tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
Looking back it seems I completely did not blog about the two cakes I made in March and May.

March was an attempt on German Chocolate Cake without sugar. It was not terribly successful and became less so recently when I realized the likely fall out.

The cake itself was too dry. This a failure of recipe and not so much the sugar/stevia switch. I started with an "intense chocolate bread" recipe, trying to start with a dense product so the lack of structure from the sugar would be less of an issue. It was, unsurprisingly in hindsight, rather dry and could have been sweeter. It did give me ideas about future from scratch cake making, largely with Greek yogurt I replaced the sour cream with. Stevia makes a much stiffer batter than sugar does so it also required a bit more liquid to get it to even consider spreading into the pan.

Next time I will try taking my favorite chocolate cake recipe (the one that has more sugar than flour in it) and try that with stevia or Splenda with added Greek yogurt. Perhaps just a straight out Splenda for sugar switch for one attempt and stevia and yogurt for another.

The frosting was really tasty! And I should never, ever make it again.

For the coconut pecan frosting I used unsweetened flaked coconut, chopped pecans, and a jar of Smucker's Sugar Free Caramel Topping. Basically just stir in coconut and pecans until the texture is right. This was surprisingly similar to the completely from scratch with sugar and corn syrup frosting I used to make when I was a teenager.

So why should I never, ever make this frosting again? Sorbitol. It's just a theory right now, but I had a pretty rough month from the intestinal point of view and no idea what it was causing it. I had been eating things with sugar alcohols for a couple years and didn't have any problems so it just did not occur to me until this week to put the observations of the last few months through some hard study. The lovely chocolates and ice creams I have been enjoying all use malitol. Smucker's uses malitol and sorbitol in their sugar free caramel and hot fudge toppings. Which I started eating just before my intestines decided to stage a revolt. So I am going to avoid sorbitol for a while and then conduct a potentially unpleasant experiment involving a caramel hot fudge sundae or two.

May was another stab at doctoring up a box mix, this time Pillsbury Sugar Free Yellow Cake Mix. I did this one up as a lemon cake with straight from the can Pillsbury Sugar Free Vanilla Frosting.

Success! I added an egg, a box of cook and serve sugar free vanilla pudding powder, and lemon extract to the box mix instructions. It was still a bit fragile but much more like a boxed mix with sugar would be so I am happy with it. I will say that Watkins lemon extract is not as nice as it was 30 years ago and I will search out a more concentrated flavoring when this bottle is gone.
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
Once again I am basically posting this so I don't forget how I did it.

Note that I have a microwave rice cooker that I am using for this. It is now stained orange inside but it's getting close to needing replacement so I'm not concerned about it. Use whatever rice cooking procedure works for you with the generalized version if you want to try it.

1 ½ cups white rice
2 ½ cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
1 cup thick and chunky salsa

Microwave on high for 15 minutes.

To make it more general, you want to take your normal amounts of rice and water with your usual cooking method and make these changes:
  • 1 tsp dried minced onion per 1/2 cup of rice

  • 1/3rd of your normal water amount of salsa

  • use chicken broth instead of water and discount it by half the salsa amount
And accept the fact that tomato products heated in plastic will stain.
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
Back in December I tried out an Amish mustard eggs recipe, with a couple modifications. The primary change being the omission of sugar since I can't eat it anymore and, more importantly, I hate sweet pickled things. They ended up pretty tasty and I grew to like having eggs to snack on since I should be cutting out more carbs than I am. (I swear the medical professionals think people need to live off water and air with the occasional poached chicken breast.) As a result of this new-found self-knowledge I am working on collecting/inventing a variety of pickled egg recipes. At the moment I only have two, and some pickled onions, but expect more eventually, such as the classic pickled-with-beets since Hafoc turns out not to be a fan of pickled eggs and his dislike of beets is therefore irrelevant.

Because you cannot be certain you have heated the eggs all the way through to the proper temperature, the USDA does not recommend home canning eggs. Botulism is not your friend so these are "refrigerator pickle" recipes.

Since you aren't canning the eggs you can use saved jars or bowls, whatever works in your fridge and keeps the eggs submerged in the brine. One dozen small to medium eggs should fit in a quart jar. I can get 8-10 large eggs in my saved not-quite-a-quart pickle jars so I don't usually make a full dozen eggs and dispose of my extra brine (or save it to make salad dressing).


