19 May 2016 · Comments Off on Five Seed Bread · Categories: Recipes

Editing audio in audacity

I have a new podcast up at Hacker Public Radio.

It is quite well-bread.

You too can podcast at HPR. The topic need only be of interest to hackers, and everything is of interest to hackers.

H/T to Dave Morriss for fixing the typo in the shownotes.

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17 April 2016 · Comments Off on Five Seed Bread · Categories: Recipes

I made this today.

Loaf of Five Seed BreadIt was a complete ad lib effort inspired by a reference in the first Corinna Chapman story by Kerry Greenwood. Although there is a book of Corinna Chapman recipes available, the recipe for this “Seed Bread” is not in it; in the book, Corinna, who is a baker by trade, states that it is her secret recipe, and I reckon it is.

The book also refers to “kibbled wheat” and “kibbled oats” as part of the secret recipe. “Kibbled wheat” appears to be what in the States we refer to as cracked wheat; “kibbled oats,” steel-cut oats. I didn’t have any on hand and, frankly, I’ve never been a big one for oats, except in the form of oatmeal cookies.*

I must say, my experiment was quite successful and I look forward to trying it again. The finished product is quite savory. You can click the picture above for a larger image, in which you can see the seeds embedded in the loaf. Perhaps I’ll even give the oats and wheat a try.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cp. warm water
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 1 1/2 cps. white flour, approx.
  • 1 1/2 cps. rye flour, approx.
  • 1 tbs. each dill seed, fennel seed, sesame seed, caraway seed, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. coriander (the reference in the story referred to coriander seed, but I didn’t have any of that, so I ad libbed)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. light brown sugar

Procedure:

1. Dissolve yeast in water and proof.

2 Add seeds, salt, and sugar.

3. Add white flour and stir well.

4 Add rye flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each, until dough is stiff and firm enough to knead.

5. Pour out on floured board and knead until firm and springy. If the dough feels a little sticky, knead in additional flour as needed.

6. Pour a bit of olive oil into a bowl and coat dough with the olive oil, then cover and allow to rise (approx. 1 1/2 hours, depending on heat and humidity).

7. When dough has approximately doubled in size, shape into a loaf and place in loaf pan or on cookie sheet and allow to rise for approximately 20 mins.

8. Place in oven preheated to 400 Fahrenheits and bake until a knife inserted into it comes out clean (approx. 30 mins.). If you wish a crustier loaf, place a pan of hot water in the oven and, after the bread has started to cook, brush the top of the loaf with water a couple of times, say, at the 10 and 20 minute marks.

Makes one loaf.

_______________________

*I have the same feelings about oats as Dennis the Menace once expressed about carrot cake when he said, “Nothing this good could come from carrots.”

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01 April 2016 · Comments Off on Chicken Piccata · Categories: Recipes

Almost every recipe that calls for veal can be made with chicken. This is a quick and easy recipe that turns out a special dish.

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast, skinned and boned (you can also use thighs or, as we called them where I grew up, “short joints”)
1 cp. flour, approx.
herbs and spices to taste
1/2 stick butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbs. capers or more to taste*

Procedure:

1. Mix flour with herbs and spices. I commonly use pepper, tarragon, poultry seasoning, basil, garlic powder, and a bit of rosemary.

2. Slice meat into strips no more than 1/4″ thick.

3. Dredge meat in flour mixture until it is thoroughly coated.

4. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.

5. Saute meat in skillet, turning as needed, in a single layer until golden brown. If you have more than will fit at once, place done pieces in a serving dish and keep in oven heated to about 200 Fahrenheits.

6. Once all the chicken is done and removed from the skillet, add lemon juice to the skillet and mix. (If necessary, melt more butter in the skillet before adding the lemon juice.) Stir the mixture, using a whisk or fork to loosen any bits of meat sticking to the pan.

7. Add capers.

8. Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

Serves two.
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*Classic piccata recipes do not necessarily call for capers; they should.

