Category Archives: food

Friday night cocktail: a Lambrusco Spritz

Lambrusco Spritz

While we on this blog love a good glass of cremant anytime, in the summertime we want easy drinking cocktail and mixes like spritzes. Italian liquors are great for these. While you may be happy to chug back of sip Aperol spritzes all weekend, we’d like to recommend something different: the Lambrusco Spritz. There is much to recommend for the Lambrusco Spritz. For one, you can drink Lambrusco as a spritz or straight up. Two, it goes great with snacky food. As the Times shows:

 Lambrusco pairs seamlessly with the rich foods of Emilia-Romagna, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, cured meats and gnocco fritto, meaning that a daytime bottle can easily linger past sunset. “A lot of wines that you might apéro with, you might not want with food,” Ms. Davis said. “The great thing about Lambrusco is that you can drink it all day, and then you can drink it all night.”

Perfect, right? So grab yourself a few bottles and go Day Drinking, Italian Style.

(Image: link to NYTimes article)

On Jacques Pepin

I am a big fan of Jacques Pepin: I watch his Instagram videos from start to finish. If you want to see why they are great, you can go here and see YouTube version of them all.

I especially liked this one:

Pepin also has a “new” cookbook out. You can find out more about it at the Times:

One thing I love about Pepin is his approach to cooking is truly about making the most of it. Every Tuesday he prepares budget versions of some dishes. He uses the microwave…he even uses Spam. Hey, he’s Jacques Pepin, he can do what he wants. And I think his use of low cost foods and his practice of not throwing away food or wasting it is admirable

P.S. Not Pepin, but something similar: Old Italian cooking.  Love it.

Friday Night Cocktail: the shrub

What can be a more perfect drink in the hot days and nights of summer than a shrub? A gin and tonic? Yes, that is very good. And like a G&T, you can take that frosty cold glass and put it against your skin and cool yourself off. But a shrub also takes advantage of all that great fresh fruit showing up at your grocer. What can be better than that?

So grab any berry that catches your fancy and go here and make tonight’s cocktail and cool off: Any-Berry Shrub Recipe | Bon Appétit

Friday night cocktail: an Old Fashioned

I am a huge fan of the Sazerac cocktail, but I really find it best if you use absinthe (something that is not easy to find). So I was intrigued when Esquire said an Old Fashioned has the bones of a Sazerac. And I looked and it does. So I’ll be making some of these soon and hoping it is as satisfying as its New Orleans’ cousin.

Sure, it is never fashionable. But it never goes out of style, either.

Here’s Esquire with their Best Old Fashioned Recipe.

Friday night cocktails: the marg’

Ok, a marg(arita) may be more of a Saturday afternoon cocktail on a hot summer day, but here on my blog we only write about cocktails on Friday night. Regardless, as the days heat up, you need a cool drink to help you stay chill and relaxed and the margarita fits that description to a tee. If you’ve never made one before, or if you want to try new versions, Bon Appetit has the advice you need.

Piquette: your new summer quaffable drink


I remember when rose used to be a hard sell in Ontario. It took years before people started drinking it in the summer.

Now people adopt new approaches to wine as fast as they can. In the last few years I’ve seen cremants, orange wines and pet nats all become hugely successful. (Though you wouldn’t know it at the LCBO).  The latest thing to catch my fancy are piquettes. This write up of them in Toronto Life describes them better than I can. As they say, piquette is a …

…low-alcohol wine is made by fermenting the pomace—leftover skins and dregs of the winemaking process—and diluting it with water. What results is a wine lover’s answer to summer-y spiked seltzers. It’s zippy, sessionable, slightly bubbly and certainly affordable—you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bottle over $20. Traditionally, piquette was reserved for farmhands and winemakers to sip while working the fields, when wine may have been easier to come by than clean drinking water. And it’s low enough in alcohol (typically, 5-9 per cent ABV) to not impact productivity. “Vineyard work is very tough, physical work, and your body gets sore and full of aches and pains,” says Mike Traynor, of Prince Edward County’s Traynor Vineyard. “Piquette takes that edge off without putting you out.”  There’s also a huge sustainability appeal to piquette. Once nothing more than compost, discarded wine skins can be a thirst-quenching source of revenue. “This actually allows me to bring down the prices on a lot of my wines because I’m getting a better yield from the grapes,” Traynor says.

