March 31, 2010


Black Bear, 27 March 2010, recipe thread

4 slices worth of breadcrumbs, preferably from pumpernickel bread.
1/2 c milk
3 eggs
1.5 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp salt
1/2 c grated Parmesean cheese
1 TBL dried parsley, rubbed
1.5 tsp dried basil, rubbed

Mix the breadcrumbs and milk together in a good-size bowl. Let the mixture sit for a minute, and if it seems soggy, add more breadcrumbs. If it seems dry, add a splash more milk. The crumbs should just be kind of moist and fluffy.

Add in the eggs and mix thoroughly.

Add the salt, cheese, and herbs (and a bit of black pepper if you like it, which I don’t) and mix well. Then add in the ground beef. I find this mixes best by hand, like kneading dough. If it seems too wet at this point, add in more breadcrumbs.

Now, you can do what I do, which is make it into meatballs, cover them in tomato sauce and bake it, then serve over pasta or in sandwiches the next day; or you can put it in a loaf pan and bake it like a traditional meat loaf, 350°F for an hour. I’d still put a bit of tomato sauce or ketchup over the top before baking, because it keeps it from drying out, but if you’re not a fan of tomato then you might try covering it loosely with foil.

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


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.

Beer Bread

Black Bear, 29 July 09, PWYF Forum

3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbl sugar
1 bottle of beer. (Do NOT use unfiltered wheat beer for this–I love drinking wheat beers, but in this recipe the gluten makes the bread completely unmanagable. I’m partial to brown ales, like Newcastle.)

Melt a stick of butter (1/4 lb). Put the dough into an ungreased loaf pan, then pour half the butter over top of it. Bake 20 minutes at 350°F, then pour the rest of the butter over top and bake another 25 min.


Shrimp and Asparagus Improv Salad

Black Bear, Recipe thread, 3 January 09

Get a small bunch of thin asparagus spears, and cut ’em up in half inch pieces.

Heat up a pan with a little olive oil.

Take a shallot and mince it up as fine as you can; set aside about a tablespoon of it, and then put the rest of the shallot, the asparagus, and a pinch of salt in the pan and saute them til the shallot’s looking translucent and soft, and the asparagus pieces are tender. Should take about 5-6 minutes.

In the meantime–oh, wait, maybe you shoulda done this first–cut up some cooked shrimp into chunks. If you hate shrimp, no reason you couldn’t do this with some bits of stir-fried chicken, or anything else that’s bitesized (and already cooked.) Toss the meat into the pan and saute for just enough time to warm it up–if you’re using cooked shrimp, they’ll get tough if you cook them too much longer, plus they release a lot of liquid. So just another minute or two really ought to do it.

For the salad dressing, put 3 tbl of olive oil, 2 tsp of your favorite vinegar (i’ve got some with garlic in it, which is nice) and the shallot, plus a little salt and a tablespoon of grainy mustard in a jar, and shake it up til the mustard dissolves.

Get a bowl of your favorite salad greens–I used Boston lettuce last time–and put the shrimp/asparagus shallot mixture over it, then drizzle the dressing over the whole mess. There you go.

Chicken Nabe (Tori age-nabe)

BlackBear: Recipe Thread: December 9, 2008

Chicken Nabe (Tori age-nabe)

This is basically like a chicken soup or stew; I serve it over rice, and the great thing about it is the ingredients are pretty flexible. Don’t like something I put in? Substitute something else you like better! My version bears only passing resemblance to the recipe I originally got from the Chicago Tribune food page about 10 years ago. So fiddle around with it!

What you need:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 cups water
3/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium, if you’ve got it)
a pinch of sugar, dissolved in the above


1-1.5 lb of chicken thigh meat, cut up in chunks and rolled in flour
2 packets of bonito flakes–this is basically dried mackerel, in tiny flake form. You can also buy it as powder. It’s available at Japanese markets or anyplace with a good Japanese food section.
8-12 fresh shitake mushrooms, in bite size pieces
half a head of bok choy, or several baby bok chois, cut up bite size
2 shallots, chopped (it’s theoretically supposed to be onion, but I don’t like onion all that much)
6 carrots, chopped in bite size pieces
Anything else you like–peppers, tofu, whatever.

Heat a little olive oil in a medium sized dutch oven. Stir fry your chicken pieces til they’re browned and no raw bits showing.

Add all the liquids and the bonito. Bring it back up to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Scrape up any bits of chicken on the bottom of the pan.

