redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Feb. 25th, 2019 10:48 pm)
I made a sweet potato and cauliflower curry for dinner tonight, because I got some nice-looking small sweet potatoes at the farmers market on Saturday. I wanted a second vegetable (along with the background onion and apple), and we have lots of frozen cauliflower.

Cauliflower, or at least frozen cauliflower, was too bland for this. I liked how the sweet potato came out well enough that I'm going to try this again. The spicing this time was a mix of Penzey's Singapore seasoning and garam masala, ground ginger, roasted garlic powder, cumin, and thyme. I started by sauteeing diced onion and Granny Smith apple, then sprinkled the spices on that to cook for a couple of minutes. Then added chicken broth, brought it to a simmer, put in slices of sweet potato and a handful of raisins, and simmered for about ten minutes. (Then I added the cauliflower.) It took about twenty minutes for the sweet potato to be cooked through, at which point I added lemon juice and three tablespoons of coconut milk, and served it over white rice.

I also started on the pre-surgery eye drops this morning; those went pretty smoothly, both the four/day antibiotics and the once-a-day Ilevro.
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redbird: closeup photo of an apricot (apricot)
( Feb. 13th, 2017 07:03 pm)
Someone commented about wanting to try "that recipe," which led to me leaving a long reply more-or-less describing my method, with footnotes. I am pasting it here, just because.

cut for length, and because most people who want to make French toast probably know how )
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redbird: closeup photo of an apricot (apricot)
( Feb. 12th, 2017 06:24 pm)
Yes it's a cliche, but I made challah French toast for lunch during this snowstorm.

This was the second instance of "I don't want sandwiches" (last night's desire for a hot meal instead led me to cook ravioli). It helped that we had the dozen eggs, plenty of milk, and most of a loaf of challah: the nearest bakery, while not at all Jewish, sells different kinds of bread from Wednesday through Sunday, and on Friday they bake challah. (It's dairy, which seems weird to me and means I can't give it to [personal profile] adrian_turtle, but tastes good.)

I am a little out of practice on French toast, and this was the first time I'd made it in this kitchen, so I had the pan a little too cool for the first batch of French toast. That batch was okay, but the second batch was properly browned and significantly better than the first.

Other than that, I have done proofreading (paid) and some exercises, and been outdoors only briefly today.
redbird: closeup photo of an apricot (apricot)
( Jan. 9th, 2017 12:49 pm)
I was almost out of sugar and low on apple cider, so decided I should go to the nearest store even though it was very cold out (11F/-11C, with enough snow on the ground that the ground-level temperature was probably colder than that).

Christo's is an odd combination of convenience store, greengrocer, and Greek specialty food shop. The produce is well above the bodega/convenience store/depanneur standard, so I bought mushrooms, Cara Cara oranges, and a few Macintosh apples.

[livejournal.com profile] cattitude is out, so I made an impromptu mushroom dish for lunch. I sliced several mushrooms (the standard white mushroom of commerce), sauteed them in olive oil for a few minutes until they were all brown on both sides, then added a bit of sliced scallion and turned the heat down. Meanwhile, I was boiling water for pasta.

So, rotini with sliced mushrooms for a relatively easy (and accidentally vegan) lunch. The seasonings were dill, ginger, dried minced garlic, soy sauce, and cider vinegar; I added pepper but not salt at the table. I sprinkled the dill and ginger onto the mushrooms as soon as they went into the pan; I added the garlic, soy, and vinegar after turning the heat down.

It's not a brilliant invention: it was definitely mushrooms on pasta, not pasta with a mushroom sauce, but it was definitely lunch, and I will probably do this again. (More often I make rice, but pasta seemed quicker.) I may experiment with something to hold the meal together a bit more. We have pesto in the refrigerator, but that felt like altogether the wrong direction for this, and I wasn't in the mood for tomato sauce out of a jar.

