Thursday, September 27, 2007

LJ-Picturing Food, 6.05.06: June is busting out all over.

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*I went on a chopping spree.

The last time I'll enjoy cooking before starting culinary classes (just kidding).

*Violet took these awesome photos.

Thursday Dinner Party.
Violet made tostadas for last Thursday's dinner. They were very yum. Mine is a tostada origami, otherwise known as taco.
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*Inspired by 's very very cute pancit post!
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*Run-of-the-mill fried rice. I use frozen veggies ... NO lima beans!
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I'm not a huge brownie fan, but I found one I loved and ever since, I've been looking for the recipe for the best brownie ever. It was soft--like a soft candy bar without being melty, like a truffle. Sure, it might be easier to just ask the famous Phoenix baker for her recipe, but I doubt she'd give it to me, and this one will just get me more friends (as long as they're good). This is the tester plate I served. My vegetarian friend remarked, just before helping herself, "They look like beef ribs!" Note to self: Slice them into squares next time.
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Brownie faceoff, vanilla ice cream presiding: On the left, a more traditional recipe with cocoa powder but just a little flour. On the right, a ganache-like recipe with many eggs. The winner--the traditional recipe! The next night, I went to buy the best brownie I'd ever had but thought there were too many eggs.
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Highlights.
Gougères, also known as "stinky Gruyère cheese balls." Cooking tip: Bringing baking soda to a boil in some water and letting it simmer will clear the smell right up. See, , I wouldn't hand out that advice unless I'd seen it work! Only make these if you love stinky cheese. Otherwise, substitute with smell-good cheese.
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There are only a couple of reasons why I'd dedicate hours to cooking homemade chicken stock.
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Loving risotto is one reason. Having a carcass from a roasted chicken and aromatic veggies in the crisper that I needed to use up is the other. My mistake was making a full recipe and then trying to shove it down my gullet in a single meal because risotto doesn't reheat well.
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Mid-week dessert party. I went overboard baking desserts last weekend (see my last post here), so I held a spontaneous dessert party on Wednesday night, featuring last weekend's leftovers and some new stuff to fill in the gaps (and use up the lemons).

Lemon surprise cake. It's got a sort of custardy base, almost as if it didn't' cook all the way through. Surprise! Okay, it's supposed to be that way, but it was still a funny conversation. This was pretty good--kinda like a lemon curd cobbler.
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You can throw the banana away, or you can turn it into cookies.
Which batch looks better? Ah, they're both the same. To one batch, I sang and said nice things to. To the other, I cursed.
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Chinese market.
*Seafood fried noodle from the Taiwanese Deli.
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*Cakes! I love these melt-in-your-mouth cakes, even if it does prevent me from stuffing an entire one in my cheek and saving it for later. (I envy chipmunks.)
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A weekend of grillin and tryin' not to die in the 105 degree heat. As my friend Nikki loves to say, "Mmmmmmeat!" Keep in mind, I'm not a steak fan unless it's really good steak; I'm friends with people who cook really good steak.
Saturday night: Steak and melon. My friends bought a new grill, and to break it in, Al went out and bought a bag full of meat. And that's it. Just a stack of steaks. I had a honeydew that was, of course, about to go bad, so I poured some white wine, orange juice, and sugar on top and was dumbly calling it samosas all night. Then I told everyone that it was "like a samosa!" No--on hot nights, my brain is like a samosa.
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Sunday night: Prime rib cooked in the smoker for many hours, tasty "Internet" beans, and mashed red potatoes. Cheryl got the recipe off the Internet but isn't sure where. If only bean recipes were as fun as brownie recipes. I didn't get a photo of the asparagus wrapped in bacon, but oh, they rocked my world.
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Blackberry cobbler! Cheryl is famous for this recipe. As my brother pointed out, "Even after you microwave it, the crust is still crispy." Now that's good cobbler! ;D I used to not be a big cobbler fan, but this cobbler was so good. Especially with homemade vanilla ice cream.
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My brother's favorite dessert is cheesecake, any kind, so I made this one for him and tested it out on tonight's party--caramelized apple pie cheesecake.
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Virgin margarita. Some may ask what the point is. It's 105 degrees; I'd drink iced pool water. In reality, I save my alcohol for the dishes, not the glasses. Trust me--it's better that way.
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Parting shot.
Sometimes, this is what makes a great day: all-beef hot dog, a frosty mug of freshly brewed chrysanthemum iced tea, and some "gourmet" rainbow cookies from Safeway that I bought because they made me laugh.
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