Turdmania at the Eatateria

We are what we eat. We eat. We shit. Our produce grow from shit-fertilized soil. We become shit. Festive as that may be, enter the the "Eatateria," to discover an ever-increasing assortment of recipes for lovely meals, which we will soon shit out. I eat, and I shit; therefore, "I am."

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Permutation, Prototype: Date Nut Bread/Cheese Cake Hybrid

Last week's food related daydream was a hybrid of date nut bread with a ribbon or tunnel of cheese cake filling, given most people I know eat date nut bread with a shmear of cream cheese.

I thought about it long and hard and found the recipe over at King Arthur Flour, which seemed a decent enough jumping off point, at least for proportions; however, I tweaked the shit out of that recipe.

My tweaks:

1. Instead of APF, I used 1 cup barley flour and 3/4 cup of buckwheat flour, thinking I'd lower the glycemic index, but boost nutrtition (next time, I might augment with almond meal, too);
2. Instead of brown sugar, I used granulated maple sugar;
3. I soaked the chopped dates in the hot coffee overnight*;
4. In lieu of vodka, I used Galliano's coffee liqueur;
5. I only had about 1/2 cup of walnuts on hand--and rounded out the cup with pecans as I had some on hand;
6. In lieu of 4 T butter, I used 4 T macadamia nut oil (as I haven't used up my supply and figured this would be a good use for the oil.

*My intent was to blitz this with my immersion blender to form a slurry, and in the end, I got lazy and did not--I believe this affected the moisture content of the date nut bread, somewhat.

All ingredients were room temp and ready to go and mixed in order

Oven pre-heated according to recipe. And a bundt pan was spritzed with oil spray and dusted with flour and set aside.

Cheeseycakey bit which I messed up by accidentally adding an additional egg (next time I'll go with 2 eggs and 1 T of cake mix):

1 8 oz pkg Neufschatel 
6 T Splenda
1 tsp Vanilla
pinch salt
3 Eggs
2 T prepackaged vanilla or white cake mix 

Mix on high for 2 minutes until foamy and well blended.

I baked for 55 minutes; next time I'll shoot for 50 minutes. I let it rest on my counter for 10 minutes, then wrapped in cling wrap and put out on my balcony to cool off (here, the temps are hovering around 6F, so much colder than my fridge). I let it sit there for one hour before attempting to dislodge it from the pan.

The intent here was for a ribbon of cheesecake in the center, like those picture perfect old timey 1970s Bundt cakes. Unfortunately my ratio was off, and this ended up coming off more as a marbled cake.

Cheeseycake part was fine, and the date nut bread was somewhat less moist than what I consider the ideal date nut bread. My ideal date nut bread is very dense, so I might lower the baking powder next time by 1/2 tsp.


Result: Tasty, but next batch will definitely be a winner.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

New Year's ReSOUPlution

Turns out my beloved pint of egg drop soup, which I get daily at a local Chinese take out joint, contains roughly a day's worth of sodium. This year I am focusing on my kidney function (especially given my ultrasound showed 3 new cysts), and I'm trying to reduce my sodium intake if I can.

So I decided to give it a whirl once more. I tried, and failed, in the past to get the egg all nice and ribbony, and couldn't figure out where I went wrong, and then it hit me, I hadn't thickened it at all (not even "sufficiently," but not at all), and the egg just glopped to the bottom of the broth.

So I combined two things, my love of egg drop soup with my love of bone broth, and came up with this formula.

So my recipe is really two recipes in one: One recipe for the broth, one recipe for the soup itself.

Bone Broth:

2-3 lbs chicken feet (necks will work too)

1/2 a large leek minced
Bottoms cut off a bunch of scallions
2 ribs of celery
roughly 2 T lemon juice
And enough water to fill my five quart pressure cooker 3/4 of the way full

I combine everything into a bundle of cheesecloth and pitch the whole thing (after draining of course) after cooking.


Seal PC and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes and let it depressurize on its own.

I used 3 quarts of the 4.5 quarts of bone broth this made--I reserved extra broth for other meals.