[This post is mostly for my reference, so I'm more likely to remember and cook this again.]
redbird: closeup photo of an apricot (apricot)
( Dec. 15th, 2016 09:37 pm)
[personal profile] switterbeet mentioned this recipe recently, and I read it and decided to give it a try, since it calls for garam masala, ginger, and garlic, but no hot peppers, and looked fairly easy.

I made it this evening, serving it over rice instead of sweet potatoes, and [personal profile] adrian_turtle, [livejournal.com profile] cattitude, and I were all quite pleased. Adrian was a little surprised that it contains coconut milk, which makes it very nice and creamy (and different from what we're used to seeing in Indian restaurants).

I left out the cilantro, and used olive oil instead of coconut oil, which worked quite well. (I suspect canola or a similar neutral-flavored oil would also be fine.) I also used slightly less coconut milk than it calls for, that being what I had, and might use slightly less next time.

I'll be making this again, which is why I'm posting this. It's vegan; that isn't an issue for the three of us, but I'm glad to add to my small repertoire of vegan meals that I like and hence am comfortable serving to guests.
Since it basically worked, and the recipe I found online for the previous attempt didn't quite, here's what I did:

10 small shrimp (raw, peeled and butterflied)


1 egg
1 teaspoon sesame oil
leftover baked ham, diced in 1/4-inch pieces
scallions
ginger
garlic
canola oil
leftover (white basmati) rice

I made this in the first place because [personal profile] cattitude baked a ham, and two people and a ham means a lot of ham.

Prep: peel the shrimp. Mince scallions, garlic, and ginger (they can all go in the same bowl). Dice some ham into fairly small pieces (1/4 inch or a little larger). Beat the egg with the sesame oil.

Cooking:
Heat a wide, heavy skillet on high (about 7 on my electric stove) until it's quite hot, then pour in a couple of tablespoons of oil.

Add the shrimp, and stir-fry only until pink, a couple of minutes. With shrimp this size, I not only turned them over, I used tongs to make sure they rested on their round edges to cook that side. As they're done, remove them to a plate. Set aside. [They can go in the bowl with the diced ham.]

Turn the heat down just a little (6), and pour the egg into the pan. One egg in a large hot pan cooks fast; this isn't so much scrambling the egg as flipping it over a few times. When it's just firm, remove the egg from the pan. Turn the heat off. Cut the egg into bite-sized pieces, and set aside. (Can also go with the ham and shrimp).

(The recipe I was working from said to wipe out the pan at this point, but I saw no bits of egg or shrimp, and wiping a hot pan doesn't appeal to me.

Turn the stove back on, 4 or a little lower. Add some more oil. Put the scallion, ginger, and garlic in the pan, and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the cooked rice to the pan. Spread out as much as possible, sprinkle with soy sauce, and stir-fry/toss to coat with oil (or maybe the soy went in before I tossed the rice). I turned the heat down to 3 somewhere around this point.

Stir-fry for another 6 minutes or so, then put the shrimp, ham, and scrambled egg back in the pan. Stir-fry for a bit over 2 minutes, to (re)heat the ham, egg, and shrimp all the way through. Serve.

This was enough for two people; the recipe I worked from says it serves 4-6, but calls for 2 eggs and more of the other ingredients, and also includes a small red bell pepper, finely diced, and 1/2 cup defrosted frozen peas, but I skipped the peas for simplicity and the pepper because I'm not sure fried rice needs pepper. If I did include pepper, I'd probably slice it into thin strips rather than dice it. (That recipe used shrimp and barbecued pork, but I have the ham.)
redbird: closeup photo of an apricot (food)
( Sep. 14th, 2015 10:31 pm)
[personal profile] cattitude and I periodically make chicken stock, and freeze most of it for cooking with.

I bought half a roast duck in Chinatown a couple of weeks ago. That gave us a very nice duck salad for dinner, and I froze the bones and much of the skin. Then I threw some vegetable peelings (carrot and rutabaga) into the freezer bag. We had baked chicken thighs for dinner on Friday, and I kept the chicken bones.

