Thursday, March 30, 2006

F is for Food

I made Challah earlier this week and there's only an end left. This is what it looked like before we cut into it. I made another batch of dough last night and I'll be braiding it and baking it today for one of my mom's co-workers, Alma. We taught her how to knit last week and she and I got to talking about cooking and baking. To make a long story short, I told her I'd make her some Challah because she doesn't bake much. Challah is so eay to make! I make it in my mixer then let the dough rise overnight. I braid it, brush it with eggwash, let it rise again and then brush it with eggwash again before I put it in the oven. I can't give you the recipe I use because it's out of a book: Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America. This is a really good book with a wide vareity of recipes. They also have a Cooking at Home... and another book that has mainly drinks and desserts. It's Something something with the Culinary Institute of America and it's got a teal cover in the same style as the other two books - real useful, huh? I don't have this one (yet). Here's what I had for dinner last night. I call it Leftover Veggie Fry. You can have this recipe(woo hoo).

Leftover Veggie Fry
-2 tablespoons oil (I used sesame oil for mine because I like the nutty flavor it provides. You can use vegetable oil, olive oil, or butter if you want)
-1 package organic soba noodles (I get mine from Cost Co, there are three bundles of noodles in one package, I only used 1 bundle for this recipe- so about 1/3 lb.)
-1/2 cup stir fry sauce (you can also make your own, which is what I usually do, but my sister bought some already made stir fry sauce and I was feeling slightly lazy. I normally mix together about a 1/8 cup of each of the following: hoison sauce, soy sauce, boiling water, and fish sauce. Mix it with whatever your making and let it cook down a teeny bit, if it seems too thin try adding 1 tsp. cornstarch mixed with cold water. Yes, fish sauce does smell like rotting corpses in the bottle - it is extract of rotting anchovy, but the smell goes away once you cook it and it adds great flavor to food.)
-leftover veggies (for mine I used some leftover steamed cauliflower and carrots. You can also use leftover cooked meat - i.e. leftover steak or chicken breasts. If you don't have any leftover anything on hand, just steam up some veggies or stir fry some meat. Cauliflower and carrots take about 8 minutes to cook in a steamer; broccoli- 3 minutes.)
-soft silken tofu (optional; I just had the tofu leftover from a sauce I made for a cake -next on the food list- I didn't want to toss it so I cut it into cubes and used it in this.)
-spices of choice (use what strikes your fancy at the moment and what would work best with your leftovers. I tossed in about 1/2 tsp. of marjoram and 1/2 tsp. of ground mustardseed.)
Okay, directions!
Boil about 4 cups of water in a pot. Put your soba noodles in the pot and cook for 4 minutes. Drain the noodles in a colinder and rinse with cold water. Give them a good shake to get the water out. If you don't have any leftovers now is the time when you need to steam your veggies or cook your meat. If you do have leftovers now is the time you need to fetch them and cut them up if they're too big. Heat up your frying pan or wok and pour in the 2 tablespoons of oil. Swirl it around so it covers the bottom and the sides of the pan. Toss your leftover veggies in the pan and saute for about 2 minutes. Add your spices and mix it up. Add your noodles to the pan and mix them together with the veggies and spices. Spread the mix evenly over the bottom of the pan and let cook for 3 to 4 minutes, flip everything over and do it on the other side. Add your sauce and the tofu and mix thoroughly. Let cook for 2-3 more minutes.
Serve hot. Scarf.

Here's the Espresso Cream Cake I made. Allison blogged about it and I had to ask her nicely beg her for the recipe! It's from Cooking Light Magazine. The cake is so delicious and it sponges up the sauce quite nicely. I didn't have any chocolate (blasphemy!) in the house so I just spooned a little leftover brewed espresso over the top of the cake before I topped it off with espresso cream. I can see making this cake nix espresso, soaking squares of it in jam, then covering them in chocolate. Petit Fours here I come! This cake is very easy to make although I thought it was a bit dish intensive. I don't normally use two mixing bowls, but luckily, I have three stowed away. You must try this cake. Yum!
Here's a cook book meme from TWBOY, befitting a food blog. If you read it, consider yourself tagged.
How many cookbooks do you own?
Eighty-four, not counting the beer-brewing books. Do those count? If so, I've got 92.
I also have about 5 or 6 binders full of recipes my family has collected through the years.
Which cookbook did you buy most recently?
Well, I didn't buy these. My dad got them from the library in Newhalem - they were getting rid of them. I've gotten quite a few cookbooks from them. They are:
-The Cafe Cookbook by: Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers
-Lidia's Italian Table by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich
-Patricia Wells At Home In Provence: Recipes Inspired by Her Farmhouse in France
Which is the cookbook that you read most recently?
Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America. This is one of my favorite cookbooks and contains my favorite bread recipe, Challah.
Name 5 cookbooks that mean a lot to you.
-The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham
This is by far my most favoriteest cooking book ever. I always refer to it for those long and hearty Sunday breakfasts. She has every yummy breakfast food you could possibly crave in the morning. She even tells you how to make coffee - which is handy as I always forget the portions. My favorite recipes: Potato Custard, Raw Apple Muffins, Baked Rice Pudding, Shirred Eggs, Bridge Creek Heavenly Hots, and Cream Biscuits. This book will always have a soft, buttery spot in my heart.
- The Lady and Sons Cookbook by Paula H. Deen
I lived in Gretna, Virginia for a year and a half and believe me, it wasn't long enough. Once you've had southern cooking you will never want to go back to anything else. I fell in love with sweet tea, fried chicken, grits, corn and lima beans, and okra. I love the hospitality of southerners and the slow as molasses pace of life. Although I can't get that southern attitude around Washington (HA!), Paula Deen's book gives me back the taste. I can't name a favorite dish because I love the entire book.
-Monster Cookies by Helen Witty
I grew up making cookies out of this book with my mom and two sisters. It holds a lot of sentimental feeling for me as 'baking with mom' was a big part of my childhood. It also holds a lot of memories about growing up with both my sisters. As I only have one remaining sister, I would rather not talk about that subject. Great book though. My favorite recipe: Sugar Cookies (which are great with mom tea).
-Baking Illustrated by The Editors of Cooking Illustrated Magazine
I love this book! These great cooks actually make the mistakes so you don't have to! They tell you the outcomes of different variations on one recipe: what sagged, what burned, what exploded. This book is a joy to read and I know my recipes will always turn out perfect thanks to these superb chefs. I don't have a specific favorite out of this one.
- More Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
Marcella Hazan is one of my cooking idols. She's so knowledgable and experienced and her advice is priceless. I learned how to make delicious homemade pasta from this book. It was given to me by my high school librarian ( a knitter!) whom I was great friends with. Whenever I make pasta from this book, I wonder "What is Marnie doing now?" Favorite recipe: Egg Ravioli with Spinach.


allisonmariecat said...

I've been looking forward to your cookbook meme! I'm so glad your Espresso Cake turned out well. I agree, lots of dishes. One thing I do is to whip the egg whites first in my KitchenAid, then move them to a small bowl, then I can do the egg yolk part in the KitchenAid without having to wash the bowl first. You still get the same number of dishes dirty, but you lose one washing of your main mixing bowl. (Yes, I am quite lazy.)

And my juvenile comment of the day...The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham--I didn't know Ron Howard's mom on Happy Days wrote cookbooks!

Oh, and I got my first comment spam. Wow, I feel like a real blogger now :)

Stefaneener said...

Aaaahhhhh -- I love, love, love baking. I love talking about baking. I love seeing your challah! And your garden pics are making me envious -- it's still raining here.

We'll have to compare notes as to what's up in the gardens!

allisonmariecat said...

Ha ha! I just reread your post and realized that the tofu in the stir fry is from the espresso cake. Duh.

I've mentioned how observant I am, right?

KnitPastis said...

GREAT! Now I'm hungry!It looks so good.