Sunday, December 04, 2005

I went to the office holiday party yesterday and got to wear my sparkly new earrings and necklace and red lipstick. It's fun to dress up! There were so many lovely things there:

- sprouts and goat cheese wrapped in beef carpaccio
- oysters with lemon and mignonette (also there were clams and mussels)
- shrimp with cocktail sauce
- grilled calamari
- five-spice chicken
- endive (dark red radicchio) with parmesan cheese
- rare skirt steak with broad beans on a bed of romesco sauce
- bruschetta with grilled red pepper and a smear of green sauce (pesto?)
- rather sandy scallops with dabs of orange, green, and white sauces, and a potato wedge
- toast with a salmon salad smeared on top
- chocolate and vanilla pots de creme
- chocolate crinkle cookies
- pineapple with coconut and mint shavings
- sauvignon blanc
- "dark and stormy": dark rum with ginger ale
- "ruby and sapphire": bombay sapphire gin with pomegranate molasses and fresh lime
and I'm sure I'm forgetting things!

I need to remember to try reading some Jack Gilbert.

Today I walked to the beach (four-hour walk from the Sunset--about six miles total) with Sam, and we ate at Hanabi in the lower Haight (veg gyoza, veg tempura, grilled mushrooms/broccoli/carrots, rice, miso soup, salad, pickles), and saw Jen read her hilarious jr. high diary at the Make-Out Room at 22nd and Mission:
and saw Suzie and Ronda and Jennifer's brother Andrew and friend Liz, and Ronda gave me this link to her visit to French Laundry:
which I'll have to read later.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Barbara made this wonderful pumpkin flan for the company potluck, leaving out the chile and pepper. It's from Martha Stewart Living!

Southwestern Pumpkin Flan
Serves 8 to 10

1 cup sugar
1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. chipotle chile powder
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bring sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Cook, without stirring, until sugar turns dark amber, about 8 minutes. Pour into a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside to cool.

Blend pumpkin, condensed milk, and whole milk in a blender until smooth. Add eggs and yolk, cinnamon, salt, chile powder, cloves, and cayenne; blend until smooth. Pour mixture over caramel in pan. Carefully transfer pan to a large roasting pan. Add hot water to roasting pan to come 1 inch up sides of cake pan.

Bake until set and beginning to turn golden brown, about 1 1/2 hours. Let cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. Run a knife around edges; invert to unmold. Scrape remaining sauce from pan over flan. Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I made this for the company Thanksgiving potluck, substituting Quorn tenders for the chicken and toasted cashews for the walnuts. I did add the eggplant and cinnamon, and also some cumin.

(Persian chicken in pomegranate-walnut sauce)
Yield: 4-6 servings

Butter or oil 1/4 cup
Chicken cut into serving pieces 2 1/2 to 3 lbs
Onions sliced thinly 2 each
Walnuts finely ground in a food processor 2 cups
Stock or water 1 1/2 to 2 cups
Pomegranate syrup (see notes) 2/3 cup
Sugar 1 - 3 T
Salt & pepper to taste

Basic Steps: Sauté ? Simmer
Heat the butter or oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the chicken pieces a few at a time and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate.
Add the onions and sauté in remaining butter or oil till translucent.
Stir in the ground walnuts, stock or water and browned chicken pieces. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer 20-30 minutes.
Stir in the pomegranate juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sauce should have a balanced sweet-sour flavor. Simmer another 15-20 minutes till chicken is tender, sauce is somewhat thickened and the walnuts begin to give off their oil. Serve with plain white rice.
Use duck instead of chicken. Trim of all excess fat, and spoon off excess fat as dish cooks.
Pomegranate syrup, sometimes called pomegranate molasses, is available in most Middle Eastern and health food stores. If it is unavailable, you can use an equal amount of frozen, concentrated cranberry juice. The flavor is roughly the same. If using fresh pomegranate juice, use 1 1/2 to 2 cups and cut back on the stock or water.
Add 1/2 tsp ground cardamom or 1/2 tsp cinnamon when sautéing the onions for a richer flavor.
Add a little more sugar if the sauce is too tart, a little bit of lime or lemon juice if it is too sweet.
The chicken can be marinated in a few squeezes of lime juice for a few hours if you like.
A peeled and cubed eggplant is sometimes added. Sauté the eggplant along with the onions. You may need to add a little more liquid to the simmering stew.
Fesenjan, also known as khoresht-e fesenjan, is special occasion food in Iran. It is traditionally made with duck or pheasant in the north of the country along the Caspian sea. It is a thick, rich, sweet-sour dish that improves in flavor the next day.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Here's my idea for a dessert for the Thanksgiving potluck: dip fresh figs in dark chocolate. Wrap the figs in phyllo and bake till crispy.

I am planning to make a rice pilaf with cranberries and pomegranate fake chicken (fesanjan). I'll have to sub cashews for the walnuts. The figs are still iffy.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Tragical Comedy, or Comical Tragedy, of Key Lime Pie: a juggling performance in four acts

2 sticks butter (or use leaf lard or vegetable shortening)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
About 1/3 cup water

1 egg yolk
1 pinch salt

This is the standard Joy of Cooking flaky pastry recipe. Cut the butter into pieces and rub it into the flour, sugar, and salt until it reaches a texture like coarse crumbs, with a few lumps of butter here and there. Pour in the water. Mix just until it congeals into a big rough ball. Chill in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour or more.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and divide it into two balls. Flour a rolling pin and a board and roll out the dough. Place it into two pie pans and trim off the overhanging edges. (If you're patient, put them back into the fridge for another hour or so to let them relax so they won't shrink in the oven. I am not patient.) Put a big square of tinfoil over each pan. (The edges should cover the entire pie crust, to keep it from browning too much at first.) Put raw beans, rice, or pie weights into the foil to weigh down the pie and keep the crust from bubbling and puffing. I have a Ziplok bag labeled "PIE BEANS" in my cabinet. I imagine it is a fairly cryptic artifact to come across, unless you bake pie crusts from scratch.

Begin Act II. Bake the crusts for 20 minutes.

Remove the crusts from the oven, take the foil and pie weights out of them, and prick them all over with a fork. Place them back into the oven for about 10 or 15 minutes to let them brown.

Take the crusts back out. Whisk together the egg yolk and salt. Brush the crusts with the egg yolk to waterproof them, and put them back in the oven for a few more minutes to let the egg yolk cook.

1/2 cup lime juice
3-4 tsp lime zest
1 (14 or 15-ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk, of any fat content
4 egg yolks

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix everything together. Divide the filling between the two crusts. Go to Act III; prepare the cornstarch paste. Place the pies in the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes, until the filling is just thick enough to support the meringue. While the filling is baking, go immediately to Act IV.

1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup water
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar

Mix the cornstarch and 1 Tbsp sugar together in a small saucepan. Add the water very gradually (or the cornstarch will become lumpy) and heat the mixture to a boil, stirring vigorously. Let the mixture boil for about 15 seconds, stirring the whole time, then remove from the heat and cover. You should have a translucent paste.

Place the egg whites in a clean, greaseless, yolk-free bowl. Beat until foamy. Add the vanilla and cream of tartar, then the 1/2 cup sugar, little by little, and then whip at high speed until it forms stiff peaks. It should not look dry yet.

Add the cornstarch paste a little bit at a time, beating at low speed. When all the cornstarch has been mixed in, beat at medium speed for 15 seconds.

Once the meringue has been prepared, it won't last long.
The crust must be filled while it's hot, or it will get soggy.
The meringue must go onto the filling while it's hot, or it won't cook properly--it will get soft and weep, since the bottom surface won't cook as quickly as the top unless the hot lime filling is cooking it from underneath at the same time.

So: as soon as the pies have been filled, the meringue has been whipped to peaks, and the filling has been baked just enough to set it, remove the pies from the oven. Dab a band of meringue around the edges, making sure it touches the crust all the way around; if it doesn't, it will pull back at that point. Fill in the center with more meringue. Smooth it out. Bake for another 20 minutes, and then remove the pies and let them cool.

Exeunt omnes.
Hominy Casserole
Just made this. It's really tasty--I think because of the amazing heirloom tomatoes (from my garden and Monterey Market).

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 medium apple, peeled and chopped (to make ~1/2 cup)--I used Honeycrisp, because that's what I had, but that's probably not the optimal apple for baking.
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 can white hominy, rinsed and drained
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
3-4 leaves fresh sage, chopped
3" stem of fresh oregano, chopped
5-6 large leaves fresh basil, chopped
About 3 cups chopped tomatoes
3 slices of white bread, grated into breadcrumbs (I toasted them and grated off as much as I could--the rest I crumbled into coarse pieces)
About 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Saute the onions, apples, and peppers in olive oil until the onions are soft and beginning to color. Season with the herbs, salt, pepper, and MSG. Add the tomatoes and cook a few minutes longer. Spoon half the hominy mixture into a large casserole dish. Top with the large, crumbled breadcrumbs. Spoon in the rest of the hominy mixture. Mix the fine breadcrumbs and grated cheese and use this mixture to cover the top of the casserole. Dot with butter. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is browned.

