Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Everybody brought a pitch-in dish, so everybody knew there would be at least one thing safe to eat. But Charlie and I are hospitable cusses, and we wanted to provide stuff everybody could eat and would like.
Charlie bought a semi-load of red potatoes and I cooked them long and far below boiling, so they were firm but melt-in-your-mouth creamy and served them with vegan margarine.
We also had vegan bean soup:
I use canned beans because there's only so much futzing I'm willing to do, especially when I JUST GOT HOME from a working weekend at a fantasy/sf convention.
My husband's family doesn't like soupy beans, they like beany soup, so I held back about two cups of beans and mashed the rest, then added the whole beans and stirred it up and added about six times as much water as bean mixture. Vegetarian bouillon to match that amount of water. Marjoram. Onion powder (because Charlie can't eat onions). Olive oil with garlic. IMPORTANT! The oil gives the soup that meaty umami mouth-feel and the garlic somehow adds a note that totally substitutes for a meat flavor.
Again, cook it long and low.
We bought a family-farmed ham for the carnivores and put a bowl of ham scraps and shreds next to the soup for those who are all like, "It just ain't bean soup without ham in it" could add their own.
A good time was had by all.
p.s. I was thinking about the gluten-intolerant people and about the various flour substitutes. What if you assured someone who was gluten-intolerant that a bread is made without wheat flour, but secretly it was made with nut flour and they're also allergic to nuts? Honest mistake or murder? Only your detective can determine that.
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Daifuku - The recipe is available at About.com's Japanese Food site. This cake uses rice flour and anko.
An online Tokyo guide advises that the Japanese people don't like sugary desserts and that their cakes and other desserts have a subtler sweet flavor.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Here's part of the release:
PITTSBURGH (June 1, 2011) - Now you can have your flowers and eat them too! Denise Schreiber's new book, EAT YOUR ROSES…pansies, lavender and 49 other delicious edible flowers, is an adventure in taste delights, some familiar, some exotic. Get ready to discover calendula corn muffins and that ultimate floral treat, rose petal ice cream!Available for pre-order (as of 5-24-2011) at Amazon.com.
EAT YOUR ROSES (St. Lynn's Press, June 2011) introduces 52 delicious edible flowers, their culinary uses and the special "sense appeal" for each. Schreiber, a passionate flower eater, horticulturist and award-winning cook, presents dozens of playful, mouth-watering recipes - from appetizers to desserts to fragrant liqueurs - all of them incorporating one or more edible flowers.
This light-hearted yet authoritative gift book balances edible flower history and lore with proper handling and preparation techniques - including a resource guide and a listing of flowers that are not edible and should be avoided. Her book is illustrated through with full-color photographs.
Schreiber invites us to look beyond the veggie patch for great food ideas. Many of her recipes were first introduced at her popular annual Edible Flowers Food Fest, the largest event of its kind in Western Pennsylvania.
About the Author:
Denise Schreiber is Greenhouse Manager for the Allegheny County Parks system, with 9 regional parks in the Pittsburgh area. She is a columnist for a number of regional garden and lifestyle magazines, and is a regular guest expert on the widely heard Sunday morning radio show, The Organic Gardeners (KDKA). Her yearly Edible Flowers Food Fest always attracts a sell-out crowd eager to see what she will come up with next.
About the Book:
Eat Your Roses…pansies, lavender and 49 other delicious edible flowers. St. Lynn's Press, June 1, 2011, 104 pages, trade paperback, ISBN 978-0-9819615-5-2; $17.95.
I encourage you to visit the Allegheny County Gardens web site for more information on edible flowers (including the Edible Flowers Food Fest), recipes for using edible flowers, plants that are dangerous to your pets, and more.
Personally I'd rather look at 'em than eat 'em but think of the money you could save on catering if you only had edible flowers for your wedding.
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes
Friday, May 20, 2011
Today's Date Picnic Box - $25 - A paint-by-numbers picnic box containing eco-friendly tableware.
Dried Gray Morels - $28 - I had no idea what a morel was until I read about them at the link. They are apparently mushrooms from the wine forest in Napa Valley, CA.
Couronne du Chocolat - $75 - Moist chocolate sponge cake from Lady M in Manhattan.
Black Winter Truffle Juice 1st Choice - $112 - I wondered what one would do with truffle juice, and the website says it adds a je ne sais quoi to braises, stews, and roasted meats. Since je ne sais quoi means "I don't know what" in French, I'm wondering if they really know. :\
Murray's Cheese and Chocolate Pairings - $79 - I've never tried it, so I can't be certain; but I don't know that I'd want to mix my "stinky English stilton" with my "Pralus Fortissima."
