Sunday, November 22, 2009

Persimmon Fruit

I made a really quick sweet treat for after dinner. It involved the persimmons my landlady gave us and some sugar. That’s it. Just two ingredients. How easy is that?

So, here’s what you do. Cut the top off of the persimmon. Peel the fruit with a paring gizmo. Cut it up into a dice. Not fine, just little chunks. I haven’t figured out whether to use the core or not. When I was eating one of them like an apple I ate the whole thing (minus the skin). When I cut it up for tonight’s dish I did not use the core.

The fruit I used was as firm as an apple. My neighbor, Phil, said that his daughter-in-law likes when they get all soft and gummy. I haven’t tried them that way and like them firm. Oi Lin, my landlady, said to eat them when they were firm.

So, cut up one persimmon and put it into a sauce pan. Put two soup spoons of white sugar into the pot. I’m betting brown sugar would be interesting too. Run the sauce pan under the tap and put just a little bit of water in. Turn on the heat and bring it all to a boil. It’s not going to take very long at all. Stir it around with a spoon until the fruit is soft.

I suppose you could eat this as it is for a really sweet treat either hot or cold. You could put it on an English muffin, or a piece of toast, or a roll. Or, do like I did. I put it on top of a bowl of cottage cheese and made a barley duke. My great grandmother Neddie used to make barley dukes all the time, but she used grape jelly and cottage cheese. It’s a lovely cheesey taste with a sweet note.
The pictures I shot were from my new Canon Rebel XSi camera.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Harvesting Basil Seeds

I've had a basil plant out on the patio this season. It's been so nice to be able to step outside and pluck off basil leaves to use in spaghetti sauce and other things that I'm cooking. In California we have a pretty long growing season and the plant is just now starting to look pretty worn.

I went outside today to trim off some of the gangly branches and it occurred to me that I might look for some seeds. The picture of little dried out blossoms in the palm of my hand hold 4 seeds each.
I spent some time out in the sunny weather to extricate a number of seeds shown in the tiny dish.

My friend Barbara told me to put them into an envelope and then into the refrigerator where they will last for years. She said she's got seeds that are 20 years old that are still good.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fig Apple Fruit Spread - Spirited Recipe

So, the guides and I made a Spirited Fig and Apple Spread this evening.

Here's how it started. Our neighbor Arnold came over the other night with a humongous bag of figs. I took some in to work because they like them there and pondered what to do with the rest of them. There were so many and I just don't eat them fast enough. These figs were ready to eat now! By the way, you can click on these pictures and they will get larger.

The guides suggested to me after dinner that I do something with the figs. I fired up my MasterCook program and put fig in the search. Out of 400 some recipes I just wasn't getting anything that made my heart sing. Also, not all of those recipes that came back from the search even had figs in them, so I don't know what was going on with that.

I settled back and one of the guides suggested I put them in a pot and cook them up. I fiddled around on the Internet looking for somebody making fig jam and came up with a recipe. Except I really didn't have all the sugar they were asking for and I didn't have the pectin and I don't have canning jars.

So, from this point on I just surrendered to Spirit and we started to cook. In go the figs into my biggest sauce pan. I rinsed them off, pinched the stems off and just squashed them into the pot. Figs exploding everywhere. On some of the smaller ones I discarded obviously thicker skins but most of the skins went into the pot.

The guides said, "One cup of sugar", which I poured around the figs. Then, they suggested an apple and I remembered that apples could be used to help firm up in the absence of pectin. I took two apples that were so soft that nobody was going to eat them. I pealed them and then grated, on the small holes in the grater, right on top of the figs and the sugar. I took a few trial stirs and set the heat to medium.

This mixture was so thick even in the beginning that bubbles popped up around the sides of the pan. I'm looking at it seeing lumpy bumps and shreds of skin and think, "Ah, the Cuisinart stick blender." Grabbed that and a minute or so later everything was nicely smoothed out. Still lots of tiny bumps from the seed parts of the figs...I'm assuming those are seeds. Anyway, think Fig Newton.

