Friday, January 20, 2006, 10:04 PM - comfort food
My brother got me a cookbook for Christmas, which I've finally cracked open. It was sufficiently enthraling that I um... didn't cook dinner for a while, despite grandiose visions of making something amazingly cool. So when I realized it was 9pm and that dinner really needed to happen if it was going to happen, I settled on the old standby of spaghetti. Most people go to to much effort when they make spaghetti. This is the lazy way.


3 cloves of garlic, chopped. By the way, you can get it pre-chopped in a can. Usually this is hidden in the vegetable section of the grocery store. It's one of those things that's always in cans underneath the vegetable display that you never look at because it's below eye level and you don't believe there will be anything besides vegetables in the vegetable section.

A bunch of shakes of dried oregano. Probably about a teaspoon, but who knows.

A bunch of shakes of dried basil. About as much as oregano.

Some fennel. Maybe 1/3 of a teaspoon

3 crushed thai chillis. Why thai? Because they're amazingly easy to grow so I have a lifetime supply dried and hanging in my kitchen. I'll probably grow more because they're fun to grow, but I keep toying with the idea of growing something else. But it really doesn't matter what you use, just something to give it a bit of a kick.

3/4 onion, slivered

a bunch of grinds of black pepper

maybe half a teaspoon of salt?

1 can of chopped tomatoes

one serving of spaghetti. That's not 1 bag, but some portion. I think it's an eighth, but who knows

2 glugs of vermouth

2 eggs

Some olive oil. Lets guess 1 tablespoon.


Heat a saucepan. Add olive oil plus all of the spices. Cook it up a bit. I cooked it until some pepper/onion fumes wafted up in my face. You're trying to free up all the fat soluable flavors in the spices and get them into the olive oil. And you're trying to sweat the onions while you're at it.

Add 2 glugs of vermouth to the pan. I do this first because it's going to splatter. You would rather have vermouth splattering than tomato sauce. Trust me. Add the can of chopped tomatoes after it's done splattering. Now put a lid on and let it simmer for a while. This is to disolve all the alcohol soluble flavors as well and let things blend.

Break the noodles in half (or not; usually I don't but I got impatient) and drop them into the sauce. Most people go to the bother of boiling them in seperate pots. This is silly because your pasta just tastes like pasta, as opposed to pasta infused with flavourful sauce. And it means you have to wash another pot. The 2 pot method is for people with lots of time and dishwashers.

Let the noodles ook until they're done. Stir them periodically so they don't stick together. They're done when they're pliable instead of stiff when you pick them out of the pan with a fork. Or, at least, they're done enough. Let them go a while with the lid off to let most of the residual moisture evaporate. I left it a bit saucy, but not too saucy.

Add 2 eggs. Yes, you can add them directly to the pot. Beating eggs seperately is for people with dishwashers. Beat the eggs on top of the noodles then mix them in well. As the eggs cook, they'll give the sauce a frothy texture and a salmoney colour.

This made 1 dinner-sized serving plus one lunch-sized serving. It was really yummy.

Buckwheat Pancakes
Saturday, January 14, 2006, 09:08 PM - flatbread, breakfast
This morning we had buckwheat pancakes for breakfast... or whatever you like to call the meal you eat at 1pm on saturday. They turned out a little texturally wacky. Next time I will use half wheat flour/half buckwheat flour instead of all buckwheat. Somehow I got into the habit of doing all buckwheat when I was trying to figure out if I was allergic to gluten or not. And I'm not so I can use all the wheat I like.


1 cup buckwheat flour
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1 egg
a shake or two of salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 of water


Put a pan on the stove at medium heat. Beat an egg. Add everything else. Stir well. Don't stir well if you're using flour + buckwheat because you might overstir things and make the gluten tough. But you don't have to worry about that with buckwheat, you just have to worry about weird texture.

The pan is heated when water drops bounce on the surface instead of sticking and slowly evaporating. Spray it with de-stickifying stuff. Spoon 1/4 cup dollups of batter onto the pan. Let them cook until bubbles form on the surface. After the bubbles have formed, flip them. Continue until you've used up the batter. Butter them if you like. Serve with syrup. This makes enough for two people to have 4 1/2 pancakes.
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Carrot Soup
Saturday, January 14, 2006, 09:00 PM - soups
We made carrot soup yesterday. Or maybe it was the day before. Recently, we made carrot soup.