Saturday I bought a bunch of orange beets, and saved the tops. I don't like most cooked greens, for texture reasons, but I figured they might be a good addition to the stock.

I think I was right; I got almost three liters of tasty stock, which came out a bit darker than usual. Now that I know it works (for our tastes; I knew it wouldn't be poison), I may use more beet greens next time. A bunch of four beets has what looks like a lot of greenery.
I don't cook broccoli very often, but there was some in tonight's dinner. Halfway through the meal, I picked up a piece of broccoli, looked at it, and said "trees." Vekna always called broccoli that, and often argued that it was an ornamental rather than an edible flower (there was broccoli in her wedding bouquet). I miss her, but that was a mostly cheerful reminder, without the sharper edge of "we were going to do this thing together" or "I could use her advice here."

We had that for dinner tonight because I bought some tofu and vegetables last week, and then didn't cook them before or while [personal profile] rysmiel was visiting. I hadn't felt like being experimental while we had a guest, and the only other time I'd cooked tofu was as [personal profile] adrian_turtle's sous-chef.

So: extra-firm tofu, marinated in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, ginger paste, and soy sauce for about three hours. The vegetables were carrot (thin disks), broccoli, scallions, and red bell pepper. I sauteed the carrots, scallions, and pepper in more olive oil for a few minutes; added the broccoli and tofu; cooked for a minute or so; then added the sauce, covered, and cooked everything for about another three minutes. (It's "sort of" stir-fried because I don't have a wok.)

The sauce was the marinade plus more ginger paste, some black bean sauce, and then a bit of water when there wasn't enough liquid. Served over rice, of course.

It was dinner, and is a starting point, now that I am a bit more confident of what I'm doing. The sauce came out a bit bland: next time, use fresh ginger as well as the ginger paste in the marinade. Garlic would be good. Cook the sauce briefly, or at least heat it to near a simmer before it goes into the pan, and reduce the final cooking time.
So, for tonight's dinner I took out the leftover simmered lemony chicken from a couple of days ago, added a bit more cooked chicken (since I had one leftover baked chicken thigh), some tomato paste, quite a bit more ginger paste, and some more garam masala.

I stirred well, heated it in the microwave, and served it over rice, with peas alongside because it seemed like a green vegetable would be good: part of a bag of frozen peas, boiled for five minutes, and served with butter and dill.

This was tastier, as well as more in the direction of the original goal. Whether we do it againis likely to depend in large part on how much work the first step, cutting up and marinating the chicken is, and on planning enough ahead to marinate the chicken overnight. (I could have reheated this on the stovetop, but I probably wouldn't have made the peas.)

[I'm leaving the "improvisational cooking" tag here, even though most of the improv was done earlier in the week.]
I was going to make a shrimp curry [1] for supper, but realized on my way our of the store that we had had curry quite recently, and as I got back to my door that this meant we didn't have the apple I had been planning on using.

I spent some time jotting down possible alternatives. What I wound up with was shrimp cooked with onions and a bit of celery, in a sauce made from chicken broth, black bean paste, and ginger paste. That's based on what we had in the house: in particular, there was fresh celery because [livejournal.com profile] cattitude made split pea soup yesterday.

By the time I needed to cook, I was feeling quite tired (if I'd been that tired at 4:30 I wouldn't have bought the shrimp in the first place), so am pleased that I came up with something that worked without a recipe.

Dinner basically worked, but if I make this again I will definitely reduce the amount of black bean: it makes things salty, and overwhelmed the meal. I'm writing it down so I can improve it next time, not because I'm satisfied with it.

