Archive for the 'let’s cooking!' Category

Maple Bacon Ice Cream

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Here’s the recipe for the ice cream. The bacon is just bacon. Well good thick bacon (uncured apple smoked from Trader Joes).


Monday, March 1st, 2010

Valentines day in Portland was blah and wet and rainy and gray. We were all feeling a little snarfley anyway so energetic walks in the rain were low on the activity list. We felt somewhat inspired by the pink holiday and decided to make cookies. Ronin’s first cookie baking experience. She was very serious about it and stirred the flour for a long long time. Periodically, she would sample the flour with the tip of her tongue. When she started to spoon it back into the wet measuring cup, we knew it was done.

I used one of our christmas cookie standby recipes (‘christmas logs’) and rolled it out for cookie cutting. I have only made cookie-cutter cookies once before (not counting when I was a kid) and I’m not really sure what recipe you’re supposed to use. I do have have cookie cutters—bugs! Ronin was big into the cutting of the dough and of poking of the fingers into the cutter to eject the dough. It was all I could do to get her to actually taste the dough at first (Ronin is suspicious of all food or food-like substances) but once she got some on her tongue, she was a convert and I had to move fast to keep the dragonflies from being devoured raw.

We didn’t have a frosting decorator squirter thing but we dug out one of the syringes that the hospital sent me home with when Ronin was born (in case I had to do some tricky breastfeeding), loaded it with pink frosting, and that worked quite well. Ronin, curiously, did not need coaxing to taste the frosting. Some things you just know.

Let’s Cooking with Ronin: Nigel and Dog Soup/Pie

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Select a bowl from the stack of bowls on the shelf. Jostle all bowls violently around so that they make an ear-splitting racket; do this for at least two minutes. Put Nigel in a bowl.

Put the bowl with Nigel on the floor. Get the blue pie plate and put it on the floor too. Dog is already in the pot so we can ignore him for now.

Let’s put Nigel in the blue bowl. Nigel pie!

Reserve bowl for later use.

Give Nigel a turn or two in the blue bowl. You may want to put him back in the other bowl and then into the blue bowl a number of times.

[This is the tricky part requiring much skill and physical exertion. I made a video so you can study Ronin’s technique to reproduce at home. Don’t expect to get it right the first time, it takes hours of practice and hundreds upon thousands of repetitions.]

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Dog is done in the pot for now. Let’s get some more ingredients!

Better yet, let’s try the pot out ourselves! You might get stuck in the pot unless you are a little baby. If this happens, scream at the top of your lungs even if the mama is standing RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU just waiting for something to go wrong so she can save you.

That was fun. Let’s get back to cooking.

Here is the baby pan. Let’s put Nigel in it! Smash him in there.

Okay we’re done with Nigel in the pan; put Nigel in the blue bowl now. Put wooden vegetables and corks in the pan. Nice and mix, nice and mix…

When sauteed to perfection, dump them out onto the floor.

Put Dog back in the pot and carefully arrange the wooden vegetables, a champagne cork, and a bottle of travel shampoo.

All done! Time to go to the park!

1 polar bear puppet (Nigel)
1 dog puppet (Dog)
5 wooden vegetables and fruits
1-2 corks (to taste)
1 bottle travel shampoo

YOU WILL NEED: 1 large soup pot, 1 wee saute pan, 1 mixing bowl, 1 pie plate, and something with which to mix/flail.

Carrot Muffins

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

I might have mentioned once or twice Ronin’s aversion to vegetables, or frankly, food in general on most days. She eats but sparingly and is very discerning when it comes to, well, I don’t even know what it is that turns her into a sobbing puddle on the floor. When she was very young and only eating purees, she only ate carrots. ONLY. No rice cereal, no peas, no bananas, no nothing else. Just carrots. Luckily she quickly outgrew that but then she also hasn’t eaten carrots since—acts like we’re trying to poison her if we sneak a bit of carrot into her mouth. I’m overjoyed that she often will accept broccoli but I still spend a great deal of time thinking about ways to get other vegetables in her. The answer: through trickery.

This is a recipe I found online but then mangled somewhat (I do this). It’s not necessarily low fat but it is low sugar sort of. Or maybe not. I don’t know. It has a high carrot to flour ratio, which I like.

[Here’s the point where I said to myself, “I should totally blog this,” and ran for the camera. Clearly this is a not-terribly-photogenic step in the muffin process but I cleared the moldy pear out of the way and shot a photo anyway. Here you can plainly see one carrot’s worth of gratings, three unmolested carrots ruefully awaiting their fate, a bowl of flour, and some dirty dishes.]


DRY (mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl)
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon each: mace, allspice, cloves

[Because I am an insane person, I prefer to use a fine grater for my carrots. This grater is great, mostly. I like it because it is ingenious (container below!) and pretty (i.e., SHINY). The part where it isn’t great is that if you grate for more than two or three scrapes in any single direction, it somehow creates a perfect indentation and no more carrot gets cut (grate grate grate slick slick slick). To keep the carrot coming, you have to constantly turn the grater, which is sort of a pain in the ass. It makes me think of how when you are driving down I-5 en route to ANYWHERE BUT THE CENTRAL VALLEY OH GOD and you pass all those orchards with baby trees planted in perfect rows. They are always painted white or else they have white PVC pipe around their spindly trunks and as you pass them at 80mph they move into a perfect line shooting out to the point of extinction. The trees are of course planted in grid pattern and the major rows show up as bold lines but you also see smaller lesser rows as you view them obliquely, and then rows where you can’t imagine how there could be rows, rows within rows within rows and you only have a second to ponder the how or why and then you are like, in Arbuckle.]

