Drink recipe: Major Tom

At some point a few months ago, C got into drinking sparkling water with Tang, and I turned that into a bit of a mixed drink. Since he was calling his beverage an “Aldrin” in honor of the astronaut (because Tang), I’ve called my fancier version a Major Tom:

  • 1 rounded tablespoon Tang
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 oz elderflower liqueur (I bet there’s other fancy things that would have a similar effect. We just happened to have a bottle of this.)
  • 1 oz white whiskey
  • about 10-12 oz sparkling water (club soda, whatever)

Mix in a pint glass and drink, although note that things get a little crazy when the Tang & the fizzy water interact, so mix accordingly. Usually I put in the Tang and about half the water and stir until it calms down, then add the other ingredients, then as much water as is left in the can.

Enjoy. 🙂

quiche experiment

in case it turns out either really well or really badly (it’s in the oven now)

some weird hybrid of these recipes:




abt 1 lb super-cheap bacon, cook, cool slightly, chop in little pieces

2 c spinach, washed, chopped — saute in a bit of bacon fat, drain water, cool a bit, then squish out the rest with hands

pie pastry – bake 7 min at 425F

put 1/3 c feta & a couple of handfuls shredded cheddar in the pie pan

spinach on top of the cheese

bacon on top of the spinach

beat three eggs w/1c cream, pour over the top. realize that isn’t enough; beat 1 egg with few splashes of whole milk. go look at 1st recipe, realize ratio is all wrong, beat up one more egg and sort of mix it in the pan.

bake at 425 for 15 min; sprinkle a bit more shredded cheese on top; then 350 for 10 minutes (well, so far it’s more like 15) until set. (which hasn’t happened yet)

apple butter

I went to brunch at a friend’s a few weeks ago (Thanksgiving weekend?) and she made pumpkin pancakes served with apple butter. I hadn’t had either before, and the apple butter was really tasty. So I’d been thinking about making some myself. Then on Christmas Eve I ended up at the last day of the Olympia Farmer’s Market. I asked one of the vendors if he knew an apple that was particularly good for apple butter. He recommended Criterion, which I hadn’t heard of. It was pretty tasty; I bought half a dozen. Yesterday I finally got around to making it. I looked up a bunch of recipes and created one of my own. I haven’t actually had it yet post-canning, but as a work in progress it made the house smell like apple pie & tasted similarly.

Ad-hoc apple butter
makes 4 jars

8 apples, cored & chopped into big chunks [6 criterion, 2 fuji]
2/3 c Angry Orchard ginger cider
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick

  1. Butter a slow cooker crock (what is that called, anyway?)
  2. Put all the ingredients into the slow cooker, cook on low overnight. (I think it was 11 hours; it had switched to warm when I got up.)
  3. Stir, remove cinnamon stick, and blend with immersion blender.
  4. Put the cinnamon stick back and turn slow cooker to high. Cook about 3 hours.
  5. Pour into jars, process in water bath if desired.

apple butter

Snowmaggedon Chili

I made this twice (three times including today) during the recent snow craziness, while I’ve been laid up with a cold. It’s damn tasty and opens up my sinuses, plus a good way to use up little bits and bobs of a roast chicken.

1 can diced tomato
cumin, chili powder, garlic salt
1 can beans (Navy or black, I think I prefer Navy)
Some leftover roasted chicken, including a leg bone
Frozen corn

Put tomato, spices (to taste, whatever you prefer), and leg bone in saucepan, bring to slow boil then reduce to low. Simmer for a while; chop up chicken into bite-size pieces. Add chicken & corn, bring back up to bubble, reduce and simmer some more. Remove leg bone. Serve. Makes 4-5 small bowls full. Really good with sour cream.

Panda’s coffee class, the test run

Next week Espresso Parts is going to have a coffeemaking class next week, and Michael is doing a test run with a few folks.

Always use scale to measure instead of eyeballing.

For autodrip [missed how much]

Cup != cup.

200 degrees (f), 7 minutes, autodrip. Certification agency? Fluke thermometer, for accuracy. Comes out at 175 degrees.

Discussion of water filtering — or not! In a taste test, unfiltered tap water did best.

I actually tasted some. 🙂 Not that I have any idea what coffee should taste like.