The first veal piccata I had was in a long-gone Italian restaurant in Center City Philadelphia near my hotel at 18th and Market. It contained capers and I loved it. The next time I ordered veal piccata was in a different Italian restaurant on another business trip. It contained no capers and was quite boring.

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26 March 2016 · 2 comments · Categories: Recipes

shirred eggs on plateThis is a little breakfast recipe that’s elegant in its simplicity. It’s my spin on a recipe from the Nero Wolf Cookbook.

Ingredients:

  • 2 link sausages
  • 2 eggs
  • butter
  • spices (salt, pepper, paprika, tarragon, chives to taste)

Procedure:

1, Brown sausages in skillet, then drain on a paper towel.

2. Generously butter a shirred egg dish (I use a six-inch cast iron skillet inherited from my mother).

3. Sprinkle with pepper and other spices of choice.

4. Bake 15 minutes in oven preheated to 350 Fahrenheits.

5. Gently slide out of baking dish and serve.

Serves one.

Serving Suggestion:

Serve over cheese toast, that is, toast topped with melted cheese.

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24 March 2016 · Comments Off on Irish Soda Bread · Categories: Recipes

Soda Bread

This is a CC-SA image from the internet. We started eating before I thought of a picture.

I recently made my first loaf of Irish soda bread. We liked it so much I then made a second loaf.

What distinguishes soda bread from other breads is that baking soda, not baking powder or yeast, is the rising agent. No rising time is required before baking.

There are dozens of recipes across the innerwebs, some very simple, some not so much. Here’s the one I made yesterday, adapted and simplified from this one, which has a silly reliance on electrical appliances so as to seem much more complex than it is.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cps. white flour
  • 2 cps. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 cp. maple syrup (I’m guessing here. I used my mother’s old measuring standard: “one pour.”)
  • 1 tbs. baking soda (Again, I used “one pour.”)
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened and cut into pats
  • 1 3/4 cps. cultured buttermilk, approx. (read the label, make sure it’s “cultured” and not ersatz)
  • 1 egg

Procedure:

1. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix.

2. Cut in butter until it is thoroughly mixed in.

3. Add egg to buttermilk and beat slightly with a fork or whisk.

4. Stir buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients a bit at a time. (Note: The dough will not mix up into a nice spongy ball like a yeast dough. Rather, it will be wet and a bit sticky. Coat your hands with flour before handling it. Be ready to add a little more flour or buttermilk if needed to produce the required consistency.)

4, As soon as it sticks together, dump it out on a floured board and knead until it consents to holding itself in shape of a loaf, about four or five times. The loaf will be craggy, not smooth like a yeast bread.

6. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake in an oven preheated to 375 Fahrenheits for approximately 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in it comes out clean.

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24 November 2015 · Comments Off on Eggs in Aspic · Categories: Recipes

Picture of boiled eggs, halved, in aspic

Many years ago, when I bought my first copy of Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook (I think I’ve worn out two of them and am on my third), I was intrigued by the picture early in the book on page 26 of eggs in aspic.

I finally made them this weekend.

You can watch your Iron Chefs and Food Networks all you want. I prefer cooking to watching others cook.

More »

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27 July 2015 · Comments Off on For Your Listening Pleasure · Categories: Geek Stuff, Recipes

Editing audio in audacity

I have another podcast up at Hacker Public Radio.

Now it’s your turn.

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21 February 2015 · Comments Off on Hungarian Spiced Stir-Fry Bean Curd* and Vegetables · Categories: Recipes

Ingredients:

Univer Red Gold Mild Paprika Sauce1 14-oz. pkg. extra firm bean curd, cut into small pieces (approx. 1/2-3/4 inch)
4 oz. (approx.) snow peas, stringed
8 medium mushrooms, quartered
1 stalk celery, sliced (no, not lengthwise)
1 Bell pepper, coarsely chopped (approx. 1/4-1/2 inch)
4 scallions, chopped
Spices of choice to taste. I used approximately

  • 1 tbs. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder (I was out of fresh garlic, or I’d have minced some up)
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 2 tbs. Red Gold Hungarian mild paprika sauce, available from Otto’s Hungarian Deli
  • 2 tsp. pepper, freshly ground preferable

Procedure:

1. Prepare ingredients. Placing them separately in little bowls or saucers makes adding them easier, as they are not added all at once. They will be added in a sequence from slowest to fastest to cook.

