forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
Yesterday was my mothers annual "I survived cancer" tea (17 years!) I offered to help out. R was going out for the day and dropped me off at the family home at 9:30ish. My Dad and Brother were just about to take a walk to a bakery about a mile and a half away, so I said I'd go along. And I did and it was nice.

We got back around 11 and I started making scones for the tea. I hadn't made scones in a while, and the recipe is only a list of ingredients plus an oven temp, and baking time, but I remembered how it went and make good scones.

The I tried to make french macrons. The batter came out the wrong consistency, so that the cookies don't look right or have quite the right texture. However the are still quite tasty. I sandwiched then with chestnut paste and will serve them at tonight's seder.

Around noon I took a break to eat something.

Then I made tea sandwiches, cucumber and cream cheese; and salmon with watercress butter. For some reason this took a long time. I cut the crusts of then cut the sandwiches in fourths, squares for cucumber and triangles for the salmon.

Then I helped but various other foods in plates and bowls. Strawberries, and tiny little tea cookies, and tomatoes, and some dips, and I don't remember what else. Then I got to chill on the sofa for a little bit.

At 3 the 1st guest arrived. We were still bringing the food out the the garden, and making tea. The party itself was quite nice. I had good time talking to people I had not seen in a while. (One of them has a foster cat she is looking for a home for -- I wish I could take her.)

Then after the part stopped by my sister-in-laws place to bring her some leftovers. The came back and boiled some eggs to be made in to deviled eggs tonight.

I'm hosting a seder tonight at 5:30. 16 people are coming, two of whom cook professionally. I'm also quite tried for yesterday.

I slept in this morning (lately I've been reading books in my dreams, and they are awesome, so when I wake up I'm sad that said books aren't real. This morning I was dream reading and awesome Vorkosigan book, that was sequel to another awesome book, and then I woke up and neither existed. It was sad.)

I was about to start on the chicken soup for tonight when my nephew asked for ride to school, because his bike had a flat tire. So I did that got back started the soup, and made the matzoh ball mix. I'm supposed to be updating the Hagadah now, but instead I'm writing this and a reading the internet.

Busy Day

Dec. 23rd, 2012 09:01 am
forestofglory: (veggies)
Then yesterday was very busy again. I went with my parents to the farmers market. We walked about a mile between there and my parents house. It's nice to be somewhere with local fresh produce. We bought apples and avocados and broccoli and kale and I don't remember what else. Our bags where full but the end of it.

After I got home I had a bit to eat and then I went to the Telegraph Street fair with my dad. This is an annual craft fair that covers about four blocks, with stalls on either side of the street. We got some presents for my mom, and I had a funnel cake.

Then I went back to my parents house and made a pumpkin cheese cake and pastry cream. The pumpkin cheese cake at thanksgiving was such a hit I was asked to do it again for Christmas Eve. i don't like to bake at R's mom's because her oven is not reliable, so I made it at my mom's. The pastry cream is the filling for our log cake. I experimented with using a bit less flour to get it to spread better. It looks good so far -- will have to see how it goes we I put the cake together.

I was really tried after all that. I must of been pre-sick because I woke up this morning feeling achy all over and my nose is stuffy.
forestofglory: (veggies)
Saturday I went over to my mother's to help with more cooking for my dad's birthday party today. Before the cooking we walked to the farmers' market -- there are massive amounts of lovely fruit right now. We got strawberries, bosen berries, nectarines, and peaches.

When we got back we started cooking. My mom made the shells for the eclairs, and I started working on Pineapple upside-down cake. My mom went out for a bit to go to her clay studio (normally she goes on Mondays, but this week she is working on Monday.) I kept cooking, got the pineapple upside-down cakes in the oven and started on my mother's belated birthday
cake. As I was doing this I went over to the sink to rinse something off. I noticed the sink was full of water so I tried running the garbage-disposal. When I did water started leaking all over the floor. I did not exactly stay calm. I sent my brother to get a towel and yelled for my
dad, when my dad hadn't appeared by the time the towel did, I asked my brother get him. My dad came down and poked under the sink. He announced that the trap was broken went off to the hardware store to get a new one, telling me not to use the sink while he was gone.