Egg Drop Soup:

3 quarts of broth
Flavorings are approximate values:
1/8- 1/4 tsp Garlic powder
1/4 -1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp ginger powder
Salt to taste
Drizzle of sesame oil
A pinch or two of turmeric for color (don't add so much you can taste it!)
Thickener of your choosing (Some folks opt for a slurry of corn starch and water; I sprinkle a wee bit of xanthan gum powder until it starts to thicken a bit)

At the point what the broth is at a low boil and thickened, start to drizzle in 4 eggs scrambled. Stirring the soup so the egg starts to get all ribbony and shreddy. Once the egg is done, the soup is done.

I like a few grinds of black pepper in it and adjust the salt if need be. I garnished with scallions (as pictured) and after snapping the photo, I added enokis, because well, I love enokis. YMMV.

Makes 3 quarts--though if you dilute your broth further, you can make more soup, though it won't be as full bodied as straight up bone broth.

You'll know you did all of this right when, after refrigerating, your soup has gelled.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

National Clean Out Your Fridge Day

Apparently, "it's a thing!"

So tell me, what are YOU planning to make to eat today as you clean out your fridge, to make room for tasty noms? Thanksgiving will soon be right around the corner!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Distinctions in Tastiness, Our Coded Language

In our household, we have several things which we say, which are coded language and have a bit of subtext, when describing the deliciousness of a particular item. A few of our coded statements are thus:

"Restaurant Quality": Compliment. Quite literally is what you would imagine it to be. This is one of the highest praises my husband gives to some of the food I've prepared. 

"Just Like My (His) Mom Makes": Compliment. Authentic south Indian. (Even his mother quipped to me, "I have nothing to teach you.")

"Tasty Tasty": Compliment. And pretty much is what you see is what you get. It's fucking tasty. 

"It's Goo" Neither here nor there, though more compliment than insult. Tasty enough to get it past the taste buds. Would still eat it again if presented for dinner.

"Just Like My (MY) Mom Makes": Insult. Despite my mom having worked 20+ years in food service, she had been known to churn out such "winners" as "albacore marinara," "meatball strogganoff," and meatloaf, with the latter two causing epic gastric distress  due to the fat not being drained off either.

"It'll Make a Turd": Insult. Inoffensive enough to choke it back, but if given a choice we wouldn't eat it again. Could be just bland, or otherwise not living up to our expectations. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cray-cray Fruit-tay-tay

Snapped at the Chinese market (not to be confused with the Korean market, where I do the bulk of my shopping).

I have eaten this fruit precisely one time. 

Strange, indeed. 

Funky, sweet, odd combination of fruity flavor profile, with a top note of rotting onions, yet inoffensively so, if that makes any sense. Will I eat it again? HELL NO. 


Pineapple Pork

In the bottom of my Nesco, I put, fat side down, big hunks of Boston butt. And then I layered:

Garlic powder (a few shakes)
1 pouch of Prince of Peace Ginger-honey drink mix
2 T Trader Joes Pepper Jelly
20 oz can Cubed Pineapple (though, I drained out about half the juice)
2 T Schug, Red
Few grinds black pepper
1 tsp Penzeys orange peel
A few squirts Sriracha
1 onion, sliced
1 fistful sultana raisins
1 fistful dried cranberries

Stir to distribute. Slow cook 5.5 hours.  

When done cooking, taste and adjust salt if need be.


Turn on brown setting to get it bubbling again, then add in whatever thickener you use. I use xanthan gum powder, as it renders out a very nice end product, and isn't as pesky as cornstarch. Also, it adds a negligible amount of carbs.

This is good for 1-3 lbs of pork cubes.

Serve over rice, bowtie pasta, corn bread or toasted garlic bread.  Keeps nicely in the fridge for up to a week to ten days--if it doesn't get consumed sooner!

Brain storm! Thinking of perhaps a brioche type based stromboli (eggy like a Hawaiian roll), with this pork tucked inside.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Saga of the Stuffed Squid

Nearly a month ago I pestered my mom’s sister for this recipe for stuffed squid, which my grandmother used to make. My grandmother died 26 years ago, and had oral cancer for 7 years prior to that, and towards the last 3 years (thereabouts) of her life, she was no longer eating solid food, so it’s been roughly 30 years since I last ate this.

