Maple Cinnamon Bread Pudding

8 large eggs
1 quart milk or 2 cans light coconut milk
1 c. sugar or 2/3 c. agave nectar
1 c. maple syrup (plus some for drizzling)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon

1 1-lb loaf of bread torn into bite sized pieces

Whisk everything together in a large bowl to blend and pour over bread. Let stand for about an hour at room temp, stirring occaisionally. Pour into a greased/buttered/sprayed 13x9x2 dish. Bake t 375F
for approximately 40 minutes, until puffed and golden and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Chihuly at MoBot

Blog worth knowing about

I have never met John Taylor, but we have had friends in common for decades. I do have a copy of his Charleston Receipts cookbook and it is a great one. He writes about the whys and wherefores of the recipes and the history and culture of the cuisine.

Reading the blog this morning made me think y'all might enjoy it, too.


Miso Glazed Salmon

Miso Glazed Salmon

4 Servings

1   tablespoon sesame seeds
2   tablespoons miso paste *
2   tablespoons mirin
1   tablespoon soy sauce
1   tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 ¼   pounds center-cut salmon steaks, cut into 4 portions
    hot pepper sauce

Position oven rack 3-4 inches from the broiler and preheat the broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil. Coat foil with cooking spray.

Toast sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

Whisk miso, mirin, soy sauce, ginger and few drops of hot pepper sauce in a small bowl until smooth.

Place salmon fillets, skin-side down, in the prepared pan. Brush generously with the miso mixture.

Broil salmon, until opaque in the center, 6 to 8 minutes.

Plate the salmon and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds

* The recipe that was the basis for this called for white miso (and it is quite good that way) but I think genmai miso gives a much deeper flavor.

my back

Great Mushroom Quiche Experiment

Originally posted to my journal on Sept. 26:

When I made mushroom quiche last weekend, the finished product was little wet. It was cooked through, but there was extra water present. Granted, that could have been from the double Gloucester cheese, I used, but I was a little concerned that I hadn't cooked enough water out of the mushrooms.

As I considered possibilities, it occurred to me that already dried mushrooms might be worth a shot. But, when I went to my grocery store and had a look, my choices were pretty limited. Shiitakes at $3 for half an ounce or creminis at $4 for half an ounce. And it looked like I'd need 2 ounces. Chuck remembered that he's seen a large container of dried mushrooms at CostCo, so he picked them up on the way home Wednesday. It was 8 ounces of mixed morels, Brazilian caps Ivory portabellas, shiitake and oyster mushrooms.

I looked up how to use dried mushrooms and everything kept telling me how to rehydrate them before use. One site said that using hot water would let more flavor out into the water so I should use that water to make broth or as a base for sauce. I also read that using cold water would take longer to rehydrate them, but they would keep more flavor IN the mushrooms.

I didn't rehydrate them before I used them. I wanted them to be dry, after all, so there wouldn't be soggy crust under my quiche.

Instead, I allowed the milk in the quiche mixture to do the rehydrating.

I dumped about 3 ounces (since I have a gracious abundance) into the crust, sliced some fresh basil leaves and sprinkled them over and grated a chunk of Jarlsberg and some hard cheese I no longer remember the origin of and about 2 ounces of Gorgonzola. Then I mixed 3 eggs with 1.5 cups of milk and poured it over the top. And I had too many mushrooms. The milk didn't cover them. I was afraid that the bits sticking out would stay dry, so I poured more milk in to bring the level up. I put the whole thing on a cookie sheet, covered it with foil and stuck it in the fridge.

Yesterday afternoon, I put it in the oven, at 325 F, uncovered, at 5:00. At 5:50, the crust was brown and the cheese was gorgeous.

When I'd poked the bits of mushroom that were sticking out of the cheese a little bit, they were springy and I felt pretty secure that everything had turned out well. And I was right. Next time, I will cut them up more, as they were a little tough to cut. But, the flavor was great and it was NOT soggy.

So, now I have a new trick.

