Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews with a heavy emphasis on San Diego. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Pie crust cookies—Thursday, December 20th, 2012

My pie crust recipe, in order, I think, to make it easy to remember, ends up making three crusts. I almost always make either one pie, two pies, or a covered pie—i.e., never more than two crusts. Then I freeze the remaining dough ball(s). I made some applie pie about a week and a half ago, and forgot to freeze the remaining crust—I put it in the freezer thinking to make a berry pie in the next day or two, and it completely slipped my mind until last night.

Why, I thought, do I need a filling? The crust is often the best part of a pie. So I rolled it out and took out some cookie cutters, sprinkled sugar over the top, and baked them for about ten minutes at 400°F. Then I sprinkled them with powdered sugar, and, once they cooled, put them in a ziploc bag with a little more powdered sugar.

They’re very tasty—the sugar on the outside makes them just sweet enough, and they’re just like pie crust. I expect they’d be good with frosting as well.

I did not use any flour in the cookie cutters and they stuck a little when pulling them away from the cookie cutters. When I do this again I’m going to sprinkle the granulated sugar over the crust before cutting, and if that doesn’t help I’ll dip the cutters in flour each time.

Coops West Texas Barbeque—Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

I was saddened to learn last week that Huffman’s BBQ in Lincoln Park closed earlier this year, so I did a search to see if San Diego has acquired any new barbeque places besides Phil’s1. The reviews of Coops West Texas Barbeque convinced me to head out this weekend. The drive to Lemon Grove is a quick one, and it was a beautiful day.

They’ve got a lot of choices; we picked up two two-meat plates, knowing we wouldn’t finish them, so that we could try four meats and four sides, and have some great leftovers. We had the pork ribs, rib tips, texas sausage, and brisket. For sides, we chose potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, and red beans and rice.

The mac & cheese side was quite good, as was the potato salad. The coleslaw was more vinegary than I like. The beans and rice was average. Our two-meat plate also came with corn bread. It is not homemade but they’re honest about it, and it’s still good. Finally, while you can buy sodas, they also have unlimited sweet tea, and it’s among the better sweet tea I’ve had, both in restaurants and homemade.

The meat was great, and it continued to be great the next day. The brisket was very close to the West Texas BBQ I had in February in Fort Stockton, Texas2. The sausage was homemade and flavorful; the pork ribs and rib tips were tender without being mushy. It’s definitely a place I want to go to again.

Like the only other West Texas barbecue I’ve had, the meat is served without covering it in sauce; they use a dry rub. There are two sauces at the table, both very similar. One tasted slightly smokier than the other. They’re advertised as milder and spicier. I enjoyed them both; but make sure you try the meat without the sauce first—it stands on its own.

It’s difficult, when eating that much good food, to save room for desert, but since Lemon Grove isn’t in walking distance I made sure to save room for one dessert. We had the peach cobbler. Very nice, very homey and warm. I want to try the buttermilk pie next time.

Chocolate cookies (for breakfast)—Saturday, April 14th, 2012

These cookies should be crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. You’ve got a decent amount of leeway with this recipe; if you leave it in for a few minutes too long they’ll be fine. Less chewy and more crunchy, but still very good.

A mixer, either a hand-mixer or a stand mixer, will turn this into a very quick recipe. And also give you one more thing to lick in the morning.

This makes about two baking sheets full of cookies, depending on how much of the batter you eat.

I stole this recipe from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, changing things around for what I have in my cupboard/refrigerator. I exchanged yogurt for the milk (full-fat yogurt, of course) and cocoa powder for the unsweetened chocolate. Then a bit more butter and vanilla because I like butter and vanilla (and because I’m using cocoa powder instead of chocolate).

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook is a great basic cookbook; when I can’t find something in my weird books, I tend to use Fannie Farmer.

Bacon fat tortillas?—Thursday, April 5th, 2012

“I prefer lard but have used coconut oil. That’s good too. Just don’t ever use margarine. For anything. Margarine is gross.”

Every once in a while I get the urge to make flour tortillas, and fail. Will have to try again! I have some bacon fat waiting for just such a project…

Diolinda’s Kitchen—Sunday, February 26th, 2012

“I love dark chocolate. These are my thoughts on the chocolate and food world.”

From turnip tater tots to bacon-wrapped dates, hard to go wrong with these recipes. Diolinda Monteiro is also an accomplished chocolatier, so pay attention to what what she has to say about chocolates especially!

Did you know that “diet” meant a “deliberative assembly” historically? That’s how you get wonderful turns of phrase like “The Diet of Worms”. Worms, Germany was where the diet was held.

I’d like to think that The Chocolate Diet is both a style of eating and a decision-making process.

Biscuits in blueberry syrup—Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
Biscuits and blueberries

Biscuits with syrupy fruit are always a comfort. Blueberries make the best syrup, I think, although cherries come close. This recipe is pretty quick to make up because you’re faking the syrup bit by just mixing up some sugar and water into simple syrup.

The preparation time assumes you already have the biscuits made. If not, make some half-hour biscuits and perhaps double the sugar in that recipe.

If you’re feeling decadent, add a few pieces of chocolate to the biscuits before you pour the hot blueberries over it; it will melt the chocolate, and you’ll end up with a syrupy, chocolate mess.

The only real problem with this simple dessert is that the whipped cream can melt too quickly on top of the hot blueberries. You might just let it sit for a minute or two; the blueberry syrup will still be warm, but not hot to the touch, and the whipped cream will last longer. Of course, if you whip your cream up manually you won’t have to worry about this.

Ice cream and hot blueberries is also a great combination, so if you have ice cream you can use that instead of whipped cream. This will also solve the problem of the whipped cream melting too quickly.

If presentation matters, add some mint leaves to the top after the whipped cream. If flavor matters, chop some mint—about a tablespoon—and add to the syrup with the blueberries.

If you’re making this for two, you can reduce the amount of blueberries, but you can’t really reduce the amount of syrup. Which is not in any sense a problem.

xoushii’s Gastronomic Adventures—Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

“Champagne Tastes On A Beer Budget”

If you happen to be in the Philippines and need some restaurant recommendations, take a look at this. Some very nice photos even if you can’t make it to the Philippines. Also, some interesting recipes.

Real frothin’ eggnog—Monday, December 12th, 2011

I have always liked eggnog! Even the cheap stuff from the grocery store. But fresh homemade eggnog is in a class by itself. It isn’t heavy, like the carton stuff, nor is it heavily spiced, except with alcohol. It is almost a drinkable mousse.

This recipe will be a lot easier if you have a stand mixer to whip the egg whites and a whipped cream maker to make the whipped cream.

For a sharper flavor, add an eighth teaspoon of allspice along with the other spices.

You can easily double or triple this recipe for larger crowds.

Try to use a trustworthy source of eggs. While salmonella almost always lives in the egg yolk, which this recipe lets sit with the alcohol for a few hours, that probably is not enough time to kill any salmonella in the yolk. According to these eggnog researchers it takes several weeks for alcohol to kill salmonella bacteria.

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