2. Hear wok or skillet over medium heat until drops of water quickly bead up and evaporate. Add oil (use an oil that is tolerant of higher cooking temperatures, such as grapeseed or rapeseed–er–canola oil).

3. Add one-third or one-half the spices (see the note in item 4.) and allow to cook for a few seconds while stirring.

4. Add bean curd (note: do not add more than will form just one layer–you may to cook it in shifts). Cook until it starts to brown, then reserve it in a warm oven. Repeat as necessary to finish all the bean curd, refreshing the oil and spices before cooking the each batch.

5. Once the bean curd is done and reserved, refresh the oil and spices, then add the scallions, stirring them for three or four minutes.

6. Add the pepper and celery and cook for three or four minutes.

7. Repeat for the mushrooms, then for the snow peas.

8. Add the bean curd and cook, stirring, until it’s thoroughly reheated. Serve over rice.

Serves four.

_____________

*Tofu is nothing more than social-climbing bean curd.

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11 December 2014 · Comments Off on Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole · Categories: Recipes

This is a good dish for the holidays. It’s simple and easy and it can be prepared ahead of time and baked when the big dinner arrives.

Ingredients:

Hungarian Red Gold Paprika Sauce

For the white sauce:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 1 cup flour

Procedure:

      1. Wash cauliflower, then core it and remove outer leaves.
      2. Steam cauliflower until tender (approx. 10 mins.); allow to cool.
      3. Lightly oil 9″ x 6″ (or equivalent) casserole dish.
      4. Break cauliflower into florets and place in dish (This is much easier to do after steaming than before)
      5. Pour sauce (see below) over cauliflower; stir gently to promote coverage.
      6. Sprinkle remaining cheese and bread crumbs on top.
      7. Bake approximately 30 mins. at 350 degrees F.

Sauce (this starts with a basic white sauce and then gets interesting–if you can make a white sauce, you can reach the Acme of cooking: be popular; fool your friends):

      1. Melt butter in sauce pan, add flour, and saute until flower just starts to brown.
      2. Meanwhile bring milk to boil in second sauce pan. Just when the milk starts to boil (it will start to rise up like a volcano erupting), pour milk all at once into flour mixture, stirring rapidly with a whisk. (This is the tricky part: if you pour the milk before it reaches full boil, the sauce will not thicken; too late, and you have to clean the stove.)
      3. Stir rapidly until mixture thickens all at once.
      4. Add 1/2 cup cheese and other seasonings; stir gently until blended.

Serves six.

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10 November 2014 · Comments Off on Stir-Fry Shrimp Teriyaki · Categories: Recipes

wokI have a new toy, and I’ve been learning to use it. It’s very easy to use, as long as it has been properly seasoned.

Last night I made a variation on this recipe, and it was excellent. The recipe below will feed three or four persons, depending on appetites.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound sugar snap peas, with strings removed.
5 large mushrooms (or equivalent smaller fungi), sliced.
3 cloves garlic, minced.
5 spring onions, chopped.
1 pound raw shrimp.
Olive oil.
Teriyaki sauce.

shrimp_350Procedure:

1. Heat wok (you can also use a skillet) until water droplets evaporate in about a second.

2. Add about 1 tbs. oil and allow to heat.

3. Sauté shrimp until pink (about five minutes), stirring frequently (after all, it is a “stir-fry”). Reserve shrimp.

4. Saute onions and garlic for about a minute, then add mushrooms and peas and cook until tender, stirring frequently, until done (about five minutes). (You may need a bit more oil.)

5. Add shrimp and enough teriyaki sauce to coat ingredients lightly (about 3 tbs.). Stir to thoroughly reheat shrimp (about one minute). Serve with rice.

