You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2010.

I spent yesterday making what is perhaps the world’s most complicated ramen recipe, from  the cookbook Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meehan. The previous day, I bought pork shoulder and rubbed with salt and sugar, then put it  in the fridge to rest overnight.  I started slow-roasting it yesterday morning, basting it with accumulated fat every  hour for 6 hours. Meanwhile, I made tare seasoning by roasting stray chicken bits (leftover wing tips I has stashed in the freezer)  until deep brown then simmering them with soy sauce, mirin, etc. Also made dashi , not the full court broth called for in the recipe, but a very good fresh dashi from seaweed and bonito flakes. Also slow simmered eggs at 145 degrees. Also cooked greens with soy, vingar, and little brown sugar. Also cooked noodles.  I did not make the noodles, the crazy bus didn’t make it quite that far.

Came dinner time, and hot noodles were divided among the bowls, hot tare-seasoned broth ladled on, hot shredded pork shoulder, greens, and shelled egg put on top, sliced fish cake slipped in on the side, a sprinkle of green onions . . .

Why, dinner was ready in an instant!

We woke up this morning to find that the promised scattered snow flurries had actually been pretty steady through the night.

These pictures are from about 9am.  It’s been snowing off and on through the day, but the air is warm enough that  the snow is melting slowly, so this is a much of an accumulation as we ever had.
I’ve been enjoying the seasonal delight of aged Cougar Gold Cheese. Every year I buy a new can and slip it under the stack in the fridge, then take the oldest cheese off the top. The cheese keep indefinitely as long as it’s in a refrigerated sealed can.

I know some WSU students, so I get a fresh delivery hand-carried from Pullman each December.

I put another 2 years of age on the cheese, and this year I bought an extra cheese so stretch the aging schedule to 3 years.  I was talking with someone at a cheese shop, and she said she had a customer who has a 20 year rotation on their Cougar Gold. That’s dedication! As for me, I can say that Jennifer did good work back in 2007.

The cookies are baked, both Brune Kager (left) and the other cookies I’ve been making at Christmas for the past couple of years, Churer Zimtsterne.

The Zimtsterne are from a recipe by local chef Greg Atkinson that I found in the paper.  Since my husband has become allergic to dairy products, it’s nice to have a cookie recipe that doesn’t call for any butter or cream.   They are from Churer, Switzerland.

Churer Zimtsterne

  • 1 1/2 cups whole almonds, skin on
  • 1 T. ground cinnamon
  • 1 t. fresh lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup egg white (two eggs’ worth, usually)
  • 1 t. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, plus more for handling dough

Preheat oven to 300 hundred degrees. Prepare cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Process almonds, cinnamon, and lemon zest in food processsor, pulsing until the almonds are coarsely chopped, then run motor until they are finely ground, around 30-40 seconds.

Beat egg whites, lemon juice,  and salt to stiff peak stage, then gradually beat in the powdered sugar until it’s a stiff meringue. Measure 1/2 cup of it and set aside. Stir almond mix into the remaining meringue.

Form into cookies — I scoop the dough with a spoon, form it gently into a ball in my powdered-sugar-coated hand, put on the parchment paper and press down to flatten.  The recipe says to roll out the dough on a powdered sugar-coated surface and cut into star shapes, but my dough’s never been solid enough to do that.

Brush or spoon reserved meringue onto tops of cookies.  Bake for 12-14 minutes — do not overbake. They will be tender and chewy, not hard and crisp. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

One of each of these, with my morning latte, is definitely a taste of my Christmas!

This is not.

 Isn’t fresh lutefisk an oxymoron?

Well, dear blog, it’s been quite a while.  Despite my best intentions, I’ve been less than good about keeping up with you.  I blame Facebook.  But, here I am with a little something I think you’ll like.

It’s time to make Christmas cookies! The one cookie I must make every year is this recipe, from my grandmother.

I just make half a recipe these days, so it’s:

Brown Cookies, or Brune Kager in Danish

Melt 1/4 pound of butter, cool; add 1/2 c. sugar, 1/4 c. Karo (dark) syrup; 1/2 t. each: ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, 1 t. cinnamon; 2 beaten eggs. Sift 2 cups of flour with 1/2 t. salt and 1 t. baking soda. Mix all together. Cover and and keep in refrig. for a few days. Then roll out, cut, decorate with almonds.
350 F. 6-8 min.

This makes a very soft dough, almost a batter. I’ve fiddled with it over the years — sometimes I cream softened butter instead of melting it, and I always use butter in place of the marg. she called for. Using creamed butter makes a stiffer dough, and I’ve formed that into logs, chilled them, then sliced the logs into circular cookies. But this year I melted the butter. I divided the dough into two and formed it into flattened shapes on plastic film, then wrapped them up to put in the fridge. This’ll make it easier to roll out.

And I’m not waiting “a few days” — these get baked tomorrow!