A few additional thoughts:

  • piquettes are fun, but the taste of them vary widely. If you get an apple cider or a glass of sauvignon blanc, you know what to expect. With piquettes, I have not found that to be the case. The taste of one brand of piquette can be very different from another. They are like pet nats in that way.
  • I can see why winemakers like them: they can squeeze another product out of their harvest. Good for them.
  • I can’t see piquettes reaching a large audience like pinot grigio or moscato did. They will have to compete with beer and cider, which already have a huge part of the summer beverage market. But I am a bad predictor, so who knows.
  • a bottle of piquette can also be good at the end of the evening if you have a big group over for a dinner party. Try it sometime.
  • I’ve had a few piquettes now and I really like the one from Leaning Post. Indeed I like much of the wine from them. Good people, great wine.
  • The wine pictured above is from Leaning Post. It has a great punk rock vibe to it, which perfectly describes a piquette.

What is going to take veganism to the next level of adoption

My belief is that there are a significant number of people who have already become vegan for various good reasons. But if you were to put them on a bell curve (normal distribution), they would fit on the front part of the curve, the small part. To get to the next level, I think, vegan food has to get to the stage where people don’t even think of it as vegan. It’s just good food that happens to have nothing animal related associated with it. I think Alison Roman is one cook who has done that: there are vegetarian and vegan recipes in her cookbooks and they are delicious, but they are not called out. They are just there and people cook them.

That’s why I was happy to read this: The Best Vegan Restaurants in America Are All in New Orleans | GQ.

It seems there is a new wave of vegan cooks and chefs who are upping the game in terms of making delicious vegan food. That’s great for a number of reasons. First, because it will inspire more cooks to jump on the bandwagon. Second, because all that will mean there are more people eating less animal food and more vegan food.

Here’s to everyone becoming more and more vegan over time.

 

My cooking interests for May, 2021 (maybe)

This was originally a list of things I was going to cook: my cooking projects. But to be honest, I was not cooking most things. So I am revising the focus to things I am interested in, food-wise. Maybe you will make them. If you do, let me know!

Recipes: This looks like a beautiful cake (image above). If you like a good chowder, try this from Food52. If you love to cook with cream like I do, check out this list. I want to try and BBQ a whole fish this week. I might try this recipe for stuff black bass. If you need some good vegetarian recipes for summer, go here. Here’s a good recipe for a spinach ricotta cannelloni from Jamie Oliver. I am a big fan of Jacques Pepin and budget cooking. If you are too, check out this. If you don’t know what to cook, try this tool from Epicurious.

Other food stories: On the outrage over fake meat. Keto diets can help if you are trying to cut down on drinking. Finally, here’s a good story on what they eat on the space shuttle. Fancy.

 

The pandemic will soon be ending and you want to have a dinner party to celebrate. Unfortunately you’ve forgotten how to do that.

If the idea of having a dinner party after this time seems daunting, here are some resources to help you. First, check out this:  How to Plan a Menu for a Dinner Party. Now you can make anything you want, but if you are thinking of making a few dishes, those dishes should fall into each of these three categories:

Something that can be made ahead of time: This could mean days ahead or hours ahead—it’s up to you. But basically, you want at least one dish that you can make and then forget about until serving time. A cold salad, homemade bread, a dessert, or even a meat dish best served cold or at room temperature—are all good options.

Something you can kind of ignore: This may be a dish that can be roasted, very slowly grilled, or cooked in an Instant Pot or slow cooker. This could be your protein (like a pork tenderloin or some chicken thighs, for instance), but roasted carrots, baked potatoes, or rice made in a rice cooker or Instant Pot also work.

Something that demands your attention: This is anything that requires fiddling, watching, flipping, or futzing. Delicate vegetables, meat on the grill, or expensive steaks all fall into this category.

If you want even more help, why not check out this book by Corey Mintz: How to Host a Dinner Party. You can also find lots of great ideas in Alison Roman’s Nothing Fancy.

(Photo by Stefan Vladimirov on Unsplash )

The best restaurant review of the pandemic

Is this one.

If you are thinking: what? Who went to a restaurant in a pandemic? Well, we all did, the same one, every night. Read the review and see what I mean. Also it is very funny.

The one good thing about that restaurant is you always could get a reservation at the last minute. 🙂

(Photo by Hitesh Dewasi on Unsplash )

 

Friday night cocktails: the alt-martini


What is the an alt-martini, you ask? It’s simply a close cousin of a classic martini. Here they are: 3 Martinis for People Scared of Martinis in Bon Appétit.

They also have a recipe for a classic martini too. Something for everyone!

