mightyjesse: (Default)
( May. 4th, 2009 10:22 am)
[livejournal.com profile] sirzig brought me flowers on Friday. Purple tulips. How pretty!

They're sitting in my kitchen window, and they make me smile every time I look at them. I have spent a fair amount of time looking at them over the weekend, because of my new obsession with cheese making. On which note, I have some cheese-porn for you...

Here are the cheddar and the monterey jack I made last week. They're in the drying phase and almost ready to be waxed and aged. You can really see the difference in how tightly the curds got pressed. Both cheeses started out with roughly the same amount of curds, but the cheddar was pressed with 50 lbs and the monterey jack only got pressed with 8. Thus the jack is much "fluffier."

Hopefully my fancy black cheese wax gets here soon so I can carry out my plan to make goth cheeses... (The pun continues to grow: "My cheeses are clearly goth because after they are de-pressed, I paint them black and put them in my dank basement where they will hang out and try to be cool.") Someone also mentioned the idea of smoking, and while I think smoking my cheeses might be a fine idea, I haven't figured out how to work that into the extended pun.

The mozzarella and ginger ale I took to May Day seemed to go over rather well. This week, I'd like to make another cheddar - this time with craisins pressed in the curds. With Crown coming at me like a freight train, though, I'm not sure if I'll have the time.
So... Here is the leetle cheese that I just pulled out of my cheese press:

It's a Monterey Jack with dill and a pinch of onion powder... It is currently drying on a plate in the cupboard. When it is completely dry, I will wax it and put it in a cooler in the basement to age.

Replacing the Jack in the cheese press, I have placed my first attempt at cheddar... Alas, i fear this experiment may be made of fail. A taste of the curds as I was flipping the cheese revealed them to be a bit on the bitter and grainy side.... Additionally, I fear that my press was not rated for cheddar (Requiring 50 lbs of pressure on the curds... The hoop keeps tilting and squirting curds out the bottom... It's a little disturbing.) I'll see how 3 months of aging does for it... I hear there's some kind of "magic flavor change" at the two month aging mark...

And speaking of aging cheeses, I have ordered black wax in which to dip my cheeses to protect them during the aging process. (I've got a wax stamp for letters that I intend to mark my little cheeses with too... Soon I will have a bunch of little goth cheeses hanging out in my basement. :) For some reason this idea makes me extremely silly happy. Hopefully they will be tasty cheeses that I will be pleased to call my own, but only time will tell.

Oh, OH! And I also started a gallon of ginger ale that should be ready for drinkin' by the May Day Moot. I hope it doesn't suck... I also hope I don't sample it all before the moot....
For purposes of plausible deniability, I usually leave the logging OFF on my messenger client. This Friday night was one of those few instances when I wish that I had left the logging turned on, because the exchange I had with [livejournal.com profile] gwyneth1362's 16-year-old son was PRICELESS. I shall try and recreate it for you.
Stealth Adventure Cake is born. )

Remember that "test cake" with the bite out of it? I asked [livejournal.com profile] quackersbob if he would bring it to my party today. So... When you see the "Stealth Adventure Cake" on the table, you know what happened.

It was a really, really tasty, but very difficult to keep my portion size to the prescribed amount.
I am busy. Super-duper busy... And aparently a masochist.

I'm in the middle of the network migration for which I was hired as "project staff" at the Uni. (The migration being the "project".) Hopefully by the end of summer I will be a "permanent employee" of the department, or I'll be looking for another job after Pennsic.... again. So I've been putting in a lot of extra hours on weekends to get people's computers migrated as "seemlessly as possible." Working 12 straight days stresses me out... Working with a bunch of tightly scheduled luddites REALLY stresses me out.

So given the fact that the next month and a half is going to suck ANYWAY, I figure I'd liven things up by quitting smoking. I haven't had a cigarette since April 8th, and so far no one is dead. Having quit for 3 months last summer, I must say that quitting this time was much easier... I just had a lingering feeling that I was forgetting something. I can't tell you how many times I checked to make sure I hadn't left the oven on...

But as we all know, I am a retard, so those two things weren't enough. I am displeased with my current weight, and I live in terror that quitting smoking will make me gain even MORE weight, so of course, NOW is a GREAT time to start a diet and exercise plan...

I'm really REALLY amazed that no one is dead. Like, really.

Initially, I lost 9 lbs, but according to the scales, I gained 4 back during coronation. :-P. I find it hard to believe that the 7 oz steak I had on Saturday evening did this to me...


