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kitchenMage
evenTinierTown, mid-Cascadia, North America
Any sufficiently practiced skill is indistinguishable from magic. ~kitchenMage's corollary to Clarke's Third Law
Interests: baking, cooking, herbs, bread, gardening, teaching, writing, nixies, pixies, subverting the dominant paradigm
Recent Activity
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Advertisement distributed by the United States Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1935 It seems like every year the run-up to Halloween is the same: Outrage about slutty costumes for women followed by fear about what is going to be slipped into your kid's Halloween bag. The only thing different this year is that the slutty costume is something related to ebola and the fear-mongering is about marijuana. I live in Washington, where medical cannabis has been legal seemingly forever and recreational is more recently legal, so I possess a specialized knowledge set that includes such technical things as what that tricksy pot-infused candy everyone is suddenly scared of looks like. It looks like candy. This is about the only thing most of the articles get right. While I support your right to be concerned about the candy that strangers are giving your children, this particular fear is completely misplaced. It points to a basic misunderstanding about legal cannabis and the people who use it while portraying those people as vaguely threatening. In CO and WA, a few hits of a vaporizer pen (hash oil) is the equivalent of a glass of wine for many people. When you add in the many states with medical cannabis patients, the overwhelming majority of people with access to cannabis candy are legal users of a fairly trivial intoxicant. Much more like social drinkers than the stoners of "Reefer Madness" days. A quick survey of leaf.ly, thcfinder, weedmaps, or similar sites that list prices for commercially available cannabis would show you that such candies are, at minimum, several dollars a piece. The first place I looked at has edibles ranging from $5-8 a piece at the low end to over $20 at the high end. I'd assume the more expensive things contain more than one dose -- don't be Maureen Dowd, kids. Do you really think anyone is spending $5-8 per piece of candy to give it to random kids? That simply doesn't pass the sniff test. In most states, they would also have to go to a doctor and get a prescription first; dispensaries that sell candy are not open to general, over-21, public except in CO and WA. Speaking of sniff tests, there are ways to tell if candy is cannabis. Not a guarantee but pretty good odds: If you spray hash oil on the surface of candy it will probably be slightly sticky and it will smell like hash oil. Even the baked in stuff smells. The one-off labeled cannabis candies are almost all puns on brands or well-known names with a letter switched. Bad puns. (sigh) If it's not in a package, you're probably not letting them eat it anyway, so toss the loose stuff. If you really want to keep cannabis candy out of your kid's hands, however, ask your family and friends if they are using medical cannabis and have such edibles around. This is your child's most likely point of exposure. Responsible people treat cannabis, medical or recreational, like the adult product that it is and most people who use cannabis are responsible. Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2014 at kitchenmage
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If it's the Fourth of July, it must be time for my traditional celebratory photo. This year, I am a particularly proud mom because our daughter graduated from college and is starting law school. She's going to be a human rights lawyer and help us hang onto those freedoms that we like to say make our country special. That's definitely worth celebrating. (In other things worth celebrating, her dad now has to make good on a promise involving blue hair. His hair. Heh.) Marshmallow, meet the first amendment. First amendment, meet a marshmallow (homemade raspberry marshmallows with a layer of bittersweet chocolate in the middle, to be precise). That thing in the background, btw, is my old military insignia, from when I swore to protect and defend the Constitution (of which the 1st amendment is perhaps my favorite part) from all enemies foreign and domestic. Nobody said a thing about protecting flags from flames and graham crackers. Have a happy and safe holiday, everyone! Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2014 at kitchenmage
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Stipulated: I spend too much time on twitter. Blame it on illness and related short-attention span but 140 characters often suits me these days. Besides, stuff happens there. Stuff like this. As regular readers know, I have little no tolerance for badly done PR stunts. And by "little no tolerance" I mean, they amuse me and provide me with snark fodder. It's one of those love/hate/laugh things. But I digress... This challenge that @KFC's social media team tossed out to Michael Symon. That's not a badly done PR stunt. It could be, but it doesn't have to be. It could, in fact, be an extremely well-done PR stunt. One done as a benefit for No Kid Hungry. Kids like KFC. KFC likes kids. Michael Symon likes kids. Kids probably like Michael Symon, he seems pretty kid-friendly.It could be entertaining, educational, and profitable on several fronts. It's a match made in madMenHeaven! Michael Symon/KFC Fried Chicken Challenge to Feed Hungry Kids aka: The Cluck-off I'd back that. Greg (@nomnerd) would back that. Would you back that? What do you say, KFC, would you back that? Or are you...chicken? Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2014 at kitchenmage
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(source: twitter) Yes, it's a real tweet. Barking spies...not to be confused with barking spiders... Theories in comments, please. edited 4.13.14 to add, the WTF is apparently contagious... (source: twitter) Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2014 at kitchenmage
