Posts Tagged ‘ingredients’

Duh Moment: Powdered Sugar

January 13, 2010

During the recent blizzard of ’09 in Philly, I decided to decorate some of the naked gingerbread men for a football watching party. Because really, what goes better with pizza and beer than frosted gingerbread cookies? With one hour to go I realized I only had a half cup of powdered sugar which will cover about 3 cookies. Fortunately the corner store had a box of confectioners sugar so I was saved. But I got to thinking…

I was making a batch of Santa’s Spiced Nuts and used my spice/coffee grinder to grind the spices. When I was done blending the spices I followed some advice I heard once and ground some sugar. I had heard somewhere that grinding sugar or rice absorbs the flavor of the powder left over from grinding coffee beans or spices. So after grinding the sugar, I inspected it to see how much of the cloves and allspice was left. It was then that I had my duh moment: I just made powdered sugar!

The moral of the story is that I discovered the secret of powdered sugar. How frustrated I have been by having to keep powdered sugar on hand in addition to regular sugar. The agony when I go to make frosting only to find I am out of the magic that is confectioners sugar. And the disappointment when I try to find an acceptable substitute only to realize there isn’t one.

I examined the ingredient list on the powdered sugar box to confirm my suspicions: sugar, cornstarch. I was shocked to find more than just sugar listed, but it makes sense. The difference between granular sugar and the powdery goodness is not simply that it’s powder but that it has a thickening agent which creates swirls and peaks in frosting. Fortunately, I always have cornstarch on hand. Now I have not tested my theory, but next time I have a late-night frosting craving, I will take notes and report back.


Every veggie but the kitchen sink!

June 30, 2009

I have been wanting to make a veggie burger for the longest time. The frozen ones in grocery stores are usually too greasy and expensive to justify buying them. Besides, how hard could it be?

My first attempt at veggie burgers - success!

My first attempt at veggie burgers - success!

Well I finally tried and succeeded in my book. They look like veggie burgers, they taste good, and they were even filling. However, I need to figure out the perfect combination. My first attempt turned into a test of how many ingredients can I possibly fit into one bowl? And there were still some ingredients I forgot about which were left out. Next time!

Veggie Burgers

created on-the-fly by Sarah Johnson

all measurements are approximate and should be adjusted to taste and preference

2 large zucchini
small bunch carrots
12 oz chick peas
1/4 c tahini paste
1/2 c bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c chives
2 T lemon verbena
2 T paprika
1 T salt
peanut oil

  1. Grate the vegetables and chop the garlic and herbs.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl – hands are preferred!
  3. Form the mixture into patties no thicker than 1 1/2 inches.
  4. Heat 1-2 T of peanut oil in a pan over medium to medium-high heat for each patty. Cook covered for 3-5 minutes on the first side and 2-3 minutes on the second side depending on the thickness of the patty and heat of the oil.

Serving Suggestions
I served the patty with guacamole on whole wheat bread. Alfalfa sprouts and a slice of tomato and some cheese would have been good too.

The variations for this recipe are limitless. The key points to remember are the binding agents which are not all necessary including breadcrumbs, egg, and tahini. Play around with them and others such as avocados or black beans to find what stays in a patty shape for you. Here is a list of ingredients which I forgot to put in:

  • peas
  • water chestnuts
  • turnips
  • mushrooms
  • black beans

And other ingredients which would be good in addition to or in lieu of what I used:

  • olives
  • lemon juice
  • ginger
  • eggplant
  • tomatoes
  • avocado
  • sesame seeds
  • red bell pepper
  • chipotle pepper
  • corn

The point is, this is such a versatile, simple recipe. Do what you want with it! And please do share… both the recipe and the food!

CSA Week 1: fast freeze

May 22, 2009

Hooray! I got my first week of the Greensgrow CSA food share! And it is beautiful.

Asparagus, Spring Onions, Mushrooms, Marjoram, Lettuce, Strawberries, Olive Oil Rolls, Bison, Cheddar Cheese, Butter

Asparagus, Spring Onions, Mushrooms, Marjoram, Lettuce, Strawberries, Olive Oil Rolls, Bison, Cheddar Cheese, Butter

Unfortunately, I will be away for almost two weeks so I will have to freeze or give away most of what I got. At least I will have a deliciously fresh dinner before I have to deal with overpriced crap for two weeks.