Amish Mustard Eggs (unsweetened version)

2 cups white vinegar
2 Tbsp prepared mustard
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp pickling salt
1 Tbsp celery seed
1 tsp ground mustard seed (or 1 Tbsp whole seed, I couldn't find any locally)
6 whole cloves
1/8 tsp turmeric (for color mostly)
2 onions, sliced thin
12 hard boiled eggs

Pack the onions and eggs into a wide mouth jar or two.

Combine the brine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Simmer 10 minutes and then carefully pour over your eggs. Let cool and then refrigerate for at least three days for best flavor.

The onions from the mustard eggs were really tasty on burgers and in sandwiches.


Five Spice Eggs

1 cup water
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup vinegar (I used 50/50 white and seasoned rice)
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp five spice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 onion, thinly sliced
1-2 Tbsp minced garlic
12 hard boiled eggs

Use the same method as the Amish eggs, but add the garlic to the eggs and onions. I just heaped it on top and let the brine carry it down through them when I added it.

These are not as pretty as the mustard eggs, but very tasty! It's my own recipe and I'm not 100% sold on five spice, I'm not a huge fan of anise, so I expect I will be trying other seasonings. The soy sauce adds all the salt you want for a pickled egg, so salted flavorings are not suggested.


Sometimes Hafoc comes home with a new things from the supermarket to try. One of his recent finds was Tajin, a blend of dried chilies, salt, and dehydrated lime juice. It is very, very lime and not that spicy. We're not sure what we're going to use it all for, it's strong, but I thought it would make tasty chili-lime pickled onions. I was right, and I expect I will make other chili-lime pickled veggies in the future.

Tajin Pickled Onions

2 Tbsp Tajin Clasico seasoning
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup boiling water
2 onions, thinly sliced

Pack the onions into a jar and add the Tajin seasoning on top. Pour in the vinegar and then top off with boiling water. Seal, shake the jar to distribute the chili flakes, and refrigerate for a few days before eating.

You want to have the vinegar be about 1/3rd of the liquid in the jar, the powdered lime juice in the Tajin makes up the rest of the acid for the pickles. My jar needed 3/4 cup of water, so in practice it worked out to 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup lime juice (from the Tajin and water), and 1/2 cup water.

There is enough acid in these pickles that you could can them and not have to refrigerate them until after you opened a jar. They are so quick to make that I wouldn't bother though since they are perfectly edible in a few hours and just improve with time.
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
Sugar-free products have come a long way since the early 1980s when I first tasted them, and these days most of the sugar-free and no sugar added things we can buy are pretty awesome (go get yourself some Russel Stover sugar-free chocolates, the dark chocolate pecan delights are my favorite) but the baked goods are definitely lagging behind. It's not really a taste thing with most of them, it's texture and depth of flavor that's a problem, cookies tend toward crisp rather than chewy and cakes can be fragile. This is because of the things that sugar does other than make things sweet, like keep them moist and add structure.

Now, I will say, there is nothing I would do to improve Pillsbury's Fudge Brownie Mix, if you like a heavy fudge brownie they have you covered. Their Devil's Food cake mix though... it's tasty, and when you haven't had cake in ages due to sugar it's pretty freaking awesome, but it's merely a mediocre chocolate cake. It's light and fragile and not really that chocolate-y. So today I am experimenting.

After doing a bit a research on what to do to a boxed cake mix to make it taste more like "bakery" cake (from what I see, people mean "from scratch") I have decided to do the following:

1. Add an egg. Every site I found on the subject says to add an egg, so I am. The box says use three so I'm using four. The egg should help with the texture and fragility issue. They also say use melted butter rather than oil but I'm sticking with oil this time.

2. Add flavorings. I'm adding one third cup of cocoa powder. Sites suggest adding coffee; brewed, instant, or espresso powder depending on the site. I'm skipping that for now and sticking with the cocoa.

3. Use boiling water rather than whatever temperature you get it from the tap. Boiling water makes the cocoa powder bloom for fuller flavor. I have to say it's always made my favorite from scratch chocolate cake extra awesome so I figure it's a good bet on improving the box.

So the cake is in the oven now and I'm going to hold off on messing with the frosting until it's out and cooled.

Frosting. This is where Pillsbury has failed me. I'm really not fond of the canned Chocolate Fudge Frosting they make. The flavor is weak and chemical. It's bad snack food chocolate frosting is what I am saying, edible but not really enjoyable and cake should be joyful.

