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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


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


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 I have some ancient drafts of animé I’ve viewed, which since they are presently unpublished demonstrates how far behind and erratic I’ve become with those media, alas!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 💡 ).
  • Unfinished books and comics


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.


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.



I don’t bake or eat quick breads that often, so it has taken a while for me to get around posting one of my favorites, cornbread. When I discovered blue corn flour (finely ground cornmeal) back in the 1990s, I went nuts making cornbread…then stopped for some reason. I think the following recipe has a good balance of corn nuttiness, tenderness, and moisture. This is a great companion for chili, yet also good topped with butter, or butter and honey.

blue cornbread


Brazilian cheese puffs: pão de queijo

I adapted this from Simply Recipes. I didn’t use a mini-muffin pan since I don’t have one, and I increased the amount of cheese. As Elise Bauer points out, the resulting cheese bread puffs are like crispy mochi popovers. Or, alternatively, like a South American version of gougères.

Brazilian cheese puffs


Raspberry-vanilla ice cream

We don’t get raspberries here as often as we do blackberries and ollalieberries. But one day this past summer, Simon came home from the market with the most fragrant of raspberries… He got four punnets for $12—not cheap!—although high quality and organic, from Borba Farms. It was barely over a pound of fruit, so not enough for preserving. Why not ice cream, then?

Raspberry vanilla ice cream, churningChurning, churning.


Zucchini, (sweet) potato & cheese gratin

Here’s another dish that makes use of our garden’s summer surplus of zucchini. Inspired by the potato, squash & goat cheese gratin recipe from the The Kitchn, except that I reversed the proportions of summer squash and potato. And added sweet potato, changed the cheese composition, among one or two other things. 🙂

Zucchini-sweet potato gratin sm


Roasted tomatoes, good for freezing

I thought I had posted a recipe on how I roasted tomatoes for future usage, but I have not! This recipe was inspired by The Homemade Pantry, by Alana Chernila—about the guilt of letting surplus tomatoes sit too long on the counter. I know that sad feeling when I notice the impending squishiness and mold. Here, just cut away the icky bits, and toss in the oven. More or less.

Roasted tomatoes