oyceter: (i cook)
2013-12-22 08:42 pm

December posting: chicken!

Ha, of course I forgot I was going to start posting yesterday! So, for 12/21: best way to make chicken for [personal profile] via_ostiense

I am actually not sure! I also haven't been cooking a lot for a while now, so nothing immediately springs to mind in terms of recipes. Overall, I like chicken as long as it's not too dry, so I tend to like dark meat better. In terms of eating... I think chicken tends to be my default meat, so I don't always notice it, but I do enjoy it when chicken really tastes like chicken, as opposed to standard meat. So... possibly right now, my favorite way to eat chicken is at yakitori places, when the chicken is juicy and dripping and there are all sorts of chicken parts. My favorite right now is heart! Though sometimes it changes, depending... one place has absolutely amazing chicken thigh.
oyceter: (i cook)
2012-02-03 02:57 pm

Easy cooking

[personal profile] commodorified's Cooking for People Who Don't blog carnival is up!

I've been skimming over some posts to try to get back into the habit of cooking. So far, I've done two holiday-meal-ish things since November and promptly remedied that by eating out all the time or scrounging.

I started cooking a lot more Chinese food in the winter of 2010, and though I read a fair amount on cooking, I had to figure out a lot of shortcuts from my sister because there aren't that many English-language resources online that have good "quick Chinese cooking" advice. So... maybe some of this will be useful to someone?

I tend to be shorter on time and energy than money, which is reflected in the tips. I also only cook for one to two people at a time, and I've discovered that I'm absolutely terrible at things like buying in bulk and then storing in single-serving containers in the freezer unless I am 100% on in terms of mood and energy.

This also assumes having the basic ingredients and tools for basic Chinese cooking and relies heavily on the freezer and the microwave.

A very random assortment of tips )
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
2011-11-19 09:10 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Apparently I am a highly seasonal person, and summer is for fruits and vegetables and salads and chopping. I did cook some during the summer (largely because my sister made me), but it always feels a bit like a chore though.

Now that the weather's changed, I've been wanting to spend time in the kitchen again, and today I started some things for craft circle. The kitchen smells like pork and ginger and scallion, which is to say, it smells proper again.

*happy sigh*
oyceter: Picture of temple mirrored (taiwan otp)
2011-01-30 09:51 pm

Recipes, randomosity, and rats

I've been playing around with my subscriptions and juggling things between what I read on DW and what I read via my RSS reader. It is so sad that I feel like I can't even keep up with less than 100 people, but so it goes. As usual, every day here is de-subscribing/ungranting access amnesty day.

Also, eventually I will start to talk about books again! Possibly when I start reading again, ahahaha. I'm still trying to figure out why my attention span still feels shot for fiction; I haven't been able to hang onto manga or fiction, although apparently Mythbusters and non-fiction about germs and parasites are right up my alley. I wonder if it is because I am socializing more offline and thereby using up more of the part of my brain that keeps track of people there? No clue.

*

Ratling babble! )

*

General cooking and recipe notes )

Recipes: sweet and sour pork ribs, nappa cabbage and fen si, meat and veggie dumplings )

Haha, hopefully all this typing in Chinese will eventually make me faster than the ten-second hunt-and-peck I do for every word right now.
oyceter: (i cook)
2011-01-10 09:28 pm

Cooking: I can haz it

I started learning how to cook around when I graduated from undergrad, for the obvious reasons, but I didn't really try it much until around 2005, when I was inspired by [personal profile] coffeeandink's forays into cooking to try myself. And then grad school hit, in which I would cook and wrap dumplings during the first month of each semester and gradually move toward take out, EZ Mac, and pizza as the semester wore on.

I enjoy cooking, but it may be one of those things I enjoy more when I have a lot of spare time; when I get a job again, we'll see how much I keep doing it! But so far, I feel like I've been learning how to cook all over again in the past few months. On the plus side, I think I've actually gotten to the point when I can kind of stare at the fridge and throw things together, which was my target way back when.

