What I’m cooking
It’s full-on fall, y’all. I had a few friends over for a game night in October, and I cooked up a bunch of fall vegetables from the market and my CSA. Roasted delicata squash, broccoli, and cauliflower on a bed of leek “risotto.” Pumpkin and black bean soup. Some cream cones loosely made with this recipe, except just one cup of cream plus half a can of pureed sweet potato. (My friend insisted that I write down this modification, because I first made this variation last Thanksgiving and could not remember exactly what I did.) We keep getting escarole, which is not my favorite bitter green, but it turns out pretty delicious if you sautee it with butter and garlic and then blend it with white beans for a creamy spread.
Because this was a group of nerdy game enthusiasts, I set out to make some treats from The Elder Scrolls Cookbook (reviewed on Polygon here) which I am borrowing from a friend. There are a few recipes I’m curious to try on their own merits, such as the apple cabbage stew (with the cabbage sauteed in butter to give it richness and flavor) and horker loaf (with smoked oysters mixed into the traditional meatloaf blend for that sea mammal savor). For lack of time, though, I just threw together a batch of S’jirra’s potato bread and the iconic Skyrim sweetrolls, although for the latter I mixed up an autumnal maple icing rather than the snowy white cream cheese frosting the author recommends.
The potato bread is easy: leftover mashed potatoes, flour, salt, an egg. I made another batch last week when I had leftover parsnip-potato mash, and I mixed in some spicy cheddar cheese too.
What I look forward to cooking
I’ve been watching Great British Bake-off with my gentleman, and it makes us want to bake something more complicated than my usual no-fuss desserts. Since I treated myself to a metal mini-bundt pan for the Skyrim sweetrolls, I’m thinking mini-bundts–not too fussy and layered, and they look fancier than they are. Maybe I’ll make a chocolatey batch with the free cocoa Penzey’s Spices sent me when I reordered the Berbere blend (my favorite for spicy tomato-based stews). Maybe I’ll try a glossy chocolate ganache drizzle on top inspired by star baker Steph’s ubiquitous mirror glazes. (I looked up how to make a mirror glaze and it sounds more involved than I care to go.)
I put up a few jars of my favorite kimchi in anticipation of future soups and stirfry dinners, and I seized several pounds of quince during their short season intending to make the velvety, sunset-colored puree I enjoyed so much last year. I didn’t mind the pot, though–just dumped it in a slow cooker so I could go to bed–and the puree became darker and more watery than expected. It still tastes good on yogurt and granola, but I won’t be making quince tarts with this. I have so much, though! Maybe I can treat it like applesauce and stir it into batter, as in this quince almond cake.
I am traveling to see family for Thanksgiving, and definitely helping out with the cooking, although I’m not sure yet what we’ll be having. This branch of the family goes in for traditional: turkey breast, honey glazed ham, mashed potatoes and gravy. My cousin usually makes a smoky bean and bacon dip, and my mom would normally contribute hash brown casserole if she was coming up. Making I’ll stow some broccoli or kale in my luggage, get more greens on the table.
What I’m writing
I finished a creative writing class in the first quarter and have just started a second, and while I’m enjoying myself immensely, I am in an awkward stage of writing a lot without having much I’m ready to share. I have been posting personal narrative more regularly to my book blog, and I did share a somewhat personal story here and was reassured by the kind comments. I do feel like I’m finding my way… somewhere.
My writing practice this season is bolstered by virtual hangouts with my writer friend who works from home. Once a week we check in by chat and then dedicate the lunch hour to working on our respective writing projects.
What are we cooking and writing, friends?