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Archive for October, 2009

Roasted Vegetables with a Fried Egg (Large)One of my favorite things to do in the fall and winter is to make large amounts of oven-roasted vegetables that will feed me for days.  My oven is so small that sometimes I’ll pile vegetables into a baking dish on one rack and all over a cookie sheet on the other.  I like the versatility of roasting vegetables.  You can really do almost any combination.  Last week I diced sweet potato, celeriac, onion, and red potatoes into half-inch cubes and roasted it all in a 400 degree oven with olive oil and seasonings.  I ate it for dinner, I ate it for lunch, I ate it hash browns-style for breakfast with a fried egg on top.

This week I tried a different combo, with green Romanesco cauliflower, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, and onions, with plenty of rosemary and thyme.  The carrots and the green cauliflower added nice color.

Roasted Vegetables Lots of Color (Large)

I can’t wait for Brussels sprouts to hit the market so I can add those to the roasting mix.  And maybe some shallots and golden beets (red beets will stain everything, though I guess that’s not the worst thing).  And I gotta get some of those fun and funky squashes into the mix as well.  The sky’s the limit.

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Fig Candy Experiment

Aside from a delicious foray into chocolate-covered bacon, I’ve never really been a candy-maker.  I didn’t even own a candy thermometer until recently.  But after discovering the natural pectins in figs while I was cooking up some fig jam a while back, I wondered if I couldn’t just keep on cooking the fig jam until it became a gel-like candy.

So this week I harvested another batch of figs (the last of the season, I think) and set about making my usual jam recipe.  I cooked it down until it was a gelatinous mess, then let it cool down so it wasn’t burning hot.  I spread the glop over a sheet of plastic that I had dusted liberally with powdered sugar, dusted more sugar on top, and let the flattened mass cool completely.

Fig Candy 1 (Large)

When it was cool, I simply sliced the gel into slices and then into squares, and tossed each square in more powdered sugar.  The soft texture is somewhere between caramel and jam, with chewy lemon peel bits here and there.  They’re good little bites!

Fig Candy 2 (Large)

Unfortunately the powdered sugar coating isn’t quite so fluffy a few days later.  I’m not sure how they get the dusting on Turkish Delight to stay so nice.  Ah well, just another candy secret to learn.

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There are two important events  in the world of DC food bloggers coming up in the next week.  First up, the DC Food Bloggers Spooktacular Bake Sale, this Saturday at the 14th & U Farmers Market  from 9 am to 1 pm.  Several of us will be bringing goodies (I’ll probably make more chocolate loaf cake!), with all proceeds benefitting Martha’s Table.

Bake Sale

Then, once you’ve worked off the Halloween sugar hangover, join us next Wednesday for the monthly DC Food Blogger Happy Hour.  The first two were lots of fun, and this one promises to continue the trend.  It’s in Adams Morgan at the Black Squirrel, which features a great beer selection and delicious bites.  Please join us!

DC Food Blogger Happy Hour 3

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Thai Basil Green Curry

What I’m about to describe is in no way authentic Thai cuisine, but nonetheless I was fairly pleased with the results of a culinary experiment I did last night.  Back in the summer I harvested a huge amount of Thai basil and made a pesto-like paste.  I think I put in some shallots and mild chiles along with the basil.  Anyway, I froze it in cubes as usual, and last night I thawed a bunch out and simmered the paste with coconut milk, ginger, lime (juice and zest), garlic, and seasonings.  It made a tasty sauce to pour over sauteed vegetables and rice:

Thai Basil Green Curry (Large)

Like I said, it’s not exactly authentic, but it was a good (and out-of-the-ordinary) way to make a dent in the piles of pesto in my freezer.

 

 

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Yay, the fried green tomatoes were a success.  My friends and I fried them up using tortilla crumbs as the breading.  I sliced the tomatoes into quarter-inch thick slices, dipped them in milk, breaded them lightly, and fried them in hot vegetable oil.  So good!

Fried Green Tomatoes (Large)

Since we had a pan of hot oil going, we also fried up some seeds from a butternut squash, and also some apple slices breaded in the extra tortilla crumbs.  Both were good little snacks, but I especially liked the fried seeds.  The frying crisped up the outer husk, making it easy to just eat the whole thing instead of having to pull out the kernel.  The moral of the story is that frying makes things awesome.

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I’m loving the farmers markets right now.  True, the wild color and lushness of summer produce is gone, but the fruits and vegetables of fall are just so satisfying.

Romanesco cauliflower.  Fall is a great season for brassicas.

Romanesco cauliflower. Fall is a great season for brassicas.

Walnuts!

Walnuts!

Squash is everywhere.  There are little squashes...

Squash is everywhere. There are little squashes...

...and big squashes!

...and big squashes!

The humble parsnip does not get enough love, I think.

The humble parsnip does not get enough love, I think.

Blue sky, orange trees.

Blue sky, orange trees. Love my street.

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I’ve developed a signature drink this year, or rather a series of signature drinks.  There’s the Winter in Dupont Circle – pear cider, home-made ginger-infused vodka, and lemon juice, shaken and strained martini-style.  There’s the Summer in Dupont Circle, which uses the same ingredients but changes up the ratios and is served punch-style over ice.

Since it’s getting cold outside, I decided a hot version of the drink would be good.  And since rum is a good combo with hot cider, I decided to swap out the vodka and make ginger-infused rum instead.

Autumn in Dupont Circle

1 part ginger-infused rum
3 parts fresh pear cider or apple cider
1/2 part lemon juice
Lots of lemon peel

Put rum into a mug.  Heat up cider, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a small saucepan.  Pour the hot cider into the mug with the rum, straining out the lemon peel.

Autumn in Dupont Circle 2 (Large)

Autumn in Dupont Circle (Large)

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