# Thursday, December 06, 2007
Yesterday I was reading an article on the NY Times about Hanukkah recipes, and decided to whip up some latkes for dinner, since even picky eater girl loves a good latke.  I grated a couple of sweet potatoes, salt, pepper and cinnamon (Vietnamese cassia) and mixed with 3 eggs and maybe 1/2 cup of cottage cheese.  They fried up beautifully on the cast iron griddle, and were a big hit as usual.  I like the sweet potato better than standard for these, as they are easier to cook and the sweetness works well with the cottage cheese.  

Anyway, I had hit upon this plan relatively early in the day, and was wondering what to make to go with them, when I remembered the forlorn can of pickled beets in my pantry at home.  Borscht!  Vikki favors a good cold borscht, so I made it so.  I tossed two small diced yellow Finn potatoes and about 5 cloves of garlic into 3 or so cups of chicken broth, and cooked until the potato was soft, then cooled it down with ice.  When it was cool I added the juice from the pickled beets, as well as the beets themselves (chopped), salt, pepper and the juice of one lemon, as well as about 4 more cloves chopped raw garlic, and some fresh dill.  To serve, I added some sour cream (low fat) and some homemade sauerkraut which was very chunky and crunchy.  I'll definitely be doing this one again.  It was fantastic.  Sweet, sour, crunchy, beety goodness with just enough bite from the garlic.  When we were first married, we lived up stairs from a nice Russian lady who really liked Vikki and was always bringing her food.  This was a lot like I remember her cold borscht, only hers was clear.  I used Pacific Foods organic chicken broth which was not clear, and I'm not much for the skimming.  But the flavor was pretty close, I think.  If only I could find some good dark rye...

Thursday, December 06, 2007 8:01:49 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Tuesday, December 04, 2007
I love leftovers.  There are an infinite range of possibilities for reusing stuff.  I surveyed the fridge last night, and decided to kill two leftover birds with one stone.  I took the last of the kahlua pork and some leftover greens cooked in coconut milk and used them to stuff enchiladas.  I drained the greens, and filled each enchilada with some pork and greens, rolled them up, and topped them with some Tex-Mex style red chile gravy.  Basically instead of the New Mexico style red chile and water enchilada sauce, this is more like standard gravy (begun with a roux and everything) with lots of red chile, cumin and garlic.  To top it off I (or rather the 9 year old) grated a bit of Tillamook extra-vintage white cheddar, which proved just the thing.  30 minutes at 350° and all was good.  They were a bit hit, and I'll definitely be playing with the chile gravy some more.  It would be just the thing for a good CFS.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007 6:22:47 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, December 03, 2007
I had some leftover kahlua pork, so decided to try some kahlua pig and cabbage, which is basically just that.  Leftover pork with cabbage and onions in a little chicken broth.  Very easy, a great way to stretch leftovers, and just the thing to go with kimchi.  I had some from the store that was getting a little old, and yesterday I made up two big batches of napa kimchi with some nice locally grown napa cabbages I scored at Uwajimaya.  Since I was in the mood I hacked up the cabbage I didn't throw in with the pork and made a batch of sauerkraut too.  It's always nice to have a few crocks of something bubbling on the counter top. 

I also had my first taste of full-on poi this weekend.  I've cooked and mashed taro a bunch of times, but never had official poi until I found some at the store this weekend.  It's certainly bland, but it went really well with the pork and cabbage, and is very filling.  And supposedly it's really good for you.  Plus, there's something just plain cool about purple food.  :-)

Monday, December 03, 2007 10:56:05 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Thursday, November 29, 2007
...unless you happen to be veggie, of cource. :)

Vikki has declared a Tiki Christmas this year, so I decided to start practicing for Christmas dinner and made my first batch of kahlua pork last night.  It worked out super well.  A while back I got gifted this "indoor BBQ" which is basically a big-ass crock pot designed to hold ribs.  That seemed like the perfect vehicle for experimentation.  I got a super-cheap pork picnic roast which came in two pieces.  I wrapped each piece in foil after slathering with a little liquid smoke and Hawaiian red salt, then tossed in the cooker, turned on low, before I left for work in the morning.  By dinner time, the pork was completely falling apart, just like it's supposed to be, and turned out very tasty.  Served with some rice and greens (spinach and mustard greens) cooked in coconut milk with some totatoes and Hawaiian salt.  Mmmm.  The only thing that would have made it better is if I'd had some ti leaves lying around.  You are supposed to wrap the pork in ti leaves before the foil, but Uwajimaya is far from here, and I had to make do without.  

For XMas, I'm thinking of applying the same principle to a turkey instead of pork (since it's Christmas, after all) with maybe some mashed taro and sweet potatoes with pineapple.  And maybe the same greens but made with taro leaves (which are super good, and available at Uwajimaya) instead of the supermarket greens.  Hmmm.  I'll need to come up with some genre appropriate dessert too.  Possibly involving coconut.  The flaming bananas Foster with coconut icecream at the Luau the other day was pretty awesome...

