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Wholemeal Crank

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  1. Cherry-O-Cream Cheese Pie: from the back of a box or can--not sure if it was from the cream cheese, condensed milk, or the pie filling... http://debunix.net/recipes/CherryCreamCheese.html But a classic unbanked cheesecake. Today I use dried sour cherries to make my own topping, however....
  2. Then I'd recommend Dens Shin-ryoku, and while you're there, toss in some Kukicha, for toasty contrast; and from Yuuki-Cha, including a pouch of the lovely Haru-Bancha for variety (out of stock now, bummer), and probably any of their organic senchas--the selection this year have different names than the 2010 teas I've ordered before, as suits your budget, but I have been happy with both their lower-end and mid-priced teas; and for O-cha, well, I've liked all the selections I picked from them last year, but I was buying their fancier teas--Warashina supreme, 'Aoi'.
  3. Fennel sesame cookies Greens with pomegranate molasses Walnut-pomegranate dip/sauce I've also used it in place of lemon juice in hummus, and in situations where I might otherwise use a squeeze of lemon for lift to finish a soup or sauce or drink.
  4. Waking up this topic to share a lovely tasting today: I tried the free sample of the 2012 Gu Zhu Zi Sun from Norbu and compared it to a newly-opened package (my last) of the 2011 that so delighted me last year. I'd been hoarding the 2011, really, probably longer than I should have. 2.5 grams of each tea with 80 mL water per infusion in a pair of Petr Novak iron-rich shiboridashis. I"m alternating tea with a honeydew melon, a very nice combination. First infusion 180 degrees, 30 seconds: both delicious, vegetal, delicate. Despite being well-sealed, there is no doubt that the 2011 has lost a little bit of the floral freshness that is much stronger in the 2012. 2nd series 150 degrees, 30 seconds again: delicious, with similar differences between the teas again apparent--a little deterioration of the 2011 due to my delay in drinking it. 170 degrees, 1 minute: melon and cucumber, delicate and delicious, in the 2011; similar elements but an overlay of more floral/sweet freshness in the 2012. Still LOVE this tea so much…. 180 degrees, 1 minute: bigger difference between them--the 2012 is a sweet alpine meadow of spring/summer flowers. The 2011 is the same but muffled. This is the best infusion yet! 190 degrees, 1 minutes: just enjoying the delicious scent first, delicate, floral, melon, flowers. Mmm. So happy. Delicious. 190 degrees, 2 minutes: again, the scent is so nice. Mmm. Delicious tea. 205 degrees, 2 minutes: mmm, mmmm 205 degrees, many many minutes--long enough for the liquid to cool to room temperature: tasty, but the leaves are done now, as there's finally some astringency apparent. I will certainly be ordering more of this tea in the future, although my green tea supply is now such that I can't do it right away, or I'll risk deterioration of the ones I've already got like the 2012 that I held a little too long.
  5. that makes it trickier to make specific suggestions: I prefer the more lightly-steamed asamushi style senchas, because the deeper umami of the fukamushi often seems to overwhelm the lighter, sweeter flavor elements that I crave.
  6. Dens provides good teas for the price. I have enjoyed several of their senchas. I also feel like I've gotten pretty nice tea for the rice from Yuuki-cha, and O-Cha. Each of these companies offers a range of tea prices, and I've rarely bought the fanciest, but I've enjoyed all of them. Do you know if you prefer a lighter or darker steamed sencha--asamushi or fukamushi?
  7. I'd had no idea someone made such a device. It's so easy to prepare a bit of hot tea and chill it, and even easier to just take some tea and drop it into cool water and wait....
  8. The storeroom is already going to have to hold a lot of stuff, and it's downstairs. I want to put the entire volume of the grain sacks into storage as they arrive, and there really is nowhere else on the upper floor. In my current kitchen I haven't worried so much about the appearance. I could do something like that, or to put it in the kickspace under a standing-height work/eating counter. I can't do an island unless I move the front door, but that is definitely a possibility right now.
  9. I definitely would consider a cabinet/drawer combination, but I anticipate completely filling all the space in the current cabinets with other things before getting to the grain buckets, and I'll probably be getting more cabinets for the dining room, which could include something more specialized. I can even imagine a simple cart/tray that might be 'hidden' behind ordinary appearing cabinet doors, but a single cart would be very awkward with 100 or 150 lbs of grain on it. Drawers shaped to fit the buckets might be a really nice solution, if sturdy enough.
