The Great Lusternian Cookbook



  • Talan's Chicken Black Bean Chili
    I continue to be obsessed with my crockpot. The following is tasty delicious. I have made it a couple of times in the last month. I have found that the little bit of sausage does big things for the flavor and texture, while other chicken chilis tend to be a bit thin and without the rich heartiness that you want. So this is kind of a compromise recipe, not ultra-healthful, but definitely a few steps better than a regular groundbeef/pork/veal/sausage/whatever chili.

    3 chicken breasts
    ~1/4 lb spicy italian sausage (1-2 links)
    1 can crushed tomatoes (the big size can)
    1 can diced tomatoes (regular size can)
    3 tbsp tomato paste
    1/2 bag frozen corn
    1/2 bag dried black beans
    1 onion, chopped
    1/2 cube of chicken boullion
    1 tsp oregano
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 tbsp sugar
    1/2 tsp cayenne*
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1/2 tsp chili powder*

    Can opener

    *Adjust up in small increments for more spicy. Recipe is mild.

    Let the tap run as hot as it goes and soak the beans in a bowl full of water. The water will turn inky, this is normal. Change it a couple of times over the course of about 30-40 minutes. You can do other things while you are doing this. Ignore everything else the bag is telling you about soaking the beans overnight, just do this.
    Other things to do:
    Open the cans and add them to the crock pot. Also add the corn and the onion, and all the spices. Stir. Put the chicken in. Remove sausage from the casings or if you have loose sausage meat, just add it. You can break up the sausage meat a little but don't worry about this too much, it will be easier to do that later once it is cooked.
    There are still beans soaking in a bowl in my sink:
    Rinse the beans until the water runs clear, then add them. Stir again.

    All day on low, or 6 hours on high. More is okay.
    Half an hour before you are ready to eat:
    Use tongs to break up the chicken and sausage into small bits. Do a thorough job of this. Cook some rice, or not.

    Over the rice you just cooked. Or skip the rice and serve with sourdough bread.

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  • edited August 2017
    Oaty Crunchy Banana Bread 

    Grease and flour one loaf pan
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees

    1/2 C unsalted butter
    3/4 C maple sugar or vanilla sugar (or sweet revenge coconut sugar substitute)
    2 eggs
    3 large or 4 small ripe bananas, smooshed
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 C flour
    1 C rolled oats
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 Tblsp lightly toasted sesame seeds
    1/2 C golden raisins or sultanas
    1/2 C chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or cashews, gently toasted (or a mix)

    What to do:

    Cream butter and sugar until light colored
    Blend in egg 
    Add mashed bananas and vanilla, and mix well
    Mix in flour, oats, baking powder, soda, salt, and sesame seed
    Fold in nuts and raisins
    Pour into greased and floured loaf pan
    Bake at 350F, for 60 minutes or until a knife or toothpick comes clean when poked

    Browned Butter Frosting

    1/2 C butter
    4 C powdered sugar
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla
    3 Tblsp whole milk

    Heat butter into a large saucepan over medium heat until bubbly. Let butter turn a delicate brown and remove from heat immediately.

    Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Whisk together until smooth (it should be thicker than a glaze but thinner than frosting). Using a spatula, spread the brown butter frosting over the warm loaf (the frosting will be easier to spread while the loaf is still nice and warm, but not piping hot).

    Let cool, sprinkle toasted oats over top.

    Enjoy a slice with warm coffee, tea, or milk.

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  • edited September 2017
    CocoMac Shrimp with Spicy Pineapple Sauce

    For Shrimp:
    1 1/2- 2 lbs jumbo shrimp- peeled, deveined and butterflied. Tail kept intact.
    Salt, to taste
    Black pepper, to taste
    White Pepper, to taste
    Sesame seed oil, to taste
    ABC brand kecap manis sweet soy sauce, to taste
    Flour as needed
    1 C buttermilk bisquick mix
    3/4 C water
    1/4 C coconut milk
    1 1/2 C panko crumbs
    1/2 C flaked, dried coconut, unsweetened
    1/2 C fine chopped macadamia nuts
    Vegetable oil for deep frying

    For Dipping Sauce:
    1 C pineapple preserves/jelly
    1/2 C honey
    1 tsp Dijon mustard
    1 Tblsp prepared horseradish
    1 Tblsp lime juice
    1/2-1 tsp Adoboloco brand chilli pepper water, or other brand/homemade version to taste
    Kewpie mayo

    What Do:

    In a tall sided pot or dutch oven, pour in about 2 inches of vegetable oil and heat to 350F (measured by candy thermometer)

    Season the flour with salt, black and white pepper, and put into a clean bowl. In another bowl, drizzle shrimp lightly with ABC sauce and sesame seed oil, tossing the shrimp to make sure every bit of shrimp is coated. Let marinate for 10 min.