(Photo by Alexa Soh on Unsplash)

To lose weight is simple: eat 2000 calories daily and walk 10000 steps


It seems ridiculous to say that, but it really is simple (but not easy): eat 2000 calories daily and walk 10000 steps. To see what I mean, read these two articles:

  1. ‘The Good News About What’s Bad for You’ Junk Food Diet – Bon Appétit | Bon Appetit
  2. How Fit Can You Get From Just Walking? | GQ

In both of them, the people who lost weight ate about 2000 calories a day. I mean the guy in the first one literally lived on junk food and still lost 11 pounds in a month.In the second one, the people participating walked 10000 steps as well as ate around 2000 calories. The combination will get you fit and keep you in a calorie deficit mode that will cause your body to lose weight.

For more examples of that, see this (Fixing His Diet Helped This Guy Lose 100 Pounds and Get Shredded at 50) and this (Walking For Weight Loss – How to Lose Weight by Walking) and this (Apple Watch, New Year’s resolutions, and losing 50 pounds – 9to5Mac).

Is it easy? For most people, no. Do you have to be disciplined? Yes. Is there ways to go about it that are smarter than others? Certainly.

If you need motivation, read this: You’re ‘Prediabetic’? Join the Club – The New York Times. Why? You might think: I am fine with being overweight. And that’s ok: not everyone looks like a model. But you don’t want to be diabetic if you can help it.

P.S. 2000 calories is a guide. If you are a much smaller person, you might need a smaller number of calories. If you aren’t sure, consult your doctor.

(Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash )

If you thought about growing a vegetable garden this year, read this now

vegetablesIf you thought about growing a vegetable garden this year, I highly recommend this piece: 13 Vegetables to Plant in Early Spring in Apartment Therapy. It has a wealth of information on what to plant, how to plant it, and when you should harvest it.

Sure a garden is work, but it’s good work. Indeed, as Samin Nosrat demonstrated, it might make you happier.

Good luck. Happy harvesting to you.

Are you eating oddly during the pandemic? Of course you are!

baby in a cake

I have been eating oddly during the pandemic compared to how I used to eat in the Before Times. Some days I will skip breakfast: other days I’ll have two! Or I’ll have dinner at 4 and then a snack at 10. I bet something similar  happening to you.

Well good news! As this article shows, everyone is going through the same thing: Your Weird Pandemic Meals Are Probably Fine – The Atlantic.

If you have maintained a consistent way of eating the whole time, that’s fine too. But if you are a bit weirded out by how you eat these days, read that article and you should feel better.

(Photo by Henley Design Studio on Unsplash)

Friday night cocktail: a spritz

Amaro spritz
Technically this post is about an Amaro Spritz from aCoupleofCooks.com but really any combination of sparkling wine, club soda / soda water (but not tonic water) and a bitter can make a spritz. So amaro, Aperol, Campari, Lillet…even St Germain is good.

The ratio mentioned in aCoupleofCooks is this: 3 parts sparkling wine, 2 parts liqueur, 1 part soda water. And that’s good. But if you want it lighter, just increase the amount of soda water. If you want it less bitter, you might even consider a 1:1:1 ratio vs 3:2:1. But try 3:2:1 first. Enjoy!

My cooking projects for the month of February and March (maybe)

scallops in cream sauce

This is the second in a list of (aspirational?) cooking projects/lists. I say aspirational because I only cooked a fraction of what I planned to cook with the last one. Ah well. It’s good to have a goal. It’s fun to share cooking ideas too. Plus I will look back years from now and think either: oh yeah that was delicious, or, what was I thinking? 🙂

Here’s my latest list:

TikTok Cooking: TikTok is influencing a lot of things these days, including cooking. The baked feta dish I had and it was delicious! Here’s one version of it:
baked feta with tomatoes and chickpeas from smitten kitchen. Another thing I saw people do was the tortilla fold. Haven’t done that yet but want to try it. Here’s more on it: The TikTok tortilla trend is a quesadilla with extra fun folded in – The Washington Post

Kimchi: I have a desire for kimchi and I have a big jar in the fridge. Here’s two recipes I want to try using it. Both are simple but both look delicious: Kimchi and Ketchup Fried Rice and Kimchi Roasted Salmon

Meatballs: I’ve been craving meatballs lately. I’ve made two of these: this one Crispy Sheet-Pan Meatballs with Salsa Verde Recipe from Bon Appétit and this one: A Newsletter #14 from Alison Roman’s newsletter. I haven’t tried this Mojo Meatballs Recipe from Bon Appétit or this tomato-glazed meatloaves with brown mashed potatoes but I want to. I love Greek flavours, so I may make this too:
Easy Greek Lamb Meatballs Recipe with Dill Dipping Sauce.

