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After 80 days of searing heat, (for Spokane) with no rain, finally Fall weather has arrived.  Which for me is a blessing as it's my favorite time of year for cooking.  This is the third batch of duck confit I've made so far.  This time served with a Cassoulet Bean Stew I came up with.  The beans are from our friends at Rancho Gordo.
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Carefully picked prickly pears - that's a dangerous fruit (although I never yet heard of someone dying killed by it, so coconuts stay on top).
A good trick is to quickly burn the sharp bristles, then wash well to remove any left.
When served well chilled, they definetly worth the trouble.
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Cute mozzarella di buffalo ciliegelene with arugula and walnuts.
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The completed bookcase. I now have lots of room for more cookbooks!
 
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Ditto the candy corn, by far. Yes -- horrid, vile, no redeeming features, etc., etc.  Tootsie Rolls, meh, but I still like Tootsie Roll Pops. Little kids like them, too, because we'd hold out a bunch and give each one their choice of flavor. We're giving out half-sized Kit Kats this year, though.

Cakes for my niece's 1st birthday party yesterday.  Rainbow themed, if you can't tell
 
the "good" cake:


 
I was hoping that painting onto white fondant would be faster than kneading six different colors into it, but I think I was wrong.  It was vibrant, at least!
 
The smash cake:
Everybody hand-pipes white chocolate sprinkles in six different colors, right?

 
V 1,  Cake 0

 
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Finally got to try the famous Flor de Jerez !
 
I have to say I'm a little dissappointed. It is really good don't get me wrong but I guess I expected it to be 'funkier' Maybe I'll try this with S&C
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Veal stew
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Amusing, but certainly not new. Here is one by the artist Michelangelo (1475-1564) for his semi-literate servant.
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First attempt at bread in the steam oven.  I think the next try will be better. This is the first time in years that I baked bread by time and temp. alone... without a temp. probe.
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Bucatini with eggplant, mushroom, tomatoes.
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I have a GE 30" slide-in duel fuel similar to this one, it has the warming drawer (forget that, it is worthless).  The range is now about 10 years old and going strong.  (I especially like the electric oven for baking breads.)

 
Leftover Beef Rib Eye, from last night’s dinner, with Peppers and Onions...
 

 
... on a warm Flour Tortilla with Salsa and Sour Cream.
 

 
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Another parchment fish dish from Sun Basket: Sole and spinach with date and apricot salad  We've had this one several times and do like it.  Comes with sole, spinach, shallots, lemon, apricot, dates, almonds, parsley and sumac.  We added walnuts and more dried fruit (blueberries, currents) and more sumac.
 
The fish in parchment after baking:
 

 
And the full dish:
 
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Fruit salad with salmon and mozzarella cheese - RecipeGullet
 
 
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Venison stroganoff
 
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As we speak, I am holding two very precious Christmas gifts on my kitchen counter-two "Great Northern Fruitcakes" that are vintage 2006.
The little jewels have been wrapped in brandy-soaked cheesecloth for three years. I have lovingly doused them with a shower of brandy every three months during their slumber in the pantry. And in just a few more weeks I will wake them from their liquor infused dreams and we'll eat them for Christmas.
These are photos of their cousin, Fruitcake 2005, which we ate last year:
I use a recipe, (posted in the link below), that was created by the bakers of the Great Northern Railrod company. In a bygone era, Fruitcake regularly appeared on holiday menus on Great Northern passenger trains like the "Empire Builder" and the "North Coast Limited." But the days of grand dining aboard regularly scheduled passenger trains is all but gone, replaced with passable Amtrak diners that do not serve fruitcake.
I suspect those of you who are reading these pages join me as a lover of this delicious, (often-derided), little bundle of fruit, nuts and cake.
You may be interested in reading a piece I once wrote about fruitcake:
http://www.themediadrome.com/content/artic...s/fruitcake.htm
I'd love to see photos of your fruitcakes.

