tasty nom nom an exception to the daily meal


Stole the show

Hi J - The potato talk last week turned into reality this week, with a side of meatballs and slaw.

UntitledG's potatoes, with all the fixings

Last year, G grilled meatballs for a summer meal.  He likes to reminisce about them, quit often. Last week, when you vetoed the starch portion of the meal, the tabletalk turned to potatoes. How much they like potatoes, let me count the ways ... This week, he combined the reminisce of the meatballs, with the potato talk.

He ordered a grind from Fischer in Issaquah - 1.5lbs of ground beef, 1.5lbs of lamb, and .5lb beef heart. He mixed the meat with chopped onion & garlic, salt and pepper. And to half of the meat, he added a store bought rub.

I was happy to find jicama at the market, so I did a cook-by-color slaw, with carrots, cabbage, mandarins (from the previous slaw), with green onions and cilantro. For the dressing, I made up a lime, honey, fish sauce and some red pepper flakes vinaigrette. I tossed the slaw a couple of hours ahead to let the flavors mingle.

G scrubbed the potatoes, poked them with toothpicks, put each in the microwave for 10 minutes. He liberally rubbed them with olive oil and Hawaiian pink sea salt. He tested grilled a meatball - 4 minutes each turn. At the same time, he put the 'tatoes on the griddle, on the heat, to crisp the skins for 15 minutes each side, 30 minutes total.  He moved the potatoes to indirect heat, and began grilled the meatballs on the griddle.

The meatballs were upstaged, by the fully adorned potato - sour cream, green onions, real bacon bits (from a jar), shredded cheddar cheese (from a bag), and I am probably missing something under that pile.

Unlike G and N,  I am not a huge fan of potatoes. These potatoes had a smoky crispy chewy crust, with pillowy soft center. They were second best to my all time favorites potatoes from The Cats Restaurant and Taven in Los Gatos. Not bad for this non-potato fan.

After dinner, N and G watched some hockey, we caught up on our crafty chat. We ended the evening with some good ol pizza and Castle.

Untitledwtf is wrong with my hand

Oh hey, this is my weekly reminder to deal with the missing card in the bean game and to scan and distribute rules for some that we've been wanting to try.

Btw, further evidence Canelés are quite the thing ... this month's Bon Appetite featured a silicon mold (weak!) Canelé article.

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cake, rhymes with steak

Hi J - G thinks "cake rhymes with steak" is incredible silly, but it made me laugh.

To celebrate the Double Rainbows, I made N's request - plain chocolate cake, no infusion, no layer of anything, just chocolate. He did allow a red velvet variant. So I went for it - Red Velvet Cake.

IMAG0188cake cutting

Many years ago, I made red velvet cake for the first time for GD and Sh's Mardi Gras party. It was quite a hit. The recipe I used is a modified version from Sylvia's Family Soul Food Cookbook. I used trusty Valrhona chocolate powder - two tablespoons, instead of two teaspoons called for in the recipe. I also substituted my favorite whipped cream cream cheese frosting instead of the one-stick-butter frosting, and 1/4 cup of yogurt for equal amount of buttermilk. (Previous times, I used sour cream. But I had yogurt on hand.) Lastly, I was very light on sugar in the frosting and just a little light in the cake. The cake turned out more sour than I anticipated.

IMAG0169mmm, un-natural color for food

For no reason, I did not use parchment circles for the bottom of the cake, and two of the layer's centers stuck to the pan. Doh, the centers were glued back on with frosting.  I was surprised how much N likes the cake. But come to think of it, his favorite ice cream is chocolate, and we like sour tart acidic food, a lot.

IMAG0189frosting fixes everything

I was very happy N had a second slice, judgement on the cake.

And ...

to supplement N's request, I made some canelés to go with your morning coffee. There are endless articles, recipes, and lore on the Interweb for this confection. Canelés is fussy. I made them the first time from a recipe in a Martha Stewart Living issue over a decade ago. I bought the budget aluminum version of the mold at Sur La Table and coated the molds with butter timidly. They were tasty but most of the pastry stuck to the molds. Super fail. Then I had them at Essential Bakery in Fremont many years ago.  Mmm. I have not seen them there the last few times I was there.

I attempted them a couple of year ago, with more commitment to the butter and sugar coating. I remember N really liking them, and you recently made a "try it again!" comment. So ....

I stw to see what I can learn. I found one very helpful extensive write up Canelés (Cannelés) de Bordeaux – the recipe, the madness, the method and also How to make (almost) perfect canelés using silicone molds.

I was happy to find Sur La Table carry the molds again. These molds are a little shorter and just slightly different shape.  I also went all in and bought beewax (and silicon molds to try). Following the recipe, a side by side of silicon and aluminum mold trial we did. I learned a few things: the crust on the side was light but the top (bottom) was dark. The silicon mold, while easy, produced only a passable crust. Too thick of the beewax/butter coating negatively affect the crust, and I had a real difficult time coating the silicon mold.