Sites were a bit less useful for fixing up frosting, at least if you are avoiding sugar. I can't do the one thing they all say to do, which is to beat in powdered sugar. The reasoning behind doing that seems to be mostly for fixing texture though, and since the flavor also needs help this is my plan:

1. Add cocoa powder. This should take care of the texture part of what the powdered sugar was doing and also help with the weak chemical chocolate thing.

1a. If it needs more sweetening to deal with the cocoa I will add a bit of liquid stevia. I have vanilla and English toffee flavors as well as plain which goes well with the next step.

2. Add flavoring. A bit of vanilla couldn't hurt.

Another suggestion I saw was to add peanut butter, which is something I will save for another day.

I may have to try the vanilla sugar-free frosting Pillsbury also has (they have yellow cake mix too, which is fragile but tasty). I can make that into a peanut butter or cream cheese frosting, or just add flavor for things like lemon. The yellow cake mix is bound to be made into a lemon cake here someday.

Another idea I have for frosting experiments involves Smuckers Sugar-Free Caramel Sauce, flaked (unsweetened) coconut, and pecans. German Chocolate Cake is one of my favorites. :)

I will update with the taste results after thorough sampling.


Update: Added 2 Tbsp cocoa powder and 1 tsp vanilla to the frosting. It's better but still has that sharp chemical after taste. If I want chocolate frosting that I actually like I will have to come up with something else. I'm leaning toward making ganache at this point. It won't be sugar-free due to the cream having natural sugars, but it will be at least low sugar.

As for the cake, the egg did help a bit on the fragility. I think next time I will do still more cocoa powder and maybe try the butter instead of oil thing. I like a dark dense
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
I found this on Pinterest; the original recipe is over here. I made a couple small changes and will add another when I make it again.

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
28 oz canned whole tomatoes, do not drain, chop very roughly (or use sliced)
28 oz canned artichoke hearts, cut in half (or buy them pre-cut)
2 large sweet onions, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted, chopped roughly (about 28 olives)
1/4 cup rice vinegar (originally white wine vinegar)
1 Tbsp tomato chicken bouillon powder
1 Tbsp (heaping) curry powder
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp (or more) minced garlic [addition for next time]

Put the onion in the bottom of you crock and top with chicken and then the other ingredients. Cook on high for 6 hours.

When you stir it the chicken should fall to shreds with minimal prodding. Serve over whatever seems appealing (rice, couscous, pasta...).

Note that I tend to leave out salt and pepper when I cook things in the crock if it seems like they might already be in other ingredients (in this case the bouillon and the curry powder) so season to taste.
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
I tried a recipe for this before and it was rather disappointing, too wet and not enough flavor. This time I made it up on my own and it turned out pretty nice, though if you don't want to have to practically cut your oatmeal you might want a bit more liquid in the mix.

Only our big slow cooker (6qt) has a timer so I mixed everything in a 1.5qt Corningware casserole dish and set that in the slow cooker to effectively bake the oatmeal. The slow cooker cooks for the set time and then holds the food on warm for several hours so in this case it held it on warm for about 2 hours, which probably contributed to the solidness.

1 cup steel cut oats
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup milk
1 cup water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg (I may reduce this to 1/4 tsp next time)
1/4 tsp salt

Mix it all up and cook on low for 8 hours.

If you are cooking direct in the crock you will probably want to coat the inside with cooking spray or butter, and possibly risk burning it unless you add more liquid. Normally you want four parts liquid to one part oats.

As I mentioned it turns out very solid, so you will have to work a bit to stir the spices that floated to the top back down into it when it's done. The oats end up nice and chewy and while I don't normally add milk to my oatmeal I did with this and it was very tasty with bit of milk and a drizzle of sugar free maple syrup over it. I honestly do not know if I will add more liquid next time I make it.

It's not very sweet, and there really isn't a detectable apple flavor. If you want more apple and you want it wetter try adding a second cup of apple sauce. If you don't want it much wetter try chopping up some dried apples to stir in, though you might need a bit more water with that just because it does turn out so dry as it is.

Future experiments may involve other dried fruits.

6/13 - Tried it with an additional cup of applesauce, without reducing the milk or water. There is more apple flavor of course but it makes the oatmeal too wet for my taste. If you prefer creamier oatmeal over chewier oatmeal by all means go for the extra applesauce but I will stick to less liquid for myself.
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
More adventures in low sodium cooking.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about two pounds I think)
Garlic and Herb Mrs Dash
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups boiling water
1 Tbsp no sodium chicken buoillon powder
1 can (15oz) no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 box frozen chopped spinach (I forgot to check the size, but in the US it's the stadard box)
8 oz cream cheese

16 oz dry pasta of your choice, cooked

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and season liberally with Mrs Dash.