    Strain shrimp and toss into the seasoned flour, making sure once again, every bit is coated.

    Whisk the bisquick mix with the coconut milk and water to make a batter.

    In a third bowl or tray, combine the panko, coconut flakes and macadamia nuts.

    Dip the floured shrimp into the batter and coat thoroughly with the panko-macadamia mix.

    A few at a time, deep fry the crusted shrimp in the oil until nicely golden on all sides, about 1 minute.

    Drain on paper towels or cooling rack to cool and crisp up. Serve with sauce.

    To make sauce, pour pineapple jelly into a small saucepan and warm until slightly melted. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients except for mayo until combined. Transfer to a small serving bowl and chill in fridge until ready to serve at room temp.

    To serve: Drizzle kewpie mayo over shrimp and garnish with toasted macadamia nuts, pineapple sauce on the side.

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  • edited October 2017

    Bobotie Pie

    For Filling:
    1 lb Ground Beef
    1 lb Ground Pork
    2-3 Large potatoes, peeled and thin sliced into discs, as for gratin
    3 stale slices of white bread, crusts removed, diced into cubes, or torn into pieces
    1/4-1/2 C heavy cream
    2 oz 'wet seedless' tamarind brick/pulp, can be found in Asian markets like H Mart (if you don't have it you can omit it or try a couple spoons of tamarind syrup)
    1/4 C brown sugar
    1 Tblsp vegetable oil
    1 Tblsp unsalted European style butter
    1 1/2-2 Tblsp Curry powder
    1 tsp Cinnamon
    1/4 tsp cayenne
    1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
    1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 Tblsp unseasoned rice wine vinegar
    1/4 C Sultanas/Gold Raisins
    1/4 C diced, unsulfured, dried apricots
    1/2 C gently toasted pumpkin seeds/pepitas
    1-2 large sweet onions, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tsp lemon zest
    Juice from 1/2 lemon
    or 1 Tblsp fresh passionfruit juice
    1 large egg, beaten
    1-2 tsp Sarson's browning sauce or worcestershire 
    1/2 tsp Better than Boullion  Roasted Beef Base or (half a maggi beef boullion cube)

    For Eggy Topping:
    6 Tblsp unsalted butter European style butter
    1/2 cup flour
    1/2 C heavy cream
    2 C whole milk
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 tsp tumeric
    1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    4-5 large eggs, beaten or 1 C liquid eggs from carton (with yolks)
    1/2 cup chevre/soft mild goat cheese
    1 C grated mix of romano, asiago, provolone, fontina, and gruyere cheese


    Preheat Oven to 375F

    For Filling:

    Break tamarind pulp into small pieces and place in a small bowl; cover with 1/2 cup boiling water, and let sit until soft, about 30 minutes. Massage and stir pulp and water together with your fingers until it dissolves; pour through a fine strainer into a bowl, and set tamarind juice aside. Meanwhile, tear bread into small pieces and place in a small bowl; cover with 1/2 C heavy cream and let sit until bread soaks up milk; set aside.

    Melt the 1 Tblsp butter over low heat, add 1 Tblsp vegetable oil and chopped onions and deeply caramelise, gently stirring on occasion to make sure everything's coated and doesn't stick to the pan. (45-50min) With a slotted spoon, carefully transfer onions to a small bowl and set aside, keep oil in pan.

    Carefully deglaze pan with a little bit of the tamarind juice and the vinegar, scraping to get any stuck bits of onion and fond loose.

     Add, garlic, ground beef and pork. Raise heat to medium, medium-low and sautee until most of the pink is gone and the garlic is fragrant. Season with curry powder, cinnamon, cayenne, cumin, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and cook for additional 2 min. Stir in better than boullion dissolved into a splash of tamarind juice, brown sugar. Simmer gently until the moisture is evaporated and the meat is browned and transfer to a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning.

    To the meat mixture, gradually add reserved caramellised onions, browning sauce, remaining tamarind juice, raisins, pumpkin seeds, apricots, lemon juice, lemon zest, egg, moistened bread, salt and pepper. Mix with each addition until evenly combined.

    For the Topping:
    Gently warm the milk in a small saucepan with bay leaves and tumeric and let steep for 10 min, then remove leaves.
    Melt and clarify the butter in a separate saucepan over low, med-low heat, carefully browning until hazelnut brown in color and smelling sweetly. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until smooth, 2 minutes. Still whisking constantly, slowly add the milk and cream and cook until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from heat, let cool for 5-10 minutes. In a small bowl, add together the eggs, chevre, and whisk into the milk mixture until smooth.

    Thoroughly grease a tall sided casserole dish/dutch oven/lasagne pan. 

    Layer the sliced potatoes along the bottom of the dish, overlapping slightly as needed to ensure the bottom is covered. Spoon some of the meat filling on top, spreading evenly, followed by another layer of potatoes. Keep layering until you end with a final layer of meat. Be sure to leave room for the topping.

