Tag Archives: cooking

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? ūüôā

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 App√©tit and this one: A Newsletter #14 from Alison Roman’s newsletter. I haven’t tried this Mojo Meatballs Recipe from Bon App√©tit 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 App√©tit

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 App√©tit. 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 App√©tit.

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 App√©tit. 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 App√©tit. 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 РRecipe 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 App√©tit

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 App√©tit. I have made a number of these recipes and they were great. Perfect for winter: 7 Delicious‚ÄĒAnd Pantry Friendly‚ÄĒCasserole 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!

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 ‚ÄĒ 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. ūüôā 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 App√©tit, 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 App√©tit (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, P√©t-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 ¬ę 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.

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)

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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On the Silver Palate Cookbook

I started thinking about the Silver Palate cookbook again after reading this piece in Bon Appetit:How the Silver Palate Cookbook Changed Our Cooking

It’s funny to read the staff of Bon Appetit talk about this as their parent’s cookbook. To me the tone is nostalgic. Perhaps they believe it is dated. Like any decades old cookbook, it is dated in a way. There’s lots of things in there that was novel and daring at the time but now are passe, and ingredients which are now commonplace were once hard to find.

But there is much about the book that is still great. The layout and design, for one thing. And some recipes stand the test of time and became classics. It’s so much more than a collection of recipes.

In some ways, publications like Bon Appetit are the same. Many of the things I’ve said about that cookbook will apply to Bon Appetit over time.¬† And like the Silver Palate cookbook, I believe people will look back on Bon Appetit in this era the way the folks at BA look back at this kitchen classic.

If you haven’t read the Silver Palate cookbook in some time (or ever), you can read (at least some of) it online.

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In praise of long recipes


Two pieces recently make the case for long recipes. This one, directly: The Case for Very Long Recipes | TASTE. 

And this one, indirectly:  Jerk Chicken So Good I’ve Been Making It Every Summer for 25 Years РThe New York Times

The first one makes the direct case that long detail makes for a better recipe, and I agree with that. If you just need a list of ingredients and short steps, go to allrecipes.com and you can find it. If you want to know why things are done a certain way and why certain ingredients are used and how they should be cooked, then a long recipe is preferable.

The second one, by Gabrielle Hamilton, makes the case indirectly. The recipe comes at the end of a long essay that explains the origin of it. You could just read the recipe, but you’d be missing out on so much if you just did that.

I get why people hate long recipes. Not everyone who writes a long preamble before a recipe can writes as well as Hamilton. But it would be a shame if cooks stopped trying.

One site that does this really well is BudgetBytes.com. She has a button at the top that let’s you jump to the recipe, which is in the middle of the piece. At the top of the piece is her thoughts on the recipe. Then the recipe. Then detailed instructions on how to prepare the dish. Smittenkitchen.com also does long recipes, and they are also really worth reading through.

Image from here.

The rise and fall of French cuisine?

So says this article: The rise and fall of French cuisine | Food | The Guardian.

I tend to disagree with the pessimistic assessment, but regardless, I recommend the piece because it really does cover what has happened to food and cooking in the last 50 or so years. For people who love food, it’s a worthwhile read.

I think the decline of French food is relative. So many more cuisines have been discovered and appreciated, from Italian to Vietnamese, that French cuisine has competition for people’s attention. That comes across in this piece:¬†Bon app√©tit! How I rediscovered the joys of French cuisine | Food | The Guardian.¬†¬†

It’s a good thing we have so many people writing and thinking and preparing food in new ways. French cuisine may no longer be dominant, but it is still great. And if you are going to Paris,¬† then check out this list of David Lebovitz for what he recommends in his city.¬† Or this list, somewhat dated, may still have value:
Top 10 budget restaurants and bistros in Paris | Travel | The Guardian

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Six links for minimalists


There’s a little bit of everything here for those who aspire to a minimalist lifestyle, from fitness to decor to cooking. Enjoy.

  1. The Minimalist’s Strength Workout РOutside РPocket
  2. Y Home Minimalist Apartment by Office ZHU – Design Milk
  3. Colorful Minimalistic Photography By Collin Pollard ‚Äď Fubiz Media
  4. Budget-Friendly Amazon Minimalist Home Decor | Apartment Therapy
  5. minimalist barbecue sauce ‚Äď smitten kitchen
  6. Cacio e Pepe Recipe | Bon Appetit
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A great list of interchangeable ingredients to turn to when you are cooking, from Mark Bittman

Is this list.

