February 15, 2010

Fruitcake

Robin: Guest post (mostly) by Jeanne-Marie: February 13, 2010

2 c assorted dried fruit (black and golden raisins, cranberries, blueberries, apricots, cherries, dates, whatever).  The big stuff you want to chop to be about raisin/berry sized.

1 c chopped nuts:  almonds, pecans and/or hazelnuts

1 c rum or brandy

1 c white all-purpose flour

½ c wholemeal/wholewheat/spelt flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp allspice

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp mace

12 T (1 ½ c) lightly salted soft butter

1 c dark brown sugar

1 tsp (GOOD QUALITY) vanilla extract or ½ tsp orange essence (NOT ‘flavouring’)

1 T grated lemon or orange zest (if you’re using orange essence, I usually use more zest too)

2 large eggs at room temperature

Put the dried fruit in a shallow bowl and pour the rum or brandy over them. Put a plate over the bowl and leave for at least 48 hours and up to about a week.  If your bowl isn’t shallow enough that all the fruit is in contact with the booze, stir occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350°F, and grease well your two-loaves-of-bread equivalent pans:  so four half-sized loaf tins, eight quarter-sized loaf tins, or approximately 24 muffin cups.  (If you’re using muffin cups . . . use paper liners.  Life is short.)

Sift the dry stuff together.

Cream butter and sugar thoroughly. Add zest and vanilla or essence, and cream again.  Add eggs.  BEAT THOROUGHLY.  Drain the fruit and add any liquid (not the fruit yet!), if there is any, to the batter.  Mix.

Add the flour mixture.  Stir in well.  Now add the fruit and nuts.  Stir again.  This is the moment you may have to use your judgement.  Flour varies, as does how much liquid there is left after the fruit has been soaking in it.  You may need to add a little liquid–orange juice, apple juice or water–or a little flour.

Pour into your pans:  depending on the size of the pan your baking time is anywhere from about 20-25 minutes (muffin tins) to about an hour and a quarter (9 x 5 inch normal bread pans).   When the middles puff up and start looking solid, stick a toothpick in.  When the toothpick comes out dry, etc.

Let cool in the pans half an hour or so.  An hour won’t hurt.  But don’t try to get them out too soon, they’ll be too fragile.  (They would be less fragile if you used less butter.  But . . . why would you want to use less butter?)

These don’t need to ripen, although you can turn them into little leglessness bombs if you want to (in theory the baking will have removed all the alcohol) by wrapping them in cheesecloth and dripping a little further rum on them—in which case keep them wrapped up in plastic or tin foil in your refrigerator, like Jeanne Marie did with hers, till wanted.  I did this once and . . . wheeeeee.  Don’t use an entire fifth, okay? (They’ll probably fall apart if you do, and then you’ll have leglessness bomb pudding.)

And I feel that, when it’s time to eat it, the true perfect drunken fruitcake should also have frosting. Frosting that goes something like:  1 c confectioner’s/icing sugar, 2T butter, cream together till smooth, and then add enough rum/brandy (2-3 T) to make it spreadable.  Go for it.

Pad Thai Using Sauce From a Bottle Because There is No Way I Am Making It From Scratch

Black Bear: Recipe Thread: February 9, 2010

PAD THAI USING SAUCE FROM A BOTTLE BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY I AM MAKING IT FROM SCRATCH (serves 1)

You will need:
rice noodles
an egg
shrimp, chicken, or tofu, if you want some protein
bean sprouts
fresh cilantro
lime juice
chopped peanuts
a good pan for stir frying
Pad Thai sauce–I use “Thai Kitchen” brand, which doesn’t contain anything nasty. Well, fish paste sounds kind of nasty, true–but no MSG or weird chemicals.

1. Boil 4 c water
2. Take a handful of rice noodles–I like the flat wide ones that are kind of like linguine–and boil them for 6-8 minutes, or til soft all through. (If the package says you should just soak them in hot water, it’s lying, they don’t cook all the way and then you’ve got crunchy/chewy noodles in your stir fry pan when it’s too late to do anything about it.)
3. Heat up a pan with a little bit of oil. Scramble the egg in the oil, then remove your scrambled egg to a a bowl and keep the pan hot. At this point, if you’re adding meat or tofu, you should fry that in the pan til it’s cooked through.
4. Drain the noodles, then put them in the frying pan. Add a few tablespoons of pad thai sauce, and stir fry, along with your protein. The noodles will absorb the sauce as you cook them; you can always add in more sauce if you think you under-did it.
5. Add the egg back in. If you’re using bean sprouts or thawed pre-cooked shrimp (I sometimes do) then add them at this point. Stir it all together to get it heated through.
6. Dump it out to a bowl, garnish it with a quick squirt of lime juice, a bit of chopped cilantro, and the peanuts. There you have it, a fabulous meal!

Pad thai sauce from store
unexpected treat this eve
Tho alas, no limes.


Falafel

Mrs. Redboots: “Falafel” on February 3, 2010

75g dried chickpeas, soaked for c 24 hour (or mixture chickpeas & butter beans)

1/2 tbs gram (chickpea, besan) flour
1 small red onion
1 clove garlic
1 large handful flat-leafed parsley
Small squirt harissa paste
Salt & pepper

Put it all in the food processor and blitz until very fine; squoosh into burger shapes, as many as feel comfortable. Grease large baking-tray and plop the burgers on to it. Bake at mark 6 for 30 minutes or so.

Latkes

Mori-neko, 30 Jan 2010, from ‘Favourite Pancakes and Fillings’ in the PWYF forum

I do latkes from scratch

It’s more of a ratio than a set recipe, though.

Per 1 egg, 2 russet potatoes and 1 onion, grated. Add matzoh meal (or flour, if you don’t have any meal) until it looks right – you’re looking for it to have a little adherence and not a lot of liquid floating around in the bowl.

Then they get fried in pancakes in a pan of hot oil – preferably vegetable or canola oil, as they have fairly high smoke points.

Serve with applesauce or sour cream or sugar or whatever you feel like.