  10. One of the many things I've got to fit in my new kitchen are my wheat buckets, or something very much like them: Wheat buckets by debunix, on Flickr I use them to store the wheat I buy in 50 pound sacks, for grinding in my small electric mill. They're very useful, keep any contamination or bugs isolated to one bucket at a time, and are quite sturdy for stacking up. But they're not at all pretty. I remember my sister had a neat-looking antique Hoosier cabinet, that was designed to store some bulk flour and sugar handy to the baking counter, and now I'm wondering about other more attractive storage solutions that would also keep bugs that come in with one batch from contaminating another, without necessarily having to be fully air-tight, just tight fitted; permit me to scoop out the grain for weighing before milling, a little at a time, rather than have to try to control the flow of grain from an elevated bulk box/tube/whatever; and it would be endlessly cool if it was sufficiently transparent to really show off the beauty of the grain. The kitchen is currently furnished with maple cabinets in a plain modern style, which will stay, but the rest of it is currently in flux, so that's about the only design element I need to match at present: Kitchen - 08 by debunix, on Flickr Any ideas out there?
  11. Another cool-brewed tea day: started with a pot of sencha brewed hot, but quickly had to move to cool brews--including leaving the sencha with some cool water on it, as it wasn't quite done at the end of my short easy hot infusions. Then some more hibiscus/peppermint & hibiscus/sencha. It's hot enough today that I set the teas up in quart jars for the brewing, because one 10 oz cup at a time is not enough.
  12. Bulk hibiscus is cheap in the local hispanic groceries. After the cooling sencha start to the day, it's been more cold brewing in the heat with some yellow tea plus a hibiscus blossom, very nice.
  13. Can't believe I missed this the first time around. Pineapple sage is one of my favorite herbs to grow, for the beautiful plant, and for the tasty leaves and flowers. I use it mostly in desserts--it is stunning in pinapple sage poached pears, especially when I can top the whole with fresh blossoms; gives a wonderful twist to an apple pie or applesauce; lifts an almond from interesting to wow. I've also used it in some spring and summer 'refrigerator soups'--fresh vegetable soups made with whatever came home from the market. It works very well with rosemary in those. And, since I'm finally home during a proper heat wave, drinking some more chilled tea. Broke out the glass infuser mugs for the first time in while, dropped in a spoonful of some cheap sencha (I bought some of this in a local shop and found it was ok chilled but not so good hot), added cool water, and put in the fridge. The infuser mugs have glass filter inserts that clog too easily for me to enjoy regularly using them for hot tea, but they're just right for this use: Chilled tea by debunix, on Flickr
  14. I brew all kinds of teas, and use an adjustable digital kettle to control the temp to within 5-10 degrees, use a scale when preparing tea for formal tastings or reviews, but though I have a bunch of timers, I rarely use them for tea. The most critical timings are with the very short initial infusions for very strong or aggressive young raw puerhs and green teas, and those are so short I just count them out to myself, up to 60 seconds or so. For infusions longer than that, I check the clock, and sometimes goof up but usually even a quite long infusion, if it's not at the very beginning, can be rescued by some dilution, so I'm more relaxed about those.
  15. I shouldn't forget the basic wikipedia entries, that seem pretty good, if limited in depth, especially the very helpful flowchart on tea production techniques, that helps clarify the distinction between various traditional types of teas. And there is a very helpful little chart on Den's Tea web site which, if you study it, helps clarify the effects of different brewing temperatures and times on tea flavors.
  16. The place I go most often to talk about tea is TeaChat, as mentioned above, because it's a busy place where many there are ongoing discussions about different aspects of teas and teawares. It's a good source of tea info, but like any forum, the quality of the information varies from poster to poster and topic to topic. But it's pretty well moderated and a friendly place. The search function works pretty well to pull up threads on specific topics. Another place I spent quite a bit of time with is the Yahoo group tea-disc. There is another larger 'tea list' Yahoo group, but it was quite heavy-handedly moderated and not the most informative. The tea-disc group has an extensive archive and that was very helpful to build my knowledge about tea beyond what my tea books could provide. Other places I've found good tea info include blogs, personal web pages, and tea retailers' pages, that sometimes give a lot of good background along with sales pitches for their latest finds. Some that I've gone back to over and over are TeaHabitat, for information about Dan Cong teas; Norbu, for mostly chinese but recently some japanese teas also; Pu-erh.net, a personal page about puerh; MattCha's page, a personal blog with discussions of many different teas, including a lot of korean teas; and Marshall's blog as listed above; JK tea shop has some good info especially but not exclusively on puerh. My own web site is pretty limited on the tea pages--I really should update them.
  17. I haven't been drinking much sencha for the past few months.....got out of the morning sencha habit. Happily, I'm now sufficiently well equipped at work to make afternoon or evening sencha a reasonable choice, so I'm getting some in here and there. But I've got some new sencha samples lined up to taste, must get going with them. I'm still officially agnostic re: matcha. Haven't yet had the 'aha!' moment that came so easily with oolongs and puerhs and white teas, and not so easily for green and black teas. It's too expensive to waste on 'meh' results, so until I can get to a matcha party with an expert and a selection of great matchas, I'll let the rest of you enjoy it and use my chawan for other teas.