Dill/Greek flavours! Speaking of dill and Greek flavours, here’s a ton of recipes to use up that dill: 20 Best Dill Recipes – What to Make With Dill | Kitchn. Still want more dill recipes? Head back to Alison Roman’s newsletter for that.

Moving from dill to greek, here’s a nice looking Lemony Garlic Chicken and Orzo Soup from Half Baked Harvest. And finally, yes, more meatballs:
One Skillet Greek Meatballs and Lemon Butter Orzo. – Half Baked Harvest

Garlic soup: I was wanting to make garlic soup so I did some recipe research on it. I tried one of these, but the result was underwhelming, despite using good ingredients. Not sure why it was a dud. Need to retry. Meanwhile, here’s some recipes:

Soup and salad: here’s some more soups I want to try, and one salad I have tried and enjoyed: Miso Soup from Mark Bittman, and since I have a lot of lentils, Vegan Red Lentil Stew from Budget Bytes. If you want a reliable salad to go with all your pasta dishes, I recommend this: Italian Chopped Salad Recipe from Bon Appétit

This is a real project: I love Dan Dan noodles. I have a recipe for them that approximates the taste, but is not the same. THIS recipe seems like it would be more like it, but I am not sure I can find all these ingredients: Dan Dan Noodles: Authentic Sichuan Recipe from The Woks of Life


Indian / Asian flavoured dishes:
that’s a poor description for a list of great looking dishes. Give your slow cooker a workout with this: Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe from Real Simple or this Slow-Roast Gochujang Chicken Recipe from Bon Appétit. For something faster, there is Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce from Damn Delicious. And if you want to work your sheet pan, there’s Sheet-Pan Garam Masala Chicken Recipe via Bon Appétit.

Skewers: I’ve been wanting skewers lately. Really any meat marinated, cut into cubes and combined with fruit or veg will do, as this argues: How to Make Skewers for Pork, Chicken, Steak, and More | Bon Appétit. That said, here’s a specific recipe I may try: Grilled Sirloin Skewers with Peaches & Peppers Recipe from MyRecipes

Good sides: are good. Salad always works, as does simple rice. For something a bit finer, there is this: Muffin Tin Cheesy Potato Gratins Recipe from BettyCrocker.com

Bistro: I’ve been think a lot about bistro food this winter. Maybe it was after reading how this woman turned a cookbook into a cooking school: The Balthazar Cookbook: My Personal Cooking School. Here’s some nice recipes I found from Chatelaine: Bistro lentils with sausage and French bistro steak & tomatoes.  This  Apple Crunch Tart by David Lebovitz would go well in any bistro. As would this Sole with Lemon-Butter Sauce Recipe from Martha Stewart

Kosari/No recipe meals: I am a fan of recipes that are more like guidelines than strict instructions. If you are a fan of that too, try this: This Koshari Recipe is Easy to Make and Comes Together With Whatever Leftover Grain and Beans You’ve Got from Bon Appétit. If you prefer a recipe, then this will get you there: Koshari Recipe from Food.com

Tacos! And slow cookers:  I love slow cookers and I love tacos. So I think I will love these two recipes, one for beef, Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef from Kitchn and one for pork, Crispy Pork Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooked Pulled Pork) from Cafe Delites

Fancy: I made this for my daughter and it came out well: Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with Cauliflower Purée and Fried Capers – Recipe from FineCooking. Next time I might add a bit of milk or other dairy to make the sauce creamier, but otherwise excellent. (The top image is it.)

Fun: I used to love an Orange Julius when I was a kid, so I will be trying this: Homemade Pineapple Orange Julius from Budget Bytes. I love a good breakfast sandwich, and although I am lazy in the morning I might give this a go: BA’s Best Breakfast Sandwich Recipe | Bon Appétit

Finally: a good pantry meal for busy weeknight is this: Cajun Salmon Burgers Budget Bytes. I might try this soon…it’s simple but perfect (and sorta bistro): Cast-Iron Roast Chicken with Crispy Potatoes Recipe | Bon Appétit. I have made a number of these recipes and they were great. Perfect for winter: 7 Delicious—And Pantry Friendly—Casserole Recipes | Chatelaine. And while I can’t say they make these pork chops in Vietnam, I can say it has flavours you have come to expect from Vietnamese food, and is likely delicious:
Vietnamese Pork Chops Recipe from Alison Roman/Bon Appétit

There was a lot of Alison Roman recipes in this, from the meatballs to the pork chops. But lots more as well, including Chatelaine, which has many great recipes. Let me know if you make any of them!

