tephra: Sanji from One Piece, Cooking (Cooking Sanji)
Pillsbury's Sugar Free Devil's Food Cake Mix can be improved significantly with these simple changes:
  • Use an extra egg
  • Use butter instead of oil
  • Add one packet of sugar free cook and serve chocolate pudding mix
We have jumbo eggs, and sometimes they have two yokes. This particular cake therefore had four eggs in the mix with five egg yolks. The texture turned out to be just what I want in a devil's food cake.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
There exists a recipe from about 1987 or so, that was published in a Weight Watchers magazine or cookbook, that I would dearly love to find again. I've scoured every one of the books and magazines that I found digging around Mom's collection and whatever book or magazine it was in was not among them. I've tried asking in Weight Watchers forums and LJ communities with no luck but maybe by some astronomical chance someone that reads this will have it.

It was a pie recipe.

It had a crumb crust that included oatmeal and cinnamon and had to be baked before filling.

The filling included frozen unsweetened strawberries, unflavored gelatin, and whipped topping as ingredients.

I don't recall any eggs in the recipe, but given it was more than twenty years ago that doesn't say much.

It would not have been complicated since 12/13 year old me had even less patience for complicated recipes than 36 year old me. I'm pretty sure it came down to "make crust, bake crust, cool crust, make filling, fill crust, chill". That said, I was a pretty decent cook by that time so it wouldn't have to be "so simple a kid could make it" since my skills were definitely adult level and I was already taking over a lot of the holiday cooking from Mom.

I remember this pie mostly for the crust, the fact the filling mounded very high, and you got a huge portion for your exchanges in the Weight Watchers program of the time.

So if you know this recipe, share? :)
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
... not so much for coffee, but they're great for loose tea.

We have some Russian fruit infused black tea that [livejournal.com profile] hafoc bought a while back. It's really good, but it's a hassle to brew because it's loose and we have to mess around with tea balls or strain it through a sieve if making a pot rather than just a mug. But with a French press, well, now it's a snap.

You can't leave it in the press while you drink a cup of course, it just keeps steeping and getting more and more bitter and astringent, but if you pour it out into a pot or pitcher....

Today I'm having it sweet, chilled, and "seasoned" with a splash of apple juice... yummy!
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Splenda® has an aftertaste. :P

Disclaimer: I'm one of those oddballs that can taste phenylthiocarbamide as well as being a supertaster. Yes, I do happen to be picky about foods with capsaicin, quinine, and salt.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
I've been saying that those single serving microwaveable baking mixes were a waste of money... then I actually tried one.

Betty Crocker Warm Delights Fudge Brownie to be exact. [livejournal.com profile] hafoc bought a couple on special so the price was $1.25, I'll have to check the normal price later.

Mix a bit of water with the powder, microwave for less than a minute, apply fudge topping and wait 2 minutes (I suggest getting a glass of milk and a cat free comfy spot to sit) and you have a warm gooey brownie about four inches in diameter and about three-quarters of an inch thick. It sure beats making a box mix for instant gratification, and you only make what you plan to eat.

So yes, compared to a box the brownie you get from one of these things is expensive, but when you consider the time and cost for oil and eggs with a box mix, and the fact that you will probably eat more brownies than you should, it's not so bad. It's even comparable to the cost of an inferior brownie at the checkout.

As Hafoc commented, the chocolate to sweat ratio on these things is incredible.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Or baked pasta. The craving for the veal is very strong today and the pasta craving has been lurking about for a few days now.

The veal I have a recipe for (well, I wing it, but I have winged it before successfully) but the pasta.... I'm lazy and I want to just chuck some dry pasta in a dish with the appropriate ingredients and bake it.

Prego did a pasta bake sauce for a while and I liked it a lot (one jar sauce, one jar water, one pound dry ziti, cheese) but they don't make it anymore (or at least, I haven't seen it in a very long time.)

So, anyone have a recipe? Do you think using a regular pasta sauce with water would work like the bake sauce did?

And on an unrelated note: I think it's time to make refrigerator pickles again. This time I think cauliflower, cucumber, baby carrots, and some dill added to the spices.
tephra: (kitty squid)
I can't help it, I saw the name and I was intrigued.

Ben & Jerry's Black & Tan

"Cream stout ice cream swirled with chocolate ice cream."

So I bought it and I'm eating it, and here's my opinion.

Stout flavored ice cream is Weird. It's almost... meaty, in flavor. Fortunately Ben & Jerry's takes the swirl thing seriously so you only get the stout by itself if you skim the very top of the pint.

The chocolate isn't some mild little milk chocolate though, it's the "black" portion of the black & tan. Imagine a nice block of semi-sweet, maybe even bittersweet, chocolate. Now add just enough cream to make it the right texture for ice cream. Yeah, it's a really nice semi/bitter chocolate ice cream, it's as close to black as chocolate ice cream can get and it's got the bitter chocolate after bite too.