This was loosely based on my original quiche recipe of 8 oz crab meat, 8 oz grated Jarlsberg, 3 beaten eggs in 1.5 c milk in a crust with 1/3 tsp ground cayenne sprinkled on top and baked at 325 F for @ 45 minutes.
Chihuly at MoBot

Introducing myself

My name is Kitty.

I am happily married to a man who cooks for me pretty frequently. We have recently realized that when one of us is tired of cooking (or just uninspired), the other usually is, so we eat dinner in restaurants about once a week for the fun of it, rather than because we aren't inclined to eat at home.

We are pescetarian, so you won't see me posting many recipes for chicken or red meat. Chuck, my husband, loathes the smell of animal fat and I don't care to participate in the corporate farming that is most of the American food industry. While I can buy local grass-fed chickens, beef, goat and pork, I really don't see any particular benefit to it, so there is no reason to inflict it on my sweetie.

We like good food and are willing to experiment. I'm looking forward to conversation here.
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Steam punk

Steam punk - there's a word.  It's another word that I hate while simultaneously  liking its mainstream meaning.  Kind of like...  organic, foot fetish and tax break (that last one is also an oxymoron).  I bought myself a pressure cooker!  It's the steampunk microwave oven!  I've been using it.  I've spent more time cleaning it than cooking with it because I keep scorching stuff which attaches itself to the bottom of the cooker like baked-on automobile enamel.  All comments, suggestions, and smart remarks are welcome.

So stuff I've made so far (asterisks denote full or semi failures, pluses represent eventual success, no marks means first time go!)

Apple sauce ***+
Apple jelly (actually a serendipitous discovery!)
Apple upside down cake *+
Couscous stuffed zucchini (yum!)
Improved couscous stuffed zucchini (yum yum!)
Chicken couscous
Pot au feu (boiled beef dinner that is supposed to cook all day in about 45 minutes)
Salmon with curry and spinach* (still came out edible, but scorched to the bottom of the cooker)
leeks for tarte au poireaux (leek pie?)
mashed potatoes
boiled water

I've also used it to sterilize canning jars.

I've heard that with a little creativity and some copper tubing, you can use it to make gin.

Tonight, I'm going to try Guinness beef stew (in 30 minutes).  Stay tuned...

x-posted to myown eljay

Confiture de groseilles de bar le duc

For culinary specialties, the Lorraine is not really that famous.  I mean, in France, the competition is stiff what, with the Bourgogne and all...  Commercy has its Madeleines, Nancy has its Macarons and all the wonderful confections they've created with that citrus fruit knows a bergamotte.  Verdun is famous for Dragees (like jordan almonds) and, believe it or not, exploding chocolate bombs!

I've known for some time that the configure de groseilles that comes from Bar-le-duc is famous.  I've known for some time that Alfred Hitchcock wouldn't stay in a hotel that wouldn't serve it to him for breakfast.  Up until a week ago, I'd never tried it so I went to a special effort to procure some to try out on my vacation.

Keep in mind that this is a kind of red currant jam (or preserves).  A currant is a berry that's about the size of a large pea.  Someone at some time or other got the bright idea of removing each individual seed from each individual currant with a goose quill and making jam  out the intact, seeded fruit.  The ladies who perform this task are known as Epipineuses.

My curiosity was revived because I was toying with the idea of sending some to one of my LJ friends as an unusual gift, but I realized, I don't know what it's like, I've never had it myself.  So, I trapse into a boutique here in the area and ask about it.  Sure enough, they stock it.  It comes in a jar about the size of a typical jar of salmon eggs (fish bait).  The volume, about two espresso cups full (what, 4oz. maybe?).  The intact fruit look something like fish eggs and that's not the only reason why it's sometimes referred to as 'French caviar'.  I expected it to be expensive, maybe double what a typical jar of quality jam would cost.  When I first saw the size of the jar, I was taken aback.  When I learned of the price, my pride was the only thing that kept my jaw from dropping.  Granted, I paid boutique price for it, maybe I could get some cheaper if I made a day trip to Bar, but that little jar set me back 15 Euros (what's that $20?).  I went for it anyway, you only live once right?

