Archive for November, 2011

FMIOTW: Brown Beech Mushroom

Scientific name, Hypsizygus marmoreus, these adorable mushrooms cook up quickly in a little butter and respond happily to a white wine deglaze and sprinkle of lemon juice.

regift from my roommate, Jenny. Thanks!


Hot smoked salmon with chai tea

Thanks to some encouragement from Marcus at I hot smoked salmon with darjeeling tea and spices.

The equipment: A wok, 10″ bamboo steamer with lid, parchment paper, tin foil
1. dehydrated the salmon in a coating of salt and dark brown sugar for 8 hours in the fridge.
2. washed the salmon and prepped the wok for smoking; added tin foil to wok, then wild rice, darjeeling tea leaves, demerara sugar, cardamom pod, cinnamon stick, star anise, clove, fenugreek (smells like maple syrup)
-placed bamboo steamer on top with two salmon fillets (skin side down) on parchment paper on the steamer floor
3. Smoked the fish: added the lid and let heat on high for several minutes until I saw smoke escaping from the basket. I turned down heat to low and let smoke for 10 minutes. Then I turned off heat and let smoke for 10 minutes.

The final product was salty first, then hints of molasses, spices and tea followed. The texture was surprisingly moist and tender AND flaky. Because of the saltiness, I’ll have to use it in a dish that highlights its flavor while toning down the salt. Worth the experiment and more trials to come. Thanks Marcus!

Kosher salt and dark brown sugar cure

Clockwise: star anise, cardamom, clove, cinnamon

Rice, sugar, tea, spice smoke mix

Pre-smoke prep

Post smoke fish. Tasty!

Smoked salmon with olives on spanish tortilla with lemon juice! Yummy.

Apple Butter

Time for some mother-daughter canning! We made some apple butter which my mom refers to as ‘glorified apple sauce’. This may be true but I love homemade apple sauce. Apple butter contains no butter, mainly apples, apple cider and sugar. I tried a ginger pear butter recently and it was delicious. That may be next on my ‘to can’ list.
Pureed cooked apples, cider, sugar and spices

Creating a vacuum seal for preserved goodness

Apple butter complete

Thanksgiving favorite photos!

Time to get stale for stuffing!

Moist turkey 😉

Pumpkin pie with homemade whip cream

Turkey sandwich piled high with avocado and stuffing

Taro gnocchi

I’m glad to have experimented with taro as a potato substitute in gnocchi! The gnocchi was flavorful and filling. I added 2 C. of ‘riced’ taro (after boiling and baking taro) and 1C. sifted flour, 1 mixed egg and some salt. Mixed the ingredients together like dough and rolled them out gnocchi style. I boiled them in water (approx 3 mins) until they floated to the top.

Riced gnocchi

Gnocchi instead of rice?

Slow Food Canning: Curried Apple Chutney

Another canning event with Slow Food Chicago tonight was a huge success. We made apple chutney with onions, peppers, raisins, spices….yum. I was hoping to learn how to can low acid veggies/fruits but I think you need a pressure cooker for that. I LOVE chutneys and they’re so easy to make.

Safely sealed

Vinegary, sugary, yummy.

Pars Cove Restaurant (Persian/Iranian)

Cozy and romantic, this small spot has the braised meat market cornered. I ordered the lamb with walnut and pomegranate sauce, what stood out was fall-off-the-bone (huge bone) meat. Other restaurants may try to bring out dishes that take 5 minutes to prep, this type of cooking takes hours and can’t be faked. Considering their meat talents, I would advise against ordering the vegetarian dishes.

They are generous with complimentary appetizers and dessert and upon leaving gave me a red rose. Beyond food, this restaurant exemplifies hospitality.


Taro is surprisingly large and extremely starchy. It has a potato flavor and texture. I found taro at the asian grocery store just north of lawrence on Broadway for about $3. I used it for a dim sum filling today but in the future I plan to take advantage of its starchy property!

Taro cross section, very cost efficient!

Dim sum Part III: Potstickers!

Couple friends and I made potstickers from scratch today. So fun! We made two different fillings; taro/spring onion and shrimp/spring onion. We liked both for various reasons, the shrimp flavor was tasty but it needs a boosting partner not just spring onion. Whereas the shredded, fried taro soaked up all the soy sauce and sesame oil flavor and was good to go. I recommend communal dim sum gatherings, get a scale, good recipe, and go!

Potstickers topped with spice infused soy sauce

Cauliflower, raisins, almonds over carrot sauce

So, ignorantly but confidently, I’ve decided that Indian dishes are all made with the same 50 spices. Since I’ve learned how to make palak paneer, surely I can make any dish with exactly the same spices. So far, it has worked for me. Instead of spinach and paneer cheese, I used carrots and cauliflower. I was inspired by a NYTimes article presenting some fancy vegetarian recipes; including roasted cauliflower over carrot sauce. I roasted cauliflower with almonds and golden raisins, coated in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. I made carrot/onion puree with vegetable stock, yogurt and 50 Indian spices. It did come out tasty, so maybe my theory works?!

Perhaps too macro, but at least you can see every detail!

« Previous entries