The stout ice cream by itself would be pretty icky, the chocolate by itself would be edible only in small doses, together they make a pretty decent chocolate ice cream. Together, you can't taste the stout and the chocolate is cut to manageable levels.

The cats incidentally started begging/trying to get into the ice cream as soon as they smelled it. I gave them a little bit of the stout flavored part. The seemed to have liked it but apparently it's way rich for them because they spent a long time licking their whiskers and didn't finish what I gave them. But they seem pretty pleased with themselves for getting some.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Well the turkey dinner was yummy (good thing I think I'm a good cook, huh?) and the leftovers are put away. The stripped turkey carcass has been broken up and set to boil for stock in preparation for about a week of eating leftover turkey in various forms (including the ever popular Soup That Heaps.)

I'm craving pie but didn't bake any thing year, nor buy one. :( Note to self, even if I don't normally crave pie I will on Thanksgiving. Make or buy pie next year. I wonder how busy Big Boy will be tomorrow, maybe we could go out for pie and coffee....

I opened the refrigerator pickles even though they should still sit for a week. They're already delicious. :) The cauliflower is a pale pink from the red onion, which is both a bit weird and kind of nifty. I have yet to try the onion or snow peas, partly because I'd have to dig in the jar to get to them and partly because I'm not feeling that daring today.

I hope everyone had a pleasant turkey day!
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Good, not sweet refrigerator pickle recipes.

Actually what I'd really like is something that spells out the minimum required amount of vinegar and salt (in proportions) in the brine. I know someone, somewhere, has studied that. The USDA probably has, but damned if I can find it the information (without wading through the very, very long and tedious USDA documents anyway).

I want to make a decent amount of pickled cauliflower but the recipes I'm finding fall into three categories: sweet (YUCK!), hot (I mean, really hot, the amount of habaneros one recipe called for terrified me), or weird (cooking my cauliflower in oil flavored with toasted cumin, coriander, and turmeric before pickling for instance, or including Coke in the brine.) None of those is what I want. I want a nice, not too sour but not at all sweet, refrigerator cauliflower pickle, dilled is good but not required.

This is the closest so far, though I wasn't really thinking of making 4 quarts of it (unless it turned out really, really good). I think I'd just leave out the dried chillies and hope for the best. The fact that it uses white wine vinegar (low acid, yay!) and no sugar is good but I have to wonder if that's enough vinegar.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Borrowed from [livejournal.com profile] dewhitton

Bold what you've eaten, italicize what you'd like to try...
1. Fresh fish
2. Lobster
3. Steak
4. Thai food (if someone can recommend something that won't burn my tonsils out)
5. Chinese food
6. Ice cream
7. Pizza
8. Crab
9. Curry
10. Prawns
11. Moreton Bay Bugs
12. Clam chowder
13. Barbecues
14. Pancakes
15. Pasta
16. Mussels
17. Cheesecake
18. Lamb
19. Cream tea (Um, is this Chai?)
20. Alligator
21. Oysters
22. Kangaroo
23. Chocolate
24. Sandwiches
25. Greek food
26. Burgers
27. Mexican food
28. Squid
29. American diner breakfast
30. Salmon
31. Venison (I'm had moose, but that's not technically venison)
32. Guinea pig
33. Shark
34. Sushi
35. Paella
36. Barramundi
37. Reindeer
38. Kebab
39. Scallops
40. Australian meat pie
41. Mango (never eaten one to the best of my knowledge, but given the prevalence of mango in juice here I have tasted it)
42. Durian fruit (I doubt I could get past its infamous smell)
43. Octopus (a seafood I'm not fond of, alert the press)
44. Ribs
45. Roast beef
46. Tapas
47. Jerk chicken/pork (actually, I've had "jerk seasoned" meat filling in a annatto flavored pastry shell, but I don't think it should count)
48. Haggis (I've read recipes... *shudder*)
49. Caviar
50. Cornish pasty
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Rose hips are, frankly, a wee bit creepy.

They resemble an unholy cross between a somewhat gelatinous looking red-orange berry and a Shadow vessel. Add to that the disturbing crackling* sound they make when you trim off the blossom end (the taint of Shadow), a childhood spent with a garden that used very minimal pesticides, an active imagination, and a deep fear of bugs and you get one kitty-dragon ready to leap across the room and commence climbing walls. Or, given my size, breaking through them.

*A rose hip is basically a thin sticky shell used to enclose rose seeds**. When you trim them your knife grates on the seeds, hence a crackling sound.

**Anyone that has read that they are related to apples will have a completely erroneous preconception of what these things look like inside. Think of them as a ball of seeds, loosely bound by some hairy fibers, wrapped in a bit of jelly***, just enough to hold them together. A couple dozen seeds per rosehip, easily (I haven't actually counted but there are LOTS).

