Week 20: Onions - Pickled Eggs
I love pickles, and pickled eggs. I quite like the mixed pickles that are cucumbers, cauliflowers and pearl onions, so I combined the two!
The base I used for the pickling juice was 2/3c Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/3c White Wine Vinegar, 1/2c Water, 1/3c sugar, 2-3Tb pickling spices. Boiled until the sugar dissolved.
The jar on the left has a couple teaspoons of curry powder added, and the jar on the right has fresh dill sprigs and garlic added. Each mason jar is about 2c, and I fit half a cup of pear onions in each, plus 3 jumbo hard boiled eggs. I’m the only one who eats them, so having small jars is just fine. If I had to share them I’d probably make bigger batches.
I’ll don’t know how they taste since I want them to sit for at least a day :| but I’m sure they’re delish! It’s hard to mess up a pickle!
Week 19: Steaming - Steamed Cheeseburgers
Steamed cheeseburgers come from Connecticut, yet despite living on the I91 corridor, I’ve never actually had one… Ted’s is the go-to place for steamed burgers, so I guess I’ll have to try them sometime.
For this I used tuna cans, so BE CAREFUL of the metal bits. Stuff the tins with whatever burger mix you want. I put a slice of onions in the bottom, and they were tender when the burgers were done. In another tin, put some Vermont Sharp Cheddar.
Place the tins on a steamer basket, and add about an inch of water. Cover and turn the heat to high. Mine took about 14 minutes to cook to well-done, so go for less time if you want them rarer. You’ll also want to drain off the grease when they’re done.
Pop em on a bun with whatever burger things you like, and scoop that melty cheese on top. Dat melty cheese.
According to my boyfriend, they will be made again.
Week 18: Mexican - Horchata
This whole past week has had highs in the 70s, so I went with a refreshing drink!
There are many varieties of Horchata, but I came up with my own and I’m liking it.
Lightly toast 3/4c Rice. Pulverized the rice in a spice grinder or food processor. Lightly toast 3/4c Blanched almonds, add them to the rice and make a chunky flour.
Put in a container with a cinnamon stick and the zest of a lime and cover with 3c boiling water. Stick it in the fridge for 10 hours.
Remove the cinnamon, and blend until as smooth as possible. Strain it through a cheesecloth and get as much moisture out as possible. Add 2c water to the remaining liquid, and 1/3c sugar. Mix well and serve with a dash of cinnamon on top. Serve over ice, or just cold if you’re not an ice person (or you just forgot to refill the ice trays)
Week 17: Seafood - Takoyaki
These are little balls of octopus!
Inspire by my friend’s recent trip to Osaka, (super jelly btw), I made my own version of a very popular Japanese Street food treat.
Tako(octopus)yaki(fried) are seriously good.
I used Just Hungry’s recipe to jump off of, and made a couple modifications as needed. For one, I don’t have a takoyaki pan/plate, so I used an ebleskiver pan. It’s very similar except the ball size will be a little larger. Also, I tried following traditional takoyaki batter recipes, but the results were always disastrous. Instead I used a savory ebelskiver recipe, and added hon-dashi and soy sauce like one would for the takoyaki batter recipe.
I learned about octopus cleaning on YouTube. YAY INTERNET!
Our Takoyaki’s were filled with Octopus, Scallions, Pickled Ginger and Panko crumbs. Topped with Japanese Mayo and Tonkatsu sauce, with scallions and bonito flakes sprinkled liberally.
Because it was a sit-down meal for us, I added steamed bok choy with a walnut-miso paste on the side to round the plate out.
Week 16: Fast Food Inspired - Wendy’s Dollar Menu Extravaganza
Only have two dollars and change? Wendy’s chili, plus a baked potato means you’ll be eating like a king!
