Happy New Year – With Butter!

Eye-roll warning – Below is way too much modern city-person excitement about discovering a process that’s been known to this world for thousands of years and probably a number of young students who have done cooler science experiments in class than I did.

You guys – I made BUTTER!

I made some whipped cream for the New Year’s Eve party that I attended, and while I was there one of the guests asked if I had ever let the cream whip too far and accidentally made butter. And I was all like, SHUT UP I CAN MAKE MY OWN BUTTER JUST BY WHIPPING CREAM FOR TOO LONG!?

This was happening. But, you know, after lots of caipirinhas and ringing in the new year.

Fireworks

Happy New Year, 2013! Photo by bayasaa on Flickr (CC-BY)

The next morning:

I had a half pint of heavy cream left over so I threw it in the Kitchen Aid mixer and set that puppy to eight and waited eagerly for sticks of butter to arrive.

And waited.

And waited.

After about seven minutes I had thick whipped cream, but it wasn’t until the fifteen minute mark that I started hearing slurping, splashing noises from the bowl. After about another minute I had this:

Fresh Butter

Fresh butter caught in the whisk and buttermilk left in the bottom of the bowl.

I pulled out the butter from the whisk and strained the buttermilk. All of the butter went into a bowl and then I smooshed as much liquid as I could from it with the back of a spoon. Then I transferred the butter onto some wax paper and made a butter stick…err…roll:

IMAG1064

Mmmm…agitated fat globules.

Of course, then I needed something on which to try out my new butter, so I made pancakes (gluten-free).

Pancakes with Butter

Butter on cherry pancakes.

Oh, and then I used the buttermilk in some alfredo sauce that night.

Yum.

And because I read a lot of time travel books, one of my thoughts during this process was how I’m now totally set for work if I ever accidentally get transported back in time (I assume that most of my science know-how will be a bust because if I start talking about little tiny bugs that make us sick, or other up to 21st century science, I’ll get burned as a witch or locked in an asylum). I’m going to be the butter QUEEN! But I’ll have to figure out how to harness electricity and invent a Kitchen Aid first because that churning crap looks like way too much work.

Cross-Country Connections: Lunch

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Lunch.

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland:

Nom nom nom. Lunchtime treat for Ivan.

From Mom in Carbondale, Illinois:

Lunch at Burano which was about 40 minutes by water taxi from Venice.  Great food – very strange company.

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

Sunday’s sushi lunch. Yummmmm.

Pareidolia 5: The Reveal

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger

In this installment, Ellen reveals the answer to Pareidolia 5: Your Results May Vary.

Pareidolia 5 Reveal: There’s a Light at the End of the Tunnel!

Most of you literal folks could tell it was food, something of a flat and grain-flour based and fried nature. It is not a tortilla or a cannoli. What it is, is a dosa, which is kind of an Indian crepe, but huge. What you are seeing out beyond the dosa is another table full of happy diners, gobbling up all kinds of good breads and fritters and snacks and washing them down with cold beer and cocktails and lassi.

Delicious Dosa © Ellen Bulger

I took the shot a couple of years ago. I was on Broadway in New Haven, waiting for a friend. We had plans to get some shawarma. You know how good a Connecticut autumn can smell? Even in the city, it makes you flare your nostrils and take deep breaths.

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6 O’Clock BS: Gluten-Free Pizza

Tonight I made gluten-free pizza! I used a Red Mill Mix, but it required yeast and mixing and other related baking shit, so I think it counts as fancy cooking.

First, the crust:

Pizza Mix, Olive Oil, Eggs, Yeast in warm water

The yeast had to sit for a few minutes, then I added the eggs and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then the pizza flour mix was added in and mixed on medium for 1 to 2 minutes.

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Mmmm….Braaaaains.

Presented for your lunchtime consideration: Walnut Brains in Chocolate Skulls. Genius use of walnut!

From Street Anatomy:

These chocolate skulls with walnut/candy brains are genius and so well executed for such a small piece of chocolate!  They are hand-crafted by twin sisters from Spain, Ruth and Sira García Trigueros who also happen to run their own little design and illustration shop, Sparganum.

 

Dining Out for Life

Dining Out for Life Minnesota is tomorrow – Thursday, April 28th.

Go out to any one of a gazillion and ten participating restaurants, and the restaurant donates a portion of your food bill to The Aliveness Project, a local nonprofit agency which each year serves one out of four people living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota. The Aliveness Project offers an on-site hot meals program, food shelf, integrative therapies, case management, holiday baskets, HIV educational services.

I’m getting up early to have breakfast at Anodyne Coffeehouse in South Minneapolis before going in to work.


And for dinner I’m going to Joe’s Garage in Loring Park with a bunch of friends.

There’s an entire list of restaurants throughout Minnesota that are participating in Dining Out for Life.

Where are you eating?

Cuzzy’s Brick House Restaurant

My work group went out to lunch today, and I found another place that serves gluten-free pizza!

A wood-fired Brick House Pizza – Pepperoni, Sausage, bell peppers, red onions, mushrooms & black olives all served on a gluten-free crust.

For those of you used to paying top dollar for gluten-free alternatives at Pizza Luce (a small Classic costs $12.59. The same pizza with a GF crust is a whopping $5 extra at $17.59), Cuzzy’s Brick House is a breath of fresh, oregano-scented air. Their small Brick House (shown above and pretty much the same as Pizza Luce’s Classic) is $12.99, and they will sub in a GF crust at NO additional cost.