Print it off, leave it in the kitchen, add your own items.

I often use sriracha for dried chilies, or even any hot sauce, for when you just need some heat. Likewise, if you don’t have jalapenos, you could also replace them with some of other heat source. (If it is a lot of jalapenos, you might use regular peppers with some chilies or other hot things to add the appropriate level of hotness.)

Finally, I’ve seen people suggest replacing creme fraiche with full fat greek yogurt.

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10 Spectacular Roast Recipes That Aren’t Turkey

Many people

  1. want to make a roast turkey for Christmas
  2. do not want roast turkey

If that’s you, Chatelaine has your back with this:¬†¬†10 Spectacular Roast Recipes That Aren’t Turkey | Chatelaine.

They truly are spectacular recipes, perfect not just for Christmas but any time of the year (ahem, winter) when a good roast is just what you need.

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Cook90: a goal for the new year

Can you cook 90 meals in a month? For many it sounds daunting. I like to cook and even I am not sure that I could do it.

If you like a challenge and the idea of it, there is a book you should consider: Cook90: The 30-Day Plan for Faster, Healthier, Happier by David Tamarkin from Epicurious, at Amazon. (Also available in Canada at Indigo).

I heard of it from Mark Bittman and his newsletter (which I recommend also).  One good quote from the newsletter was this:

‚ÄúEntire industries want us to believe that cooking is so much harder and more time consuming than it really is.‚ÄĚ

It’s true that you can make complex meals, but a simple green salad, a fried egg with toast, or those two things combined can make up a home prepared meal.

 

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Everything you need to know for sheet-pan cooking can be found here

Everything you need to know for sheet-pan cooking can be found here at this page: How to Make a Sheet-Pan Dinner РNYT Cooking

It’s a comprehensive review on how make any meal using a sheet-pan. If you are a fan of cooking that is easy like slow cookers then you want to check this out.

How to guides are great for people who like to come up with their own recipes. It’s also great if you are trying to use up various ingredients in your fridge.

The weather is getting cooler. It’s time to start using your oven again. This guide will help with this.

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Cooking at home sucks. It’s also great.

I like this piece: Opinion | Never Cook at Home – The New York Times

The title is deceptive: it is not entirely anti-cooking, and it does talk about the benefits of home cooking, but it does throw a bucket of very cold water on all those excited ideas about how great it is to cook at home.

There are many benefits to cooking at home, just like there are benefits to working out. But there are significant efforts associated with achieving those benefits. Those efforts are likely the thing that can cause you to stop getting out your pans and turning on the oven and head to the local diner.

The other drawback about cooking at home is social media. Now so many people (including me) post photos of the food they make. You might look at your own cooking outcome and get discouraged. When you combine the effort and the outcome, plus the indifference you get from those you cook for, you may never want to cook again.

Like exercise, the trick is to find the right level of cooking that works for you, and not get down on yourself when you aren’t cooking at some level you think you should be cooking, whatever that is. Some days you just need to eat, and a piece of fruit and a frozen meal is all you need to no longer be hungry. Other days you may be enjoying making pasta from scratch. If you find you are in a rut, start a simple log of what you are eating over a week and then look for ways to improve slightly: replace boxed cereal with a cooked egg, make a simple pasta rather than get take out pizza. (Bonus: if you make pasta, you could have lunch made too.)

Good luck. There are rewards to cooking at home, if you find the right level of cooking that works for you. Enjoy the fruits of your labour, however great or humble.

Are you in the market for an Instant Pot? You should read this before you buy one.


In case you don’t know, the Instant Pot is

a one-size-fits-all kitchen gadget promising to do everything from slow cooking to sautéing, steaming, stewing and yogurt-making (and more).

Sounds amazing. Despite that, you may want to hold off getting one. At least until you read this piece: Instant Pot review: Is the kitchen tool worth the hype? We test it to find out.

To summarize the review: if you had few appliances or wanted fewer appliances, then an Instant Pot may be the way to go. If you already had a slow cooker or pressure cooker or if you prefer to cook in a traditional way, then you may want to spend your kitchen budget on other things.