When I made them your batch, I kept the temperature high, covered the top (bottom) with foil when they are golden,  and extended the cooking time to 1/5 hrs.

IMAG0183hi, we are getting ready to go to N & J's house

IMAG0178this one poofed weirdly and was sacrificed to test the texture

Let me pause here and say .. the beewax butter mixture, while worth the culinary result, is a giant pain. Only rolling boil water takes the goo off. A bowl, two pair of tongs, a silicon brush, and a measure cup is still coated with this stuff.

IMAG0191second class silicon baked caneles

I hope you enjoyed them. They are quite a project. For a quick hit, I would use the silicon mold. For a better deal, I would use the aluminum molds with beewax butter coating. Maybe someday, I will pony up and get the real copper molds.

Happy April. Glad you and N enjoyed the cakes.

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Double Rainbow Birthdays

Good morning, E!

Last weekend we celebrated April birthdays and tax day. I opted for something low-effort since N is working on the bug restoration and I knew you were bringing birthday cake! (can't we just have cake for dinner?)


I picked up some ribeye medallions which N grilled on the Big Green Egg, adding just the tiniest bit of mesquite smoke.

For green side, I had vaguely planned to make Sass & Veracity's Kale and Apple Salad with Bacon and pecans but I had some green cabbage in the fridge that I wanted to use. I looked around the food blogs and found shutterbean's recipe for Kale, Cashew, & Mint Slaw which sounded promising, so I started there, intending to switch up the dressing.

It turned out that I kept the dressing but made a couple of other modifications. I added granny smith and gala apple slices tossed in lemon juice to the slaw. I had a hard time finding the type of cashews I wanted, but I found Sahale Snacks Sing Buri cashews and picked them up as a backup plan. I ended up using the seasoned cashews in the slaw, which gave an extra citrus element (pineapple) along with some spice (Chinese chile) plus sesame seeds to the slaw.

If I made this slaw again (and I will) but with plain ol' cashews, I would be sure to add additional citrus, chili, and sesame seeds to the dressing.

N also grilled some asparagus to go along with the steaks and slaw, though he and G were disappointed that I vetoed baked potatoes!

You brought red velvet birthday cake that I hope you'll write more about! It was delicious and N really enjoyed the difference between the icing between the layers versus the icing on the outside of the cake.


Thank you!

I wanted to play a real game but I was vetoed and we played stupid-ass Uno again. Maybe that's why I came back from behind and won. I keep thinking if I keep winning, maybe they'll stop picking Uno... but I think I am going to have to hide the cards.

As for next time, I'm thinking about something along these lines:

piggy wiggly

We shall see...


Breakfast for dinner

Hi J -

IMAG0158Orange, Mr. Happy Easter

Lucky for bunny, he was not what's-for-dinner. He wouldn't be tasty anyways, a bit too fibrous. Instead, we have our other halves' favorite - ham. G likes Honey Baked Ham, a lot.  I was very worried that the combination was too breakfast like. Fortunately, N was "SUPER EXCITED" about the menu.

IMAG0155plate of deliciousness

G suggested some fingerling potatoes to go with the Honey Baked Ham. ( G wants fingerling potatoes to go with everything. ) I opted to try my hand at biscuit and gravy. I've had N's gravy many times, on turkey, CFS ... mmm. Gravy seems so simple, but it is still a bit mysterious to me. The first trial of plain turkey gravy turned out ok. Last night was my first sausage gravy. What? brown some sausage, stir in some flour and add milk. Tricky!

IMAG0148just starting to bubble after adding milk

One minute it is thickening, the next minute it turns to glue, then mortar. I suppose it is just like custard - in a blink of a second, it sets up, and congeals when it cools. This sausage gravy was ok, not my favorite. G editorialized my grocery list and came home with maple sausage, instead of plain sausage. I can taste the fake maple flavor. However, N thought it was the onions that made the gravy taste sweet.

IMAG0138sticky biscuit dough

I used an Alton Brown Southern Biscuit recipe. And substituted lard for the shortening since that's what I had on hand. At the last step, I realized I have green onions and extra sharp cheddar cheese in the fridge. Into the bowl they went, and we have green onions cheddar biscuit. I put them in the oven a little too early, and while trying to keep them warm, they went a little over the golden color.

IMAG0141everything taste better with pork belly

For the greens, I cut up some pork belly that I found in the freezer. (Yay, made room for your limoncello!) I rendered the pork belly, sauteed the onions then the kale. I thought about the kale apple salad recipe you shared, but I needed something simpler. Maybe you will make it 🙂

After a couple of helpings of biscuits and gravy, we cleaned up and serendipitously dodged G and N's conversation. Hope you enjoyed breakfast for dinner. I repeated (some parts of) dinner for breakfast. Yum.

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