The Recipe Box

I’ve been keeping a food diary – scribbling down the recipes I make, and how they turned out (or fantastically failed). Along with the ingredients and results, I may include some commentary and a dash of metaphor.

5 thoughts on “The Recipe Box”

  1. sarahkift said:

    chipotle potato salad – may 18, 2009

    tonight, a simple potato salad was my side of choice for homemade burgers. I rescued some rheumy-eyed reds from the kitchen dresser drawer, and set them a-boiling. Tossed with shredded carrots, diced pickles, a dollop of mayonnaise, a spoonful of mustard, a dash of white pepper, and way, way too much paprika, my salad looked orange and highly suspect. But I sold it as ‘chipotle potato salad’ and it was devoured, leaving only a few scrapings for tommorrow’s lunch.

    8-10 potatoes
    1 shredded carrot
    4 tbsp mayonnaise
    1 tsp white pepper
    1 tbsp mustard
    5 -6 chopped pickles
    1 tbsp of smoky sweet paprika (make sure you can still smell it, otherwise it might as well be like adding flour to improve the flavor).

    Boil potatoes until fork-tender (meaning, you can pierce them with a fork easily, but they don’t fall apart at the seams) and drain; set aside to cool.

    Chop. Dice. Shred. Mix the spices, pickles, and sauces in a bowl, and add cooled potatoes.

    Don’t be overly concerned about the orangey appearence – chill out, chill the salad, and then serve with an exotic name, pronouncing the ‘chipotle’ like a Spaniard. They’ll love it.

    goes well with: BBQued anything, white fish, Sunday brunch.

  2. sarahkift said:

    $1 pie filling – may 17, 2009

    I love our local food market, because there’s a little stand of almost rotting fruit and vegetables right by one of the cash registers. Everything you find there is a dollar, and you can engage in some creativity simply by grabbing a package of soft pears, a huge bag of sad looking organic apples, or a giant sack of bitter parsnips. (The parsnips made a phenomenal soup which I’ll add the recipie for later).

    I found some lovely red pears today. They were smartly packaged so that the gooey bits were not visible, and I thought I’d put one over the cashier when she rung in my purchase.

    After cutting off all the nasty bits, I sliced them into sections, tossed them with a bit of shredded fresh ginger and the juice of two wilting lemons from the fridge, and set to work on a simple pie crust.

    After rolling out the dough, I cooked the pears in their own juices, adding a pre-mixed (toss the flour and brown sugar together with a fork) cup of flour and brown sugar to the pot. Simmered for a few minutes, then transferred the hot, savory mix to the pie crust, sprinkled with a crumble topping (just mix oats, flour and melted butter in equal portions) and baked for 30 minutes.

    Sweet results aside, I’m so used to consuming the perfect, and setting aside the bruised. I am learning, partly through a much-needed frugality, and a willingness to be spontaneous, that $1 can go a long way if you give the passed-over produce a little loving and a precise cutting. It’s a few seconds of extra trimming, paring, and the occasional incorrigable fruit, with some delicious and surprising results.

    goes well with: vanilla icecream, evening tea with your extended family who are impressed at how quickly you made a pie, and cold decadent breakfasts the next day.

  3. Chili

    I can’t say anything bad about chili – awoke after a late afternoon nap and looked in the fridge. A pound of slowly fading ground beef stared back, along with some sad coloured peppers, a few limp carrots, and an entirely too large bundle of celery.

    So I chopped it all (fried the beef with an onion and some garlic in olive oil) and threw it in the pot. Easy. Added some tomato paste, and a can of tomatoes, and let it be. Spices came later – things like paprika can make a standard chili into something exotic, and I tend to like the least glamorous and most effective of all secret ingredients, Montreal Steak Spice, for depth and saltiness.

    With chili, the thing to remember is that it doesn’t really matter how much of a particular item you have, rather, it’s the combination of everything you have. And let it simmer for awhile.

  4. Kale, dressed up for dinner.

    We all know kale, the tough leafy green that my husband likes to call astroturf whenever I try to slip it into a salad.

    So when I hit upon this little dressing to pour over steamed kale, I was delighted. Feed it to your kids and your significant others – they’ll love it. I recently recommended it to a friend who has been trying to get her kids into kale for awhile, and she said they devoured it.

    Steam a head of kale for about 15 minutes, or until it goes soft.

    Mix peanut butter, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and olive oil in equal parts (about a tbsp each) and a pinch of salt, and toss with the kale.

  5. Pancakes

    I have a deep, abiding pride when it comes to pancakes. Perfecting my skills over a massive grill that held 54 cakes at a time means that I get a bit obsessive over these simple breakfast foods.

    Last night, I made them for dinner – and just wanted to share a few pancake guidelines. Most recipes are fine – just substitute rice milk for dairy, and add a little bit of wheat germ, and your loved ones will never know how healthy they really are, while indulging in syrup and butter.

    The most important thing to remember about pancakes is to let them sit. Whisk all the dry ingredients together, then add the wet, and have a cup of tea. Wait just a little longer than you think reasonable, and you’ll find your batter has fluffed up all by itself. They should almost be the consistency of a good chocolate mousse – and on a warm pan, they’ll cook even quicker than ones that have been overly whisked or beaten.

    I also like to add raspberries, chocolate, and blueberries – the easiest way to avoid purple pancakes is to toss your frozen berries in a bit of flour before you mix them into the batter. They’ll be self-contained and delicious, without turning your breakfast monstrous.

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