Friday, March 26, 2010

Food Waste Friday

Not a bad waste week for me this time.

I lost:

1 cookie (can you believe it? That's twice now I've wasted cookies!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grapefruit Vanilla Cake

P and I made a startling and sad discovery recently. We Americans are not the only ones who don't make very good yogurt. We were out doing the grocery shopping, and on the list was the weekly supply of yogurt. Typically we buy Fage, mostly the one with the honey. P doesn't see the point in buying a large tub of yogurt and adding his own honey, because as he likes to tell it, "they use the honey that goes with their yogurt, in the right ratio, and it's already done for you." I think any honey really would be just fine, but that's just me. I digress. This time, they didn't have the honey flavour (that was mostly disappointing for me), but they did have the cherry (which was not disappointing to P, but which I didn't care about) so we got some of that. Also, there was a slot for some Icelandic yogurts. I got the grapefruit flavour and P got the vanilla. He's the main yogurt eater in our house. I usually get half the number of yogurts for myself that he gets, and I mainly get around to eating them when he threatens to throw them away if I don't eat them IMMEDIATELY (for some reason, he is really obsessed with expiration dates). Generally there is some negotiation about "tomorrow, I promise," and the yogurt lives another day (and then I eat it because I get a mean look from him).

As you might expect, he got around to his yogurt first. That day, I believe. And he didn't like it. I was kind of surprised by this, so I tasted it. I liked that the yogurt had flecks of vanilla bean in it, and it was a less synthetic vanilla taste than most vanilla yogurts. However, it was bitter. BITTER. Really, really bitter. As in, I would've kept eating it if my nose didn't wrinkle up every time I tried to take a bite. P wanted to toss it (and the grapefruit one I hadn't even opened yet), but you know how I feel about needlessly wasting food. So instead he put some plastic wrap over the top and tucked it back in the fridge. Three days later, I was told that if I didn't make something with the yogurt like I said I would, it was going in the trash (conveniently, it just so worked out that this threat corresponded not only with a birthday I wanted to bring something to, but with my desire to bring a sweet to a friend who bailed me out of some homework problems this week).

The sad part of this story is within 20 minutes of us deciding the yogurt wasn't to taste, I'd already found a recipe for a grapefruit yogurt cake that sounded good. The tab in my browser sat there, languishing, waiting for me to stop being so lazy. Admittedly, I have had a headache for the last three days, but that's not why I didn't make the cake - I didn't make it because I'm lazy. I guess if browsers could threaten to increase my food waste, I wouldn't be so lazy. So I made the cake. It's a recipe from Smitten Kitchen (again), and it's a recipe that works quite well, even in the face of not-so-great yogurt. The cake is just slightly sweet, which works well for me because aside from bakery frosting, I'm not hugely into super-sweet-sweets. It's incredibly moist and has a subtle flavour, though the grapefruit is still discernible. All in all, a cake I'll make again.

So I just have a few comments about the recipe:

- I used 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt and 2/3 cup grapefruit yogurt. You should use whatever you want, though. If you have some yogurt you don't like, this is definitely the way to go.
- This recipe, when you add the oil, seems like maybe it has too much oil. But it doesn't. Just be patient and keep folding and then eventually it'll all get in there. You might not believe me when you're in the thick of folding, but I swear I'm not lying. I managed to get it all incorporated, about 30 seconds before I was going to pour some off.
- I sometimes have trouble with parchment paper. So if the picture of my cake looks funny, that's why. You'll do better, I'm sure.
- Also as usual, my little comments will be in italics

Anyway, that's it. Hope you enjoy!

"Grapefruit Yogurt Cake
Adapted loosely from Ina Garten

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I might've used more; didn't measure)
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (see above)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 extra-large eggs (I used large)
3 teaspoons grated grapefruit zest (approximately one large grapefruit) (I didn't measure, but I know I used a lot more than 3t)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I went with the free-pour, so I used more)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (see above)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

For the glaze: (I didn't even bother making this part)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, grapefruit zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean. (this took a full 70 minutes in my not-so-great oven)

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup grapefruit juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside. (I might've used more than 1 tablespoon of sugar; I just dumped what was left in the jar into the saucepan)

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the grapefruit-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and grapefruit juice and pour over the cake."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stewed Chicken with Quince

I've had a quince hanging out in my fridge while I figured out what to do with it. I already made my annual portion of quince paste, and really, with only one quince to work with there's no real point in making another (tiny) portion of paste. Ultimately, I ended up deciding that the quince would go well with chicken. Normally I'm not a fan of savoury foods that have a sweet component to them (being more of an acid lover, myself), but the quince isn't blindingly sweet so I thought it'd work out. Fortunately, it did. Hope you enjoy!

