darkemeralds: Melted chocolate in a pot (Chocolate)
Recipe time. I mentioned these the other day and so here, let me share my vices with you.

Chocolate hazelnut little freezer square candy thingies

Melts in your mouth. And in your hand. Hence the freezer. )


Jul. 17th, 2013 10:54 pm
darkemeralds: Poster image of farm-fresh food (Eat Food)
I seem to be on a one-food kick. It happens sometimes. I've been making oatcakes for dinner, like, every day.

Oatcakes )

On an unrelated topic, this new DW slug-URL thing is pretty cool.
darkemeralds: Poster image of farm-fresh food (Eat Food)
I just finished Michael Pollan's newest book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation and I liked it so much that I went back to Chapter 1 and started it over.

Cooked )

Note: the audiobook is read by the author, who does a terrific job. And there's a story in it about a pig named Kosher. Kosher: The Porcine Prometheus.

It's a really good book.
darkemeralds: Poster image of farm-fresh food (Eat Food)
Because the lovely [personal profile] ravurian asked, here's one of my favorite recipes, illustrated.

Warning: Carnivory )


Oct. 9th, 2011 08:43 pm
darkemeralds: Screenshot of Zoe from Firefly, caption "So You've Never Pretended to Fall?" from an unfilmed Firefly script (Zoe)
I just had a lovely dinner of sautéed chanterelle mushrooms, a bratwurst, and a honeycrisp apple. Fall is here. \o/

My Sunday morning rounds to the grocery stores and my Sunday afternoon cooking-for-the-week extravaganza have netted me a large pot of bœuf bourguignon, a dish of kedgeree made to [personal profile] kis' recipe, a crock of carrot salad, a big jar of thinly sliced cucumber in rice vinegar, two quarts of plain whole milk yogurt (being strained and Greekified into a single quart), dried blueberries, the above-mentioned sausages and apples, and now a lovely pot of tea.

Happy sigh.

I did not bring home any chocolate, any nuts, any butter, or any rice cakes. I just can't seem to have that stuff in the house right now without eating all of it. Cheese is a little iffy, too. And bacon. Bacon's right out.

My weight loss has flatlined for two months, and this time it's no mystery: I've been eating too much to keep losing. I'd like to get it back on the downward slope. So in a moment of renewed discipline at Trader Joe's, I walked past the Aisles of Temptation, squared off against my fear of bored starvation or starved boredom, and came home with the makings of dessert-less meals for the whole week.

We'll see. I feel back-to-schoolish and structured this time of year, and it's a good moment for me to set things to rights.

Knife soup

Jan. 31st, 2011 12:44 pm
darkemeralds: Poster image of farm-fresh food (Eat Food)
Any good soup is knife soup, in a way. )

It's pretty, with red, orange, green and beige things in it. I'd have taken a picture but I was too hungry.
darkemeralds: Poster image of farm-fresh food (Eat Food)
I just chopped up every vegetable in the house, sautéed them all a little, and added a can of garbanzos and a bunch of chicken stock. That counts as soup, right?

Talk about satiety! One bowl of that stuff was mighty. (Also pretty tasty.) And there are at least eight bowls left in the pot. And hardly any calories. I'm starting to get the hang of this.

Meanwhile, books. )
darkemeralds: (Cat)
Despite having had to work for a couple of hours yesterday, I've had a lovely weekend, with lots of checkmarks in my "Time With People" goal-box on Joe's Goals. It's practically a social whirl for me: I had a mojito with my buddy Darrell from work on Friday night, then dinner last night with the ever-gracious [livejournal.com profile] serenity_valley and [livejournal.com profile] sr8tontilmornin (conversation compelling, house delightful, food excellent, as always); then coffee with my mother this morning.

I've lost just under 20 lbs--that was a nice Sunday morning treat. It's weird how avid I am to weigh myself each day, after having spent 30 years avoiding knowing that number.

Bike errands today included buying a 2.5 quart Crock-Pot (influenced by the aforementioned excellent food chez [livejournal.com profile] sr8tontilmornin), in which a shoulder of pork is currently slow-cooking in a Chinese style char siu sauce--whisky, honey, star anise, fennel, Sichuan pepper, cassia bark, cloves, garlic...The house smells wonderful. I've never had a Crock-Pot before. I think I'll get good use out of it.