A good American list of wines that Canadians can use

Most of the time, I find that wine recommendations for Americans are useless for Canadians to adopt, because most of the wines recommended are not available in Canada. This list of wine recommendations is different:  50 Affordable Wines You Can Always Trust | Food & Wine.

A majority of the wines are available, at least in Ontario. And needless to say, the wines are good. If you are looking for some new wine ideas, check the list.

 

Things to look forward to in 2021: growing a small garden


It’s important to have things to look forward to in difficult times. Planting a garden when the weather gets warmer can be one of those things.

If that appeals to you, you want to check this out and perhaps print it out: Everything You Need to Know About Vegetable Gardening in One Graphic. It’s a fine infographic and article outlining what you need to know about growing a plot or patio vegetable garden, including important info like when to plant (some in February!) and when to harvest. (You can see this in the snippet of the infographic is above).

You have to admit it is pleasing to think of going to your patio or plot and pulling up some nice greens to make a fresh salad. To turn that winter dream into a summer reality, check out the article linked to above.

On restaurants loved and lost

The pandemic has been hard on people and hard on businesses. One type of business it has been especially hard on is the restaurant business. So many has closed that it is hard to recall them all. Partially to remedy this, the Times did a piece on them: Remembering the Restaurants America Lost in 2020 – The New York Times

If you read it, you will likely see some you loved. One I always wanted to go to but never got to and now never will was Lucky Strike. Here’s how Julia Moskin recalled it:

Lucky Strike was for us. That’s how it felt in the early 1990s, when I lived in downtown Manhattan and my restaurant priorities were cheap red wine, good lighting and a potent steak au poivre. Lucky Strike was Keith McNally’s first restaurant of his own, and a looser, more fun sibling of the polished, magnetic Odeon in TriBeCa, which he had opened with partners in 1980.

At the time, Lucky Strike’s location was most accurately described not as “in SoHo,” but “near the mouth of the Holland Tunnel,” and its strip of Grand Street was desolate at night. The warmth and noise that it spilled onto the street made it a beacon for locals. We liked that the food was never quite good enough to draw a crowd. We liked that the rough floors and wine tumblers repelled the people who came looking for lychee martinis and tuna tartare. Mr. McNally went on to open bigger, glossier joints that are still with us — like Balthazar, Minetta Tavern and Pastis — and has closed almost as many, but Lucky Strike was the only one that was a neighborhood restaurant, and the only one I’ll mourn.

I was going to NYC a fair bit in the 80s and 90s, and I remember the buzz around Lucky Strike. I thought: that’s my kinda place. That’s the kind of place I want to hit when I get to Manhattan. But while I went to New York a fair bit, the times there were always short, and I never made it.

There are many great restaurants  I have gone to in my lifetime. Some like Lucky Strike were killed off in the pandemic, some closed long before that. Some of them are still on some form of life support, hoping to make it through to the bright side of this dreadful era. I want to write about those places before I forget them, for my own sake if nothing else. Although perhaps you will have the same thoughts reading them that I had when reading about Lucky Strike. If so, that will be good too.

Restaurant reside in the best parts of my better memories. It’s a good time to recall them, write about them here, and group them with the tag #restoslovedandlost

(Images from the New York Times article)

If you are tired of cooking, you need quarantine cooking help


At the beginning of the pandemic there was lots of advice on  cooking and baking being published. Then summer came, and it seemed to have stopped. Restrictions loosened, people went out to restaurants, and in the meantime much of that advice got shelved.

It’s winter now.  In the middle of the second wave with more lockdowns and restrictions, we need that advice again. Bad news: I don’t see as much new material on it. Good news: the old material from before the summer is still good. Case in point, this, from the New York Times: Our Best Recipes and Tips for Coronavirus Quarantine Cooking – The New York Times.

There’s lots and lots of good advice and good recipes there. More than enough to keep you going for the next few months.

My favorite of the lot are the recipes from Melissa Clark. If you don’t know where to start, start there. But really any of the pieces in that long list of recipes and tips are good.

As Jacques Pepin likes to say: happy cooking!

(Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash)

 

Merry Christmas! Here’s everything you need to know about making a turkey but were afraid to ask (or do)

Merry Christmas! I hope the day is a peaceful and joyous one for you and yours.