2 smallish bags of carrots
2 brown or yellow onions
mustard powder
lime juice
thai chillis


Clean and chop the carrots and onions. Try to make them more or less uniform in size (for even cooking purposes) and throw them in a pan. Add a tablespoon or two of butter, maybe 3 TBS of tumeric, about a tsp each of fennel and corriander, several shakes of salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and 4 smooshed up thai chillis. For added pathos, rub your eyes after you smoosh up the chillis. Stir everything for a while on medium heat and sweat them a bit.

If you're incredibly organized (which I'm not) you probably should put the butter in the pan first and cook up the spices in the butter then add the vegetables to that a little later. Then again, if you are extremely organized, you probably went to the grocery store when you ran out of olive oil and didn't have to scrounge around for other forms of fat. The spices will ook into things better if you cook them in the fat for a while first because fat is good at activating flavour.

Add water until it just covers up the veggies. If you have a water boiling pot, you can boil it first and you'll be able to set things to ooking sooner. Add a couple of glugs each of whiskey and lime juice. Let everything simmer for half an hour or so. Then blend everything well with an immersion blender.

This looks like it makes about 5 servings. Serve each serving that wants to get eaten into bowls (let the rest cool enough to refrigerate or freeze). Crack an egg into each bowl and stir it in. Put some cheese on top--we used some obscure medium hard cheese whose name I can't remember. Microwave to melt the cheese/cook the egg. Eat.

Other Carrot Soups:

October 6, 2005
December 19, 2005

Avacado Cheese Sandwiches
Thursday, January 5, 2006, 03:59 PM - sandwiches
After finishing a cross-country road trip, one gets to really appreciate vegetables. You can take them for granted, sometimes, but gosh they're good after days of fast food chains who, while they might be kind enough to serve veggie burgers, won't give you anything vegetable-like besides a piece of lettuce and a slice of tomato, and diners, where the closest thing you're getting to a vegetable is blueberry pancakes. Not that I mind blueberry pancakes, but sometimes I want a little something more. So yesterday I went to the store. Today, I made avacado cheese sandwiches for lunch.

Usually sandwiches are rushed affairs, but today... oh yeah, they were still rushed. Eating that is, because we had to take the laundry out of the dryer. But I actually put effort into making them yummy because I had good ingredients. Normally I jut rush through and make same-ol'same-ol' sandwiches.


bread. A nice crusty whole-wheat loaf.

cheese. A very old, hard, sharp cheedar.

Green Onion

Avacado. I used 2 little avacados for 3 sandwiches. Normally avacados are really pricey, but if you go to a vegetable stand you can often find bags of little tiny ones that are too small to sell in supermarkets that are really cheap for their mass.

Mustard. The kind that has actual bits of mutard seed in it, as opposed to the bright yellow mayonaise-textured kind.

Salt and Pepper


Cut several slices of bread. Stick half of them in the toaster oven. Cut cheese to cover the other pieces of bread. Cut a green onion into little rings and distribute it between the pieces of bread. Swap the cheesey pieces of bread for the dry pieces of bread from the toaster oven. Spread Mustard on the toasted pieces of bread. Cut open an avacado and slice bits out with a knife and spread them onto the bread. I made a pretty thick layer of avacado. Salt and pepper to taste. Get the toasted cheesey-onioney pieces from the toaster oven and stick them on top of the avacado halves. Voila.

Frequently Sought Questions
Friday, December 23, 2005, 11:45 PM - faq
No one's actually asked me any questions, but I frequently have questions show up in my search log. Some of them are issues that are actually addressed in entries... this gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. Some of them are good questions that aren't answered that I know the answer to. And I feel like I've failed for not providing an answer. I mean, someone clicked through google to my site hoping that I could save them... hoping that I could tell them "how to construct a laser bean" or something like that... Unfortunately, the monkey won't tell me how to build a laser bean. I think he specializes in laser papayas anyway. But there are issues I can address, and I'll do that in the faq category. Readers can also just, you know, actually ask questions.

Here I address Fudge Related Questions, Norwegian Questions, Monkey Questions, and Miscellaneous Questions. The blog software doesn't let me use anchors, so you'll just need to scroll down if you're looking for something specific.