Approximate method:

Ingredients:

One medium yellow onion, chopped
One stalk celery, cut fairly small
Half a pound of medium shrimp, peeled

Black bean paste, as much as comes out when I stick a knife into the bottle 2-3 times, and scrape it into a bowl with a spoon (that's the amount I will try next time)
Ginger paste, something like half an ounce, squeezed out of the tube until it looks right. (In New York I got a thick ginger paste in jars, from an Indian grocery on Lexington Avenue. Tonight I used Gourmet Garden brand, which comes in tubes and mixes more easily with other things. It also has more ingredients, some of which are probably in there to help it flow.)
Chicken broth (something out of a box this time), a couple of tablespoons
Olive oil
Rice, to be cooked separately

Start the rice first, so things will come out at about the same time. (I use white basmati and cook it in a saucepan on the stovetop, but Carolina or brown basmati or even a short-grain white rice would probably work; use what you like here [2].)

To make the sauce, mix the ginger paste, black bean paste, and broth with a spoon, then set it aside.
Saute the onions in the olive oil over low to medium heat, so they cook gently
Somewhere in here, microwave the sauce for a few seconds, then set it aside again (I had set the microwave timer to 33 seconds and took it out after about 20, and 15 would probably be about right: the goal here is for the sauce to be warm when it goes over the shrimp and vegetables, not to caramelize it).
After a few minutes, when the onions are soft, add the shrimp and celery. Cook, stirring, until the shrimp are pink all the way through.
Pour the sauce onto the shrimp and vegetable mixture, stir to coat, and serve over rice.

Notes for next time: as noted above, less black bean paste, and maybe more broth (for volume of sauce). I should have used the whole rib of celery.

[1] My modified curry spicing is based on the Penzey's "Singapore seasoning," which gets most of its heat from black pepper; dried ginger; and cumin. I'm still fiddling with it, and plan to try a bit of cinnamon next time.
[2] "take into account special interest groups, such as five-year-olds"
The method for this is based on my chicken a la something-or-other, and was modified to work with what was in [personal profile] adrian_turtle's kitchen. We bought chicken (boneless thighs) and mushrooms for the purpose, and did without a bell pepper because the ones in the store didn't look good.

Because Adrian doesn't have as large a frying pan as I usually use, I sauteed things in shifts, and then moved them to a deeper pot to keep warm. Stuff stuck to the pan, and I was worried that it wouldn't come out, but it also gave us nicely browned chicken. I'm recording this version because I will probably want to do the lemon-ginger sauce again.

recipe )
[personal profile] adrian_turtle suggested that congee (jook) would be a soothing thing for a sick hobbit, specifically one with a sore throat sort of a cough. I had a reasonable amount of broth in the freezer, I had rice (of course), and I actually had both scallions and fresh ginger. So I tried it.

Conclusion: either 90 minutes on a low simmer isn't long enough starting with uncooked long-grain white ("Carolina") rice, or something else went wrong. I think I eventually wound up with a ratio of about 9 parts liquid to one part rice (I started at 8:1, but added some more water as I went. The reason I suspect the timing was wrong is that the rice still had significant form when I decided that I didn't care if it was congee, I was hungry.

It was a bit on the bland side: I think I'd counted too much on the flavor of the stock. Soy sauce helped. If I reheat what's left, I may throw in more ginger to simmer with it (or just let the bits of ginger that I threw in tonight flavor it more).

For meat, I had a little bit of leftover pork from a takeout order of moo shu pork a couple of days ago; it's not ideal, but it worked. (Red-rimmed pork would be better, as would duck or chicken, but you use what you have.

I'd give this one a C: it was edible, and I'm even thinking in terms of keeping the leftovers, but I'm thinking in terms of how to change it, rather than being satisfied with what I made. I also note that my stock (from duck bones, onion, carrot, and celery, mostly) made a rather yellower congee than I'm used to; anything done with a commercial chicken broth would probably be like that, only more so.

I wonder if I should grab a tangerine and throw in some (scrubbed) skin; many recipes call for a rehydrated bit of tangerine peel.

I know several good places to get congee; none of them is really local to me, making them less than useful for a sick person on a weekend.
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or, I haven't updated lately except with gym notes, though I meant to.