So I kept cooking. The pineapple upside-down cakes came out of the oven and I flipped then over. (They worked!) I keep working on my mother's cake and put the eclair shells in the oven. The sink was getting fuller and fuller of dirty dishes.

Then the dishwasher (which was running) dumped water into the sink and it went all over the floor. My dad wasn't back yet. I ran upstairs and got all the towels (well all the old towels we use to clean up the floor anyways). My dad got back as I was working on cleaning up. He helped me clean up and then fixed the the sink. Meanwhile I finished my mother's
cake.

By the end of all that I was quite tried. So after I cleaned up I went upstairs a took a nap. Then I poked the internet for a little bit. Then R and his mother came over and we all went out to diner.

Today I'm going over before my dad's party starts to help set up, and to make the eclairs. There is going to be way to much food.

Challah

Jun. 2nd, 2012 11:32 am
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
I made challah yesterday. It was the 1st major cooking project I've tried in this kitchen. Generally when I've stayed at R's mom's house before I haven't done any cooking at all -- if I wanted a big cooking project I went over to my mother's house and used her bigger and nicer kitchen.

Anyways I learned that the oven is finicky. I also burnt the 1st batch. The 2nd batch came out ok.

Also we've set up a dinner roster and Friday night's are my night to cook because I like to make exciting things for shabbat, though I didn't really this week. I made lentil soup -- just a basic one. It had onions, carrots, celery, red lentils and spinach. Being new to the kitchen and also making bread I didn't want to make anything too complex. Still it was well received.
forestofglory: (veggies)
So last night I roasted a chicken for the 1st time. It wasn't as simple as the internet has been telling me it is but it was delicious.

I suppose I made the process less simple for myself by by adding extra steps, but really all of those steps improved the final product. Anyways I made brine Thursday morning. Thursday evening I went to put the chicken in the brine an relished I needed to defrost it 1st, so I could remove the gut. Friday afternoon I make stock with the guts and neck, and simple stuffing. Before I put the chicken in the oven I rinsed it, oiled it and stuffed it. The actual roasting process was simple. Once the meal was cooked I made gravy. I severed the chicken with the leftover stuffing and mashed sweet potatoes.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
I've just started The Highest Frontier by Joan Slonczewski. I'm only about 5 pages in but I'm excited. Joan Slonczewski is a biologist which means she gets the science that is important to me right. I totally loved A Door Into Ocean by the same author(it's got planet of purple pacifist women with ecotech -- what's not to love) so I've been meaning to read the sequels when I can track them down. However this just came out and my mother bought me a shinny new hard back copy.

I've been very busy this last week. There was a long book to read in my History of American Agriculture Seminar and a test to grade in the class I'm TAing.

This week is going to feature lots of bread. I made sandwich bread today and I'm out of challah so planning to make some this Friday afternoon.
forestofglory: (veggies)
I baked sandwich bread yesterday for the 1st time in awhile. I've been mostly making challah instead. It came out decently. I also made tomato rice soup, we don't have a blender or anything so I used the food mill. Which was hard work. The soup came out with little chunks of veggies in it. Which R liked but I'm not so sure about.

Today is the 1st day of real classes. I'm feeling a bit nervous about it.

Seder

Apr. 24th, 2011 09:37 am
forestofglory: picture of a handfull of cherries on a wooden surface (Cherries)
Friday night I went to a seder. I planned it with some friends. My friend M was excited about using her table linens and knows more people them me, so she hosted. I was in charge of the menu. Planning a vegetarian seder is a bit tricky, and I'd never done it before. I did a bit of prep before hand (see last post). I had few things I knew I wanted to make. (And had asked R to bring a yummy quinoa dish) but I knew my friend was getting her veggie box Thursday so we didn't plan everything ahead. Planning the menu the afternoon of the meal was a bit scary but everything worked out great. Here is what we ate:

Carrot and Celery sticks with (store bought) dip -- this was to keep us going during the bit before the meal.