Just finished re-recording the first three chapters of [livejournal.com profile] lovesrain44's Blue Skies From Rain because Audacity swallowed up some bits and I thought I could improve a lot on others. I've got chapters 1 through 10 done now, and I think I'm pleased with it. Only 19 more to go! :D

And speaking of chapters, I finally broke through the Chapter 42 barrier of Restraint. It's not done yet but it's well underway, and everything after it--the Epilogue and the Afterword--is pretty much complete. I plan to post all three pieces at once, the grand finale of a project that has occupied me for well over two years. It will be both wonderful and sad to be done with it.

And, in conclusion, chart!

Tracker detail
(Detail from my tracking spreadsheet. It all means something--mostly "Yay!"--but I like the look of it as a design.)
darkemeralds: Poster image of farm-fresh food (Eat Food)
I've got a pot roast in the oven. I've never actually cooked a pot roast before, but my mom had a small cut of beef in her freezer that needed using, so it's in the Dutch oven with onions and some stock and carrots and a bit of bacon, fragrancing the house on this stormy, Halloween-ish evening.

Meanwhile, the small and really astonishingly expensive chicken I bought at the farmers' market today is in the stock pot on the stovetop. I may need to re-think my flesh-eating strategies at these prices.

There's a beautiful array of green and leafy vegetables, also from the farmers' market, on the cutting board, waiting to become...soup, I think. Or part of a stir-fry. Maybe some of them will go into a green tart à la [personal profile] general_jinjur.

There is one unifying trick to a) staying gluten-free, b) avoiding junk food, c) eating nutritiously, d) not breaking the bank eating out, and e) regulating my caloric intake: bringing my own food to work with me.

And the trick to bringing my food all week long is to do a lot of cooking on Sunday.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Ganache-filled shortbread pillows, Trial Number Three, was a tiny batch of eight cookies, which kind of fell apart before I could photograph them. (The crumbs were tasty, though).

Trial Number Four is approaching the goal. I used 1/16"guide strips to roll the dough, and 1/4" strips to roll the ganache (yes, I rolled it out and cut it--used cocoa powder to dust the rolling pin), and everything came out much nicer.

Big improvements )

I think I'm ready for human trials.


Apr. 26th, 2009 02:52 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
There's the serious stuff in life, and then there's inventing cookies.

I'm trying to invent bite-sized chocolate-filled shortbread pillows. (Why? Because I bought this silicone mold and I wanted to use it for something.) I think I'll call them "coussins ganâchés" because yes, I can totally invent French words.

I've tried sealing ground-up milk chocolate inside the dough, but it got a little burnt in baking. Then I tried Scharffen-Berger chocolate-hazelnut ganache. It held up much better to the heat, but my dough was too thin for it.

Here's a picture of trial number two. )

Round three will be whenever I recover from the chocolate OD and get the urge again.

Ice cream

Mar. 15th, 2009 09:49 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I spent the better part of yesterday making Neapolitan ice cream in the form of a cake for a family birthday party.

It was pretty yummy. )

All sugared out now.

Food Porn

Feb. 16th, 2009 06:01 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
A couple of weeks ago, the women from my workplace went to Southpark (they have a chef, but no Kenny or Cartman--it's on the South Park Blocks, see...) for a snazzy little send-off celebration in honor of one of our number who was leaving the project. It was drinks and appetitzers all 'round, and one of the desserty things was a chocolate crostata.

I've been wanting another one ever since, and because I found the exact recipe online, I decided to make my own.

Food porn ahoy. )

Oh my God. Nobody could eat a whole one of these! You would die of the delicious before you finished.

Goku's buns

Jun. 3rd, 2008 10:39 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] kispexi2 mentioned wanting to figure out how to make the meat buns that the always-ravenous Saiyuki character Son Goku (apparently) enjoys.

Now, I've read the first set of Saiyuki manga, and I've got some of the anime DVDs in my Netflix queue, but I'm no expert and I don't really know for sure what Goku's buns might look ot taste like. (I imagine Sanzo could clue me in...)

But I grew up in Hawaii, and we had meat buns there, and the other day I decided to find out how to make them. I was pretty sure that the Hawaiian steamed bun filled with barbecue pork and called manapua is more or less identical to the Chinese steamed bun filled with barbecue pork and called char siu bao--and I was right. And I figure that Goku would enjoy them under either name.

