Τρίτη, Οκτωβρίου 31, 2006

Monday Bonus Recipe: Gingerbread Pudding

I invented this yesterday out of (sorta) necessity. I had an old, stale, slightly moldy gingerbread lying around, but I felt bad that I had neglected it, and I like gingerbread and didn't want to throw it out entirely, so I revived it and it was delicious.

Ingredients:
A loaf of gingerbread, more or less. Stale is completely fine. And if it's just minor mold we're talking about, cut/scrape it off and move on.
Heavy cream. Sorta depends how much bread you end up with.
Milk. The same amount as the cream.
3 eggs.
1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup or ginger maple syrup.

Take the gingerbread and crumble it up into a pyrex dish. I suppose maybe you should grease/flour the dish first. Anyway, unlike a real bread pudding, you want this to be pretty finely crumbled. Crack 3 eggs into a mixing bowl. Estimate how much liquid it's going to take to cover all the crumbs, in addition to the amount of eggs you've already got there. Make up the difference with a 1:1 ratio of heavy cream and whole milk. Add the syrup. More if you want this to be really sweet, less if your more into lightly sweetened things. Beat this mixture thoroughly until the eggs are no longer identifiable in the liquid. Pour it all over the crumbs, cover and refrigerate for 5+ hours, until the crumbs have more or less surrendered. Put it in the oven, and bake it until it's nicely puffed in the middle and a knife comes out cleanish.

This general principle works with any breadlike product you wish to salvage. I tried it with pan de sal (Filipino rolls) and raisins and that was remarkable too. I have some aging cheddar scallion scones I may turn into a savory pudding later this week.

Δευτέρα, Οκτωβρίου 30, 2006

Stuffed Eggplants

Here's what you need:

About a pound of either ground lamb, or even better, lamb sausage
8-10 smallish eggplants. And I mean smallish. No larger than a pear.
3/4 cup quinoa
A lemon
A tomato or two. Flavorful and ripe is better.
Onions. I'd say 3 small ones.
Garlic. 3 cloves or so
Olive oil. Lots.
Oregono

First, prepare the eggplants. The easy way to do this is to boil them until they're soft, then cut them down the prime meridian, so to speak, and scoop out their innards. But surely, some of you ask, there must be a harder way. There is. Boil the eggplants, cut the top off, and scoop the innards out through the neck. And if you want an even harder way, don't boil them first. Just use a knife and great skill. That was the method I chose yesterday when I was making them. I suggest going one of the easier routes. Whatever you do, save the innards and put them in a shallow baking dish. Douse them thoroughly with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a judicious sprinkling of lemon juice. Throw that in the oven at about 350 and forget about it while you do the rest. (Actually, the innards have nothing to do with the recipe for the eggplant, but they do make an amazing babaganoushlike substance.) So put some olive oil in the pan and add the garlic and let it sizzle for a few minutes. Add the onions, and let them get a little brown. While you're doing this, put the quinoa in a saucepan with a bunch of water and get it boiling. Add the lamb to the onions and let it brown. It will probably be pretty juicy. Drain the juices into an icecube tray and save them for the next time you need broth or boullion. When the quinoa is done, drain it and toss it, along with the oregono and any spices that strike your fancy, in with the lamb. Mush up the tomato(es) and throw them in too. Stuff all this into the eggplant shells. Over the opening I'd put either a) breadcrumbs and butter and parmasan, b) bacon fat or c) thin coating of lard. This will help keep things moist inside. Put the eggplants in the oven and cook them until the stuffing is warm and the eggplant is soft. If you boiled it, this should take very little time. If you didn't, it will take a long time, but that's okay. They're worth the wait. While that's cooking, pull the eggplant innards out of the oven and throw them in the blender or food processor, and blend them until they're smooth-ish. Unless you like a chunkier ganoush. If you're a baba ganoush purist, you should add some parsley, paprika, and tahini at this point. If you're like me and don't particularly care for tahini, just take it out of the blender and use it however you like. It's delicious anyway.

