st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
[personal profile] st_aurafina
Something I cooked recently:
- Basil-Walnut Pesto
Because the basil needed a big trim. This is sitting in the fridge in a jar waiting for pasta tomorrow, yay. I am always looking for condiment recipes that I can tailor to my needs (which means making them without garlic or onion) and this worked really well with leek and spring onion tops. It's definitely worth toasting the walnuts. And you need a lot of salt. A lot more than you think. It smells amazing, though.

- Gnocchi, again, this time without egg and with a bit more understanding of the dough. [personal profile] lilacsigil rolled them on the butter pat so they had nice ridges for holding sauce. I actually think I like it better with the egg in it? It fluffed up better with the egg, I thought. But nonetheless it was delicious and plentiful, and there are two bags in the freezer for another time. I do like gnocchi day - the industry of it, standing in a production line making tiny bites of delicious. (This is the recipe I use, though I didn't put an egg in this time: How to Make the Perfect Gnocchi.)

- The Browniest Cookies
The first tray of these turned into completely flat cookie-pancakes. They were tasty, but very flat. So I mixed some rolled oats into the batter, and then they stayed round, though they weren't as moist and gooey as they should have been. I used milk chocolate, so maybe that's a contributing factor?

- Spanakopita Rolls
YUM. These were much less messy, made good use of the rectangle shape of the filo pastry, and were really substantial for a meat-free meal. I subbed leek for onion, and left out the garlic to keep it FODMAP friendly for me. Would make again! Would make and freeze.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
I love King Arthur recipes, because they have a button that converts US cups to grams. Very handy! (US cups are slightly smaller than Australian ones.) It was a lovely cake, very brownie-like in texture. Is it weird that I'm starting to prefer the taste of chocolate cake with zucchini in it? I don't think I've made a chocolate cake out of zucchini season, actually. I made this in a bundt tin, and it worked well to stop it getting soggy in the middle, considering how much shredded zucchini I sneaked into it.

- Meatballs with Tomato and Zucchini
Here is my brilliant discovery: rolled oats are awesome in meatballs. I put in breadcrumbs, and the mixture wasn't holding the shape I wanted, so, based on the success with the chocolate cookies, I threw in enough rolled oats to get the right consistency. (And subbed leek for onion, left out the garlic, put in bunches and bunches of parsley since it needed a trim.) They tasted great, in terms of flavour and texture. Next time, I think I would like to give the mixture a little time to let the oats swell up and bind. And up the seasoning, since oats soak up salt a lot. But these meatballs were tasty; we ate them on pasta with a veggie tomato sauce.

Wow, I've cooked a lot since the last Recipe Friday. Good. It's a sign I'm feeling better.


Something I have concrete plans to cook soon:
Easter is coming! I have plans for Easter! Roast lamb, because it's lamb season here, yay.

- Orange Rice Cake, which is the closest recipe I've found to my nonna's rice cake. (Without oranges, because she never made hers with orange.) [personal profile] lilacsigil wants me to make a half-sized cake, because the last one spoiled before we ate it all, and I know that makes sense, but I feel like Nonna wouldn't be pleased with that.

Courgette and cheddar soda bread
To use up the last mini-glut of zucchinis from the garden. I love soda bread recipes - they're really quick to make, and the zucchini should stop it going stale quite so quickly.


Something I'm idly planning to cook in the future:
Takeout-style Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
There's a wave of baby cucumbers about to become a glut of cucumbers, and I should be ready to make them into stuff. (Except pickles - I don't really like pickles?) Otherwise, it will be the usual 'make dinner and garnish it with a whole cucumber' situation all over again.

I guess that's why I bookmarked this six months ago when the northern hemisphere was in full cucumber production:
17 Recipes to Make When You're Simply Drowning in Cucumbers
That green gazpacho looks good.