The really big difference, though, is that I've finally learned how to cook Chinese food.

Culture, food, family, and other complicated issues )

Would people be interested in my completely off-the-cuff, untested, and very generalized recipes?

Also, switching between languages to type is SO ANNOYING. Hopefully I will soon memorize the bopomofo keyboard on Windows (pinyin on Mac is so much easier for me).
oyceter: (santa me)
2010-12-23 11:41 am
Entry tags:

Baking!

I so missed my giant food processor those two years in grad school!

My sister and I have not been doing very holiday-y things, largely because I have just been stressing about my Yuletide story (I WILL NEVER TRY PLOT AGAIN), most of our friends are in other places, and we mostly just feel like bumming around and watching kdramas. I keep saying I will put up the Christmas tree that has been mouldering in storage for the past two years, but so far we have both proved too lazy to do so. Maybe we will put it up on Christmas and then take it down the day after! (As you can tell, we see Christmas as an opt-in holiday. Sadly, I realized this was not true for most other people while stopping by the mall yesterday. BAD IDEA.)

Also, I am making gingerbread for the first time, so we went and bought cookie cutters. I have a gingerbread guy and a gingerbread girl and a Christmas tree, and I couldn't find a star of David, but instead, they have been joined by... a unicorn!

SISTER: The unicorn looks weird.
ME: Awesome and sparkly!
Sister gives me a skeptical look.
ME: Unicorns! Appropriate for many seasons! (then) Ooooo, should we get a stegosaurus too?

I was tempted to buy pink sparkles for it, but I don't actually like sparkles on my cookies (or frosting, or icing, or anything that has that much sugar. Light sprinklings of powdered sugar are acceptable.)

Also also, it would be nice if all my baking urges didn't happen at 10 pm. At least my kitchen is well stocked enough that I don't have to make midnight Safeway runs or very strange substitutions, though the well-stocked-ness mainly consists of me going, "Hrm. I have had this molasses since 2007. Hopefully it is still okay!"
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
2010-11-15 08:45 pm

Random things make a post

ETA: Is anyone planning on going to Potlatch and/or Fogcon next March?

*

Does anyone have recommendations for good vegan dessert recipes? General categorical suggestions are extremely welcome, such as "vegan cheesecakes are failproof!" or "don't even try vegan souffles, most of them are hard and don't taste good." Specific recipe recs also welcome, although they will be most useful if they are available online.

*

There was a prize drawing on Kobo Books a while back, and amazingly, I actually won a Kobo wireless ereader! I've been reading ebooks, primarily library ones, over my phone and on my computer, but the LCD screen still makes my eyes hurt if I read for too long. So far, I love having a dedicated ereader, but I'm not sure I love it enough that I would have shelled out over $100 for it. There are some bugs in the software that drive me up the wall: it keeps reverting to "sort by title" after I sync it, and I hate how it divides my books between "books" (epub) and "documents" (pdf) and will not sort PDF by author, even if I've given the document metadata in Calibre. I do love that it reads epub and PDF.

I haven't browsed much on the Kobo ebook store, largely because I still refuse to pay money for an ebook I want to keep. I am still a bit of a Luddite! I love my shelves and being able to browse, and the slow refresh of the e-ink screen added with the Kobo ereader's lack of bookmarks (srsly Kobo?!) makes it very hard to flip through a book to get to my favorite parts. I am quietly rooting for the day I can buy a physical book and get the ebook with it, or pay an addition dollar or so to get the ebook version.

*

I realize I have not blogged about my rats for a long time! Part of it is because Ren's death broke my heart, but a lot of it is also the move from LJ to DW, which doesn't have a handy photo-hosting option.

Anyway, Ed and Al are middle-aged or elderly rats now, and although they were pretty squishy before, they are even more so now! Especially Al. He is not quite as spherical as Bya used to be, but he is pretty close, and he does this funny waddle when he attempts to gallumph around. They are also the most prodigious chewers of all my rats, and I would poetically say that one of the rat blankets looks like a sky full of stars when I air it out and look at the light shining through all the gnawed little holes, but it seems rather silly to wax poetic about a literally ratty chewed-up blanket.

