My mom is hanging out at my house this evening, and I decided to actually cook (because I hate cooking just for myself -- so boring).

I made linguine with clam sauce, as below. It was hella delicious. (Normally I use wine, but I didn't have any, and omitting it... I think I actually liked it better.) Be warned: it was also extremely rich.

Put a huge pot of water on to boil

Dice three large cloves of garlic and one gigantic sweet onion

Cover the bottom of a big frying pan with good olive oil

Sauté the onions first, and when they start to get brown, add the diced garlic

Drain three cans of good chopped clams -- the larger the pieces the better; reserve the liquid

Add a palm-ful (or to taste) oregano and thyme. If you can get fresh, do it (I couldn't and it was still good)

Add the chopped cans, and fry with the onions and garlic for a few minutes, until it sizzles a little

Add about half of the canned clam liquid and about 1/4 cup full cream. Yes, that's what I said.

Stir and mix and let simmer

Add the rest (another 1/4 cream or to taste) and clam liquid.

Put a wooden spoon over the pan so it doesn't boil over (this really works; I had no idea)

As soon as the linguine is done, drain it, add the clam/onion/cream etc. sauce, mix, and sprinkle some shredded parmesan.
maeve66: (fairylights dhamaka)
My Scotch broth is on the stove, cooking. It doesn't seem quite right, but I am not sure what it needs. Maybe just some hours cooking slowly. Joy of Cooking suggests an egg or flour thickener, but I don't remember doing that last time. Bah. If it turns out well, I'll post my tweaked recipe. If not -- it never happened.

Merry Xmas etc., to everyone in LJ land.

Now, tea. And possibly a bagel. I don't know that I am going to get the gumption to go out to a movie on my own, bah.

* * * * * * * * *

It's good. Not quite what I remember from the last time I made it, when perhaps I just followed the recipe more closely? But very good nonetheless.


2 lbs. unboned lamb, diced into centimeter cubes
1 1/2 cups pearl barley
four large carrots
two large onions
two small turnips
bay leaf
thyme (fresh is nice)
olive oil
8 to 10 cups of broth (I used vegetable, which I regret... in the middle I actually added three Knorr beef broth cubes, which added necessary salt, as well, as the stupid vegetable broth was also "low sodium")

1. Soak the barley in six cups of water for 12 hours

2. Chop the carrots, onions, and turnips

3. Saute them with the bay leaf and thyme in the olive oil.

4. Remove them and add them and the soaked barley to the broth -- beef broth! Chicken broth might also be fine. Actually, water might work the best... in which case, add some salt

5. Saute the lamb cubes in the same pan until browned on all sides and then add them to the soup

6. Simmer for at least two hours, maybe longer.

Garlic at the beginning with the vegetables would be fine, though it seems odd with turnips. The JoC recipe said to a) add a dash of "curry", by which I guess they mean indiscriminate curry powder, and b) thicken the soup with a flour or egg mixture. I didn't do that, trusting to the barley itself. It's hearty and filling and mmm.
See, now, this is a topic I can get behind. I love soup, though I don't want to choose a favorite.

Of soups I don't make myself, I like French Onion soup, New England style (creamy potato-ey) clam chowder, and tomato soup (especially Trader Joe's tomato-and-roasted-red-pepper soup).

Of soups I make myself, I love pea soup with ham shank (and carrots and onions and potatoes and a bay leaf); cabbage-bean soup, which is a family recipe reworked several times... mine has cannelloni beans, ground turkey, cabbage, chicken broth, and a bagheer of cumin seeds sizzled in olive oil, then poured over and mixed in before serving; mushroom and barley soup; and a chicken noodle soup with rosemary and carrots and onions that I haven't made in a long, long time. And leek-potato soup, though I also haven't made that in a long time. Mmm, soup.
maeve66: (aqua tea icon)
The last thing I baked were Christmas cookies (the rich butter cookie recipe from Joy of Cooking, which are perfect for frosting of various colors, and decorations, etc.) with my nieces.

The full display


Honestly, unless you've made these, you can't imagine how good they taste, especially with that frosting, which is Jiffy white frosting and various food colorings.

A teapot, what else? We each made and decorated one.


And finally, my cookie of Rilke


I cook this all the time, but whenever I look for it over here in my LJ, I cannot find that I've written it down. Despite referring to it as recently as a few weeks ago.