Garden update

Oh, man, what a crappy season for tomatoes. Facebook kept bringing up memories from last year, of trays and trays of tomatoes going into the oven for roasting and freezing, while this year, the fruit was still green. We've had a few - more than a few - but not the overflowing numbers that mean eating them warm from the vine, giving them to your friends, and stowing away a freezer full for winter stews. At least it wasn't just us - everyone in the region had a bad crop this year.

Two zucchini plants were definitely adequate for two people plus a few for friends. It was nice not to have armfuls of marrow the size of babies, and we definitely had enough for regular meals plus some exciting 'how to cleverly use your zucchini' type recipes. I'd like to grow an heirloom type next year, though the Blackjack are really nice.

I wasn't sure if any of my cucumber plants grown from seed would even produce fruit, so I foolishly planted them all, and thus came the 12-cucumber days of late summer. I have exhausted many peoples' politeness in accepting cucumbery gifts. We grew two types from seed, Lebanese (smaller, wrinklier than English cucumbers) and crystal apple (pear shaped and milky white), and when they were not flourishing, we put in two Burpless seedlings from the garden shop. They all fruited, though very late: we didn't get any until March and then it was cucumbers all the way down. Still worth it, because fresh picked cucumber is a whole other thing compared to the kind you get at the grocery store. They're sweet and crisp and a bit peppery, they have texture and flavour and you can just eat them as it, like a giant green banana.

The same deal went with the button squash seedlings - but they didn't fruit as prolifically as the cucumbers, which is good, because there were six of them, and it could have been a zucchini-style apocalypse. They were lovely, though - for dinner, I'd chop them up very fine and stir them into the rice cooker to steam a little.

I've re-seeded the lettuce patch, as it's starting to thin out. There's still enough to supply two or three big salads per week at the moment, but every time I go out, the patch is a little smaller. We're onto our third punnet of snow peas for the year. The basil is bolting, as usual, but I keep lopping the flowers off. The leeks have been thinned (we ate the thinned ones, om nom baby leeks) and the spring onion patch has about a dozen going at the moment. [personal profile] lilacsigil made the amazing discovery that leek ends will regrow just like spring onion ends, so the leeks that we grew from seed are going back in the ground as we pick them, to rejuvenate. It's amazing.

What else? We tried a punnet of pak choi, and it immediately became slug city, so [personal profile] lilacsigil pulled them out. (It was seriously gross.) Research suggests that we need to remove the mulch layer (because the slugs hide out under it during the day) and use a barrier of diatomaceous earth. We couldn't get any DE, but [personal profile] lilacsigil found a special snail gel that delivers a mild electric shock. IDK, it sounds very Star Trek to me, but if it works, I will be very happy.

Look! Two entries in two days. I really think I'm feeling better.

Date: 2017-04-07 09:01 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
So...many...slugs...

I'm glad you listened to my warnings and stayed clear. I didn't want you to be put off pak choi for life.

Date: 2017-04-07 11:39 am (UTC)
kass: white cat; "kass" (Default)
From: [personal profile] kass
Thank you for these recipes -- I hope to try some of them too! And oh, fresh produce; it is lovely to imagine that someday we will have that locally here too. Thank you for reminding me that summer will eventually return to this cold and rainy patch of land on which I live.

Date: 2017-04-07 01:20 pm (UTC)
nanila: me (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanila
Yay, veggie crops! It's nice to see all the interesting things you can do with them.

We have just started planting our seeds. I suspect we're going to have a lot of pumpkins. Keiki and Humuhumu got a bit overexcited when we were making up the little seed pots to put in the conservatory.

Date: 2017-04-07 02:21 pm (UTC)
umadoshi: (riceball love (snowgarden))
From: [personal profile] umadoshi
Look! Two entries in two days. I really think I'm feeling better.

Hooray! *^^*

Date: 2017-04-07 02:42 pm (UTC)
musesfool: "We'll sleep later! Time for cake!" (time for cake!)
From: [personal profile] musesfool
That orange rice cake looks excellent! And also the gnocchi recipe, though I doubt I will ever actually do that much work for gnocchi (i've tried the ricotta ones and they ...were not a success.) *bookmarks recipes*

Date: 2017-04-10 08:53 pm (UTC)
musesfool: key lime pie (pie = love)
From: [personal profile] musesfool
Yeah, a tiny batch might be the best way to manage it. I'll have to think about the logistics of it.