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This is the bread that Beth bought. These are the swirls Inside of the bread that Beth bought. This is the hole That hid in the swirls Inside of the bread that Beth bought. These are the eggs That went in the holes That hid in the swirls Inside of the bread that Beth bought. This is the bacon That goes with the eggs That went in the holes That hid in the swirls That was in the bread that Beth bought. This is the griddle with the broken leg That cooked the bacon That goes with the egg That went in the hole That hid in the swirls That was in the bread that Beth bought. There was a mage all hungry and sad Who fixed the griddle with the broken leg That cooked the bacon That goes with the egg That went in the hole That hid in the swirls That was in the bread that Beth bought. This is the breakfast all ready to serve To feed the mage who's hungry and glad She fixed the griddle with a broken leg That cooked the bacon That goes with the egg That went in the hole That hid in the swirls That was in the bread that Beth bought. with thanks to the lost authors of history Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2014 at kitchenmage
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from the archives ...being the true story of a Christmas Miracle, for Megan and other foodies at the 'rents for the holidays, with apologies to everyone else... Come on over and sit with me Megan. Let me tell you a story. Now this is a true story, though some folks doubt it. But I was there that Christmas Eve and it happened just like this... Way back when your mama was just a wee thing, there was a great storm. You can find mention of it in the history books, things like this: "On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 1945, 20 hours of continuous snowfall blocked roads and required snowplow operators to work the holiday in southern Minnesota." But they don't tell the true story. Not the whole story. They don't tell you about The Thing that happened on a dark road, way out of town... Picture it. A small town in southern Minnesota, Christmas Eve, 1945. It wasn't like now, where you can order everything under the sun with just a click of your mouse. No, in 1945 if you wanted something you had to go to a store, so near everyone in town was out that fateful day. The war was finally over and the troops were starting to come home to their families. After the last few holidays which, as you can imagine, were not festive affairs, it seemed that the entire town was having a party... "Dashing through the snow..." red-coated carolers, dusted with snow, as if they had, indeed, been dashing through the snow themselves stood next to a man selling roasted chestnuts and other holiday treats. Parents struggled to control their overly-excited children before relenting and letting them join in the snowball fight outside. "Happy Holidays" and "Good Christmas to you!" rang out in the shops and streets. This year, there was a lot to celebrate and celebrating they were. Folks were hurrying to finish shopping as night, and the temperature, fell fast. One by one families piled packages and bundles of hats, coats and boots containing children into their cars and headed down the dark road. Near 50 cars full of people left town that evening, most of them with a long drive home on some rough country roads, and by closing time snow was blowing so hard car lights were instantly swallowed by the snow, as if they never been there at all. The first people came back about half an hour after they drove away, on foot. "Snow's so deep, darned car just stopped. Right in the middle of the road." the driver said, looking towards the snow-hidden road, "None of those people are making it home tonight." "Santa could save them with his sleigh" his daughter offered. Grim smiles were exchanged by the adults who knew that, even on Christmas Eve, Santa held no hope for those families driving into one of the worst storms that ever happened hereabouts. Well, one thing small town people are is resourceful, and this town had tractors and sheet metal and a welding shop. They also had a very smart woman, who had gone away to work at the Minneapolis-Moline tractor plant and come back with an engineer's skills and knowing a thing or two about tractors. She made a sketch and had a brief talk with the welder and in just about an hour, a brand new blade was being welded onto a tractor and a couple of guys were wrapping blankets over their coats so they wouldn't freeze themselves while driving the crazy-looking thing. While all this was going on, a shop was opened so everyone who wasn't working could get warm. Kids clutched mugs of steaming hot chocolate while adults talked quietly in the corner. A woman said, "Everyone won't be close to home. Some of them are miles out. Even if they can walk out, it'll take a long time. Maybe we should send food..." She trailed off, looking at the shelves, mostly bare after the holiday rush. What there was a lot of was Cheerios. The Cheerios salesman lived up the road a bit in Lake Woebegon and he was in a great big hurry to be done with work. He had to get home, pickup his family and get to Tyler's Landing in time to catch the last tobaggon to St Olav before the storm set in. When he got to our little town, he had unloaded the contents of his pickup truck onto the store shelves and called it a day. Some had sold, of course, but more than a dozen boxes remained. "Wait!" the welder yelled at the plow driver, as a group of people ran out the store door, arms loaded with cereal boxes. Boxes were handed up to the second man on the hastily fitted plow. 1, 2, 3..5...10...15...18 boxes in all. This was followed by a thermos of hot coffee and a round of "Good luck...hurry back..." from the crowd and a quiet "Be safe" from the driver's wife. Watching them lurch along, we could tell that the weight of the plow-blade made driving that tractor really awkward and it didn't have lights--who drives a tractor at night?