Fudge Related Questions

For a more thorough fudgey rant, see my fudge entry.

does altitude affect cooking fudge
Probably. I dunno, though. I've never left sea level except on road trips, and I don't often make fudge in motel rooms. I would assume that it does and use the soft ball method as your main indicator rather than trusting your thermometer.

how to make fudge set up if it is too runny
I think you might be screwed. You should have used the soft ball method in conjunction with your thermometer instead of just the thermometer. You have several options. If it's only slightly too runny, keep it in the refrigerator and make sure it gets eaten shortly after it's set out. If it's extremely runny, use it as ice-cream topping or just eat it with a spoon. If you absolutely have to have hard fudge (for gift-giving purposes or something like that), you probably have to start over. If you're dirt poor and there's no starting over with fresh ingredients and your family and friends will hate you forever if you don't cough up some proper fudge, you can get crazy experimental and stick it in a pot with some water or cream or milk and melt it back down and start over. I've never tried this. You'd be in dangerous territory, but if you really have nothing to lose, you could always try it. I'd re-disolve the sugars and re-melt the chocolate... and use the soft ball method to make sure I actually got the proper amount of sugar this time. You'd be completely flying blind, so you wouldn't know what the right temperature was for your ingredients or anything. It would be a fiasco waiting to happen. I really wouldn't try this at home. You know, you could just go out and panhandle and get enough cash to buy some more ingredients.

fudge balls too runny what to do?
Um... see above. If they're really really too runny instead of only slightly too runny, make truffles. Make your fudge balls into balls and freeze them. Look up a truffle recipe and just make the outside coating bit (I haven't ever made them myself and am not going to pretend I know how to temper chocolate off the top of my head), dip them in the coating and let it harden.

why pumpkin fudge didn't set
Ok, it sounds like you were getting seriously experimental. It probably didn't set because you modified a recipe without accounting for the additional moisture that would be in the pumpkin? You might have needed more sugar to balance out the pumpkin? Or maybe fibre interferes with fudgeiness? I bet it would... fudge sets because all the sugar you've put in it crystalizes. Even if the sugar crystalizes properly, comparatively large pumpkin fibres might make the texture a little wacky. But if that's not your problem, you probably ought to have used the soft ball test instead of a thermometer. The thermometer is a guideline and the actual temperature you want varies with altitude and ingredients.

Norwegian questions

recipe for lefse made with instant potatoes
potato lefse instant mashed
norwegian flatbread

I don't know. I mean, I have done it a couple of times, and I have a recipe for potato lefse on my site, but my family never made potato lefse so I can't vouch for its authenticity. Especially since I told my mom I made it and she told me that when she was a kid, Mrs. Horn used to make potato lefse and bring some over to share (Grandma would share her hardanger lefse with Mrs. Horn as well... I guess they had a collective thing going) and it was always really tough, but my potato lefse is always so tender it doesn't seem much like lefse at all. I imagine I don't use enough flour... it's yummy but I don't think it's authentic because Mrs. Horn knew what she was doing and um... I don't know where I'm going with this. I have a lefse-inspired potato flatbread recipe.

how do i freeze lefse and pack it
I dunno with potato lefse. With hardanger lefse, after you butter and cinnamon-sugar it, cut it into strips and stick it in ziploc bags and throw it in the freezer. You don't have to do anything fancy, it sort of magically works. Once we even saved some for next year. Not intentionally, mind you, but people were feeling sick and lefse didn't get made and some was found in the freezer from the year before and it tasted fine. Just defrost it gradually. I wouldn't microwave it, I'd pull it and stick it in the refrigerator a day before I wanted to serve it.

recipe for norwegian glug
I've never heard of norwegian glug. When I use the term "glug," I refer to an imprecise amount of liquid. It's more than a splash. There's a good chance that Norwegians use metric glugs, but I don't know what the conversion rate is. Sorry.

Monkey questions

monkeys lunch recipe
He prefers papayas, but I think he occasionally sneaks laser beans when I'm not looking.

pitchers and info about monkeys
I don't know much about monkeys. I have some wonderful links, but I don't know if I've actually linked to anyone who knows about monkeys. I've never seen a monkey pitcher. We do white elephant gift exchanges most christmases, but none has ever come up, despite the kitch value you'd think they'd have. If you're after pictures, check out the "so many monkeys, so little time" link in the links section. Whoever that dude is, he has some awesome monkey pictures.

ginger monkeys who won't eat
Do you mean gingerbread monkeys who won't eat? Perhaps you shouldn't be biting the heads off your gingerbread critters.

if cheese and monkeys were the same
If cheese and monkeys were the same... the implications are mind-boggling. Would this mean that cheese was really high maintenance and might tear your house up if not given enough attention? And that maybe you should just give up and be vegan? There's a big difference between cheese being like monkeys and monkeys being like cheese... Would monkeys melt? Would they go well with wine? It's very complicated. I'm willing to make up an answer to just about anything, but you have me stumped. You'll need to ask someone else.