Date: 2017-04-07 05:04 pm (UTC)
applewoman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] applewoman
I may have to try those meatballs. I wonder how'd they be with some of last summer's shredded zucchini that's still lingering in my freezer.

Glad you're feeling better!

Re: cookies making a break for freedom

Date: 2017-04-07 08:17 pm (UTC)
ducened: (food)
From: [personal profile] ducened
It's unlikely the cocoa content of the chocolate had anything to do with the cookie flattening. There are a bunch of reasons it could happen - see this troubleshooting guide for possibilities and fixes. In short, though, it could've been any of... ** Oven too cold ** Too much water (hiding in butter) or milk (hiding in cows) ** Color of the cookie sheet ** Greased sheet ** Flour // Alton Brown also has some science behind why cookies do what they do: here. He only talks chocolate chip, but the concepts remain the same. Good luck, and thank you for that tasty-looking recipe!
Edited (How could I forget Alton?!) Date: 2017-04-07 08:21 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-04-07 08:53 pm (UTC)
lurkingcat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lurkingcat
Mmmm cucumbers :)

Your veggie patch is amazing.

Date: 2017-04-08 02:56 am (UTC)
heresluck: (gardening)
From: [personal profile] heresluck
That... is a lot of cucumbers, ahaha. Yay for sesame noodles!

Re: slugs, I have had good luck with ground-up eggshells as a substitute for diatomaceous earth. Just let the eggshells dry, then pulverize them until powdery. (I do this by putting them in a paper bag and attacking the bag with a rolling pin. It is surprisingly satisfying.) Then sprinkle liberally around whatever you're trying to protect from slugs. It's not quite as effective as DE, but it's close enough to be worth a try.

Date: 2017-04-08 11:34 pm (UTC)
adafrog: (Default)
From: [personal profile] adafrog
Wait, a gel that delivers an electric shock? Crazy.

Date: 2017-04-10 02:30 am (UTC)
adafrog: (Default)
From: [personal profile] adafrog
lol Exterminate! Exterminate!

We don't really have slugs here. We had them when I lived in Oregon, but that was so long ago that I don't remember. My problem here is that I have dogs in the yard, and horses in the pasture. No place to plant. lol

Date: 2017-04-09 09:40 pm (UTC)
vass: Small turtle with green leef in its mouth (Eat your greens)
From: [personal profile] vass
I'm so glad you're feeling better.

Those noodles sound wonderful. And rolled oats in meatballs sounds like something I should try. I never have breadcrumbs on hand, and always have rolled oats and forget to do anything with them for years. Are the quantities about the same?

Do you think the rice cake would freeze?

Date: 2017-04-10 12:33 am (UTC)
mergatrude: a hermit crab peering from it's shell with the text "lurker" (Default)
From: [personal profile] mergatrude
OM NOM NOM!

It's been a terrible year for tomatoes! But we've had lots of eggplant and the butternut pumpkin is attempting world domination.

Date: 2017-04-10 02:26 am (UTC)
redcirce: TARDIS (TARDIS)
From: [personal profile] redcirce
All those recipes sound delicious! As does having an abundance of fresh cucumbers!

Date: 2017-04-11 08:30 am (UTC)
tinny: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tinny
It's so nice to read about your gardening. I don't have a garden (and don't want one), but reading about yours is interesting!

Date: 2017-04-14 05:28 am (UTC)
lark_ascends: Blue and purple dragonfly, green background (Default)
From: [personal profile] lark_ascends
Love hearing the garden updates. My new place will have a raised veggie bed in the backyard, I think (I don't think they're removing it). But it's kinda ugly sitting in the middle of the garden, so I'm not certain that I'm going to keep it (or have the energy to do veggie stuff).

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st_aurafina

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