Display of grids of coffee: showed full range, but really there’s just two grinds for home: coarser for soaking in water, finer for pouring water over. Nice explanation of surface area. Inbetween for Moka pot! Espresso just means fast for Moka.

Show off IR burner.

Hario V60: #2 filter, bleached. Difference in holes in the bottom: Hario has better opening, larger single, vs “beehive” (brand?) with two smaller holes. Numbering in filters is about size. Differences in taste between bleached, unbleached, and metal, mostly a preference thing, altho unbleached tends to taste like paper. Discussion of rinsing or not. At temperature, also heats up the equipment. 1 to 16 ratio (1 gram coffee, 16 grams water) generally, with this at 1 to 18. (.63 oz) Also weighs the water. 25 g coffee, 450 g water. (.9 oz, 15.9 oz) Bloom = degassing

He’s got one of Angela’s friends actually doing the pourover.

Thinking maybe he should rearrange the setup so that more people can gather around, either that or closer to the seating.

2nd pourover taste, made by Panda, underextracted coffee, but preferred. 50g less water.

“If you like what comes out, that’s what matters”

Another taste with 500g water: more muted flavor. (Of course I’m still nursing the cold cup from earlier!)

Discussion of heating the water, backing off from 212/boiling

Discussion of washing/warming the french press. “Full immersion” vs “pour over”

Review french press techniques, if you leave it in after brewing, last cup & first cup will be very different.

Caffeine difference between different methods.

[headed home]

Slow Cooker Beans & Sausage

I’m making this for the neighborhood association potluck tonight, and had decided to bring along a copy of the recipe in case anybody wanted it. And, what the hey, might as well post to the blog, right?

The key modification is that it’s made in the slow cooker instead of on the stovetop. Otherwise, it’s just ditching veggies that I don’t like (texture, mostly) and minor adjustments to the spices. (I don’t usually have garlic powder, for example, so I’ve subbed in garlic salt & reduced the kosher salt.)

Red Beans & Sausage

Modified from Red Beans and Rice with Sausage (via Derrick)

  • 1 pound dried red kidney beans (about 2¼ cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 generous teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste
  • sometimes I remember to include about ½ tsp of onion powder, forgot this morning!
  • 5-6 links sausage (approx 1.2-1.5 lbs)
  • 6 cups water

The night before:

Pour the beans into a 6-quart slow cooker pot and add enough water to cover the beans about 3 inches.

In the morning:

  1. Drain & rinse the beans, then pour them back into the slow cooker.
  2. Add seasonings.
  3. Cut sausages lengthwise, then cut each half into bite-size chunks. Add to the slow cooker.
  4. Pour over the water.
  5. Cook on low at least 8 hours.

Before serving:

Scoop out about 1 cup beans. (Fish out any sausage that tries to come along.) Mash or puree the beans into a paste. Add the bean paste back into the slow cooker and stir, while leaving cooker on warm or low.

This is tasty with bread, cornbread and/or rice – the original recipe calls for 6 cups cooked long-grain rice, but I don’t always get around to that part. Makes good leftovers.

semisweet oatmeal cookies

From the 1963 edition of the Good Housekeeping cookbook. This is the edition that mom had as long as I can remember, although we never made this recipe that I remember. Mom gave me a copy for Christmas several years ago, and in addition to the classic recipes of my childhood, I’ve found a few others that I like, including this….

good housekeeping cookbook (1963)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) soft butter
  • 6 tbsp white sugar
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Mix flour, salt, baking powder in a small bowl – sometimes I don’t bother to mix ahead of time, instead I just dump in later.
  3. Cream butter & sugars.
  4. Stir in vanilla, water, & egg.
  5. Add flour mixture & mix well.
  6. Stir in oats.
  7. Stir in chocolate chips.
  8. Spoon onto baking sheet; I use slightly larger eating spoonfuls, and line the pan with a silpat. (recipe calls for greased cookie sheet. Parchment paper would probably work too.)
  9. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes just shy of 4 dozen cookies.

(Posted for Kelsey from Oly Reads.)

My Favorite Comfort Food

A light and pointless (?) blog post from a prompt, while I muse on posting some other stuff….

