Lamb Chops & Mint Vinaigrette; Chuletitas de Cordero con Salsa Hierbabuena

Lunch today: Tiny lamb chops, drizzled with a mint sauce (vinaigrette) and served with green asparagus & red peppers. Super quick and easy (the veggies came out of jars - commercial, but were very good quality preserves).

The ADSL is pretty unstable today so I might not make it to the end of this post without a problem.

The chopettes (little chops) are simply sprinkled with salt (lightly) and fried in a smoking hot pan; ensuring that the pieces don't touch when cooking (to avoid stewing them). In this case there were 400 grams [14 oz]. Get them good and crisp (that's why a hot hot pan is needed; to crisp without drying them out).

Mint Vinaigrette [Dressing]


  • ¼ C spearmint leaves (whole leaves)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 T red wine vinegar (Rioja) [or maybe cider vinegar]
  • 3 T olive oil (virgin)
  • ½ t salt
  • ¼ t pepper (white)
  1. put ingredients into a small receptacle and puree
  2. add additional oil if you want a little more of the dressing - no big deal
Doesn't get much easier than that.

Meatloaf: Pastel de Carne: Recipe

I'm a supposedly fancy-type cook but I really enjoy doing this so-called "simple" stuff as well. In fact, it's not so simple to do a great meatloaf (at least, not as good as my mom's). This one's based almost straight out of The New Best Recipe: Cooks Illustrated with just minor tweaking (for example, I decline the use of brown sugar in the glaze and my local meat guy doesn't carry veal). I used oatmeal as the "binder"; must be my Scottish heritage.

This one's fast, easy, pretty and darn tasty to boot. It'll be in the oven within about 10 minutes of when you start making it (if you get crackin' a little bit).

So, on with what I actually did:


  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, medium, brunoisse [diced]
  • 2 shallots, brunoisse
  • 4 garlic cloves, fine brunoisse [minced]

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup quark [kwark] (sour cream or yogurt)
  • ½ t thyme, dried
  • 2 t Dijon mustard
  • 2 t Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ t pepper sauce (I used habenero)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t ground pepper, white

  • 510 gr ground beef [1#]
  • 260 gr ground pork [½#]
  • 3 T dried parsley
  • 2/3 C fine rolled oats
  1. Oven at 175C [350F]
  2. Mix the ingredients for the glaze in a very small saucepan (bowl)
    • heat (microwave) until runny
    • set aside for later
  3. Sauté the onions - olive oil, medium heat
    • add shallots & garlic after a couple of minutes
    • soften the whole lot of them but don't brown them
    • set aside to cool
  4. In a bowl, mix everything else except the meat/oatmeal/parsley (use a fork)
  5. Put the meat into a (bigger) bowl and add the sautéed onions stuff and the egg stuff. Blend (use a spatula or your hands). The mixture needs to be moist enough that it doesn't stick to the bowl.
    • If it sticks, add some (whole) milk (or yogurt of something). If it's too wet and falling apart add some oatmeal (1 Tablespoon at a time).
  6. Don't use a meatloaf pan. Shape this free hand (loafaly shaped) on a oven-proof tray or casserole.
  7. Brush half of the glaze over the meat-shape.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes and then...
  9. Check the temp. At 70C [160F] it's done (Could take up to an hour)
    • Remove and let it sit for 20 minutes (important)
    • Take a picture
  10. Brush more glaze over the loaf before serving
  11. Good cold
  1. Next time I'll double the pepper sauce (and it still won't be "spicy"; I'm just looking for the point where there's a flavour-note of the peppers - nothing too extreme.
  2. I overcooked mine (I timed it by the clock but the internal temp got to 85!) - but it turned out quite okay - not too dry at all.
updated 23 feb: fixed an error in the garlic clove count; it was 4-5 (not 2)

Paleta Ibérica: Ham on a Stick

Here's something you don't see everyday (but we do). A entire pig's leg of ham.
It reminds me of the meat that Fred Flintstone used to eat all the time.
It's on my kitchen counter.

These can be found in all the grocery stores, meat shops, many cafes/bars and lots of kitchens. It's very delicious ham; carved directly from the bone (note the hoof on the left of the picture). It's been air-dried for a couple of years before getting to the market. Sort of like good scotch... it's been properly aged. The big hunk missing is the part where the meat's been sliced off... not where someone's been gnawing at it.

I'll be chopping this up and using the bits for soups and with vegetables; where one might typically use bacon in a recipe.

