Tag Archives: cooking

Beef and chicken and pork, oh my. (My cooking interests for December to May, 2022


Yikes! Another too many months have slipped by since I last did one of these. October, February and now May has passed! I have a ton of good recipes and food links to share, so let’s get at it!  ūüôā

Beef: grilling season will be upon us, and smash burgers are all the rage, so make some advice on how to make those. Perhaps you prefer a steak? Here’s how to Reverse Sear Steak to get THE best result. If you just want a bit of beef, try these Garlic-Butter Steak Bites or this, Easy Beef Cube Steak With Onions and Mushrooms. If you prefer something fancy, go for this, Beef Wellington Recipe or Ossobuco alla Milanese Recipe/. Love them!

Pork: prefer pork? Then how about this recipe for juicy pork chops or this one for spinach mushroom pork chops? Pork Chops with Sherry Pan Sauce with Ras Al Hanout sounds exceptional. Pork schnitzel is also great. Here’s two recipes: Pork Schnitzel with Warm Potato Salad Recipe and this one.

There are so many ways to enjoy pork, from Grilled Korean-Style Short Ribs  to 11 Best Pork Shoulder Recipes. Or just make bacon. Anyway you like it, pork is perfect.

Chicken: how about the other white meat? Here’s how to make exceptional grilled chicken from smitten kitchen. For something a bit spicy, try Chicken Thighs with Burst Tomatoes Harissa and Feta or Nigella’s Slow-Cooker Moroccan Chicken Stew. You can’t go wrong with Chicken Piccata or this pairing of  Chicken Cutlets & Roasted Asparagus. Chicken Quesadillas? Why yes. Or for something you likely haven’t made yet but should, do this, Poul Nan Sos (Haitian Chicken in Sauce, seen below).

Soup/Salad:  Let’s move on to something lighter still, but still tasty. Basque Garlic Soup and Healing Garlic Tonic Soup can both meet that criteria. As can Zuppa Toscana. Go here if you want to learn How to Make Better Soups in general.

Pair up those soups with Roasted Citrus Beet Salad with Goat Cheese or Arugula Salad with Pears and Goat Cheese or the famous Jennifer Aniston salad.

Here’s some more salad goodness from Food and Wine: Yogurt Salad Dressing Recipes and You’re Not Adding Enough Vinegar to Your Vinaigrette.

One pot/sheet pan/slow cook:  these are three ways I love to cook. For example, one pot Greek Turkey and Rice Skillet and One pot puttanesca are both good. As for sheet pan recipes, try Sheet Pan Breakfast, Easy Sheet Pan Beef Skirt Steak Fajitas Recipe, Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables and Chickpeas Bowl Recipe, Sheet Pan Italian Sausage Bean And Tomato Tray Bake, or Sheet Pan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Arugula.

Slow cookers are actually great when the weather gets warm. Try these out:  Slow-Cooker Coffee-Braised Brisket With Potatoes and Carrot, Slow-Cooker Tuscan Pot Roast Recipe, Sweet and Spicy Asian Pork Shoulder, Slow-Cooker Asian Short Ribs, 4-Ingredient Slow Cooker Cola Chicken, or finally Lazy Crock Pot Chicken With Mushrooms.

Casseroles/dump dinners: I’ve been on a kick to make dinners easier, so I’ve been trying making more casseroles and other easy dishes. Here’s what I found: 6 Easy Steps to a Customizable Casserole  by Mark Bittman, Sauces vs. Soups for Casseroles, French onion macaroni and cheese recipe, Easy one-pan lasagna recipe,  and Modern Tuna Casserole. Related, here are the Easiest-Ever Dump Dinners and Chicken Tortilla Dump Dinner.

Cuisines (French, English, Eastern Europe, India): if you find yourself in the mood for something in particular, try these ideas from France: Pate en croute, How to Make Terrine Easy and Simply or La Buvette Terrine. Two sources of UK dining are roast dinners in the UK and UK food. From Eastern Europe, we have Pierogi Ruskie: Potato-Cheese Pierogi, Polish Potato Pancakes (Placki Ziemniaczane), Goulash and Eastern European Main Dish Recipes. Last but not least, Green-Lentil Curry Recipe from the great Madhur Jaffrey.