So, I packed it down to the Med for my vacation, painstakingly picked out some choice multi-grain bread for toast and waited for an appropriate morning to sit down with my MSU, a bowl of cafe au lait, and my gourmet bread and jam.

So, what do I think?  Well, first off, I may be simply boorish, but It's probably not worth what it costs.  That's to say, for what they put into making it, I totally understand why it costs so much, it's just that flavor-wise, it's not really better than the jelly that the MSU and I make from the currants in the garden by removing the seeds with a juice extractor.  The only thing it has going for it is the texture and aesthetics of the whole, preserved fruit.  Well, there's always the snob factor if you're into that kind of thing.  It's a work of art, visually speaking.  Taste-wise, it's a little too sweet in my opinion.  It's 60% white sugar where most jams and jellies are made with no more than half.

So, in short, if you have the means, pick some up (once) but don't expect to be overwhelmed by the ambrosia of the gods.  Unless, that is, that I'm simply wrong, which happens more often than it should.

x-posted to girl_bait ljgourmet francophiles

Quick and easy harissa

I posted a recipe for couscous the other day and began to become concerned for anyone who cannot procure harissa to serve with it. Goofing around in the kitchen, I came up with this substitute that is based on readily available ingredients:

1 tbs red pepper flakes (like they serve with pizza in America)
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp caraway seed
1/4 tsp ground coriander seed
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt

Cover the red pepper flakes in water and let them soak for about an hour (I did this in a demitasse espresso cup)
Drain. (I used a tea strainer)
Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Add olive oil if necessary to obtain a pasty texture. Ideally, everything should be pureed or otherwise pounded to a pulp but if you're going to mix it into a broth to serve with couscous, save yourself the trouble. Let it sit as long as possible to develop the flavors.

This isn't the real thing, but it's pretty close. This demi demitasse produced by this recipe is probably enough for four normal people or one couscous dinner. I don't know how long it will keep, but I think if you keep it in a jar covered in olive oil, it will keep a very long time.

Harissa is mixed with some of the broth from couscous (stew) and served on the side as a condiment. It's also good in Spaghetti sauce. I've known people of Tunisian descent who eat it on toast in the morning.

Harissa will not put hair on your chest. It removes it.

x posted to veggie_diaries and my own LJ.

Crock pot couscous

Here's a vegetarian (and I think vegan but who can be sure) recipe for couscous that you can make in the morning and have for dinner:


1 Large yellow onion roughly chopped
5 cloves of garlic minced or crushed
3 or 4 carrots in 1/2" diagonal slices
1 or 2 turnips or swede (depending on size) peeled and cubed (3/4" cubes)
1 large potato peeled and cubed (3/4" cubes)
3 or 4 stalks of celery in 1/2" diagonal slices
2 or 3 zucchini, mostly peeled, in 3/4" chunks
1 cup or so or can of cooked chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
about 4 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp of dried mint or double for fresh
1 tbs salt or more to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or enough to singe your hair (to taste)*
Water to cover


1 cup med. grain couscous (aka moroccan pasta, bulgar, etc.)
1 cup water
(butter, oil, salt, depending on cousous grains)
1/4 cup rasins (preferably white)(optional)

Put all of the "stew" ingredients in the crock pot in the order listed.
Cover with water.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

When it's done, prepare the cousous in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
Soak the rasins in warm water and add them to the couscous (if desired).
Serve the stew over a bed of warm cousous.

Typical couscous has chicken and / or lamb and / or merguez in it and nothing prevents one from transforming this into a regular couscous recipe except that the variety and quantity of vegetables I've listed will pretty much fill any normal slow cooker. Alternatively, one can prepare the meats on the side which some argue is a more authentic way of preparing couscous anyway. I was shooting for a vegetable dish here and the slow cooker leaves the vegetables not quite as done as they would typically be served in a normal couscous, a fact that I find quite agreeable.

*If you're making this for children or people who don't like spicy, just add a dash or two of cayenne and prepare a harissa sauce to serve on the side. Mix some harissa (or red pepper if you can't get it where you are) with the broth from the vegetables and add it to the individual plates as desired.

x-posted to veggie_diaries and my own journal phrench_phried