--so the guy who wasn't driving was balanced on the edge of his seat, one light in each hand, shining them down that now invisible road. The rest of the tale, well...I'll have to tell you what the driver told me that snowy night. Right after we couldn't see you anymore, just where the road runs alongside the creek, we slid sideways and just about lost it. Bobby here fell out of the tractor along with all that cereal. Well, all but one box. I reached out to grab his hand and caught the last one just before it slid out. Everything but Bobby and that one box went into the creek. When we got to the first car with people in it, I started pushing the snow away on the road side while Bobby went around the passenger side to make sure everyone was okay. There were two small children who were very hungry, it being long past supper time by now, and they had a long walk home so Bobby gave them that last box of cereal. I just shrugged my shoulders, we didn't have enough to feed all the kids we were going to help any more so it didn't really matter which one got the cereal. Bobby hopped back in the tractor and we continued on until we found the next car, or group of three cars I should say. The Mortons and that new family were sitting in the Swensons car, kids in every lap, carrying on like it was a regular ol' party or something. Only problem was the kids were starving. Bobby and I just looked at each other, knowing that we had lost the food we intended for them. "Let me run back to the tractor and see if there's anything there for the kids." I said as I turned away. No, I didn't turn away because of the tears in my eyes. (Saying this, he dabbed at the tears that he denied were in his eyes.) When I got back to the plow, I looked around it, under the seats and all, hoping to find something to give those children for their long, slow, cold drive home. Nothing. Leaning back to gather my thoughts, I noticed something in the shadows that covered Bobby's seat. Darned if it wasn't another box of Cheerios. Walking back to the car with it in my hand, Bobby caught my eye and raised a questioning eyebrow. "I dunno, we must have missed it." I told him. "Good thing we did, too. These little guys look hungry to me." As we headed back to the tractor, Bobby said, "I would've sworn there was none of those boxes left. Just that one." "Me too." I said, not mentioning that I'd been really sure and in any case, how did it end up where Bobby had been sitting just a few minutes ago? Riddle me that, young'un. How? When we got to the next car, we did the same thing. Bobby jumped out to talk to the people while I got the snow plowed away from the car so they could drive it out. As I went by, I heard the question I dreaded, "You don't happen to have anything to eat, do you? We were out late shopping and the children..." I heard a noise behind me. Just a little rustling, like a mouse had snuck into the warm tractor and was looking for a hiding place. Turning around to look, I'll be damned if there wasn't another box of those Cheerios. Just sitting there, plain as day. "What the hell...Bobby, come here." I shook the box at him, then tossed it. As he caught it, Bobby opened his mouth and I know he was going to ask a question I couldn't answer so... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2013 at kitchenmage
Hi Kimberlee, Good question! 2 cups of flour to the warm milk mixture and 1/8 cup with the baking powder, etc. Thanks for asking. Can't believe I missed noting that. Updating the post now. ~beth
Mary, I think the temperature mostly determines how well the membrane separates from the eggs -- though it's still a little work. Have seen techniques that don't use any heat so it's probably not critical. I'm curious to see how yours turns out. Please drop back by and let me know. ~beth
Toggle Commented Nov 24, 2013 on Homemade caviar at kitchenmage
Perfect for Thanksgiving, layered with olive oil and rosemary, and fun to make with the kids: Rosemary Fan Rolls Recipe Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2013 at kitchenmage
Dave, Freezing won't kill salmonella, though heat can. If you cook chicken until the internal temp. is 165 -- checked with a thermometer -- it is should kill all bacteria, including salmonella. This is actually what we all count on since there's a lot of salmonella out there that doesn't make headlines. It's just that 165 is really well done and starting to dry out the white meat so many of us (raises hand) don't always cook poultry quite as well as we should. Hope that helps. ~beth
Reuters is reporting close to 300 people have become ill from Foster Farms chicken products contaminated with Salmonella Heidelberg. My usual response to this sort of thing is a quick look at the various government agencies tasked with food safety to get a handle on what's actually going on. The Centers for Disease Control swear they are on the job but the latest Foster Farms related information from them seems to be this update on a salmonella outbreak published in July. This seems like a similar incident from a year ago; it says the outbreak seems to be over. Hmmm. That is not this. or maybe it is. In any case, guess this is not their first time at the rodeo. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is closed and grandstanding about politics. Let's just ignore them for now... Food Safety and Inspection Services returns a 404. This isn't getting any better. Lets try the manufacturer, surely 278 sick people is worthy of a voluntary recall. Foster Farms is not recalling any of their chicken, handing off responsibility to the consumer with the advice to Just Heat It. "No Recall is in Effect. Products are Safe to Consume if Properly Handled and Fully Cooked." Yeah...no. I don't know about you but I am not a fan of cooking the bacteria out of "likely to be bad" meat. In the midst of the confusing information about contaminated, but not recalled, chicken that as safe to eat as long as I don't screw it up (how is this about us not Foster Farms?) I felt safe because I mostly buy house-brand chicken at Costco. That warm glow lasted about a minute before fading, leaving me with one