As part of the celebration, you may be making a turkey. Good for you. But making a turkey can be daunting and fearful. You need help. You need a guide. Indeed, what you need this excellent guide from epicurious. It will help you get it done like nobody’s business.

All the best to you and yours on this great day. Merry Christmas. And happy New Year to you as well.

My cooking projects for the month of December and January (maybe)

I go through periods of cooking just the basics, followed by furious sessions of mad cooking. I think I am going to be transitioning from the former to the latter over the next while. So I have pulled together these recipes of pretty basic things to try out and perhaps add to my repertoire. You might want to as well.

Sushi-ish: I have a bag of sushi style rice just sitting in my kitchen asking me to make some sushi, so I think I might use these to give it a go: How to Make Sushi (with Pictures), How to Choose Sushi-Grade Seafood, Homemade Sushi: Tips, Tricks, and Toppings! – Peas and Crayons, 30 Good Ideas for Sushi Roll Fillings – Easy Homemade Sushi: and even Make a Sushi Bowl at Home — With Canned Tuna | by Mark Bittman | Heated

Crepes: I love dishes that allow you to experiment, and I love food you can carry. Sushi rolls are one form of that. Crepes are another. I want to try one or both of these. This is classic: Robyn Cooks: Ham, Asparagus, and Swiss Cheese Crepes and this sounds amazing: Shrimp and Sugar Snap Pea Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese Sizzling Rice Crepes) Recipe.

Noodles: two of my favorite noodle dishes are these too. Gonna try at least one in the next while: Dan Dan Noodles Recipe and  Singapore Noodles. Can’t go wrong with a spicy bowl of noodles.

Nashville-Style Chicken: I’ve been wanting to make this for awhile, but I have balking at it. It sounds exciting and dangerous. 🙂 But one of these recipes ought to fit the bill. Some of them are more authentic and some less so: Nashville-Style Hot Chicken Recipe | Bon Appétit, Nashville Style Hot Fried Chicken – From A Chef’s Kitchen, Nashville-Style Hot Chicken recipe | Epicurious.com, Nashville Hot Chicken, the History Behind the South’s “It” Dish and  What Is Nashville Hot Chicken? | TASTE

Cuban sandwiches: I have long loved classic sandwiches like a Reuben or a Club House. I have recently added Cuban sandwiches to that list. Such a great combination. Here’s three I liked: Cuban Sandwich Recipe | Tasting Table, Cubano: A Traditional Cuban Sandwich Recipe and 
How to Make Real-Deal Cuban Sandwiches | Serious Eats.

Gonna try and see if I can perfect these. Maybe slow roast some pork just for the sheer deliciousness of it.

Quesadillas: they aren’t really a sandwich, any more than a hot dog or a crepe is a sandwich, but again, a good bit of walking around food. Roasted Corn Quesadillas – Step by Step Photos – Budget Bytes is a nice version of one. And this is just a nice piece on how to appreciate them in general: How to Pair Wine With Quesadillas | Food & Wine.

Perfect for when you are kinda too tired to cook.

Breads: of course if you want to make sandwiches, you want bread. You may even want to make your own. I have. In that case, consider: Easy No-Knead Focaccia Recipe, No-Knead Ciabatta, Shockingly Easy No-Knead Focaccia Recipe, and No Knead Focaccia Rolls.

Various cozy dishes for the cold: Now it is winter, I start hankering for dishes like these: The Coziest Vegetable-and-Sausage Soup for Those Chilly May Days – The New York Times (I love this one), Kielbasa, Apple, and Onion Strata with Mornay Sauce Recipe (love stratas too), The 10 Most Popular Soup Recipes of 2020 | Bon Appétit (we all need good soups), Homemade Potatoes Au Gratin – Budget Bytes (perfect with everything), Kimchi Fried Rice, White Fish & Scallop Chowder Recipe on Food52, Mary Berry’s beef stew recipe, and Goulash recipe. And this is always good: Pasta e Fagioli with Escarole recipe | Epicurious.com.

Pork chops: I think pork chops are underrated. You can do so much with them. For example, here’s just two good examples: Baked Honey Mustard Pork Chops  and  Blackberry Sage Pork Chops. 

I also note that pork is sometimes the loss leader in my meat section. For those weeks, having these recipes on standby makes sense.

Salad: here’s one to go with those chops and pretty much everything else: Italian Chopped Salad Recipe.