Domestic Caviar Trio - $162 - This assortment contains paddlefish, hackleback, and California Osetra. You also get 30 blinis, 7.5 ounces of creme fraiche, four mother-of-pearl spoons, and a cooler.
Flannery's Reserve Bone-in Kansas City Strip Steak - $196 - 4 16-ounce steaks
If you guys order anything, please report back on how it tastes. At these prices, I would hope it would be the best thing you've ever tasted!
Thursday, May 19, 2011
That appears to be the case for tennis star Novak Djokovic who's been on a winning streak. Coincidence that he changed his diet after learning of a gluten allergy?
Already an excellent player, the tennis player has since improved even more. While some changes like diet improve how you feel, analysts say that improved mental confidence is also important in a solo sport like tennis.
But the old saying, "you are what you eat," does have merit. For the tennis star, it's no pizza, pasta and many starchy foods.
For others, erasing certain foods from the diet is a medical necessity. There are ways to eat well while not eating wheat products...
* Starting a gluten-free diet.
* How about a yummy-sounding Baked Potato and Bacon Soup?
* Gluten free recipes.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
On that epsisode of the show, contestants were assigned a task of creating a children's book. A big issue with one of the contestants who is also a mom is that some words were not familiar to kids of their particular age group.
That got me thinking about my own story. It went over well with my daughter, but perhaps she understood all of the words because they are words we have used in our house. It was then that I decided to begin doing Kid Panels.
My Kid Panels have so far been made up of children at my daughter's school. I read the story to them, and ask them to tell me if they do not understand something or do not like something. Thanfully, I have learned a great deal from these kids and have adjusted my story accordingly. On my last Kid Panel, the adjusted story went over better than it ever has with a group of kids.
Here are some of the things I have learned:
1) My main character is a cow with allergies. I had to explain allergies, because unless kids have them, they may not know about them.
2) My farmer is named Stanley. Some kids want a simpler name.
3) The kids want some kind of rhyming poem or song incorporated into the story.
4) I used the word "pasture". Most kids thought I was talking about a "pastor".
5) I had to change "veterinarian" to "animal doctor". If kids do not have pets, they may not know what a veterinarian is.
Writing for children is a whole new thing for me. If it is what you do, I suggest that you try Kid Panels. It is fun and informative!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Here's what we had for supper last night: Cauliflower and peas in tomato sauce (too thin. meh.), skillet-roasted herbed chickpeas and almonds, couscous and broccoli.
THE CAULIFLOWER STUFF
Cook cauliflower until done but still with some oomph. DRAIN WELL. I mean WELL. Don't just strain it, take it out to Arizona and peg it out in the sun for a couple of days. Dang, I thought I had drained it, and then just look. Anyway, DRAIN it. Put it back in the pan with canned or defrosted DRAINED peas and some chunky garden spaghetti sauce. Heat and serve. Preferably not watery.
THE CHICKPEA STUFF
DRAIN AND DRY a can of chickpeas (Garbanzo beans). Sprinkle with salt and herbs (I used fresh rosemary) and coat with a little olive oil. Put it into a reasonably hot skillet and heat, stirring occasionally, until the peas start to brown. Add some sliced almonds and MAYBE a touch more oil. Continue to cook until the almonds start to brown and smell toasty. Also good cold for a munchie.
THE COUSCOUS STUFF
Cook broccoli until as tender as you like it. Drain it, reserving the water, but don't get all fanatic about it, because you're just going to put the water back in. Measure the water and return as much to the pot as you need to make the amount of couscous you want. Make the couscous as you like it, using oil or vegan margarine rather than butter. Stir the broccoli back in until hot.
I lied. I don't have a plot for this one, just the food and the recipes. Not fatal, unless you're allergic.
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I'm talking about racks of ribs! This Saturday is the annual Racks by the Tracks in Kingsport, Tennessee. The day is all about ribs, micro-brewed beers, blues music and fun.
I will be at the authors' tent from 9:00-5:00. You bet I'll be trying some of those ribs!
Yesterday, I saw one of the judges for the ribs contest on a local news program. What I found interesting is that a prize-winning rib does not fall off the bone (means it is overcooked), but instead it gently pulls from the bone when you bite into it. He also noted that dry ribs are the most difficult to do properly. For those who may not be as into ribs as I am, that means a rib that has dry rub as opposed to a wet sauce.
