Vegetable Stir-Fry

Our house has very little food in it at the moment. We are making a much needed Trader Joe’s run tomorrow, but for tonight we had little to work with.

We decided to make a stir-fry after noticing a bag of frozen vegetables in the freezer.

We put on the rice to cook and then I proceeded to make a sauce.

Stir-Fry Sauce

Combine 2 tbl soy sauce, a splash of vinegar, a splash of oil, 1/2 Tbl of peanut butter, 1 tsp tahini, 1 tsp mustard, 1/2 tbl sugar, a dash of salt, some sesame seeds, 2 gloves of garlic–minced, and a pinch of salt. Whisk together.

Add to the vegetables in the last few minutes of stir-frying.

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dayzella - Wandered over here from Gapers’s = got a giggle from the “two gloves of garlic” – hee! Nice site, enjoyed my visit. Will be stopping by again ;) Good luck to you!

gemma - ah! Good catch. I feel compelled to leave that now. On first pass your comment had me very confused and with a mind full of very intriguing mental images.
Thanks for stopping by!

Irish Soda Bread

Last night I had two friends over for an early evening St. Patrick’s Day celebration while all the other roommates were out. I bought some vintage Dubliner cheddar, some Kerrygold butter, and served them with delicious Irish Soda Bread just out of the oven. (Harold brought the Guinness and whiskey).

I used the recipe offered at 101 Cookbooks and added 1 C of baking raisins and 2 Tbl of caraway seeds. I can’t imagine making soda bread without these superb additions (a traditional Irish method too!). I also had to add a full 2 cups of buttermilk.

It turned out wonderfully. A slathering of butter or a piece of cheese on a thick slice with a Guinness at my side made it a meal.

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tart and roll

tart and roll
Originally uploaded by dumin.

Last night when I returned home from work I was in the mood to bake, but our supplies were limited. I always enjoy the occasions where I can concoct something delicious out of some random items. Last night was such an occasion.

The picture didn’t turn out the best, so let me explain:
I made a tart shell out of the left over puff pastry from the onion tart, whipped some heavy cream, some milk and one egg together and added some salt and pepper.

I sauteed a small amount of onion until translucent and golden in olive oil infused with garlic, then I added some halved cherry tomatoes which I had squeezed over the sink to rid of excess liquid. Finally, I added some baby spinach leaves to the pan with some salt and pepper and mixed until wilted (about 2 min.).

I then arranged the pan mixture into the base of the tart shell and poured the egg/cream/milk mixture over the top. I sprinkled some chopped fresh basil over the top and popped it in a 380F oven for about 15 min.

I had some extra egg/cream/milk mixture and it seemed a shame to throw it out, so I mixed in about 2 tbl of sourdough starter and some unbleached all-purpose flour until it had the consistency of a bread dough. I kneaded it a few times and formed it into a ball. I then placed on the Silpat mat along side my baking tart and checked on it periodically.

The tart was excellent. The roll was mediocre. I think the ingredients were to heavy. Next time I will just make some normal dinner rolls, but I was glad not to waste the liquid ingredients.

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Note: I've updated this popover post – find it here!

This morning I made popovers for breakfast. They were delicious, airy, and eggy, but they didn't quite 'popover.' Last nite Mindy convinced me that to make a good popover one must have a popover tin (rather than subsituting a muffin tin). I now agree. The recipe I used was somewhat styled after Martha Stewart's Perfect Popovers. Here is the recipe with my modifications.


Preheat oven to 450F
In one bowl whisk 1 C unbleached all-purpose flour and 1/2 tsp fine sea salt.
In a second bowl whisk 2 eggs, 1 C heavy cream, 1/4 C milk, and 1 tbl melted butter.
Slowly add dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir just until combined.
Fill greased and floured muffin tin cups 3/4 full.
Bake for 15 min. at 450F and then reduce heat to 350F and bake for 15 more minutes or until golden brown and crusty. Remove from tins onto a wire rack and serve immediately.
These delicate and wonderful creations need no accompaniment. Just look at this luscious and moist crumb.

