Category Archives: recipes

Beef Rendang

Mostly so I don’t forget:  this beef rendang recipe was sensational.  I tweaked it a lot — no chilis because my wife and kids don’t eat spicy, no fennel seeds because I have no fennel seeds, and I cooked it in the crockpot, which made the texture more like a rich beef stew than classical rendang.  But it tasted great and both children were into it, so into the rotation it goes.

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Corn and sweet potato chowder

Dinner tonight, cobbled together from various recipes found online:

4 cobs sweet corn

1 medium sweet potato

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

2 scallions

1 red pepper

1 jalapeno

1/4 c butter

1/4 c flour

4 c whole milk

salt, pepper, cumin

Recipe:  Preheat oven to 450.  Scrape corn kernels off the cobs.  Melt butter in pan, add flour, cook until it is roux.  Add a little more butter if needed and saute diced onion and garlic about 5 min until soft.  Add milk and kernel-less cobs.  Remove ribs and seeds from jalapeno and add it whole.  This is going to simmer about 30 mins. and meanwhile you are cutting up the sweet potato and red pepper and scallion and roasting them with the corn kernels until everything is slightly charred and smoky.  That being done, take some of the sweet potatoes and puree them with some soup to make a nice orange-brown paste.  Throw out the cobs and the jalapenos and put the sweet potato paste, red peppers, corn, and scallions in the soup.  Heat through, season with salt, pepper, cumin to taste.

Notes:  It’s not clear to me that the jalapeno added anything.  Also, it was too thick; next time I might skip the roux.

Update:  Skipped the roux, dropped the jalapeno, added a chopped/seeded Anaheim to the red pepper, even better.

Soup looked like this:

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Roasted potato salad (Greekish)

Sometimes if I’ve got feta lying around I make Moldavian potato salad, which I got out of David Carlton’s copy of Please To The Table sometime in grad school.  (Looks like this recipe has been plagiarized here.)  Anyway, I had a bunch of little CSA yellow potatoes tonight and felt like making this, but wasn’t in the mood for boiled potatoes.  So instead I did it hash-style.  Diced potatoes, scallion, garlic, olive oil, dill (didn’t have fresh, used dried), salt pepper, in one layer on a baking sheet, feta crumbled on top.  (Proportions can be found in the linked recipe but I didn’t follow these, just put in what looked good to me.)  Roasted at 350 for, I dunno, a half hour, until feta nice and brown.  I was going to dress it with a little more olive oil when it came out — it would also have been natural, I see now, to drizzle some lemon juice on it — but it was great just as it was.


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Cabbage apples mustard, cheese strawberries pineapples

Something fast to eat on cold nights:

some shredded cabbage (in a bag is fine)

2-3 apples

mustard (we use spicy brown)

red wine vinegar

Procedure:  put some olive oil in a pan, chop the apples and fry them with a little pepper.  Throw the shredded cabbage on top of it and fry further.  Put in some mustard and stir.  Then toss a glug of red wine vinegar in the pan, cover, and let steam a few minutes.  Good with chopped up turkey kielbasa in it.

CJ asked me also to blog about his strawberry pineapple cheese pie.  (This is a layer of shredded cheese on a plate, with frozen strawberries and pineapples on top, microwaved until melted and thawed respectively.)

Turkey burgers, gazpacho, Paul Robeson

It’s hard to make a turkey burger taste good. You kind of need to season the hell out of it. We mixed a pound of ground turkey with a minced half-onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, an egg, and — CJ’s idea — 1/2 tsp each cinnamon and cumin.  Kind of a turkofta.  Onions keep it from getting dry, spices keep it from getting bland.  I blog it in order to remember it.

In other news, this New York Times gazpacho smoothie is ace and we’ve been making it three times a week.  The suggested pecorino crackers are too salty and unnecessary.

We’re in the heart of tomato season now and I’m buying about 10 lb a week.  Did you know there was a Paul Robeson tomato?  Once you sang on Broadway and battled for civil rights, Paul Robeson.  Now you are in my smoothie.

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Green eggs

We don’t eat ham in our house, but CJ got excited about having green eggs anyway.  We had them for lunch today.  And this is how you make them:  get the blender out and puree a bunch of peas, a handful of basil, and some grated parmesan or what have you.  (I used Farmer John’s excellent asiago.)   Put in a little half and half if you swing that way.  You will get something very green.  Mix the greenness with eggs and scramble up as desired.

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Cinnamon garlic eggs

CJ wanted scrambled eggs for lunch today.  While we were making them he said he thought they needed some spices.  But which ones?  He went over to the cabinet and picked out some cinnamon (“because that will make the eggs really sweet.”)  Then he dithered a bit between dried dill and garlic powder, but decided on the latter (“because that will give the eggs a nice spice.”)  A little black pepper, too, as usual.

And you know what?  Cinnamon garlic eggs are awesome. Per Google we are the first people ever to make them.  Don’t let us be the last!

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Chef du cuisine

CJ: “I want jam for breakfast.”

“OK, you want some bread and jam?”

“I don’t want bread, I want plain jam.”

“You can’t just have plain jam for for breakfast; you have to have it on something.”

An impasse follows in which CJ explains several more times that he wants his jam plain. Finally an idea strikes him.

“I want beans and jam.”

Then he happily eats a bowl of chickpeas with a dollop of cherry jam on top. Gastronomy marches on.

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Kohlrabi kugel, Jalapeno Loco

I tried to make kohlrabi-beet latkes, but I couldn’t get the batter to bind well, so after two latke scrambles I gave up, put the batter in a Pyrex, and made it into a kohlrabi-beet kugel instead. It was good — and at least as far as Google knows it was the first kohlrabi kugel ever made.

In other good food news, we discovered (thanks to a tip from Chowhound) that Jalapeno Loco, the dismal-looking Mexican restaurant on the dismal-looking stretch of road adjoining the Milwaukee airport is, in fact, a first-rate Oaxacan place. We stopped there last week before our flight to Houston. Their rendition of chiles en nogada — a poblano stuffed with finely diced pork, apples, plantain, peach, and almond, battered, fried, drenched in a creamy walnut sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds — is by a mile the best Mexican dish I’ve eaten in Wisconsin. And the vegetarian version, with el portobello replacing el puerco, is just as good! We liked it so much that when we got back from Houston, we stopped and had it again.

One more reason to fly direct from Milwaukee instead of one-stopping it from Madison. I need a transit historian to explain to me how it came to pass that General Mitchell is so much more pleasant than airports in other similarly-sized cities. Easy parking, short lines, lots of direct flights, a good used book store — and now chiles en nogada.

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Link roundup, June 2008

  • You can type any word into JustTheWord and get statistics, drawn from the 100-million-word British National Corpus, about which words appear most frequently in combination with the word you chose. What noun would you expect to follow “striking” most frequently? I guessed “contrast” but in fact that’s in third place, behind “feature” and “example.”
  • I Am Neurotic collects tics, quirks, and undesired thoughts sent in by readers, e.g.

    I can’t stand drying my hands with any kind of towel if only one hand is wet. I have to purposefully make the other hand wet and then dry them both at the same time, because the feeling of one dry hand rubbing against a towel makes me want to hurl.

    Compulsively readable.

  • Some days you just feel there’s nothing new under the sun, and human ingenuity has been exhausted. If you’re having that kind of day, gaze in awe upon the hamburger made of ground bacon. The mind unfettered by convention is a glorious thing.
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