if I had had them. They would have gone well and continued the green theme.

After I finished I discovered a leek top in the fridge. I certainly would have used that. Next time, perhaps.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 March 2021 at 1:16 pm

Cast iron does not conduct heat all that well: Photo evidence

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Make no mistake: cast-iron cookware is great to cook with for many foods. Even before I knew the reasons, I knew that some foods just cooked better in a cast-iron skillet. In this earlier post I give three reasons:

  1. Well-seasoned cast iron is fairly non-stick — not so nonstick as Teflon-lined pans, but (a) Teflon pans on high heat emit a toxic gas, and (b) the Teflon layer is insulating to the degree that you can’t get a good sear on foods in a Teflon pan.
  2. Cast iron has very high heat capacity (so when you add something to the pan, the pan is not cooled all that much but maintains its cooking temperature). The tradeoff is that cast-iron skillets take a fairly long time to reach cooking temperature (something not helped by cast iron not being particular good at conducting heat).
  3. Cast iron radiates heat much more than stanless steel or aluminum, so that when you are cooking things in a cast-iron skillet they are being cooked by both conducted heat and radiated heat.

There’s more at the link.  In this post, though, I want to address the fact that cast iron does not conduct heat all that well — certainly not so well as aluminum or copper, both of which are excellent conductors of heat. It’s because those two are so good at conducting heat (better than iron and better than steel) that All-Clad uses them as a core in their cookware to help the cookware heat more evenly. All-Clad Stainless uses a core of aluminum, All-Clad Copper Core a core of copper.

Those cores help with heat distribution, but don’t do anything for heat capacity nor for increasing radiated heat, and if you take the time to allow a cast-iron pan to become evenly heated (which I achieve by preheating the pan in the oven before putting it on a hot burner and starting to cook), then you get the benefits of cast iron without the drawback.

Take a look at Dave Arnold’s excellent article “Heavy Metal: the Science of Cast Iron Cooking” at Cooking Issues: The International Cooking Center’s Tech ‘N Stuff Blog. I highly recommend you read that article. Here are some photos from it:

By all means, read the entire article. Many people have misconceptions regarding cast-iron cookware, and the article does a lot to clear them up. In my earlier post, linked above, I set out things I have learned, plus my recommendations of cast iron skillets based on my own experience in using them. (Elsewhere in the blog I talk about cast-iron dutch ovens in the context of preparing “Glorious One-Pot Meals” using the technique developed by Elizabeth Yarnell — a complete meal in one pot in an hour.)

Written by LeisureGuy

7 March 2021 at 11:45 am

A simple salad with a vinaigrette dressing and recipe

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I read Bill Buford’s New Yorker article “How the French Dress a Salad” and decided to make the vinaigrette he describes. The salad itself used what I had on hand:

• small section of red cabbage, chopped
• 3 large scallions, chopped
• small section of a bulb of fennel, chopped
• short length of English cucumber, diced
• 3 medium domestic white mushrooms, chopped
• handful of Kalamata olives
• about 1/2 cup of the delacata squash I roasted earlier, cut into pieces
• 1/4 cup quinoa
• 1/4 cup brown lentils
• 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

Note that it has Greens (the red cabbage), Other Vegetables (the other vegetables), Nuts/Seeds, Grain (quinoa counts, though not actually a grain), and Beans/Lentils.

The recipe for the vinaigrette:

• Salt, to taste
• 1/2 garlic clove, smashed and finely diced
• 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
• 2 Tbsp. white-wine vinegar
• 3 Tbsp. grapeseed oil or canola oil
• 3 Tbsp. olive oil
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Using a fork, mash the salt into the garlic. Add mustard and vinegar, and whisk until blended.

2. Add grapeseed oil in a slow stream, whisking continuously. Repeat with olive oil.

3. Add black pepper. Whisk. Taste, and adjust if necessary. Too thick? Add a splash of water. Too mild? A splash more of vinegar, and maybe a bit more salt and pepper.

I of course did not follow the recipe exactly. I used no salt (nor pepper, as it happens), and I used an entire clove of garlic. The particular Dijon mustard I used was Edmond Fallot’s Green Peppercorn. I used red wine vinegar instead of white. I used canola oil instead of grapeseed oil. The ideal ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 in oil is 1:1. Canola oil is 2:1. Grapeseed oil is 676:1.

Instead of 3 Tbsp each of canola and olive oil, I used 2 Tbsp canola oil, 4 Tbsp olive oil, and I mixed them at the outset in a 1-cup liquid measuring cup so they would be easy to pour. Buford apparently has more hands than I, who have only two. I held the bowl with one hand and whisked with the other, so I could not “add the oil in a slow stream, whisking continuously.” I added a little, whisked until blended well, added a little more,  whisked again, and so on. It worked fine. It is indeed very tasty, and makes a nice thick emulsion. I saved what I had left over and am curious to see whether the emulsion will hold.

I plan to try it with white wine vinegar and with sherry vinegar.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 March 2021 at 5:22 pm

Roasting delicata squash and its seeds

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Delicata squash is not peeled since the peeling is thin and soft and quite edible. Above is one squash ready for the oven in my quarter-sheet baking pan. As you see, I (a) use a silicone baking mat, which is easy to wash clean after use, and (b) cook the seeds with the squash, since then I can check two categories from the Daily Dozen: Other Vegetable and Seeds/Nuts.

I tossed the squash slices with a little olive oil and pepper. I did not use salt — salt-free is the way to go, though the food experience in the first week of salt-free eating is a little bland. After that, your taste adjusts and foods taste fine again.

