Category Archives: food

Advent 2013 day 10 Sockgasm and cranberry desserts

I am tired so instead of recipes typed in by me, you get two that are directly from the internet.

Apple-Cranberry Pie from Runner’s World – Not the healthiest pie on the planet, but it’s got apples and fresh cranberries in it (along with cream cheese, oats, and other good things) and it was relatively fun to make and much more fun to eat.

Oatmeal Cranberry cookies – I found the recipe for these online last year and now it’s our favorite cookie. I’m making more tomorrow. These use dried cranberries and it makes them about a thousand times more interesting that cookies with raisins in them. The cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom make them really special.

The other thing that happened today besides a 25 km round trip bike ride to get my regular (every 2 months) bloodwork done – necessary to make sure my meds aren’t destroying my liver and to make sure I’m still basically mostly healthy – and the usual 3.5 hours of Aikido and a ton of work in between those two things is that I got to wear my new Christmas socks today. We exchanged gifts early because I am a five-year-old and couldn’t wait.

The feeling I get when I get to wear a new and soft pair of socks for the first time can be described better in German: Sockenvergnügen. Apparently this word did not exist until I entered Germany. The best English translation is: Sockgasm!

These big, fluffy socks have fleece on the inside. It's sort of like getting to wear Devil-Kitty on my feet all day long. He's in awe of the socks.

These big, fluffy socks have fleece on the inside. It’s sort of like getting to wear Devil-Kitty on my feet all day long. He’s demonstrating what the inside of these socks feel like for us.

In lieu of music today, here’s David Sedaris reading his hilarious Christmas essay 6 to 8 Black Men.

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Advent 2013 Day 9 Tollhouse cookies

Today was rest day so I don’t even have to feel guilty for not doing anything more strenuous than going for a walk with the Wife to pick up the Italian food from the local (Turkish run) Italian restaurant. They have a good oven so their pizza is good. Some of their pasta dishes are somewhat non-traditional, like ziti with tomato cream sauce and sucuk, but it’s tasty, quick, and easy even if our Italian Hausmeister (which is the guy who takes care of the place for the landlord and I really don’t know the English equivalent – rental manager? Caretaker?) is a bit disparaging when he talks about their food.

So since I didn’t cook today, I can’t blog today’s recipe. Instead, I’ll now type in without looking the recipe for Nestle Tollhouse Cookies and then discuss the changes I’ve made to the recipe to account for Germany. I’ve been making these for upwards of 25 years, I should be able to remember the recipe without looking.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (225 g) sweet butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2.25 cups white flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup nuts (walnuts or pecans work the best. Optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F (190°C)
  2. Cream butter and sugar together
  3. Beat in vanilla
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time
  5. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt
  6. Mix the flour mixture in gradually (especially if using a stand mixer)  until you have a nice stiff cookie dough
  7. By hand, using a wooden spoon stir in the chocolate chips and optional nuts
  8. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet
  9. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown

Ok, so the only things I had wrong were the temperature (I had it set too low, our oven runs hot and with Umluft (convection oven) turned on, we bake correct chocolate chip cookies at 175°C or so.) and the order of the addition of vanilla and eggs. I tend to add the vanilla after the eggs. I don’t think it makes any difference.

So what if you live in Germany and want a taste of home? Baking soda is Natron. You can find it in envelopes in the baking aisle or in the traditional orange Arm and Hammer boxes in the special imports sections of fancy food stores. Either 405 flour or 550 flour works fine. I started with various combinations of the two while trying to recreate American all-purpose flour, but I’ve found that it makes absolutely no difference. You can also use whole wheat flour. Spelt flour (Dinkel) doesn’t really work. Don’t ask how I know that. And now for the big problems: brown sugar and chocolate chips. Brown sugar as we know it in the US does not exist here. I take a tablespoon or so of molasses, mix it with 3/4 cup sugar and put it in the food processor on high for a minute or two. Presto. Brown sugar. Or if you’re lazy, just add the molasses (honey also works, but gives a slightly lighter, fruitier flavor) to the stand mixer when you add the sugar. Chocolate chips also a a rarity in Germany. You have two options: every time you go back to the States, bring a couple of pounds of proper chocolate chips with you (they’re pretty shelf stable if you keep them in a cool, dark, dry place) or use regular semi-sweet baking chocolate and hack at it with the big chef knife until you have chocolate chip sized pieces. The second way tastes fine, but a little of the particular texture is lost because there’s some sort of waxy coating on proper chocolate chips that helps them keep their shape while baking.