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16 December 2013 · Comments Off on Stray Thought, Recipe Dept. · Categories: Recipes

Crumpet rings double as excellent egg rings.Crumpet rings

Frankly, I think that’s a better use for them than making crumpets.

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27 August 2013 · Comments Off on Simple Grilled Vegetables · Categories: Recipes

Spending $1.79 for a set of skewers was worth it.

Onion quarters, red pepper slices, cherry tomatoes, mushroom halves on skewers

Cook for about 15 or 20 minutes on the grill on lowest setting, turning once or twice to ensure even cooking. If you wish, brush them with an Italian or Balsamic Vinegar dressing while they cook.

We served them with these grilled zucchinis. The combination was so good that the same menu was called for an encore two days later.

Prep time for the entire menu, less than five minutes, plus another five to grate the lemon zest (see the link)

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25 June 2013 · Comments Off on Frank’s Scalloped Potatoes · Categories: Recipes

Nothing could beat my mother’s scalloped potatoes, nor her macaroni and cheese (to call it “mac and cheese” would dishonor it). Neither dish suffered the crime that such dishes usually suffer–to swim in milk, slowly sogging to mush.

I don’t have her recipes for either and I wish I did.

I made these yesterday. They weren’t as good as my mother’s, but they passed the girlfriend test.

It’s an original recipe, but it’s hardly revolutionary.

Ingredients:

6 medium white or red russet potatoes (or 3 large Idahos).
Salt, pepper, and paprika (the real thing, Hungarian paprika from Hungary, not the sad Spanish stuff that passes for paprika in your average American spice rack*).
3 tbs. approx. chopped parsley, fresh, if possible.
Enough thin slices of sharp cheddar cheese to cover.

For the sauce:
2 tbs. butter.
2 tbs. flour.
1/2 cp. milk.
1/2 cp. approx. grated sharp cheddar cheese.

Procedure:

1. Boil the potatoes. Let cool.
2. Grease an 8″x8″ casserole.
3. Slice the potatoes and layer them in the casserole. Lightly sprinkle salt, pepper, paprika on each layer. Add the parsley.
4. Prepare the sauce (a basic white sauce with cheese).

    a. Melt the butter in a sauce pan.
    b. Brown the flour in the butter, stirring with a whisk.
    c. At the same time, bring the milk to a boil over high heat in another sauce pan (this is the tricky part**).
    d. As the milk comes to a boil, pour it all at once into the flour/butter mixture.
    e. Stir rapidly with the whisk until the mixture thickens.
    f. Add the grated cheese and stir until the mixture is smooth.

5. Pour the sauce over the potatoes. Cover with the cheese slices.
6. Bake in a medium oven (350 Fahrenheits) until the cheese is nicely browned.

This is not a dish that must be served as soon as it’s ready. If it’s ready too early, reduce heat to 175 Fahrenheits until ready to serve. If necessary, you can prepare it in advance and reheat it for serving.

Serves four.

__________________

*Yes, there is a difference. When the kids were young, ex and I would fix them celery stalks stuffed with cream cheese and covered with your average run-of-the-mill Spanish paprika. We called the paprika “red sprinkles.” Hungarian paprika has flavor–it would never allow itself to be called “red sprinkles”–it would demand to be recognized.

**Making a white sauce can be tricky. You must catch the boiling milk at just the right point, while avoiding burning the flour. This means browning the flour and boiling the milk simultaneously, one eye on each pan. It is best to place them on adjacent burners to avoid eye strain.

When milk reaches the boiling point, it will rise up in the sauce pan all at once as if it is going to erupt like a volcano. The moment it starts the rise up, pour it into the roux and the sauce will thicken properly. Too soon or too late, and the thickening genie goes right back into the bottle.

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19 June 2013 · Comments Off on Steak and Kidney Pie · Categories: Recipes

British cooking is not known for highness of its cuisine.Steak and Kidney Pie, cooked

When I spent my junior year in England, lo! these many moons ago, I fell in love with Indian restaurants, which were as common there as Chinese restaurants were here. The one strictly English dish I really liked was steak and kidney pie.