I've been doing a bit more cooking today (not as much as I would like, still, but cooking is a piece of day-to-day-life that I can pay strangers to take care of). Today, I got [personal profile] cattitude to talk me through his frittata recipe. He also kindly offered to beat the eggs, so as to spare my shoulder. One apple and cheddar frittata, a nice lunch for the two of us. (Or maybe an oven omelet, since it's fluffy and not broiled; [personal profile] adrian_turtle makes a different style of frittata, which I also like.) It's been a while since I cooked something new to me; that's more work that throwing together matzoh meal pancakes or turning the leftover turkey into a rice pilaf for dinner. Those I can do in my sleep.

My joints continue to be creaky, even on days when I don't seem to have done much. That said, the shoulder is healing again, albeit slowly. The knees I am starting to suspect may never get back to normal/pain-free. Or at least not with what we're doing now. At some point I may investigate physical therapy instead of, or in addition to, the balance and strengthening work my trainer and I have been doing. It also doesn't help that any time I seem to be making progress, I push things. (I am not looking for any sort of medical advice here.)

I'm doing a lot of rereading lately, including ebooks (Project Gutenberg and the Baen Free Library). Or it feels like a lot, but my list of recently finished ebooks includes The Voyage of the Beagle and The Portrait of Dorian Gray, neither of which I'd read before.

On the other hand, Cattitude and I continue to cull the book collection and thus reclaim space. This is mostly things we've concluded we will never reread, but not all: we don't need a hardcover Complete Oscar Wilde, given Project Gutenberg. We are not looking for homes for anything this round, though. People might want some of the ones we're discarding this time, but I don't care about them enough to make the effort. I was pleasantly surprised that the copy of Liddell and Scott was claimed so quickly when I offered it. The claimant has made a generous donation to two charities I suggested; I explicitly didn't want to be paid for it directly. That would have felt wrong, somehow.

The OE of A Women's APA sent out invitations a couple of months ago, for all alumnae to send in "this is what I'm up to" notes to be included in mailing 200. I sent about a page, and recently got fourteen pages, including my own. [The "OE" is the person who organizes things, sends out mailings, and so on. I was OE of AWA for a few years. An apa is a bit like a group blog and a bit like a listserv, if that helps; there were a lot more of them before most of fandom could count on easy net access.] I've noted a couple of women's contact information, and may yet try to write to them. (My entry included the contact information here.) I'm trying, slowly, to get more of a social life back. This should probably be more focused on people in the New York area, which most of them aren't.)
redbird: closeup photo of an apricot (apricot)
( Sep. 2nd, 2009 10:33 pm)
I made watermelon sorbet last night. It's not perfect, but it's good. The main flaw is that it froze a bit harder than I hoped, harder than commercial sorbet, and thus needs to be scraped rather than scooped, even after having a few minutes to soften. But it is tasty, and it is watermelon, and I'm glad to have it.

This goes back to my basic theory that I'm not going to use the ice cream maker for flavors I can buy: it's too much trouble, and not that economical (even if I don't count my time spent). This theory is part of why I hadn't used the ice cream maker in a few months. But I had most of a (not too huge) watermelon, and that's a lot for two people.

So. Watermelon, with the seeds removed, broken into small bits and then pureed (I used a hand mixer, because I don't have a blender). A bit under a quart. Simple syrup (one cup of sugar, 1/2 cup water). Juice of one lime. Mix well. Put in ice cream maker. When the paddle stopped rotating, I scooped it out into two containers (with more sorbet-ish-looking solid in one, and more liquid in the other), stopping to taste a bit before bedtime. That was enough to have me optimistic about the results, and a bit relieved; the only previous attempt at sorbet had been a complete failure.
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redbird: closeup photo of an apricot (apricot)
( Sep. 2nd, 2009 10:33 pm)
I made watermelon sorbet last night. It's not perfect, but it's good. The main flaw is that it froze a bit harder than I hoped, harder than commercial sorbet, and thus needs to be scraped rather than scooped, even after having a few minutes to soften. But it is tasty, and it is watermelon, and I'm glad to have it.