big question: Who produces Costco's Kirkland brand chicken? A quick check of my freezer turned up a bag of skinless, boneless chicken breasts with a Foster Farms plant number on it. Yikes! Pretty sure I had my answer, I called my local Costco in Warrenton, Oregon. Chris Delong, the General Manager assured me that Costco was aware of the problem with Foster Farm chicken. He also verified that, yes, the chicken breasts in my freezer had a Foster Farms plant number because they were produced there. (They have a book where they can discover such things. I want to see that book.) Even though there is no official recall, Costco is accepting returns of chicken from the listed plants for a refund. This is true for both Foster Farms and Kirkland brand products. The chicken is not listed on their recall list but I would expect it to turn up there shortly. If you have frozen chicken from Costco, do this: Check the package for the plant number. On whole chickens, it's on the little metal band that seals the bag. On bags, it's a bit of black type printed (usually sideways) on an otherwise unmarked part of the bag. If your chicken has P6137, P6137A, or P7632 on the bag or tag, don't eat it. Or cook it until it tests at least 165° with an Instant-Read Thermometer. If you want to return it, take it back to your local Costco. If you have a reciept that's great and helpful but they have computers that know what you ate last summer and where you bought the food. Remember, they are accepting returns of both Foster Farms and Kirkland brand chicken that was packaged at one of the listed plants. If you are lacking frozen chicken and feeling left out of the fun, the government's food safety site has a big list of recalls and alerts. There are updates as recent as today but nary a mention of the salmonella chicken. As I was about to publish this, a twitter conversation with @oceansresearch led me to the actual Food Safety and Inspection Services release. It includes the symptoms of salmonella, lest we forget: "The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days." Sounds just lovely. Do me a favor. There are a limited number of chicken producers and Foster Farms may well make other store's products. Check any chicken you have that is not verifiably from someone other than Foster Farms for the plant number. If you have some, call your store and ask about refunds. You know what they say: Better to be safe than puking your guts out. Amazon links are affiliate links, meaning I make a few pennies when you click through to Amazon and shop. Thanks for your support! Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2013 at kitchenmage
from the archives... Do you know about Talk Like a Pirate Day? This annual celebration of all things piratical happens every September 19th and turns ten this year, which makes this a great time to get onboard if you aren't yet. Even pirates need a good breakfast and this one sports a signature eyepatch. The "recipe" couldn't be easier. Take one egg in frame, add bacon and toast eyepatch. Serve with graham cracker sand and a large side of "Arrrrr!" Parrot(fish) optional. The grilled pineapple? It's Pineapples of the Caribbean. * Recipe from everyone and their grandmother. Photo from my cookbook * Okay, I'm sorry for the awful line...but the truth is it's a family cookbook and many kids LOVE pineapple. Plus, lightly grilled with brown sugar! It's like dessert with breakfast. Are you celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day? Tell me what kind of pirate food you are eating, whose booty you covet, or who's walking your plank... (If you have a web site, feel free to drop the link to your pirate post in your comment.) Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2013 at kitchenmage
Hi Stacy, I don't have self-rising flour to test with but it should work with a couple of modifications: Reduce the baking powder to 1 teaspoon and omit the salt. I'm estimating on the baking powder change (self-rising flour has 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons per cup of flour) so it may not rise quite enough. Too much baking powder will taste bitter so I'm erring on the side of less; flatter biscuits will taste good but bitter is bad. You can adjust baking powder based on what you find when you make the first batch. Do me a favor and let me know how it works for you? I'd be happy to post a note on the recipe for how to make this with self-rising flour. Happy baking! ~beth
Toggle Commented Aug 13, 2013 on Simple, flaky biscuit recipe at kitchenmage
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Light one candle for all we believe in, That anger not tear us apart; And light one candle to bind us together With peace as the song in our heart! Light One Candle ~ Peter Yarrow One of my friends is having one of those roundy birthdays soon. Those milestone birthdays still mean something, even at 40, 50, or 60 when the annual ones lose their luster. In this case, part of what it means is an excuse to throw a party. A huge one. Hours of live music, potluck dinner, friends from near and far. someoneElse had a rehearsal yesterday. From what I hear the music is a fantastic assortment of (mostly local) talent. The cooks out here get serious when it comes to potlucks and midsummer means their gardens are bountiful. This is going to be fun. Not being a musician but still wanting to contribute something more significant than a side-dish, I offered to make the cake. At the time, the guest count was ~50 and the party had no particular theme. Fifty people means a lot of cake so I started playing with ideas for how to make it all work. Fast forward a bit and plans have firmed up. Head count has increased. I expected that and planned for ~65 people. In this case, "increase" means not 10 additional people, but closer to doubled. Yes, maybe up to 100. For some reason, this doesn't make me as nervous as it seems like it should. What made me really happy, though, was that the party has acquired a theme: Light One Candle. (The song quoted under the image will be sung by all of the musicians, with