Good snacks: You need ’em. Here’s two: Toasted Sambal Cashews Recipe, and Marinated Olives and Feta Recipe 

Pét-Nat: I had a period when I was drinking a lot of this during the pandemic. I still like it, but it can be hit and miss with it. If want to learn more, read this: A Beginner’s Guide to Pét-Nat, A More Affordable Champagne Alternative. 

Two thoughts: one, Pét-Nat is harder to find that the article let’s on. Two, the true and better affordable alternative to champagne is cremant. Get that instead.

Finally: I think I am going to do some BBQing over the winter. I may even do charcoal and do this: How to Build Your Own BBQ Chimney « Food Hacks :: WonderHowTo. 

Then I’ll get some steaks like this and cook them: How to Cook Tomahawk Steak · i am a food blog.

Now will I do all these? Likely no. But it’s good to have goals/aspirations, and fwiw, these are mine.

Friday night cocktails: Armagnac, straight up

Sure, you could put it in a cocktail (e.g. sazarac), but armagnac straight up or over ice is more than fine without anything else. I’ve been a fan for decades, and if you want to know why you should become one too, read this. Then go out and grab a bottle. I’ve had the one pictured and it is really good.

Nine more links to help you with intermittent fasting

In 2019 I posted about five links to help you with intermittent fasting. Well since the pandemic, I’ve heard from a number of people who are interesting in the idea, because let’s face it, not many of us have slimmed down during the Indoor Times. If this is you, take a look:

  1. The science behind intermittent fasting — and how you can make it work for you
  2. How to Manage One’s Moods -The School of Life Articles | Formally The Book of Life
  3. Intermittent Fasting For Beginners: Should You Skip Breakfast? | Nerd Fitness
  4. Read This Before You Try Any of These Intermittent Fasting Diets
  5. Foods to Eat While Intermittent Fasting: The Full Breakdown
  6. The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting – The New York Times
  7. Intermittent Fasting May Aid Weight Loss – The New York Times
  8. How Good a Diet Is Intermittent Fasting? – Scientific American
  9. The science behind intermittent fasting — and how you can make it work for you |

(Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash)

 

Friday night cocktails: the champagne cocktail


The champagne cocktail is a minimal cocktail. It’s perfect if you want a cocktail and aren’t good at making them or you are too beat to make anything involved. Honestly you can make it in a flash. To see what, I mean, here’s a recipe for one: Champagne Cocktail Recipe | Bon Appétit

If you need convincing on the merits of them,  read this: The Champagne Cocktail Is the Rented Tux of Mixed Drinks | Bon Appétit.

More on them, here.

I mean look at it: it looks delicious. Go make one.

P.S. If you do want a bit more involved cocktail that has sparkling wine as an ingredient, I recommend the French 75.

(Image via liquor.com)

Friday night cocktail: honey plum bourbon sour

From the folks at Food52, here’s a cocktail with a different twist: plum slices! I like it.  Of course you don’t need to make it with that particular bourbon: I am sure it will be delicious with any version you prefer.

Friday night cocktail: the Bamboo (and other sherry based cocktails)

What’s nice about the bamboo and other sherry+vermouth cocktails is that they seem familiar, but different enough to break you out of your rut (assuming you are having a cocktail rut). Plus they are easy to make, and because they are lower ABV, easy to drink. Sound good? You can get a recipe for the bamboo here.

For more recipes, you can go Bon Appétit

Finally some good news for 2020: the McRib is coming back!

Yaaaas. At least in the US, the McRib sandwich from McDonald’s is coming back in December, according to this. I hope and pray it comes to Canada, too. I love that sandwich: saucy, porky, with pickles and raw onions and that bun. Perfection.

Almost a decade ago I came across an intriguing theory as to why McDonald’s sells the McRib only at certain times. I wrote about it, here.

On pantry cooking with Melissa Clark

One of the better things that came out of the pandemic is this series of recipes published in the New York Times and written by Melissa Clark: From the Pantry – The New York Times.

I loved how each recipe is really a cooking lesson more than a step 1-2-3 recipe. By the time you made a dish, you can already imagine making it a dozen different ways with the suggestions she provides. That’s especially good for people who are not comfortable changing recipes around. If you are one of those people, you’ll be much more confident improvising with ingredients after you have made a few of these meals.

I also liked that the recipes really cover a range of meals, from breakfast to dinner, from salad and soup to dessert. Now that there is quite a few recipes listed here, you can pick and choose what suits you.