This goes back to my basic theory that I'm not going to use the ice cream maker for flavors I can buy: it's too much trouble, and not that economical (even if I don't count my time spent). This theory is part of why I hadn't used the ice cream maker in a few months. But I had most of a (not too huge) watermelon, and that's a lot for two people.

So. Watermelon, with the seeds removed, broken into small bits and then pureed (I used a hand mixer, because I don't have a blender). A bit under a quart. Simple syrup (one cup of sugar, 1/2 cup water). Juice of one lime. Mix well. Put in ice cream maker. When the paddle stopped rotating, I scooped it out into two containers (with more sorbet-ish-looking solid in one, and more liquid in the other), stopping to taste a bit before bedtime. That was enough to have me optimistic about the results, and a bit relieved; the only previous attempt at sorbet had been a complete failure.
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Since I can't eat hot peppers (of the capsaicin sort) anymore, and like curry, I decided a while ago to see how close I could get without that specific spice. I started with a package of Penzey's Balti seasoning mix, not because it's the perfect curry blend, but because it's a curry blend I used, and had in the house, that had a list of ingredients. I went to Aphrodisia and got some of everything on that list that wasn't a capsaicin, and I didn't already have.

Then I mixed them up, guessing at quantities, and unfortunately not noting how much I'd used, and proceeded to leave it untouched for a while. Tonight, I made us a shrimp sort-of-curry.

[livejournal.com profile] cattitude and I agreed that it wasn't hot enough; in groping for vocabulary, he said it needed more "sharp" flavors, and after a while it transpired that fresh garlic, uncooked, has some of that, but cooked garlic doesn't. Mustard is also in there.

The notes from tonight are:


  • needs more sharp

  • mustard (there's a little in there now)

  • horseradish?

  • maybe add fresh garlic a minute or so before the lemon juice

  • more clove?

  • replace our ginger powder

  • Szechuan peppercorns?



Cattitude also notes that he wants to do other things with the ajuwan (which I bought for the first time to use in this), possibly trying using it instead of sage in a chicken stuffing.

The notes from when I mixed this up say that it contains coriander, dried garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon (true cinnamon, not cassia), mustard (but it's old), clove, fenugreek, anise, ajowan, cilantro, black pepper, and turmeric. There should be coriander, but I forgot to buy any.

Therefore: I should get powdered ginger, powdered mustard, and powdered coriander before doing this again.

Edited based on comments:

I put two cardamom pods in as well. I'm not going to start hand-grinding spices with a mortar and pestle. Even an electric spice grinder seems less likely on a weeknight; yes, it gets good results, but realistically, time and energy are limitations. Fresh ginger, or the ginger paste I have in the fridge, seems plausible. (Ginger root may keep "forever" in some people's refrigerators, but in mine, after a few weeks it is dried out or starts to develop mold.)
Since I can't eat hot peppers (of the capsaicin sort) anymore, and like curry, I decided a while ago to see how close I could get without that specific spice. I started with a package of Penzey's Balti seasoning mix, not because it's the perfect curry blend, but because it's a curry blend I used, and had in the house, that had a list of ingredients. I went to Aphrodisia early in the spring and got some of everything on that list that wasn't a capsaicin, and I didn't already have.

Then I mixed them up, guessing at quantities, and unfortunately not noting how much I'd used, and proceeded to leave it untouched for a while. Tonight, I made us a shrimp sort-of-curry.

[personal profile] cattitude and I agreed that it wasn't hot enough; in groping for vocabulary, he said it needed more "sharp" flavors, and after a while it transpired that fresh garlic, uncooked, has some of that, but cooked garlic doesn't. Mustard is also in there.