Frittata with caramelized onions and Parmesan cheese
Roasted asparagus
Broccoli with a soy dressing
Mashed sweet potatoes
Matzoh ball soup (brought by someone else)
southwest quinoa (brought by R)
Haroseth
Mataoh, plain and whole wheat

The French Macaroons -- which where a hit (yay!)
Ice Cream a pint each of chocolate and salted caramel from bi-rite
Chocolate sauce
Raspberries

There was also going to be sauteed chard, but we forgot to cook it until the last minute and then decided there was too much other food to bother.

I also enjoyed the ritual part of the Seder. We had three Haggadot, with different numbers of copies. The where "seder in the bar" -- very short and basic haggadah one of M's friends put together -- 10 copies as it was only about 10 pages long. A traditional Haggadah that I fond on my parents book shelves --3 copies. The Velveteen Rabbi's feminist hagadah -- one copy.

So we mostly used the short one, but digressed a lot. I read a few bits from the VR hagadah, and we read a few bits from the traditional Haggadah, including my family's favorite bit that no one else knew about. This is the bit where the Rabbis are discussing how many plagues there where and go on about the hand of God and the finger of God.

We also digressed to tell personal stories about our families and favorite Midrash.

R had never been to a seder before so I recruited him to ask the 4 questions which he did with style. I think he had and ok time, but was bored by some of the longer bits.

Cooking

Apr. 21st, 2011 10:34 am
forestofglory: (veggies)
Last night I had had a major cooking session. Mostly prep for the Seder I'm going to Friday. I caramelized a bunch of onions; made a crust-less polish cheese cake from our French Jewish cook book (for a dinner party Sat); made the batter for matzoh balls; and chopped so veggies for dinner.

However the biggest project was French Macaroons. Our cookbook suggested filling them with chestnut spread which is delicious, so I just had to try it. The macaroon batter is easy to make -- just powdered sugar and almond flour folded into egg whites. There is so much dry stuff it look like it won't fold in at all, and then it does and you are left with a nice thick batter. The 1st batch I made was under cooked and wouldn't come of the tray right. It ended up as a big sticky (but yummy) mess. I knew what went wrong and I really wanted the macaroons for the seder. So I decided to make another batch and bake them a bit longer. They worked perfectly -- came right of the tray and they looked lovely. I definitely want to make these again. I think they are going to be my default thing for using up extra frosting.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
Yesterday I put in a zipper for the 1st time. (With help form my mom.)

Rosh Hashanah starts at sunset. I've just put a batch of round challah with fruit in into the oven.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin and Pooh floating in a upturned  umbrella , with the word Ahoy in the corner (The Brain of Pooh)
Daily Life Stuff:
I'm making bread again -- Tassajara with oats and flax seeds today.

I've decided to clean out the inside of my dollhouse. I have this huge dollhouse -- its a 3 story Victorian that a grown-up friend and I put together from a kit when I was about 16. I used to collect minis -- I have all kinds of tiny things. However, I'm currently against owning too much stuff. So the plan is to take the minis out to the dollhouse, find homes for the things I want to keep (I currently have one shelf for minis, and a fair bit of clutter on my computer desk -- mostly pigs and Daleks) and put the things I don't want to keep in the charity pile in the spare room. Then I can move the dollhouse out and replace it with a bookshelf. (Maybe. I hope so anyways because books don't count as stuff/clutter and I need more shelf-space.)

On the projects note I've finally started to short out all the recipes. Oh and I've done an bit of sewing even if it is only mending. The undead jeans ride again!

Books:
I've love some recommendations for books about Jewish people that don't feature the holocaust.

Also why do Quakers seem to be disproportionately represented in Science Fiction about religious people?
forestofglory: a small plant in a clump of dirt  (eco-geek)
Today I've spent all morning cooking. I've made eggplant Parmesan for dinner tonight. I also making apple butter. Our neighbor went up to Sonoma last weekend and came back with a huge bagful of apples for us. So I'm using those for the apple butter. I've never made it before but it mostly involves cooking the apples for a very long time.

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forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
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