Stalking the Waiter

Riffing on foods, flavors and methods, that would be telling.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

My December To Do List

No, buy pressies isn't at the top. That's easy enough to do online, plus I have it mosly covered already. Shop early. Shop often. Words to live by. Er, by early, I mean all year long, unceasing effort to find the right gifts for those I love. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

To Do List:
  • Make some yoghurt cheese, hence some yoghurt. I haven't done this in several years, don't know why I stopped. But it's very tasty. It used to be one of my standards for serving with before dinner drinks, with some nice sliced baguettes and a few mixed olives. Mm-mm good! With echoes of that cream cheese and olive mixture of a few days ago.

  • Make some Limoncello and play with some other version of this. I went looking for the bottle of Limoncello I had been keeping in the freezer, the better to thicken it and make it icy cold. Much to my annoyance, I discovered that my ex-roomie, who professed to dislike it, apparently had a change of heart at some point. Or many some points. So, time to do another thing I've been meaning to try. Already got the vodka and the lemons, so it's only a matter of time.

  • Experiment with making salt-preserved limes. I like the way salt-preserved lemons taste in cooking, but it seems like such a waste to scrape out the pulp. However, after a few weeks soaking in salt, it is pretty disgusting. And, naturally, if you can do that to lemons, I wondered why you couldn't do it to limes, too. Of course, the first difficulty is that limes don't have those nice thick and relatively soft surfaced skins. So, I'm going to play with the concept and see if I can come up with a salted lime whose peel is edible and whose innards are likewise. I'm envisioning something you could slice, thus decreasing the proportion of peel to pulp. We'll see. Can salt-preserved oranges be far behind? Yeah. Don't know if I'm up for another challenge of the citrus variety just now.

  • Make some yeastless pitas - see if the magic still works. This is another thing I haven't done in years. The whole yeast dough, popping them in the oven and hoping for the best is more than I have patience for. I had an old "Middle East Cookbook" that was printed in maybe the 50s, and it had a recipe for yeastless pitas. The puff came from a hot skillet, rather than yeast. Incidentally, this is also the source of my all-natural yoghurt recipe. Again, we'll see. As Susan over at Farmgirl Fare so wisely points out, unpuffed pitas make dandy individual pizzas. I'll extrapolate from that to include the non-yeast variety. If all else fails, I'll make a curry and call it flatbread.

  • Finish my hotsie novella so I can have it waiting for the editor of my dreams when she gets back from Christmas break. - I wrote the better part of two novellas during NaNoWriMo for my 50k. One is sooo close to being finished, just a scene or two and I'm there, edited and everything. So, I want to finish, do another polish, run it past my CP and get it in the mail. They say the publishing world shuts down over the hols. That being the case, I want it there waiting when they get back.

  • Rearrange my office so my desk faces the window. I'm tired of facing the wall. It's been ages since I faced a window. This is my home office, of course. Cubicle dwellers can be excused if they've forgotten there are such things as windows. I spent all day yesterday sorting and shifting things. I have two big, industrial strength filing cabinets that will have to be moved, so it's going to be a long, drawn out process. But worth it, in the end.

How much of that do you think I'll get done? I've got both milk and half-and-half for making yoghurt cheese, so that I have to do, or waste them. I'll be blogging the experience, either in one long post, or over a period of days, as the project progresses.

The pitas are super quick, since they don't require any rising time, just resting after kneading. So, that will be a single post, including recipe and description. Say it with me, "Puff! Puff! Puff! Yay!" At least I hope it will be "Yay." Wish I had a video of that. It's a kick seeing it pop.

The salted-limes I will probably wait until I have news to impart - either forget this, or yum, I have created something wonderful. The limoncello well, if anyone needs the recipe, I can post that, but it's pretty much a non-event. Although it's got parts. So, maybe, yes, I will post the deets.


At 12:04 PM, Blogger mrs d said...

Ooo, I'm very interested in hearing the results of your salt-preserved limes experiment.

Also - go go go on the novella! My Nano draft is still sitting here... I'm still on break from writing it and just starting the research, but I did get a short story out in the mail on Tuesday.

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Mmmmm...lemoncello. Such lovely stuff! Makes zesting all those lemons actually worth it ;-)

At 2:10 PM, Blogger b'gina said...

Hey, Mrs. D,

I never did too much cooking with limes until I "discovered" Thai food. Then I had to buy a Keffir lime tree of my own. The leaves were so fragrant, I couldn't live without them. And I use regular limes for a lime "vinaigrette" that I use for couscous salad. But the idea of the salting has me intrigued. I will definitely post the results, and also, I'm sure, the disasters along the way. :G:

I did part of a fantasy novel during NaNo to make up my remaining word count. It too needs a lot of research before I can complete it, but I'm happy that I got well into it already. Lots of luck with yours.

At 12:39 PM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Oh, so now I have to buy a kaffir lime tree? I've often thought about doing that...
B'gina: Here's what I do for preserved lemons. If I'm using lemon juice for some other purpose, I save the squeezed-out lemon rinds, toss them in a jar with a healthy handful of salt, and leave them on the counter (covered) for a few days, to allow a bit of leakage and fermentation to get started. (You could throw in aromatics too, if you want, like bay leaves, cinnamon and/or black pepper.) Then, pour in enough olive oil to cover the rinds, maybe leave it all out at room temp a little while longer (to get good and nasty), and then store in the fridge. No wasting the lemon pulp!

At 12:55 AM, Blogger b'gina said...

That's a good idea, Cookie. It always seems like such a waste to use the whole lemons to start with.

Yeah, it's really bliss having your own Keffir lime tree. My poor little guy puts out fewer and fewer limes each year, but the foliage is luxuriant. I think it needs to be repotted into a bigger container. I've got three small citrus and three large ceramic containers, so, one of these days... I'm afraid to do it this time of year, though, in case the shock and a really cold night or two combine to kill them. It's colder up where we are, and I'm afraid to do the wrong thing. They're like my babies. :G:


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