  18. "Oolong is sometimes written as Wulong but the meaning is the same: Oo (Wu) means Black and Long means Dragon." That fits my recollections (vague) about it. Quote is from this web site (found on google, not one I've done business with).
  19. Today, started with some old puerh--probably a shu, ?15-20 years old, that I inherited without any additional information about it's origins. It was probably a souvenir of a trip to Hong Kong, which has a really thick earthy broth, with a strong cinnamon spicy aftertaste--a lot like what Rou Gui seems like it should be (but since I haven't yet tried many of these, I don't know how characteristic it really is of typical Rou Gui). And now, moving back to a nice Alishan oolong--Tsou Ma Fei from Norbu. Spicy and floral and sweet.
  20. I learned a lot from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book, and continue to use it as a resource. I was inspired by a discussion on shortbreads to start manipulating the grains in my fresh-milled flours to adjust the texture of my baked goods--rice for crunch, oat for softer, etc--and first browned butter with her directions. Lots of good, reliable recipes and excellent pearls here, there, everywhere.
  21. Made several things over the weekend, now reporting back. I used pumpkin seeds, toasted, to make some hermits as follows, more or less: HERMITS 1/2 cup tart dried apricots 1 cup raisins (zapped together in food processor with part of the flour to chop pretty finely but not turn into paste) 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1/2 cup honey 1/4 cup molasses juice & zest of 2 lemons 2 eggs 400g soft white wheat milled with 3 long peppers 1 teaspoon mace pieces, crushed lightly 6 pods cardamom 1 inch cinnamon stick OR 3 1/4 cup unbleached or soft whole wheat pastry flour 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 teaspoon ground mace 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup lightly toasted pumpkin seeds, unsalted Spread in baking pans--3 @ 8x8--baked 350 about 20 minutes. I think they needed a little less flour, but the pumpkin seeds were outstanding, and I'll make these again this way. And using the suggestion above about using sunflower seeds raw when added to a blander drop-cookie dough, made Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with sunseeds 1 cup butter 1 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup sugar 2 eggs zest of 2 small lemons 150 grams hard wheat 30 grams sweet rice milled with 3 inches chopped vanilla bean 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon soda 2 cups quick oats 3/4 cup sunflower seeds, raw 6 oz (180 grams or 1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate 1/2 cup raisins, chopped and baked per toll house drop cookies 375 about 15 minutes. I really didn't notice much difference vs my usual walnuts or almonds in this dense cookie. And finally, made lemon-poppy seed shortbread cookies with browned butter, very nice, just a slight variation on this recipe from my web site (which has moved to my new domain debunix.net). I will put the recipes above into better form and port them over to the new site, where they'll show up on the recipe index page here.
  22. This topic has been quiet for a very long time. I've been drinking a lot of tea, still mostly drunk hot despite the warmer weather. Recently, I'm working through some Jin Xuan processed as a green tea from Norbu, a last remaining packet (sent as a gift from Greg at Norbu) of the summer 2009 High Mountain Beauty Alishan oolong I enjoyed so much, and had a recent Dan Cong frenzy with both some less pricey but still very tasty Mi Lan from Norbu and some pricier but superb (as usual) DCs from TeaHabitat, including the end of some Honey Orchid, Song Zhong, and Po Tou, and newly opened a Zhong Ping Lao Cong Zhi Lan Xiang. Greens and puerhs have been around too, some standby Sea Dyke TKY, and more. The hotter weather also brings out some more herbal teas for drinking cooler--hibiscus, mint, lemon grass just feel better in summer. Just haven't been writing about it daily here.
  23. Aha...ground chocolate plus chipped chocolate....I am suddenly inspired to recreate forgotten kisses, yes!
  24. I've been going to this camp for 4 years, and I have been thinking of it as a challenge rather than an obstacle.....but this time, the infinite cookie generator ran out of oomph, and that's why I decided to try a batch or two with these seeds, which I've been avoiding doing for the past 4 years. I've done variations on biscotti, shortbread, bar cookies, drop cookies, rolled cookies, spritz cookies, icebox cookies, but refuse tuiles (too lazy for those); adjust the flour's contribution to the texture by changing the grain mix milled for each batch (rice for crisp, oat for soft, hard wheat, soft wheat); but most of my favorite cookies have nuts in them, and I've made most of the ones that don't have nuts several times already, and don't want to duplicate what their own kitchen turns out (snickerdoodles, plain chocolate chip, simple oatmeal cookies, brownies). Meringues....I recently played a bit with macaroons, and when I was in France 2 years ago bought some, but every time found them too sweet, even when the sugar was minimized and the proportion of nuts was very high. I'm pretty sure I've already done Anise Caps for them, but maybe another variation on those, where the eggs are beaten whole rather than as meringue, and the richness of the eggs cuts the sweetness of the resulting cookie to tolerable levels.
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