Cuzzy’s Brick House is located in Chaska, MN. It’s a bit of a haul if you’re coming from Minneapolis or the east suburbs (oooo..take THAT St. Paul!)  However, their menu is phenomenal and I could see making the occasional special trip out here with friends. Cuzzy’s is several steps up from your average soup, salad and burger joint. I mean sure, you can snag any number of variations of hotdog or cheeseburger if that’s what you’re craving, but they’ve also got appetizers like Portabella & Brie Bruschetta, pastas like the Butternut Squash Ravioli, entrees like the Cabernet Mushroom Chops and a desert menu that will add a couple of pounds to your bottom just from seeing it as the waitress carries the tray across the room.

Burgers and sandwiches run in the $8-10 range and the entrees are around $10-18. Their drink prices are reasonable, and the open, classy interior makes Cuzzy’s a great place to have happy hour. Also, I’ve been told that they throw a mean weekend bar night!

Cuzzy’s also has a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis (but doesn’t show pizza in the online menu), and The Victoria House in Victoria, MN is in the same family.

2880 Chaska Blvd., Chaska MN
website: http://www.cuzzys.com/
phone: 952.448.5594
email: [email protected]

The Emperor’s New Dinner

Soooo…here I am making dinner*. I’ve got some tilapia, I’m not really sure what I want to do with it** and so I’m looking for a jazzy new recipe online. I’m a very visual person when it comes to recipes – I want to see the finished product before I decide if I’m going to invest time and ingredients, hopes and dreams and all that. I’m thinking some wine, some capers and I come across this:

What the… Food photo cheat! And then I realized that it’s a Weight Watcher’s recipe, so maybe it’s some sort of new-fangled diet tilapia meal in which the portions are really, really, really small.

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Here’s how the real dinner turned out. I ended up throwing some garlic, salt, pepper, dried chives, “italian herbs”, red wine, olive oil, lemon juice, capers, green olives and  white onion in a bag, tossing it around a bit, then throwing the whole mess into the oven at 350F for 20 minutes. Nom nom nom. I made broccoli and cheater-rific Trader Joe’s pre-made risotto as sides. Nom nom nom.

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* Cuz if there’s one thing we young things know how to do, it’s make some dinner.

**I mean, I know what I want to do with it; I want to eat it. I’m just not sure how I want to prepare it.

Not for the faint of tastebuds

Yeah, this had “I have a bad feeling about this” written ALL over it.

Me: Hey, what should I make for dinner tonight?  Hmmm…I love tacos, and I love crab meat – hey, I should combine the two!

Me to Myself: Ummm…are you sure you want to do that?  You might ruin perfectly good crab meat, or perfectly good taco seasoning mix.

Me to Me to Myself: But, I like fish tacos.  And I like shrimp tacos.  So crab tacos would probably be tasty.

Me to Myself: You’ve only eaten seafood tacos made by professionals.  In restaurants.  Have you ever attempted to make any sort of seafood taco with canned seafood meat?

Me to Me to Myself: No, but I have eaten canned crabmeat and it’s pretty tasty.  And how hard can it be to make seafood tacos?  It’s the same thing as beef or chicken tacos, except with seafood. 

Me to Myself: Have you ever used a pre-made taco mix on any seafood before?

Me to Me to Myself: Well, there was that one time with the shrimp…

Me to Myself: You were drunk, you don’t even remember what that tasted like.

Me to Me to Myself: True…

Me to Myself: Soooo?

Me to Me to Myself: You know what?  I’m going to try it anyway.

Some time later…add a little lettuce, tomato, a dab of sour cream.

Me:  Here we go!  Canned crab meat tacos! [eating commences - nom, nom, nom - a slowing of chewing, a hard swallow and a pause] Ugh… this is horrible!

Me to Myself: *sighs* You never trust me.

Me:  I hate you.  [Mumbled grumbling.  Chew.  Swallow.  Repeat.]

Fresh Pesto and Tabouli

September 22nd marked the official first day of Fall, and I (admitted defeat, bidding a woeful adieu to summer) celebrated by cutting all of my basil, parsley and chives down to the ground.  When one has grown a ton of basil and parsley over the length of an entire summer, it only makes sense to prep some pesto and tabouli.  A few glances at the interwebs and a quick dash to the Wedge Co-Op for fresh tomatoes, garlic, green onions, some walnuts and quinoa, and I was ready to begin.

Pesto

First I made the pesto.  I stripped all of the leaves from the stalks and chopped the leaves using my mini Cuisinart food processor, then I chopped the walnuts, crushed the garlic and shredded the parmesan-reggiano.  I mixed everything in a big glass bowl and then added half a cup of olive oil.  That’s it!  It was lover-ly.  For more blow-by-blow, this is the recipe I used from Simply Recipes.

The big white pieces are broad, flat shreds of parmesan…mmm… A little pesto goes a very long way when mixed into pasta.

Tabouli

I used this recipe from greatpartyrecipes.com to make the Tabouli, but I made a couple of changes.   Instead of the gluten-containing bulgar I used quinoa, I skipped the mint because it was exorbitantly-priced, and I left the cucumber out because I somehow lost it between the checkout line and home, and I didn’t feel like going back out to buy another.

I started cooking the quinoa and then chopped the parsley – stems and leaves – in the food processor.  I diced tomatoes, minced the garlic, and sliced the green onions.  Once the quinoa cooled a bit, I mixed everything together and finally added the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

It was also lover-ly and simple.

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Afterwards, the kitchen looked like this.

I was done with cooking for the evening, so I threw a little of the extra quinoa on a plate, mixed in some pesto, added a side of tabouli and had a loverly (if quite herby) dinner.