I'm Laura. I am a gamer, a bookworm, a knitter, a spinner, a tatter, a seamstress, pierced, tattooed, musical, vehemently geeky and occasionally ineptly artistic. She/her.


How to contact me:

     laura @ cybermenology.com
     Cybermenology Handmade

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I love potstickers.

Posted at 17 Sep 2008 10:47:52 AM


That's the total number of potstickers that bbqdaffid and I made on Saturday. Phew!

Our recipe was based on Jaden Hair's (SteamyKitchen.com). We used chicken, turkey, bok choy*, green onion and ginger. If we'd remembered bamboo shoots, they would have been in there too. Wrapping them wasn't nearly as hard as I'd anticipated, and the only real 'gotcha' is that the edges of the finished dumplings like to dry out a bit. If we hadn't been making quite so many I doubt they would have been sitting out for very long, though, so YMMV.

A dozen of the first ones were cooked up on the spot and dipped in hoisin. We had to make sure they were edible, right? The verdict was 'darn tasty', so on we labored.

102 dumplings later, and we were out of filling. We froze them overnight, then foodsaver'd them up in packages of 10. We each took half - 50 apiece. I have plans for some of mine, accompanying a beef and asparagus stirfry tomorrow night.

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Meat 'n' Poatoes night

Posted at 27 Feb 2008 11:29:59 PM

We just finished tonight's dinner, and it was so darn tasty that I wanted to post it :) (Crossposted from LJ Cooking.)

The menu was:

( Click for the rest )

Recipes, such as they are, as follows:

For the steak:
Do whatever you like to do to a steak. I seasoned both sides with kosher salt, fresh-ground or cracked black pepper, and chili powder. Garlic powder wouldn't hurt if you are so inclined (or garlic salt).

Place it on a sheet pan or piece of tin foil, and stick it under the broiler. 4 minutes per side, and you'll have a lovely medium-rare. If you have a grill, I am envious :)

For the veggies:
Cut about 6 medium-sized (3-4 inches long) redskinned potatoes in half.
Peel 2 or 3 carrots, and cut them in thirds.
Trim the ends off of a bunch of fresh asparagus, and cut the remainder into pieces a couple of inches in length
Gently clean and trim, if necessary, a pint container of baby portobello mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp fresh chopped chives
4-6 tbsp unsalted butter (completely optional)
4-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (not quite as optional, but adjust amounts to your liking.)

Preheat the oven to 400.

Put the potatoes and carrots in the roasting pan. Sprinkle on about 1/8 tsp chili powder, kosher salt, and fresh-ground black pepper. Place 2 1-tbsp pats of butter on top, drizzle with approximately the same amount of olive oil, and place uncovered in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring at each 10-minute mark to get the lovely butter and oil coating everything nicely.

After about 20 minutes, add the asparagus, whole button mushrooms, more seasonings if you like, garlic and chives. Add the rest of the butter and olive oil (or as much as you care to add) over the top, and stick back in the oven.

Roast for another 30-40 minutes, stirring gently every 10, until the potatoes and carrots are done through.

Some options:
- Leave the mushrooms out of the veggie mixture, and instead of serving this with steak, grill up some whole portobello mushroom caps.
- If you parboil the potatoes and carrots first for about 10 minutes, you can eliminate the extra 20 minutes which they need alone in the oven. This dirties another dish and the timing comes out the same in the end, so I don't personally bother.
- Brussles sprouts would probably be lovely in this as well.

Thank you suzepie for your suggestions re: the steak - they were spot-on. My fiance waved away the bbq sauce, saying "Nah, I don't want to ruin a good steak!" which is about the highest compliment I can get, I figure ;)


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Penne with artichoke hearts and squash in garlic butter sauce

Posted at 06 Jan 2008 03:45:28 AM

This is a dish that a friend of mine (hi, Frosty!) made up for a communal Sunday dinner he and his wife used to (still do?) host. It was spur of the moment, but absolutely divine. Last night I was feeling a bit homesick, and knew that I had some artichokes and parmesan to use up. Perfect!

Pay no attention to the butter content. It's worth it!

Ingredients for two people:
1/2 zucchini, in thin 1/8" slices
1/2 yellow squash, same
1 freezer package of artichoke hearts - the kind that comes in boxes about the size of a hand.
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced fine
4 tbsp of butter, cut up into tbsp chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper, red pepper, nutmeg, parsley
hunk of parmesan cheese
1/2 lb penne pasta

Get a pot of water boiling for the penne. I didn't start cooking the rest until the water was boiling, as the whole thing takes about as long to cook as the pasta does to boil.

Defrost the artichoke hearts by whatever method you prefer.

Melt 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Saute the garlic until it's nice and toasty (but not burned!). Add the artichoke hearts and saute for another couple of minutes.
Add the zucchini and squash. Stir it around to get all nice and coated with the garlic butter.
Add in another tbsp of butter and stir it around.
Season with salt, pepper and hot red pepper to taste. Sprinkle on a very little bit of nutmeg, and oh say a tsp of parsley.
Add some more butter. Call your heart surgeon to make a preemptive appointment.
Saute it all until it's soft and delectable but not squishy. Add in the cooked and drained penne pasta.
Add whatever's left of the butter, or more if you feel there's not enough. Ditto on the spices.

Stir it all together into a wonderful garlic & butter-sauced dinner. Grate on parmesan cheese until the urge to sing "On Top of Spaghetti" is unbearable. Sing. Devour :D

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My favorite recipes

Posted at 17 Sep 2008 10:47:43 AM

This post is inspired by Jaden of Steamy Kitchen, who is giving away a big bag of szechuan peppercorns for use in making one's own seasoning salt and thus is almost too nifty for words. As specified in the contest rules this is one of my favorite dinners of all time.

Anything which is in my book an all-time favorite is probably something with a good deal of emotional attachment to it, and this is no exception: it's one of those meals which cannot fail to remind me of home, along with dutch-oven-chicken and dumplings and real* mac & cheese with peas and ham. Mom's dutch oven got a good deal of use in our family, which I never thought was anything special until I moved out and realized pityingly that most people have no idea what one is. Over the years, dutch oven cooking has progressed in my thinking from being normal and nothing special to being downright awesome. I privately yearn for a Le Creuset, but somehow I doubt that I'd ever use it as much as my blackened, seasoned cast iron.

I have, I confess, meddled with this recipe quite a bit. When made at home, it involves pork chops with bound breading, seared on both sides in a hot cast iron dutch oven and then braised in hot water until tender. The breading and the drippings and the water makes a tasty gravy which melts down over hot buttered egg noodles, and with a baked potato on the side I honestly can't think of anything better.

I am a fiend for herbs and spices, so my way has gradually come to involve they as well as aromatics, balsamic vinegar and white wine. If you're lucky it also involves a potato recipe which I picked up years ago from The Surreal Gourmet, which I Googled as I was writing this, and with which I have apparently meddled beyond recognition. Greens on the side are nice, be they a salad, vegetables or what have you. I personally prefer peas or broccoli, but I'm sure that some people love asparagus, green beans and brussles sprouts. Have at it!

I wish I had pictures (sorry, Jaden!), but with my inability to use up leftovers and the difficulties inherent in adapting this to a one-person recipe, it was not to be. I'll make it again I'm sure, and if you're lucky I'll remember to update this post.

Enough of the stories- on to the recipes!

( Click for the rest )

*Bonus recipe: Real Macaroni and Cheese. Make a bechamel sauce and stir in a lot of grated cheddar cheese, and it doesn't count unless you get to eat the hunk of cheese left over that's too small to grate without also grating your fingers. Make some elbow macaroni and pour the sauce over it. Get some ham, in thick slices- they sell it packaged that way in stores now- and cut it up in little cubes. Cook some peas. Stir the peas and ham into the mac & cheese and serve that dinner in all its creamy goodness immediately, and if you feel that you must have ketchup in it, by all means go for it. Don't you dare so much as gesture toward that oven door. Thou Shalt Not Bake the Mac & Cheese. QED, amen, good night and good luck.

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I win at evenings

Posted at 17 Sep 2008 10:47:35 AM

Perfectly miserable day outside - rainy and as dismal as they come. Had my annual performance review this morning, though, and that went fairly well. Nobody's complained about me, and that's always something good to hear :)

I was browsing through the food blogs of Kitchen Wench, La Mia Cucina, and Cream Puffs in Venice during the last few hours at work while I was waiting for one of our vendors to acknowledge that their product rather spectacularly fails to correctly interpret JavaScript's string.length attribute (it thinks it's a function... sometimes). The moral of the story is that I came across Lucullian Delights, on the front page of which I saw a picture of a gorgeous penne pasta with red pepper pesto.

And I had to have it.

I went by Wegman's after work and picked up 3 beautiful red bell peppers and some fresh basil. Came home and ... well, here, have a recipe (such as mine are :) )

Penne Pasta with Red Bell Pepper Pesto
3 large red bell peppers
4 cloves of garlic
large handful of fresh basil
pine nuts
lemon juice
concentrated tomato paste
olive oil

Cut up the bell peppers into smallish pieces. Roughly chop the garlic. Add the peppers and garlic to a skillet, add some fresh-ground salt, pepper and red chili peppers, and sweat/saute in some olive oil until they are soft and just barely caramelized.

Spoon them into a food processor, add a few tbsp of pine nuts, a couple of tsp lemon juice, a tbsp or so of concentrated tomato paste and some more olive oil if needed for consistency. Add the fresh basil leaves, and process until the pesto is smooth.

Makes about 2 cups. Whatever you don't use immediately may be frozen for later.


To cap off my now-perfect evening, I stopped by Barnes & Noble on the way home and FINALLY picked up the Jeeves and Wooster DVDs. I am now sitting happily on the couch enjoying a fabulous dinner and british comedy enough to make me chortle with delight. :D


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