Quark Cheesecake
This is still baking as I write this, so we'll see how it turns out...

For the crust:
2 cups almond meal (from Trader Joe's)
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, softened
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a pie pan. Mush all the ingredients together in another bowl. Press the crust firmly into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Bake for about 15 minutes, until brown.

For the filling:
1 container lowfat quark (16 ounces/about 2 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Stir the sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice and zest into the quark. Add more sugar to taste. When you're happy with the flavor, stir in the egg--mix well, until the mixture is creamy, with no yellow streaks of yolk. Pour into the crust. Bake for 45 minutes or so, until the filling is more or less set but still wobbles a little bit. (I'm waiting to see if 45 minutes is an accurate time estimate, and if I should have added another egg for the filling to set properly.)

Coming very soon, because I have a ton of limes: Key lime pie!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto

olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh chanterelles
1 medium yellow onion
1 carrot
2 ribs of celery
1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
2/3 cup white wine
a bunch of veg broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
truffle oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Clean and coarsely chop the chanterelles. Mince the garlic. Heat some butter and oil over medium-low heat and lightly fry the garlic, then add the chanterelles and saute until they release liquid and turn tender and slightly colored. Remove them to another pan.

Heat the broth in one pan.

Peel and finely dice the onions, carrot, and celery into a soffritto. Heat more butter and oil in the other pan and fry the soffritto until tender and golden. Add the rice and fry for a minute or two. Put the mushrooms back into the pan. Add the wine and stir until absorbed. Start adding the broth a cup or two at a time and stirring until absorbed.

When the risotto is done, remove it from the heat and stir in the cheese, a spoonful of truffle oil, and the fresh parsley.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts

- Boil sprouts for around 10 minutes
- Melt butter in a cast-iron pan
- Add mustard seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, sliced garlic, and turbinado sugar and cook until mustard seeds are popping and seeds/almonds are brown
- Saute sprouts until brown
- Season with salt and pepper

- Eat over rice, with an egg over easy, sesame oil, and soy sauce.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Upma/Rulaav (from Rahul's mom)

1 cup cream of wheat ("sooji"--coarse, not instant/quick-cooking)
5 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urid dal
few curry leaves(optional)
3 green chillies
1/2 cup carrots and peas (optional)
small piece of fresh ginger
salt and sugar to taste.
Method of cooking:
Fry cream of wheat in a pan until light brown (dry-without any oil). Take it out in a plate.
Heat oil,add mustard seeds. Once it splutters,add urid dal until it browns. Add curry leaves,ginger and chillies.
Add 2 cups of water to the seasonings and boil the water. Add salt (1 teaspoon) sugar(2 teaspoon), carrots and peas.If you like,you can also add onions and tomatoes. But you have to add these before you pour water in the seasonings.If you are adding onions, add after you put curry leaves and fry the onions in oil till light brown and then add tomatoes.Boil till the vegetables are cooked. Reduce the heat, and add fried cream of wheat and stir slowly till it dissolves in the water(Don't mash the cream of wheat) If it is lumpy, you can add little more water.
Cook on low heat for five minutes or till the water evaporates.Add cilantro chopped if you like. Bon Appetit!

Monday, October 10, 2005

We had a very awesome dinner on Saturday night with Robert, Sara, and Mike. The feast included:

Red wine


Toasted pumpkin seeds roasted at 400 degrees with salt, soy sauce, sugar, and olive and sesame oil

Macaroni and cheese gratinee

Green salad with strawberries, almonds, walnuts, pineapple, and blue cheese, with raspberry vinaigrette

Now and Zen UnTurkey



Roasted carrots, onions, and asparagus with rosemary and garlic and olive oil

Mini-pumpkin pies made with fresh red pumpkin--sliced and baked at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, pulp scooped out, pureed and drained in cheesecloth

Pumpkin pie creme brulee (pumpkin pie filling steamed in a bain-marie at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, then caramelized with a butane lighter)

Vanilla ice cream

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Garbanzo bean "cacciucco"

200 g garbanzo beans; 400 g beet greens; 200 g peeled tomatoes; 3 cloves of garlic; 1 onion; 3 salted anchovies; 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil; 2 Tbsp. grated Pecorino cheese; 4 slices of homemade Tuscan bread

Despite the name, this dish has nothing to do with fish. "Cacciucco" is a term used to mean a mixture of ingredients.

Wash the garbanzo beans and soak them in lukewarm water with a pinch of baking soda for twelve hours. When it is time to cook the soup, wash the beet greens and cook them for a few minutes in a small amount of boiling salted water. Dice the onions and garlic. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and brown the onion and garlic mixture. Rinse and clean the anchovies and add them to the oil, stirring until they dissolve. Drain the garbanzo beans, rinse them under running water, and place them in the saucepan. Chop the peeled tomatoes. Cover the beans with water, add the tomatoes, the beet greens and their cooking water, pepper, and a little salt. Cover the pan, heat until boiling, and then lower the heat and simmer for about three hours, until the garbanzo beans are tender. Toast the slices of bread and crumble them into pieces in individual soup plates or in a large soup bowl, then pour the "cacciucco" over the toast and serve it piping hot and sprinkled with grated Pecorino.

For this recipe, we recommend using a pressure cooker; if using a pressure cooker, the soup only needs to be cooked for about 45 minutes.
Butterfly pasta with green tomatoes

350g butterfly pasta (farfalle); 800g very green, round salad tomatoes; 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil; 2 Tbsp. grated Pecorino Romano cheese; 2 cloves of garlic; basil; salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Wash the tomatoes and cut them horizontally into slices about 1/2 inch thick.
Arrange the tomato slices in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet.
Peel the garlic cloves and mince them with five or six leaves of basil.
Sprinkle the garlic and basil mixture over the tomato slices, along with salt, pepper, and two spoonfuls of olive oil drizzled over the top.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and let it cook for about an hour, until the tomatoes are tender and slightly caramelized.
Take the baking sheet from the oven and mash the tomatoes into a creamy sauce with a fork.
Cook the pasta, drain it, and pour it onto the baking sheet along with the hot tomatoes.
Mix well, making sure to stir in all the herbs and seasonings, and garnish with grated pecorino and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve warm.

* Make sure to use tomatoes that are green all the way through so they maintain their tangy flavor even after being cooked.
Cacciucco di ceci

200 g di ceci; 400 g di bietola [erbette]; 200 g di pomodori pelati; 3 spicchi d'aglio; 1 cipolla; 3 acciughe sotto sale; 2 cucchiai d'olio extravergine d'oliva; 2 cucchiai di pecorino grattugiato; 4 fette di pane casereccio toscano.

Malgrado il nome, questa preparazione non ha niente a che fare con il pesce. Cacciucco e' un termine usato nel senso di miscuglio di ingrediente. Lavate i ceci e metteteli in ammollo in acqua tiepida con una puntina di bicarbonato per dodici ore. Al momento di preparare la zuppa lavate con cura la bietola e fatela cuocere per pochi minuti in poca acqua bollente salata. Scaldate l'olio in una casseruola piuttosto grande e fateci imbiondire dolcemente un trito preparato con la cipolla e l'aglio. Quando il soffritto e' pronto, sciogliete nell'olio le acciughe precdentemente dissalate e diliscate. Scolate i ceci, sciacquateli sotto l'acqua corrente e versateli nella casseruola, copriteli d'acqua, aggiungete i pomodori spezzettati, le bietole con la loro acqua di cottura, pepe e poco sale. Incopherchiate, fate prendere l'ebollizione, quindi abbassate la fiamma e proseguite la cottura per circa tre ore, finche' i ceci non saranno teneri. Tostate le fette di pane e distribuitele a pezzi nei piatti individuali o in una larga zuppiera, versatici il "cacciucco" e servitelo ben caldo spolverato di pecorino grattugiato. Per questa preparazione e' consigliato l'uso della pentola a pressione e, in questo caso, la cottura si limita a circa tre quarti d'ora.
Farfalle con i pomodori verdi

from La cucina di casa del gambero rosso--500 ricette di Annalisa Barbagli

350g di farfalle; 800g di pomodori verdissimi del tipo rotondo da insalata; 3 cucchiai d'olio extravergine d'oliva; 2 cucchiai di pecorino romano grattugiato; 2 spicchi d'aglio; basilico; sale e pepe.