I stir the seeds with a little oil to coat them. I’m planning to cook these at 375ºF for 20 minutes. If they’re not quite done, I’ll cook a them a little longer. Halfway through I’ll stir the seeds, but I won’t bother flipping the squash.

Update: 20 minutes was not quite long enough, but almost. So I turned off the oven but left the squash and seeds in. That did the trick. I just ate all the seeds as a little snack. Very tasty.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 March 2021 at 10:47 am

Things that cause us wonder: Example

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I wonder why I never thought of using the immersion blender to make hummus — or, in the case at hand, a hummus variant. I had no lemons, so:

• 1 can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 1/4 cup tahini
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
• good amount of cayenne pepper (probably 1/4 teaspoon at least)
• about a teaspoon of ground cumin
• 6-8 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
• several dashes Louisiana hot sauce
• dash of fish sauce

I put that in a tall pot of small diameter (the All-Clad 2qt Stainless pot) and blended it well. I then sliced about 10 slices from a daikon radish, stacked them,, and bisected them so I had half-moon-shaped scoopers.

Very tasty. And clean-up is a snap. Why didn’t I think of this before now?

Written by LeisureGuy

2 March 2021 at 7:58 pm

So I roasted some vegetables and made a good sauce

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I cooked these to serve as Other Vegetables. The vegetables, cut into good-sized pieces:

• 1 turnip
• 1 beet
• 1 carrot
• 1 chayote squash
• 1 leek
• 1 big red bell pepper

And, not cut into pieces:

• 8 medium mushrooms
• 2 jalapeños (caps cut off  but otherwise left whole) — next time I’ll use 4 or 6: they’re very good

I put all othat into a bowl and stirred it with some olive oil, then spread into a single layer on two half-sheet baking pans using a silicone baking mat as lining.

They went into a 375ºF oven for an hour — probably 50 minutes would be enough.

After they cooled, I returned them to the bowl (which still a little olive oil in it) and poured over them a sauce that I made by using the immersion blender and the beaker that came with it to blend:

• 2 peeled lemons
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• about 2 tablespoons pickled ginger (the thinly sliced kind served with sushi)
• 2-3 dashes hot sauce
• 2-3 dashes of fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or soy sauce
• about 1-2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
• about 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Blend well, pour over the vegetables, stir to mix.

Obviously, you can use other vegetables: zucchini, eggplant, delicata squash, parsnips, garlic, red onion (cut into chunks, though leek works quite well). And you can vary the sauce to suit your taste. But I didn’t need to tell you that, did I?

Written by LeisureGuy

2 March 2021 at 2:20 pm

The next time you have breakfast in a restaurant that offers eggs any style, order this

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Narration is in French, so I turned on subtitles. As she notes, you can make it with fewer eggs (in which case a small skillet might be desirable).

Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2021 at 2:17 pm

So: Soju

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Readers know that I’ve been watching various Korean series (Crash Landing on You, complete in 16 episodes; The Uncanny Counters ditto; both on Netflix), and as a result I’ve become increasingly curious about soju, a distilled spirit of relatively low proof — about 40 proof, or 20% alcohol (compare, say, a typical gin at 86 proof, 43% alcohol).

Soju is a neutral spirit distilled initially from fermented rice, but the leading brand now uses a mix of rice, barley, and tapioca. That leading brand is Jinro and their Classic Chamisul Soju has been their flagship product since 1924, and I just got a small bottle to try.

Jimro Classic Chamiusul soju has a pleasant, neutral taste. It’s very smooth, probably because it’s filtered through charcoal four times. I can see substituting it for gin or vodka in cocktails —to make a lower-proof Martini, for example. They also make a Fresh Chaimsul Soju, which I will also try at some point. Soju is often served chilled, though right now I’m trying it at room temperature.

Jinro soju has been the largest selling spirit in the world for more than a decade. Chum Churum is another big brand, also good (I read). Generally soju is served chilled (or in a cocktail), but it’s not bad at room temperature. Still, I put the rest of the bottle in the fridge.

More info here. It’s worth a try. I have also found several Korean restaurants here, which I’ll try once going to a restaurant is a thing again.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 February 2021 at 5:27 pm

Posted in Daily life, Drinks, Food

I cook the Taishan cauliflower

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I misread the label and thought it was “Taiwan cauliflower.” It’s really called Taishan cauliflower. I didn’t think to look up a recipe — it’s a vegetable, so I did a standard vegetable cooking:

• 1.5 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oily
• 1 large red onion, chpped
• 1 Taishan cauliflower, chopped

I used my Field Company No. 10 skillet, for which I have a third-party glass lid that fits well. I sautéed onion for a while, then added the chopped cauliflower and continued to cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower wilted a bit, then put on the lid reduced the heat and cooked it until tender (about 10-15 minutes), stirring a few times.

Here you see the original cauliflower, some of it chopped, and the cooked cauliflower (and that’s the whole head — it’s quite fluffy unlike regular caulflower).

It’s an interesting vegetable, and there are quite a few recipes online. And the Taishan cauliflower is described:

This is probably pretty much what European cauliflower looked like in the time of the Roman Empire. Selective breeding during Medieval and Renaissance times developed the heavy white curd cauliflower we enjoy today. The photo specimen is a particularly fine specimen, whiter and with less stem showing than many. When they first appeared, in 2017, they were greener and more disorderly, so selection has been in effect.

The taste of this vegetable is very much that of cauliflower, but “greener” and sweeter than our regular Western cauliflower – less of a blank canvas and more of a feature flavor. Raw, it sometimes has a little bitterness, but not objectionably so, and the bitterness fades with cooking. . .

It’s really tasty and is indeed sweet, though some sweetness comes from the cooked onion. I’m definitely getting this again.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 February 2021 at 3:30 pm

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