Finally, I like that the Times didn’t firewall off this content. Anyone can see the recipes: you don’t need a subscription to the Cooking section of the paper/website.

I highly recommend these recipes. Go use some and become a better cook.

(Photo by Nadia Pimenova on Unsplash)

Friday night cocktail: the boulevardier

A wonderful cocktail, here brought to you by smitten kitchen.  All you need are:

2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey
1 ounce red vermouth
1 ounce Campari Ice

An orange peel is a good touch. Boulevardier: simple, but delicious. 

 

The problem with the Mediterranean diet sadly, is…


It can be expensive for people living in parts of the world to follow it because of the way food is priced, according to this. Key quote:

The results indicate that it’s not enough to follow the Mediterranean diet simply by changing the quantities you’re eating of certain foods. The foods need to be of a high quality, too, and you need to eat a diverse range of them.

Both of those things are harder to do on a budget. Fresh produce and fish are often only available at higher costs and in certain areas (this disparity leads to the food desert phenomenon), which makes them harder for low-income people to access and afford.

Everything is harder when you are poorer, including eating healthy.

(Image Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash)

How to show you are a fan of a cookbook? Well if you are a fan of “Nothing Fancy”, you do this


You create an entire web site about it! This is a pretty amazing project. The author cooked his way through over 100 recipes, took a picture, and rated them (with emoji no less!)  It took him over a half a year, but I am impressed by it all.

I find if I cook 20 recipes from a cookbook, I am happy with the results. To cook over 100 recipes like this is impressive imho.

To see what I am talking about, checkout “A little fancy”.

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Friday night cocktail: the Gimlet


If you are a martini fan but want to changing up your Friday night cocktail, then consider this Gimlet Cocktail Recipe.

A fine drink while the weather is warm. Also good to battle scurvy. 🙂

To your health!

(Image via liquor.com)

 

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For the BBQ that has everything, a Japanese A5 Wagyu Ribeye Steak

Sure, it costs $150, but look at that marbling. And as this states, it is impossible to overcook, due to that incredible amount of fat.

You may think that is terribly decadent. And it is! If you want to know more, see: Japanese A5 Wagyu Ribeye Steak | Uncrate

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Friday night cocktails: Sangria


Ok, you can argue that Sangria is not a cocktail, but I disagree. Also, sangria is great, and it’s especially great in the hot days of summer.

You can buy sangria premade, but if you want to make your own and make it well, then read this: How to Make Sangria – Bon Appétit 

Even if you already make a pretty good batch, it’s worth reading for tips on how to change it up and possibly even improve your current recipe.

Cheers!

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COVID comes for the French Wine Industry


And the result, if you are a fan of French wines, is tragic: Of Wine, Hand Sanitizer and Heartbreak – The New York Times.

You can read it straight up, but it’s worth pondering what it tells us about our values right now, and what they were before. Times are tough in the pandemic era, for winemakers in particular as well as all of us in general.

(Image thanks to Sven Wilhelm).

Friday Night Cocktails: Spritzes!

Now that we are in the middle of the summer (in the Northern Hemisphere), it’s time to add spritzes to your cocktail repertoire. If you are in need of ideas, I recommend this: Six Delicious Spritzes to Make from Cup of Jo. From the still trendy Aperol Spritz to white wine spritzers, there’s like at least on drink in here you’ll want to make while the nights are hot and the days are even hotter.

Also a good idea if you still want a drink but want to cut down on your alcohol consumption. 

Cheers!

It’s Wednesday. Your brain is tired. Maybe you need to feed it better.

And by feed it I don’t mean drink more coffee. I mean eat foods that have been shown to help our brains work better. The author of this piece ate food considered best for our brains for a week and recorded what happened. Surprise: you don’t turn into a genius. But you will see some benefits. And that’s a good thing.

(Image from healthline.com)

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How to eat healthy on a budget.

An oldy but a goody from Vox: I asked the experts how to eat healthy on a budget. Here’s what they told me. – Vox

It’s common sense, but like much in the pandemic times, I suspect a lot of common sense has fallen by the side. If you want to get back to eating healthier, consider reading that.

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Friday night (non-alcoholic) cocktails, courtesy of Food52


Food52 has a number of great looking non-alcoholic drink options, here: Drinks & Cocktails on Food52 – Shop Spirits, Shrubs, Mixers & Bitters.

This is for a rose, but there is a gin and some sparking beverages. They have some other good products too, if you want to make something with your favorite alcoholic beverage.

Cheers!