Lavate i pomodori e tagliateli a fette orizzontali di circa un cm di spessore. Ungete la placca del forno con un cocchiaio d'olio e sistematevi le fette di pomodoro in un solo strato. Spellate gli spicchi d'aglio e tritateli finissimi insieme a cinque o sei foglie di basilico. Cospargete il trito sulle fette di pomodoro e completate il condimento con sale, pepe, e con due cucchiai d'olio. Mettete la placca nel forno precedentemente scaldato a 200 gradi e lasciate cuocere per circa un'ora fino a quando i pomodori saranno teneri e avranno preso un leggero colore caramellato. Togliete la placca dal forno e schiacciate i pomodori con la forchetta in modo da formare una salsa cremosa. CUocete la pasta, scolatela e versatela sulla placca con i pomodori ancora caldi. Mescolate bene in modo da raccogliere tutto il condimento e completate con il pecorino e con una macinata di pepe fresco. Servite caldo.

Assicuratevi che i pomodori per questo piatto siano verdissimi anche internamente: solo cosi' manterranno un piacevole sapore aspretto anche dopo la cottura.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Jennifer and I went to Greens. The space is a little too cavernous, but very pretty, and there's a wonderful view.

We shared the Early Girl tomato bisque with fresh basil on top and mascarpone to stir in. Very fresh-tasting and nice.

I had polenta with melted cheese on top and some kind of sauce of white corn kernels, tomatoes, and onions. On the side there were two small grilled zucchinis and a little pile of amazingly flavorful sauteed chard, which left my teeth uncomfortably furry after dinner. After the lovely flavor of the chard and the tomato soup, the polenta seemed a bit too bland--it was good, but sort of a let down.

Jen had risotto with cherry tomatoes and chanterelles.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Casey and I went to La Balompie, an El Salvadorean restaurant in the Mission, on 18th and Capp (a block or two past Mission if you're walking away from Valencia). We met her friends Alisha and Oneida there.

I had a corn pupusa with loroco and cheese, and a rice pupusa with beans and cheese. They mixed up my order and Casey's, and also got one of Alisha's pupusas wrong, and brought an extra order of plantains to the table (Casey said something about her plato, and the woman heard this as platanos).

I thought I'd like the corn tortilla better, but the rice pupusa was actually really nice and toasty-tasting. Cheese oozed out of both and got deliciously browned and crunchy. We had cool, crunchy, sour cabbage slaw to contrast, and a rust-colored, liquid, spicy salsa.

Casey told us about how you're supposed to eat them: cut open the top like a pita, put in some cabbage and salsa, and then eat the whole thing with your hands. The last time she was there with Colin, he had started eating his with a knife and fork, and a man at the next table said to his family, "Look, they know a different way to eat pupusas." Casey turned around and said, "Oh, he's English" and the man got really embarrassed, and then wouldn't stop talking to her in Spanish.

The plantains were nice with sour cream.

I had a glass of melon juice (cantaloupe). I wouldn't get it again--too sweet, I'm just not fond enough of melons.

I also got some disappointing empanadas. They were basically stuffed fried sweet plantains with a thick, stiff, pure white "custard" inside that looked like a hard-boiled egg. Far too dense, oily, sweet, and rich.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I had the most wonderful salt chocolate from Germany. So I don't forget, here is the information from the label:

Pralinenmacher seit 1909
Meersalz schokolade
Eine ueberraschend harmonische Verbindung
Grobes Meersalz aus der Bretagne enthaelt nahezu alle Mineralien und ist reich an Magnesium

Leysieffer made in Germany
wie eh und je mit Kakaobutter - keine Fremdfette

D-49076 Osnabrueck
Vollmilch Schokolade mit Meersalz
Milk chocolate with sea salt
Chocolat au lait avec sel marin

Zutaten: Zucker, Kakaobutter, Vollmilchpulver, Kakaomasse, Meersalz, Emulgator: Sojalecithin, Vanillin
Kakao: 33% minimum
3,40E, 100g

Monday, August 08, 2005

On Thursday, I cut up some of my Early Girl tomatoes and black pear heirloom tomatoes into a salad with fresh mozzarella from Cowgirl Creamery in the Ferry Building. I also added fresh basil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and hazelnut oil. (I was held up on the bus by two shouting women--one fat lady shouting at one Chinese lady to "go back to China" so I missed my usual bus home and decided to stop by the Ferry Building.)

On Friday, Rahul and I infuriated waiters by eating one $3 taco each, with glasses of water, before the Teenage Fanclub concert at Bimbo's.

On Saturday, I cooked tomato scrambled eggs and fried polenta, and we went to see Cyrano de Bergerac and ate trail mix.

On Sunday I ate with my parents at a vegetarian Chinese restaurant. It was OK. We had Hong Kong-style desserts afterwards that were wonderful:

Mango pudding with frozen coconut milk on top
Chilled liquidy/cornstarchy mango pudding with tapioca
watermelon juice with blended frozen coconut milk on top

I cooked some tomato sauce thickened with almond butter and creme fraiche and laced with basil, shallots and red bell peppers (sort of a deconstructed Romesco). It was a bit too rich.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Corn popovers from the New Basics:

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp. coarse cornmeal
1 Tbsp. snipped chives
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup corn kernels (I used frozen ones, thawed in the microwave, without a problem)

1 cup milk
3 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. butter, melted and then cooled to room temperature

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together the dry ingredients, then lightly mix in the wet ingredients (there should still be lumps in the batter). Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Pour 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup, and bake until the popovers are puffed and golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. They will collapse as they cool.

I made this for bookclub.
I also made fresh salsa (tomatoes, lime, cilantro, jalapeno, and salt) and vegetarian posole (recipe from Harley--I didn't use liquid smoke):
Vegan Posole
1 can hominy
1 can pinto beans
1 large white onion
1 bulb of garlic
3 fresh poblano peppers (Anaheim chiles can be substituted) ( you can just replace these with the Chipotles cut up small)
several cans of vegetable broth
canola oil
liquid smoke

Put the beans and posole in the pot, fill with vegetable broth until they are covered with an inch or more of liquid (but be sure to leave room in the crock pot - the stuff expands as it coooks). You can fill out with water if you run out of broth. Add the red chile.

Chop the onion into coarse pieces, and sautee in a bit of canola oil. Separate the garlic into cloves, peel, and slice into fairly thick chunks. When the onions are golden brown, add in the garlic and continuee to sautee. Get the onions just as brown as you possibly can without actually burning them. Add to the pot. There will be some brown residue in the frying pan. Blend it with a little water and pour it in too. Add a couple splashes of liquid smoke. Put the pot on low and cover.

Let it all cook together for an hour or so, then salt to taste and serve.

Very hearty and flavorful, very little labor.

Harley made delicious green chile cheese enchiladas, and Ben brought some yummy crunchy bean and cheese taquitos, and I'm sure there's some other food I'm forgetting due to the margaritas.

also cf.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Salad dressing, served on spring mix from Monterey Market, along with candied almonds:
1/2 shallot, minced
Dollop of Dijon mustard
"White balsamic" vinegar
Toasted hazelnut oil (La Tourangelle--it won a hall of fame award from the Chronicle)
Olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper
Lemon thyme
French tarragon

Put all ingredients into a jar and shake the hell out of it.

Tomato cobbler:
Take tons of tomatoes (I think I had about ten medium-sized tomatoes from the yard)--chop into large pieces and fill the bottom of a large casserole dish. Mix in a couple of tablespoons of flour, salt, sugar, and pepper, a dash of mirin, and 1 1/2 shallots, chopped.

Mix up some cobbler batter:
5 Tbsp butter, chopped into pieces
1 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh oregano leaves
1 tsp fresh sage leaves
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves
5 oz. sharp white cheddar
Mix as you would for pie crust.
Gently mix in 1/2 cup soy milk, then drop flattened balls of dough on top of the tomato mixture. Lightly brush the top with additional soy milk.

Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour.

Standard recipe (3 cups soy milk, 1 cup polenta, salt, pepper, 1 broth cube) with 1/2 package frozen corn kernels stirred in.

Blackcurrant-rhubarb-apple pie
1 pint blackcurrants, stemmed
1 stem rhubarb, cut into one-inch pieces
1 Pink Lady apple, peeled and sliced
Mix together with sugar and about 3 tsp cornstarch and then pour into a pie crust with a lattice top. (1 1/4 cups flour, 1 stick butter, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, water) Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, then 350 degrees for another 30 minutes or so.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Tomato sauce with spaghetti: very simple, basic recipe.
Saute chopped onion until brown. Stir in some chopped garlic too.
Seed and quarter tomatoes and throw them in.
Pour in a dash of sake.
Add chopped fresh basil and rosemary.
Salt and pepper.

