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post #352
bio: stu
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6/26/2011
03:35

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So it's been awhile since I've written here, but I haven't been idle, I swear. As you can see by the image above, I've been trying to figure out what to make. And then I've been making it. Sometimes my girlfriend figures out what to make, and then she makes it. Sometimes I do the figuring out, and she does the making. Or vice versa. It's been a brave new world.

Our CSA share started up three weeks ago, and it's been a deluge of vegetables and assorted things to try to fashion into other things. Which is pretty cool, but it's pretty intimidating still. I've been working more or less full time after my actual full time job to try to keep up.

In the past three weeks I've started pickling things (instant pickles and ready-after-a-day-or-two pickles thanks to David Chang's Momofuku book, and longer lasting pickles as well, thanks to a friend). I've infused a half-quart of vodka with strawberries. I've tried (and completely failed) to make malfatti, my favorite thing I've ever made before. With the left over chard stems, I've made pickled swiss chard stems with sriracha that's still sitting in my fridge waiting for me to try it because I'm kind of scared I screwed it up and put twice as much sriracha as I should have, which is going to be a serious issue to my Scottish-Norwegian midwestern palate when I finally get around to dealing with it.

I'm also totally intimidated by the amount of strawberries we've been receiving and I don't care about jam, so I've been trying to find new ways to do things with it that will preserve them for awhile. Right now I'm trying two different recipes for shrubs. Shrubs, in addition to being small bushes, are fruit and herbal blends with vinegar that basically make an infused simple syrup full of concentrated simple syrup and vinegar to preserve the flavors of the fruit long after the fruit has gone.  I'm making a quick one with strawberry and cider vinegar and rosemary that should be ready in time for a July 4th party, and another one that's supposed to be more mellow and wonderful but won't be ready for a couple of weeks. We'll see if either of them turn out.

Unconnected to the CSA, but just because, well, why not, I also mixed up a batch of bourbon bacon jam. As I said, well, why  not? It is as wonderful and as weird as you can imagine bacon, cooked and then slow cooked for hours, mixed in with bourbon, bacon, maple syrup, vinegar, brown sugar, and some carmelized onions, would be. I followed the recipe linked almost exactly, except it cooked much faster in my slow cooker. If you do it yourself, follow the recipe provided, but keep an eye on it after an hour or two just to make sure it doesn't get too dry. It'll get thicker when it cools, so take it off when the liquid is thick and almost boiled off.

I brought a 4oz jar to work and became instantly the most popular employee in my office at the time. It is weird and wonderful stuff.

I'll try to talk about some other stuff I've done, when I think about it. Sometime I might talk about the braising greens I made that I covered with tomato sauce and meatballs and ate the shit out of. Or the steak that I made in the David Chang style that involved oven, stove top, shallots, a half-stick of butter, some thyme, and a lot of spooning to form a tasty crust. Or, if I get really crazy, about how I just got some arugula that could make an Democrat out of a Republican.

But later. It's late, and I should go to sleep, so I can get up and get back in front of the stove.






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