This stuff is so thick now it is bubbling like a volcano and I'm getting splashed. It's hot now too. So, I grabbed a handy dandy screen shield and that helped out with the splashing.

It really didn't cook that long. I saw it turn red which was a really cool color. Got even thicker and tasted delicious. So, maybe 5 minutes tops.

I let it sit for a minute or two and then washed out three containers, one leftover jelly jar, a nice anchor hocking glass container and a small custard dish with a lid. Nothing matched, but if this sets up and I will be sure to let you know, I've got a couple of friends I want to give some too.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mystery Eggs

Can you guess what the eggs say? This is a secret message from DeeDude my husband.


The answer is below

The Answer:

I cooked twelve. I ate one so there's only eleven.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Our Anniversary Dinner

We celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary at home. DeeDude fixed us a pork tenderloin. He went on the internet for inspiration and guidance. Into the middle of the tenderloin he put mozzarella, basil and garlic. Rolled it up and tied it with string. He roasted it in the oven and it was fabulous.These pictures are of him making our most delicious meal.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hard Boiled Egg Message

Here's the hard-boiled egg message of the week from DeeDude.  Can you figure it out?  PCNDAOEL

Answer:  Pauline cooked nine. Dennis ate one.  Eight Left.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Where I Make Mayonnaise With One Egg

I bought myself a hand blender yesterday. It's a Cuisinart style. On and off. The one I used to have was cordless and had a milk whipper. They don't seem to make that kind anymore and I'd been wanting one. Got the yen tonight to make something.

This could be titled One Egg Mayonaise. I went searching for recipes...some years ago I got into a mayonnaise making frenzy and was trying out all sorts of variations. Wrote them down too. Except, now I can't find them, so I did what all clueless cooks do...I Googled mayonnaise recipes.

Now, technically this is a blog whereupon I get hints and tips from those old naked ones who've passed on. (Tell me again? You don't wear clothes in Heaven?) I'm teasing. Anyway, I did not seek help from on high and decided this time to pound away at it myself.

The recipes I kept coming up with called for either one or two yolks. I hate wasting anything and did not particularly want to freeze the egg whites. I know I would forget they were in the freezer and I swore all those recipes I'd fiddled with years ago only called for one egg at a time. So, I finally found a recipe that called for one egg. And, it is simple. Here's what I ended up with which is not what was on the internet...I tend to add this and that.

Break one egg into the handy beaker cup that came with my hand held stick beater. Take the juice of one lemon (mine had a slice removed from it, but was mostly all there) and squeeze out the juice. I was looking for 1 tablespoon. It yielded a bit more than that and I did, in the end use the whole thing.

I beat the egg and lemon mixture for a few seconds. Then, I began pouring in the oil. Beating and slowly pouring and before I was done pouring the mixture had emulsifed so well that now the beaker was spinning around too. This is where you wish you had 3 hands. So, I just dumped in the tail end of the oil and with a hand holding the beaker did the up and down thing with the beater. I tasted it and it was horrible. I'd forgotten about seasoning it.

So, I guess I put in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mixed that up. Still sort of yucky. Then, I spun my turntable with all my spirces on it and found some Beau Monde. Definately, some of that would be good. Then, I went looking for some dried mustard. In some of the recipes I'd looked at that was one of the ingredients. Couldn't find any, so this batch has no mustard. Then, I figured, "How about some pepper?" Right. I used some black pepper. Then, on the third or fourth spin of my spice turntable I spied some white pepper. I used some of that. Still, the mayonnaise didn't taste quite like I wanted it to taste.

Then, the sweet tooth in me went off and I thought, "It needs sugar!" Right, that was exactly what it needed. Two tiny spoonful's from the sugar bowl and stirred a bit more with the spatula and voila, a very nice mayonnaise.