That's one of the things I like about Europe, we're closer to the origins of the food we eat and often see it in a practically natural state; not heavily disguised with corporate packaging.


This is Pisto. Braised vegetables. Up close.

While cooking:

In the process of preparation:

The "trick" with this dish is that each vegetable is cooked/braised separately to its indvidual point of perfection and then the assorted ingredients are mixed together for a final blending of several distinct flavours. It's really quite an interesting (French) technique - - but makes for a lot of dirty dishes.

¿Recipe? Soon.

I'm just dashing this post off in one of the few moments that my ADSL line is "up". The phone company's supposed to be sending someone around to check out why the line drops every 7 or 8 minutes.

Buttered Brussels Sprouts: Coles de Bruseles con Mantequilla

Oh, you're gonna love this.

And, by the way, they're called Brussels Sprouts - four S's: two in the middle of bruSSels and one at the end (brusselS) plus the one at the end of sproutS. Although if you had only one sprout I guess it would be a Brussels Sprout_ after all. But they do tend to be in groups rather than dealt with individually. The important thing being that there's always an S at the end of Brussels; it's the name a a very nice city in Belgium; half French and half Dutch. I once missed a train connection there.

The 2nd by the way is that Brussels sprouts have tested as effective against mammary carcinogenesis in Sprague-Dawley rats. They might be anti-carcinogenic.

It's nearing the end of the true BS season and so I'm doing them again before it's too late. This one's more or less according to the bible, Mastering the Art of French Cooking by the lovingly remembered Julia Child (no S at the end there). Page 450 for those following along at home

There's two steps to this and one secret to success. The secret is - don't overcook the damn things or they'll end up tasting sulfurous. Bah! The two steps are 1) Blanching and 2) Cooking.

So, this is what I actually did…


  • 450 gr Brussels Sprouts [1#]
  • ¼ t salt
  • ¼ t pepper, white
  • ¼ C butter
  • ¼ C salt (for the boiling water)
  • 1 sheet pastry paper [waxed paper]

  • large glass casserole (to put the sprouts in a single layer)

Oven at 175C [350F]

Step 1 - Blanching them
  1. Trim the base of each sprout
  2. Peel any grungy outer leaves
  3. Poke a cross in the base of each sprout (to ensure even & rapid cooking) with the your knife
  4. Boil an exceedingly large pot of water (that way the sprouts won't drop the temp too low when you toss them in) - high heat.
  5. Toss in the sprouts & return to a boil then lower the heat
  6. Boil softly for 6 minutes
  7. Then dump into a colander [sieve] and rinse with cold water (so that they're not too hot to handle)
Step 2 - Into the oven
  1. Coat the casserole lightly with some butter
  2. Coat the paper lightly with some butter
  3. Melt the rest (most) of the butter
  4. Put the sprouts into a glass casserole in a single layer
    • heads up
  5. Drizzle butter over Brussels Sprouts
    • melt some more and drizzle if you run out half way through (I know I would [and did])
  6. Sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper
  7. Cover loosely with the buttered paper
  8. Bake for 15 minutes
  9. == Done ==
Serve warm

  1. Fresh fresh fresh. Get decent sprouts. Not soft ones which will not cook nicely at all.
  2. All the sprouts should be the same size. Toss any that are twice as big as the rest - or twice as small.
  3. You can blanch these things up to a day ahead and stash them in the fridge
  4. Always blanch Brussels Sprouts (and toss the water out). I believe it eliminates some bitterness

Seasons Are Strange

It's hit 18c (65F) for the last couple of days here so I'm guessing that as of Valentine's Day that winter was, basically, over. It's time to think about taking the cover off the pool and getting ready for the spring season. I've pruned most of the roses and will need to tackle the grapevines by next week.

Thinking back I recall a post in mid-December lamenting the start of winter; and another one in January celebrating a rose blooming (so it's not been a too too bad winter season).

Counting end-to-end it amounts to being December 19th to February 15th. Almost two whole months! smile (image: wikipedia)

Lemon-Ginger Chicken on a Stick: Brochetas de Pollo

The pic predates my discovery of the macro-flash setting on my old camera but, still, it's not too bad at all.

Dead simple. A marinade, some meat, and a little bit of "technique" in the way it's cooked. Good for diets too (low-fat/calories). Scales well; double, triple or quadruple the recipe with no problem.