But read the article and decide yourself. They do a great job analyzing the device and assessing its strengths and weaknesses.

 (Image via Instantpot.com)

Low cost meals from Budget Bytes

Mac n cheese
If you are looking for a variety of low cost meals online that are straightforward to make — I am looking at you, college students — then I recommend the site BudgetBytes.com. Each of the recipes has a breakdown of the expected cost, how long it takes to make, as well as the typical information you will find in a recipe. Here’s a few I highlighted recently, in no particular order.

They have a wide range of recipes, and categories (e.g. chicken, vegetarian). The recipes are simple, the ingredients easy to find, and generally they look good. Give it a try.

Save money, eat better.

(Image from here.)

Foodism and the problem with home-cooked meals

I was prepared to argue with this article in Vox from some time ago:¬†The problem with home-cooked meals , because I am a big proponent of such meals.¬†¬†However, the closer I read it, I think the main issue I have with it is the title. If it was titled “The difficulties in preparing home-cooked meals”, I would have been more receptive. Read the article. If¬†you are a foodist like myself, it might seem hard to understand at first that people have difficulties with home-cooked meals, but like many things, the difficulties arise from lack of time, knowledge, and resources (money but also access to good food, even if you have money).

I believe that there are a number of ways to address those difficulties. First, I think city governments need to treat access to food the same way they treat access to other things such as transportation, water, parks and even sunlight. If housing doesn’t have access to water or electricity or transportation, then developers shouldn’t be allowed to build it¬†and people should not¬†be expected to move there. Access to good food should be part of that set of restrictions.

Second, we need to better educate people on how to prepare food. ¬†Too much of our education system is spent on academic topics. Kids should be taught a wide range of subjects, and one of those should be how to prepare food no matter how much time or a budget you have. (They should also be taught how to manage finances, how to do basic home repairs, and how to deal with personal difficulties, among other topics.) There is a wealth of information available on food preparation, but often to me it seems aimed at foodists and is aspirational. There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to make good food. In addition, though, people should learn how to make straightforward nutritious food, with anything from 2 ingredients on up, with or without a recipe, in 2 minutes or over 2 days.

Third, we need to change our emphasis on a form of eating. There is a belief that some North Americans have that home cooked meals should be prepared and eaten a certain way. Often this certain way involves 30 minutes to an hour of food preparation followed by an equal amount of time eating it. Culturally that may have been the way it was done, but there is nothing that says we must continue to eat that way. You should be able to prepare and eat good meals with the resources you have.  If that means a 5 minute preparation and a 5 minute stand up meal, so be it. Better that than 30 minutes spent eating over processed food in a chain restaurant.

Finally, we need a more expansive and less snobby approach to what constitutes good food. If you are a foodist and you want to cook with homemade stock, fresh herbs, wine and hard to source ingredients, and that works for you, that’s great. For most people, if you have limited access to good food, then you can still make good meals with what you have available, and there is no shame in that. ¬†Besides, the social status¬†of ingredients come and go: eat the best you can with what you have, be that a roasted chicken and a salad or a bowl of chunky vegetable soup.

For many people, food is a means to an end: I’m hungry, I eat food, I’m no longer hungry. For others, their life revolves around food. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, having an open mind about how others eat and being open to alternative ways to dealing with food will benefit everyone, including yourself.

(Image is of a ham, painted by Manet.)

P.S. In case you don’t think it is a word, here is the definition of definition of foodism, from the¬†Oxford English Dictionary:¬†¬†“A keen or exaggerated interest in food, especially in the minute details of the preparation, presentation, and consumption of food.” Therefore people who have foodism are foodists.

 

 

New recipe and food links. Because we all need more of that. :)

I clearly collect too many food links. ūüôā These are some of the better ones I have found and think worth sharing.