I had some left over batter and since all of the ingredients seemed to be in order I decided to try using this as a pancake batter. I was quite pleasantly surprised! I think I may be making this batter in the future soley to use for pancakes. They tasted somewhat like Swedish pancakes (Hrm. . must be all the butter and heavy cream. . .) and had a perfect texture.

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jane - Well done! I have to say, I have yet to work up the courage to try my hand at popovers, but my mother, who is a very accomplished cook and baker, has yet to make popovers that actually popover, so you’re in very good company. Your popovers look delicious.

gemma - Thanks Jane!
You should give them a try (that is, if you don’t mind that they don’t ‘popover’). They were very simple and quick as well.
I highly suggest using the batter for super rich pancakes too.
Does your mom use a popover pan? I am trying to figure out if that is the missing piece or if there are other major factors to focus on.

jane - I’m thinking about it, although I must say that every time you make something new it makes me want to try that, as well.
My mom has tried making popovers in everything from popover pans to muffin tins to miniature souffle dishes and small ramikins (don’t ask me why she thought that would work better than a popover pan) and has yet to succeed in making them popover. Some of us in the fam are beginning to think she’s doing it for comedic effect at this point.
She thought your popovers looked quite nice, though, and said that they popped quite a bit more than hers ever do.
I’ll let you know if mine work out.

John - These were fantastic. Not to gloat or anything, but I actually get to EAT most of this stuff.

gemma - Jane, I am hoping to buy a popover pan in the next week so I will do some experimenting and hopefully have more advice for you if you decide to undertake the popovers.
Has your mom tried adding a some light cheese (like a parmaesan). I don’t quite see how, but I have read that can help it pop. I haven’t tried this yet so I can’t say one way or the other.
John, I am glad you are enjoying my experiments. Unfortunately, you also have to try the things I screw up. At least that is rare. I suppose the worst part is having to wait two+ hours for breakfast sometimes. Thanks for being a good sport, I’m glad you feel compensated.

onion tart

Orangette’s piece on onion tarts had been making my mouth water for weeks.  Last night I was finally able to try my hand at the lovely creation.  Mine did not turn out as well, nor are my pictures as beautiful, but it made a fantastic dinner for my housemates and I look forward to trying my hand at it again in the future.

I did make 2 changes.  First, I used puff pastry because time was short (well, I must admit mainly because I have pate brisee envy and I knew I couldn’t compete with Orangette’s perfect crust.)  Second, I put a layer of dijon mustard on the bottom of the unbaked pastry shell before I added the onion/cream/egg mixture.  I had read about this suggestion on several French cooking sites and I decided to try it out.  I think it added a wonderful, yet very subtle flavor.  On a side note, I found that my tart baked for 35 min. in a 375F oven.

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Peter - I just had breakfast, but yer makin’ me hungry.
Cut it out.

gemma - I’ll make one for you sometime. I also want to try a tomato tart soon, so you could get in on that next time you come down to HP if we plan ahead.

Molly - Gemma, it looks gorgeous! And delicious! Thanks for trying it. I’m glad to see that the puff pastry worked well, and your mustard idea is a great variation. I do something similar for a roasted-tomato tart–I mix a bit of grainy mustard with a bit of creme fraiche and smear that over the crust before layering in roasted tomatoes. Hmmm…speaking of which, I’ll have to write about that tart when summer rolls around!

gemma - Oh, *blush*
Thank you Molly! It was a lovely recipe. Thank you for sharing it. A tomato tart is near the top of my ‘to bake’ list and I recently made some grainy mustards for baked pretzels. I will have to try mixing the mustard with creme fraiche, good idea! If only there were fresh tomatoes around. . .

panasianbiz - I stumbled across your blog while I was doing some online research. Onion tarts are a personal favorite of mine. When done correctly, they are outstanding and delicate and complex!