If you're in my area, come on out! Be sure to try some ribs and come by the authors' tent.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Not a Derby party where we had mint juleps until we were dead drunk. No, our 10-year-old nephew came up with "an old-fashioned front porch party". We gathered on his front porch, four generations of us, and had snacks and listened to shows from the golden days of radio.
Times have changed, and we listened to the shows on CDs, not on an old Philco with vacuum tubes inside, but the happiness of being together and sharing an experience was the same.
Here is the program he gave out:
The Inner Sanctum show kept us guessing and left us puzzled because the twist ending totally didn't make sense--which was fun, in its own way. The Tales of Fatima turned out to be a mystery with Basil Rathbone as the detective. Not Basil Rathbone playing the detective, but Basil Rathbone playing himself as a crime-solver, along with his sidekick, the feisty wardrobe mistress. The "Fatima" in the title was the brand of cigarettes that sponsored the show.
A good time was had by all. I recommend the idea to you.
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Spring has Spring
The grass has riz; I wonder where the flowers is.
Or so goes the old saying.
I am once again packing my bags and getting ready to hit the road on book tour. The timing isn’t good and I wouldn’t normally choose to travel in springtime. But my destination is Bloody Words in Victoria, B.C. on June 3 – 5, so I have little choice. I have a house sitter and she will put in the annuals in pots on the deck, and a neighbourhood teenager coming to cut the lawn. But otherwise everything will wait until my return. And then probably won’t get done. So there are likely to be any vegetables this year. I’ve covered the vegetable patch with a tarp to try to keep the weeds down.
I’ll miss asparagus season which is a real disappointment. I love asparagus but it is one of the things I only eat locally grown and in season. The season will be over when I get home. Sniff sniff.
Here’s the dish I’ll miss the most:
Vicki Delany’s Asparagus Linguini with Shrimp and Garlic
450 g linguine
¼ cup olive oil
450g medium sized raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ lb asparagus, cut into ½ inch pieces
3 to 5 garlic cloves, minded
½ cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup chopped parley
Salt and pepper
Cook pasta according to directions (reserving 1 cup of cooking water)
Heat oil in skillet over moderate head. Add shrimp, turning once until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a large bowl
Add garlic, wind and red pepper to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste as well as the butter and stir until butter has melted. Add shrimp and asparagus and stir until cooked, or for about 4 – 5 minutes.
In large bowl, toss pasta with shrimp mixture and parsley, adding reserved cooking water to moisten as necessary. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired.
Looking to buy farm fresh asparagus in Ontario: click here
For details on my book tour please click here. It would be fun to meet some Fatal Foodies readers.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
So, did you guys watch any of the Royal Wedding coverage? I didn't get up early to watch or anything; but as soon as I did get up, I tuned in to the Today show to "oooh" and "aww" along with the rest of the world. And I have to say: Didn't she look gorgeous? And doesn't William look like his mother? And wasn't Harry precious, especially when he sneaked a peek at the bride and then told his brother, "Wait until you see her"?
Starbucks has started making cake pops, the lollipops made by mixing cake crumbs with frosting and then coating them with a hard candy shell. Cake pops (which I've used in both Dead Pan and Killer Sweet Tooth) are reportedly quickly dethroning cupcakes as the go-to item for baby showers, birthday celebrations, and weddings. (Can you imagine Will and Kate having a bazillion cake pops? No. That simply would not do.)
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Anyway, rice started in China and traveled to Mesopotamia and Persia to Egypt to Moorish Spain to Italy. Risotto is an Italian dish, and the first time my mother and I saw and ate risotto was in an Italian restaurant. It was an opera luncheon, just so you know. We ain't entirely devoid of culture. We're plenty couth, the both of us. Remember my motto, which I ... er ... borrowed from Mehitabel the cat: To hell with anything unrefined.
But I digress.
Riziculture (rice farming) was established in northern Italy by the late 1400s. The rice grown there is short-grained, such as the arborio variety used in risotto: Rice, flavorings, vegetables and often meat, fish or seafood (or frogs) are cooked together in liquid (sometimes water but usually broth, often flavored with wine). The liquid is added gradually, in several additions, with the cook stirring frequently or constantly while the liquid is absorbed. The result is usually much more rice than you expected, no matter how little you started out with, in its own thick and creamy sauce.
I made risotto the other night, using vegetarian sausage (Gimme Lean), veg broth, tomato sauce, bell peppers and onions, adding freshly grated Parmesan at the table.
It looked like the dog's dinner, but it was delicious!
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes