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1. Potato starch will look like it's doing sweet fuck-all, until you get it above a certain temperature. Then BAM. Solid goo. Solid emulsified goo. It's amazing. *The More You Know star shoots across the sky*.

2a. I will never, ever make pie crust with anything other than Strauss European-Style butter. It contains a gram more fat per tablespoon, and sweet Jesus, the pie crust I made today was unbelievable.

2b. So apparently the secret to making amazing pie crust for me is using a food processor. I've finally learned the magic touch. Huh.

2c. If I continue on this pie and bread-making kick, I need to buy a sturdy baking mat of some sort, because using my bamboo cutting board just ain't working for me any more.

3. I will make sure to get frozen peaches to room temperature before introducing browned butter to it, because damn, those congealed lumps of dark brown fat sure looked gross.

4. Speaking of browned butter: when browning butter, use a light-colored stirring implement, because it's impossible to see how dark the butter is truly getting otherwise.

So today was my apartment complex's Garden Party. We all made food harvested from our respective gardens ([livejournal.com profile] katealaurel had started a garden this year, and yea verily, it yielded a buttload of tomatoes and squash), got dressed up in swank gear and sat in our courtyard at a long picnic table, hanging out, stuffing our faces with incredibly delicious food, cracking jokes and generally having a fantastic time. I decided to make squash curry from the assload of unripe squash we rescued when three of Kate's plants fell prey to the powdery blight, and the squash was so big (I think it weighed about 8 lbs.) that I made two different kinds: a coconut milk-heavy variant with chicken, and a dry vegan variant with tomatoes. Both turned out amazingly well; in fact, I inadvertently replicated one of my favorite Indian curries with the dry curry. Win! And for dessert: a brown butter-peach-rum pie, modified from a prize-winning pie from this year's Portland Pie-Off. I was terrified at first that it was going to suck, because the filling was so watery, but lo, the potato starch miracle blessed me, and the filling was AMAZING: firm, juicy, intensely peachy and just the right kind of sweet, with a delicious caramelized overtone from the browned butter.

And lo: there were recipes and rejoicing.

Dry Squash Curry

2-3 lb. unripe squash (or half of a monster squash), roasted, peeled and cubed into 1" chunks (note: I have no idea what kind of squash this was, though after some research, I'm pretty sure it's some variant of gem squash [marrows if you're British], and not, say, an unripe pumpkin)
2 large ripe tomatoes, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 shallot, minced
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2" ginger root, minced
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup curry powder
2 tablespoons cumin powder
1 hot pepper of your choice (I used a poblano, but I imagine jalapeños and serranos would be hella tasty as well)
3-4 whole cloves
Tablespoon or two vegetable oil

1. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Throw in the minced garlic, shallow and ginger; sautée until fragrant.

2. Add squash, curry powder and spices. Stir, stir, stir for about 5 minutes to evenly coat the squash in the powdered stuff. Add the coconut milk to help this process along.

3. Add onion and hot pepper; cook until onion is translucent. If things look a bit dry, add a couple tablespoons of water.

4. Add tomatoes. Stir. Stir like a mofo.

5. Turn heat down to low and cover the curry; let simmer for at least a half hour. Add salt and pepper.

Squash Curry with Chicken

2-3 lb. unripe squash
1 lb. boneless chicken thigh, cut into 1" pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 shallot, minced
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2" ginger root, minced
2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup curry powder
5-6 whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
Tablespoon or two vegetable oil

1. Minced garlic, ginger, and shallot: sautée, fragrant, etc.

2. Add the squash, onion and spices, and sautee for about 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and bring to a gentle boil.

3. Add chicken. Turn heat down to medium-low, and simmer for at least a half hour. Add salt and pepper.

Brown Butter-Rum-Peach Pie

Crust: usual recipe, enough for 2 crusts. Pre-bake the bottom half of the crust at 350° with pie weights until light golden brown, then take crust out of the oven and increase heat to 500 °.

5 large, ripe peaches
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup rum
1 stick unsalted Danish butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons potato starch (corn starch as substitute?)

1. Peel peaches and cut into sixths (or cut into sixths and peel peaches, whichever's easier for you); place in large mixing bowl

2. Add lemon juice and rum, stir and set aside.

3. In large skillet over low heat, melt butter. When butter completely melted, increase heat to medium or medium high, and whisk as butter starts to brown. Get to dark chocolatey brown, then remove from heat and put in ice bath to prevent burning.

4. Pour butter over peaches and stir.

5. Take half of the peaches out of bowl and put into skillet used for the butter. Add the rum mixture. Turn heat to high and allow everything to boil briefly; return to mixing bowl.

6. Add 3/4 cup sugar and salt, stir in starch 1 tablespoon at a time.

7. Put pie in oven, and immediately reduce to 425 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes, then give pie half turn, reduce to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes.

Date: 2009-09-16 03:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marsala1.livejournal.com
Next time you're over, check out my Malaysian cook's knife!

Date: 2009-09-21 01:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] benefitz.livejournal.com
Dude. You're making me hungry. Miss you!


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