    To assemble:
    Pour the topping over the meat filling and spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle grated cheese mix evenly over the top, place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake until eggs are set and cheese is browned and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and chives. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

    Variation: If you want to skip the bechamel topping, simply scramble the 5 eggs with the cream and the milk and pour over the meat mix, top with shredded cheese/crumbled cheese and bake as usual.

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  • VivetVivet , of Cows and Crystals
    This isn't a hard and fast recipe so much as a general outline.

    Braised Octopus (for one!)

    - time (at least two hours, make sure you got that)

    - half pound octopus
    - 1 tbsp butter
    - 1 cup pearl onion
    - 1 cup chopped mushroom (white button is fine, you can be brave with others if you want)
    - 2 cloves of garlic
    - 2 bay leaf
    - 2 tsp white pepper
    - 1 cup of white wine
    - a bit of lemon juice

    Drop that butter in a large sauce pan and put it on your lowest possible heat. Let it melt nice and easy while you clean your octopus. If you've never done it before, it might be easiest to turn the ink sac inside out completely to make sure you are thorough and don't make yourself sick. Otherwise, trim off the eyes and use a very sharp paring knife to circle around the beak and remove it. This might be difficult without a properly sharp blade, but easy enough otherwise.

    By now you should have a nice even coating of melted butter all over your sauce pan. Throw your garlic in, let it brown up and roast a little until the point you desire. Add onion and mushrooms and brown those up until you are comfortable with them as well, would be appropriate to adjust heat as you see fit.

    Bring up the heat to medium, then add the octopus and wine. All other additions are to taste - if you add a lot of lemon juice, I might also recommend some thyme to go with it. A bit more white pepper works with a less fruity wine, so long as the wine is properly fresh and crisp.

    Cover that and let it cook for an hour at an aggressive simmer. It might not seem like a lot of liquid at first, but the octopus will exude quite a bit of its own juices, which will mingle with the wine and other ingredients. You might also notice no mention of salt - octopus is naturally salty and that will seep out into your veggies while it cooks. I would strongly recommend tasting your food before adding salt at any point in time - it should be appropriately salted as is, but this is also to your taste.

    After the hour, uncover and reduce heat to a low simmer. Let it go uncovered for at least 30 minutes. You can let it go longer to let the juices reduce into more of a sauce as you see fit, or if the octopus doesn't seem done yet. I usually lean more towards 45 minutes. Easiest way to test for doneness - poke the thickest portion of octopus with a fork. If you can withdraw the fork cleanly and without effort, it is ready to eat.

  • RancouraRancoura the Last Nightwreathed Queen Canada
    I've been a fan of making quick, healthy snacks lately, and this is one of them.

    Homemade Avocado Spread (with optional kick!)
    Makes a serving for one, enough to go on two slices of toast


    1 medium ripe avocado
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    Pepper & salt to taste
    Pinch of chili flakes (optional)
    1/4 tsp lemon juice (optional - I don't add this personally, but it helps if you're not a fan of pure avocado flavour)


    1. Cut the avocado in half (around the seed, not through it, crazy) and scoop out the flesh into a small bowl. Discard seed and skins.

    2. Sprinkle garlic powder, pepper, salt and lemon juice/chili flakes if using. Mash everything up with a fork or masher until smooth and not lumpy.

    3. Spread over breadstuff of choice and enjoy!

    Tonight amidst the mountaintops
    And endless starless night
    Singing how the wind was lost
    Before an earthly flight

  • It's been a minute, yeah?

    Thought I'd share a nice recipe for some blackberry jelly since the wine offered during today's festivities in Magnagora reminded me of it. Cheers! This is meant for immediate consumption and isn't hot water processed, but if you want to process the jar(s) do so as per usual.

    Vanilla-Lavender Blackberry Jelly

    What You Need:

    5 cups blackberries, fresh, as sweet as you can find

    4 cups golden sugar

    2 oz. white balsamic vinegar

    1 tsp culinary lavender, finely chopped

    A small slice of vanilla bean, split and scraped, seeds only

    2 tablespoons powdered gelatin

    2 oz.  cold water

    What to Do:

    1. Combine all ingredients (except for gelatin and water) in a medium saucepan and stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer gently, uncovered, for 10−15 minutes. Turn off heat. Add vanilla seeds and stir through.

    2. Pulse with a hand blender to puree. Strain mixture through a chinois or cheesecloth to remove blackberry seeds. Add blackberry mixture back to a clean saucepan.

    3. Add the water to a separate bowl and sprinkle gelatin powder over it. Let gelatin to bloom for 5 minutes. Add the bloomed gelatin mixture to the blackberry mixture and stir well. Transfer to a sterilized jar, process jar if desired in hot water bath. Refrigerate, best consumed in two weeks.