In a heavy 2.5 quart saucepan, melt butter and cook onions until soft and golden brown. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Dissolve bouillon powder in water and add to the saucepan with the tomatoes and frozen spinach. When spinach is thawed and sauce is simmering add the cream cheese in chunks, stirring until melted. Serve over pasta.

For a thicker sauce, thaw the spinach and squeeze out the water before adding it to the sauce pan.
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
I mixed this up the other day for use on some pork chops. Tonight I used the remainder on a slow cooked pork roast with the addition of a packet of onion soup mix. Given that both turned out super tasty I'm saving the recipe for the future.

1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

The coriander I have here is roasted. The chili powder is the bog standard mix you get from McCormick. When I am home again I'll try this blend with regular ground coriander and chipotle chili powder (which will make the mix hotter).
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
So Hafoc and I were at Anthrocon having hot dogs from the cart on the corner, which lead to talking about the ways in which people serve hot dogs and all the things you can get on a Chicago style dog. At the mention of coleslaw on a hot dog I really wanted one, but coleslaw is usually mayonnaise based and not so good on a small cart for that reason. The solution of course is to use a vinegar based dressing, so technically I should have worked up a vinaigrette based coleslaw but my brain got stuck on shredded cabbage pickles so this is what you get.

1 quart jar, glass or heat resistant material

shredded cabbage/coleslaw mix, to fill the jar packed down tight

1 1/2 cup water
3/4 cup vinegar, I used apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp coarse salt (pickling or canning salt)
1 tsp pickling spice blend
2-3 Tbsp minced garlic (I just used a heaping spoonful, so approximate amount here, suit to your taste)

In a small saucepan combine the brine ingredients and bring to a boil.

Pack the jar full of cabbage, get as much into the jar as you possibly can, right to the top of the threads.

Carefully pour in the boiling brine, a ladle is very useful for this part. The cabbage will shrink down some so pack more in if you like, just be sure it can be pushed below the level of the brine.

Put a lid on the jar and let it cool to room temperature before moving it to the fridge.

The thinner the cabbage shreds the faster it will be ready to eat. The packs of coleslaw mix at the grocery store are ready after sitting about eight hours/overnight.

I plan to try other spices in the future, dill would be a classic of course. I may try a bit of chili powder at some point, though my low tolerance for spicy things means I will be very sparing with that.
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
I basically smashed together bits from a few recipes with my general cooking knowledge for this one. We had half a bag of potatoes and some leftover ham to use up.

The amount of potatoes and ham are approximate; this filled a 6 quart slow cooker about half way.

7 medium potatoes, scrubbed or peeled as you wish, sliced about 1/8th inch thick
1 medium to large onion, sliced about 1/8th inch thick
1 pound cooked ham, cut into bite sized pieces

Butter your slow cooker crock or use non-stick spray. Layer 1/3rd of the potatoes, half the onion, and 1/3rd of the ham in the bottom of the crock, repeat, and then finish off with the last of the potatoes and ham.

Make the sauce:

1/4 c butter
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c flour
1 & 1/2 c milk
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper (I use a five color mix and fresh grind it)
2 c shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack)

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the minced garlic, stir until it is fragrant but not browned. Add the flour and stir until it makes a smooth paste. Whisk in the milk slowly to avoid lumps. Add salt and pepper and stir until thickened (it won't take long). Turn off heat and add the cheese, stir until melted and well incorporated. Pour garlic cheese sauce over the layered potatoes and ham, aiming for an even coating of the surface.

Cover and cook on low about 8 hours.
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
I made this up today and it ended up tasty so I'm noting down what I did for future use. :)

1 can (10.5oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can (6.5oz) sliced mushrooms, undrained
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 handfuls baby carrots, cut in half crosswise
11/2 Tbsp curry powder
2 tsp tomato bullion
1 c brown lentils
2 c water

Stir it all up in your crock and let it cook 6 hours on high. I gave it a stir about every two hours, mostly because it was my first time slow cooking lentils and I wanted to monitor the liquid level.
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
I've tweaked this a bit from the original, and I'm including some tweaks I haven't tried yet but I am certain will work.

You will need a crust for a single crust 9" pie. I like using a shortbread crust for my sweet pies. The recipe makes enough for a double crust 9" pie but it freezes well, so you can save the second half of the dough rather than cutting the recipe.

