May. 6th, 2017

kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
Something I've cooked recently: Last weekend I mentioned I was going to oven-roast some tomatoes. They turned out great; I used Lynn Rossetto Kasper's recipe for what she calls oven-candied tomatoes. I cut down the olive oil considerably, to no discernible harm, though next time I'll line the baking trays with aluminum foil because there was quite a lot of baked-on juice. Kasper says to use only the best summer tomatoes, but I used hothouse Campari tomatoes that happened to be on sale, and they were delicious. Admittedly they were, for hothouse tomatoes, pretty good to start with, but you don't have to hold out for perfect tomatoes. In fact, I think it would be a waste to do this with perfect summer tomatoes unless you grow them yourself and have tons; it makes more sense to me as a method for improving out-of-season tomatoes.

I have used some of the candied tomatoes in pasta with olive oil and garlic, and some more in a bread and tomato salad (a variety of grape and cherry tomatoes cut in half, a few pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped, three or four of the oven-candied tomato halves roughly chopped, olive oil, a little red wine vinegar, and some bite-sized pieces of French bread toasted with olive oil and garlic until crisp).

I've also been eating a lot of fresh tomatoes, since my supermarket keeps putting nice cherry and grape tomatoes on sale. Currently they're a ridiculously cheap $1 per pint. I've discovered that ricotta cheese, while loathesome in lasagne, is extremely good if drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with black pepper, and eaten uncooked along with tomatoes.

Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future: At the moment I'm boiling an orange to use in an orange, almond, and polenta cake. I couldn't find a recipe that included all the features I wanted: mostly almond meal and polenta with little or no wheat flour, olive oil instead of butter, and a syrup added to the cake after baking. So I'm improvising a bit. My main recipe is this one, but with the orange boiled instead of ground up raw. I'll make a little syrup with orange juice and some cardamom pods and hope that adding it doesn't turn the cake to mush.

For dinner, I'm going to cook a Spanish-style rice dish that I dare not call paella, since not only will it include chorizo but I'm planning to bake it rather than cook it on the stovetop. Anyway, it'll have chorizo, some fresh sausage, chicken, ham, some of the oven-candied tomatoes, red and green bell pepper (capsicum), onion, some zucchini/courgettes, and probably some olives.

At some point, but probably not until next weekend. I'm going to bake plain digestive biscuits to eat with some of the Nutella I bought because it was on sale. (As you can see, a lot of my cooking/baking starts with "I bought this thing on sale, so now what do I do?")

Something I have vague plans to cook eventually: I bought yet more dandelion greens, which will need using soon; I could make a bacon-dressed salad of them but I'm not sure that's what I want. I might just have them with pasta. I want to make hummus at some point, too. But mostly I want to eat as many tomatoes as possible while they're still on sale.
kindkit: The Second Doctor and Jamie clutch each other in panic; captioned "oh noes" (Doctor Who: Two/Jamie oh noes)
Today I have spent a couple of decades hours making flashcards for German possessive pronouns, and crying.

Okay, not literally crying, but crying on the inside.

German pronouns CHANGE. They change like Mystique on a busy day. First of all, they agree with the subject, like in English but more so, so there are different forms for my, your (singular), his, her, its, our, your (plural), and their. But then they also agree with the object in gender and number, so there are different forms of "mine" depending on whether the thing that's yours is masculine or feminine or neuter or whether you have more than one.

That's already more complicated than the other languages I know well, English and French. French has both kinds of agreement, but at least it doesn't distinguish between, say, "her book" and "his book" (both are "son livre," because the pronoun agrees in gender only with the object).

But are German possessive pronouns content to be slightly more complicated than French? No, they are not! The bastards also have four cases! And the case declensions vary, of course, according to the gender and number of the object.

Here, have a chart so you can feel my pain.

Okay, yeah, the variation is regular and I will get the hang of it with practice. But my brain was not prepared for this. Plus, in the Duolingo lesson tree all this came right after a cool fun thing, the -zeug ending which means roughly "stuff" and which you find in words like Spielzeug, "toy," or literally "play stuff." I was briefly charmed.
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
A couple of people were curious about the polenta, almond, and orange cake I was making today, so let me say that the taste is delicious. It's got a gloriously orange-y flavor, deep yet bright, with just a hint of spice from the coriander.

I basically followed this recipe, with a couple of tweaks. First, I boiled the orange (a Valencia) for about two hours instead of using it raw. That's the standard practice in most cakes that include a whole orange; it supposedly eliminates some of the bitterness from the pith. I also removed about half the peel before putting the orange in the food processor. With some of the peel, I scraped off as much of the bitter pith as I could and put the zesty part back in, but the rest I just discarded. This was also to reduce bitterness.

I also used less sugar, about 1 2/3 cups.

Finally, I soaked the hot cake in a citrus syrup made with the zest and juice of one lemon, the zest and juice of one large Valencia orange, and a couple of tablespoons of confectioners' sugar aka icing sugar. I boiled this mixture until it started to become syrupy, then spooned it gently over the cake. (In my last post I said I would put cardamom in the syrup, omitting the optional coriander in the cake, but then I thought about the flavor of olive oil and decided that coriander was better after all. So that went into the cake and I didn't put spices into the syrup.)

The recipe doesn't specify a kind of polenta, but for heaven's sake use a fine grind! I used coarse, and the result is a tad . . . crunchy. Still tastes great, but I'm glad I wasn't planning to bring it to a party or something.


kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)

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