(sorry for the poor photo–just took it with the phone)

Red bean and coconut rice pudding

Red bean paste: cook the bejeezus out of some red adzuki beans until they’re soft and there’s not much water left. Add a little vegetable oil and brown sugar to taste. Store in airtight container and use as needed.

Coconut rice pudding. (guessing on the measurments here) Combine a can of light coconut milk, about a pint of milk, and 2/3 c short grain rice and bring to simmer. After ~45-60 minutes of occasional stirring, add some vanilla, sugar, and a whipped up egg. Stir vigorously and turn off the heat. Do not eat (a little bossy! -ed.) for a few minutes to let the egg cook. Arguably better cold.

Soup tonight was garbanzo/lentil/kale healthy soup. There’s a bunch of other vegetables in it too and a lot of thyme, dill, with a pinch of lemon and cayenne and some other spices. If I had harissa, I would finished it with that. (shoot i gotsta get some harissa…)

Last night was shrimp pasta in spicy red sauce after beers at Maria’s. Wow, that is one solid bar. Might give Cary’s a run for its money.

Tomorrow: IT’S FRUITCAKE SEASON, MOTHERFUCKERS. I’m going to make as many of these and these as I can handle, using this and this to soak them, respectively. (sheesh. someone needs the light of more readers to keep him under control.)

Made my first struan this week. Recipe is here. Fantastic bread if you have the patience for it. The thing I like most about the recipe is its flexibility for any type of grain in the soaker. I used a handful of three-day-old rice in from the rice cooker, some uncooked brown rice, some coarse corn meal, and the remains of some ancient muesli in the cupboard (had some oats and dates and stuff in it). I also let them rise in the fridge for 48 hours instead of 24 since I worked late a couple nights this week. I made two little loaves and gave one away. I probably should start another one right now since we’re tearing through this li’l guy. Maybe wild rice, or red beans, or flaxseed, or pepitas, or ….

We cooked a turkey this weekend, but I didn’t take any pictures since I was in a hurry. It was really good. On the other hand….I took some photos of a dish from Korea I tried to reproduce about a week ago: eel braised with radish. I also cooked a pajun (no pa unfortunately). Witness.

The pajun was good, but the eel….just okay. I think mackerel or some oily fish would be closer to the real deal. Or perhaps a more substantial eel like this guy.

If you are wondering about the odd title of the post I just found out who the one remaining subscriber is to this blog. Hi Nubia. When are you going to update Threadship?

Been kind of busy, but decided to get this going again, mostly to take notes.

Typical Friday dinner: Had to use up some cider, broccoli, and turkey breast in the fridge. Andrea’s gone so I get to use as much fat as I feel like!

Turkey: Seared with chili powder/salt/pepper in olive oil. Added about 1 qt. apple cider and braised for ~10 minutes till just a touch pink inside (finishes cooking off the pan). Need to watch cider while reducing–can go from sauce to scorched in about five seconds. Finish with butter and fresh sage. Set aside to cook broccoli. Korean influence: chiles, sesasme oil/seeds, butter, garlic, shallots, salt, pepper. 15 minutes, including chopping.

Wine: Martorana Colonna (50% Nero D’avola/50% syrah). On sale–very dark color, strong\rich, needs air. Good with the turkey.

We ate this too quickly for a picture but trust me, it’s good.

  • wide pasta, preferably homemade
  • 1/4-1/3 lb. guanciale (aka jowl bacon)
  • ~4 lbs vegetables (I used about 2lbs cherry tomatoes, 1 lb chard, a few small eggplant, and an onion from our garden)
  • a strong, washed-rind cheese
  • red pepper flakes/pepper/basil etc…

Cook the pasta and reserve a couple ladlefuls of the starchy water before draining. Render the guanciale till almost crispy. I added the onion and eggplant and cooked for a while, then the chard, and finally the tomatoes. The eggplant was I then put in the pasta, the reserved water, and cheese, and then turned off the heat. I then added the herbs and spices to taste. Really awesome if you manage to track down the jowl bacon and cheese. I suspect almost any combination of vegetables would be tasty with that.

tomatoes

I thought that sungolds were indeterminate, but they all seem to be coming at once. I also bagged eight big cucumbers–sheesh!

