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Below are the 11 most recent journal entries recorded in Young Gastronomer's LiveJournal:

Sunday, October 7th, 2007
9:24 pm
[dair]
umami
I recently came across this term, and based on the brief definition given I immediately thought of nutritional yeast. If you are familiar with the stuff, you will almost certainly know what I'm getting at. Neither salty, sour, bitter, nor sweet...some other flavor. Yes, that sounds like nutritional yeast. If you do not know what nutritional yeast tastes like, well.. I can't begin to describe it. It's elusive and hard to describe, although now I can say it is, in fact, umami. The collective vegan householders I lived with were fond of it and we put it on everything, and before I lived there I sprinkled it liberally over my popcorn, along with dill. It's a substance I've never consumed for it's alleged nutritional benefits, let me be clear. I do it for the flavor, but at the same time I've not been able to determine just what the flavor is.

Now, an answer, a kind of breakthrough. My hasty bit of research just now confirms that umami flavor comes from certain tastebuds detecting the amino l-glutamate.
Secondly, it confirms that yeast and deactivated yeast (nutritional yeast) is high in glutamate.
Monday, April 30th, 2007
11:33 pm
[dair]
a few notes
I did read the new Alice Waters biography. It was enthralling and I struggled to put it down until it was finished.

We've had two memorable picnics so far this spring: last tuesday: artichokes with homemade mayonnaise and hardboiled eggs; today, we had a parsley salad with hardboiled eggs (we've been getting a dozen very fresh, somewhat local ones each week from justdairy.org), some fresh asiago and a baguette.

As I write this, my dear one is reading aloud from the 1981 edition of The Joy of Cooking. We're sipping hot chocolate made with ibarra and raw milk from the aforementioned buyer's club. A silky, vanilla bean-flecked pastry cream has just been put in the refrigerator to wait for some kind of vehicle, and two trays of amaretti are making the most amazing crackling sound as they cool on the counter.
Monday, March 5th, 2007
9:03 am
[dair]
mayonnaise
A few months back I had a dreadful experience attempting to make mayonnaise. I had been remembering Elizabeth David's article on the matter and felt courageous, so I first tried hand-whisking one fresh-as-I-could-attain egg yolk, drizzling oil slowly in...it failed to set. So I put the mess into the blender and began drizzling more oil in..and added garlic, thinking maybe that would help, and also I tried a second yolk. Soon I had a blenderful of oil with eggs and garlic and breadcrumbs floating in it. I felt like quite a failure.

Yesterday, my dear love said he'd make mayonnaise. I advised him not to, but he took no heed and within ten minutes had produced a cup of extremely stable, tasty mayonnaise. How did he do it? The blender was involved from the start, and a whole egg, and some mustard and vinegar. The rest of the details are unclear to me, but we had the stuff with hardboiled eggs, farro, garbanzo beans, and a parsley salad.
Monday, January 1st, 2007
12:44 pm
[dair]
new year
Rosie and I are making biscotti this morning and reorganizing the refrigerator to accommodate 5 gallons (that's two cases in beer bottles) of root beer we made last week.

Fruit curds are a recent revelation of mine. After years of searching for a recipe (I now wonder if I forgot to check the internet in all that time), I found some recipes in Lindsey Shere's Chez Panisse Desserts and adapted one last night to make delicious lime curd. We had small toasts with the spread this morning.
Thursday, December 28th, 2006
11:33 pm
[dair]
puffy pomme de terre pancake
Normally I've made this "dutch baby" with apples and blueberries, but tonight I was inspired to use potatoes, which I roasted beforehand with fresh thyme and garlic.

Apples were still on my mind, so I cooked some slices in a little butter along with a strip of orange zest, a slice of lime, a half-inch of vanilla bean, and a handful of currants.



a pickle and a slice of cheddar were served alongside.
Wednesday, January 4th, 2006
9:13 pm
[dair]
books
recent acquisitions:

The Silver Spoon
Darra Goldstein's The Georgian Feast
Monday, March 21st, 2005
2:34 pm
[dair]
I just had an extremely rare burger. my new thing is to sear it, deglaze the pan with a little butter and red wine, then throw in some chopped onions and herbs, cook until the onions are soft and dump them over the burger.
Friday, January 21st, 2005
8:01 pm
[dair]
classic
It's Friday, it's Boston, it's terribly cold out, and I've made baked beans and brown bread.

The recipe I used for the beans is from the Joy of Cooking.
The brown bread is Hi-Rise bakery's recipe, which I got from Maggie Glezer's Artisan Breads Across America.

I began the process several days ago by soaking the beans overnight. I don't remember what kind of beans they are, but they were organic, of medium size, speckled white and brown.

I cooked them for a 1/2 hour or so and abandoned them for a few days in the refrigerator.

Finally today around five I placed them in a cast iron casserole with a chopped onion, some dry mustard, molasses, catsup, and some of the water left over from cooking the beans (which is a lie, I actually rinsed the cooked, long-ago drained beans, and saved some of that water).