Al also has a cyst around the size of my pinky fingernail; it's been tested twice and is benign. Other than that, they've had very little respiratory problems, unlike some of my other rats. Since they are now older, they mostly like just snuggling up and sleeping (or chewing stuff), instead of running around like something is after them like they did when they were smaller. Ed! I mean YOU!! Also, now that it is getting chillier, it is super nice to have two fat rats sleeping on my lap when I read.

Al also loves to shred anything paper and drag it into his little plastic hut to nest. I know all rats do this, but Al so far is the most enthusiastic I've ever seen a rat behave, and I meanly annoy him by dragging all his carefully arranged paper scraps out of the hut so I can watch him scramble and put it all back together, one tiny scrap of paper at a time.

Witness! (sorry, terrible quality, I know)

oyceter: man*ga [mahng' guh] n. Japanese comics. synonym: CRACK (manga is crack)
2009-08-03 12:29 pm

Ando Natsumi and Kobayashi Miyuki - Kitchen Princess, vol. 02-07 (Eng. trans.)

Does anyone know the origins of "プリン" (flan)? I know パン is from Portuguese, but I remember being confused by プリン when I was there.

Now that Najika's in the prestigious Seika Academy to find her Flan Prince (as one does), she must battle all the people who think she has no place in the special class! Sadly, the battles are not literal, although there are a few cook-offs involved.

And then there is a plot twist at the end of volume 5/beginning of volume 6 that was extremely unexpected. It briefly made me think this would not be quite as typical of a shoujo cooking series as it seemed, but things appear to have gone back to normal by volume 7. Maybe.

Spoilers are actually surprising )

I'm not reading for deep characterization or surprising plot. The assorted food battles and espousing of food philosophy—"Best ingredients! Fancy plating! Exquisite taste!" vs. "COOK FROM THE HEART!"—are what make the series for me, and as the series continues to talk about food a lot, I will continue to enjoy.

Also, I am now so hungry for omurice and Japanese curry! And Japanese-style Italian pasta with an egg on top!
oyceter: Stack of books with text "mmm... books!" (mmm books)
2009-01-31 12:15 am

Davis, Tanita S. - A La Carte

Seventeen-year-old Lainey already knows what she wants from life: become a celebrity chef, get her own Food Network show, and come up with lots of awesome vegetarian dishes. But she and her best friend Sim have grown apart—he's hanging out with the partiers while she could care less—and to keep him close, Lainey's willing to do a lot more than she thought.

When I read the back cover copy, I thought this book was going to be much fluffier and slighter than it actually turned out to be. Davis manages to keep the voice light and the cooking sequences awesome (do not read while you are hungry) even as the situation grows more and more complicated. I was also happy to see a little role inversion: the good, slightly geeky (about food), sweet black girl and the bad, rule-breaking, drug-doing white guy (at least, I am pretty sure he's white). I was afraid Davis was going to make things too romantic, but fear not.

Although this book isn't amazingly awesome, it's very solid, and I enjoyed reading about Lainey growing up and figuring out what she wanted from life and the kind of person she wanted to be. Plus, it comes with recipes!
oyceter: (i cook)
2008-12-16 06:23 pm

Pre-Taiwan pictures!

Wow, I'm late in writing things up! This year's Thanksgiving was held at the apartment of one of my sister's friends; my sister, her two friends, and I made most of the food. Thankfully, this year we did not have to battle lumpy cream or curtains as oven mitts, but there were other catastrophes instead!

I took the opportunity to make salty egg and pumpkin (really kabocha squash, but Chinese doesn't seem to distinguish between pumpkin and squash). Alas, this resulted in my nearly chopping off my finger... twice! The first time, I escaped with only a bit of skin nicked, but the second time, the knife went fairly deep, I bled all over the place, and my sister and her friend had to make an emergency run to see what drug stores were open on Thanksgiving to buy rubbing alcohol and bandaids. Gah. I think this is not my year, medically. At least I now have a scar on my left index finger to match the rat bite scar on my right index finger?

