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Food Stuff

Yikes, I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted. I wish I could say it's because I've been so very busy in the kitchen, but it's, in fact, because I no longer have any reasonable notion of time. Seriously, I can barely remember what month it is.

Anyway, I give you updates and other fun stuff.

I made another attempt at baking bread on the grill last week, and it was decidedly less successful than the last time. For one thing, the dough never came together the way it usually does. It ended up looking like the world's largest biscuit. (Yes, I know. PHOTOS! But I have neither to presence of mind to take a photo or the ability to upload one on the blog.) My fault, I guess? Although I have no idea what was different.
I wanted to put the pan on a baking sheet for some extra protection against the flames, but my sturdiest sheet was too big to fit in the grill. I put down a piece of aluminum foil and some parchment paper, set the grill to medium low heat, and placed the pan on the top rack. The pan was lined with parchment paper for a little more protection.

I checked the bread twice in 40 minutes. It was looking a little pale, so I was going to let it go for another 15. I expected it would take about 55 minutes to bake properly. At 47 minutes I decided to check it again. The rack was bent all to hell, and the pan was slowly sliding off the rack. I had to take it off. The bread was still paler than I like it, and I was worried it wasn't done inside. I was hoping that letting it sit for a few hours would take care of that. Alas, no. In the words of my mother, it was dry and tasteless. How underdone bread can be dry is beyond me. Logan insisted it was fine, so maybe I was being too fussy. The man does not lie about food. But even toasting it didn't help.

I might give it another try, but right now, I'm thinking Costco's bread is good enough.
I had an impromptu cookout last weekend. We needed dessert (Logan asked why. I told him "because"), but I obviously couldn't make brownies or cookies. I pulled out How to Cook Everything and went to the ice cream section, hoping to find something I could adapt into a semi-freddo. That's pretty easy, except I realized I was out of half and half, and part of my goal was to not have to buy anything. I cursed a little (and by a little, I mean I should probably go to confession), then checked out the sorbets. They're easy, right? For once, the answer to that is "right."

Bitter Chocolate Sorbet

3/4 cup sugar ( you can cut the sugar back to a  half cup if you want a really bitter sorbet, or increase to a cup if you want it sweeter)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
About 2 cups hot water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix together the sugar and cocoa. Stirring constantly, add enough water to make a paste. Add the remaining hot water and whisk until smooth. Add the vanilla.

Cool in the refrigerator, then churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.
How I changed it:

I mostly followed the recipe, but I increased the amounts by 50%, so I had to mess with it a little. I needed a total of 2 1/2 cups of sugar/cocoa powder (who says I can't do high math?), but didn't have enough cocoa for an even split. So, more sugar than cocoa. The sorbet ended up nice and sweet. I can attest that you have a lot of leeway with the amount of sugar and cocoa powder you use.

Instead of using just vanilla, I used half vanilla and and half coffee. Yum. I would think that some grated orange peel and/or fresh orange juice would also be pretty great. Yum again.

I don't have an ice cream maker, so after cooling it, I beat it for 20 minutes in the standing mixer, using the whisk attachment. I poured the liquid into a bowl and stuck it in th freezer. The Queen of the Obvious wants you to know that breaking it up into smaller vessels will speed up the freezing process. It took about  8 hours to freeze well enough for me to serve it, and it was still a little liquid inside. Not that that's a bad thing at all. Here's a straw.

I made this again last night, without increasing the amounts. It was slightly bitter, which to me means it was perfect. I poured it into ramekins, and it took around 4 1/2 hours to freeze.

You can get 4-6 servings out of this, although I think 6 means someone is being a little chintzy. If you need that many, do what I did. It should give everyone a decent sized serving, and there might be some left over.

My garden has been damned near a disaster this year. We did get a nice amount of green beans, and the rosemary is doing well. I think rosemary would continue to grow during a nuclear meltdown. My basil started out great, but it began flowering in June, and it never recovered, no matter how much I watered it or how often I pulled the flowers off. God's little creatures turned the watermelon and okra plants into an all-you-can-eat buffet. There are radish greens out there somewhere, but I'm not sure where. The pepper plants spit out a few flowers and then said "fuck it". The tomatoes? Beh! The few I have are still green, they're barely a decent size, and they ripen one at a time. I wait impatiently every year for tomato season. I mean, tomatoes are one of God's foods, aren't they? This is the first  time in years I've tried to grow my own, and every time I look at them, I want to cry a little. Next Saturday, it's off to the farmer's market. Must have gazpacho.
I discovered Thursday Night Smackdown via Eat at Joe's. Check her out. She swears more than I do.


So sorry about your garden...

...that's got to be a terrible disappointment. But that sorbet is terrific, isn't it? Adding orange sounds like heaven. I've made it with little bits of candied ginger stirred in, and that's swell, too.


about your garden also. I imagine I would feel really disappointed about that. :(

And isn't Michelle great? Good food, honest personality, cuss words galore.

So when are you getting a functional oven? I want to see what you cook up in the fall!