Here's a bilingual flowchart of this recipe that I made for my German class with all the conversions between normal units and bizarro American cooking units.

Here’s a bilingual flowchart of this recipe that I made for my German class with all the conversions between normal units and bizarro American cooking units.

I don’t have any pictures of these because they usually don’t last long enough for that. I think this was the first food item I ever learned to make on my own. (Other than say, a can of soup or a fried egg). I love making them and I love giving them to people. They’re like little chocolatey love bites. I almost always will make a nut-free batch first because there’s always at least one person with a nut allergy in any group. I have absolutely no idea how I’d make a gluten-free or a vegan version, but if you’re reading this and you know, please post it in the comments!

Also,if you want to play around with various textures and consistencies, here’s a great article about the science of cookie making. From the article:

Baking cookies is almost magical. You put little balls of wet, white dough into the oven and out pop brown, crispy, tasty biscuits.

There’s also a great time-lapse video of the baking cookies in the article. And speaking of videos, today, I found a great Ylvis parody on Facebook, so you get my favorite Norwegian viral nonsense video along with a few hilarious parodies:

And the spleen, what does it do?

And what if your failing, non-inclusive clothing brand needs a boost? Do they know what the fox says when he’s not wearing a shirt? I think they do. I’m not linking directly to their video because they’re an odious company and I don’t really want to contribute to their hit counts, but this was a total WTF. They’re not even being ironic here.

Finally, your daily dose of cat, complete with bad fox parody:

Until tomorrow when I shall do all the things and then blog about them here, wishing you a happy Monday!

Advent 2013 Day 8 Lazy Sundays

Which for us means that we do the weekly long run sometime in the afternoon after a late breakfast (waffles today) and general lazing about for a couple of hours. So I ran 9 miles this week, all of them today. The Wife ran 23, a much more reasonable number and appropriately spread out throughout the week. Today’s run was nice, through fields, up over a couple of really tall overpasses, along the river and back through the scenic industrial park trail. Incidentally, that last is not meant ironically. They actually have set up a scenic walking/biking trail that borders on the industrial park and various fields and forests on the other side. It comes complete with informative plaques and scenic overlooks. We wore our matching bright orange hoodies and as usual got more than our fair share of smiles and waves. I actually look utterly ridiculous in it, especially when I’ve got the hood up, which I did for most of the run today.

I told you I looked ridiculous in it. This is immediately post-run being greeted at the door by Devil-Kitty

I told you I looked ridiculous in it. This is immediately post-run being greeted at the door by Devil-Kitty. The Wife likes the silly frizz halo that you can see escaping the dorky hood. What? My ears were warm!

Then when we got back, we had a typical lazy meal, made with chicken legs bought fresh from one of the poultry stalls at the weekly farmers market. They actually do taste better than the frozen ones from the store, even the organic ones.

Chicken Rub Chicken

No, this is not an order. Stop it, chickens! Ahem. Serves 2. These are great with a steamed vegetable and some mashed potatoes or baked sweet potatoes. We make this on days when we don’t want to think about what to cook.

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken legs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. Mix the spices on a small plate. Variation is encouraged – the only things that I always end up putting in are the salt, pepper, and paprika, so if you prefer e.g. cumin, curry powder, or chili powder, feel free to add that to the mix instead. But try the cinnamon at least once – it’s really excellent with chicken!
  3. With your fingertips, rub the spice mixture all over the chicken legs until they’re evenly coated and, for most given versions of spice mixture, red.
  4. Place chicken legs on a on a piece of aluminum foil with the edges folded up, and stick in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for about 25‐30 minutes. If you’re making a potato side dish, it’s a good idea to start the potatoes now – then everything will be ready together!
Today's Chicken Rub Chicken with mashed potatoes (and goat cheese instead of milk or sour cream) and some nice steamed snap peas

Today’s Chicken Rub Chicken with mashed potatoes (and goat cheese replacing some of the usual milk and sour cream) and some nice steamed snap peas

On today’s run, I listened to Paul Simon’s Graceland all the way through from start to finish and was reminded once again of just how excellent this album really is. I’ve been listening to Graceland for 27 years at this point and it still hasn’t gotten old for me.