Since my crust has a lot of butter in it I omitted the one tablespoon of soft butter that the original recipe requires to be rubbed over the crust before filling.

Pie Filling:

1/4 c + 1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 c applesauce

Optional crumb topping:

1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/2 c flour
1/3 c brown sugar
3 Tbsp soft butter*

Preheat your oven to 450°F

Prepare pie filling by blending the sugar and cinnamon together to avoid cinnamon lumps in the finished pie. Beat in eggs, then add the vanilla and apple sauce. Pour into your prepared pie crust. If you aren't using the optional crumb topping, dust the top of the pie with cinnamon.

To prepare the crumb topping combine all ingredients in a small zipper bag (sandwich size works perfectly) and massage until well mixed and crumbly. Sprinkle over the pie filling. Some of it will probably sink into the pie.

Bake the pie at 450°F for 15 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 30 additional minutes.

Cool completely before serving.



* This is the untested tweak. The original crumb topping recipe called for 1/3 cup of butter. The pie with this butter rich version of the crumble is in the oven right at this moment so I can't tell you if it worked yet, but I think less butter would be better in any case.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (ligerdragon)
This is a slightly modified version of a recipe I discovered via Pinterest. I've doubled the amount and adjusted the seasoning.

Note that 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp equals 3/8 cup, if you are fortunate enough to have a 1/8 cup measure.

3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1.5-2" chunks
1 c flour (approximately, for dredging)
vegetable oil for frying

1 can (12 oz) orange juice concentrate
1/4 c + 2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 c + 2 Tbsp ketchup
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper

Dredge the chicken pieces in flour and brown them on all sides. You don't have to cook them through, just get a nice golden brown on them. Put the browned pieces in the crock. Unless you have a much larger pan than I do you'll have to do the chicken pieces in 2-3 batches.

Mix up the other ingredients in a bowl and pour it over the chicken in the crock. Give it a good stir and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

I cooked this batch 6 hours as the recipe stated but I think it would have been fine with just 4 hours. My crock has a notorious hot spot and with all the sugars in this recipe it got a bit dark in places even though I stirred it every couple hours and turned the ceramic liner end for end half way through. It still turned out tasty though. :9
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
I was in the mood for "bread baked with stuff on it" so I played around with a recipe and came up with this.

I use a bread machine to make the dough.

1 c warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp rosemary (I used dried, but you could use fresh)
3 c flour
11/2 tsp dry active yeast

The resultant dough will be very soft and a bit sticky, so lightly flour your sheet pan and your hands before turning it out. I like to line my sheet pan with a piece of non-stick foil.

Give the dough a couple turns on the floured surface and pat it out into a rough 13x9" rectangle. Poke it with your fingertips to dimple the surface. At this point you can top it with whatever you like. I gave it a light coat of olive oil (spray, but you could brush it), some grated paremesan/romano/asiago blend, sliced black olives, and shredded colby.

Set in a warm spot to rise about 30 minutes, I heat my oven to about 80°F before I turned out the dough and then turned it off. By the time I was done slicing the olives it was just a bit warmer than the kitchen so I left the bread in the oven with the door ajar to rise.

Heat the oven to 400°F (remove the bread if you were rising it in there) and bake the bread for 20-25 minutes.

The result has a nice crisp crust and a fluffy interior. I may use this as a base for a bready pizza crust in the future.

11/16/11 - This makes excellent pizza crust. Just top it and bake it without letting it rise.
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
I was in the mood for pancakes, and after looking at some recipes to get an idea about the proportions of ingredients I went into the kitchen and came up with this.

1 c flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

It makes 4 thick and fluffy 6" pancakes.

For my own reference, setting 3 (aka "medium low") is the ideal temperature to cook them at.
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
I made these for supper tonight and since both Bill and I liked them the recipe gets stored here so I can always find it.

The original recipe is here, and has a handy feature that lets you adjust the number of servings. I made a couple modifications so here's my version, the largest change is the amount of sesame oil:

10 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
1 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp honey
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground red pepper

Combine everything in a gallon sized ziplock bag and marinate at least a couple hours1.

Place thighs in roasting pan, skin side down, and pour remaining marinade over them. Bake uncovered at 375°F for 45 minutes. Turn pieces over and bake for another 15 minutes.

Since I was going to have the oven going for the chicken I also scrubbed some yellow potatoes, cut them into large chunks and tossed them with some seasoned salt, red pepper, and vegetable oil. I roasted them in a separate pan at the same time, giving them a stir when I turned the chicken.