Good stuff.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I made a lovely tomato tart last night, but accidentally burned it. The tomatoes (9 Early Girl tomatoes from my backyard plants) were totally amazing, some of the sweetest, most flavorful tomatoes I've ever eaten in my life, and still warm from the sun.

I used half the pie crust recipe from Joy Of Cooking (1 1/4 cups flour, 1 stick butter cut into pieces, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/3 cup ice water) along with some chopped rosemary and a few tablespoons of grated parmesan. Into this I layered snipped leaves of fresh basil; the sliced, seeded tomatoes; pieces of almond cheese, mozzarella-style; parmesan, salt, and pepper. I decorated the whole thing with basil leaves on top, and baked it at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes (it ended up burning when I turned the heat up to broil to brown the cheese, then stepped away for a minute).

Problems with it: too much pepper, too much liquid--perhaps a layer of polenta poured into the bottom would work next time; the inside of the crust never got brown--stayed kind of white and mushy--so perhaps a blind-bake of the crust would be in order next time.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Here's Rahul's posting about our 4th of July recipe:

Delicious Vegetarian BBQ Recipe

My Fourth of July vegetarian barbecue meat turned out to be a big hit, even amongst the meat eaters. Frankly, I'm a little surprised. I thought it was very good myself, but I haven't had meat in a long time, and my roommate (a non-veg) was telling me that if you had eaten meat recently, you'd be able to pick out fake meat really easier. Well, I think he changed his tune a bit with this latest concoction... which, come to think of it, didn't really require any special recipes on my part-- just Bill's Best (a fake meat made from soy and gluten) and Berkeley's finest-- Everett and Jones BBQ sauce.


Mix 3 parts Bill's Best "Chik" with 3 parts Bill's Best "Beaf." Add 2 parts water. Mix thoroughly, kneading the ball for 15-20 seconds. Form into a meatloaf shaped log. Slice the log into narrow, rectangular filets, about 0.35 to 0.5 inches in width (make sure it is somewhat narrow, because the filets need to be thin to cook to a meat-like consistency). Boil the filets for 10-15 minutes in lightly salted water.

Heat cast iron skillet on med-high to high (depending on your range-- ours seems a little weak and needed to be set to high). Set it to a point where the filets can cook and caramelize but not burn. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet. After oil is hot, place filets on skillet, making sure that all pieces have one surface directly on the iron. Cook for a bit, checking every now and then to make sure nothing is burning. When filets are browned on one side and somewhat dry, flip them over and cook similarly on other side (it should take 5-10 minutes to cook one side-- if it cooks faster than that, the heat is on too high).

After both sides are cooked, remove filets from skillet and place in mixing bowl. Pour Everett & Jones (or other delicious BBQ sauce) liberally on filets and stir them until surfaces are evenly coated.

Toss filets back into skillet for 20-30 seconds, adding a very small quantity of water to prevent the BBQ sauce from burning. Allow steam to reheat filets. Remove from skillet and place back in mixing bowl. Add sauce from skillet to mixing bowl and also add more BBQ sauce to mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly. Can be placed on toasted hamburger buns or eaten straight from bowl.

Tastes great with beer.

Bill's Best:
This recipe from CL sounds good:

thai spinach wrap recipe < claymonkey > 07/02 09:49:06

Some one asked for the sauce for this - they had it at Suboy Suboy. This recipe is from Nancie McDermott's "Real Vegetarian Thai" cookbook (Mmmm love the spring rolls!!!) - everything that I've made from it is absolutely fantastic.

It's called miang kum - miang means "leaf" and kum means "a small mouthfull".

1/2 cup toasted coconut
3 Tbs. peeled, coarsely chopped ginger
2 Tbs. coarsely chopped shallots
1 Tbs. Asian bean sauce
3/4 cup veg. stock
1 cup palm or brown sugar
1/4 cup tamarind liquid (I've substituted pineapple juice in the past)
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup toasted coconut
1/2 cup cut-up peeled ginger (1/4 inch chunks)
1/2 cup cut-up limes, including peel (1/4 inch chunks)
1/2 cup cut-up shallots or red onions (1/4 inch chunks)
2 Tbs thinly sliced fresh green chiles (thai bird, serrano, or jalapeno)
1/2 cup salted, dry-roasted peanuts (cashews work too!!)
1/2 cup salted sunflower seeds (I've never used)
large spinach leaves or some lettuce with cupped leaves (like boston, etc..)

To make the sauce, in a mini processor or blender, combine coconut, ginger, shallots, and Asian bean sauce and grind to a fairly smooth paste. Add a little of the stock as needed.

In a saucepan, combine coconut-ginger paste, veg. stock, sugar, tamarind, soy sauce, and salt. Stir well, bring to rolling boil over med heat, stirring often. Boil for 2 min. stirring and adjusting heat so it doesn't boil over. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle boil and simmer, stirring and scraping down sides, now and then, until the saue is dark brown, thickened to a medium syrup - about 10 minutes. Cool sauce to room temp. Can be kept in refrigerator for 3 or 4 days.

When the sauce reaches room temp. it should be a little thcker than real maple syrup and thinner than honey.

To serve, arange all ingrediants except spinach/lettuce in separate heaps on a platter or in small bowls. Separate the leaves and arrange on platter nearby. Place sauce in small deep bowl with a small serving spoon.

To eat, take a leaf, add small amounts of each treat, and top with a dollop of sauce. Fold into a small packet and pop in mouth. Best in one bite.

Yum, Yum!!! These are so good. Suboy suboy uses those little dried shrimp also.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

I made polenta again with the recipe I listed below, and this time stirred in the kernels cut from two ears of white corn. I heated it just till the kernels were warmed through. It was delicious.

Other than that, I ate a bunch of terrible food at the Pride parade:
A Hungarian langos (which Dad and Patty will be very excited to hear about)--freshly fried bread dough, hot and crisp on the outside and soft and doughy on the inside, brushed with garlic oil, spread with sour cream and sprinkled with grated cheese, something firm, maybe Gruyere? $4.

A black cherry drop--black cherry Smirnoff and sour mix. They carded, but there was not enough alcohol in it to get even me tipsy. $5.

A vegetarian corn dog with lots of ketchup.

A cup of black coffee with sugar in it at Cafe do Brasil, where I also beat Kenny at pool while waiting for his friend to call us (I left early, around 6, after waiting with him for a couple of hours, and he came back an hour later--she never showed).

I saw a lot of very Pride kinds of things. Many shirtless men, and a few pantsless ones as well. Amazingly good dancers wearing camouflage pants and nothing else. A big naked hairy bear getting spanked in Leather Alley by a bored-looking professional spanker guy. I also had a three-minute chair massage and was handed about ten Asian-American lesbian event fliers in the space of two minutes in the API alley, which made me feel curiously included--I had been ignored, flier-wise, through pretty much the whole parade, and then I was suddenly mobbed.

It makes me so happy that an event like this exists!

Also, I went to Caitlin's birthday at Solstice after work on Friday, and had a delicious raspberry mojito and some delicious french fries, and played with a dog, and had a generally good time hanging out with nice work folks. Afterwards I went to Chaim's alien-themed party, and had a wonderful time drinking, dancing, and trying to be witty and charming. Well, wonderful until everyone got their crap stolen from downstairs, which was really totally horrible. On Saturday I lay around and reread Fire and Hemlock and did my laundry, and then Kenny and I went to go see Land of the Dead with Martin in SF. It had the best scene ever in it: a guy getting ready to throw a grenade has his hand chopped off by a zombie, and then he falls on his hand, and then the grenade blows him up. Also, there was a lot of entrail-munching. I think that Land of the Dead would make a great film to show at management training seminars. "Lead by example! Communication is vital! Don't get distracted from your goals! With teamwork, we can conquer any obstacle! BRAAAAAAAAAAINS ARE DELICIOUS"

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I made a cheesecake last night:
Beat two packages of Neufchatel light cream cheese with two eggs and 2/3 cup of sugar until creamy. Add a little less than a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pour into a graham cracker crust and bake at 300 degrees for about an hour. Let cool.

I made a nice swirly marble pattern on the top with lemon curd:
Beat 3 eggs with 1/3 cup sugar and the zest of one lemon until light-colored and foamy. Add 6 Tbsp (2/3 stick) of butter, cut into pieces, and 1/2 cup lemon juice, and heat over medium heat, whisking, until thickened. Simmer for a few more seconds, then remove from heat and let cool.

I brought the leftover lemon curd in to work today and we had it with toasted crumpets and double Devon cream from Mollie Stone's. SO GOOD!!! With a cafe au lait from Royal Ground, it made the tastiest, carbiest breakfast ever. Caitlin called it "evil good," which I guess is one step beyond "wicked good." Leah broke her diet and had some too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Also, I forgot to write that I had some nice goat cheese and mushroom pizza from Cheese Board when I went there with Casey on Saturday, and a delicious Jerusalem Falafel with my dad and Patty on Sunday, after our long hike in Tilden Park.

I also found the following rockin' tapes in my trunk:
Milli Vanilli
Wilson Phillips
Paula Abdul
The Immaculate Collection
Here is a recipe for my incredibly trashy, incredibly comforting dinner last night:

Open one can of Spaghetti-Os.
Dump 1/4 tube of Gimme Lean! Ground Beef Style soy protein stuff into the Spaghetti-Os. Mash it up and stir it in with a spoon.
Nuke for 2 1/2 minutes.
Eat while watching Buffy Season 1, Episode 7 (The Witch).

Friday, June 17, 2005

Bradford and I went to Frjtz last night ( in Hayes Valley. It is such a cute little cafe--window seats and a garden in the back--and they serve you thick, crispy steak-cut fries in a paper cone in a milkshake glass. There are a million sauces. We tried the following:
* jalapeno ketchup
* caper and onion ketchup
* curry ketchup (our favorite)
* miso mayonnaise (tasted just like mayonnaise)
* honey mustard sauce
* spicy peanut yogurt sauce (tasted just like peanut butter)

I would like to go back there again. I love french fries.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Made a cabbage casserole at 10 PM, from the Savory Way cookbook:

1 stick brown butter (heat ghee/butter together till nut brown--recipe calls for 4-6 Tbsp)
1 lb. white new potatoes
6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (recipe calls for 2)
2 large leeks, white part only, sliced 1/4 inch thick (recipe calls for 3)
2 pinches red pepper flakes
one head green cabbage (recipe calls for 1.5-2 lbs)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 lb. smoked fontina cheese, sliced (recipe calls for Taleggio)

Make the brown butter.

Peel the potatoes and slice into 1/2" chunks, then boil in salted water for 8 minutes and drain.

Heat half the brown butter in a skillet and add the sage, leeks, garlic, red pepper flakes, and water to cover the bottom of the pan. Stew over medium-low heat until the leeks are soft. Add the cabbage in batches and wilt it over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally. Cook until the cabbage is tender.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cabbage mixture with the potatoes, salt and pepper, the rest of the brown butter, and the Parmesan cheese. Layer cabbage in a casserole dish with slices of cheese and bake for about 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and vegetables are hot.


Saturday, June 11, 2005

Also, I bought the following AWESOME things on sale from Caper:
- Organic imported Parmigiano-Reggiano, 50% off
- Spicy peanut butter
- A MarieBelle Aztec hot chocolate lunchbox--so beautiful!
- A lovely tin of Russian tea
- crackers.
Friday night mostly liquid dinner:

Margaritas and nachos at Leticia's with Marc/Kai/Caitlin/Martin.

Newcastle Pale Ale at the Emiliana Torrini show at Slim's with Martin. I would like a miniature, awkward, funny, adorable Emiliana Torrini to keep on a shelf in my living room, alongside my copy of Pikmin. I bought her CD instead, but it's not the same--she could be any Jane Sigridssensdottir off the streets of Reykjavik singing breathy, quirky little songs. Maybe it will grow on me once I listen to it a few more times.

(No food here: but ran into Bryan at Butter, the white trash club, where he was escorting his friend to a Livejournal date and was very surprised to see me and I would have been surprised to see me there too; hung out with him for a bit but did not partake of the jello shots served from the trailer in the back. There was loud thumping music and a video of breakdancers on the wall.)

A long circuitous walk around San Francisco eventually led us to Sparky's Diner, where the jukebox ate several quarters' worth of songs (we were cheated of La Isla Bonita but did get to hear Oh! Get me away from here, I'm dying) and I had a very enjoyable plate of scrambled eggs, highly spiced soy sausage patties (definitely not Morningstar), and crispy hash browns with green onions. I like breakfast food in the late late nights, and it was a nice change from Denny's.

The next morning, Rahul and I went to Ann's Soup Kitchen and I had the most delicious breakfast potatoes in the East Bay--fried till they have a golden, crunchy crust a quarter of an inch thick. We also walked for about five or six hours while Rahul's broken bike wheel was being fixed (took an hour out of that to go ice skating) and ran into his friend Paul from the Transportation Library and discussed Rowbikes.

I ate some more lentils and rice for dinner, and yogurt covered blueberries, and potato chips, and watched a few hours of The Office.

Also, I canceled my subscription to The Box.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Lovely lemon dessert
Marion Cunningham

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Printable Version
Email This Article

In the old days, every kitchen had a soup pot simmering on the back of the stove. That's not always practical with today's fast-paced lifestyles, but we can still attempt to create the kitchen-centered home that the simmering pot encouraged.

In that long-ago era of sharing meals with others every day, no one would leave the dinner table until dessert was served. In fact, the first question children and other family members would ask as dinnertime neared was, "What's for dessert?" Lack of a sweet finale could cause tears of outrage.

Homemade desserts like lemon pudding cake, one of my childhood favorites, don't have to be difficult. It takes little time to prepare and uses everyday ingredients, yet the results are as comforting as that simmering pot of soup on the stove. This is just the sort of recipe that I hope can inspire you to keep sharing the joys of eating together at home with your family and friends today.

Lemon pudding cake
This is an old favorite of mine from days past, and a lovely light dessert. All the ingredients are mixed in one bowl, but something magic happens in the oven: The batter separates into two layers, a creamy lemon pudding on the bottom, a light sponge cake on top.

1 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Grated zest of 1 lemon

3 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups milk

Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 1 1/2-quart baking dish or an 8-inch square baking pan. Get out a slightly larger pan, at least 2 inches deep, that will hold the cake pan comfortably.
Combine 3/4 cup of the sugar, the salt and flour in a mixing bowl; stir to blend. Add the melted butter, lemon juice and zest and the egg yolks; stir until thoroughly blended. Stir in the milk.

Beat the egg whites in a bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until they are stiff but not dry. Fold the beaten egg whites into the lemon mixture. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

Set the dish in the larger pan and pour in hot water to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.

Serve warm or chilled, topped with whipped cream, if desired.

Serves 6

PER SERVING: 295 calories, 6 g protein, 42 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat (7 g saturated), 135 mg cholesterol, 187 mg sodium, 0 fiber.

Marion Cunningham, Bay Area cooking teacher and author of "The Fannie Famer Cookbook," among others, will publish her new "Lost Recipes" cookbook later this year.

lemon pudding cake recipe from the chronicle

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Made bean dip:
2 fresh Box avocados mashed into guacamole with 1/2 lemon, salt, cilantro from the yard.
1 can refried black beans
1/4 cup? Victoria salsa
Sliced almond "mozzarella" cheese on top
Microwaved for 6 minutes to warm and melt everything

It was OK. Kyle makes it better.

Made basmati rice.

Made some delicious lentils:
Heated to a simmer over medium heat:
1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 cup or so of water

Meanwhile, fried in another pan:
1 chopped red onion
1 head of young garlic, chopped
1 tsp. chopped ginger
Black mustard seeds
2 dried red chili peppers.

Dumped Pan 1 into Pan 2 and simmered till the lentils turned into a mush. Added a couple of teaspoons of soy sauce and some salt. Took off the heat and added the juice of 1/2 lemon and a generous handful of chopped coriander.

Also, polenta:
3 cups milk
1 cup cornmeal
1 tbsp butter
1 broth cube
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Bring milk, butter, spices to a boil, then pour in cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking constantly, and keep stirring over low heat for about 10 minutes, until thickened and pulling away from sides of pan.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Today we went to Manzanita, a vegan/macrobiotic restaurant, for brunch. They have an all-you-can eat special for $12.50. The menu:

- Blanched kale
- Soft rice mix (a brown rice mixture of short-grain, wehani, and wild rice) with carrot-cauliflower puree
- Broccoli-bean miso soup with chopped parsley
- Savory pinto beans with cilantro
- Sauteed cabbage with sesame seeds and hijiki
- Pear-vanilla sauce sweetened with maple syrup
- Salad with creamy citrus dressing
- Twig tea with lemon
- Snow peas, rutabagas, and daikon (the latter two boiled and cut into fry shapes) with pesto. The pesto had ume paste instead of salt.

The food was all somewhat bland, in keeping with macrobiotic principles. The beans were the best, I thought, and the runner-up was the cabbage. It was nice to eat a restaurant meal that felt really healthy.

Rahul also got a decent chocolate(?)-chip vegan cookie.

Friday: Drinks and Scrabble (42 points on the word "Exiles") with Casey at Grove in the Marina, then a hurried dinner with Colin before they went to catch Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Oddly, I ran into Dan on BART going home.
Saturday: Gardening, and Rahul and I made pizzas (one on a cookie sheet, one in a cast-iron pan) using Trader Joe's dough--olives, tomatoes, roasted jalapeno sauce, spinach, mushrooms, and parsley. In the evening we went to Alan's birthday party. I brought him KOTOR PC and a tea pillow. We bowled at Serra Bowl in Daly City, and Caroline made an incredible spread of food--I'm awed!:
- hand-made dolmas with currants and pine nuts
- cherry tomatoes stuffed with mozzarella and basil
- stuffed mushrooms
- fried risotto balls
- seven-layer bean dip
- guacamole and chips
- ice cream cupcakes topped with whipped cream
Sunday: Manzanita (review above), the Verizon store, house cleaning, piggie baths and haircuts, lots of wine, and fava bean puree with lemon, garlic, olive oil, and salt.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I had okonomi-yaki the other day at Sapporo-Ya in Japantown--they served it with parmesan cheese shreds all over the tonkatsu sauce and the cheese was writhing like a whole plate of living animals. It twitched around for about three minutes before settling down.

I like this review of Minibar from the New York Times: "They put on a dazzling show, starting with mojitos that you spritz into your mouth from a tiny silver sprayer and passion fruit whiskey sours. Fragile anise-flavored lotus root chips come with the drinks, presented in a cotton-lined white box.

My wife, Betsey, was instantly besotted with little logs of salmon belly wrapped in pineapple, topped with crispy quinoa for crunch and served with an avocado purée and mandarin orange segments. There was a touch of Serrano pepper in there somewhere, which gave the dish a bounce.

Minibar's deconstructions have helped build its reputation. For Robert M. Parker Jr., the wine critic, Mr. Andrés spread grape-flavored gelatin in a long, thin sheet and topped it with taste dots representing the flavors often detected in white wine, like vanilla, mint and almonds. He devised a Caesar salad consisting of two vertical cylinders of finely sliced jicama encasing romaine and anchovies. A quail egg is perched on one, a mound of shredded Parmesan on the other. His cheese steak consists of strips of Wagyu beef, seared with a blowtorch and wrapped around hollow miniature baguettes that are filled with aerated cheddar cheese.

There is always a conjunction of the intellectual and the playful. A chunk of ravishingly tender lobster is impaled on a kind of plastic syringe; the idea is to eat the lobster while squeezing its juices blended with olive oil from the syringe into your mouth. Believe me, it works.

Our favorite was a sweet-and-earthy frozen beet soup with raw scallops and raspberries, a concerto in red that deserves a place high on any list of modern classics."

Molecular gastronomy is awesome!

I also made a yummy dish last night by braising greens from the Box ("braising mix" of assorted bitter greens) in olive oil with onions and garlic, then toasting broken soba noodles in another pan and adding broth to cook them, and tossing everything together with some soy sauce and sesame oil.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Caramel cookies recipe to try

Cream butter with confectioners' and granulated sugar until fluffy.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup ground almonds
3 cups flour
2 (14 ounces) cans (2 cans) sweetened condensed milk

24-26 cookies Change size or US/metric
Change to: cookies US Metric

5 hours 30 mins prep
Wrap and chill 30 minutes.
If chilled longer let it warm up until it can be rolled.
Or, whack it with a rolling pin until it cooperates.
Roll dough out to 1/4" thickness, cut in 2 1/2" circles and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes.
Cool cookie sheets between batches.
Cool cookies on wire rack.
Carefully (they're fragile cookies) spread some caramel on one cookie and top with another cookie.
Dust tops with confectioners' sugar and enjoy immediately having a crisp cookie-the way they were meant to be eaten.
They will turn soft after setting.
Alternatively the cookies can be filled with the rewarmed caramel as needed.
Caramel: Pour both cans of condensed milk in the top of a double boiler over simmering water and simmer on very low heat 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
Eventually the milk will thicken and brown.
Cool well and it will thicken further.
Refrigerate until needed.
Makes enough for 4-5 dozen cookies.

Monday, May 02, 2005

My stepdad taught me to make the best tomato scrambled eggs in the world.

1. Beat three eggs and add a splash of milk.
2. Heat some oil in a nonstick pan on high heat. Add the eggs with lots of oil and scramble them. Remove to a separate bowl while they are slightly scrambled but still largely runny.
3. Slice two green onions lengthwise and slice again into two-inch segments.
4. Roughly chop three tomatoes and press out the seeds and juice through a strainer.
5. Wash the pan and put it back onto high heat again with oil.
6. Add the tomatoes and green onions and cook them, shaking the pan but not stirring.
7. Add a generous amount of rice wine, sugar, and salt. The rice wine gets rid of the pungent tomato flavor, and the sugar softens the taste from being too sour.
8. Cook until the tomatoes seem cooked through--five or six minutes?--and then add the eggs again.
9. Stir a bit, and cook until the eggs are set.
10. Serve immediately.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Tomato soup for breakfast.

I had dinner at Winterland with Casey:
Strawberry-basil mojitos ($9! and I spilled my first one after drinking only 1/4 of it--they gave me a new one for free)
Togarishi popcorn (=furikake with chili flakes)
Fried little green peppers--some spicy, most sweet--and fried battered baby artichokes (some very fibrous leaves indeed) with saffron aioli
An amazing dish of macaroni and cheese topped with very rich breadcrumbs--brioche? croissant?--with a pear salad on the side.

We saw a Brussels Griffon in a handbag and I fed it some lamb's ear.

and then we took the 1 downtown and ordered tea (green tea w/jasmine--good; chrysanthemum tea w/mint--bad) and "Jade and Ebony" and steamed rice at Shanghai 1930 while we watched her old jazz teacher Suzanne. Jade and Ebony was bok choi and shiitake mushrooms. The bok choi (about 4 total, cut in half lengthwise) was fine, kind of boring. The mushrooms (about 5 total) were good--I think they were cooked with sugar, soy, rice wine.

Lentils and tomato soup for breakfast.

Dad and Patty made me a nice lunch. A Moosewood Collective phyllo dough roll stuffed with sauteed peppers, onions, squash, toasted breadcrumbs, and parmesan, and topped with poppyseeds; an orange and cabbage slaw salad; tofu cubes with sesame; bread and butter; pound cake with an orange glaze. I tasted a very expensive (due to the Ghiradelli and Scharffen Berger chocolate) prune puree cake that tasted like Semifreddi's gingerbread.

Mike stayed for dinner after dropping off our pitchfork. How Amish.
Salad with orange pieces from Mike, lettuce from the Box, and a dressing of toasted hazelnut oil, toasted sesame oil, Dijon mustard, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and lemon juice from Mom's lemons.

Herb roasted potatoes: blue, red, and yellow new potatoes from TJ's and banana fingerling potatoes from the Box; all peeled and sliced in fry shapes, tossed with olive oil and garlic, and sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano from the garden; roasted at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, stirred, cooked another 15 minutes (which was too long--they came out burned) and tossed with salt and pepper.

Quinoa cooked with minced garlic.

Caramelized Minit-Meat Beaf: cooked slices of Beaf, sliced Box carrots, onion, ginger, and garlic in a mixture of butter and olive oil, then poured in a can of ginger ale mixed with soy sauce and sesame oil. Cooked this whole thing dry, until the ginger ale sugar and soy caramelized on the Beaf and veggies.

Dark Scharffen Berger chocolate-covered candied grapefruit peels.

Whipped cream (very thick and luscious cream from Straus Family Creamery) with vanilla and sugar, on some sliced, sugared Box strawberries.

I didn't even get a chance to serve tomato soup and lentils!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I did a lot of cooking last night; I left work a half hour early and had plenty of time to make food before watching ANTM. This morning my new organic box came, with lettuce, strawberries, zucchini, yellow fingerling potatoes, carrots, English shelling peas, and Fuji apples.

Tomato soup: This is from a gift, a little plastic-packaged mix of white navy beans and seasonings. I soaked the beans overnight and when Rahul got home he put them to boil with 8 cups of water for 1 1/2 hrs, then turned it off when he went to meditation. When I got home (just about at 6:30) I just had to drain the beans, put them back in the pot, add 8 cups cold water, the seasoning mix, and 1/2 can of tomato sauce, stir well, and simmer for maybe 15 minutes.

Salad: Picked oakleaf lettuce and arugula from the garden. Made dressing from fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, blood orange olive oil, crushed garlic clove, salt, pepper, and Grey Poupon mustard. Ate with some chunks of a good-quality Roquefort from Cheese Board and croutons.

Carrots: Peeled and coin-sliced the (now soft) carrots from the last box and sauteed them in butter over medium heat with a few sliced cloves of garlic until they started to get brown. Added a generous glug of ginger ale and a few leaves of Vietnamese coriander and let it all cook down with an occasional stir until brown and slightly crisp and caramelized.

Drink: Mixed the rest of the ginger ale with some vanilla vodka and chilled it in the freezer till dinnertime.

Lentils: Sliced two medium yellow onions in half-moons 1/4" thick and nearly deep-fried them over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, until dark brown, with much more oil and time than I normally would have used, per the instructions in the big Deborah Madison book I got out from the library. In the meantime, I put 1 1/4 cups of black lentils on high with 4 cups (1 quart) cold water and a teaspoon of salt, then lowered the temperature and simmered about 15 minutes. I added 3/4 cup of basmati rice and lots of ground black pepper, stirred, covered, and let it simmer for another 15 minutes. I did have to add a little more water. At the end, I stirred in the onions and oil. It was very tasty, and much more minimalist than a dish I would have invented. I had to restrain myself from adding carrots, celery, bay leaf, thyme, etc.

Carrot cake: Had a slice of the birthday carrot cake while watching Strange Days on PBS. So good, with the cream cheese frosting and raisins.

I have leftover lentils, carrots, and salad, raw peas, and a Fuji apple for lunch today. This morning I had a soy cafe au lait and a little bit of cranberry-orange bread from Peet's.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

On Sunday, Rahul took me to the Oakland Zoo--the gibbons were quiet, so the highlights were the close-up adorable meerkats and the giant fruit bats (flying foxes) hanging like Gothic umbrellas or H.R. Giger chrysalises from their mesh, opening their four-foot wings every now and then. At 4:30 we went to Le Theatre and had a lovely meal:

Prosciutto amuse-bouches (which we didn't eat)

Bread and butter (they brought us several baskets of bread, sensing our poverty and gauche manners before we even asked)

"Salade composee" with a creamy, buttery, pungent Roquefort, red-freckled lettuce, a savory garlic-mustard vinaigrette, beet cubes, and honey walnuts

Roasted asparagus salad (Rahul had this--I don't remember the details)

Pommes frites with aioli

Polenta napoleons with roasted eggplant, onions, peppers, and tomatoes stacked on top of the crispy polenta rectangles

Honey mousse (not very light/mousse-like, but very tasty nonetheless; more like a thick cream with ground almonds in it)
On my actual birthday, Monday 4/18, I went home, ate some vegetable ramen (non-fried) with swiss chard, bleached a shirt with a bleach pen, and painted watercolors of nasturtiums.
I had a great dinner at Chez Nous last night with Jennifer, Shara, Bryan, and Marianne. Hiromi and Cindy were stuck at work till 10:30ish and couldn't come. Shara gave me some wonderful blood orange olive oil and yuzu rice vinegar from O Olive Oil and recommended some sea salt caramel chocolates from the Pasta Shop on Fourth Street. She also brought me my Mercenaries PS2 and Xbox copies and beanie and t-shirt. Marianne gave me a lovely necklace in the most adorable bag ever--a hamster blowing out candles on a birthday cake. Everyone treated me to dinner--thanks guys!--and we had:

Strawberry sangria

Very hard and disappointing bread with salt but no butter or oil on the table (Shara hinted about me opening the olive oil sooner but I didn't catch the hint, and didn't open it until it was too late)

Asparagus soup with truffle oil--powerful-tasting and pungent; I didn't realize the taste was truffle oil till I got near the bottom of the bowl

Pommes frites with harissa (nice crisp fries, not very spicy harissa)

Spinach with lemon and garlic

Gnocchi with fava beans and garlic cream sauce (tender and wonderful)

Chicken kebabs with orzo (didn't try this)

Salmon cakes? (didn't try this)

Kobe beef with truffle butter and hen of the woods mushrooms (didn't try this)

Chocolate pot de creme covered in whipped cream, with a thin crunchy cookie. SO AMAZING

Chocolate caramel pyramid (dense chocolate cake in a beautiful marbled pool of caramel and chocolate sauce)

Cannele de Bordeaux? "Like a portable creme brulee" I think is how Jennifer described it--it's a pastry with a crunchy, dark, caramelized outside and spongy inside, all drenched in a sweet pale sauce like condensed milk. They forgot to put a candle in my pot de creme so they brought this out later, on the house.

Bergamot Earl Grey served in a funny little corked, dark-glazed ceramic pot like a moonshine jug

I feel like I'm forgetting something still... anyway, the good company overshadowed the food. It was a very nice evening, and so good to see everyone again. I found out Peter's second son was born the day before (he shares my birthday)!

Monday, April 11, 2005

I made stuffed zucchini the other night, partly with zucchini from Trader Joe's and partly with zucchini from The Box. I was debating a zucchini carbonara or zucchini lasagna instead, but the stuffed zucchini won out.

I trimmed the zucchini, sliced it in half lengthwise, turned it face down on an oiled baking sheet and baked at 400 degrees until browned on the bottom (maybe 15-20 minutes?) In the meantime, I fried up a mixture of chopped yellow onion, chopped garlic, leftover cooked barley cakes (bound with egg, seasoned with thyme, cutting celery, and sage, and fried till brown), chopped sprouted whole-grain bread from TJ's, golden sage, cutting celery, salt, and pepper. Once the zucchini was done and had cooled off a bit, I scooped out the centers with a teaspoon, mixed the pulp into the stuffing mixture, filled each zucchini with a heaping serving of stuffing, put a slice of lactose-free yogurt cheese on top, and baked in the 400-degree oven for another 20 minutes or so, until browned on top. It was very good.

The rest of my food weekend:
Saturday morning, I accompanied Rahul to West Berkeley and had a cup of delicious, hot, sweet soy masala chai at Peet's while he met with Nathaji about the Sacred Space website. We walked a one-eyed white dog--a pitbull, maybe, but she was small and narrow-headed--named Snowball (her ear had been torn, and she was very excited about going out, trying to escape behind my leg and jump on me while I tried to put the collar on her). She was a nice dog. Squirrel, the dark brown resident cat at the shelter, was looking fat, sleek, and happy. I petted him for a bit while he lay on the warm CRT monitor at the front desk and purred. I went over to the tag area to put away my tag and say hello to a rat with lice, and Squirrel came over to me and very self-assuredly jumped up onto the counter, and then straight onto my shoulders, where he settled like a fur stole, purring like a maniac and looking very comfortable. He pushed his head against my face with affection and draped himself around my neck. He didn't use his claws at all--he was very soft all over. Of course, I had allergies for hours afterwards, but it was totally worth it.

I also tried the Best Chocolate Ever at the fancy food store on 4th Street. It was Michel Cluizel's Plantation Grand Cru "Concepcion" and my God, did it taste good.

Rahul and I went to Vik's after the animal shelter, where I had another chai and my Lactaid pill, fried mashed potato cakes with peas in them, covered in a chickpea tamarind sauce (aloo tikki cholle) and Rahul had samosa cholle (samosas covered in the same kind of sauce). We saw Daryll and Melanie there.

I played Diner Dash a lot on Saturday night. It's a step up, gameplay-wise, from Restaurant Empire, at least in terms of the actual flow of a restaurant floor.

On Sunday we finished coloring some posters for the Zachary's contest. Rahul and I drew a toothy green frog-like monster hanging upside-down from a branch, with flying pizzas surrounding it. I don't know what the deal is but it made me laugh whenever I looked at it. Kenny drew a fat man in a blue jogging suit being attacked in the middle of the forest by a remote-controlled robotic unicorn controlled by a small, evil guinea pig. It said "ZACHARY'S [ELEVATION]" on the bottom. We bought some Zachary's spinach and mushroom with lowfat mozzarella and whole wheat crust, and ate it in the children's vegetable garden at Thousand Oaks School. The sun was shining and a small child was laughing hysterically at a green balloon mounted with a noisemaker nozzle: his father would blow up the balloon, let it go, and let it whiz around the schoolyard making a loud whistling noise.

On Sunday night I went down to Mom's for dinner, and met her former student Sarah. We had blue potato Terra chips, green English peas with chopped tofu (smoked?) and water chestnuts, red and black steamed rice, a tomato omelet (sweetened, with green onions, and the eggs wet and creamy--it makes my mouth water just thinking about it), Chinese broccoli, and quail eggs. I also had a brownie that Sarah made.

I forgot to update about last Thursday, when Rahul and I had dinner at Roy's for Aleks and Shane's farewell party. I had an apple martini, a French cosmopolitan (orange vodka and Cointreau were the distinguishing factors), black truffle and asparagus risotto, fresh spring rolls stuffed with avocado, with chili pepper dipping sauce, a fresh cabbage salad with ginger-sesame oil dressing, and grilled tofu with sprouts and ponzu, served on rice. Dessert included a strawberry stuffed with whipped cream, a real tiny cream puff, and a fudgey dark truffle square. It was a nice evening, but I woke up at about 4 AM with a terrible sick, painful feeling. i thought I might have food poisoning but it was not so.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I made a good dinner the other night:
Grilled asparagus spears
Sauce maltaise (hollandaise made with blood orange juice instead of lemon juice)
Quinoa with garlic
Roasted Carnival squash
I also roasted beets, but I haven't eaten them yet.

