Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Photos on line!

We posted some photos of the Dec 13th dinner on Flickr.
Check us out!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Recipe: Chestnut, Celery Root and Apple Soup

Peeling the chestnuts.

(Makes 6 to 8 servings)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium leek, white part only, thinly sliced, washed and dried
2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
10 ounces celery root (a.k.a. celeriac), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 pound peeled fresh chestnuts (from about 1 1/4 pounds chestnuts in the shell) or dry-packed bottled or vacuum-sealed peeled chestnuts
2 quarts homemade vegetable stock (onions, celery, carrots, parsley stems, leek tops, thyme, bay- see below)
Good neutral-tasting extra virgin olive oil, or canola oil, to taste
A splash of champagne vinegar or lemon (optional, to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper, to garnish

MAKE A VEGETABLE STOCK: Cut up carrots, celery, and onions into 1-inch pieces. You can also add parsley stems and leek tops if you have them. Add some fresh thyme and a bay leaf or two, and brown it all together in a stock pot with a little oil. The caramelization on the vegetables will add flavor to your soup. When the vegetables are soft, add water (adding boiled water will make it go faster), and put heat on high til it boils. Then turn heat down to medium-low and simmer one, to one and a half, hour. Strain, reserving the liquid, and toss out the cooked veggies. This is your vegetable stock.

(This step with take the longest and is labor intensive, so invite your friends to help) In order to use fresh chestnuts, you have to score, steam, and peel them first. You can use store-bought steamed chestnuts, but the flavor won't be the same. To score the nuts, carve an "X" into the top of each shell with a sharp knife (deep enough to cut through the shell, but not into the nut). This will allow moisture to penetrate the nut while steaming. When you have scored all the chestnuts, put them into a steamer over boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Take the chestnuts out in small batches and peel them with a small paring knife. The shell comes off easiest when the chestnuts are still hot, so keep them warm on the steamer or wrapped in towels while you work. If they get cold while you work, return them to the steamer in small batches and get them hot again. Remove all the papery skin from the nut as well as the shell. Keep the peeled nuts covered with a damp towel to keep them moist until you use them.

MAKE THE SOUP BASE: For the soup, heat the oil in a stockpot or large casserole over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, apples, celery root, bay leaf, thyme, nutmeg and salt to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions and leeks are soft but not colored. Add the chestnuts and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, skimming the surface regularly to remove any froth, for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the chestnuts are soft. Discard the bay leaf and thyme. Grate in a tiny amount of nutmeg from a whole nutmeg.

PUREE AND EMULSIFY: Puree the soup until smooth using a blender. With the blender still running, add a small drizzle of good, neutral-tasting oil to emulsify the soup a little (this will add body). If it's too thick add a little more vegetable stock; if it's too thin let it simmer and reduce a little more.

FINISH: Balance the flavors of the soup by adding more salt if necessary, or a tiny splash of acid (vinegar or lemon) a little at a time (you only want to turn up the natural flavors, not make it taste sour). Ladle into bowls and finish with freshly ground black pepper.

Recipe by Yasmin.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Recipe: Pumpernickel Bread

Queer kneading

2 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. caraway seed
1-1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups stirred rye flour
2 cups water
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup margarine
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

In large bowl, stir together yeast, cocoa, sugar, caraway seed, salt, and 2 cups rye flour; set aside. In 2-quart saucepan over low heat, heat water, molasses and margarine until very warm (120-130°F). Using mixer at low speed, gradually beat molasses mixture into yeast mixture until well blended. Increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup rye flour. Increase speed to high; beat 2 more minutes. Stir in enough all-purpose flour to make a soft dough. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic about 5 minutes. Place into greased large bowl, turning over dough so that top is greased. Cover with towel and let rise in warm place until almost doubled, about 45 minutes to an hour. Punch down dough. Divide in half. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Shape each half into a round loaf.

Place, 4-inches apart, on greased large baking sheet. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, 45 minutes to an hour. Diagonally slash each loaf, crosswise, 3 times. Bake in 375°F oven for 20 minutes. Cover loosely with foil; bake 15 minutes more or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Immediately remove from baking sheet. Brush tops of hot loaves with shortening. Cool on racks.

Recipe tweaked by Ella
Photo: Lydia Daniller

Recipe: Vegan Fruit Cake

Pretty fruity!

1 cup (125 gms) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 gms) + 1/2 cup(50gms) sugar
7 tbl spn (100 gms) vegan butter
Spice powder - 2″ cinnamon + 4 green cardamoms + 5 cloves powdered
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tea spn vanilla extract
1/2 tea spn baking powder
1 tea spn baking soda
2 tbl spns orange marmalade (any mixed fruit jam can be used)
1/4 tea spn salt
(optional)- 3oz rum
Dry fruits -
1/3 cup(50gms) cranberries
1/4 cup(50gms) chopped prunes
1/2 cup(50gms) chopped pecans
1/2 cup(50gms) chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup(100gm) dried figs

Preheat the oven at 350F for about 10mins.
Take all the dry fruits in a bowl. Melt the vegan butter and add it to the fruits. Mix.
Heat 1/2 cup sugar with 1tbl spn water (optional add 1 ½ oz rum) in a thick bottomed pan till it becomes dark brown in color (caramel. If you burn this, the cake become bitter, so be careful).
Add this to the fruits and mix. When it is cooled a bit, add orange marmalade, orange juice, 1/4 cup sugar and salt, spice mixture, vanilla.

Sieve together flour, baking powder and soda.
Add these dry ingredients to the fruit mixture a little at a time, mixing with a spoon.

Grease a baking dish and pour the batter into it. Bake it at 350F for about 25-30mins or till a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
While cake is cooling mix 1 ½ oz rum with ½ cup water and ¼ to ½ cup sugar and boil to make a simple syrup and burn off some of the alcohol. Poke some holes in the cake with a skewer and pour the syrup over it. Leave out until cool.

(I read another recipe that said to soak the fruit in brandy and red wine for a couple of hours before combining it with the other ingredients. I thought that sounded pretty tasty. I’m pretty sure that traditional fruit cake is pretty saturated in alcohol.)

Thanks Ella for sending these amazing recipes!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The menu for December 13th, 2008

It was amazing! We put some photos below.
And here's the menu:

(click on it to view)

Menu design: Shauna Steinbach

Queer cook enjoying her last moment of leisure.
On the board: the day's work.

Many diners

Happy diners

DJ Etc. = divine


We're here to serve you in style

Server/graphic designer taking a break

Blues with Kali:
"It's coming out slow, but it's coming out good!"

We work hard, but we enjoy it!

Undercover food critics
for the Lavender Times food and entertainment section.
We got 5 stars.

Winter Feast 2008 ~ San Francisco