kitchenklutz: knife and onions (knife and onions)
I've got a couple of acquaintances who are pescaterians -- that is, vegetarians who will also eat fish -- and as it turns out, my culinary experiments to date have sadly neglected fish. So this evening, I cracked open one of my favorite Thai cookbooks and decided to adapt a recipe.

The basis for tonight's experiment was plah toht kamin -- fried fish with turmeric. I wanted to go a little bit further than the recipe did, though, and so I stole some spicing ideas for the breading from a completely different source of southern style. The American South!

The result was surprisingly delicious (although, being unable to find catfish, I went with tilapia instead).

Tilapia Fillets Fried With Turmeric, Southern Style )

I made this with a pound of frozen tilapia fillets, suitably defrosted in my fridge during the day, and it turned out amazing. The fish was tender enough that it nearly fell apart on my fork, and the combination of the marinade and the spiced breading was multilayered and memorable. I would serve this dish with or without any dip -- it's just that tasty, for my palate.

I'll definitely be making it again!
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
Last week I was up in the White Mountains hiking Cannon Mountain, and when I came down to the skytram and museum at the base of the still-unsnowy ski slopes I stopped by their gift shop. Most of what they had was just touristy stuff, but there was a cookbook that caught my eye -- Yolanda's All Apple Cookbook, by Yolanda Lodi.

I love apples. Tasty, sweet, incredibly flexible foodstuffs that go in practically everything. I don't have a lot of recipes that rely on them, though. So how could I resist picking up a cookbook like this one? This is the first recipe I'm trying, slightly modified.

Apple-Spiced Bulgar )

First reaction? Not bad at all as a side dish. It's a little on the bland side, so perhaps it could use a little additional spicing, but it's moderately tasty overall.
kitchenklutz: cookie sheet (cookie sheet)
Yesterday was the Adam Ezra Group's Ramble (which was, by the by, awesome), and as last year there was a bake-off (with cookies for free to anyone, and you put money into the jars of the cookies you liked the best, all proceeds going to charities to help feed the hungry). Determined to impress, I made not one but four different batches of cookies: traditional oatmeal raisin, triple chocolate cranberry, my spicy ginger cookies, and an experiment...

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies )

Aside from uncertainty over the color of the cookies (which is why I say the addition of the food coloring is completely optional), these were generally well received. People said, and my experience with a test cookie matches, that they ended up tasting pleasantly like Thin Mints.

(And on a side note, although I didn't get recognized as having one of my batches raise the most contributions -- I came in a close third -- I'm quite happy that the combination of all four different batches just around tripled what anyone else's single batch did. All in all, I'm quite happy with that, particularly since the proceeds all go to charity. *wry smile* )
kitchenklutz: tomato sauce ladle (saucy ladle)
I'm signed up for a number of recipe mailing lists, and occasionally (OK, more than occasionally) I print out dishes I want to try out. Recently, I snagged a recipe for pan-fried chicken and ancho chili salsa (to go on flatbread/pita). Although I haven't actually made that recipe yet, I was experimenting with the salsa itself -- which, interestingly, doesn't actually appear to have any ancho chili pepper in it! Go figure.

Anyways, this is my first attempt at the salsa recipe, my notations, and thoughts.

First Draft Salsa )

First reactions: the taste is just about right, but the visual of the salsa itself seems almost too... pink, rather than the rich hearty red I was hoping to achieve. I'm not sure whether that's because of using the wrong tomatoes at first, or throwing in the whole lemon rather than just using lemon juice. I'm tempted to try making this recipe again using one Roma tomato and one 14.5-oz can of diced tomatoes, complete with juice, just to see if I can get the color "right".

Anyone have suggestions on how this salsa might be improved? Visually or tastewise?
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
A few years back, on a trip to the American southwest, I randomly picked up a bottle of Mrs. Dash's Southwest Chipotle mix. It turned out to be a my favorite, near-perfect thing to add to scrambled eggs, chili, and other needing-to-be-spiced-up dishes. Unfortunately, it's not really sold around here -- and though I could get a half-dozen bottles online from Amazon or similar places, it would take me something like a dozen years to use all that spice.

Instead, I started screwing around with making a spice mix of my own, working off of the list of ingredients on the side of the Mrs. Dash's bottle. It took a little experimentation, and a lot of "shake my spice mix in bottle and compare scent to original Mrs. Dash's mix", but I finally got the proportions worked into something I'm fairly happy with.

Southwest Chili Pepper Spice Mix )

It might not be precisely the same as the Mrs. Dash's mix, but it's certainly close enough in appearance, scent, and taste for my purposes. Enjoy!
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
With the chilly weather coming on, I find myself more and more in favor of comfoting, savory soups. This weekend is no exception -- and with a Penzey's Spices quarterly/recipe book in hand, I decided to try a variant on chicken and dumplings.

Spicy Baked Chicken & Dumplings Soup )

Thick, savory stew with plenty of chicken and tasty dumplings to top it off -- an absolute winner in my book! For me, adding the lemon pepper spicing to season the chicken breasts made it particularly delicious, but for others that may be a touch too spicy.

The original recipe calls for double the amount of dumpling mix, which was way too much for me. I made the full amount and dropped the dumplings into the broth, but rapidly found myself out of space in the pot for more dumplings. Thus, I've halved the amounts for that part of the recipe. Honestly, I feel as though the recipe could even use a bit more broth -- with that much chicken and veggies as a base, the soup pot was crowded even before the dumplings went in.

Overall, though, I will absolutely be making this recipe again. Simple, straightforward, not too long to cook, and incredibly tasty -- four things that make it a winner in my book.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
For a while now, starcat_jewel has been urging me to track down the local Penzey's Spices. Today, I decided to make the pilgrimage to the closest one -- down at 1293 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA.

Penzey's itself is a top-notch place -- cheerful and helpful staff, excellently organized stock, and of course TONS of spices of all flavors everywhere to be seen. I picked up a double handful and then some of varied spices (3" Ceylon cinnamon sticks, minced lemon peel, minced orange peel, two flavors of Hungarian paprika (sweet and half-sharp, to be used in a 2:1 ratio at the lowest), cardamom pods, whole cumin seed, whole Ceylon cloves, whole nutmeg nuts and ground nutmeg, ground caraway seed (realized after I got home that I already had some; oh well), Balti curry seasoning, powdered star anise, whole celery seed, Oriental mustard powder, and gumbo filé powder).

All that, plus a $25 wooden peppercorn grinder (my glass one was left in the wrong place on the oven and, um, sort of half-melted) ran to just under $85. Considering how long spices tend to last me, and given the size of the jars (plus you can buy more in plastic bags to refill jars you already have), I'd say that they offer some fantastic prices. That's particularly true when one looks at what even the discount supermarkets charge for spices.

Moreover, I've got to say, I really like Arlington. It's got a lovely small-town feel to it, despite being less than ten miles from the center of Boston.

From I-95 down Route 2 to 1293 Massachusetts Ave. in Arlington.

Important note on getting there from 95, though -- once you get off route 2 east onto exit 55, turn left at the bottom of the off-ramp (Pleasant Street), then right at the T-junction about three-quarters of a mile up the street. I misunderstood the Google Maps directions, turned right at the bottom of the ramp ("towards Waltham") and ended up halfway to Belmont before I went "Hey, there's no sign of Massachusetts Avenue yet..." *grin*


kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)

March 2015

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