What about this? I've found it at my grandpa's kitchen and it took me some time to understand what it's used for. 
Any ideas?

Final update for this trip.  My sister and my niece went home Monday morning as niece started school today.  The rest of us went to the Beachcomber to close it for the season.
 

 
Fried clams, of course
 

 
Steamers
 

 
fishwich 
 

 
Oyster po boy
 

 
 
Fish and chips
 

 
Shrimp caesar
 

 
Then everyone left except my husband and myself.  We had dinner at Mac's Shack.  Oysters Mexican (chiles, cilantro and lime)
 

 
Ritz cracker crusted bluefish
 

 
Roasted halibut with polenta, kale, and mushrooms with asparagus sauce
 

 
Final meal, husband and I had lunch at the Pearl.  Oysters
 

 
Shrimp tacos
 

 
Five spice crusted toro with sesame slaw
 

 
And that's it!  I'll be returning for 10 days in October, which will encompass the Wellfleet Oysterfest.  Hopefully this year there will actually be oysters!  Last year there was a salmonella outbreak and the beds were closed.  Until next time, here's a photo of Cahoon Hollow, one of my favorite beaches for long walks.
 

 
 
 
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I had posted this before.
The theory behind my design:
1. Conventional arched cold frame design have the headroom problem for plants near the edges. My design is uniform in height all around.
2. The problem with many cold frames is where do you store them when they are not in use. My design can be taken apart and reassembled in minutes. The parts are all modular and take very little room to store away.
3. Portable, light weight. Can be moved around. Each one is 4'W x 8'L x 2'H. Plenty of growing space.
4. Inexpensive. All plastic plumbing parts.
dcarch

 
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I got to go full Mad Scientist this afternoon:

 
As I mentioned above, their pretzel technique involves par-baking and then dipping in lye, followed by a quick finish in the oven. This almost worked well today, but the instructions clearly say to not immerse the pretzels, but only float them in the lye. However, with the Modernist variation, the pretzels are too light and don't sink far enough into the lye, leading to a pretzel that literally looks half-baked. The additional methylcellulose does its job very well, and you get a great internal texture on the pretzels, but I think you need to push them down into the lye a bit to really get them well-coated.
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My little misadventure, that took me off the path, brought me past this little gem on my way back to Lombard Street.
 

 

 

 

 

 
These two gentlemen and I were the only occupants at 2:30 or so when I arrived.
 
 
 

 
Nice butter, parsley and white wine sauce to soak up the the bread (and the fries).
 
\\
 

 

 
 
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On to the sacred city of Varanasi for proof that cows do eat garbage.

 
We took a walk with a charming young man from Varanasi Walks, highly recommended. This is top of the milk.

 
The flower market where we climbed to a second storey for the crowd shot.

 
 

 
A lassi each at the famous Blue Lassi, 80 flavours on the menu, each made to order in a one time use terracotta cup.
His is strawberry and chocolate, mine is pomegranate and pistachio.
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A previous attempt at the saucissons sec from Charcuterie ended in tears, or at least in things gooey and furry and generally felt to be unhealthy. That was done using an old fridge with temperature control, fan assisted air circulation, a salt tray; everything I could think of.
Encouraged by the discussions of green fur being washed off, this time round I started at the right time of year. The sausages were simply hung in the [cool but otherwise near ideal] conditions out in the unheated workshop about a month ago. They could, I think, have been called ready a week ago, had I been home to deal with them. In any case, here's the result. I'm happy.
Stuffed into regular hog casings, the only deviation from the Ruhlman recipe was a rather heavy hand with the garlic. Not a disaster in these parts
With vague notions of innoculation, after stuffing the casings were wiped down with a piece of white-molded rind from some brie we had to hand, but at no point was any sign found of the mold on the sausages. The dark flecks visible in the cut product are coarse black pepper.

Post in The Soup Topic (2013–)
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