The notes from tonight are:


  • needs more sharp

  • mustard (there's a little in there now)

  • horseradish?

  • maybe add fresh garlic a minute or so before the lemon juice

  • more clove?

  • replace our ginger powder

  • Szechuan peppercorns?



Cattitude also notes that he wants to do other things with the ajuwan (which I bought for the first time to use in this), possibly trying using it instead of sage in a chicken stuffing.

The notes from when I mixed this up say that it contains coriander, dried garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon (true cinnamon, not cassia), mustard (but it's old), clove, fenugreek, anise, ajowan, cilantro, black pepper, and turmeric. There should be coriander, but I forgot to buy any.

Therefore: I should get powdered ginger, powdered mustard, and powdered coriander before doing this again.

Edited based on comments:

I put two cardamom pods in as well. I'm not going to start hand-grinding spices with a mortar and pestle. Even an electric spice grinder seems less likely on a weeknight; yes, it gets good results, but realistically, time and energy are limitations. Fresh ginger, or the ginger paste I have in the fridge, seems plausible. (Ginger root may keep "forever" in some people's refrigerators, but in mine, after a few weeks it is dried out or starts to develop mold.)
This is an extremely rich thing, really closer to fudge than cake. It's easy, can be pareve (the recipe originally called for butter, but I used margarine and everyone was happy), and my family loved it. I offered to make another one for next year; it's too rich to be a reasonable thing to bake for two or three people, but it's fine for ten or twelve; with nine, we had leftovers, and the other desserts were mostly ignored. This is of the "rich, and fits the rules for Passover" category, rather than having been designed specifically to be kosher for Passover.

Yes, [livejournal.com profile] papersky, it measures almost everything by volume. The amounts seemed forgiving.

This can be baked in an eight-inch round cake pan, an eight-inch pie plate, or anything of similar dimensions. If you're using a square pan, that would be about 6 by 6.


  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, in small pieces. Use chocolate chips, or cut up other chocolate. With chips, I used a measuring cup.

  • 4 ounces (=1/2 cup, =1 stick) butter or margarine

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • orange extract, probably about a teaspoon (optional)

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder



Preheat oven to 375°F (I think that's about 190°C or gas mark 5, but check before baking if your kitchen doesn't speak American). Grease your pan. Cut an eight-inch round piece of wax paper, put it in the bottom of the pan, and grease the top of the wax paper. (I suspect it would be easier to cut the wax paper to size before greasing the pan. I don't actually know if this step is necessary, if, as I did, you use a glass pie plate, but the recipe said to do this, and it seemed to work.)

Put the margarine and chocolate in the top of a double boiler, with the water on the bottom barely simmering. Melt, stirring regularly. (If you have a microwave, sure, use that instead, but do stir regularly, and use a large bowl.) When they're completely melted, turn off the stove (or microwave) and remove the top half of the double boiler from the still-hot bottom half, putting it on a heat-safe surface.

Whisk the sugar in thoroughly. Next, whisk in the orange extract and the eggs, again thoroughly. (The orange extract was not in the original recipe, and I don't remember if I added it before or after the eggs. It probably doesn't matter which. The amount is basically "one glug from the nice four-ounce container of orange extract I got from Penzey's." The great thing about getting orange extract in containers that size is that it encourages me to use it liberally, not hoard it the way I'm likely to if I have the tiny vial from the supermarket.

Now, sift in the cocoa powder, and whisk just until blended. If you spill some of the cocoa powder in the process, guess at how much and add it back.*

Pour this mixture into your greased pan. Put the pan in the oven. Bake 25 minutes or until a thin crust forms on top of the torte. (I set the timer for 26 minutes, actually, because I have a slightly slow oven, and it had a crust then so I took it out.)

Let cool at least a little while; if you're baking for an event three days later, put plastic wrap or foil over the top of the torte, and refrigerate.