One of my favorite recipes from Madhur Jaffrey (whom I adore -- I recall someone recently not being into her -- was it you, [ profile] florence_craye? -- but I forgive her elite background in India, and in fact really liked her autobiography...) is extremely simple. When I was younger, I liked best her kheema mattar, which is ground lamb and peas in a really nice, oniony sauce. That was a long, complicated recipe. Now, though, my favorite and virtually foolproof dish is masoor dal.

This set of directions is taken off the internet, because I don't have my beloved cookbook with me. But it's accurate. I usually double the amounts, because I love this as leftovers. And I triple or quadruple the cumin, because I just like that.


Masoor Dal

• 1 c. red lentils (masoor dal), picked over and rinsed. You don't need to soak them at all.
• 1 slice unpeeled ginger, about the size of a quarter, each.
• 3/4 tsp. turmeric
• 1 tsp. ground coriander (I think... now I am not sure about the presence of this ingredient, but I think it would be good anyway -- can't hurt)
• 1 tsp. salt
• 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
• 1 pinch asafetida (I omit this, even though it's supposedly great as a digestive aid...)
• 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
• fresh coriander to garnish

So. Add the rinsed/picked over masoor dal to 4 c. of water in a heavy pot. Bring to a boil and skim off all the scum that collects at the top. Your stomach will be sad if you don't. Add the ginger and turmeric and ground coriander. Turn the heat down and leave the cover slightly ajar. Cook for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours until the dal is pretty much turned into mush. The dal will thicken as it cools... it may actually sort of separate, and you can take out some of the water. Make sure to stir every few minutes during the last 15 to 20 minutes, so it doesn't stick.

Second stage, near the end: heat the vegetable oil in a small skillet -- medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the asafetida, the cumin, and the cayenne. As soon as the cumin sizzles (about ten seconds -- careful, because it will burn fairly quickly) take the skillet up and pour the contents into the dal. Stir it in and cover the pot for at least another five minutes.

Serve with basmati rice. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.


Jan. 23rd, 2007 08:47 pm
maeve66: (WWII homefront)
I love soup. I mentioned that in the meme I just posted. But I do. There is something loving and healing and caring about soup: I associate soup with my mom taking care of me when I was sick as a kid. She'd make Campbell's tomato soup and grilled cheese, and give us gingerale-and-orange-juice.

She also made really good soups, some of which I make, too: she made great borscht every once in a while (which is interesting, because it was basically a political thing, rather than an ethnic tradition for us); she made a wonderful meatball soup, and pea soup, and navy bean soup, and especially, bean-cabbage soup. The bean-cabbage soup is something I've made and my sister has made, and slowly, we've changed it, and now we give the recipe to friends. I love anything that smacks of carried-on family traditions, and this bean-cabbage soup fits that bill, though I am sure it originally came from some women's magazine. Still. The version my mother always made used beef (that is, hamburger), and kidney beans, and beef broth along with the cabbage and diced tomatoes. The version my sister shifted to uses ground turkey. I kept the ground turkey and changed the kidney beans to cannellini (white kidney) beans, and then added a cumin bagheer -- whole cumin seeds heated in oil til they pop, and then dumped in the almost done soup. I can add a cumin bagheer to almost anything. I added it to the scotch broth I made a couple of weeks ago, which was AWESOME. Awesome as long as you're not a vegetarian, like most of these, I guess.

I just ate the last of the scotch broth tonight, and loved it as much as when I made it in early January. I like barley soups, like mushroom-barley soup. This is a barley and lamb soup, with mushrooms and onions and carrots and bay leaf and thyme and oregano and a little garlic... and the aforementioned cumin bagheer, which really deepened the flavors. It was actually kind of boring before the cumin. The recipe is from Joy of Cooking.

I'm going to make more cabbage-bean soup with my mom tomorrow night, even though I just made it for M. last Friday. That recipe is easy as hell:

Get a pound to a pound and a half of ground turkey. Brown it. There will be almost no fat if it's good turkey. You might want to add two cloves of finely chopped garlic and a little olive oil, in fact.

Chop up a medium or large head of cabbage -- the cabbage bits are more manageable if you cut the cabbage in wedges and then cut thin slices from the core outwards, leaving the core out.

Open two regular sized cans of cannellini beans. Take 1/4 of the total amount of beans, and all the bean liquid, and mash it up.

