Cooking With Metachat!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Roasted Squash Soup

This stuff is killer, but it takes hours, so be forewarned. It isn't hard, it just takes a long, long time. But your kitchen will smell really, really good.

2 butternut squash
2 acorn squash
8 tbsp butter - real butter. REAL butter.
8 tsp or so dark brown sugar
4 or 5 carrots
1 large onion
10 cups of chicken broth - use canned.
powdered ginger
sage
cayenne pepper or a very little bit of Tabasco

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the squashes in half lengthwise (this takes strength and a big serial killer type knife.) Scoop out the seeds. Put a tbsp of butter and a tsp of sugar in the cavity in each squash. Put the squashes skin side down in a roasting pan - actually, you'll almost certainly need 2. Peel & chop the carrot & the onion. Put them in the roasting pans too. Pour about 2 cups of chicken broth into each roasting pans and cover tightly with foil. Stick in the oven and ignore for about 2 hours or a little more.

Take out of the oven and let cool a bit. Scrape the squash flesh off the squash skin (doesn't that sound fun? Try not to burn your fingers.) and into a big pot. Pour everything else from the roasting pan into the pot too. Heat it up. Add more chicken broth until it seems right. Add the sage and ginger and salt and pepper and maybe a little tabasco until it tastes right. Then puree it all in the food processor, reheat it, and serve it. It is beautiful and orange and rich and delicious.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Hot Pepper Jelly

Okay, I made hot pepper jelly today. I documented every step photographically, because that's just the kind of bored, nerdy, obsessed chick I am. Now, with the magic of technology, I am going to teach you to make hot pepper jelly. Be thrilled. Be excited. Go buy some canning jars. You will also need: 6 cups of sugar, 2 pouches of Certo (liquid fruit pectin), a teaspoon of salt and 1 1/2 cups of cider vinegar. And peppers.

First, you will need the raw materials. This is today's haul of peppers from my garden. There were more in the fridge from last week. You're going to need a total of 2 1/2 cups of chopped up peppers, which is quite a lot of peppers. Some people and the real recipe will tell you to use 2 cups of bell peppers and 1/2 cup of hot peppers. Those people are wimps. Use almost all hot peppers.

Now, you have to sterilize the jars. Read the package descriptions. It will confuse you. Basically, you have to wash the jars and lids and then boil them, except don't boil the lids, just almost boil them. I boil the hell out of the jars - handy hint: put a dishtowel in the pot you're boiling them in so they don't crack - and then keep them hot until they're ready to use.

Start by seeding - a vegetable peeler works well for this - and coarsely chopping (that means, big ole chunks) the peppers.

Put the pepper chunks in the food processor. You can use a little of the vinegar if you need it for liquid, like in a blender that freaks out if it doesn't have enough liquid. If you use a food processor like a normal person, you won't need it. I didn't. Dump the pureed peppers, the salt and the vinegar into a saucepan.

This is the part that would be very amusing if I had remembered the camera. This is the part where I realized that I didn't have enough vinegar or sugar, or, for that matter, dry cat food, so I got into my car and went to Ingles and bought those things and returned. Since I didn't photograph this adventure, it's not very interesting. Ah well.

Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat, lower the heat and simmer it, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Take it off the heat and - this is a big PITA - measure it. You need to have 3 cups. If you have less than 3 cups, add a little water. If you have more, throw some out. 3 cups, exactly - this is your gold standard, your goal, your destination. Put it back in the pan and add the sugar.

Bring the sugared mixture to a full rolling boil where you can't stir it down (boil it over a little, too. I always do) and boil it for one minute, stirring constantly. Take it off the heat and add the pectin, mixing well. Let it cool for 3 minutes.

Ladle it into the hot jars and seal them. If you have more jelly than you have jars, put some in a regular jar and refrigerate it. Plan on eating it soon. Meanwhile, put the jars back into the pots you boiled them in before - what, you poured the water out already? Sucks to be you. Refill the pots so that the sealed jars are fully submerged and then bring to a boil and let them boil for 10 minutes.

Take them out of the boiling water with tongs and put them on a nice pink towel. Voila! You have hot pepper jelly to give away for Christmas and eat with cream cheese and crackers or on bagels or however. Wahoooo!!!

Note: This year it wasn't hot enough. Next year I'm leaving those seeds in, baby, and I recommend that you do so as well. The heat of the peppers is in the membranes and seeds, and you want this shit to be hot, not wimpy.

Crossposted from my blog because I just impressed myself so much with the illustrations and all.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

mygothlaundry's Carolina Crock Pot Barbecue

Get a Boston butt pork roast.
Coat it with BBQ dry rub (I make a big jar of this about twice a year and use it for everything: for a big jar, it is: 2 tbsp kosher salt, 4 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp black pepper, 2 tbsp chili powder, 4 tbsp paprika, 4 tbsp garlic powder, 2 tbsp onion powder, 2 tbsp coriander)
Put it in the crock pot with a can of frozen orange or apple juice and 12 ounces of beer.
Put the crock pot on low and leave it alone for 36 hours. Yes, 36 hours. The smell will drive you mad the 2nd day but it's all worth it.
Pull the roast out and into a bowl - it will be falling off the bone. Shred it with two forks and mix in roughly 1/2 c. vinegar, 1/4 c. honey, 1/8 c. mustard and whatever bottled barbecue sauce you like. Or worcestershire. Whatever. Salt & pepper. Just keep tasting it and you'll know. Boy, will you ever know. This stuff is mad delicious.
Serve it on white rolls with coleslaw and baked beans. You are now an honorary North Carolinian.

taz's Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit made with a microwave is very fast:

4 English muffins, toasted; top with slices of Canadian bacon and tomato slices.

In the microwave heat up a pound of cubed cheddar, mixed with a cup of beer, a beaten egg, a bit of butter, a teaspoon or Worcestershire sauce, a bit of nice mustard, or 1/2 tsp. of mustard powder, a very little hot paprika or other red pepper. When it melts, pour over the English muffins. You can also put an egg cooked however you like on top of the muffin first, if you'd like. Have it with a green salad, and it's a tasty, comforting,, very fast and easy fall or winter meal.

iconomy's Very Orgasmic Black Bean Soup

warning: may contain cilantro

The long long way is to start with a bag of dried black beans, and simmer them all the live long day. The short way (much shorter!) is to start with a large can of black beans. You will be wanting the short way, yes?

Two cans black beans
a few sprigs of fresh cilantro
one slice onion
salt
pepper
the juice from half a lime
one 16 oz can chicken (or vegetable, to make it vegan) stock
one tbsp cumin

Just puree it all together, and heat it up!

Very quick, and you can double the recipe to have some for the next night. It's really good with tortilla chips or avo slices or sour cream or a cheese on top, or with crusty bread and salad.

stri fry with taz

Stir fry is always a treat... and so fast! In fact, I'm having some right now:

Heat 1-2 tbsp. oil in wok or pan over highest heat, and throw in some peanuts (I like the ones with skins) stir around a bit, then toss in minced ginger and small strips of boneless, skinless chicken. Stir around a bit, then toss in onion strips and minced garlic. Stir around a bit, and throw in red and green pepper slices. Stir around a bit and throw in one smallish sliced zucchini and/or broccoli. Stir around a bit and add 2 tbsps. tamari, and whatever spices you feel like using. Stir around a bit more, then serve over rice or noodles.

That's my no-frills supersimple version that I'm having tonight. Just be sure to slice your vegetables before you start cooking; and if you've done it even earlier (like over the weekend, and stored them in baggies in the fridge), it seems like you've spent about zero time on it.

me3dia's lank steak with carmelized apples and shallots

- Season one 1lb. flank steak to your liking and set aside.
- Slice two medium shallots into thin strips.
- Do the same to one medium apple (your choice, although I recommend sweet over tart)
- Heat 1T of butter or olive oil in a skillet on medium heat, then add shallots and apple and sauté.
- Once the shallots begin to go translucent, add a pinch of salt and about 2tsp of liquid (anything from water to bourbon, as long as it's sweet) to keep it from sticking (the apples will soak up a lot of the butter/oil).
- Set aside once the apples and shallots have mostly carmelized (but not burned). Turn heat to medium high and add steak. Let sear for at least a minute, then turn over and sear the other side. Cook to desired doneness, remove steak to rest.
- Reduce heat back to medium and return shallots and apples to skillet. Add a little more liquid to help loosen fond. Once it's all hot, remove from skillet and plate.
- Slice flank steak into the desired number of portions, put it on the plate next to the apples'n'shallots, retreat to dinner table with plate and bowl of soup.