words distributed to the audience, at the end of the show.) This made the concept for the cake design obvious. It has to be a candle cake. No, not the candle salad, a candle cake. Google has tons of candle cakes, mostly upright cylinders with a tea light burning on top so it really looks like a candle. Some of these, particularly some of the Christmas, are really lovely. Each cake could be 4 layers tall at most since I have to transport them. This would made each cake barely as tall as wide. Not exactly the tall candle I was after. That would take a cake no larger than 6" across, which is small in any case. In this case it was ridiculous since it would have meant multiple cakes. Many cakes. Easily a dozen cakes. No, no, and no. That just would not cut it. After measuring my largest cake pans, I sat down with Photoshop. Half an hour later, I had the basics of the cake laid out. Two large rectangular cakes (two layers each, each layer a double batch of standard cake recipe) form the candle, while a three layer round will be carved into a flame. It is going to be assembled as three separate cakes here and laid out to form the candle at the event. To make it look more like a candle, the top half will be covered in coconut flakes to look like melted wax. The coconut cake recipe is from Jenifer K. Ward with a few minor tweaks. (Thanks to Kairu Yao, who suggested it with words like "amazing" -- not "amazing" but "amaaaaaaazing" which is a much higher level of praise. It's getting lime buttercream dusted with the "melted wax" of toasted coconut. The dark chocolate cake, made from a reliable old recipe, gets a simple milk chocolate buttercream. There may be a bittersweet ganache poured over that but I'm not positive that's going to happen. The flame is going to be a black raspberry and almond marble cake with orange buttercream. I found several flame-like colors of sanding sugar tucked in a drawer so the pale orange frosting will be dusted with shiny highlights. Once I figured out a design, I had to figure out how much cake to bake (2 or 3 layers was the big question) and how much frosting to make. You know how much frosting this cake takes? Fifteen pounds. That's thirty cups or about two gallons. Wilton has a handy chart that shows a wide range of pan sizes and how much batter and frosting are needed for each. Party Cake Baking Time and Batter Amounts - 2 in. Deep Pans. Their serving sizes are smaller than I plan on so I am ignoring that part but the rest is very useful. Check out their entire Bake a Cake section for similar info for deeper pans, tips on frosting, and instructions for cutting a cake into 300 pieces. Just in case you get crazier than me. As you might guess, this is not a single day project. All of the cake layers save the marble one are baked and frozen. The orange frosting is also made. Mise in place for the last cake is arrayed on the counter, awaiting me later today, and there are two grocery bags of mostly powdered sugar sitting on the dining room table. One more day of prep and most of the real work will be done. I'll post again when it's all done with photos of the final product. I am so excited to see how it turns out. Even though it's a lot of work, it's been fun. Being ill has meant very little cooking recently and even less fun stuff. This cake, crazy though it may be, is nothing but fun. Tell me I am not alone. Share your craziest food prep adventure with me in comments. Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2013 at kitchenmage
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Sometimes a photo just seems too good to be true. You know how it is, the hi-res sunset is too gorgeous for a phone, the amateur's cake is too perfect, the crowd is too large. Something is wrong on the Internet. Like this photo, which is I now know not of a Trayvon Martin protest. Twitter disagrees. Still. When I saw it, it didn't seem quite right to me that the crowd had grown from nothing to this without a tweet in between. If just felt off...so I checked. Here's how you can tell if that "feeling" is real... How to Tell if a Photo is Real...or Really Of "The Thing" They Say It Is... btw, this is also a great way to track down sites that have lifted a photo of yours. (Photo source: Guardian story on the bridge's 75th anniversary party) Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2013 at kitchenmage
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Twitter would have you believe that is is a photo of the Trayon Martin protests happening today. It is not. While I love twitter for many things, including showing me what is going on in the world, it's not necessarily good at fact-checking. This is a problem. The photograph, which shows an improbably large crowd on the Golden Gate Bridge, is actually the crowd at the 50th anniversary of the bridge. (SOURCE: Guardian story on the bridge's 75th anniversary party) It takes less than a minute to figure this out. Let me show you how. Find and copy the image... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2013 at Not Like Normal People
Cold butter and a cheese grater is such a good kitchen hack. I get lazy but should do it more often. Less to clean.
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2013 on Simple, flaky biscuit recipe at kitchenmage
James, Oh man, sorry to hear that. Also sorry about the delay in clearing your comment and getting back to you. I'd be disappointed, too. Doubly so with the delay... As you can see from comments, most people have good results with this recipe so I'm surprised that you say they had no flavor. I believe you, it's just weird. Did you skip the salt? That's the simple thing that could render them pretty blah. Beyond that, I'd have to ask about specific brands and such. Flour that "tastes" great in cookies or other things with added flavors may be "meh" in biscuits where there's not much to mask the lack of flavor. Did you use margarine instead of butter? Did they rise? If not, maybe something went catastrophically (well, as catastrophic as biscuits get) wrong and that explains it all.