Sauces: here’s some sauces I like: Peruvian Green Sauce Recipe,  Simple and Delicious Homemade Brown Gravy,  Aioli, and Garlic Sage Brown Butter Sauce.

Pastry: If you want something sweet, try chocolate puddle cakes, Fast Easy Simple Everyday Basic Biscuits, Apple and walnut crumble, or Jumbleberry Crumble also look good.

In addition: none of these fell into a proper category but all are worthwhile, including this recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Frittata, Lamb Loin Chops with Red Wine Pan Sauce with Cumin and Chiles, and homemade merguez with herby yogurt.

Finally: Here’s some pantry ideas, plus these 31 Underrated Pantry Staples Every Home Cook Should Have.  Here’s how to Convert a 9×13 Recipe to 8×8. .  Here’s why ultra-processed foods have a calorie problem.  Here’s 31 Underrated Pantry Staples Every Home Cook Should Have.  Here’s The 20 Recipes BA Readers Love the Most.  Here’s a list 51 Valentine’s Dinner Ideas for Romantic Rendezvous and Date Nights at Home.  A good piece on Good cheap food. .  If you want to know the What’s the Difference Between Pastrami & Corned Beef? click there.  If you need to know how to light a Charcoal Grill click there.  This is a list of things to move out your fridgeThis is a fine piece on why Appalachia Doesn’t Need Saving It Needs Respect in terms of food.  For fans of Summerlicious 2022.   More pantry ideas . (I should have grouped these.)   On the indispensable rotisserie chickens.  On The Michelin controversy in Toronto.  How to Fry an Egg…Good advice.  Also good advice: Cook well spend less.  This was thought provoking: Who killed the great British curry house?   This was fascinating: Michelangelo’s shopping List.   If you want: Dry-Age Your Meats at Home.  Once the Bon Appetit test kitchen was flying high. Now we have people writing pieces on how their staff (Brad Leone) are causing people to get food poisoning.  Here’s a piece on the creator of fish and chips.  Here’s how to make a Toronto cocktail.

Allright: let’s go grocery shopping! (That’s Michelangelo’s list below.)

(Top image: theculinarycook.com. Bottom from Atlas Obscura)

In praise of non-fancy French restaurants

When I used to think of French restaurants, I used to think “fancy”. Restaurants¬† with nice table cloths, great lighting, complex dishes, and high prices. Places like¬† Le Bernardin, Bouillon Bilk, Place Carmen, Maison (S.C.) and more. All fancy, all great and I love them.

While fancy French restaurants are good, I am here to praise non-fancy French restaurants. Restaurants  with basic settings, everyday lighting, simple dishes (often bistro style), and relatively low prices. Sure, the cooking might not be as fancy, but it is still good and it satisfies the need I have for steak frites, moules, pate, croque monsieur, duck confit and inexpensive French wines.

I’ve been fortunate to go to many such places and have loved them. In London last week, I had charcuterie (shown above) at Le Beaujolais. A few weeks earlier I devoured a fine lunch at Fast and French in Charleston. Whenever I am in¬† Montreal I try and dine at the justifiably famous L’Express. Closer to home, I’m a decade long diner of¬† Le Paradis and for good reason. Finally, one of my all time favorite places to dine in Toronto is Cote du Boeuf. I was delighted this weekend to savour their oysters, pate, steak frites and duck confit. Fantastic.

There are lots of inexpensive restaurants that serve great Italian and Indian and Chinese and Vietnamese cooking. I love them. I wish there were as many places as those serving everyday French cooking. That would be heaven for me.

Let me know your favorite non-fancy French restaurants. I will add them to my list.

P.S. If you go to Le Beaujolais, get that charcuterie. You will need at least 3 hungry diners. At Fast and French, get the soup and sandwich and wine combo: it’s incredible value. L’express has too many good dishes to mention, but I love the ravioli, though many are big fans of the bone marrow. Le Paradis has great shellfish. Also cheap cocktails: I love their sazerac. The meat at Cote du Boeuf is incredibly good. I try to order many things there, but the steak frites is irresistable.

