Braised Romaine with Eggs, Carrots, Tomatoes and Spaetzel

This was one of those “making it up as you go” kind of dinners.  I had a head of Romaine lettuce from our CSA that was a little wilted, and I hated to throw it out.  So I went to my cookbook shelf.  “How to Cook Everything” informed me that Romaine could be braised like kale or chard or other “winter greens”, which got me very excited.  I know how to braise greens!!!  

For this batch, I started with my usual soy sauce, water, ginger and garlic. However, this time I forgot to put in any brown sugar. When I realized my mistake, the sauce was already in the pan, and it was too late to dissolve the sugar.  Instead, I grabbed my dark molasses, and drizzled a bit of that over the pan. 

This turned out *awesome*.   No more brown sugar—the molasses was a lot easier and a better texture.

Meanwhile, I was already steaming some carrots for E, because she is secretly a rabbit in a  giant-toddler-shaped-body.  When they finished, I put a couple of eggs in the water that had been under the steamer basket, and medium-boiled them. (This is just like soft boiling, only more. Or like hard boiling, only stopping before the yolk gets chalky. Either way, tastier yolk.)

We also had some leftover spaetzel in the fridge, from my crock pot chicken soup the other day, so I used that and some leftover rice as the starch in an otherwise very veggie-centric meal.  E loved it, which made me happy.  B and I did, too, but we like (almost) everything



Carrot-ginger bread

This is out of the“>Bread Lovers’ Bread Machine Cookbook, and used up some of those spare steamed carrots from the thrown-together braised Romaine dinner.  

It turned out nicely sweet, and very carrot-y. I threw in an extra .25c of carrot puree, because I had extra and it was otherwise not very useful for me, but it didn’t seem to throw off the texture (I had hoped/guessed it wouldn’t, since the 1.5# and 2# loaves both called for 6 oz of pureé)

I wanted apricot jam for this, but we didn’t have any. Cream cheese was pretty good on slices of this, both immediately and toasted the next morning. 



Moravian White Christmas Cookies (December 1946)

Hold onto your hats, kids, it’s another rolled cookie. 
Yes, again.
Because I am a glutton for punishment?
Something like that.

Anyway, this one was way less bad than the last few.  I had put this cookie off because I don’t normally stock sherry—but I can’t taste it in the dough or the final product. Maybe I’d miss it if it weren’t there?  I also think these need a lot more cinnamon and nutmeg—which is why they got frosted with cinnamon icing.

This time, I rolled the dough out on parchment paper.  This helped in two ways: I could remove the cookies a little easier from the paper, *or* I could simply remove the extra dough from around the cookie-cut shapes, and put the paper straight onto a cookie sheet and into the oven!  The indented round cookies are from extra dough I didn’t feel like rolling out—I pressed the cookie cutter into a flattened ball.  They turned out better than I deserved given how lazy I was being.

I also put half the dough for this recipe into the freezer, shaped into a log and wrapped in plastic.  Those were baked off as “slice and bake” cookies, which also worked pretty well.  

I pulled the icing recipe from the 1960 Betty Crocker Cookie Book, which is reliably awesome. Okay, except that it’s where those swirl cookies came from, but that is not it’s fault.  Instead of vanilla, I used cinnamon extract (a handmade extract from my friend Ariel at Dark Matter Chocolate Laboratory.  It’s *really* strong, so 1/2 tsp was more than enough.


Not a Scarf


This, as you can see, is not a scarf. It took me over a year to not make this scarf, and even so has holes where I had a bad row with several missed stitches. I finally decided that I’d rather have a cabled square and my needles back than a handknit scarf-in-progress for the next five years. Maybe I’ll try again on a simpler pattern, or maybe I’ll learn to make socks like I’ve been talking about doing for 6 months…

Banana Walnut Bread


I love the Cook’s Illustrated banana bread recipe, but one of last night’s guests does not eat dairy, so I decided to experiment with using walnut oil instead of butter.
It went well! It isn’t buttery, but it has a great banana flavor and a great walnut flavor.