I was proud of myself: everything, including the broth I used to cook the quinoa, was made from scratch. The asparagus, blood oranges, and garlic were from the Box, as were the carrots and leek ends I used for the broth (though not the mushrooms or celery). The Box = Farm Fresh to You from Capay Farms.

The night before, I made some cheddar pie crust from scratch and used it to make two lattice-top Pink Lady apple pies, which I had a la mode with Robert, Sarah, Mike, Kenny, and Rahul, while watching Pee-Wee's Playhouse episodes. The apples were also from The Box.

Heat a grill pan to high, oil the asparagus, and throw it on there, turning it around after it gets some grill marks on it. Keep a window open--this gets smoky!

Sauce Maltaise:
I don't remember all the exact quantities, but you need to whisk together three egg yolks in a simmering double boiler with 1 1/2 Tbsp. of cold water. Once the yolks are thick and foamy, whisk in some warm (not hot) melted butter--I think it was 1 stick. Also whisk in salt and pepper and some blood orange juice. (The blood orange juice should be a cooled reduction of about 1/4 cup blood orange juice--2 small oranges--with two big strips of zest and a little bit of sugar simmered for about 4 minutes.)

Quinoa: Wash the quinoa thoroughly to remove the bitter saponin coating. Saute a clove of minced garlic in oil, then toast the quinoa in the pan with the garlic until it's golden. Add twice the volume of the quinoa in liquid, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover until all the liquid is absorbed. (Like making rice pilaf).

Squash: Stab a few times and bake on a foil-covered pan in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes.

Beets: Scrub well, and bake in a covered baking pan with 1/2 cup water in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes.

This morning I made a corn and potato semi-souffle from the Whole Foods cookbook: beat three egg whites till foamy (I did it by hand!), slice 2 potatoes (from the Box) and roast at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, mix some flour, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and a can of corn into the egg whites, and make a casserole in a greased square pan by layering potatoes with the corn mixture. Bake for about 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees, until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden. It was a little too bland.

I also had an amazing (and very expensive) truffle and an outstanding square of mint chocolate from the Scharffen Berger factory. I think I would like to move in there forever.

Friday, March 11, 2005

I made an excellent vegetarian ragu the other day:
Chop and saute a yellow onion and a few stalks of celery for a while in some olive oil. (I probably would have used carrots, too, if I'd had them). Add some chopped garlic, too, maybe 3 cloves.

Empty a package of soy "ground beef" into the pan.

Pour in a bunch of soy milk--maybe 1.5 or 2 cups and stir. Let it simmer over medium-low heat while you watch America's Next Top Model. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper, a big squeeze of ketchup (to even out the acidity), a bay leaf, and a small can of chopped tomatoes (1 or 2 chopped tomatoes, or tomato paste, or sauce are all OK too). Stir during commercial breaks. Add some chopped fresh basil right at the end. I think some thyme or oregano wouldn't be bad in there, either.

I served it with tagliatelle (pastasciutta from Trader Joe's) and it was really good. People kept remarking on how good it smelled or looked when I heated it up in the office for lunch.

Good ANTM drinking games:
* Take a shot every time someone says "fierce."
* Take a shot every time the girls squeal.
* Take a shot every time someone screams and covers her mouth with her hands because she's just SOOOO excited.

Also, I got my first organic box delivery, from Farm Fresh To You. More on that later--I want to do a price comparison at Mollie Stone's.

Also, Barbara at work brought in some Trader Joe's chocolate chip meringues and I LOVE them.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I used to LOVE a kind of breakfast yogurt--Yoplait, I think--that was available back in the 80's and early 90's; it had chewy whole grains mixed in with the fruit and yogurt. Not mushy muesli flakes, but real whole grains with a chewy texture. They stopped making it. I was so excited when I found a similar yogurt in Italy--Danone (Dannon) con cereali--but that, too, was a seasonal yogurt, and after the winter I couldn't find it anymore, either.

I got some soft pastry wheatberries at Whole Foods this weekend. I soaked 1 cup of berries in 3 1/2 cups of cold water overnight, then cooked them like rice the next day (heat to a boil, bring down to a simmer for about 50 minutes, until the water is absorbed). This morning I stirred them into a cup of strawberry Dannon Light 'n' Fit and it was perfect, absolutely perfect.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

I made this watercress soup recipe today, substituting nasturtium leaves (without stems, about 4 loosely packed cups) for the watercress. The cookbook (Chez Panisse Vegetables) also suggests using spinach. I had it with some croutons on top, and gave up on the sieve because none of the vegetable was ending up in the soup itself. I have to remember to puree this in the blender, not with the hand blender, because it's too fibrous for the hand blender to handle.

Watercress Soup
2 bunches watercress (~1 lb)
1 yellow onion
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cups chicken stock (I used vegetable) or water
A few parsley leaves
A few tarragon leaves
Salt and pepper
Creme fraiche (I didn't use this)

Pick through the watercress and discard any thick stems.
Peel and slice the onion and garlic thin and stew them in the olive oil, covered, until soft and translucent. Add the stock, bring to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the parsley. Have ready a large bowl half filled with ice and a smaller, stainless steel bowl that will nest inside it and rest on the ice.

Remove the soup from the heat, add the watercress and tarragon, and allow the soup to stand for 5 minutes, no longer. Immediately puree the soup in a blender and pour it through a medium-fine sieve into the bowl on ice. Stir the soup until it is at room temperature, then remove it from the ice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Reheat the soup to a simmer just before serving; do not boil. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish lightly with lines of lightly salted creme fraiche streaked on the surface.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

I'm making this today:
2 large eggs3/4 cup milk1/4 cup water1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon salt1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously grease six 2/3-cup popover tins or nine 1/2-cup muffin tins.
In a bowl whisk together eggs, milk, and water and add butter in a stream whisking zest, pepper, and 1 teaspoon thyme into batter. Add flour and salt and whisk mixture until combined well but still slightly lumpy. Divide batter among tins, sprinkle remaining teaspoon thyme over popovers and bake in lower third of oven 45 minutes. Cut a slit about 1/2 inch long on top of each popover with a small sharp knife and bake 10 minutes more.Makes 6 large or 9 medium popovers.

I also made a baked acorn squash (halved, face down, in water in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, then face up with butter, cinnamon, and sugar in the cavity, for another 25). I plan to season with salt and pepper and eat it along with some of Semifreddi's amazing dark gingerbread.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

I made a risotto this weekend:
I sauteed two kinds of wild mushrooms separately in a pan--one was large and yellow and, according to Rahul, had "the consistency of chicken fat," and the other, which I had more of and which was cheaper, was chewier and more flavorful.

I started with a base of 1/2 onion and 1 carrot and a little handful of chopped cutting celery leaves from the garden. I sauteed these in butter and olive oil, then added about 3 cups? of Arborio rice. I rehydrated dried porcini mushrooms in hot water, then added the soaking liquid, the chopped dried porcinis, and a glass of chardonnay from my Target wine cube. I added about 6 or 8 cups of vegetable broth and generous amounts of Parmesan and butter at the end, along with plenty of salt and pepper (no, the broth wasn't enough for the salt). I chopped the sauteed mushrooms and stirred them in.

The less appetizing-looking side dish that came along with that was the remainder of my purple broccoli, which apparently turns a wan translucent violet-gray with purple undertones, like the skin of a salamander, and oozes a magenta liquid like beet juice, when cooked with an acid. I braised the broccoli with garlic, water, and red chili flakes, then added some lemon zest and lemon juice and salt and pepper. It tasted better than it looked.

Also, I got ripped off by buying "grapple" apples from Safeway. They're pronounced "grape-L," apparently. "Looks like an apple, tastes like a grape!" ran the tagline on the box. It cost a whopping $5 for 4 apples, but gosh darn it, it smelled just like grape-flavored bubble gum, and wow, apple breeding technology has come a long way! I was so excited after my discovery this year of my new favorite apple, Pink Lady, which smells and tastes vaguely floral and very sweet and fragrant.

When I got home, Rahul asked about the grapples, and I said they were apples that had been bred to taste and smell like grapes (my impression from the packaging). He pointed out the fine print that said "Ingredients: Apples, artificial grape flavoring." Fuckers. What kind of a name is "grapple" anyway? At least broccoflower has a nice ring to it. What's next? The Blape? The Grorange? Plus, the verb "grapple" doesn't have especially positive connotations.