 

 

Soups! Salads! Oysters! And more. My cooking interests for February, 2022


Well, I have not done one of these since October! You’d think I have stopped cooking! Hardly. I have been cooking a lot. Thanks, Pandemic! ūüôā

Some of things below have already been through my kitchen; others have still to make it. All are good. So dig in!

Soup, salad and veg: winter is a great time for soups, and here are some I’ve been making or wanting to make. This Turmeric-Ginger Chicken Soup from Claire Saffitz at Bon Appetit is amazing. Highly recommend it. (Shown above.) Also delicious is this Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup… super hardy that one. If you love sausage in your soup, then there’s Christmas Sausage and Kale Soup Recipe (not just for Christmas). If you want to riff a bit on your soup, then read this: If You’ve Got a Can of Coconut Milk and a Pound of Vegetables You’ve Got Soup. Coconut milk makes any soup rich and creamy. Still into soup? Check out this: 25 Easy Soup Recipes For When You Need a Hot Soup Facial Stat. Do you remember the story of Stone Soup? I do. It really struck me as a kid. What Stone Soup Means to a Seasoned Chef is a great piece on that story. No one writes better about food than Gabrielle Hamilton.

What goes great with soup? Salad! I love a good chopped salad like this: nancy’s chopped salad. Wedge salads are also great. The twist with this one is the use of cabbage. Try it: Napa Cabbage Wedge With Sesame Ranch. Got a bunch of greens? Here’s two great dressings you can put on them and so many different veg too: Greek Salad Dressing and Creamy Herb Dressing.

Speaking of veg, one of my favorites is the humble potato. Here’s two ways to make it less humble: Greek-Style Lemon Roasted Potatoes and Perfect Oven-Roasted Potatoes. The first one goes great with lamb and other Greek foods, while the second one is ideal with roast chicken.

Winter is stew time, so here’s two to cook up this month: Martha’s Hearty Vegetable Stew and Martha’s One-Pot Quick Vegetable and Navy-Bean Stew. Thanks, Martha! Wait, you want more stew?  Try Martha’s Cannellini-Bean and Greens Stew. Easy.

I love a good one pot meal. If you do too, then here’s  14 One-Pot Vegetarian Recipes That Keep Effort to a Minimum.

I am eating lots of gnocchi these days, and this has been one way I enjoyed it: Crispy Pan Fried Gnocchi w/ Brussels Sprouts. I’ve been eating more spinach too. Here’s 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Eating More of This Superfood. Maybe you want to grow your own veg to eat. If so, read this and get going: Plant fast-growing vegetables for a homegrown harvest in six weeks or less.

Fish: one of my favorite types of fish is squid. Here’s two ways to try them from Food and Wine that I thought looked good: Salt-and-Pepper Squid with Chinese Five-Spice Powder and Squid and Black-Eyed Pea Salad. I’ve loved squid for a long time. Recently I’ve developed a love for oysters. I loved this deep dive on them: What Are the Differences Between East and West Coast Oysters?. While you read that, make this pantry classic: Salmon cakes with green beans.

Noodles: if you love pantry dishes, here are two you may want to try, Singapore Noodles and Coconut Curry Ramen. Very slurpable.  And this dish has become a social media darling recently:  Easy Chili Garlic Oil Noodles.

Salt and Lavender: S&L is not a recipe, but a web site. I have been enjoying cooking many of the recipes there. One thing I love about their recipes is how much they embrace cream! Give the web site a visit. So many good rich dinners, perfect for winter. Here’s two recipes from it to give you a sense of what it’s like: Mushroom Stroganoff and Easy Smothered Pork Chops and Gravy. Break out the heavy cream and enjoy!

Chicken: I have been making a ton of chicken recently. More than what is represented here. These are some I wanted to try:

Beef: unlike chicken, I have been making less beef lately. Which is weird because I tend to make it more in the winter. I still love beef, and I’d love to try some of these. Some are fancy, some are basic:

And more: These oddballs don’t fit any easy classification, but you want to see them:

Stories about food: I loved this story, Newcomer from India teaches Cape Bretoners to cook with underused food bank items.  This is fascinating: The Humble Beginnings of Today’s Culinary Delicacies. Finally, two famous food people I follow but for very different reasons: Alison Roman (Alison Roman Just Can’t Help Herself) and Jacques Pepin (6 Best Jacques Pepin Recipes to Celebrate His 86th Birthday).

