Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another recipe - cranberry chutney

Once again, a recipe request gets me to post.

Dan had a gig in San Francisco yesterday and went to see Bela Fleck on Friday night. Need to connect with Sonny to see what he's up to.

Our family Thanksgiving (minus Sonny and Pam who are visiting her family this year) will be Wednesday afternoon, because Dad has to work on Thursday. I plan to make my cranberry chutney in just a short while.

And here's the recipe! (marked in my cookbook by a Cheese pumpkin pattern :))
Originally from Bon Appetit, I believe.
Cranberry-Pear Chutney

1 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
2 pears, peeled, halved, cored, corsely chopped (by far the messiest part)
1 onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 c orange marmalade
1/2 c dried pears (I never find these, so always leave them out, seems fine)
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/4 c grated lemon peel (another item that could be omitted if you don't have lemons around)
1 tsp dry mustard
3/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper

Combine all in a pot.
Cover and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens (and cranberries pop), stirring occasionally - about 30 minutes. Cool.
(Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Update - typed too fast - 2 things - 1) instead of lemon peel I usually put in a splash of lemon juice, 2) 1/3c packed dark brown sugar.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Grandmother's White Bread

In 3rd grade, my class made bread and butter at school. It was fun, I mostly remember licking the bowls and eating a lot of flour... That poor teacher must have had such a mess to deal with!
But she sent us home with the recipes - and nearly every Christmas eve day since then I've made the bread.

@solessence asked on Twitter today if anyone had bread recipes and I thought it was time to share, so here is the famous "Grandmother's White Bread" recipe:

1 envelope yeast
1/2c very warm water (I run tap until quite hot to finger and use that)
3 tbsp sugar
2c milk
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp salt
7-8c flour

1) combine all but 1/2tsp sugar, milk, butter, & salt in saucepan. Heat until butter melts. Pour into a large bowl and cool 'til lukewarm (until comfortable to dip finger in to bottom)
2) While cooling, sprinkle yeast into 1/2c water. Stir in 1/2 tsp sugar. let dissolve and stand until bubbly & double
3) Stir yeast mixture into lukewarm milk mixture.
4) Stir in 3 c flour and beat til smooth (I do all beating/ kneading by hand, but if you have a mixer you trust, go for it). Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough (about 4 cups)
(aside: I learned in a bread-making class recently that you really want to mix flour in until the dough is no longer sticky - you shouldn't need any flour when kneading)
5) Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (10 minutes). Add flour as needed to keep from being sticky.
6) Place in a buttered bowl. Turn dough to bring buttered side up. Cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place 1 hour (until double).
7) Punch dough down. Turn onto lightly floured surface. Knead a few times. Put bowl over dough. Let rest 10 minutes.
8) Divide dough in half. Knead each half a few times. Shape into 2 loaves. Place in buttered loaf pans.
9) Let rise again in a warm place 1 hour (until double).
10) Bake in a hot (400-degree) oven 40 minutes. Should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. If browning too fast, cover loosely w/ foil.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Book catchup

I have a ton of stuff to post about, but "housekeeping" first in this post - the latest books.

Book #20 - Tanequil by Terry Brooks. The latest read in the Shannara series holds true to form. A great escape that swept me away for a weekend. The Rock Trolls are great. It got a little sappy with the latest Ohmsford, Pen, and the blind Rover girl, Cinnaminson in one spot, but generally you get at least one super-sappy spot in each trilogy in the series. Evil forces are out to do the unthinkable, something that will destroy life as the people of the Four Lands know it - and you really feel the impact of how terrible that can be.

Book #21 - The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Another classic I never read as a kid. Not bad, good fun. Although after a point Toad's nonsense just got annoying and I was looking for the end.

Book #22 - Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa. Traces the chaotic life of Mugezi, a guy growing up in Uganda, from the end of colonialism through the reign of Idi Amin and rebel government after rebel government, into the era of AIDS. I was struck by the ways in which the various elements of Ugandan society needed to transform themselves, and how often, in order to survive the latest crisis. Powerful, if a bit dry and dull in spots.

Book #23 - A Sorcerer's Treason by Sarah Zettel. I found this a bit dull at first, but got swept into the stories a few chapters in. I found some elements stiff and predictable at times. The dialogue,intended to be late 19th century, seems forced at times. But the story is good. My favorite is when Bridget weaves spells through the air via dance. I love the idea and the image. I will most likely pick up the second book.

Book #24 - Good Omens: The nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. My spirits lift thinking of this. It was refreshing - a blast of cool, fresh air on a hot and sticky day. And a lot of fun. Not laugh out loud funny, but smirks and sideways grins, definitely. The end of the world has come to pass, or is supposed to, anyway, and all sorts of different folk - people, witches, demons, angels, dogs, have roles to play. A great piece that seemlessly blends the styles of Gaiman and Pratchett into something very entertaining.

Book #25 - Made to Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. I was hooked on this book from the first time I read the prologue online. Dealing with ideas that are able to burrow into our subconscious and influence our behaviors, the brothers approach this from the standpoints of business and academia. In researching sticky ideas, urban legends are an obvious place to start. What really sticks with me is the research into tainted Halloween candy - which shows that there NEVER WAS any apples w/ razor blades reported to police!!! Only two incidents showed in records from WWII to the 80s - one was a kid who got into his uncle's coke stash and they sprinkled it on his candy to throw off the cops, and one was a kid whose father put cyanide on his candy to get life insurance. Think about how much this has changed our behaviours! Incredible. The brothers have a sound approach to making ideas sticky that hopefully will be useful for me in the future.

That's it for now - more soon!