1 large bone-in chicken breast
1 quince, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
3 carrots, cut into chunks
1 small white onion, cut into chunks
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (do not drain the liquid)
2 cups celery, cut into chunks
1 cup diced broccoli stem (optional)
2 dried limes
salt and pepper to taste
water
2 teaspoons rubbed sage

Remove fat, skin and bones from chicken breast. Put fat and skin in a skillet (skin should be fat side down) and set over very low heat. When all the fat is rendered and the skin is crispy, drain fat and reserve for another use (I store this in the fridge). Julienne skin and set aside. Put chicken bones in a small saucepan with about 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Let simmer (skim if necessary) for 30 minutes.

Chop deboned chicken breast into 1-2" pieces. Combine in a large saucepan with quince, carrots, onion, tomatoes, celery, broccoli stem (if you're using this; I had broccoli recently and wanted to not waste the stem when I know it can be eaten), dried limes, salt, pepper and sage. Set over very low heat while your chicken stock is cooking.

Once stock is done, remove bones and add to the saucepan of chicken and stuff. Increase heat to a strong simmer and simmer for 1 hour or so (or until you're ready to eat), adding water if needed. After ladeling into bowls, top with pieces of crisped skin*. Serves 4-6 (serves more people if eaten with rice).

* Note: If you don't want to eat the skin, alternately you can be really sweet to the dog and let him eat it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Food Waste Friday

My waste for this week wasn't too bad. Here's what I lost:

1/4 pound cooked farfalle

Friday, March 12, 2010

Food Waste Friday

No waste this week! Thankfully, I balanced out the huge amount from last week!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thumb Print Cookies

I make hamantashen each year for Purim but this year I was just a week behind on pretty much everything, so I didn't get them made in time (okay, I made the dough, but I didn't get them baked until yesterday). Since I was making them late, I decided to use the dough to make thumb print cookies instead. I can't remember where I got the actual recipe from, though I believe it was from aish.com (and if anyone recognises this recipe, please let me know where it's from so I can amend this post with a real link to the original). Anyway, the dough is really sticky and soft so even when chilled, it's horribly difficult to roll out and get the corners to stick during baking (which turns them into weird flat things that I didn't want to show you). It occurred to me after the first batch that thumb prints would work better with this dough. And they did. Hope you enjoy!

Dough:

1/2 cup butter/margarine
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (I use significantly more than that)
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt

Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the dry ingredients. Cut the dough in half, then wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate (up to a week, apparently). Roll to 1/8" thick and cut into 3" rounds. Add 1 teaspoon of filling, then pinch to form triangle (use water on the edge). Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes in an oven preheated to 350F.

Thumbprint directions: Wrap the dough and refrigerate, then pinch off large chunks of dough and roll into golf ball sized balls. Put them on a greased baking sheet and dip your thumb in water, then make a depression in the ball. Fill the well in each ball with filling, then bake 20-23 minutes in an oven preheated to 350F.

Date Filling:

1/4 cup margarine or oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
grated rind of 1 lemon

Melt butter (or heat oil) and stir in sugar and dates. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Spoon into cookies before baking.

Poppy Seed Filling:

1 cup ground poppy seeds
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup raisins
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon oil

Combine all ingredients and spoon onto dough circles before baking.

(alternately, you can just use jams or a nut and sugar filling, which is what I did this year because I ate all the dates as snacks and was too lazy to make the poppy filling)

Friday, March 05, 2010

Food Waste Friday

This week was REALLY bad for me in terms of waste. This will teach me to put off eating things that I know will take 5 seconds to put in my belly. Somewhere in my head, I kept thinking, "I can just eat that tomorrow," except that tomorrow never came. Until, of course, tomorrow meant throwing it away. Hopefully next week I can balance it out w/ a no waste week.

This week, I lost:

1/2 cup bean sprouts w/ lime juice on them
1/2 cup cherry oatmeal
1 large slice quiche
1 serving sweet and sour (I never intended to eat this because I HATE sweet and sour, but I did think P would)

Monday, March 01, 2010

Bean Sprout Salad

Sometimes we get Vietnamese take-out, and I always get the chicken pho. I'm not sure when I moved away from the loveliness of beef tendon (though P kindly lets me eat some of his tendon when he gets beef pho), but for some reason it happened. Perhaps out of laziness regarding making my own chicken soup? Perhaps just for a lighter meal? I have no idea. What I do know, however, is that I am consistently given more bean sprouts than I could possibly fit in my soup bowl (even given that the pho is always two meals for me). This, however, is a good thing in my eyes. When it happens, I always save one of the many lime wedges they give me as well, and this makes for a wonderful salad later. When I crave it and haven't recently eaten Vietnamese I just buy bean sprouts and it works out just as well. I take this little salad all over with me (which is to say, I take it to school and to work. I don't go anywhere else), and all the people who've thought it seemed strange but tried it anyway seemed to enjoy it. Because of this, it occurred to me that maybe I should mention it to you all. Either way, hope you enjoy!

1 cup bean sprouts
1 lime wedge
1-2 tablespoons pickled ginger (optional, but sometimes it's good like that)
torn up cilantro and/or basil (optional)

Combine bean sprouts, herbs (if using) and ginger (if using). Squeeze lime over it, and stir. Eat. Serves 1.