After we ate dinner, I went back to the kitchen to attempt lemon souffle! I know I can make chocolate souffle fairly consistently (at least, when I remember to turn on the oven...), but I haven't tried any other kind. Of course, there weren't enough ramekins or ramekins of the right kind. And my sister's friend's apartment was woefully underequipped. ("Do you have a spatula?" "Uh. We have a wooden rice scooper." "How about a zester?" "Zester...?" "... A grater then?" "Er...")

I would like to note that making lemon zest without a grater is extremely annoying and I nearly sliced off another bit of finger while doing so.

When I started my recipe, I melted some butter over the stove and started stirring in 3/4 cups of flour. As it clumped and started turning into what presumably would be roux, my sister's friend C turned to me and asked, "Er. Are you sure it's supposed to look like this?"

"Maybe I add more liquid later?" I asked. After we had stirred in a cup or so of milk, only to have it be rapidly soaked up by the flour with no noticeable difference in texture, I decided there may have been some mistake. I mean, I know the souffle is thick, but that doesn't mean it should be solid! I couldn't find the recipe online, so I eventually had to go for a new recipe.

Thankfully, the souffles ended up doing well... or at least 75% of them! The fourth souffle had deflated into a sad, slightly lemony hockey puck, and while the texture was somewhat cake-like, it was dense, unflavorful, and not at all light and fluffy with melty lemon curd at the bottom like the rest.

Every single time I make souffle, I wonder why I go through all the trouble, because really, can flavored batter and egg whites taste so good as the make it worth the effort? And every time I take a successful souffle out of the oven, I remember why I do it (aside from the challenge and ensuing self-congratulations, of course, provided that I turn on the oven...). The lemon souffles were delightfully light and delicate on top, with a tiny crust of caramelized sugar (from buttering and sugaring the insides of the ramekins), and the texture gradually gets denser and more liquid until you get to the bottom, which is rich and buttery and eggy and very much like a hot lemon curd. They are amazing, and I am going to try them again for Christmas.

... Of course, this will be very interesting, as I have no idea as to how equipped or underequipped our kitchen is for making French desserts. And we have no ramekins. And I will have to convert everything to metric.

But this time, I will turn on the oven and only put in a teaspoon or so of flour!

Giant Thanksgiving pictures )

Giant rat pictures )
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
2008-04-07 06:54 pm

In conclusion: we are twelve

I figured I would give you all the conclusion in place of the subject, so you all would know what you were getting into. Or: days 2-3 in Mariposa.

It was immensely lovely being able to finally meet [livejournal.com profile] sartorias in person, and naturally wonderful to get to see [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink, [livejournal.com profile] sophia_helix, [livejournal.com profile] canandagirl, [livejournal.com profile] yhlee, and [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija again. I was also very impressed with my getting up at 10:30 not just once, but twice on the weekend, although the others seemed to be not so impressed, having gotten up at the crack of dawn. But! 10:30 is pre-noon! It is an accomplishment.

Fooding )

Fun with phallic symbols! )

Rachel and I also watched the very excellent maniacal laugh arc of Gundam Wing (don't spoil in comments!); I translated some amazingly unsketchy Gundam Wing doujinshi ("Wufei wants to sleep with Trowa. Not like that! They're brothers! No! Not like that either!") and some not-so-unsketchy Gundam Wing doujinshi ("AIIIEEE MY EYES!" I said, eyes lighting on the first panel. Then: "Winged angel Heero in spandex?"); I read Indian comics with very suggestive ads in the back about Atul the Cheese Boy and his cricket bat, a very sexy illustration of Krishna, a not-sketchy picture of Krishna eating butter that I immediately thought of as sketchy, thanks to having learned what the infamous butter scene in Last Tango in Paris was infamous for, and poisoned breasts; Mely played me a song about brains in jars; Sophia, Jody and I talked knitting; I pestered Yoon incessantly about Korean; and Sherwood made Gundam Wing costume design seem much less cracktastic than we had previously thought (Zechs' crazy boots and Treize's cape and the uniforms in general are inspired by actual historical uniforms!).

