First Time Steak a la Elk

elk steakI don’t usually cook a lot of red meat, but one of Mr. R’s (awesome!) associates at work gave him some venison.  Two packages of deer steak, two of elk.  I grew up eating venison (mostly deer, antelope, sometimes elk or bear) so it’s always the kind of steak I prefer and also why I am not fond of beef steak.  However, I don’t hunt and my father lives far away, so I don’t have venison to cook.  But now I do! Continue reading First Time Steak a la Elk

Reverse Chip Cookies

White Chip Chocolate CookiesAfter work tonight I thought about how much I enjoyed the chicken tikka masala I made this week, but that sadly we were out.  Let’s eat out and get Indian food, I decided!  And then I don’t have to cook!  So then of course when we got home I decided clearly I didn’t really need three hours of free time and should make cookies.

I’d had a bag of white chocolate chips hanging out in the pantry for a few weeks.  They were supposed to become some sort of fancy white chocolate candy that failed miserably after many bags of chips, cans of condensed milk, and cursing.  So let’s make some cookies! Continue reading Reverse Chip Cookies

Tomato-Almond “Meat” Sauce

tomato almond meat sauceEspecially when you are the one who does the majority of the cooking, a home-cooked dinner made by someone else can be a truly wonderful thing.  This is Mr. R’s current signature recipe — a delicious vegetarian pasta sauce, so savory it almost makes you think you’re having a meat sauce.

I was really surprised the first time he made this.  It isn’t a very glamorous recipe and doesn’t look very visually striking.  When he told me he was making a pasta sauce out of almonds and sun-dried tomatoes my response was something along the lines of a skeptical, “Really?  Well ok…”  Oh how wrong I was.  This is savory and delicious and something I look forward to having again immediately after eating it.  You should make it!  Experience this strange and mysterious sauce! Continue reading Tomato-Almond “Meat” Sauce

Late Night Earl Grey Tea Cake

earl grey cake

Somehow doing things late at night always gives them a more mysterious or forbidden quality.  Eleven o’clock at night isn’t the time to start cooking a cake, but it was tonight and Mr. R and I dined on a treat of late night cake at midnight.

I’ve been wanting to do more with flavoring things with teas, but I’ve not had a lot of success previously.  I was recently reading a recipe about making green tea cake that has the matcha powder sifted with the flour.  I didn’t have matcha on hand, but I did have Earl Grey.  So I decided to make this an English tea kind of secret midnight cake.  Green tea cakes can wait for the light of day. Continue reading Late Night Earl Grey Tea Cake

Mugicha, Barley Tea: The Taste of Summer Heat

barley tea mugichaI lived in Tokyo for a year and when summer came I heard people speaking dire warnings about tsuyu, the rainy season which was supposed to last about a month.  How bad can it be, I thought.  Little did I know.  For a girl from hot, dry Idaho, the stifling heat and unbearable humidity was a horrible new experience.  Then, a few years later, I moved to Houston.  Houston, where about 3-4 months of the year feel exactly like tsuyu.  We’re right in the middle of it right now, with 100+ degree weather and high, high humidity.

But unless you live in some magical land where it’s beautiful all summer long (oh Hawaii, I miss you), you probably have your own version of summer suffering, be it hot and humid or scorching and dry.  Well, I have a secret tsuyu pro tip for you to deal with the summer heat:  barley tea, a.k.a. mugicha. Continue reading Mugicha, Barley Tea: The Taste of Summer Heat

Lime Pie with a Nut Crust

lime pieLime season continues, heating up with the exciting race of “can I make enough lime things before the limes spoil?”  My friends and I have a game night every few months where we also make dinner and drinks, so I set aside about ten for that and a few found their way into very limey gin and tonics and sloe gin fizzes.

The rest I juiced into about four cups of lime juice.  The majority of this will head to the freezer for use later in the year.  But because I was seeing friends I also realized that enough people would be assembling to make reasonable the best use of limes:  lime pie! Continue reading Lime Pie with a Nut Crust

Custard Lime Cake

Lime cakeIt’s lime season here again!  My tree outside on my .04 acres of land went crazy this year and produced 54 limes, almost twice of last year’s crop.  So it’s Lime Land here and I’m trying to think of what to use them for.  I tried candying them which ended in a burnt finger and failed candied limes…  That project needs a second attempt.

But limes also make me think of key lime pie.  I love it, but making a pie for just myself leads to eating an entire pie by myself which is never a wise plan for anyone.  How to get the deliciousness of lime pie without the volume?  My solution:  lime pudding.  This isn’t exactly a lie-pie-in-miniature (that will come) but it was interesting enough I felt it warranted a post. Continue reading Custard Lime Cake

Roasted Beets

Beets and goat cheeseA friend recently mentioned that she may, unexpectedly, have discovered that she likes beets.  I feel very strongly about beets, so I knew a beet post was due!

I was also a beet skeptic until I did a CSA for a few months a couple of years ago.  I picked the option with the strangest vegetables I wouldn’t normally use, since I wanted it to force me to do new things.  I got lots and lots of collard greens and turnips, which I never really came to love, but the big surprise was the beets! Continue reading Roasted Beets

Classic Cherry Cheesecake

cherry cheesecakeOne of the ever-present cooking dilemmas of modern life is the question of what to bring to office events that require food.  For years, my dad answered this question with the same cherry cheesecake recipe.  Everyone always raved about it at his office and when I got older I would request it for a birthday cake.  This recipe has mysterious and unknowable origins.  Perhaps a cooking magazine from the early 90s?  Who knows.  It lives on in instructions from my dad, tweaked and perfected over the course of years of being made.

A coworker recently requested cheesecake for his birthday at work, so I got out this recipe and gave it a go myself.  The verdict of 2016 office workers?  It hasn’t lost its magic!  This got the highest praise of any recipe I’ve ever brought to work. Continue reading Classic Cherry Cheesecake

of Cooking. of Arrakis.