Open a regular sized can of diced tomatoes.

Use about two to three cups of broth -- turkey or chicken or vegetable, whichever you prefer. You can use bouillon cubes if you need to. That never seems like enough liquid to me at first, but with the other stuff, I guess it works.

Add a bay leaf and oregano and thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Anything you like, really, at this point.

Put the liquid, the beans (mashed and whole), the tomatoes, the browned turkey, the cabbage, and the herbs in a big pot, bring it to a boil, and then simmer it for about 40 minutes. Longer if you want. Near the end, if you want, heat about two to three tbsp. of olive oil and throw a handful or so of cumin seeds into it until they spit and pop. Dump that into the soup and stir.
Still limping and easily tired of walking on this fucking knee. My mother ([ profile] redlibrarian39, by the way) is hanging out with me -- have I mentioned that she's trying the Bay Area on for size by subletting a room over near Highland Hospital for two months? One of those months is already gone. It's going quickly. It's so nice to have her here, though. She should come back for mid July to mid September, that's what I think. When it's sunny and hot.

We're going to a play that will probably suck tonight -- this season of the Berkeley Rep has been greatly underwhelming. This one is Zorro, and my friend Regina, with whom I bought these season tix, refused outright to subject herself to it: she was horrified last year by the more farcical of the plays we attended. Anyway, the experience of going to a play is usually nice, so who cares if it's not earthshakingly good. I feel like I've been spoiled over the last couple of years with really GOOD pieces, from Homebody/Kabul by Kushner to Leonardo's Notebooks (it might have been Da Vinci's Notebooks, but I'm avoiding that title, for obvious (Dan Brown) reasons) by Mary Zimmerman, and The Story of the People's Temple, by I forget whom. And lots of little gems, too -- including a hilarious two person farce with crossdressed virtuousos -- The Mystery of Irma Vep. I guess the BRT is due some boring plays, too.

Anyway, what I've been doing all weekend before this evening and the play is household stuff, in a very happy way. The dresser of my dreams that I've been waiting and waiting for and hunting and hunting for, on Craigslist, finally showed up a few weeks ago, but scheduling pick up (and help in carrying since I can't do it with this knee) has been awful. It is six drawers -- three next to three, so low -- and stained a dark brown. It's pretty. It's got a long sweep of a bare top that looks nice, though I don't know if I'll be able to keep it bare. I tend to clutter things with books, at the very least. It cost $20.

But I got it yesterday -- my sister and brother-in-law picked it up with their family van, and finally I have somewhere for CLOTHES besides clothes baskets. God, what a relief. I have clear floor space in my bedroom! I have enough clear floor space that I could potentially do yoga there.

Then my friend [ profile] kaleidescope and I did errands like going to the FarMar, where I bought herbs to pot and cut flowers and turnips and lemons and little potatoes and strawberries. We picked my mom up and went on to Trader Joe's and other errands too boring to mention (because they weren't mine), including getting biodiesel for her car. Then babysitting and Mulan, one of my more favorite Disney films. And today, cleaning, laundry, and dishes and cleaning out the refrigerator (my mother actually did that, while I was washing dishes -- she's a fucking SAINT) kind of miniature gardening.

I've wanted to do this forever, since moving out here: have an herb garden. I haven't had one since Missouri, and I miss it. I don't really have a yard, just a few feet of space outside my ground floor apartment's living room windows, alongside a long driveway. I think it gets enough sun, though this Spring in Oakland there's been hardly any, so who knows how they'll do. I got lavender (which I've been wanting forever, two kinds, French and some other kind... maybe English. I got three rosemary starts, English thyme, French thyme, Italian oregano, and marjoram. I didn't see any basil, but I'll probably get another big planter (they're that terra cotta colored plastic, in a low round wide style) for it and for some sage, some chives, and maybe some dill. I don't know about the dill. Do I need dill?

Anyway, I'll post pictures soonish, once there is some goddamn SUN.

EDIT: Actually, Zorro in Hell, by the Culture Clash, a Chicano comedy ensemble group that's been around since the mid 80s, was damn good and funny. Some improv, a good framing plot, a funny cultural musing on the meaning of Zorro, from the Scarlet Pimpernel rip off in Chicano clothes, of the original author, some white guy whose name I've already forgotten, to the "Somos todos Marcos/Spartacus" of the Zapatistas. I'm really glad we went.



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