Here’s Rhymin’ Simon singing it in 1991 at the Concert in Central Park (which I was at, at the expense of a final exam in physics)

And me at Graceland with my traveling companion in 1990 when we did one of those things that you can only do in the invincible stupidity of youth. We spent two months on the road as we drove off to look for America, New York to San Francisco by way of Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Austin, the Grand Canyon, the New Mexican desert, and the Pacific ocean.

Me and a friend, going to Graceland, 1990

Me and a friend, going to Graceland, 1990

And cat-hats are the latest trend, really they are. And they do wonders for keeping the ears warm.

Devil-kitty as fascinator. Many thanks to the Bloggess for the inspiration.

Devil-kitty as fascinator. Many thanks to the Bloggess for the inspiration.

Advent 2013 Day 7 No Bake Cheesecake

We were at the Christmas Market today, buying gifts and drinking Glühwein, thus the late and slightly slurred post. I failed spectacularly to run today, but I did manage to get to Aikido class. And I haven’t taken cough medicine in more than 14 hours so I think maybe I’m done with the cold. The Wife, however ran 14 miles so far this week and we’re heading out for a long run tomorrow, so she’ll have about 25 miles all together and I’m her coach, so I claim her miles. I can do that, right?

I’m also writing up one of her recipes that she made for me yesterday. So basically, this post is entirely the fault of the Wife, thank Santa that I have her to do the heavy lifting while I sit here hiccuping Glühwein in the catbird seat. Speaking of Thurber (who really did come up twice in today’s conversations) did you know that Ben Stiller’s making the Secret Life of Walter Mitty into a movie? The posters are everywhere here. I just wish it was an actor that I liked a bit better.

Anyway, I’m warm and full of Poffertjes (favorite Christmas Market food along with Dampfnudeln, Kartoffelpuffer, and big cones of freshly cut and cooked french fries. There’s a lot of carbs in Christmas in these parts.) and cheesecake and it’s getting late, so here’s the Wife’s Cheesecake recipe. It uses quark, though, which is nearly impossible to get in the US. I’ve scanned a bunch of websites and it seems that you can make your own or substitute mascarpone . Other than the finding of the quark (sometimes – according to a non-functioning web site – labelled as fromage blanc in the US, I have no idea how it differs from actual French fromage blanc, but it’s worth a shot if you can find it, I guess) this is a very straightforward and incredibly tasty recipe that involves no ovens.

Wife’s Cheesecake

  • 1 pkg hard cookies like graham crackers, shortbread, etc. (Use your judgement here. I don’t remember the weight of the package we used this time, but it was pretty small and yielded probably a cup or so of crumbs.)
  • 1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) melted butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy (whipping cream) (150 ml)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (150 ml)
  • 3/4 cup low-fat quark or mascarpone cheese (150 ml)
  • 4 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp coriander

Preparation

  1. Crush the cookies in a plastic bag using a rolling pin, hammer, meat tenderizer mallet, baseball bat, or similar
  2. Mix cookie crumbs and melted butter and press firmly into the bottom of an 8″ x 8″ baking pan (If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that the last 3 recipes all used an 8″ x 8″ baking pan. That is because our kitchen is small and we have very few different size pans. Our 8″ x 8″ brownie pan gets a lot of use. It’s definitely not a unitasker! What’s a unitasker? Googling it gives you the wikipedia page for Alton Brown. He’s a cool guy. The answer is on that page somewhere.) using a piece of waxed paper and a bit of brute force. You can also use a slightly smaller pan to press it down for a nice, even crust.
  3. Whip the heavy cream until <S>it cries for mercy</S> it is fluffy
  4. Mix sour cream, quark, honey, and coriander together
  5. Fold the sour cream mixture into the whipped cream
  6. Spread mixture evenly over the crust
  7. Refrigerate at least two hours until set
  8. Eat and enjoy
Captain Dukie stands guard against nefarious cheesecake nabbers. Also, note our cool coffee table. It's a cheap IKEA model with a glass top where we've finally figured out what to do with some of our old race numbers!