Miscellaneous Questions

Chineese soup thin types
Sorry... I haven't actually made any chineese soups since I started the blog. I have been known to make them, but some people aren't very enthused when I recommend them, so I usually make them when I'm by myself. Try again in February.

how to make egg mayonaise
Mayonaise is pretty nasty, so you wouldn't catch me making it. But
I've heard that you drizzle oil into egg very slowly while you whip the heck out of it. If I were guessing, I'd start with an egg in a blender (on a reasonably high setting) and slowly add oil until it got to the right consistency. When you make meringues, it works better with room temperature egg. I dunno, I'd guess start with a room temperature egg for mayonaise too. The raw egg thing kind of scares me; you might look into getting those special pasterized raw eggs that are specially processed for such purposes.

breakfast or what ?
Good question. Breakfast or sleep in and start with lunch. Or you could overthrow the tyranny of the clock and start keeping 30 hour days. Then it's hard to tell what meal you're eating. There's a certain bit of cognitive disonnance involved in eating dinner as the sun rises, or breakfast as the sun sets, but this will happen once every few days. I find that naming meals stops making sense at this point.

carrots take long time cook
Yes, they do. But you can intervene. Julienned carrots will cook faster than big hunks of carrots. Usually when I cook carrots, I julienne them. Unless I'm making soup. Soup wants to ook, so a long time is in order whether carrots are involved or not.

how to spell calamata
I dunno. Maybe you should try to figure out how to re-word your sentance so that you can avoid the word entirely. Say "greek olives" or "those purple greek olive things" instead. Or just spell it wrong. I find that if I spell the occasional thing wrong, I'll get hits from people who also spell it wrong. I'm probably the bajillionth google hit with the correct spelling, but I'm up near the top when I get more creative.

rolled oats for lunch
Sounds good. I actually prefer pinhead oats, if given the option, but rolled oats aren't bad.

mung bean cake
They're good, aren't they?

microwaving cheese
Don't over-microwave it or you'll get something really solid. If it's in small pieces it will microwave more uniformly. If you're trying to make a melted cheese sandwich and cut a big hunk, you want to do it for a long time on a very low power rather than a on a high power. Unless you like it in an unmelted block in the middle and solid bubbly sheets on the edge.

I've actually been told that I misspelled qvark and it's actually spelled quark and pronounced qvark. It's a fresh cheese.

deconstructed soup
Hmm... you could give people pieces of carrot, onion, cellery, and some protein item like meat or tofu and serve them nicely arranged on a plate with a bowl of water on the side. Or you could just do something like sukiaki. I don't even know if I'm spelling that right, but it's yummy. I haven't had it in ages because I don't have an electric frying pan and my mom stopped making it regularly about 20 years ago. But you'd put a mixture of soy sauce, broth, and mirin in an electric frying pan. Then you have plates of all sorts of thinly sliced raw stuff. And everyone gets a bowl of rice and a little dish of raw egg. And then you take what you want to eat and stick it in the broth until it's cooked then pull it out and let it dribble in your bowl of rice. Maybe dip it into your raw egg first... then when you're done the rice is all dribbled on by the various food items so it's good and brothey and you can eat it. I should really try to get the recipe from her, shouldn't I.

stovetop gingerbread bowl recipe
I'm guessing you'd like to make stovetop gingerbread? Well, I'd do it like any other stove-top flatbread. You can probably go take my gingerbread recipe and instead of squooshing the whole thing out into a pan and baking it, pat it out into rounds. Put some oil in a frying pan and fry it on both sides. When I make flatbreads, I just do it until it feels right, which isn't a very helpful description. I don't know what you think stovetop gingerbread ought to be like. If you make it a super-flat flatbread, like tortillas, the top will puff up a bit. But with a thicker one it won't. Oh, I know! I have a great idea. Just go get a pancake recipe, or pancake mix. Add tons of spices to it (go click on the gingerbread link for a list of what I'd use) and cook it like normal pancakes. If you want, you could chop up some candied ginger and sprinkle it on top after you pour it, then when you flip it that will be like a blueberry pancake, only with ginger.

squash apetizer
I've never made a squash apetizer. Hmm... you could get some puff pastry and cut it into smallish squares and line small muffin tins with it. Then cook some squash and mix it with some butter, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and corriander. The puff pastry package ought to tell you how to cook it; I've never made puff pastry, so I'm not going to stick my neck out. Scoop the squash mixture into the little puff pastry thingys, and you'll have little pumpkin-pie-like appetizers. Yay.

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