So here's what you should end up with:

How ever many eggplants with which you started, full of lamb and quinoa and goodness.
A couple cups of a baba ganoushlike substance.
About half an icecube tray of lamb boullion.

Mmm.

Δευτέρα, Οκτωβρίου 23, 2006

Apple Compote

This recipe is best if you get all your ingredients from the Union Square Farmers Market. I shop Saturdays, so all references to location are based on the Saturday vendors.

3-4 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (I recommend Honeycrisps and Empires from the apple guy at the NE corner of the park)
Cream (Try the Ronnybrook Farms guys, at the north end of the park, in the middle-ish)
Ginger-Maple Syrup (The Deep-forest guys, along the west side of the park, just south of the subway entrance)
Ricotta chesse (no brine, from the Toujes farm guy, who is right across the way from the syrup guys)
Butter (from the Ronnybrook farms guys)

Put the sliced apples in a frying pan with a generous dollop of butter. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally until they're all soft, and some are a little brown. Feel free to even burn a few, as they'll add a lovely caramel flavor to the mixture. When they're nice and squishy, pour over top some cream and maple syrup, enough to coat and moisten, but not to leave the apples swimming. Sprinkle a generous handful of ricotta over top, and mix. Put in bowls, serve. Delicious.

Seen At TradeFair

The following sign:
Attention
CUSTOMER'S
We Moves the company
Boca, Jones and Armour
to The Refineration
in The Produce Section

Πέμπτη, Οκτωβρίου 12, 2006

Interview with a Mango, Part II

Q: At work yesterday, of what fictional character did you most remind yourself?

A: That would have to be Mrs. Lovett.

Q: So you cannibalized an Italian barber?

A: Actually some Nittany Lions.

Τρίτη, Οκτωβρίου 10, 2006

What I Did Today

...through the looking glass...
CHAPTER VIII

THE QUEEN'S CROQUET-GROUND



A large rose-tree stood near the entrance of the garden: the roses growing on it were white, but there were three gardeners at it, busily painting them red. Alice thought this a very curious thing, and she went nearer to watch them, and just as she came up to them she heard one of them say, `Look out now, Five! Don't go splashing paint over me like that!'

`I couldn't help it,' said Five, in a sulky tone; `Seven jogged my elbow.'

On which Seven looked up and said, `That's right, Five! Always lay the blame on others!'

`You'd better not talk!'said Five. `I heard the Queen say only yesterday you deserved to be beheaded!'

`What for?' said the one who had spoken first.

`That's none of your business, Two!' said Seven.

`Yes, it is his business!' said Five, `and I'll tell him--it was for bringing the cook tulip-roots instead of onions.'

Seven flung down his brush, and had just begun `Well, of all the unjust things--' when his eye chanced to fall upon Alice, as she stood watching them, and he checked himself suddenly: the others looked round also, and all of them bowed low.

`Would you tell me,' said Alice, a little timidly, `why you are painting those roses?'

Five and Seven said nothing, but looked at Two. Two began in a low voice, `Why the fact is, you see, Miss, this here ought to have been a red rose-tree, and we put a white one in by mistake; and if the Queen was to find it out, we should all have our heads cut off, you know. So you see, Miss, we're doing our best, afore she comes, to--' At this moment Five, who had been anxiously looking across the garden, called out `The Queen! The Queen!' and the three gardeners instantly threw themselves flat upon their faces. There was a sound of many footsteps, and Alice looked round, eager to see the Queen.

...except instead of roses, they were leaves, and instead of red, it was green.

Κυριακή, Οκτωβρίου 08, 2006

Help Needed

I have decided that my new drink of choice will be the Frosted Austin, which does not, in fact, exist. Yet. I am depending on you, loyal reader(s) to suggest an adequate recipe. Do not disappoint me.

Thought of the Day

All the money in the world cannot buy a good toupee.

Right, Mr. Schwartz?