Captain Dukie stands guard against nefarious cheesecake nabbers. Also, note our cool coffee table. It’s a cheap IKEA model with a glass top where we’ve finally figured out what to do with some of our old race numbers! (Also, now you know what the L stands for if you hadn’t already google-stalked any of my race results…

Why did I post this video? Were you paying attention to Alton Brown’s biography?

Until tomorrow, dear internet.

Advent 2013 Day 6 – Pagan Pears

Because nothing says Christmas like recipes from the civilization that killed Christ.

Yep, I’m still sick and possibly slightly high on cold medicine. I did swim today though. Swimming first thing in the morning when it’s windy and dark and cold and icy out is really nice. You get to the pool where it’s nice and warm, swim for an hour, sit under the lovely hair dryers for a while and then come out, and the sun is shining, it’s no longer icy and you still have the entire day ahead of you. Also, we did some good exercises in swim class. My favorite went like this:

Push off from the wall and without kicking, glide as far as you can. Then swim 6 strokes. Then glide again, 6 more strokes, and one more glide. If you’re good, you should be able to make it with just two sets of 6 strokes and the last glide should bring you to the wall in a 25 m pool. I came close, but still haven’t made it. The instructor promised that by the end of the course, I’ll be able to. I am hopeful.

We also had lunch today with a triathlon friend who’s just back from Thailand where she did the Laguna Phuket Triathlon. That one is now on my bucket list. And Thailand features (sort of) in today’s recipe so I’ve very cleverly worked in the reference now.

Recently, we were visiting the Roman reconstruction and museum at Saalburg (one of the towns on the Roman Limes (wall) which is as far as they got into Germany) where we picked up a cookbook. Here’s the first recipe we tried from it:

Patina de Piris

(or weird Roman pear thingy)

Ingredients

  • 1 kg (2 pounds) Pears
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 200 ml (1 cup minus 1 Tbsp) Passum (Roman raisin wine. It’s red and sweet and generally hasn’t been made for like two thousand years. Feel free to substitute Sherry or do what we did and make your own by dumping about 100 g (2/3 cup) of raisins into 200 ml (a little less than a cup) of red wine and letting it sit in the fridge for 3 days or so. Then hit it with the stick mixer. Or not. The recipe works either way.)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Liquamen (Roman fish sauce. Also hasn’t been made in two thousand years. Use Thai fish sauce instead. Trust me on this.) As for the amount, the recipe isn’t entirely clear. It says use a shot of it. Probably around a teaspoon or two.
  • Olive oil (Another shot. We used about a tablespoon.)
  • 4 Eggs (Size not specified. Roman chickens were probably about the same size as modern chickens. You should have seen them in the gladiatorial games, though, with their armor and little chicken swords. They were dynamite!)
  • Pepper to taste

Preparation

This one takes at least a day of prep, 3 if you’re making your own Passum.

Step 1. Make the passum. Wait a couple of days. Don’t drink it or you have to start over.

Step 2. Peel, core, and quarter the pears. Then cut them into pieces. I don’t know. Maybe Jupiter or some other god likes things to come in groups of four.

Step 3. Pears into a pot. Add in the honey, fish sauce, olive oil, Passum, and cumin. Cook, covered (again no recommendations as to heat. Go with medium low to medium depending on how closely you want to watch it.) until the pears are soft. Then hit the whole thing with either the potato masher or the stick mixer. I recommend the latter.

Step 4. Let the pears cool completely. Also, do not worry about the intense cumin and/or fishy smells during the cooking. It will all work out in the end, I promise.

Step 5. Preheat the oven to medium. I don’t know. The Romans clearly didn’t have convenient temperature dials on their ovens. (I mean, my grandmother’s cook book describes the type and number of logs needed to cook certain things, so this is no surprise, really. I’m not sure anyone ever gave specific cooking temperatures before sometime in the 1970’s. Oil a casserole dish or baking pan. We used an 8″x8″ brownie pan.

Step 6. Beat the eggs until fluffy. Fold them into the cooled pear mixture.

Step 7. Cook, covered until the eggs are firmly set. At this point it should look like a slightly browned omelet. Cooking time? For us it was about 35 minutes.

Step 8. Add a dash of freshly ground pepper to the top and serve. The consistency is a bit odd, but the taste is really nice.