All that is not the point. The point is, that as my reward for not killing anyone, I have bought myself the recipe software of my dreams. It allows me to create and export cookbooks complete with nutrition information for every recipe:

(Notice that I've left of the crunchy topping because I am on a freaking diet. I was pleased to discover that a good sized portion of this only has 230 calories... I love cheesy potatoes.)

So... Yeah... My next task will be getting all my favorite recipes imported into my cookbook.
Ok... That last casserole was a success... This is a very ROUGH recipe since I just added stuff from the freezer at random and prayed it came out well. You'll have to sort out the proportions to your own tastes.

2 chicken breasts, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp parseley
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp basil
1 tbsp freeze dried chives
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp pepper
1 c chopped, frozen spinach
1 c cream of chicken soup
1/2 c white wine
pinch of red pepper seeds
1/2 small onion
3 c potato chunks

Cook the chicken breast in a skillet with the oil and herbs. In the bottom of a casserole dish, mix the onion and frozen potato, salt and pepper and onion powder, and microwave for 4-6 minutes or long enough to thaw and heat potato. Once the chicken is cooked, add the frozen spinach and the white wine and continue to heat on medium high until the spinach has thawed and the wine is nearly boiling. Add cream of chicken soup and heat and stir until liquid is homogenized. Pour chicken with sauce over potatoes in casserole dish and bake in 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.

There are a zillion different variations on this recipe so I'm going to break up the ingredients into 3 groups:
Main, wet, and topping.

Messy-ass write up of a recipe. )

Yay, casserole!
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Oct. 31st, 2007 01:21 pm)
In a big skillet heat set on medium-high, mix 1 can of coconut milk with 2 TBSP of green curry paste heat until the oil bubbles to the surface.

Then add (as desired):
1 can bamboo shoots
1 can chopped water chestnuts
1 chopped carrot
1 chopped celery stalk
1 chopped potato
1/4 head of cauliflower or broccoli (I hate cauliflower, but some people like it... I love broccoli, but some really don't like the texture of boiled broccoli. If your dining audience is faint of heart, I suggest substituting more potato and some baby corn.)
2 fist fulls of fresh snow pea pods
1 fist full of fresh chopped basil
5 or 6 thai peppers (dried)(Check and see how spicy your curry paste is before adding ANY PEPPERS... Some green curries are so spicey, you'll need to skip the thai peppers all together and add more coconut milk. The Roland Green Curry Paste I linked to above is not terribly spicy or strong and good for people at the "beginner" level of the Thai-food-tasting experience.)
1-3 tsp sugar (depends on how sweet you want this)
1/2 tsp salt

**Optional for non-vegans**
1 tsp fish sauce (nampla - be careful with this stuff... the flavor is strong and it's rather stinky - you may want to use less after smelling it...)
2 chicken breasts sliced thin

Let this mixture simmer until all the veggies are soft and the chicken is cooked through. (I usually gauge veggies by checking the potato.) Serve over jasmine rice.
mightyjesse: (Default)
( Oct. 31st, 2007 09:11 am)
Posting recipes from the bus... here goes...

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a big pot on the stove and add:
3 peeled, diced potatoes
1 diced onion
1 diced stalk of celery
1 diced bell pepper (red or green)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Red pepper seeds add a nice kick but are not required...

Put a lid on the pot and sweat the veggies until onions are tender. Make sure they all get coated in oil so that they don't stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

Add 2 cups water (or enough to cover veggies) and bring to a boil. Allow boiling for 5 minutes and add 1 or 2 cups milk. Bring to boil again and reduce heat to medium.

Add 2 cans corn and 1 can baked beans or pork and beans WITH LIQUID.

Simmer until all veggies are soft. If desired (and I do..) add some slices of processed cheese to melt during the simmering phase... I put in 8... Try not to BOIL the soup after the cheese has been added or you'll have a weird texture problem. It'll still taste OK, but the cheese will not be creamy... it will be... cheese balls in milk water...

This recipe makes about 3 quarts and goes much faster than one would expect three quarts of soup to be eaten.

Super tastey served with a buttered english muffin or bagel. The best thing about this recipe is that it's EXTREMELY FORGIVING of "creative measuring". I change the veggie amounts based on what I'm hungry for that day. Just remember that too many beans make for a more mealy texture in the soup and not enough corn (or no corn at all) makes the soup significantly less sweet.



mightyjesse: (Default)


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