My grandmother (Irish) married my grandfather (Italian, first-generation born here in the US) when she was 17. When they married, she didn’t even know how to scramble an egg. He taught her everything she knew. And when my aunt replied back and gave the “recipe,” she informed me that grandpa showed grandma how to make this, as it was something HIS mother (my great-grandmother) used to make.

Now back to the “recipe.” Well it was effing vague. All the ingredients for the stuffing, but no proportions or measurements, or additional information on what exactly to do with the ingredients. So essentially, it’s pretty much a shopping list, rather than a recipe. My aunt told me that’s all she had on the dish in question.

So three weeks elapses, and I’m still jonesing to know about this dish, and well, my grandfather passed in 2012, and isn’t here for me to pester for it.

When my grandfather passed away in 2012, at his wake and funeral, I was in a veritable OCEAN of first and second cousins. My grandfather was one of seven siblings. And due to some grudge between my grandmother and great-grandmother (daughter-in-law and mother-in-law, respectively), which is now nearing 54 years long (great grandmother died in 1976, and my grandmother passed in 1990), we have nothing to do with my grandfather’s family—which, as I said, IS EXTENSIVE.

So, I was told by my mother to seek out my great-aunt E. So I schmoozed her up and she was as pleasant as could be. And I became acquainted with her son, my first cousin once-removed. The last time I saw any of these people I was roughly 7 years old. ROUGHLY.  Sadly, all, strangers to me. 

I decided I needed to find out more about this recipe, so I zapped off an email to my cousin, and asked if his mom (great-aunt E.) knew anything about this elusive stuffed squid recipe. He emailed me back, informing me that not only did he know what it was, but that they eat it every Christmas eve. Ah! At last, I’m going to get the Rosetta Stone and DECODE THE RECIPE!!!

He photographed the recipe card and sent it along to me—and hilariously enough, it was EQUALLY VAGUE as my mom’s sister’s version of the recipe she sent me. 


In addition to the recipe card photo, he sent as an attachment in that first email, a photo of my great grandparents at what I suspect was either their 40th or 50th wedding anniversary. Emails with attached photos continued to pour in that first day. What a delight:) 


The final email the cousin sent that day, quite literally, yet temporarily, took my breath away. It was the formal portrait of my great-grandparents’ wedding day (which I thought was in Italy, but I could be mistaken).
So while I am not really any closer to my family’s particular version of this recipe, I ended up getting some great photos of my great-grandparents. Every other day or so, the cousin continues to send me photos he thinks I might enjoy seeing. 

Now about that recipe? I think I'll use the ingredients that were on those "shopping lists," and apply the ratios listed in this recipe I found online, and doctor the tomato sauce with a bit of anchovy, and I think between the two, I have a winner.   

Sunday, October 12, 2014

More Cray-cray Fruit-tay-tay (or in this case, VEG-ay-tay)

Sundays typically are my BIG COOK day, where I do a big batch of 1-2 items, portion out half for fridge, half for freezer, then set up some things to marinate, or be otherwise prepped for quick preparations during the week.

This Sunday, after I did a batch of chicken based bone broth for my lunch bag, I also made about three quarts of a special sambar.

This batch of sambar is special because it involves drumstick and jackfruit seeds. The left item in the photo is of pearl onions and drumsticks thawing, middle is parboiled, peeled jackfruit seeds, and the third item is shelled fresh tamarinds awaiting a soak in boiling water. 


This sambar is also special because I am using up some of my mother-in-law's custom blended and ground sambar powder. She gave it to me a while ago, and I keep it in a huge zip lock bag inside an air tight container and keep it in my freezer. While it is not fresh ground, it's about as well kept as possible.  When I return to India in 2015, I look forward to not only procuring MORE of this, but also learning her super secret proportions of it.

And sadly, neither pics of the end product (sambar) nor a recipe shall be forthcoming. Some things I choose to keep to myself. But by all means, ogle the strange veggies! :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bone Broth: My Version

Reading up on the benefits of bone broth, and decided, that despite my failure to get a good "gel" in the stock I made for my ramen a few weeks back, I wanted to try again to achieve a good demi-glace "gel" for bone broth.