  • ½ kg chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cubes (for skewers) [1#]
  • 2 onions, medium, cut in ¼s or 1/6ths (chicken-sized chunks)
  • 3 lemons, juice of, & the pieces
  • 5 cm ginger [2"]
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 2 T vinegar (I used red wine type)
  • 2 red chili peppers (spilt & deseeded)
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ t pepper, white, ground
  • 12 brochettes [wooden skewers] (not really long ones)
  1. Cut chicken into cubes for the brochettes; about 1½cm [3/4"] on a side
  2. Cut the onion in half the long way (top to root) then each half into sections that are about the same size as the chicken pieces. The onions will all flake apart and you end up with flat onion layers that are the same size as the chicken pieces.
  3. Juice the lemons, ¼ the skins and toss into the juice
  4. Slice the ginger (not super fine) toss into the juice (your mostly be removing this later)
  5. Add the soy, vinegar and chili peppers to the juice (this is now officially a marinade)
  6. Add salt & pepper to the mix
  7. Put in the chicken pieces and the onion
    • mix
    • cover
    • refrigerate for 2-6 hours (or a day)
    • muck about the mixture a couple of times while marinating
  8. Assemble the chicken brochettes [skewers]
    1. slice or two of onion
    2. chunk of chicken
    3. onion
    4. chicken
    5. lather, rinse, repeat
    6. end with onion pieces
    7. Do not skewer the ginger, lemon peel or chilis
  9. This can be pre-prepared up to this point up to a day in advance (even two days)
  10. Fry the brochettes over high heat (for color), in batches - set aside when well colored (in a little tiny bit of oil)
  11. Return the brochettes to a medium-low heat, cover, and cook them through (another 10 minutes probably). Don't overdo it.
  12. == Done ==
  1. Variants include using red and green pepper slices along with the onions
  2. Use the chili peppers. It doesn't make things too hot and spicy but does a a touch of flavour
  3. Brown/burn the chicken really well when coloring it up. You don't want the meat to be white and dry so use high heat. This is not to cook it; it's to add color and sweeten up the meat with a little carmelization.
  4. You can finish the brochettes in a 175C [350F] oven instead of on top of the stove; that's what the professional kitchen usually does
  5. Don't overcook the chicken so that it's dry. Chicken can be both flavorful and moist; yes, really it can.
  6. No need to presoak the skewers because they're not going to be grilled

Beef Stew w/ Galangal & Juniper: The Recipe

So, have you gone out and bought your galanga powder and dried juniper berries? They are the secret ingredients in this stew. That, and some beer.

Here's that darn recipe for beef stew I keep not writing about.


  • 4 Tbs Olive oil, virgin
  • 2 kg Stewing beef, cubes (4#)
  • 1 kg Onions, julienne (2#)
  • 4 cloves Garlic, slightly crushed
  • 5 each Shallots, julienne
  • 1 kg Green peppers, chopped (2#)
  • 1 can beer (33 cl)
  • 1 liter Stock, beef (1 quart)
  • water
  • 1 tsp Galanga powder
  • 1 stick Cinnamon, whole
  • 2 each Cloves, whole
  • 2 each Chili peppers, dried, whole
  • 5 each Juniper berries, dried, whole
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
Other Stuff
  • 400 gr Tomatoes, whole, stewed (14 oz)
  • 1/2 kg Potatoes, baby (1#)

  1. Olive oil into a large deep pan (dutch oven / french oven)
  2. Brown meat, in batches, high heat, without the pieces touching. Until they are really really brown, almost so you think it's burnt (although it's not). If water develops in the bottom of the pan drain it off and continue. Water would mean you're "boiling" the meat;and you don't want that. Set aside.
  3. Brown the onions in the same pan, medium heat, until soft (not crispy). Add the shallots & garlic towards the end (because they burn more easily). Set aside.
  4. Braise the green peppers; until softened
  5. Put the onions back in the pan. Put the meat back in.
  6. Deglaze the pan with 1 can of beer
  7. Add about 1 liter beef stock (not the reconstituted powdered kind). And/or add water to cover.
  8. Add galanga powder, cloves, juniper berries, chiles (split and deseeded), cinnamon. Add salt & pepper.
  9. Simmer but DO NOT BOIL at any time. Boiling is EVIL.
  10. For up to 1 1/2 hours (depending on the meat tenderness)
  11. After 30 minutes add the tomatoes.
  12. When it's done, the meat is tender, add the baby potatoes (cut in half). Cook for 15 minutes more (for the potatoes)
  1. Never ever ever let the meat boil. Never.
    • makes it tough
  2. Even better than olive oil is to use peanut oil to sear meat - very hot
    • if it stops browning it's too wet; or gets liquidy in the pan; drain it and re-oil & continue searing
    • brown it 'til really good and brown and maybe you think it's burnt
  3. The French technique is to prepare all the ingredients independently then put it all back together in the pan. It seems like more work but it's actually easier to cook each thing _correctly_ and individually than it is to dig around in a mess of different ingredients cooking together.
Servings: 8
Calories: 715