UPDATE: I'm just sayin'.

Παρασκευή, Οκτωβρίου 06, 2006

Interview with a Mango, Part I

In which our interviewer seeks, in very small intervals, to learn the truth about the woman behind the fruit.*

Q: What one activity in your childhood educational experience was the most relevant to your current employment? And it can't be a whole year or school or subject.

A: Tangrams.

*And Katie Holmes was unavailable.

An Open Letter to iTunes

Dear iTunes,

You suck. No. I don't mean it. I'm sorry. Really. Don't be mad at me, iTunes. I'm just a little testy because it's now 7:50 on Friday and this week's episode of "The Office" isn't up yet, and I've made the concious choice to buy it from you rather than find it illegally somewhere, even though that would have been free and I would have had my fix of sweet, Office-y goodness at least 12 hours ago. I wouldn't have had to sit through all day at work, waiting, hoping, for the time I could go home and download the next episode, the episode I missed last night, but thought, "It's no big deal for me to go to choir rehearsal at church because iTunes will have "The Office" waiting for me tomorrow. In fact, as I have the season pass, it will be downloaded already. Not a moment of delay." And, iTunes, you have failed me. I have been home for three hours. And where is my Michael Scott? My Jan Levenson? My Jim Halpert? You are keeping them from me. And yes, I know, I say I don't really need them. I say I can quit anytime I want. This is a lie. I am a desperate woman, iTunes. Don't stand between me and the Scranton branch? You hear? Don't make me do something drastic... like...um...something VERY drastic. That is a threat. I mean. I'm sorry. Please. Just hand over the episode and it will all be alright. Really. Please?

Love
The Mango

UPDATE: Nine o'clock! Nine o'clock! FRIDAY! And it's still not up yet! iTUNES!

Τετάρτη, Οκτωβρίου 04, 2006

Pre-Walking

Today I executed a very advanced pre-walking manuever and was very proud of myself. I was trying to get from my place of employment (oh, and exciting, I now HAVE a place of employment.... a real one!) to church. Pre-walking is the fine art and subtle science of positioning yourself on the subway platform in such a way that you'll board the subway car that will let you out closest to the stairs at your destination. Now, mastering this for one leg of the journey is tough enough. But tonight I did the fabled double pre-walk. I positioned myself at the easternmost edge of the 7 platform, ensuring that I move right across the platform at Queensboro plaza and board the last car of the N into Manhattan, which would then let me out right by the escalator that leads to the exit closest to church. I'm not a fan of avoidable delay.

Τρίτη, Οκτωβρίου 03, 2006

C...

...is for cookie, and that's good enough for me.

Κυριακή, Οκτωβρίου 01, 2006

Mango's Meatloaf

I like meatloaf. We very rarely had it when I was a kid because my father had it all too frequently when he was a kid, but nonetheless, I like it a lot. So last night, having just straggled back in to town, I really felt like making a meatloaf. I did a little innovating, and thought I'd share my recipe with you, because it was way good.

1 lb ground beef, approximately
8 oz blue cheese, crumbled
An egg
Breadcrumbs (a cup, maybe?)
A handful or so of shredded bread pieces
1 T rice vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1/3 c Nina's Spicy Ketchup (or your favorite brand)

Work the blue cheese into the beef. Add bread crumbs until it no longer forms a cohesive lump. Make a well in the middle and put the egg in it. Cover the egg with the bread pieces, and let them sit for about 2 minutes. Pour the vinegar, soy sauce and ketchup on top of that. Mix thoroughly and form into a loaf in a baking pan. Put some more ketchup on top and smear it to cover the top and sides. Bake at 350 until its done. Maybe 45 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Note: The reason I used Nina's Spicy Ketchup is that I refuse to eat anything with high fructose corn syrup in it, and it was the only brand in my grocery store that didn't have it. I really like ketchup, and it was a hair too spicy for me to slather on in abundance, but in small quantities it was great, and the meatloaf itself was good enough not to need to be slathered.