Image from: Slow Cooker Bread Recipe | Baked by an Introvert

Food! Recipes! Techniques! :)

I read an awful lot about food on my iPad and my iPhone, and as I do, I save the links on Instapaper.com or getPocket.com. You might not believe it, but I don’t blog all of them. The ones I do post, like the ones you see below, are ones I think people who love to cook or love to eat (or both!) would enjoy. So…enjoy! ūüôā

  1. Here’s a good review of one of Mark Bittman’s latest books:¬†The new fast food: Why Mark Bittman is revolutionizing the recipe with How To Cook Everything Fast | National Post
  2. If you want to jazz up the presentation of your food, consider this: How To Plate Food Like A 3-Star Michelin Chef | Co.Design | business + design
  3. Of course what is a good plating without some good sauces. Here’s some you can try:¬†Simple Pan Sauces : The Reluctant Gourmet. Here’s more from the same site:¬†How to Make Reduction Sauces : The Reluctant Gourmet. A great sauce can make a dish.
  4. If you think you need to run a fancy restaurant to win a Michelin star, read this and change your mind: Michelin star for Singapore noodle stall where lunch is half the price of a Big Mac | Life and style | The Guardian.
  5. ¬†If you are struggling with dieting, you might find this useful:¬†Hunger is psychological ‚Äď and dieting only makes it worse | Aeon Essays
  6. Any good cook should know some fundamentals. The site Food 52 is helpful¬†with articles like this:¬†The 10 Dishes to Know By Heart This Year. I think part of the fundamentals of cooking is knowing how to make a good stock. If you don’t know how, check this out:¬†How to make soup stock – Chatelaine
  7. Some simple but good pasta recipes, here:¬†A ni√ßoise pasta that you can make with whatever’s in the pantry | Metro News¬†and here:¬†Orecchiette with turkey and broccoli in less than 30 minutes | Metro News¬†and here:¬†Macaroni Milanaise Recipe – NYT Cooking
  8. If you feel like more of a challenge, try this: Bouillabaisse РLucky Peach
  9. If you don’t feel like cooking at all and just want to drink wine and eat cheese, this can help:¬†13 Helpful Diagrams For People Who Only Care About Cheese
  10. This says “Summer Express”, but you can easily use it all year round:¬†Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less – The New York Times
  11.  This is dead simple. And if you have this, you can make pulled pork sandwiches, enchilladas, etc. Slow-Cooker Pulled-Pork Tacos Recipe | Real Simple

Is it worthwhile buying a slow cooker?


Short answer: it depends. According to this,¬†Is it worthwhile buying a slow cooker?, slow cooked food tastes better and looks better, though the food in a slow cooker ends up being¬†more moist. Go with an oven if you can ¬†attend to it. Go with a slow cooker if you want to have a minimal cooking process going all day that doesn’t require you to do much more than to load up the cooker and go. An additional consideration: a slow cooker uses very little power. Go with a slow cooker if you want to minimize energy use.

Read the article and see what you think. And if you like the idea of slow cooker recipes but slow cookers aren’t for you, read it and get some ideas on how to use your oven to slow cook instead.

(Image via Wikimedia)

The best way to BBQ a chicken isn’t the Beer Can method….it’s this….

…¬†spatchcocking. Or specifically, brining in a full flavoured beer, spatchcocking, and then BBQing.

For more on this and how to do it — and it is no more difficult than beer can chicken — read this:¬†Beer Can Chicken Is A Lie ¬ę Fiesta Farms.

Praise for “Twelve Recipes” from Michael Ruhlman and me


On his blog,¬† Michael Ruhlman has kind words for the book “Twelve Recipes”, by Cal Peternell. I strongly support this. I bought the book and read through it quickly, enjoying it the entire way.

I call it a book, rather than a cookbook, though it has 12+ recipes and plenty of good advice on cooking. But it is as much a biography and a series of essays as it is collection of recipes. If you want a beautiful book about food and so much more, than I recommend you pick this up.

Here a link to how to order it from Indigo and here is Amazon

En papillote: six simple seafood dishes (and a bonus dish, too)


Over at Kitchen Daily, they had a feature the use of en papillote (whether that is using parchment, foil, or some other material). Of the recipes there, these are the ones I look forward to trying soon, especially the first one.

  1. Sea Bass En Papillote with Tangerine and Grapefruit – The Culinary Chase.
  2. Simple Elegant Fish with Cauliflower Potato Mash – Savory Nothings
  3. Tilapia en Papillote |Billy Parisi.
  4. Soy and Ginger Shrimp Packets – The Culinary Chase.
  5. Sole in a Bag with Zucchini & Black Olives
  6. Recipe: Asian Salmon en Papillote for Two | Verily.