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2013 on Simple, flaky biscuit recipe at kitchenmage
Mint, Sorry, I've been ill and Typepad stopped sending me reminders about comments for some reason. I am suddenly behind and looking like even more of a slacker than usual. Yes, the texture is wonderful. I am not sure what the trick is but here's what I usually do when I have the time. I try not to get eggs and cream too frothy. It seems like that might give you too much air and more ice crystals, so maybe the premix you speak of was a problem. While it's hot, I pour it through a sieve, stick in ice bath to cool and let it sit overnight in fridge to chill thoroughly. I'm also fortunate enough to have picked up an ice cream maker with an internal freezer on half-price sale (earlier model of this one). (Watch for these at places like Big Lots or whatever clearance stores you have local. So worth it.) Do you store the ice cream maker bowl in freezer for a day or so first? Also make sure your ice cream base is really cold. Even given all that, this never freezes as solidly as commercial ice cream. It's perfectly scoopable when pulled out of freezer, which is nice. Give it a shot. Let me know how it goes and we'll troubleshoot if needed. Again, apologies for the delay. ~beth
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Kevin Weeks, Farmgirl Susan, and I got to be friends back in the early days of food blogs; back before spokesmodel was rebranded as "brand ambassador" and everything was sponsored. Man, I miss those days... The three of us created A Year in Bread, which was perhaps the first site of its kind. It was to have a finite lifespan, be tightly focused on baking bread, and would (we all hoped) build a community of bread-bakers. Little did we know what we were tapping into at the time. That first year, in particular, was a blast for all three of us. I miss those days, too. If you had asked any of us what our favorite part of A Year in Bread was, we'd have agreed it was the community. Secretly, I adored the conference calls just about as much. Kevin knew how to use "Hey girl..." when Ryan Gosling was but a pup. It made my day when I'd pick up the phone to hear his voice on the other end. Add Susan to the mix and it was non-stop hysterics. It was common for an hour or more to pass before one of us said, "Business! Didn't we have a list of things to discuss?" We got there eventually but the trip was the fun part. Damn, I miss those calls. Kevin died last year. He knew it was coming, we spoke about it occasionally over the years and he left behind a few bits of raw writing when death drew closer. Broken, Dealing, Mortality: 1. Of all the things I miss, I miss him most. This post was lifted from archive.org's cache of Seriously Good, the site that Kevin Weeks ran for many years. With any luck his ghost will pay me a visit to discuss copyright. I have a bottle of the good stuff waiting, Kev, bring it... For the most part, I’m a fairly laid-back guy — calm and collected with a light Southern drawl (actually, an Appalachian mountain drawl). Not real excitable. At both meetings and parties I spend more time observing than talking. And so it sometimes surprises people when I get off on one of my passions, because I do have passions. I can rant for hours on software quality and the value of proper software testing. The same when it comes to software design. And don’t get me started on the importance of editors for producing quality written work — this blog really suffers from not having a second pair of eyes approve each post before it goes online. I have culinary passions too. My friend, kitchenMage, calls me “Pig, Sandwich Boy,” reflecting my passion for pork, sandwiches, and pork sandwiches. Get me started on a food passion and I’ll go a mile-a-minute, my words spilling over each other like ping-pong balls cascading down a stair-well. Witness this podcast on NPR. One would think that having just completed an article on sandwiches that I’d be sandwiched out, but in fact I was inspired to come up with something new. So I bought a pork sirloin roast. I cut slits in the roast and stuffed them with slivers of garlic and fresh rosemary leaves and seasoned it with salt and pepper. Then I browned the roast in a skillet before slow-roasting it at 225F to medium. I knew going in that the strong garlic/rosemary flavors would make selecting other ingredients for a sandwich tough, but I like a challenge. I selected Kaiser rolls for the bread, picking up a package at Fresh Market (the local equivalent of Whole Foods). I wanted the thin but crackly crust and dry, spongy crumb of a good Kaiser roll. The first sandwich was the roll with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard for condiments, provolone cheese, lettuce, and sliced tomatoes. In short, nothing out of the ordinary but I wanted a base line. The cheese was completely wrong. I’d had smoked cheddar in the back of my head, but although smoked cheese seemed like a good bet, cheddar didn’t and neither did smoked swiss. Rummaging through the cheese case at the market I found some sliced smoked gouda. Milder and more creamy than cheddar or swiss I figured it was worth a try. Bingo! The tomato and lettuce didn’t really contribute anything either. So I dumped them and went with very thin (1/8-inch) slices of red onion. The sweetness of the onion was a perfect foil to the garlic slivers. Sandwich two was better, but still not there. Not enough cheese and the condiments weren’t working. For sandwich three I pan-roasted some cloves of garlic, pureed them and added them to the mayo, then I stirred in some whole grain mustard. This too was a winner. I now had the right bread, the right cheese, the right condiment, and the right veggie. But something was still needed. Thinking back over the sandwiches I’d recently written about I suddenly had it. I’d quick-pickled some daikon for the bhan mi and that combination of slightly spicy/hot, sweet, and tart would be perfect on this sandwich. It was. Over the top. I think, in honor of my friend, I’ll call this a kitchenMage. kitchenMage Sandwich Makes 1 6 oz garlic/rosemary roasted pork (recipe here ) Kaiser roll Garlic/mustard mayonnaise (see below) Red onion — sliced 1/8″ thick Smoked gouda — 1/4″ thick, at room temperature Pickled daikon (see below) The pork should be sliced very thin, the more flesh exposed to air the better the flavor. Kaiser rolls tend to be thick, so I cut out a center slice to reduce the amount of bread. Spread both halves of the roll lightly with the garlic/mustard/mayo. Layer on remaining ingredients. Garlic/Mustard Mayonnaise 4 large garlic cloves 1/4 c mayonnaise 1 tsp rice vinegar 1 tsp whole-seed Dijon mustard Roast whole, unpeeled garlic cloves in a small skillet over medium heat until soft — about 15 minutes. Turn garlic frequently to avoid burning. Peel garlic and puree garlic in a mini food processor, add remaining ingredients and pulse several times to blend. Pickled Daikon 1/4 c rice vinegar 1/4 c granulated sugar 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 c daikon strips Whisk together vinegar, sugar, and salt until dissolved. Peel 3 inches of daikon, then use peeler to make strips of daikon. Soak in vinegar solution for at least 30 minutes. Drain before using. (A Year in Bread's content is in limbo at the moment but I hope to restore Kevin's recipes to a special section here...as Susan would say, "soon.") Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2013 at kitchenmage