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  • edited February 2020

    Happy Mardi Gras

    Sharing my one of my favorite recipes for pancakes, it serves a crowd.

    Pancakes, Pancakes, Pancakes!

    Serves a small Army

     4 eggs

    2 cups buttermilk

    2 cups sour cream

    2 cups flour

    1 tbsp baking powder

    1 tbsp baking soda

    1 tsp salt

    2 tbsp sugar

    8 oz. (1 stick) butter, melted

    2 pints of fresh blueberries, or other berries, nuts, bacon, or chocolate chips/m&ms, anything else you please, to taste

    Syrup of Choice (Maple, Coconut, Golden, Chocolate, etc.) 

    What to Do:

    In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, sour cream, melted butter and sugar. Whisk well & set aside. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Pour wet ingredients into the dry. Whisk together, taking care that there are no lumps of flour in the batter. Pour batter in 5-6 in. circles on griddle or greased non-stick pan. Scatter some berries/choco chips/etc over each. When batter starts to bubble on raw side, flip over and cook for another 1-1 1/2 minutes. Stack pancakes with more fruit etc. between each layer and serve with warm syrup.  Add whipped cream/butter as desired.

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  • I can't remember if I shared this one already, but hey have another one. This one's from my fam in Chi-town.

    Jelly Doughnuts/ Paczki

    -Makes about 20 doughnuts-
    • 500 g flour
    • 40 g fresh yeast
    • 100 ml vegetable oil/ rendered lard
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 2 tbsp rum/brandy/cognac of choice
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 250 ml milk
    • 50 g sugar
    • 1 vanilla flavored sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
    • finely grated zest of 1 lemon/citron/orange
    • some jelly for filling
    • powdered sugar for dusting
    • about 500 ml vegetable oil (rendered lard if you want to be authentic) for frying
    1. Let all ingredients sit at room temperature before using.
    2. Combine yeast with warm milk and sugar until it dissolves and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes.
    3. In another bowl, combine flour, salt, lemon zest and vanilla sugar. Add yolks, rum, oil and yeast combined with milk. Beat with your mixer (fitted with dough attachments) to make the dough. Traditional way to make it would be using your hands: you'd beat the dough with wooden spoon until it separates from the bowl. The dough will be on the soft and sticky side-just what you need. Cover with plastic wrap or clean kitchen towel and let rise in warm place for 1 - 1 and half hour.
    4. Dust working surface with flour and slightly knead risen dough. Roll it out to 0,4 inch (1 cm) thick. With round cookie cutters (you can use glass as well) cut out doughnuts. Place them onto clean kitchen towel lightly dusted and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes. In this stage, you will want them to rise well, so that they'd have that gorgeous pale ring.
    There's another equally good way to do this: When you make the dough, immediately separate it into equal round balls. Nicely shape them with your palms and let rise in warm place for 1 hour. Then fry them.
    5. Heat oil in large skillet. How do we know that oil is ready? Put a handle of wooden spoon into it-if the bubbles appear evenly around it, the temperature is right.
    6. Fry doughnuts: put the upper risen side into heated oil first. We do this to ensure that the bottom of doughnuts fries enough and becomes nicely round. Fry for about 2 minutes, covered with lid. When they begin getting nice golden color, immediately turn them around and fry for another 2 minutes, this time uncovered. Don't let them get dark brown color as it will make them hard. Assemble onto paper towels that will soak up oil.
    7. Use pastry bag with round attachment to fill them - insert attachment into the side of each doughnut. Fill with jam. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

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  • edited June 2020
    Pickled Shrimp

    1 teaspoon salt, plus more for cooking shrimp
    3 celery stalks, diced
    1 cup sliced yellow or white onion
    2 bay leaves
    1 large lemon, sliced
    2 pounds shell-on large or jumbo shrimp
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    3/4 cup white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon pickling spice, toasted in a pan until fragrant
    1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh dill
    1 Scotch bonnet pepper, (deseeded) minced
    1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
    3 sprigs fresh tarragon
    3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup sliced red onion


    1. In a large saucepan, combine 2 quarts well-salted water, the celery, onion, bay leaves, and lemon slices and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook until just pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the shrimp in a colander and rinse under cool running water to stop the cooking. (If you’d like, reserve the liquid and use it as a seafood stock; you can further flavor the stock by simmering the shells from the next step in it for another 20 minutes.)

    2. When cool enough to handle, peel the shrimp, devein, and set aside to cool completely.

    3. In a glass bowl or a wide-mouthed jar with a tight-fitting lid, whisk or shake together the lemon juice, vinegar, pickling spice, dill, 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste), scotch bonnet pepper, garlic, tarragon, and oil until well blended. Add the red onion and shrimp. Refrigerate, covered, overnight. Use a slotted spoon or fork to serve.

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