This CopyKat recipe calls for tomato puree, but I used diced, which made for a chunkier than Wendy’s consistency. Flavor-wise though, it was pretty close. I usually don’t use exact measurements for chili, but since I was trying to mirror a specific chili, I actually paid attention :3
The recipe made ridiculous amounts of chili, so we have some frozen for later!
Week 15: Indian - Gulab Jamun
Awe yes, my favorite week! If you didn’t know already, I LOVE Indian cuisine! I cook curry a few times a month, and we went to The Bombay for our 5th anniversary. The Bombay is a great little restaurant in Lee, Massachusetts and they have one of the nicest buffets on Sunday I have ever seen. They always have what my sister calls “soggy donuts” in the dessert area. Since I add curry powder to many of my recipes, I decided to go the complete opposite direction and do a sweet, so Soggy Donuts it was!
Gulab Jamun is mostly milk, with a wee bit of flour to keep it together. They’re deep fried and then soaked in syrup that can be flavored with saffron, or rosewater, or many other things. I used rosewater.
They didn’t stay round after I put them in the syrup, but they sure tasted good! I used this video for instruction, and it’s pretty easy to follow.
Week 14: Fusion - Corned Beef Tostadas
This idea came after I had worked a 12 hour shift. I normally work 5-6 hours, so it was a bit of a grueling day. In my over tiredness this was hatched. Why am I the most creative right before bedtime? It’s not really fair. But I suppose it makes sense since I don’t get high, so I never have the “under the influence” moments of brilliance.
I slow-cooked a point cut corned beef brisket in some Guinness, with mustard, the spice packet, and some onions.
Shredded the meat, and made a slaw with cabbage and carrots. I didn’t make the tortillas, but I certainly fried them! Topped it off with a mustard vinaigrette, and served spicy potatoes on the side.
We washed it all down with some more Guinness.
This is totally a thing now. I made thith. We will eat it again.
Week 13: Herbs - Lemon Rosemary Scones
I got a pastry cutter! It makes scones super easy, I tells ya. Also, using my roommate’s normal sized oven makes baking them a lot faster since I don’t have to do tiny batches in my toaster oven.
This is a Pioneer Woman recipe, and I’ve made them twice now. They’re really really good. We’ve been sick all week and these go well with the gallons of hot tea we’ve been consuming. My glaze came out a bit thinner than in the recipe, but I don’t see the need to “frost” my breakfast foods, unless they’re cinnamon rolls.
Off to my cousin’s house for some Easter Ham & Lamb!
Week 12: Presentation - Crispy Salmon & Marinated Mushrooms Redux
I just got a GORGEOUS Canon G15. I’ve wanted a G series camera for YEARS and NOW I FINALLY HAVE ONE! Just in time for this week’s challenge. Instead of creating a new plate to make all pretty, I decided to go back to last year, and recook and rephotograph one of my weakest weeks. I went for the SUPER CLOSE UP textural study as the macro on this camera is bitchin’.
Week 4: Pan Frying is bland, washed out and not plated very well. I was using a Samsung Galaxy S to take pictures (later replaced with an iPhone4s) and I had terrible blah lighting after the sun went down. The kitchen in my old place had terrific natural light, but I rarely got to photograph in it.
Anyways. The recipes are Gordon Ramsay’s, and I think my fish frying has improved, as well as my photography.
Week 11: Irish - Stout Braised Lamb Shanks & Colcannon
I browned the lamb shanks, then set them aside. In the pan with the brown bits I cooked up some onion, carrot and celery. When they were almost done I added a nice dark stout, and let it cook down a smidge. Poured it all on top of the shanks in a slow cooker, added some thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and peppercorns. Added beef broth until covered and went away for three hours.
Strained the liquid, cooked it down about 50% and added a tablespoon of flour for the sauce.
The Colcannon was mashed russet potatoes, with plenty of cream, butter and salt and pepper. I sauted a bunch of shredded kale and a bunch of chopped scallions, then folded it into the potatoes.
Kale and mashed potatoes were meant to be!