another picture-perfect sunday evening

spent the entire afternoon, practically, on this one, but for a change i completely nailed the timing. dinner consisted of mushroom soup (out of this month’s martha stewart living), and a braised sausage recipe from my new braising book. i combined the sausage recipe (which uses lentils) with a recipe out of my rice cooker book to make braised italian sausages with cremini mushrooms and brown rice. the soup took, by far, the longest, because all i really had to do was brown the sausage and then throw everything into the rice cooker. the soup was very satisfactory, but needed more salt, and also more mushroom and less leek. i was overall very pleased. the soup, alas, did not reheat well the next day.

then, to make it extra hunky-dory, i made the bread fresh in the afternoon. spent the rest of the week making toast and sandwiches. excellent! i felt particularly clever after this one...

(got some new halloween candles from papyrus, just for the hell of it. i like to be festive sometimes!)

falling into....

having great luck with my braises and stews book. tonight, i modified the sausage and lentils recipe (since i hate lentils) and combined it with a recipe from my rice cooker book to make braised sausages with brown rice. i cooked the rice partway and then threw in, as per my braising recipe, some tomato paste, a pile of cooked mushrooms, and a bay leaf. yum-my. the only bad part was that after my mushroom soup (FINALLY found a recipe that works from this month’s issue of martha stewart living) and the huge slice of french bread (which i made this afternoon), i could barely do more than taste it.

it’s been an excellent weekend for cooking. last week i also tried the braised curried chicken and some jasmine rice. makes me really glad i finally remembered to steal the rice cooker from mom.

the apple cake out of my new “passion for” cookbook was really pretty and fun, but i guess i overcooked it. i also KNOW that i didn’t make the batter quite right, because the butter wasn’t evenly distributed. i’m going to pull more stuff out of that book--i love it, and i love how it is divided up by seasons--to play with this week. i anticipate having some time, since we’re in recess, and an audience of eaters if i bring the leftovers to work. also on this week’s list: plum pastry and the apple splits. i made honey creme anglaise to go with the apple splits. (which i was going to make tonight but now i am not so sure...)

my new resolution, since it was one of the reasons i justified my impulse buy of the digital camera, is to take pictures of my creations for my journal and my side project, the little blog.


break fast

a bit late, i fear, but i wanted to put something into my journal about how much fun i had cooking after i got home from shul on yom kippur. i literally spent the entire afternoon hunched over the stove/oven, trying some new things and making good on old failures.

for example, saturday night i successfully made risotto for the SECOND time. this time i made it with red wine and beef, and it was quite tasty (although, as usual, it could do with more salt). i’m, like, afraid of salt. i also, at long last, gave the cannoli ice cream another go--i even walked all the way down to vaccarro’s in union station for cannoli shells--and even though my ice cream mixer pooped out halfway through, it was still completely delicious. i made the wise decision to omit the anise seeds this time.

sunday i fooled around with leftover asian stuff from the freezer--some of the wontons, one of my spring rolls, and made some donburri with a batch of honey mushrooms from the farmers market.

but back to monday. i spent the afternoon experimenting with my first pot of chicken stock. there is a lot of room for improvement, alas, but at least i’ve finally tried it. i had a difficult time skimming it properly, and now that i’ve had it in the frige and freezer, i’ve noticed a layer of fat that’s congealed on the top. ew. i’ve been cooking with it anyway.

the high point of monday HAD to be my new coq au vin recipe from the braises and stews book. much better than my stovetop martha stewart recipe, and completely made by the farm fresh stuff i threw in: baby carrots and potatoes, with the leftover brunelli di montalcino from saturday’s risotto. easy and to-die-for delicious. i even got to use some of the fresh chicken stock. the carrots in particular were heavenly, esepcially the way they blended into the baby yukon gold potatoes.

i also gave the challah another try, this time mixing all of the ingredients in the CORRECT order, and i used my mixer instead of the bread machine. this, i think, was a wise choice. i’ll definitely try a regular challah in the bread machine, but next time i try a special one, i will do it properly with the mixer. it took forever to rise, nearly twice as long as the recipe predicted in some cases, but was sweet and delicious and made, a week later, some of the yummiest french toast ever. i also used it all week with some pear-berry jam from, of course, the farmers market.