1 cup oil (This is what the recipe says but I usually do 1/4 c oil and 3/4 c applesauce)
4 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar (I know it’s not wet but I’m including it here because you have to mix it with the above two ingredients)
3 cups grated carrot (usually 4 decent-sized carrots)
1 cup raisins (if your raisins are old and crusty, soak them in hot water for 10-20 minutes to plump them up a tad)

[I really need to work on my food porn photography. a. Cool retro hand mixer I got from my grandma Mimi. b. Orange zest would actually be a really yummy addition to this recipe. I didn’t add any—this is an already zested orange that has been living on the counter the past few days, its rind turning into a crisp shell and its interior probably transforming into a funky cider. c. My cell phone: someone might totally try to call me! d. Mmm brown sugar. I confess I only used 2/3 cup this time (I’m turning into my mother). Also I picked through it and ate all those little hard molasses balls.]

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the oil, egg, and brown sugar with a beater. It’s a thick scary mess really and highly satisfying to whir all together. Put this aside and grate the carrot. If you happen to have a food processor, well aren’t you fancy and super awesome and I’m not jealous at all; this recipe will probably take you all of 3 minutes to assemble. If you don’t, grate the carrot using a hand grater. If you are crazy, use the fine grate size. My rationale is I’m trying to fool a highly suspicious toddler into eating The Hated Carrot Vegetable. Basically, if they sold powdered carrot flour, I’d pay big bucks for it and save my triceps the hurt.

Dump wet oil/egg/sugar mixture, carrots, and drained raisins into the flour and mix gently (all that baking powder/soda—gotta be careful!).

Portion out batter into muffin tins/cups/whatever it is you use (I have a non-stick muffin tin and a set of 12 silicon muffin cuplets, which are the cat’s ass). I get about two dozen out of this recipe but I’ve stretched it to nearly three dozen (I go for smaller muffins for no particular reason). Bake for around 20 minutes. I do the toothpick test to check if they are done or not. I try to time them on the inside edge of done but I usually overcook them by accident. They are still good. Best of all, Ronin actually likes them.

[This is why my muffins get overcooked. I can’t figure out where anything is and I never remember which direction is more or less heat. Sad. I suck at normal ovens too though so I take it in stride.]

(They are even better iced with cream cheese frosting, but I am a mean mama and typically deny Ronin such extravagances. I usually freeze the ones I won’t use immediately and thaw them on an as-needed basis.)

Apple Pie

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

apple pie

About three weeks ago, we went to Eugene to raid Joshua’s mom’s apple trees (and her plum tree, and her baby pear tree which yielded four delicious pears, and her rhubarb, and the volunteer basil, and the local blackberry bushes, etc.) and we returned with probably fifty pounds of produce. I washed and froze six quarts of berries, a couple quarts of plum/rhubarb pie filling, and so far, three quarts of apple pie filling. We still probably have 20 pounds to go.

apple pie

[Deer hanging out under the plum tree.]

We have been making a lot of apple pies and here’s the recipe I’ve been using. I tend to prefer a spice-rich pie.


Crust (this makes a full top and bottom crust):
* 2.5 cups flour.
* 1 teaspoon salt.
* 2-3 tablespoons sugar.
* 1/4 teaspoon mace.
* 2 sticks butter.

Cut the butter into the flour mix (quickly), ball into two blobs and wrap them as flattened discs (quick! quick!) and get them into the refrigerator for an hour. Once I was lax on the speed and only refrigerated them for maybe 4 or 5 minutes. I was not in a pie waiting mood. The pie was good but the crust was a little tougher than usual.

* Lot of apples. Enough for a pie.
* 1/2 cup sugar–half white, half brown (the recipe I looked at originally said one full cup, which seemed excessive and I made the first pie with maybe 3/4 cup total. It was too sweet and even 1/2 cup is maybe excessive depending upon how tart your apples are).
* 1/4 cup flour
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon each allspice, cloves, and mace
* 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
* 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix it all together until apples are coated. Some prefer to precook the apples first in order to avoid the gap under the top pie shell or to make the pectin do something to the apple which helps it hold its shape when baking (I read something somewhere once…). Whatev. Doesn’t matter if you do or don’t.

Has it been an hour yet? Get one of the pie crusts out of the fridge! Roll it out and plop it into the bottom of the pie pan, load with the apples and stick back in the fridge. Now roll out the top part of the crust and stick it over the pie. Crimp edges decoratively, cut holes in the top, decorate as usual, brush with milk or egg whites, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, etc. Whatever you do.

Bake in the oven at 400 for 1/2 hour, then turn it down to 350 for an additional 40 minutes. My oven is tweaky–as a matter of fact, I’ve NEVER had an oven that worked properly–and so I have to do a lot of checking toward the end.

apple pie

[Perhaps a little overdone; I did not precook the filling in this one and had a gap under the crust.]

apple pie

[More pie! This one possibly a tad underdone but no less tasty.]

Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell