A Cook's Diary

Share recipes and tips, or memorable restaurant experiences here.
User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 10166
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

A Cook's Diary

Post by drmoss_ca »

I don't know if there interest in this, nor whether I might be the right person (the right cook) to write any of it. We are all stuck at home, and trying to cook with what we have. Might it inspire someone to make their day a little better, or at least, the day for those for whom they cook? Maybe others might add to this along with me. If there isn't the views or the contributions I'll delete the thread, so get to it, guys!

For me, breakfast is always one slice of home baked wholewheat toast, and a boiled egg. I grew up dropping an egg from the fridge into boiling water for five minutes. But then the eggs started bursting, so I adopted the sneaky method - put the egg in cold water, bring it to a boil, and time 3.5 minutes from the moment the boiling starts. And now I complicate things, by piercing the big-endian base of the egg with a tool, and dropping it in boiling water, though now I seem to prefer 6-6.5 minutes, as the eggs we get from the lovely Mennonites are rather large. Then I made a batch of soy milk from a cup of soybeans I had put in to soak last night. After that, off for a blood test, as is often the way these days.

After breakfast today, I started to make some salmon jerky. I wanted a whole half ("whole half"? does this guy ever proof read anything? Maybe you know what I meant) salmon, but I was let down by my shopper, who has no respect for food. She bought several day old salmon trimmings. Slimy and fatty, already a bit aged, these are all the belly meat where all the fat is. Not like the rear half of the fresh wild fish I wanted, but experience tells me not to complain or it will be the worse for me. Fat is the enemy of making jerky, as fat goes rancid. I told her this won't keep, and she didn't seem to care that much. Probably voting in more policies that will deny someone like me access to a ventilator. So I sliced up the slimy, fatty salmon rather thin with a sharp knife. It all went into a bowl with around a cup and a half of soy sauce, around half a cup of maple syrup, a half teaspoon of garlic powder and a sprinkle of dried red chilli flakes. Clingfilm pressed down to the surface to exclude all air, and into the fridge for 24 hours. Dehydration starts tomorrow.
Next, I made the hummus from this morning's okara that is described in another thread. That will be for tomorrow, assuming I remember to take a bottle of pesto and one of bruschetta tomatoes out of the freezer (and thinking of the freezer, I realise I must rush down and take out laundry from the drier).

Next I peeled and chopped a turnip (wish I could get swede here) and several potatoes. I'll steam the turnip for 40 mins and the potatoes for 20. Then they get mashed and mixed with butter and milk, salt and pepper. Maybe nutmeg too, depending on mood. Peeled a handful of last year's carrots that have survived thus far. I'll slice and steam them. Mash and carrots will go along with the fish fingers (fish sticks to Yanks) that the Shopper-in-Chief decided to buy yesterday. And that will be supper. No pudding made today, as that's an occasional treat here. So today I shall have eaten one egg, one slice wholewheat toast, some potato, turnip, carrot and maybe three fish fingers. No wonder I'm losing weight!

Please tell us what you did today. I don't mind if it's cornflakes and takeout! We need to know how our friends are making it work through the lockdown.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
User avatar
TRBeck
Soapgeek
Posts: 5043
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:59 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by TRBeck »

Great idea, Chris!

Oatmeal for breakfast, as (nearly) always. I alternate between rolled oats and steel cut, and today as rolled oats day. I added a handful of frozen strawberries and a sliced banana, and I chased it with three cups of coffee. I do have protein powder in the mornings, too, at least sometimes, and I did today.

Lunch has been a hodge-podge. The heel of the last loaf of homemade sourdough I baked (another shall be made tomorrow) with a bit of unsalted butter, a cup of leftover barley from Wednesday's dinner (I cook it with chicken stock, lemon zest, and herbs, then add butter and lemon juice to finish, and it's something like risotto in texture), and some peanut butter and sliced apples.

Dinner will be pizza. I have a sourdough levain (starter) that I made the third week of March. During lockdown it has yielded 3 rustic loaves, 5 sandwich loaves, seven pizzas, and some rather remarkable cinnamon rolls (the recipe called for buttermilk and fresh yeast, but the starter was just the ticket instead). I expect the same levain to be the basis for my first attempt at homemade doughnuts on Sunday morning. Tonight it will give us two more pizza crusts. Sauce will be homemade, using leftovers from Monday's marinara plus a little more oregano, some tomato paste, and a bit of balsamic if needed to balance the acidity. The kids will have mozzarella. My wife and I will have kalamata olives, goat cheese, bell peppers, and minced garlic. I may sneak some pepperoni onto the thing, too.

Between meals I tend to munch on fresh fruit or carrots.

I can post the day's cooking regularly here, and I love seeing what all of you are doing.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau
User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 10166
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by drmoss_ca »

Excellent, Tim! Anyone else?
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
User avatar
fallingwickets
Clive the Thumb
Posts: 8514
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:59 am

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by fallingwickets »

stood in line at bj's this morning in the hope of scoring a bag of paper towels and pork loins. Nein!!! on the paper towel but i did get one pork loin and a pack of really well marbled prime strip steak caught my eye, and so i bought those too :)

Came home, disinfected the shopping items and being famished (any excuse to eat lol) i put some water to boil for steamed eggs. I love steamed eggs. One, because so little is needed, the water only takes a few minutes to boil. Put the eggs in (enough water to go halfway up an egg) and cover with a lid for 61/2 minutes to get soft, 10 for hard. One of the benefits of a steamed egg....a real easy peel.

Made some toast, spread a lot of kerrygold butter, put an egg on each piece of toast, broke it up with a fork, poured some dawsons hot sauce over everything ( https://dawsonshotsauce.com/products/big-smoke-chipotle )and wolfed it down. gave the dogs half an egg each too

Saturday is the day i try avoid pots and pans and cleaning up etc for dinner and so I try get takeaways...thinking about a burrito :)

clive
de gustibus non est disputandum
User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 10166
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by drmoss_ca »

The boiling of eggs is a more complicated subject than it needs to be! Three methods:
1. Boil water. When boiling, add egg. Time for five, six or seven minutes (I'd like to say depending on altitude, but the difference is mostly how runny or firm the yolk is!) Advantage: simple. Disadvantage: eggs sometimes burst, especially if kept in fridge. Workaround: pierce shell at base (thick or broad end, where there is an air pocket).
2. Put egg in cold water and bring to a boil. Start timer when water boils (turn down heat too) for 3.5 to 4 minutes. Advantage: egg less likely to burst, and the pierced shell makes that a non-event. Disadvantage: you may not notice when water starts to boil, and when you do, how long to time for?
3. Boil water and place egg over it in a steamer when boiling. This is exactly the same as method 1, but less water needs boiling. Advantage: quicker to get to a boil. Disadvantage: more stuff to wash.

I use an egg piercer, and method #1. Do not buy anything described as an "egg cooker". You'll just look silly to everyone. Remember this: a single egg provides all the protein an adult needs for a day. Eat your egg, and you are off the hook in the search for protein. And no, eating the cholesterol in the yolk will not kill you. For it to do that, you must eat an excess of carbohydrates, like sugar and starch.

Today, I have placed the marinaded salmon in the dehydrator, and tonight it should be ready for tasting as finished fish jerky. I was going to do home made pesto, hummus and bruschetta tomatoes on ciabatta rolls tonight, but the Boss tells me we must eat the fresh pasta (ravioli with weird and fancy-sounding cheese inside but made industrial cheap) she bought from her favourite (= hated, at least to me) "50% off, Enjoy It Tonight" aisle. And it was bought two days ago. For this reason we live on the cusp of food poisoning, but she does not seem to be able to help herself. So a tomato sauce is to be made. She also wants me to use some fake meat of a kind I really and truly dislike. So some celery, onion, fake meat, tomato, basil and oregano is doing it's best to stink out the kitchen as we speak.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 10166
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by drmoss_ca »

So two plastic trays of salmon trimmings with 36 hours of effort, about 1½ cups of soy sauce, ½ cup of maple syrup, a sprinkle of garlic salt, and a sprinkle of red chilli flakes for a 24 hour marinade, and about seven hours at 135ºF in a dehydrator and you get this:
IMG_3002.jpg
IMG_3002.jpg (149.24 KiB) Viewed 3153 times
A mere 351g of chewy fishy goodness. Maybe three or four pieces would provide a whole day's protein requirement. It is utterly scrumptious (can't quite use the word without thinking of 89-year old Sally Ann Howes, who played Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), but don't let me distract you with ancient films. Jerky is good, fish jerky is good, and salmon jerky is extra good even if it doesn't keep as long. I don't think the time this can be kept for will be an issue: it will be eaten within a couple of days!
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
User avatar
TRBeck
Soapgeek
Posts: 5043
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:59 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by TRBeck »

Salmon jerky looks fantastic, Chris.

Clive, pork loin is a regular in the rotation here. Looking forward to hearing what you do with it.

I had steel cut oats with cinnamon this morning. I also threw in a bowl of Frosted Flakes because after an 8-mile run, I was a bit hungry.

For lunch, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich - still a favorite - and an apple. I also ate a few snap pea crisps. Delicious.

Dinner was a family weekend favorite: spaghetti (whole wheat) with homemade marinara for the kids and a rich meat sauce for my wife and I.

I also baked a sandwich loaf from our sourdough levain today. This morning I added 150g each of flour and water to the starter. A couple of hours later, when the levain was bubbly and ready, I took 250g of the levain plus 1 c. milk, 1/2 c. water, 2 T melted butter, 1 T sugar, 1/2 T salt, and 400g flour (I used 100 g whole wheat, 100g bread flour, and 200g all-purpose) to make the loaf. We will taste it tomorrow.

I subsequently added 125g each of flour and water to the levain. In a couple of hours, I'll take 200g of the levain for a batch of doughnuts. I'll mix the dough tonight and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight. Tomorrow morning, I'll roll it out, cut out my doughnuts, let them rise for about 90 minutes, and fry them. I've never made doughnuts, but I expect things will go pretty well. For the record, my doughnut recipe:

200g levain
1/4 c. cream
1/4 c. milk
2 eggs
1/4 c. sugar
10 T melted butter
1/2 tsp salt
3 c. all-purpose flour plus "enough" for a slightly sticky, pillowy dough

I generally prefer baking recipes that are done by weight, but this one comes highly recommended. I'm estimating liquid/levain amounts in order to compensate for the fact that the recipe calls for no water and whole milk as the only liquid. It will work or it won't. Either way, we'll have fried dough that we can put a chocolate icing on. I think we'll manage to eat it.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau
User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 10166
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by drmoss_ca »

Yesterday was a snack-like supper of ciabatta rolls, home made hummus, pesto and bruschetta (kept in the frezzer for the winter) and the salmon jerky. What a change from the usual stuff, that wears a bit thin. Made a coconut custard ("impossible") pie for pud aand had a glass of Asti with it.

I think there will be a big pot of pea soup tonight, made from dried green peas.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 10166
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by drmoss_ca »

On visiting the dried goods cupboards in the basement, I found only a cupful of orange lentils that had not been infested by weevils, so I threw away a couple of bags of lentils and grabbed a packet of yellow split peas instead. Upstairs I had half a bag of dried green peas, so lentils, yellow and green peas went in to soak for three hours. Then I simmered them, scooping off the foam when they boiled. With water, about 3qts altogether. For flavour, t tsp salt, 1 tsp curry power, a couple of TBSP butter. Once cooked I added 2 tsp black mustard seeds, ½ tsp satanic-strength chilli powder, a handful of dried curry leaves and a good pinch of asafoetida. And so this became a dal (or daal, or even a dhal) instead of a pea soup. Served with buttered crusty brown bread. Enough left over for tomorrow too!
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
pausted
Posts: 2208
Joined: Tue May 06, 2014 5:07 pm
Location: Rio Grande Valley, Texas

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by pausted »

Sunday evening I dug in the freezer to see what we would have for lunch today. My wife and I prefer to eat our main meal at noon and then eat very little at dinner. It helps us watch our weight. So, I found a pound of ground beef that had been in the freezer for a couple of months. Cheeseburgers! I thought. Haven’t had one in a while. Of course I didn’t have every thing I needed so this morning I put on my mask and headed for the store to get buns, tomatos, lettuce, etc. it was worth the trip and hassle. I fired up the grill and fixed great cheeseburgers. A feast!
Best regards,

Basil
User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 10166
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by drmoss_ca »

Grill? What is this grill? We have fresh snow falling this morning. It won't last, but it's a bit disheartening to see winter dragging on.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
pausted
Posts: 2208
Joined: Tue May 06, 2014 5:07 pm
Location: Rio Grande Valley, Texas

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by pausted »

Sorry, Chris. Temps in the 90's yesterday here in South Texas. :)
Best regards,

Basil
User avatar
John Rose
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:11 pm
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Contact:

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by John Rose »

drmoss_ca wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:34 am Grill? What is this grill? We have fresh snow falling this morning. It won't last, but it's a bit disheartening to see winter dragging on.
So?
I once went to an indoor "beach party" in Inuvik in January, with blowing snow at -35ºC outside.
Even so, there's a dude out on the deck flipping burgers, in board shorts, flip-flops, and a tee-shirt.
(A CBC staff party, by the way.)
"If this isn't nice, then what is?" - Kurt Vonnegut's Uncle Alex
Rufus
Posts: 2237
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:25 pm
Location: Greater Toronto Area

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by Rufus »

drmoss_ca wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:34 am Grill? What is this grill? We have fresh snow falling this morning. It won't last, but it's a bit disheartening to see winter dragging on.
We grill year round: rain, shine, snow, sleet, hail or fog it doesn’t matter. In the winter we keep a snow shovel next to the gas grill to dig it out. Rarely do we cook meat in the house.
Bryan
User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 10166
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by drmoss_ca »

A cauliflower under cheese sauce for us tonight, with parsnip, carrots and peas.

The science of roux sauces is strange. If you take them off the heat they go thin and don't re-thicken much when put back on the heat. The moral is cook them and serve them and don't get distracted.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
Rufus
Posts: 2237
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:25 pm
Location: Greater Toronto Area

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by Rufus »

Tonight: salmon fish cakes, baby peas, steamed broccoli and baby carrots. We rarely have meatless dinners, but we do eat fish/seafood at least twice a week. We’re omnivores and don’t believe in leaving a food group out of our diet.
Bryan
User avatar
fallingwickets
Clive the Thumb
Posts: 8514
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:59 am

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by fallingwickets »

last night made chili (and rice) via the mccormick spice packet recipe. Ive made this too many times to count, but i have learned that cooking and serving the beans separately makes for a better outcome on the dish.

Also, as an aside, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/food ... -home.html

the pea soup is definitely on my list

clive
de gustibus non est disputandum
User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 10166
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by drmoss_ca »

Now I know things have got bad: Clive is reading Femail!

Talking of pea soup and dal, I have been investigating making dal rather quickly in a pressure cooker (a popular tool in Indian kitchens, and very widely used to save energy and time). This young lady makes it look so easy:

"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
EL Alamein
Posts: 2982
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by EL Alamein »

Been away a few days but this thread is fantastic!

Chris
User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 10166
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by drmoss_ca »

Making saag aloo today. If your Hindi is better than mine, you'll know that means 'greens potato' and the greens are generally spinach. So what you need is this list:

2 onions
3 large tomatoes
3 large potatoes
250g spinach
oil, ghee or butter
1-2 tsp salt
1½ tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
~½ tsp chilli powder (depends on your chilli powder, we want a little warmth, not a fiery dish here)
1" each of ginger and garlic pastes, or an inch of fresh ginger and 3 garlic cloves all minced
200ml water
2 TBSP cream or natural yoghurt
Some fresh cilantro/coriander leaves

Chop onions and tomatoes, along with potatoes (need not be peeled, but chopped into 1cm cubes).
Oil/ghee/butter in pan and heat. Add cumin and wait till it sizzles.
Add onion, and cook till onion is clearing.
Add ginger and garlic, stir and cook for a minute.
Add tomatoes, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Add salt, turmeric, chilli powder and garam masala
Add potatoes and 200ml water, cover and cook till potatoes soft. Might take 10 -30 minutes: use a fork to judge when they are cooked.
Chop spinach roughly, then add to pan, mix in, cover and cook 10 minutes.
Stir in cream or natural yoghurt (if you use yoghurt, taste and add sugar - seriously! - until it tastes right. Probably 1 TBSP.)
Taste for salt - might need a little more, depending on your tastebuds.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with rice, or flatbread of choice.

This is an utterly simple dish to make, like most Indian cookery (if it was hard, nearly a billion people each day would not be making any of it!) and tastes very authentic. Depending on the chilli added, it can be mild and fragrant, which is desirable, or be hot and fiery, which wastes the nice fresh ingredients you have used. Hot and fiery is an English Indian takeaway phenomenon, and nothing to do with the real thing. Give it a try!
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace
Post Reply