Just in time for America's annual burn meat and blow things up week, opening beer with manly tools. I wonder how many beers were sacrificed while he learned this. ps-thanks to Brian from Awesomeography for the title upgrade. Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2013 at kitchenmage
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I was just remembering when I used to cook... Love the light through these rhubarb shavings. Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2013 at kitchenmage
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...from the archives... Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is one of my favorite herbs you have never heard of. The herb's lack of public recognition always seems odd to me. It's a versatile herb with a palate-friendly flavor a lot like celery, yet more complex and nuanced. Fresh, young leaves are mellow enough to use whole in a salad, but it also stands up to long cooking in soups and stews. The obvious presenting flavor of lovage is celery, but the flavor is more complex than that. Along with the concentrated celery is a large dose of the bright green flavor of parsley and a hint of something sweetly earthy. I use it as a celery substitute whenever it is available and find it slightly sweeter and stronger than celery, something that I really like. The hollow stem, a section of which can be up to a foot or more in length and an inch in diameter, makes an excellent straw for drinks, such as a Bloody Mary, where a celery flavor is desired. Lovage stems can be candied, like angelica, as an unusual sweet treat. Excuse me a moment of excitement, but I just discovered a new trick for lovage stems: sliced lengthwise and put in ice water, they curl like the ridged curling ribbon they make for wrapping presents! This offers all sorts of possibilities from the sublime (make a brush for putting melted butter on corn on the cob) to the ridiculous (edible icons of the Flying Spaghetti Monster). Curlicue garnishes. Hair for Halloween monsters. This could be fun. Lovage is also a beautiful addition to your herb garden. Unfurling from asparagus tip-like bundles in early spring, lovage quickly becomes a hip-high bush of soft green foliage. Midsummer sees flower spikes shooting to eye level before opening golden umbels that slowly mature into marvelously tasty seeds, something the birds know as well as I. Come fall, the birds and I vie for the mature seeds, with my winnings finding their way into ste ws and breads over the winter. Gardeners appreciate lovage because it is easy to grow, tolerating most soil condition and even a bit less water and sun than large, leafy herbs. (It is easy to tell when lovage is thirsty; mine, which is in direct sunlight, droops noticeably on hot days. Fortunately, it revives just as quickly with a bit of water.) A perennial that, like tarragon, requires a period of cold dormancy, lovage is often grown as an annual in warm climates. If you have to do this, you can save your own seeds, stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator, over the winter for spring planting. On a personal note, I'd like to thank you for sticking around while I have been absent of late. Let's just say that there have been years when everyone around me was healthier than at the moment and I'd really like to go back to one of them. I hope to be back to more regular writing soon...really soon. Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2013 at kitchenmage
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from the archives... [updates in italics and brackets] Sage flowers look like itsy-bitsy orchids. Once upon a time, the kitchenMage had the herb garden of her dreams. Wisteria draped the entrance arbor, opening onto a herringbone path interplanted with thyme and moss and edged with lavender and a plethora of mints. Herbs, both common and rare, filled this garden and new finds were constantly finding their way there. Rare thymes and more mints than she could name filled the beds, and the air, with intoxicating scents. A few choice trees also lived there: the prized sweet bay, a pink dogwood bent near horizontal from its attempts to survive its old home, and the maples (no two the same) that defined the border. Oh, I'm sorry! I was daydreaming there for a minute. While I would love to have that herb garden again (and it is worth a look, though I apologize for the old, not so great photos) the sad fact is that I don't. Worse, I won't have anything like it for a few more years to come. [It has been about four years and the garden is still sparse in spots. While I finally have established thyme, my tarragon has never lived beyond its second year. Establishing a garden in a place that gets 10 feet of rain a year is not easy.] A few summers [ha ha ha] from now, I expect to once again walk through a garden like that, although not too much like that. I have a new house and a new "yard" — if one can call nine acres a yard — but after two years, the new garden remains unplanted. [The herb garden is still confined to the beds around the house, while some trees have made it into the yard. So, yeah, still mostly unplanted.] When we arrived, the little beds around the house's foundation looked like builders had done the planting: some unkempt low junipers and dozens of pansies, in a stunning array of magenta and white--one shade of each. Boring! (When the foxglove and daisies that had been hidden in winter, when we bought the place, first emerged, it seemed fitting somehow that they were also white and purple.) Frankly, the only thing to recommend the gardened areas was the blueberry patch. The untended space, mostly Douglas firs (originally planted for timber harvest) with fern-laden undergrowth edged up against wild fog forest, has more to recommend it, including the wildlife. At least most of the time.