Andrea & I toasted each others birthdays at the Publican over the weekend. If you haven’t heard of the place, give it a look–it’s pretty darn good.

preserved_lemons

In lieu of our trip to Morocco in a few weeks,my sister sent me a very thoughtful present: a Moroccan cookbook and a jar of homemade preserved lemons. I guess it worked, since I’ve made some Moroccanish stuff the last couple days. Yesterday we had lamb meatballs using lamb from our market that were quite yummy. According to the book, Algerians put eggs on top of their lamb meatballs, which sounded great, but I was feeling a little pudgy from last week’s Gordon conference. Instead I made some cold, minted peas which was fitting considering it was 95 F outside. With the big haul from the garden today, I decided to make a couscous salad with cukes, tomatoes, herbs (tons of parsley, mint, basil, and lavender) with a green olive/preserved lemon dressing. Omomomo…it was pretty great. The olives were stuffed with garlic so the whole thing ended up being wonderfully briny and smooth. I really haven’t worked with preserved lemons before, so I rinsed out about half a lemon and emulsed it with a lot of olive oil. It was like an exotic, savory curd afterward. Anyway, here’s the evidence.

couscous_salad

I also found some pictures from a little adventure the other day. Rather than dragging the dusty weber out, I grilled some squid using some tinfoil, a cooling rack, and my most powerful burner. It worked suprisingly well. I then used said grilled squid in a pa jun with some pickled radish and green onions. So good.

pajun

As requested, here are a few photos from my 3 [!] plots that I’m working on at Argonne. Everything this year was grown from seeds that I bought from this place.

First up: I grew a bunch of sugar snap peas this spring. Here they are about a yard tall in mid-May., but they eventually got well over six feet tall in June before going to seed. I’ll definitely be planting a lot more of them for a fall harvest. The beets and lettuce (leopard oak shown) were also happy with our extended, wet spring. (The lettuce has since gone feral, growing long stalks like a milkweed)
snappeas beets_and_lettuce

I planted a bunch of napa cabbages for kimchee-making. (I just sowed another row in my new plot) I like how they just squeeze together.

cabbages

My peppers and eggplant have been slow-going, waiting for the hot weather to show up, but they’re growing pretty quickly now. I just noticed some flowers on them for the first time today too.

eggplants peppers

I devoted much of one plot for tomatoes. In May, they looked so scrawny compared to other people’s greenhouse plants. Now, they’re out of control.

may_tomatoes july_tomatoes

Last year, after dabbling with a bunch of different types of ‘maters, I decided to focus on three varieties: sungolds [cherry tomatoes], sweetheart [grape toamtoes], and striped romas. While most of the tomatoes are still flowers, there are a lot of little green guys out there now. Check them out:

sungolds sweethearts striped_romas

Since my peas were long gone, I tore out their trellis and strung up my longer-than-expected cucumbers. The bees have been all over these guys.

cuke_trellis2 cukes2

I recently got a third plot, already double-dug, from Julie Cross. She also gave me some Italian swiss chard seeds. It’s early, but I like this cute little plot.

plot3

After all this, I got hungry so I took some of that wild summer lettuce and tamed it into a beef salad with a Vietnamese-y dressing.

dinner

And since there are no x-rays tonight, I think I’m going to make some vanilla ice cream to go with some berries from the market. (Yes, I finally got an ice cream maker!)

sample2_010

I have been learning how to fabricate and characterize small electrodes on our thin film samples over the past couple of weeks. Here is an SEM picture from my latest effort on a bare YSZ substrate. Without any additional information, can you guess what I’ve imaged above?

I don’t have much time to write up our trip to Grant park for Obama’s big win, but it was pretty neat. Andrea put up some photos of the event here. While we were standing for ~6 hours, I often wondered what the Obamas were up to the whole time. I guess now I know, since they have a flickr photostream with new pictures taken during the returns! (thanks dillon!)

Also, I have updated the blogroll with Andrea&Nubia’s sewing blog and Michael Pierce’s enviably-named science blog.

Not that market, the farmer’s market!  With the first frost predicted in the coming days, we say goodbye to the wonder and beauty that is our Oak Park Farmer’s Market.  When fruits and vegetables good for little else than decoration crowd the grocery, our Market has supported our culinary adventures with bright tastes and more nutrients.

Since our hero has been spending his nights with Lady Synchrotron and his days counting sheep, I filled the role and brought back this little bounty.  Pies, roasted veggies, cabbage experiments, and nummy apples await.  Hopefully, our hero will rejoin the daytime living by then and partake.