So there you have it. Roman dessert with pears and Thai fish sauce. I posted this one for my friend P who’s been having a lot of nasty dental work and can’t eat crunchy foods these days.

So, being sick, I’ve been curled up half the day watching christmas cat tv. It’s one of the most entertaining reality programs I’ve ever seen. The internet is for cats!

christmascats.tv on their lunch break. They're adorable, especially the ones in sweaters. Devil-kitty won't wear sweaters.

christmascats.tv on their lunch break. They’re adorable, especially the ones in sweaters. Devil-kitty won’t wear sweaters.

And finally, the Air Force Band was at the National Air and Space Museum on Tuesday. My other friend P. was there for it. I wish I still lived in the DC area so I could go to one of their Christmas concerts.

Advent 2013 Day 5 still sick and also tired

Which reminds me of a line from one of my favorite Bill Cosby standup routines.

I need to get to bed because I got a swim class in 7 hours. I got home from aikido to discover that the internet had exploded with news of Nelson Mandela’s death. He was a  great man and also a good man and this sad news has kind of taken the wind out of my sails so today will be short.

First, tomorrow at 9 am EST, tune in here for a live stream of Christmas cats (this weirdness is explained here by NPR). Interestingly, I have actually adopted cats from these nice folks many years ago when I lived on LI.

I haven’t made mine this year yet, but I can’t think of anything more heartwarming and able to keep the darkness away than homemade fudge that’s so stupidly easy that anyone can make it:

Ridiculously Easy Fudge

Ingredients:

  •  1 can (14 oz.) Condensed Milk
  • 14 oz. baking chocolate (semi-sweet, milk, or white)
  • Mix-ins – possibilities include:
  • Vanilla (1-2 tsp.), Walnuts and marshmallows

Mix in examples (but really this is up to you, that’s what makes this so much fun!):

  • Red wine (about 2 Tbsp) and dried cranberries
  • Vanilla and candied ginger
  • Peppermint extract (1-2 tsp) and crushed candy canes
  • White chocolate, pistachios, rose water (2 tsp)
  • Crumbled bacon and a dusting of sea salt on top (I’d use dark chocolate for this one)

Directions:

  1. Line an 8 x 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil
  2. Break chocolate into pieces (Use semi dark and milk in any combination or use white chocolate on its own.)
  3. Combine chocolate and condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl
  4. Microwave on high for about 1 minute and stir
  5. Microwave in increments of 30 seconds to 1 minute (depends on microwave wattage) until only a few small chocolate chunks can be seen and then stir until these melt and chocolate and milk mixture is smooth and shiny
  6. Add in mix-ins of your choice.
  7. Stir until combined
  8. pour into prepared pan
  9. Refrigerate at least 4 hours
  10. Cut into 1 inch chunks
  11. Store in an airtight container

Today’s music (in addition to the Christmas music accompanying the livestream of the cats in Christmas sweaters linked above) is for Paul and all the percussionists out there. Yes, they’re playing the ice on Lake Baikal:

The boys playing in my favorite marathon swag, the 25th anniversary backpack from the 2011 Frankfurt Marathon.

The boys playing in my favorite marathon swag, the 25th anniversary backpack from the 2011 Frankfurt Marathon.

 

Advent 2013 Day 4 – inadvertent rest days and eggplants

Well, the rest day was unintended as I have clearly not managed to kick the current cold (which, yes, I had during Saturday’s epic martial arts day, Sunday’s nine mile run, Monday’s swim class, and yesterday’s Aikido class) By this point, I am probably the vector that made half of Frankfurt sick and I kept coughing myself awake last night and spent most of today horizontal, covered in cats (who, for the record, were quite pleased with me being incapacitated) and trying to keep both my lungs and my throat on the inside where they belong. This is my long-winded excuse for not getting this up earlier.

