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foodie weekend

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foodie weekend

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To get the ball rolling, Saturday scuppa helped me make hummus. I wanted to show her how simple it is, since I remember when I used to think, just as she was, that it would be hard to make, right up until I went ahead and did it this spring.

This comes out just about exactly how I want hummus to be, so the only change I regularly make from the recipe on this so far is to increase the garlic, though I did make some with red peppers once. For technique, though, I roughly chop the garlic and then put it in the food processor with the lemon juice and reserved fluid from the can of chickpeas, as I think that's way easier than manually mincing the cloves. Plus, it gets you this lemony-garlicky froth - it might be fun to play with that in some other context sometime.

That was a good lead-in to today, which was all about food.

I have had two cooking goals this year - to do more new recipes and to gear myself toward bulk cooking. I haven't been working on either lately, so I figured a dedicated day for both would help. I have a new third goal, though, which is to use up a bunch of the stuff that I've bought and and not used. That's the one I went with first, using up the TVP (textured vegetable protein) that I no longer recall why I even had in making a meatfree taco filling. It's pretty good, if you like TVP - which is ok by me.

After that, I picked my recipes and wrote out my shopping list in the late morning, and hooked up with nick_number at noon for grocery shopping. Ok, I guess the ENTIRE day was not all about food, as after the shopping there was an interlude involving the MST of Warrior of the Lost World - not so much about food as it was about the ginormous wtf-ery of an amazingly bad movie.

After that visit to wacky Postapocalyptic Land, I made two recipes for the first time:

Pumpkin-Mushroom Soup (from the Whole Earth Cookbook)
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1/2 c chopped onion
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp curry powder
3 c broth
1 1 lb can pumpkin
1 tbsp honey
1 dash nutmeg
salt & pepper
1 c evaporated milk

Saute mushroom and onion in butter. Add flour and curry and stir. Gradually add broth. Add everything but evaporated milk. Cook, stirring for 10-15 minutes. Add evaporated milk and heat through without boiling. Top w/ sour cream or yoghurt.

This one has been on my list of things to try for quite a while. It turned out to be quite tasty; the curry and the pumpkin offset each other very nicely. About the only real problem I had with it was that I made it in my electric skillet, and when I stirred in the pumpkin, it became thick enough that it started boiling and sending big popping bubbles of curry and pumpkin at me; I added the evaporated milk right away to cool it enough to stop the boil immediately. It's probably a good recipe to make in a double boiler - I bet it's prone to scorching even before you add the milk.

Carrot Soup a la Normande (from the 12 Months of Monastery Soups)

2 onions, chopped finely
8 carrots, chopped finely
6 c water
1 c milk
3 tbsp flour
pinch thyme
6 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
6 tbsp lemon juice
finely minced parsley

Cook onions and carrots slowly in water. Let sit, covered, for 20 minutes. Add milk, flour, thyme, oil, salt & pepper. Blend in a blender and pour back in pot. Add lemon juice. Cook slowly for about 10 minutes, until hot. Serve sprinkled w/ parsley, hot or cold.

My first try from a cookbook that B recommended to me, this one was fairly bland. I figured it would be, but it seems to be better to follow the recipe for the first time. After I got to the place where I was sure what the taste would be, I did some experiments with different spices. Amazingly, garlic powder did not do it for me - I thought that garlic worked in EVERYTHING, but as it turns out, the best thing I found to add was sage. I thought to try it because it seemed like a good idea from... hm, I guess I was thinking of turkey stuffing, which makes not a lot of sense upon reconsideration, but it seemed logical at the time, and more to the point, it worked.

Technique-wise, the blender thing is a pain in the ass, but it was kind of neat to get the blender out again, and I still have all the pieces, so yay. My blender does this exciting thing where the pressure of turning it on squirts some of the fluid out a hole in the top - that is how I once got peanut butter soup on the ceiling - and if you cover it with a finger, pressure forces it out through the threads that screw the lid on instead, so either way there's a guaranteed mess. I should really try my stick blender out. Also, I did the fine chopping in my food processor, so it was a very tool-oriented food prep session.

The bulk recipe of the evening was one that's relatively new to me but has become a stock dish in my repertoire: Lentil Mushroom Stew. I tried a new trick - I improvised a double boiler with nesting stock pots. It worked really well - might have worked even better if I'd really trusted it - but it only barely scorched, and I think that's neato.
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