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Hazelnut financiers (also good with cashews)

Financiers are a good way to use up egg whites, especially after a summer’s accumulation of making ice cream. Typically made with almond meal, I made these with a meal from roasted hazelnuts. Delicious. I also made another version with cashew meal, which were milder, but still tasty. In the future I might trying this out with hazelnut meal that has been lightly roasted in a pan.

hazelnut financiers

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Mexican chocolate brownies topped with pine nuts

I first encountered this brownie while perusing Sunset Magazine many years ago. Alice Medrich’s brownie recipes from Seriously Bitter Sweet (2013) also provided helpful measurement tips. Furthermore, I added a nice, warming kick of chile powder—i.e., ground dried red chile peppers, not the spice mix containing additions of cumin and oregano.

Mexican chocolate brownies with pine nuts

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Bing cherry wishniak

It’s cherry season!

This recipe is a slight variation from Homemade Liqueurs, by Dona and Mel Meilach (1979). The trick is to find sweet, flavorful cherries in the prime of their season—which for me are Bing cherries. Note that this particular liqueur might take a while to mature. I made a batch in 2013, and only now is it starting to smoothen and round out. I expect, er hope, that it’ll be even better in several months, or even in another year or three!

cherry wishniak from the fridge

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Dark gingerbread cake with rum and citrus

This recipe has been sitting in my files for years, and while we’re on the cusp of summer, gingerbread cake is a comforting reminder of what is behind us—and something to look forward to. This cake uses a lot of ginger, both fresh and powdered, and you could use either oranges or lemons for the citrus. It’s great by itself with a cup of tea or coffee, or served with lashings of rum-augmented whipped cream, or spoonfuls of lime or lemon curd.

Gingerbread cake out of the oven and pan

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Goodbye OpenID

I’ve decided to stop using OpenID on this website for several reasons:

  1. The OpenID plugin for WordPress was last updated in 2012. I have stopped following its development, and I have also stopped trying to get past/possible issues to work properly with my site and theme. I just have not had the time for the past couple years, with other things on my plate.
  2. My OpenID provider (eponymous) has ceased operations.
  3. Other more popular (read: more easy to use by more people) means of authentication have cropped up, like reusing sign on info from Twitter, Facebook, Disqus, etc. Not sure when I’ll add these here—I’d like to, but please refer to the last sentence in #1.

Iwaruna.com maintenance has become minimal, and will likely remain so for the time being. (“Unless something comes up,” etc. ;) I want to continue to post about once a month, mostly food oriented stuff, because that content is ongoing.

Thank you for reading!

Yorkshire pudding with poultry sausages, or toad in the hole

After many years of trying to encourage volume and height in our Yorkshire pudding attempts, I finally found a dependable recipe via Jamie Oliver. This is yet another variation on popovers, where an eggy batter needs rest (if containing gluten), a hot oven, and a well-greased pan. With sausages, this becomes the comforting dish, toad in the hole. My variation uses a bit less oil, in a broader roasting pan, with poultry-based sausages (chicken apple, or turkey apple) or sausage patties.

Toad in the hole

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Even better orange chocolate chip cookies

Or, version 2.0 of chocolate chip cookies. Over the years, I’ve found version 1.0 a bit too flat (in texture), a bit too hard-chewy, and even a bit too bitter. I’ve found a better source of chocolate chips (Guittard’s baking wafers), and a great resource for hacking the recipe.

Better chocolate chip cookies

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What I read in 2013

Happy new year! Ring in 2014 with a listing of what I read in 2013. Part of me would like to have a similar list for other types of media, namely films (including shorts), television, and even music. I have some ancient drafts of animé I’ve viewed, which since they are presently unpublished demonstrates how far behind and erratic I’ve become with those media, alas! But perhaps one of these years, as I often say. ;)

I found and rediscovered some publishers who sell ebooks without DRM, including Smashwords, Book View Café, Circlet Press, and even the ALA Store.

For easier list jumping:

  • Comics and Art Monographs. I decided to combine art monographs with comics into a single category since I’ve so few in former, and also because they both contain visual content. Note: For some of the comics I started in the past, I have gone back and adjusted recommendations in the older posts; i.e., a couple manga and ongoing series have concluded over the past year which I ended up rather disappointed with and no longer recommend.
  • Longer fiction. Wow, I read only a baker’s dozen of novels last year.
  • Shorter fiction. Warning, it’s a very long list!
  • Non-fiction. I’ve (re?)started a habit of describing books here which are helpful references that I did not finish but would recommend for future or ongoing reading (again denoted with :idea: ).
  • Unfinished books and comics

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Buckwheat crêpes

Simon is the crêpe maker in this household, as he is great at making the thinnest pancakes. This recipe contains buckwheat (no relation to wheat), and is primarily for savory crêpes, as made in Brittany, France. But we’ve found that these go quite nicely with sweet fillings, such as chocolate, jam, or sugar with a squeeze of lemon.

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Indian pudding

Indian pudding is not to be confused with kheer, the South Asian pudding made with basmati rice. It’s made with cornmeal, so should not to be confused with corn pudding, either, which is a savory dish made with sweetcorn. No, it’s an old New England dessert I’ve heard about for years, but have never tried. The combination of ingredients appeals to me: cornmeal, maple, ginger, and molasses. True, this is by no means a traditional version—because of the ginger (and the other spices, which I don’t think were available in the 17th century North America?), golden syrup, maple sugar (instead of syrup, because lo! I found an extra packet hiding in the cupboard), and the extra rice flour I had. ;) But it is warmingly good for cold days (and nights), and easy to make.

Overall verdict: Tastes like pumpkin pie filling, minus the crust. A bonus if you can’t or don’t want to hunt down canned pumpkin, or deal with eviscerating a winter squash.

Indian puddingYes, this pudding has a skin. It is not known for its beauty. The skin is full of tasty caramelized goodness.

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