Thursday, November 29, 2007 8:38:15 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, July 26, 2007

Last weekend I made some Viking-style snacks for another SCA vigil, and tried some new stuff this time.  I made a big batch of skyr, and needed to make use of it, so I mixed some skyr with honey, then added some little dried prunes and hazelnuts fried in butter.  This worked out really nicely, and includes ingredients common in the archeological record.  It was quite good with the barley flat bread.  I'm thinking it would be even better filling the barley pancakes.  Hmm.

The other new one was some oatcakes, which were just butter, honey, oatflour and rolled oats (and maybe a bit too much salt).  Baked until cookie like.  They were a lot like simple (salty) oatmeal cookies.  Good with herring. :-)

Thursday, July 26, 2007 7:15:07 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, July 05, 2007

I just got a copy of the recently released

 


Sippin' Safari: In Search of the Great "Lost" Tropical Drink Recipes... and the People Behind Them

 

and it's proving to be quite an excellent book.  Jeff "Beachbum" Berry has authored three previous books on Tiki drinks ( Beachbum Berry's Grog Log, Beachbum Berry's Intoxica!, and Beachbum Berry's Taboo Table) and the food that goes with them, and this is his finest work to date. 

In his quest to recover the lost art of the faux tropical drink, he's done a truly amazing amount of legwork and research.  Sippin' Safari is as much a work of history as it is a drink book.  Mr. Berry tracked down an interviewed a number of famous (in the right circles) waiters and bartenders from the old tiki bars and gotten their recipes first hand, doing some detective work along the way.  There's a whole chapter on tracking down the Zombie recipe (which I still haven't tried, as it takes a bit of prep), tracking down leads and referencing a copy of a 1937 bartenders notebook.  Cool stuff, both from the tiki and research perspectives. 

The book is filled with pictures of classic tiki bars, old drink menus, the bartenders and their families, and other interesting details surrounding the original 30s-70's tiki scene. 

If you are into tiki, history, or both, this is well worth the read.

Thursday, July 05, 2007 9:29:52 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, June 27, 2007

being a recently converted Tiki enthusiast, I've been experimenting with a number of fine Tiki drinks, including the Mai Tai.  It's hard to go too wrong with a decently made Mai Tai, but there's still room for both error and improvement.  After checking out some of the advice on Tiki Central, last night I tried one with fresh Key lime juice (instead of fresh Meyer lime) and homemade Orgeat (made to this recipe) instead of the commercial Torani stuff.  The improvement was quite noticeable, and even Vikki liked it (she's not generally a Mai Tai fan).  The Key lime juice was sweeter, and less bitter, and the homemade Orgeat was less sweet, and not so artificially almondy.  So altogether:

2 oz. Appleton Estate Jamaican rum

1.5 oz. Key lime juice

.75 oz. Bols Curacao (the only brand I could find)

.5 oz. orgeat

.5 Malibu coconut rum (not traditional, perhaps, but a very nice addition)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 9:22:46 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, June 21, 2007

I hit on a winner last night.  Even the picky girl liked it.  She went back for thirds, even, which pretty much never happens with her unless dinner consists of mac & cheese or snickers bars.

On a large piece on tinfoil, I laid down a thick layer of baby spinach leaves, and on top of that sliced tomato.

Next came a couple of mahi mahi fillets from Trader Joe's (where the prices for frozen fish are super-reasonable).  On top of the fish I sprinkled some red Hawaiian salt, and about half a can of thick coconut milk.  Chopped onions over the whole thing. 

Sealed it up in foil, and baked at 375° for around 40 minutes.  After it came out of the oven, I topped it with sliced avocado.  Served up with some fried rice with Chinese sausage and sugar snap peas. 

Totally a meal I'd do again, especially after the kid's reaction. 

Thursday, June 21, 2007 6:03:37 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, June 20, 2007

At last night's Tuesday night market, we picked up a mixed flat of cherries, strawberries, gooseberries, red and yellow raspberries, and some boysenberries to boot.  I think the mulberries come later in the season.  The possibilities are endless, but I like either fresh berries by themselves, with some yogurt, or with barely sweetened home made whip cream.  A quick dessert that you can whip up as the mood strikes.

Also at the market was a guy selling game meats (from a ranch in Bend).  He had waterbuffalo, bison, elk, and even yak in a number of different cuts.  I was most tempted by the elk ribeyes.  The elk stew meat started at around $7.50/lb, which isn't too unreasonable, considering the limited market.  There might be some Viking food in there somewhere.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 6:39:49 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, June 19, 2007

At the Sunday market in Hillsboro this weekend I scored some really nice gai lan ("Chinese broccoli") and some snow pea tendrils.  The latter are the stalks that peas grow on, after you take the peas off.  They have a very nice flavor, and stir fry well.  I stir fried both of the above greens with a little ginger and garlic, some oyster sauce, a little dark soy sauce, and some Chinese rice wine.  Just before the sauce went on, I threw in some fresh chow mein noodles I picked up at New Seasons.  Quick, easy, and very tasty.  So exciting to see fresh veggies coming in.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007 6:30:59 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]