I also managed to sic Damo on people, who should all write it up so that I can conquer LJ via kdramas, and we watched some of The Pretender (Ms. Parker is made of win) and Romance of the Red Dust (aka, Technicolor female assassins), which needs an entire post of its own. And! The rats were admired and petted by many people, even though Bya was mercilessly made fun of for resembling a mochi or a baseball more than he resembled a rat. And x 2! My rats are so dorky that when I hang their hammocks from tinier cages, they can't figure out how to crawl into them. Bya in particular seemed to think that if he got his nose in, the rest of him would surely follow, and he was very surprised when he let go and it did not magically happen.
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
2008-04-02 07:55 pm

Lemon curd and chocolate souffle

For personal reference and archival purposes...

Lemon curd )

Chocolate souffle )
oyceter: (santa me)
2007-12-26 11:38 pm

Christmas fooding

Yesterday, more cooking! Thankfully less than Christmas Eve, as I was smart enough to start the bread, the yogurt sauce, and the raspberry sauce then.

I got up at 8 to punch down the bread dough and to form the loaves, then crawled back into bed to wake up after noon. Oh well. Hey, what's a holiday for if you can't laze about (never mind that I laze about plenty on the weekends)?

We had lots of Martinelli's, chickpea pancakes and yogurt sauce, a huuuge dish of mi fun, my mom's onion pork rib things, bread, and salad.

I felt extremely accomplished, as my bread turned out well! I remembered not to punch it down too much this time for more rustic-type bubbles, which made the texture rougher and less refined. And it tasted good! And smelled delicious! The only thing was, I forgot to raise it when it was cooling down, so all the steam went up and the crust got a little soft. Still, everyone ate it and said it was excellent, and it tasted like bread you get from a good store! I am extremely proud of myself.

My sister and her friend mostly did the mi fun and the pork ribs. I think mi fun is now part of our traditional Christmas, as this is the second year running we've had it. Also, we manage to make so much that the only thing it fits in is a giant dish about three feet across, colorfully painted with chile peppers. Someone gave it to us for putting chips and salsa in, but so far, the only thing we've ever used it for is to house ginormous amounts of mi fun every Christmas.

And for dessert, CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE! With raspberry coulis! I strained the raspberry sauce myself, and it tasted awesome! And the souffle was the right texture I am beaming with pride even as I type!

Today, me, my sister, and two of her friends went to see the SF Ballet's Nutcracker. It was really lovely, and it makes me want to watch Princess Tutu again, but I've found that after dancing and watching people dance, I think I prefer more contemporary stuff now. Though I still greatly appreciate the classical too -- it would have been great just sitting there and listening to the orchestra play all the familiar pieces.
oyceter: (santa me)
2007-12-24 11:11 pm
Entry tags:

Christmas Eve!

OMG. My feet are so, so, so tired. Got up at 8 in the morning to come back from SF and forgot to pick up a pie on the way -- not that it really matters, as we are so not short on dessert. Then I took Ren to the vet to get his stitches removed. It was a mad house! Clearly everyone else thought it would be empty on Christmas Eve as well, or everyone's pets just got sick at the same time.

Ren has decided that he hates me forever and sulked in the corner of his cage on the drive home. Well, for rattie values of "sulk," that is, as he immediately trots over to lick my fingers if anything tasty is on them.

I also braved the wilds of Whole Foods around 11. Insanity! Utter insanity! I keep forgetting how crazy the holidays are around here. My dad called in the afternoon -- it's Christmas for them in Taiwan, everyone's at work and nothing's going on.

Then, cooking!