Republished: due to some horrible formatting errors (thanks Shalee)

Total Lack of Inspiration & Beef Stew

It's been raining, I've had a cold and spring is probably at least a week away. Bah.

Due to a total lack of inspiration to finish my post about Galanga Beef Stew (which is 75% done but the last 25% seems all uphill) I hereby present the notes I partially worked from while making the dish. They're from the Cordon Bleu course I took in Basic Cuisine last year.

When cooking stuff I typically reference about a half dozen different recipes and I actually read them (not just browsing the ingredients). Then I make up something just slightly different (or, one might say, slightly the same)

#8 Estouffade de Bœuf Bourguignonne : Beef Burgandy Stew

Marinade was yesterday.
This is made with shoulder meat.

An interesting link about Boeuf Borg. at LES TECHNIQUES DE BASE EN CUISINE

Traditional garnishes are turned potatoes, glazed pearl onions, sautéed mushrooms, and lardon

A key here is - always strain everything whenever it's changing pans
Important points:
  • Never ever ever let the meat boil, not before the oven, nor in the oven, nor afterwards
    • makes it tough
  • Use peanut oil to sear meat - very hot
    • if it stops browning it's too wet; or gets liquidy in the pan; drain it and re-oil & continue searing
    • brown it 'til really good and brown and maybe you think it's burnt
    • remove to a bowl (you'll flour it later)
  • do veggies in same pan (sweat - don't brown)
  • deglaze (w/ fond) & put in sauce
  • prepare sauce - e.g. tomato paste but not too much! makes it acidic later
  • Boil wine/blood juice sauce to remove the blood effect - skim (straining later will finish skimming the last of the scum)
  • Roast the flour (get rid of gluten / gluey taste)
  • veggies into oven pan, meat into pan, sauce over meat; top up with fond to cover (at least 90%)
  • rind of the lardon goes into the estouffade and any cartilage from trimming the lardon
  • into oven to only simmer - never boil (200c / 1 hr)
  • out of oven; pick out meat (put on standby); strain vegs (toss 'em); boil & skim sauce
  • adjust seasoning
Note: Fats get/capture flavor first (e.g. in sauces); then gives it up to water later - and the fat can be skimmed off
this works real well in long cooked things like Beef B.

And since I'm messing around and not providing anything particularly useful I'll toss in a picture somewhat at random. This one is about a meter (yard) on each side and hangs in the salon (living room)at my house.

Chinese Five Spice Spare Ribs with Pickled Ginger

You get to be victims of my experimentation. Here's copy/paste from my recipe database with zero reformatting except to get the picture in its place.
It uses all kinds of table formatting so it'll probably be pretty crazy looking. It also has some embedded links (from ingredients) that simply do not work.
Note: It's not one of my own recipes - but I've made it and it's really quite good.

1,5 kg
baby-back ribs
15 ml
Chinese five-spice powder


Freshly ground black pepper
60 ml
hoisin sauce
60 ml
Chinese plum sauce
235 ml
apple cider or apple juice
60 ml
cider vinegar
15 ml
minced pickled ginger
garlic clove, peeled and crushed
30 ml
tomato paste
10 ml
soy sauce
15 ml

1 Rub the ribs all over with the five-spice powder and sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, stir together the hoisin and plum sauces and then brush them evenly over the ribs. Cut the ribs into sections of 3 to 5 ribs.
2 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180ºC). Oil 1 or 2 roasting pans large enough to hold the ribs in a single layer. Put the ribs in the pans and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake the ribs until the meat is tender enough to be pierced easily with a fork, about 1 hour, taking care to avoid the steam when you uncover the pans.
3 Carefully pour off the liquid from the roasting pans into a heatproof bowl. With a shallow spoon, skim off and discard the fat from the surface. Pour the remaining liquid into a large pot and add the cider or juice, vinegar, ginger, garlic, tomato paste, soy sauce, and honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid reduces to a thick, syrupy consistency, about 15 minutes.
4 Cut up the ribs into individual pieces and put them in the pot of sauce. Re-warm them, turning them in the sauce with tongs to coat them evenly. Transfer the ribs to a serving platter, passing any extra sauce on the side.