I set the oven a bit high, at 300º, to accomodate the anticipated brown bread.

The recipe said to bake them for 6-9 hours, but I knew from the start that I would have to cut some corners. I actually brought everything to a simmer on the stove before putting the covered pot in the oven.

After a while, I mixed the bread, which had a combination of rye, whole wheat and unbleached white flours, cornmeal, milk, molasses, and currants (hi-rise uses dried blueberries). I divided the batter into two large-ish soup cans (traditionally it is baked in coffee cans). I pulled the bread out after an hour and a half and uncovered the beans for the rest of the time.

Now everything is out. I think I'd like to try this again, as much of the process was performed haphazardly. In fact, I am pretty sure I actually forgot to add the cup and a half of unbleached white flour to the dry ingedients (though the bread is not lacking in firmness or denseness, so who knows). I didn't feel like searching all over town for a 1/4 lb of salt pork. the list goes on. Still, what modest results I did achieve have proved rewarding.

Current Mood: accomplished
Wednesday, December 8th, 2004
12:00 am
[dair]
Oyster Stew
I am suprised and a little ashamed that I started this community before ever having read MFK Fisher. Or at least--I am surprised that I had not read MFK fisher before starting this community. Or something. Fascinated though I was by Alice Waters, I confess now that I was scarcely aware of Fisher's legacy until just a month or two ago. So I have been reading up.

Last night I was reading from An Alphabet for Gourmets, beginning with A is for Dining Alone. She states, "There are few people alive with whom I care to pray, sleep, dance, sing, or share my bread and wine." and so, in the absence of those few people--and with her difficulty garnering invitations to dinner due to her reputation as a cook and a person knowledgable about food--she prefers to dine alone.
But it is not easy to cook for oneself always. So for a while she was resigned to "hit-or-miss dinners" of "tinned soups, boxed biscuits amd an occasional egg."
It was this line I was thinking of when I found myself at Stop-N-Shop on the way home this evening. I generally avoid those kinds of places, as I am increasingly unnerved by the shiny, bloated produce and have little use for anything else they sell. But I was on my way home from a visit with G. in our studio during which we ate cheese (a sharp cheddar) and crackers (carr's water crackers) and drank an Ommegang ale I am fond of. We both became pleasantly hazy from the ale and I wanted to doze off in my chair--it was an extremely pleasant evening.

Later, at the supermarket, the aisles of "tinned" goods intrigued me. I got a few cans of tomatoes, because they are occasionally called for. And then...I saw the oysters.

I bought a can of oysters and a quart of milk and two small boiling onions, although the recipe for oyster stew on the back of the can called for celery, not onion--my squeamishness about the produce section prevented me from it, and somehow the dry papery skins of onions make me feel better about them even if I do not trust their provenance. Then I came home and consulted Consider the Oyster for another recipe, to compare the two. I found no mention of tinned oysters, of course, but proceeded in this way:

cook one small onion, minced, in two tablespoons of butter, until the onion is tender. sprinkle in some celery seed if you have it. tip 1 tin of oysters and their liquor into the pot and cook until oysters just begin to curl. Add two cups of milk. when it is hot, season with sherry, salt and pepper. Serve hot.


It was enjoyable. I was suspicious of the canned oysters themselves--the bellies were hard and a greenish color, sometimes--but the broth was delicious.
Wednesday, September 1st, 2004
10:50 pm
[shellyday]
cutting boards
i'm so into cooking healthy food these days, so this community is just what i need.

are cutting boards on topic? i moved into a new apartment and it came with a large wooden cutting board. the place was left filthy, so i decided to steralize the cutting board before using it. while i was researching how to do this (which by the way is done with bleach OR a 1 parts vinegar 5 parts water solution) i came across info on bacteria on wood vs. plastic cutting boards. well surprisingly, wooden ones are cleaner and safer! more info here: http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infxtra/infcuttingboard.shtm but natural is always better, isn't it?

Current Mood: calm
11:42 am
[dair]
beets
As a first entry, I am going to talk about the foremost thing on my mind these days.

Lately I've been going to the farmer's market here on tuesdays and saturdays and buying chioggia (pink and white striped) or gold or red beets. I've read a lot of recipes that advise roasting the beets before doing anything with them (shredding for salads, making soup, etc) but often the idea of having the oven on for an hour or more in this weather for the sake of one simple dish is more than I can bear. So I shred them raw. I am beginning to suspect that roasting them serves mainly to set their color, because often the raw shredded beets have sort of run their dye everywhere, leaving the beet itself somewhat pale. Also, I found that with the chioggia beets, at least, there was a slight bitterness around the green end which may or may not have disappeared with roasting.

In any case, I have had a number of pleasant salads prepared with just raw shredded beets (sometimes several varieties, sometimes with some carrot added, sometimes one pure beet) and dressed only with a bit of vinegar. I have added walnuts and fresh herbs, too, like thyme. if I have any good lettuce, I use that too.
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