Today's menu consisted of: beef noodle soup Taiwan-style, made by my sister's friend. The beef chunks and tendon were simmered in broth for about five hours, then she briefly boiled some baby bok choy and noodles right before dinner. Me and my sister scrambled about making the tiramisu, by which I mean, my sister took over after I did a poor job of separating one egg and broke another in the bowl. Siiigh. So I went and made latkes instead. I heart my food processor grater thing so much. I am sure it is not as tasty, but it also mean bits of my fingers don't get included in the food, which I think is a good thing. We also had potstickers, salad (mixed greens, pomegranate seeds, oranges, jicama, completely random dressing thrown together by me), and La Brea rosemary olive oil bread.

I just made raspberry sauce for the souffle tomorrow and started on yogurt sauce; I think I will now collapse and indulge in tiramisu.

ETA: Hrm, the tiramisu tastes very odd! We sort of very deviated from the recipe and made it with a layer of butter pound cake and a layer of chocolate pound cake. I think if we had soaked more coffee into them, it would have tasted more "normal." Still, it is insanely good, and I am tempted to make it like this again.
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
2007-12-15 08:30 pm

Colwin, Laurie - More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen

I haven't read Laurie Colwin's first book about home cooking, but I don't think I needed to. This is a wonderfully homey, comforting, happy-making book; it cheered me up immensely. A lot of it is because of Colwin's attitude toward cooking. She likes good ingredients and fresh food, but she's also a fan of things that taste awesome with minimum preparation (the elegant slob, she calls herself).

I was a little wary when the introduction was on the importance of the family dinner and having families eat together. While I usually do like dinners together, I find that people propounding this also tend to advocate "all-American" family values, most of which just don't work with me. But Colwin goes on to talk about how the meaning of family changes and how the giant Norman Rockwell dinners meant slaving at the stove and doing the dishes afterward; she writes of how families are friends or single-parent or gay or lesbian or multiracial.

I particularly like that she includes non-American food in the book; she's equally fond of chutney and fermented black beans as she is of turkey. That said, most of the recipes are American.

And well, she's just funny!

I come from a coffee-loving family, and you can always tell if my sister and I have been around, because both of us collect all the dead coffee from everyone's morning cup, pour it over ice, and drink it. This is a disgusting habit, and only a coffee addict would indulge in it.


It is gross! But it also sums up coffee addiction! (Not caffeine, mind you -- I do like caffeinated things, but I loooove coffee above and beyond that.)

Really fun, and incredibly cheering to read on cold, rainy winter nights.
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
2007-11-23 10:28 pm

NYC, Days 2-3

We had a relatively uneventful Thanksgiving; we made mashed potatoes and green bean casserole and bought rotisserie chicken and pumpkin pie from Whole Foods. The mashed potatoes went fairly uneventfully, until I decided to add some of the half and half we bought for the green bean casserole. I opened the carton, poured some out, and then heard the plopping noise several very solid bits of cream made.

My sister and I looked at each other. "Uh oh. Is half and half supposed to do that?"

We took turns sniffing at the carton and scrutinizing the December expiration date.

Further adventures in the kitchen )

Today, I got to see [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink! We had ginormous, apple-loaded pancakes, corn dogs and tater tots at a diner (I forgot the name, but it had cute colored lights and happy flower wallpaper). We both waxed rhapsodic about the delights of deep-fried food, food on a stick, batter-coated meat, and the wonderful combination of all of the above that is the corn dog ("It's a hot dog! In batter! Deep fried! On a stick!" *blissful sigh*).

Despite all of Mely's attempts to segregate the savory from the sweet, I can now tell you from experience that ketchup and applejacks pancakes do not go together.

Booking and more fooding )
oyceter: (fuu woe)
2007-09-07 07:15 pm

Woe

Am still at work and not sure when I will be heading home. Am also going to have to work through the weekend, sigh. Well, I knew this was happening, but it is still not fun.

Also, I have discovered today that samosas are flammable.