LOOK AT THAT IMPRESSIVE, GELLING ACTION!!!! 
Yes! That is my soup mug (at my desk in my office), which is on its side, to demonstrate the structural integrity of the gel!

Into my DRY Nesco, I added 3 lbs of "chicken hocks" (yes, pretty much what you think it is, all those knuckles at the bottom of chicken legs, essentially the ankle of the birds. I struck gold at the Korean market, where I was ISO a package of necks and backs (or even FEET), and in the absence of everything else, I found the hocks and knew I found a winner.

I had the Nesco on the brown setting, and I stirred once in a while and got most of the pieces browned and started for the bone broth.

I then filled the cooker 4/5 full (had to double check the manual for capacity) with water and added about 1-2 T vinegar.

Initially I set the cooker on high pressure for 18 minutes. I let it depressurize and upon looking I was unsure if 18 minutes was enough time to get the collagen to release from the joints. So I gave it a good stir, put the lid back on and set it for another 5 minutes at high pressure.

Again, I was unsure if this was adequate. I fished out all the bones, and took the cartilagey pieces off the bones, put the cartilage back in the Nesco, and with it, I put all the aromatics I was going to use for this batch. As I've been Jonesing for tom kha gai or tom yum, I decided to add lemongrass, makrut lime leaf, scallion pieces, garlic scape, ginger, white pepper, and set the Nesco for another 6 minutes, high pressure. After cooking I let it depressureize on its own.

After, I fished out all the solids, and ran the stock thru a cheesecloth, as to ensure no bone chips end up in final product.

While the broth was still scalding, I added a few fistfuls of enoki mushroom, cilantro, scallion piece, diced up bell pepper, and a few glugs of nam pla to salt/season and add some funk.

Last night it was served up with a few Korean vegetable mandoo, and I actually got compliments from the husband on the soup.

I made this specifically so I could take it to work each day in my feed bag, and get the therapeutic benefits of the collagen. Hoping it will be helpful in dealing with my joint pain, and also enjoy the side benefit of additional protein my diet.

That's a Fact, Jack! Part 1


 I enjoy going to the Korean market, as it's like finding an 
Easter egg every week.
This week was jackfruit. 
Behold the pictured jackfruit. Each of them formidable 
in size and heft, and I suspect they each 
weigh the equivalent of an American toddler (or more).

Given that we're celebrating Navratri in our household,
I figured this would be a nice treat for the holiday.
And by "nice treat," I do mean  "worth the effort," 
because for those folks not well versed in jackfruit,
it's a tricky, sticky endeavor. 

And by "sticky," I mean resinous.
Most people would oil up their hands,
however, I have nitrile gloves on hand, so I used 
them instead, as they give a better grip, and 
when done, I can just toss the gloves in the trash.
Here I am, dispatching the fruits and arils (seeds).
While yes, $1.19 a pound is pricey, I use both,
the fruits and the seeds, so that helps justify
the cost.

The fruits we generally eat out of hand. The seeds,
however, are an unusual treat. In India and Thailand,
boiled, peeled, salted jackfruit seeds are a delicacy.

Much in the way that fava beans need to be peeled,
so, too, do jackfruit seeds.
I found the best way to do so is to put them in a 
microwave safe bowl, submerge in water, cover,
and microwave until you start hearing the seeds
pop. Let cool, and it's easier to peel off the 
skins this way, or at least that's what "I" think.

The seeds from this point can either be salted and eaten,
and have the taste and texture similar to chestnuts,
OR! They can be tossed into a batch of sambar (whole) or
sliced up and added to sundals and poriyals.

Last night's Navratri sundal was (whole) green moong 
sundal, with sliced jackfruit seeds, and gave it all a
bit of tang from some amchoor powder.
I would have liked to have added some fresh 
green mango to it as well, but didn't have it on hand
and worked with what I had. And it was lovely.

Next up will be a batch of sambar, which I will
add the leftover seeds, perhaps some drumstick (another
favorite Indian vegetable/delicacy).