Servings: 6

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 serving
Percent daily values based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Amount Per Serving

Calories From Fat (68%)

% Daily Value
Total Fat 59,53g
Saturated Fat 21,92g
Cholesterol 202,82mg
Sodium 585,37mg
Potassium 755,44mg
Carbohydrates 20,19g
Dietary Fiber 0,74g
Sugar 4,39g

Sugar Alcohols 0,00g

Net Carbohydrates 19,45g

Protein 41,19g

Recipe Source


Source: Tribune Media Services

I love it when two great events fall close together, giving you twice as much of a good reason to have a party. That's what's happening during the next two weeks, with the traditional 15-day-long Chinese New Year observance starting on Jan. 29 and the all-American football celebration of Super Bowl XL taking place on Feb. 5 in Detroit.

And I know the perfect way to celebrate both with one recipe: Chinese Five-Spice Spare Ribs with Pickled Ginger!

I developed this recipe when I opened the first branch of my Chinois restaurant in Santa Monica back in 1983. Very soon I learned a lesson that anyone who runs a Chinese restaurant on this side of the Pacific will tell you: Ribs, along with wontons, are the dishes people ask for most often. So I set out to give my guests the best ribs I could come up with.

I start with baby-back ribs. These most popular choices among pork spareribs get their name not because they come from a younger animal but because they're smaller and come from the top of the rib area along the back of the pig, yielding the most tender, meatiest ribs. If they're unavailable, regular pork spareribs will be fine.

Then, to give the ribs an authentic Chinese flavor, I rub them first with five-spice powder, a traditional Asian blend of Szechwan peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, and fennel seed. Found in most well-stocked supermarkets, this seasoning gives the meat a complex flavor that's subtly hot, sweet, pungent, and aromatic all at the same time. Then, for extra flavor, I slather the ribs with a mixture of bottled hoisin sauce and plum sauce, which also help keep them moist and give them a rich, dark glaze.

Also to keep the ribs moist as well as tender, I first cook them slowly in a covered pan in the oven. Just before serving, I add still more flavorful ingredients, including sweet-sour apple cider vinegar, crushed garlic, honey, and a tablespoon of the pink pickled ginger root that you find in sushi bars and the Asian food sections of supermarkets, to turn the skimmed roasting juices into a thick sauce in which the ribs are warmed up. The sticky result is so delicious that you'll be licking your fingers long after the meat is gone. (Make sure to have lots of paper napkins on hand, too!)

In fact, I suggest that you double the recipe so you'll have extra, because the ribs are just as good reheated. That way, you can enjoy a big batch of them for Chinese New Year just a few days from now, and then you can eat them again the following weekend while you sit back and watch the Super Bowl!

Photo by Bob Fila, Chicago Tribune.

Cakey Creamy Cheesey Scones

More adventures in posting. This one's a try at pasting in a recipe that I wrote up in my recipe database (currently with something more than 180,000 recipes in there).

So the routine I'm trying out is is to document the recipe in the database and copy/paste it into here. I wonder what kind of a mess this will be (not the food part, the pasting-in part).


  • 425 g unbleached all-purpose flour [2 C]
  • 1.5 T baking powder
  • 60 gr ml sugar[2,5 oz]
  • ½ t salt
  • 90 gr chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes [1/3 C]
  • 175 gr Manchego cheese, grated [6 oz, cheddar {real cheddar}]
  • 350 ml heavy cream [11,5 oz] (35% butterfat - whipping type)
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 t mustard powder
  1. Oven rack to middle position and heat to 220 degrees [425F]
  2. Sift the grainy solids together (flour, baking powder, sugar, cayenne, mustard and salt).
    • Whisk around (dry) to blend
  3. Cut in the butter until the dough mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. By smushing it through your fingers until you have a light "sand". Avoid melting the butter from the heat of your hands.
  4. Stir in the grated cheese (reserve some for later)
  5. Mix together the liquids (heavy cream & egg (lightly beaten)) with a rubber spatula ; work quickly - about 30 seconds. Add more flour if the thing is not somewhat dry (mine started out quite a bit too wet). Save a tablespoon or 2 of cream for later
  6. Dump out onto a work surface, Flatten the dough to about 1,5cm [3/4"] thick and rectangular shaped.
  7. Cut into 6 (2 by 3 squares) and then the "squares" diagonally into triangles.
  8. Place triangles on Silpat baking sheet
  9. Paint some heavy cream onto the tops (for a nice toasty result)
  10. Sprinkle on some cheese bits
  11. Bake until tops are light brown, 14 minutes
  12. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes.
  13. Serve warm or at room temperature (thus, not cold)
  14. Good with butter or honey
Note: Fixing up the formatting of the copy/paste was tedious. I ended up doing a Paste Without Formatting and decorating it manually.
Obviously this procedure needs work.