In other words: I would highly advise against reheating samosas in your toaster oven at 200 deg F while you go restart your computer. I finally noticed that the small popping noises and the faintly acrid smell of smoke wafting through the halls could not mean anything of the good. I ran to the kitchen, only to find the front glass door of my toaster oven completely blackened, smoke pouring everywhere. I'm rather amazed that no fire alarms were set off.

After staring slack-jawed, I vaguely remembered that you're not supposed to pour water on an electrical fire and reached over to unplug it. Popping noises continued to come from the sooty innards of the toaster oven. I freaked out. I didn't have anything large enough to cover the toaster oven with to cut off the air supply, and despite Alton Brown's multiple extortions to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen... you all know the end to that sentence.

I then timidly opened the door of the toaster oven to find two very blackened samosas, one of which was merrily blazing away. I put it out with some water and thereby saved the house from burning down and me from having to answer embarrassing questions: "So, how exactly did the fire start?" "Well, you see, there was a samosa..."

In conclusion: samosas = flammable.
oyceter: (i cook)
2007-04-23 12:03 am
Entry tags:

Weekend shenanigans

I have done pretty much nothing useful this week aside from completely screw up my sleep schedule and get horrific allergies. On the plus side, [livejournal.com profile] remix_redux is up! So I am spending tonight happily wallowing through scads of fic.

I did manage to bake again (twice in a month! Go me!), and this time was better than the last! Last time I attempted Cook's Illustrated's olive rosemary bread; alas, I let it rise waaaay too long for the first rise after drastically underestimating the time my parents and I would be gone for dinner. It made many strange hissing noises as I punched it down, and some of the bubbles were as big as a small plum. Whoops. I ended up not really liking the texture of the final result: too light, not chewy enough, crust not crunchy enough. I can't tell how much was me messing up or how much was the recipe. Probably it was me. I also didn't quite like the taste of the bread between the olives; the added honey made it a little too sweet, particularly when combined with the wheat flour.

Yesterday and today I made slow-rising bread from Joy of Cooking for the third time; I let it rise too much again when I woefully slept way past the initial six-hour rise time. Oddly, the dough didn't feel as overly gassy as the olive bread did and it was still doubled after all that time; maybe my refrigerator is colder than the book expected or my kitchen isn't really at "room temperature." The two loaves turned out pretty good, though still fairly dense; I probably undercompensated during the proofing stage due to the extra-long first rise. Also, I want a more uneven crumb. I think I'll try not punching it down so evenly next time.

But the bread itself tastes great. A little too salty maybe for jam, but then again, maybe not, and I like the bread itself to have flavor so I add additional salt (also, I use kosher while the recipe doesn't). And it has a lovely crunchy crust and is delightfully rustic and really chewy on the inside, which is exactly how I like my bread.

I think next time I'll try the dill bread in Joy and see how that goes, now that I have a stand mixer.

I still cannot get over just how complicated bread is; it's just flour and yeast and water and a pinch of flavoring, until you realize how much you have to do to it. I actually really enjoy figuring it out; I suck at following recipes anyway, and in the case of bread, it seems fairly useless to follow the times laid out (and they say so). They don't know how humid it is that day or if I went for a five-hour chill or twelve-hour or whatnot, and I have to somehow figure it all out from how the dough feels (too sticky? too dry? huh?) and how much larger it's gotten. Someday I will figure it out and be able to actually *gasp* modify bread recipes to make things crunchier or chewier or denser or lighter.

That will be SO COOL.
oyceter: (i cook)
2007-04-13 03:24 pm

Applesauce cake recipe

For [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija, who's been requesting cake-from-scratch recipes

I think I found this from some recipe website a few years ago. It's the very first cake I baked after I moved to California!

This is a pretty forgiving recipe; I've forgotten stuff or randomly substituted things when I ran out of ingredients, I've made it non-dairy and dairy, I've tried it in different pans for different thicknesses. Though, unlike [livejournal.com profile] cofax7, I haven't accidentally left it in the oven for another hour, so it may not be quite that forgiving. (also, I need more recipes like that, given my extreme absent-mindedness!)

Recipe as follows )