Bonus: this sweet potato recipe not only sounds good, but I love the source for it.

The Bacon Eating Jewish Vegetarian: Big Sweet Easy (Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Sumac).

The image is from the last recipe from Verily. If you are new to this way of cooking, go to that recipe: it outlines the simple technique using parchment.

10 Dishes to Cook Without a Recipe This Winter

Over at Food52, there’s a nice rundown of dishes you should consider making without following recipes. You may want to refer to some memory aid, but if you like these dishes, chances are you can make them pretty much without the need of a cookbook (or a web site).

They have recipes from Vegetarian or Vegan Chili to Quinoa Salad to Marinara Sauce to Risotto and more.
Risotto from Food52

Well worth a look.

Mario Batali teaching cooking on YouTube

If you want to see how to prepare food in a number of ways, I highly recommend the YouTube channel of Mario Batali. He and his chefs have lots of different techniques there for the beginning cook, including this great one: How to Make Meatballs – YouTube. These are fine looking meatballs.

How to: in 1 shopping trip, buying just 10 ingredients, make 5 meals (by Mark Bittman, no less)

I think this article should be printed and referred to by anyone who needs to simplify their lives but still needs to grocery shop and prepare meals for the week. And just what are these ingredients?

Chicken breasts (4 boneless)
Bacon (1/2 pound)
Shrimp (1 pound)
Spinach (1 pound)
Tomatoes (6)
Ginger
Onions
Asparagus (2 pounds)
Button mushrooms (1 pound)
Loaf of good country bread

Sound good? Go to The 10-Ingredient Shopping Trip – NYTimes.com and get the details.

7 Million ways to Make Lentil Soup (in a slow cooker)

The great Mark Bittman has 7 Ways to Make Lentil Soup, and if you want to start out with making any of these, I think you will have a delicious meal when you are done.

An even easier version is this. Take this list of ingredients

  1. 1 cup of green lentils, rinced
  2. 1 can (28 oz) of stewed tomatoes
  3. 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  4. 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  5. 1 onion, chopped
  6. 1 rib of celery, chopped
  7. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  8. 3 bay leaves
  9. 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  10. 3 Tbps curry powder
  11. 1 tsp cumin
  12. 1 tsp coriander
  13. 4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock

Add them all to a slow cooker (4 quart / 4 litre) size or bigger, stir, then¬† cook on low (8-10 hours) or high (4-5 hours). Remove bay leaves before serving. That’s it! Easy.

Now I say seven million ways to make lentil soup because you really can substitute greatly for very different soups. For example:

  • this version has 4 cups of stock and 28 oz of tomatoes, compared to Bittman’s with 6 cups of stock. I think you can play around with the types of tomatoes (diced, plum) and the ratio of stock to tomatoes (only have a 14 oz can of tomatoes? Use it and go with 5 cups of stock)
  • You can use most any root vegetable instead of the potatoes or carrots. Try turnips, parsnips, or yams. Replace the celery with celeriac. I don’t think red beets will work, but white beets might.
  • Replace the onion with shallots or pearl onions.
  • I didn’t have spices 10, 11 and 12, but I did have an Indian spice mix, so I used 3 Tbsp of that instead.
  • Add some sriracha to make it spicy. Or dice up some jalapeno with the onion and toss it in. Red pepper flakes or some hot pepper sauce would also work.
  • If you don’t need it vegetarian, try the different meats that Bittman suggests. Leftover or rotisserie chicken would also be good. Or take some out and put it in a pot with fish and poach the fish until it is cooked.
  • Toss in some cooked pasta or cooked beans to make it more of a stew.
  • Towards the end stir in some chopped greens like spinach or kale or other greens that will wilt in a warm liquid.
  • At the end, add some wine vinegar to give it a bit of bite.
  • Garnish with herbs, or a drop of pesto or salsa verde. Or stir in some tomato based salsa. (Again, do it to your own taste.)

The lentils and the stock make up the foundation of the soup. The rest is seasoning and vegetables (and possibly non vegetables). Feel free to experiment and make the soup your own (and use up the left overs in your fridge or pantry).