Tuesday, February 03, 2009

hit and miss

So obviously this week hasn't been all shitty, but it certainly hasn't given me much time to breathe until today. Now I'm sitting here with my second cup of coffee, happy with the knowledge that it's 10 am and--even though the day has been spent in front of the computer--I've actually accomplished some stuff for dal niente. So now I feel free, before I begin cleaning and practicing and maybe even venturing out into the cold-again-of-course-damn-you-Chicago winter day, to write about food.
Friday night was the biggest Nicholas Dinner yet. (We're trying to phase out the name Candida Dinner, since that's essentially naming food and company after a disease.) Actually, it was the largest group of people I've helped prepare food for since our Paperchef dinners in Tucson: we fed eleven, which was frankly intimidating, but everybody got enough food and went home happy as far as I know. And it was nice to have a not gigantic amount of leftover food for once :) Anyway, Rose-Anne brought a hummus appetizer (which I sadly abstained from due to red pepper content), we made a coconut curry vegetable soup, wild rice cakes with jalapeno and onion and a goat's milk garlic yogurt topping, Nicholas made his amazing black bean-avocado-cilantro salad, and Anna S. made gluten-free sugar-free carob chip cookies. Everything was pretty delicious, but I was particularly impressed with the rice cakes. Wild rice is not something I have much experience with, but these were so healthy and delicious that I will definitely be making them again. (And also posting the recipe...) As always, it is just such a pleasure to have so many people that I care about and find awesome sitting around together, sharing a meal and talking and interjecting viewpoints taken from their different backgrounds into the conversation. I feel almost like I'm watching a field cross-pollinating: new thoughts are being born over bowls of soup.
Saturday was hellish, and Sunday was Shana's birthday, so food was good but not prepared by me. Then last night, I made a second attempt at a recipe that I truly want to make work and have so far been unsuccessful with: Soy chorizo-potato pastries. The recipe itself seems a little sketchy (I frown on calling for "garlic cream cheese" instead of garlic and cream cheese, for instance. And there's a bit of unspecificity in general), so I've been playing it increasingly fast and loose with ingredient proportions. Rose-Anne and I made a valiant first effort at this recipe and ended up with beautiful brown pastries with crunchy uncooked potatoes inside. That time, I more or less used their measurements insofar as I was able to without a scale, but I felt like the chorizo was a bit too prominent (along with the potato issue). (Although I'm also not sure how soy chorizo and real chorizo compare in terms of taste and texture, so that's something to consider as well.) Anyway, so last night I strategically added a lot more of the creamy ingredients, chopped my potatoes much smaller, and added considerably less chorizo. The mixture was more palatable to me (although this time I could have used more chorizo, live and learn), but my potatoes still came out crunchy. I had to nearly char the pastry shells to make them more edible. Hmm. Back to the drawing board.
Anyway, a recipe!

Jalapeno Wild Rice Patties

Did you know that wild rice isn't actually a rice? It's closely related, but it's actually an aquatic grass seed.

1/2 C wild rice
1 T flour (I used quinoa flour)
1/2 t baking powder
1 t sea salt
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 T minced onion
1 T grated ginger
1 egg
2 T olive oil

1. Cook the wild rice. When it is done, stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, onion, jalapeno, and ginger.
3. Combine the two bowls and mix well.
4. Heat some oil on a non-stick frying pan. Drop the mixture onto the pan by the tablespoonful. Flatten the cakes out a little bit, and then flip after about 2 minutes, or when the ingredients seem to be sticking together. Makes about 8 3-inch cakes.

Notes: We made much more than this, obviously, and I was not really measuring anything per se because I was in a hurry and the proportions had gotten a little ridiculous anyway. We also, due to another food allergy, made one set with egg and one without. (Amusingly, to me anyway, the eggless ones stuck together much better.) Instead of quinoa flour, I used chickpea flour, and the eggless ones also contained arrowroot. In the future, I would add more of the thickeners (the flour and arrowroot) and maybe not even bother with the egg, since it didn't really seem to add much. And keeping the patties small is good for cohesion, something I was also a little lax about. But hell, eleven people were waiting for dinner.
Also, something I read suggested mixing brown rice and wild rice for recipes, and I think that could work really well here. It would involve cooking two rices, which is potentially a pain, but it might make things more interesting texturally.

Cacik (pronounced 'jajuck') Yogurt Sauce

yogurt (if tolerated)
cucumber, grated or finely chopped
crushed garlic

No proportions. Just make it taste good. We used goat milk yogurt for candida reasons, but regular should work just fine. Use a lot of garlic! The coolness works well with the jalapenos in the rice cakes.


pulley-whipped said...

you and your proportion-less cooking! plz 2 have measurements. k thx.

ammie said...

Hey, I'm way better than I used to be! And for some things, it doesn't seem to matter so much. But I'll do my best in the cookbook, just for you.

Rosiecat said...

I'm thinking we should pre-cook the potatoes before adding them to the turnover filling. Perhaps they could be parboiled briefly?

I loved this line from your post: "I feel almost like I'm watching a field cross-pollinating: new thoughts are being born over bowls of soup." That's really lovely, Ammie. The dinner was so much fun--I had a great time.

ammie said...

Yeah, pre-cooking is definitely next on the agenda. They were much better this time, but I think the time saved by being able to cut larger chunks and just pre-cook would be nice, as well as the removal of the threat of crunchiness. Ah well.
I knew you'd like that line ;) and next time hopefully I won't be so tired and I'll be able to stay and chit-chat for longer!