Add in the veggies that will need longer cooking–mushrooms, carrots, etc. Put the lid partly on the dutch oven, and let it simmer for 6-7 minutes.

Add in the bok choi and shallots, and let that cook for another 6-7 minutes. Check to see if the carrots are tender yet. As soon as they are, turn the heat off and serve it hot in a bowl with rice. This’ll serve 3-4 people easily, but you can expand or contract it as needed.

Shagbark Hickory syrup

Black Bear: comment in “Calories” on July 14, 2008

Shagbark Hickory syrup is great over pancakes, waffles, and oatmeal. As I’ve now done some web-digging, I can report that it is not made quite like maple syrup–it’s a base sugar syrup flavored with an extract of hickory bark, and apparently the only people making it are here in Indiana. I had no idea. The producer also sells it to our local Belgian brewhouse, who use it in making a slightly sweet, smoky, dark beer called The Black (no relation to the horse) which is hands down the best cold-winter-night beer I know.

Beer bread

Black bear, 5 July 08, comment to ‘The spring of the moot’

The beer bread is 3 cups of white flour, 3 tsp of baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp of salt, 3/4 tsp of baking soda, 2 tbl of sugar. Mix it all up. Add a bottle of beer and stir til you get a nearly intractable mass of dough. Squash it into a loaf pan. (I use ale, usually; I don’t recommend using a wheat-based beer, as the additional tiny bit of gluten in it transforms the dough from a sticky yet handleable blob into a combative alien life form.)

Now, the part that makes it so good yet so painful (especially for you, I’m afraid.) Melt a half stick of butter–I guess that’s 1/8 lb? 4 tbl?–and pour it over the top of the dough. Then bake it at 350 for 20 minutes. Meanwhile melt the other half of the butter stick; at 20 minutes, pull the bread out and dump the rest of the butter over it, and bake it another 25 minutes. Glorious.

Mexican Chocolate Cake

Blackbear on 3/24/2008, comment to ‘Minimum Daily Chocolate Requirement’

(and by Mexican here, we mean “contains cinnamon and chocolate together.”)
1/2 c butter
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 oz unsweetened chocolate (I use Baker’s chocolate, but I realize there are cooking purists among you who will demand better, or San Francisco natives who will demand Ghirardelli. It doesn’t matter, just so it’s unsweetened.)
1 c water
2 c flour
1 tsp soda
2 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c buttermilk
2 eggs

Heat the chocolate, butter, oil, and water together until the chocolate melts and it’s smooth. Mix your dry ingredients, and stir in your buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Blend it all together with the chocolate mix, and pour into a greased and floured jelly roll pan. Bake 25 min at 350°F.

While it’s baking, make the icing. Melt together another stick of butter, another 2 oz chocolate, and 6 Tblspoons of buttermilk. Remove from the heat and add a tsp of vanilla. Then slowly beat in a pound (yes, a pound) of powdered confectioners sugar. Beat it smooth, then pour it on your warm cake mere moments after it comes out of the oven. Let the whole business cool. The edge pieces are the best, because the icing puddles up a little bit at the corners and is to die for.


cookie recipe that won me a free day off with pay

blackbear88; comment to 01/19/2008

1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 c softened butter (because I like them really buttery, you could reduce if needed)
3/4 c white sugar
3/4 c dk brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla (but if you’re me, you split this, 1/2 vanilla and 1/2 almond extract)
1 1/2 c oatmeal
1 c dried sour cherries
1 c chocolate chips
1 c toffee bits

Oven at 350. Cream butter and sugars, then add egg and vanilla/almond. Gradually add in flour and soda, and mix. Add in solids (and here I rec. combining them first in a separate bowl, the whole thing gets very hard to stir and you risk uneven distribution if you put them in one at a time.) Plop down gobs of it on a cookie sheet–I’d say go a bit large to ensure you get a cherry or two in each one–and bake 8-10 min. Eat eat eat. :)

Pumpkin Pancakes

blackbear88: comment to 12/25/2007

I confess we used a standard pancake mix for the base, but you could use any pancake recipe you’ve already got lying around. We mixed in about a cup of pumpkin butter for a good-sized batch of pancakes, it stirred right in with the batter and turned it a lovely pale orange. I’d think you might be able to use canned pumpkin and some spices to get a similar taste to the pumpkin butter, but I don’t know if you’d need to add an additional source of moisture to the thing to keep the batter consistancy right. You might have to experiment.