1. I mixed mine up around 10:30 at night and put it on the bake the next day at 5pm.

If chicken is not your thing, this marinade is awesome on pork as well. Take a pork loin that will fit in your slow cooker and trim off the fat. Cut the loin into slabs 2-3" thick, coat them in the marinade and then stuff them, and the rest of the marinade, in your slower cooker and let it cook until the pork falls apart when you poke it. Leftover pork makes awesome fried rice. :)
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
[personal profile] hafoc and I have differing views on what constitutes a ripe banana. He likes them just turned yellow, I like them freckled. Normally this works out well, he gets a big hand of bananas and eats them until they start to freckle and then I finish them off. As a result we don't have too many instances of multiple over ripe bananas.

However he bought a large hand of bananas and then left for ten days. I waited until they started to freckle and then did my best to get through them all myself but eventually you just have to admit that you aren't going to get through them all before they rot. So today, on what I judged was the day before ripe ticked over into over ripe, I made banana bread.

1/2 c butter, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/3 c mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F, grease a 9x5" loaf pan.

Since I was feeling lazy and didn't want to clear a spot for my big KitchenAid stand mixer I mixed this up by hand with a "wooden spoon" made of plastic. Had I had my mixer out I would have done the standard method, cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs, banana, and vanilla, then add the dry ingredients. Instead I mashed the butter and sugar together with the back of the spoon until I had a well blended paste then beat it a bit before adding the salt and soda by sprinkling it over the butter mixture and then beating it in. Then I added the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and bananas. When those were well mixed I added the flour one cup at a time and sort of folded and stirred to wet it down before beating it a bit.

Pour the batter into the pan and smack it down on the counter a couple times to get it to settle.

Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick (or knife or cake tester or whatever) poked in the center comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes in the pan, turn out onto a rack, cool completely.
tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
Even though it's just the two of us, I do cook a fair spread for the holiday. This year I'm trying a new pie recipe and if I weren't still stuffed full of turkey and all the trimmings I might be able to tell you if it turned out tasty or not.

You'll need a double pie crust for this (one in the pie plate, one over the filling) and a 9" pie plate. My favorite crust for sweet pies is a shortbread crust and conveniently the recipe makes a double crust. :)

Filling:
3 15oz cans sliced peaches1
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter

Drain the peaches, reserving the juice/syrup. There should be 1-11/2 cups.

In a sauce pan, blend together the sugars, cornstarch, and spices. Stir in the reserved peach juice and add the butter. Cook on medium-low heat until the butter melts and the mixture thickens.2

Take your thickened syrup off the heat and let it cool, stirring occasionally. You want to get it down to just warm or room temperature.

Line your pie plate with one of the crusts, add the drained peaches. Pour the syrup over the peaches. You may have a touch more syrup than you need to fill your pie. Add the other layer of crust over the top and seal the edges as you prefer. Cut vent holes in the top crust.

Bake at 450°F for about 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Cool before slicing.



1. The original recipe didn't specify whether they should be in juice, light syrup, or heavy syrup. Mine were accidentally purchased "no sugar added, sweetened with Splenda" and this was an attempt to make them tasty.

2. The original recipe was once again unhelpful for how long to cook it so I let it bubble as I stirred for five minutes. You want this to be thick, otherwise when you cut your pie later it will run all over.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
I've tried cutting down my family biscuit recipe to something more reasonable for two people before with marginal success. Tonight I tried a little something different and I like the results.

For about 4 biscuits:

Mix 1 tsp apple cider vinegar with milk to make 1/3cup and let stand 5-10 minutes

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp shortening (or lard)

Shift together the dry ingredients then cut in the shortening until it resembles cornmeal. Add milk mixture a dollop at a time until the mix just comes together into a dough. You might need either a bit more or a bit less liquid, if you need more just use regular milk. Do not handle the dough more than necessary.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and pat down so it is about half an inch thick. Cut into biscuits, reforming scraps gently.

Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
I found some beer in the back of the fridge and we had some fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts so of course I needed to dip those in beer batter and fry 'em up.

1 can beer, 12oz (we had Tecate in the back of the fridge, but use what you like)
11/2 cups flour
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt

More flour (for dredging)

Mix up the four batter ingredients, dredge your meat(s) in flour, coat in batter, fry.

I was concerned that some of the larger pieces wouldn't cook before the batter burnt so I fried them until they looked pretty, drained them, and then baked the lot of them in the oven for fifteen minutes to be sure they would be cooked.

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