One Egg Mayonnaise with No Mustard

1 egg
Juice of one lemon
1 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
Beau Monde seasoning
About 1 teaspoon of sugar (more or less)

Beat in a blender or with a stick hand blender the egg and lemon juice. Very, very slowly add the oil. If you can get somebody in your house to come hold the container while you are doing this so much the better. Leave off with the mixer and wield your spoon or spatula. Begin adding in your spices. Taste as you add so you can be certain you are going to like it in the end. Put it in the fridge. This tastes better after it is cold. Good on sandwiches, tuna, potato or macaroni salad. Lie to members of your family about where it came from and they will tend to eat it. Especially if you use white pepper rather than black pepper.

Be proud of your mayonnaise.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Egg Mystery Message

In our house we like to eat hard boiled eggs. We also store them in an egg carton. Once, a long time ago somebody tried to use a hard boiled egg thinking it was raw. That's when we got the idea of making little X's on the top of the eggs.

This system of identifying eggs has evolved and today my husband, Dee Dude, is in charge of the eggs. Every time he makes a batch he puts a message in code on the eggs. It is my job to figure it out. Most times I can't.

Pauline will never figure this out it has nothing to do with the eggs.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Channeled Plum Muffins

3 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 heaping TBS baking powder
½ tsp salt

½ cup milk
2 eggs
1 stick butter – ½ cup
½ cup sour cream
½ cup cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients together and set aside in a large bowl. Mix liquid ingredients together and mix into dry ingredients just until it all balls up. Gently mix in about 1 cup of chopped up dried plums (or use raisins) and ½ cup of almonds. I took a handful of the plums and chopped them up with my curved mezza luna knife.

Drop into muffin pan (I used paper cupcake liners) and bake at 400° degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 18 minutes. This recipe makes 16 muffins piled high into the cups.

Now, for the interesting stories behind this recipe. I purchased the dried plums from China Town in Oakland yesterday. I did have candied ginger in my basket, but one of the guides suggested I put it back and get the plums instead. Raisins or dried cranberries would work just as well. It’s fun to shop with the guides.

The cream cheese was the store brand. Beyond the fact that my husband gives me grief every time I buy it I will persist in trying to save money and not spend the extra money on the Philadelphia brand even though I tend to agree with him that is the better tasting cream cheese. This time I thought I would fancy it up somewhat by mixing it with agave syrup. You could have heard him next door, so the logical thing would be to try and use it some other way, hence it worked its way into this recipe.

I argued with the guides about using a whole stick of butter. Turns out it boiled over onto the glass turnaround thingie in the microwave oven. I squeegeed off the boiled over part into the bowl, but it might have been slightly less than ½ cup. Close, but not quite.

I also argued with the guides about the sugar. They’re saying, “Collaborate, Dear. We were collaborating.” Okay. Okay. Anyway, they suggested a whole cup of sugar. I worked them down to 2/3 of a cup.

These are really good muffins. DeeDude who is having an adventurous day today might be glad of some comfort food when he gets home. He and one of the Erics were over in San Francisco doing some research on their upcoming book, “San Francisco – Then and Now” the second edition. The first one by Bill Yenne was released in 2002 by Thunder Bay Press. The publishers contacted DeeDude, Eric and Karl to see if they’d like to update the book. So, they were off in San Francisco at the library doing research on it. The problem, though, was when our car broke down. Luckily, it was on a side street near the library and DeeDude moved it to the side of the road to wait for a tow truck. Towed it off to our favorite place in Oakland where they will work on it, probably tomorrow. Meanwhile, DeeDude and Eric will eventually find their way home. He didn’t want me to come and get him. Said they’d either take Bart home or hop the ferry home.

It’s been awhile since I channeled a recipe and this is the very first time I pretty much wrote it down quickly beginning to end. I was able to let the juices flow and didn’t try to interrupt the guides as they were listing off the ingredients. I think it’s a pretty neat way to channel and enjoy the special interaction with the guides.

And, by the way, these muffins also taste very good. This is a keeper.