It’s odd, the first thing I think of is something I haven’t eaten in many months, but it is THE comfort food for me: macaroni & cheese.

Not any old macaroni & cheese*, but precisely the one that we ate every single Friday (go Catholics!) of my childhood, my mother’s version of a Good Housekeeping recipe from 1963. That recipe book fell open to that page; that or the hamburger stroganoff recipe. It took me at least a year after I was living on my own before I figured out mom’s exact modifications, which involve making it even MORE mid-century American than it was to start with. Velveeta FTW!

As a food, it’s simple: fat and starch, creamy and hot, which makes it an ideal wintertime comfort food. It’s easy to make and is done reasonably fast, but has enough steps to feel like you’re actually cooking something. It doesn’t microwave especially well, and that gives it a certain immediacy that’s oddly comforting.

But beyond that, because of “every Friday” and “mom’s modifications,” it has all this resonance emotionally as well, of the good parts of childhood, eating together. The ritual of making mac & cheese has all these particular touchstones: the double-boiler in particular, since that was the only thing it was ever used for when I was growing up. (True story: when I moved out in college and relatives gave me dishes for Christmas, my sister gave me a double-boiler specifically so I could make myself mac & cheese.)

So there it is, the platonic ideal of a comfort food, at least for me.


* I did not eat the stuff in a box until I was in college, when (alas) I ate quite a bit of it: box mac & cheese was in the imagery of a poem I had published when I was younger.

Powered by Plinky

Two white breads

1) English muffin bread. OMG awesome.  Rose really well, tastes fantastic. Not that you’d immediately say, “English muffin!”, but it definitely has a distinctive flavor and texture that’s English muffin-line. I took most of the first loaf to a party, where it was a big hit. Makes great toast, and was the first bread I’ve made so far that I used for an actual sandwich. (Ham & cheese, nom nom nom!)

2) Country fair white bread. I may have messed this one up a little by leaving it on the 2nd rise for too long. Seriously, I put it in the microwave — not on, but with hot water for a accelerated rise (!) — and completely forgot it was there while I was doing yardwork. It seemed a little more dense than I was expecting, and that may have been why, but I’m not 100% sure. In any case, it too has a good taste and texture — made for good toast with jam this morning. Tomorrow I’m going to see what it’s like as a sandwich bread, which is one of my ultimate goals in bread-making: to replace store-bought bread. It was a little more complicated than the other breads I’ve made — before the 2nd rise adding butter, egg and powdered milk. (Actually, the English muffin bread also had powdered milk added before 2nd rise.) But not particularly difficult in any case.

None of these have been what you’d call difficult, really, which is what makes it such a wonderful thing. The hardest part is working out the timing. I have to have a few hours at the end for the 2nd rise and baking — although maybe next time I’ll try the delayed 2nd rise (4-24 hrs in the fridge) since then all I need to do is let it get to room temperature…I’m assuming it can do that while dinner is cooking and then bake after.

oat bread

I’m gradually trying new recipes out of the Kneadlessly Simple bread cookbook that I got for Christmas. First up: oat bread. As it happens, I have some extra molasses on hand, which is the one ingredient in addition to the usual flour, sugar, salt, yeast, oil & water. Oh, and of course in this case also oats, and I always have oats on hand, either for oatmeal or for cookies. 🙂

Mixing up was pretty much the same as the basic white bread I’ve made before; the molasses gets mixed in with the liquid ingredients, and the oats with the dry ones. It seems like this dough was even less interested in rising* than the white, unfortunately, but it did finally rise enough to get put in the oven.

It also rose a little less in the baking, but smelled fantastic. I probably overcooked it by a couple of minutes: the crust was a little darker and tougher than I would have liked. OTOH, it was delicious. Almost dessert-like, good flavor, solid texture. Not all that much cold, but incredibly good lightly toasted with a little butter. I think it would’ve been heavenly topped with a little honey, but we didn’t have any. Actually had just bread for lunch one day this week (horrid canned soup that I couldn’t stand to eat) and was surprisingly full all afternoon.

Will definitely make again with a slightly shorter time in the oven.

* I’ve got a batch of English muffin bread rising at the moment, and it seems to be coming up much faster. It’s also somewhat wetter dough, and I’m starting to wonder if I haven’t been adding enough water to all my doughs.