Recently, I found a beef kidney at a local market, and I made a steak and kidney pie, using one of the recipes from Craig Claiborne’s New York Times International Coookbook.

Be forewarned: the result is very rich.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lbs. beef, preferably top sirloin
  • 4 veal kidneys (I had one beef kidney weighing about 2 1/2 lbs.)
  • salt and pepper
  • nutmeg
  • 1/4 cp. butter
  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cp. chopped shallots (I used spring onions)
  • 1 tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 tbs. dried tarragon
  • 1 cp. drained canned tomatoes, quartered (you could also use diced tomatoes)
  • 1 cp. dried white wind (I used dry sherry)
  • 1 1/2 cps. brown sauce or 1 10 3/4 oz. can beef gravy
  • 1 tsp. chopped thyme
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs
  • Pastry for crust
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbs. water

Procedure:

1. Cut beef into 1″ cubes. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

2. Cut kidneys similarly.Steak and Kidney Pie before crust

3. Saute beef in approx. 1/2 the butter. Remove when browned.

4. Saute kidney in the same skillet. Remove when browned.

5. Add remaining butter to the skillet, then add mushrooms. When the mushrooms are limp, add shallots, tarragon, tomatoes, garlic, and wine. Stir in brown sauce and thyme. Bring to a boil, stirring, then simmer for ten minutes or until the meat is tender.

6. Pour the mixture into a 2 1/2 qt. casserole and allow to cool to lukewarm. (I used two 1 1/2 qt. casseroles so I could freeze one.)

7. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile, slice the eggs in quarters lengthwise and place them on top of the mixture. Cover with the pie crust, being sure to make a slash so the steam can escape. (My pie crust skills are sorely lacking–the crust broke in a couple of spots.) Brush with beaten egg and water.

8. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees for half an hour or until the crust is nicely browned.

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05 January 2013 · Comments Off on Egg Curry with Meat Masala, North Indian Style, A Recipe from India · Categories: Recipes

Here’s another recipe from Anisha Kaul.

I made this last night. Yummers. I’ve modified the wording in a few spots to make it more colloquial, but otherwise this is her recipe, posted with permission.

Ingredients:Recipe ingredients

  • 4 full boiled shelled eggs.
  • 1/2 table spoon Cumin seeds (AKA Zeera in Hindi).
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick (AKA Dalchini in Hindi).
  • 5 Black Peppercorns seeds (AKA Kalimirch in Hindi).
  • 4 Cloves (AKA Laung in Hindi).
  • 8 big cloves Garlic (AKA Lassun in Hindi).
  • 1 inch Ginger (AKA Adrak in Hindi)
  • 2 tablespoon Meat masala. (No, this ingredient can NOT be skipped.)
  • 1/4 tea spoon Turmeric powder (AKA Haldi in Hindi).
  • 1 medium Onion.
  • 1/2 table spoon Salt.
  • 3 small green chillies (AKA Hari mirch in Hindi).
  • Oil for frying eggs, onions, and other spices.
  • 1 cup water, approx.

Directions:

Hard-boil the eggs, allow them to cool, shell them, then slice them in half length-wise.

Chop the onion and chilies finely.

Grind the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cloves, and garlic together to make a fine paste.

Grate the ginger.

Fry the eggs in oil till they get golden brown on both sides. Drain the remaining oil and put the fried eggs aside.

Add chilies and fry them till they turn florescent green. (I used poblano chilies).

Add the paste of spices and the grated Ginger. Fry them for a few seconds.

Add Onions and Salt, and fry till onion gets light brown.

Add meat masala and turmeric powder and for few more seconds.

Place the fried eggs in the curry [yolk side facing up].

Cover and let boil till the curry thickens. Remember you need to boil the curry till it gets somewhat thickened; add additional water if necessary.

Serve hot with boiled rice.

Eggs cookingMy Notes:

Approximately 20 minutes prep time, 30-45 minutes cooking time.

I used poblano peppers.

We had some left-over barley and used that instead of rice. Just as good.

This is quite spicy. Be prepared.

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