OK,  so triathlon tidbit: here’s an interesting little Outside article on the pro’s and con’s of gadgets in training and racing written my two of my favorite online personalities: DC Rainmaker (of the best gear reviews you can find) and Chris “Macca” McCormack (Of Kona-winning triathlon maverick fame). For the record, I train with some gadgets (I generally always have my Garmin Forerunner 305 for all my training runs and rides, but I wear my HRM only once in a blue moon (I hate it and the strap makes me feel claustrophobic. I used to do my easy runs with the Wife and her pace was perfect for that. Now she’s gotten so much faster that I might have to go back to the HRM to slow me down again.) I love the cadence sensor on my bike and pay way more attention to that than to my speed. If I had the money, I’d probably shell out for a power meter, but I don’t and I’m not sure that I’d use it to get my money’s worth. Lately, when I race, I’ll race with the Garmin on the bike (for speed, distance, and cadence) and just use my regular watch on the run and the swim. For the most part, that works out really well and forces me to really listen to my body and do what it says. Running only races I go either way depending on how well marked I know them to be. My sense of distance/direction is bad enough that I get anxious sometimes if I don’t see a mile marker for a while and am not sure how far I’ve gone. Then it’s nice to look at the GPS watch for reassurance that I really have run X miles.

As for recipes, here’s one that I know I’ve shared with a lot of folks privately, but I don’t think I’ve ever posted publicly. It’s vegetarian and really tasty, even though I’m told it’s not traditional chili, per se. Whatever, it’s tasty and is loaded with veggies.

L on Wheels’s Easy Eggplant Chili

Ingredients (in order of adding to the pot)

  • 2-3 Tbsp oil (I use olive, any vegetable oil will work)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bell pepper (any color)
  • 1/2 chili pepper (if desired) (These can be any variety of hot pepper like Jalapeños)
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic (chopped fine)
  • 1 small to medium eggplant
  • 4‐5 pieces sundried tomatoes
  • 1 tomato (diced)
  • Seasoning mix (see below)
  • 1 can kidney or black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 cup water (approximately)
  • 2 tsp corn starch

Seasoning mix

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp coriander (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp paprika (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (or more to taste) (I use the really hot Indian chili powder and ½ tsp plus a half a Habanero type pepper makes it pretty spicy – the spice level and heat is really a matter of personal preference.

Topping suggestions

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Fresh cilantro
  •  Sour cream
  • Plain low or non‐fat yogurt (in place of sour cream)

Preparation

  1. Drain all cans of beans and rinse thoroughly under cold water; set aside.
  2. Dice onion, eggplant, bell pepper, chili pepper, garlic, fresh tomato, and sun dried tomato. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. When oil is hot, add onion and garlic; sauté for 2 minutes. Onion and garlic should not brown, onion should start getting translucent.
  4. Add eggplant, bell pepper and chili pepper; sauté for additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add more cooking oil if necessary.
  5. Add fresh and sundried tomatoes; sauté for additional 1 minute.
  6. Add spices and sauté for another minute.
  7. Add beans, garbanzos, 1 cup water, and canned tomatoes. Do not drain the tomatoes.
  8. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add more water and spices if necessary.
  9. Mix cornstarch with 2 Tbsp warm water and add to thicken sauce.
  10. Serve with Polentacake (see recipe) and toppings.

I know that I posted my Polentacake recipe last year (has butter, eggs and buttermilk so not strictly vegetarian, sorry) but I’m too lazy sick to go hunting through my old posts to find it, so I’m posting it again…

Polentacake (Corn Bread or Johnnycake)

(modified from this recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (110 g)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (50 g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 Tbsp vinegar mix them together and let sit for 15 minutes) (0.24 l)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup polenta or cornmeal (which are actually the same thing, but the name varies depending on how far you are from Italy) (125 g)
  • 1 cup all‐purpose flour (125 g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F (175 °C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
  2. Melt butter in large skillet over medium low heat.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar.
  4. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Be careful not to make scrambled eggs here.
  5. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan.
  6. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

The Wife is out singing Christmas carols tonight and I was supposed to go, but I can’t because I’m sick in a way that would seriously disrupt a bunch of singers, so since I can’t listen to her, I’m posting my first actual Christmas song of this Advent.

Yes, I am a geek and I find this hilarious. Also, Picard was my favorite Captain of the Enterprise. And I get to see him later this month in Waiting for Godot. I can’t …err…wait…

Cat on a heater

Captain Dukie has figured out where the warms spot is…

Until tomorrow, dear readers. Be excellent to each other! (I bet you thought I  was going to say “Live long and prosper,” didn’t you?