[In what I consider a major victory, the blueberries have been fenced and we get the bounty now while birds screech at us from nearby trees.] Call me naïve, but I really hadn't counted on the sheer volume of critters in the yard. In addition to the deer and small creatures common to the cusp of field and wood, there's an elk herd — numbering from a dozen to many times — that wanders through on their way from on valley to the next. I don't even want to think about what the neighbor's escaped cows did to the poor magnolia! There was a bit of momentary panic at the thought of doing without any herb garden while I wait for fencing to protect my treasures from marauding beasts. Really good fencing. Elk-sized fencing. Luckily, it was winter and I really couldn't do much beyond sulk at the idea of life sans garden. That and watch the critters. [About that fence...let's just say I am considering a new site called "WillBlogForFencing"] Over the first couple of months, I noticed that nary a critter has ventured close enough to the house to see, let alone nibble, the beds of evergreen blobs and rampant pansies. Go figure. One day it dawned on me. They never came close to the house. [duh, geez, I am so smart...as long as we don't discuss how long it took me to realize this. Also, it's not a hard and fast rule, elk have come within 5 feet of my front door to nibble roses on a 15 degree night.] Those beds, filled with plants I found neither useful nor, truth be told, attractive were rapidly emptied and replaced with an herb garden that, while not quite so poetic as the old one, is wonderfully functional and quite lovely in its own way. This small scale gardening has also been a learning experience. The prominent location and shallow beds call for plants that are beautiful as well as aromatic and tasty so I have selected colorful varieties of some favored herbs: Tri-color and golden sage, variegated mint and thyme, and golden oregano, along with lots of edible flowers brighten front edges, while a swath of many mints thrives in the back, dry stripe under the roof overhang. My favorite rosemary [which died in a long, hard freeze — shiva has been sat, candles have been lit, dishtowels have been rended...] has a home and creeping thyme softens the hard line between concrete and garden Best of all, there are chive clumps everywhere! [We had our first chives of spring over the weekend. This is about a month earlier than usual.] And I must admit I love being able to step outside in bare feet to harvest herbs, something that was more difficult in the large garden. Establishing some plants has been a struggle. The first winter killed all the expensive new tarragon plants [successive winters have continued the tradition...I now think of tarragon as an annual.] and last winter's freeze/flood cycle took out half of the rosemary yearlings. Those plants sometimes died at the old place too, but with room to plant a hundred rosemary cuttings, rather than a tenth that, half of them dying isn't quite so sad. [This winter has been mild. Most of my rosemary cuttings made it. This is far closer to 100 than I care to admit.] After two years though, almost everything I need for cooking is here. [After eight years, there are still herbs missing from my usual stock.] There isn't a lot of some things, the thyme collection is short a few things (lavender and caraway evade me — well, I found them and they died the second winter.) and I can't find any lime mint. [Lime mint emerged from nowhere a couple of years ago and has established a decent patch. But I truly don't know how that happened. I am betting on pixies.] But there is enough to cook with daily and share with friends. And it is lovely, not looking at all like it was planted as a functional garden. More than one person has commented that it looks like a park. This garden has also led to my conviction that any small space — even yours — can be transformed into a gorgeous herb garden that will rock your culinary world. Thoughtful plant selection and placement can result in a garden that will improve both your cooking and your yard. While I know this isn't my old herb garden, it will do for now. In fact, even after the large garden goes in, the little one stays. I just need a cat-sized wisteria arbor. (my herb garden set on flickr) Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2013 at kitchenmage
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The Thump-thump-giggle-gigglers stopped by for the day recently and when I mentioned that dinner was "DIY Pizza" there was (literally) dancing in the seats. I guess that means your very own, very special, just for you and nobody else pizza with EXACTLY what you want and plenty of it is a hit with kids of all ages. Go figure. Pizza dough and sauce were both made the day before and kept in the refrigerator overnight. Meat that needed precooking, like sausage, was also prepared ahead of time. This time around, one of the kids was drafted to wash the vegetables and then they all sat around the table and cut them. This got competitive which made all that slicing and chopping go by pretty darned fast. For each pizza, cut a piece of parchment paper. Roll and stretch the piece of dough into the desire size/thickness. Each person prepped their own crust, allowing for variations in thickness. Then the fun begins... (bunch of photos after the jump) You could make a chicken. ...or a Cthulhu A funny face... ...or a funnier one. Visual puns can be pleasing as pie...latticed pie, of course. For those of you who have been here a while, an homage to my ring. Finally, you have to go to this lnk to see the one cheeky pizza that can't show its face here. (I promised BlogHer and Land 'o Lakes — who sponsored that ad up at the top of this post — that I would keep it clean.) While the pizza was cooking, people assembled salads from fresh romaine, a few fresh vegetables and leftover pizza toppings. So efficient. (Leftover fixin's went into omelettes the next day.) The only dish I had to put real effort into was homemade cheesecake, also made the day before. This resulted in one of the most relaxed days with company in a while for me. It was almost lazy. I really have to work up more party plans that work like this. Credits Photos — courtesy Kat, the maker of the chicken pizza. (I'll fix the actual image copyrights soon.) Ad at top of post — Land 'o Lakes via BlogHer Endless slicing and dicing so I could sit and talk — everyone at the party Cupcakes in edge of funnier face — Crave Bake Shop (GF treats Kat splurged on) What are your favorite pizza toppings when you can have exactly what your most private and innermost heart desires on a pizza of your very own that you don't have to share with anyone? Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2013 at kitchenmage