***Have I mentioned they are sticky?
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
I've been thinking that I really should arrange to have some Better Than Fred's salsa available at the next furry gathering I attend. Why? Well it's good salsa for one thing, with a bit of smoky chili powder flavor to it, but more importantly the label has a moose in a flannel shirt and jeans.

It's just meant for furries.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
So now I know what a rosehip tastes like. I can see why the most common recipe for them is jelly, and it's not the taste. The big fruit on this rugosa is about the size of a quarter and most of that space is taken up with seeds and hairy fibers (actually, they remind more more of snips of cotton twine). It would be a major pain in the ass to seed out a few quarts of these things. I'm definitely making jelly and not mucking around with anything that says I have to seed these things. And the gumminess of the one I tried explained well the lack of pectin in the recipes I found, they don't need any more than they have naturally.

And they taste like apples, tart apples. I think that's the megadose of vitamin C the things pack.

I might seed out a few and see if I can get some new rugosas from seed though.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
The jeep is still packed. I have a high resistance to cleaning you see and there's no room for anything in the house yet. I'll bring in stuff I can just put in the closet but the bigger stuff will have to wait for a bit longer.

I found more rose hip recipes, I'm still leaning toward making jelly but the crumble pie sounds interesting.

I'm suffering from a general need to be creative and none of my established hobbies are leaping out at me to satisfy it. Though sewing seems to be pulling the strongest. That of course requires me to clean the room that holds the sewing machine....
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
I don't know when fish, rice, and miso soup became comfort food for me but it has. It's probably a knee-jerk reaction to the beef and potatoes diet my father insists on. I've always been fond of Americanized Chinese food and in recent years friends have gotten me hooked on Japanese food (though my tolerance for sushi has died out, even for unagi) and if I avoid the hot stuff I enjoy Korean as well (no kim chee, thank you).

Anyway, the day is looking better now that I've had my miso, rice, and fish. And I even managed to find some mp3s of The Pillows. Now I just need to get my anime fix in and I'll be bolstered for the usual evening bitchiness around here.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
It's odd. Here I am, sitting in my childhood bedroom, and I'm homesick. Not for any past I had here, not even for Michigan (this time anyway), but for Arizona and where I lived in Tempe. What brought this on? A conversation about favorite fast foods of all things. I miss Kyoto Bowl, an Americanized Asian fast food chain that I've only seen in Arizona. There was one just a bit out of my way on my walk home from work/class in grad school. I miss being able to swing by there and pick up a bowl of pleasantly sticky rice topped with a decent amount of protein and vegetables. I usually got the beef sukiyaki or the garlic chicken, generally the latter. Never order a large meal there, unless you're really hungry. I'd guess-timate that the regular bowl had about three cups of rice, and a couple of your chosen topping. The large would feed two people pretty easily.

I really wish that chain would become more popular, I'd love to have one here. Gaylord could use one too for that matter.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Life has been uninteresting and busy lately.

My work schedule looks like a slice of swiss cheese. I only have two students this time (for those wondering, I teach Solaris system administration on a contract basis at a corporate training center) so anytime one of them can't come to class it's turned into a day off. I still have 35 hours to teach for the course and only one official topic to cover, Jumpstart. I'm going to have to come up with stuff that Sun doesn't put into their certification exams to teach these guys, but still keep it relevant to the real world (not hard) and 'small' enough to cover in the remaining hours (not so easy). Any sys admins out there have suggestions?

Outside of work... I saw a computer system that I want. My current system is one I built back with a 300Mhz AMD K6-2 was just off the bleeding edge. Yes, that old. This new system isn't exactly up to geek nirvana standards, it's at BJ's (local wholesale club), but 2.8Ghz with 512Mb RAM (expandable to a gig), DVD-RW, 7 USB 2.0 ports, etc. is pretty nice. And the 17" flat panel monitor that it comes with is very nice. And the case has a gee whiz factor with the sliding, spring-loaded panel that conceals the front access USB, firewire, memory card slots, and floppy.... Now to find a spare $1200 (and $60 for tax if I can't find it at the New Hampshire BJ's). :P

I just activated my new Tracfone. One of my birthday presents, received late due to shortages at the stores. We'll see how this works out. My 'local' calling area is weird though, if I drive 5 miles north into New Hampshire I'll get roaming charges. If I go to El Paso, TX I'm still local.... 8)

Other than that, nothing going on here. Dad was a pill and got himself kicked out of accelerated rehab so he's going to be home sooner than expected, with little training for moving around with a walker.

And I cooked ostrich burgers last night. They're comparable in price to better grades of ground beef (and cheaper than some) so I figured that while Dad wasn't around to make faces and disgusting comments about the nature of my food choices (don't let the man see you eating rice, particularly in a cream sauce) I'd try them.

For a giant feather duster they taste awfully good. :)

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