Note: The straight paste was as follows (for comparison purposes). This paste has the real ingredients that I used but it was before I rewrote the words to match what I actually did

Cakey Cream Cheese Scones

425 gr

unbleached all-purpose flour [2 C]
1.5 Tbs
baking powder
70 ml
5 ml
90 gr
chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
175 gr
cheese, grated
350 ml
heavy cream
2 eggs
large eggs
1 pinch
cayenne pepper
1 tsp
mustard powder

1 Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425/220 degrees.
2 Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.
3 If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in currants. If using food processor,remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.
4 Stir in heavy cream, milk & egg (lightly beaten) with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
5 Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to counter top and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by either a) pressing the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turning the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges with either a knife or bench scraper (the book’s suggestion) or b) patting the dough onto a lightly floured work surface into a ¾-inch thick circle, cutting pieces with a biscuit cutter, and pressing remaining scraps back into another piece (what I did) and cutting until dough has been used up. (Be warned if you use this latter method, the scones that are made from the remaining scraps will be much lumpier and less pretty, but taste fine. As in, I understand why they suggested the first method.)
6 Place rounds or wedges on ungreased baking sheet and bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Servings: 12
Cooking time: 12 minutes

Beef Stew w/ Junipers

I believe I've got the recipe put back together. The big thing with this one was the oldfashioned french cooking techniques I used. While I document those here's a picture to hold us over.

Galanga, Juniper, Cinnamon

I made a quick beef stew for the family before I went out for the evening. Reports came in (via SMS on the mobile phone) that it was fantastic. Very gratifying.

The next trick is trying to reconstruct what exactly I did; since I was being inventive and not really paying attention. I do recall that it had some unusual flavour components (spices) including galanga, powder juniper berries, cloves and cinnamon.

Let me work on it and I'll get back to you.

Braised Cucumbers with Tomato: Calabacin y Tomate

No foto. But… it can't get much easier than this…


  • olive oil
  • 1 kg (2,2#) zucchini
  • 125 g (4,5 oz) tomato sauce (just crushed [strained?] tomato)
  • 1 t salt (approx)
  • ½ t pepper
  • ¼ t cumin, ground (surprise)
  1. Oil in a frying pan
  2. ¼ zucchini the long way and dice them large (chunky, 1,5 cm [3/4"])
  3. Braise the zucchini (which amounts to doing the following)
    • Fry in the oil (not too hot) first (maye they'll brown slightly {mine didn't}')
    • Then cook them, covered, in their own fluids
      • medium low heat
      • they'll release a fair bit of liquid after a while
      • maybe 10 minutes, slowly, to soften
      • stir about twice in that time
    • Remove lid, increase heat, and reduce the liquid until it's almost all gone
  4. Add the tomato
  5. Reduce some more; until the salsa [sauce] coats the zucchini & the back of a spoon
  6. Add pepper - stir
  7. Add cumin (comino)
  8. Add salt - stir. Check the salt
  9. You're done
  1. Bringing out the juices of the veggies and then reducing the liquid will give yo the true flavour of these things
  2. Don't be afraid of adding salt to enhance the flavour.
    • If you skip one bag of commercial potato chips each month you will reduce your salt intake enough to add as much as you want to real food.
  3. I've been using salt, pepper & cumin a lot in recipes lately. A slight touch of cumin in recipes give a subtle edge to the dish that people seem to enjoy. Never adding so much that they actually notice that there's cumin in it though.
I've been trying to make things really super simple this week - because I have a cold and a perpetual headache. This is a really dead-simple recipe and is cheap to boot.

Update: I just figured out that this technique is called braising in English and have updated the post accordingly. I'd also forgotten to mention putting the lid on the pan.