When it's time to serve the torte, cut into small pieces. As dessert after a serious seder meal, this serves nine, with a bit to take home to impress the houseguest who didn't arrive in the city until after the seder, and the beloved who was working too hard to join your family for the celebration.

The recipe I was working with suggested topping this with whipped cream. I didn't for the same reason I used margarine, namely that one of the people I was baking for can't eat dairy. I'm not sure whether that would make it too intense, or whether home-whipped cream with absolutely the minimum of sugar would actually cut this somewhat.

*Somewhere around here, [livejournal.com profile] cattitude, who was helping, intoned "Be certain that the rum is of the highest quality."**

**see The Bakery Men Don't See
This is an extremely rich thing, really closer to fudge than cake. It's easy, can be pareve (the recipe originally called for butter, but I used margarine and everyone was happy), and my family loved it. I offered to make another one for next year; it's too rich to be a reasonable thing to bake for two or three people, but it's fine for ten or twelve; with nine, we had leftovers, and the other desserts were mostly ignored. This is of the "rich, and fits the rules for Passover" category, rather than having been designed specifically to be kosher for Passover.

Yes, [livejournal.com profile] papersky, it measures almost everything by volume. The amounts seemed forgiving.

This can be baked in an eight-inch round cake pan, an eight-inch pie plate, or anything of similar dimensions. If you're using a square pan, that would be about 6 by 6.


  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, in small pieces. Use chocolate chips, or cut up other chocolate. With chips, I used a measuring cup.

  • 4 ounces (=1/2 cup, =1 stick) butter or margarine

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • orange extract, probably about a teaspoon (optional)

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder



Preheat oven to 375°F (I think that's about 190°C or gas mark 5, but check before baking if your kitchen doesn't speak American). Grease your pan. Cut an eight-inch round piece of wax paper, put it in the bottom of the pan, and grease the top of the wax paper. (I suspect it would be easier to cut the wax paper to size before greasing the pan. I don't actually know if this step is necessary, if, as I did, you use a glass pie plate, but the recipe said to do this, and it seemed to work.)

Put the margarine and chocolate in the top of a double boiler, with the water on the bottom barely simmering. Melt, stirring regularly. (If you have a microwave, sure, use that instead, but do stir regularly, and use a large bowl.) When they're completely melted, turn off the stove (or microwave) and remove the top half of the double boiler from the still-hot bottom half, putting it on a heat-safe surface.

Whisk the sugar in thoroughly. Next, whisk in the orange extract and the eggs, again thoroughly. (The orange extract was not in the original recipe, and I don't remember if I added it before or after the eggs. It probably doesn't matter which. The amount is basically "one glug from the nice four-ounce container of orange extract I got from Penzey's." The great thing about getting orange extract in containers that size is that it encourages me to use it liberally, not hoard it the way I'm likely to if I have the tiny vial from the supermarket.

Now, sift in the cocoa powder, and whisk just until blended. If you spill some of the cocoa powder in the process, guess at how much and add it back.*

Pour this mixture into your greased pan. Put the pan in the oven. Bake 25 minutes or until a thin crust forms on top of the torte. (I set the timer for 26 minutes, actually, because I have a slightly slow oven, and it had a crust then so I took it out.)

Let cool at least a little while; if you're baking for an event three days later, put plastic wrap or foil over the top of the torte, and refrigerate.

When it's time to serve the torte, cut into small pieces. As dessert after a serious seder meal, this serves nine, with a bit to take home to impress the houseguest who didn't arrive in the city until after the seder, and the beloved who was working too hard to join your family for the celebration.

The recipe I was working with suggested topping this with whipped cream. I didn't for the same reason I used margarine, namely that one of the people I was baking for can't eat dairy. I'm not sure whether that would make it too intense, or whether home-whipped cream with absolutely the minimum of sugar would actually cut this somewhat.

*Somewhere around here, [livejournal.com profile] cattitude, who was helping, intoned "Be certain that the rum is of the highest quality."**

**see The Bakery Men Don't See
.

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