Goku's Buns, an illustrated tale. Sorry--completely worksafe. )

Note to [livejournal.com profile] kispexi2: Think Goku would still eat these if they had barbecue tempeh inside instead of pork?
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
A couple of months ago, I wrote about orthorexia, a word cited by Michael Pollan in In Defense of Food, coined pretty recently to mean "an obsession with healthy eating."

Well, I guess orthorexia is the latest thing. Biscuit, a co-blogger at Politicook, posted a great article on the subject, provocatively titled "Orthorexia: Real or Justification for an Unhealthy Society?".

In the article, Biscuit points out that what may in rare cases be a genuine and health-endangering eating disorder (where a person becomes so obsessed with right eating that s/he ends up malnourished, underweight, and ill) is being expanded to include anyone who cares more than the average American about healthful eating.

Orthorexia, Biscuit suggests, is becoming the means by which people who feel guilty about their wrong eating attempt to pathologize those who choose to eat better.

Uh-oh. I've got it. )

[Poll #1197864]
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Whoa. It went from winter to summer around here in one day, seems like. A couple of nights ago I was huddling under a down comforter. Tonight I'm sitting out on my porch barefoot, moonlight filtering in through the bamboo (though, honestly? It can't really compete with the poetic glow of my computer screen), a light breeze stirring the leaves.

I've been bento-ing. It's part of Project Empty, really. Simplify, reduce, reuse, eat better, eat less, slow down: an attractive and reusable bento box containing a modest, well-balanced, home-prepared breakfast and lunch, wrapped in a furoshiki, has turned out to be my newest obsession meet a number of criteria in my radically altered way of life.

On my honor, I promise to take this to one of the many, many bento forums online hereafter, but...pictures.

Just this once. )

Now I just need to stop myself from beginning a clutter-collection of bento accessories.

Real food

Apr. 8th, 2008 04:30 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
As I've been journaling, decluttering my house has led to decluttering my diet. I've been actively working at this phase of Project Empty for a couple of months now.

The trouble and joy of the transition from cooked freight to whole, fresh foods is well summed up by my recent experience with that homeliest of satisfying simple food, chicken noodle soup.

The old way: open a can, heat, and eat. The new way? Some extra steps. )

In exchange for the effort and the kitchen aftermath, I get:
  • No mystery substances in my soup
  • Leftovers galore--six meals, suitable for sharing with loved ones, even kids, for about ten dollars
  • Knowing how make my own noodles
  • Significant improvement in a basic cooking skill
  • Satisfying deliciousness
  • The best reason in the world to eat good bread.
So, a big win.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Yesterday's educational encounter with low-grade restaurant food laced with MSG has had some interesting outcomes.

  • I had a panic attack this morning--my first since I really cleaned up my food act several weeks ago, possibly supporting my suspicion of a causal link between MSG and the attacks
  • I've had a developing migraine all day--oh joy
  • I've started reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
  • I've put the documentary "The Future of Food" into my Netflix queue, thanks to a rec from [livejournal.com profile] serenity_valley

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." That's the first sentence in Chapter 1 of In Defense of Food, entitled "An Eater's Manifesto". Pollan goes on to define food in ways that shouldn't surprise any thinking person: the stuff you buy from farmers or the edge of the supermarket, the stuff without much, or any, packaging. The stuff that's no more than a simple processing step or two away from its original state. The stuff that can't be advertised, patented, trademarked.

He spends a lot of the book defining "food" by what it is not. He examines the history of the food manufacturing industry, which increasingly produces what he calls "edible foodlike substances," what I call cooked freight.

I guess Project Empty has entered a new chapter.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
In an unanticipated bonus of Project Empty, I've made a brilliant discovery: I now know why I've gotten so fat! I already knew how: eating too much. But today I figured out why. It has nothing to do with my mother, my sexuality, my deep-seated fear of intimacy, or cigars.

It's all about cooked freight. )

It's a damned good thing I like to cook. I've believed for some time that the only possible way to overcome the fatness epidemic in America is from the farm to the kitchen, one delicious, home-made, real-food meal at a time. Now I know it for sure.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
See, I really do care what you guys think! You voted Strange Flavor Chicken as the dish I should learn to make first, and happily enough it's both an appetizer and not that complicated. I wish you were here to share it with me.

So...how was it? )

Oh my God, it was fabulous!

My sister stopped by and we ate the whole plateful. Enormously satisfying, incredibly flavorful. And, my vegetarian friends, you know what? I think this sauce might be just as nice with tofu.

Next up: hot and sour soup.

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