Thanks for reading all this. As my buddy Jacques says: Happy Cooking!

(Image is a link to Bon Appetit)

BBQ is over! :) It’s time for autumn cooking. (My cooking interests for early Fall, 2021 )


If you are thinking: Bernie, I could really use some good recipes to cook this fall, can you help me? Why yes, I think I can. (I even have some grilling recipes because hey, keep BBQing if it makes you happy.) Here’s my fall list of food links (mostly recipes) I’ve found interesting and that I think you will find interesting too!

Recipes

Fish: first up, here’s a feast of fish recipes. I love clams, and I want to make this: Clams with chili and limes. Speaking of fish with citrus, try this: Citrus Shrimp Rice Bowls. If you are still grilling: This Fish Is Sustainable Cheap and Delicious on the Grill. Or maybe you want to roast: Roast Fish with Cannellini Beans and Green Olives. Do you like cod? If so, here are two for you: Rice Bowls with Flaky Cod and Green Seasoning Baked Cod. Back to shellfish with Quick Calamari With Garlic Mayonnaise  and Spicy Garlic Lemon Butter Shrimp with Parmesan Corn Polenta. Finally, this sounds fun if you want something sushi-like: DIY Hand Rolls Are My Last-Minute Dinner Party Savior. And this is worth a look: The Best Fish Cakes.

Vegetables: when you want carbs and veg: Greens and Beans with Fried Bread. This sound delicious: Vietnamese Tomato Salad. How about some dishes with emulsions? Here’s Carrot and Beet Salad with Scallion Emulsion or Roasted Red Pepper Emulsion. Or how about soups? This sounds amazing: This Lentil Soup Is So Good One Nurse Has Eaten It for Lunch Every Workday for 17 Years  and this sounds classic: make Any Vegetable Soup. If you need dips: Make a Ton of Impressive Dips With This Simple Formula. Or chickpeas: Warm Chickpea Bowls with Lemony Yogurt. Feeling like beans? Here’s 12 Easy Ways to Cook a Can of Cannellini Beans. If you are still grilling: Grilled Mushrooms and Carrots with Sesame. Maybe you are using the oven again…then make Sheet-Pan Ratatouille.  Or bake a pie: Golden Root Vegetable Potpie close. Put your kimchi to work with Kimchi-Fried Grains. Or your last summer tomatoes: rice-stuffed tomatoes.

Chicken: sticking with the lighter items, let’s move to chicken. Here’s a fantastic and varied list of chicken dishes: Chicken Braised in Lime and Peanut Sauce,  Chicken Schnitzel with Crunchy Salad (read this too:  The BA Sandwich Primer: Saltie), Stir-Fried Noodles With Chicken, Coq au Riesling, Curry-Poached Chicken with Rice and Scallions and finally Peperoncini Chicken.

Pasta/Noodles/Grains: are an excellent trio. Let’s start with gnocchi…I highly recommend this: Five Delicious Reasons to Always Have Gnocchi in Your Pantry. I also keep wanting to make these noodles, so I want to try one of these: Dan Dan Noodles, or this (it’s different) Dan Dan Noodles. Pasta Aglio e Olio Gets a Plus One is good for fans of it. Here’s a simple pasta dish: Macaroni and Peas Is the Desperation Meal That Always Satisfies. As is this: Pasta with Sausage and Arugula. Maybe you want to make your own pasta: Make Pasta From Scratch with Two Ingredients. Kudos to you!

What else? If none of those catch your fancy, what about you try this: Make This Pork Roast on Sunday Eat Well All Week Long. Or make this and have them on standby: 4 Homemade Spice Blends That’ll Level-Up Your Meals. This sounds amazing: Burnt Orange and Coriander Roast Pork. Same with this:  Maple Chicken ‘N’ Ribs. Finally there’s Lamb Meatballs With Pecan Romesco and .the Absolute Best Way to Cook French Fries According to So Many Tests.

Lists: I always come across lists of food more and more each month. These are some good ones:

  1. 45 Healthy Dinner Recipes for Low-Stress Weeknights.
  2. 9 Martha Stewart Recipes We Can’t Stop Making from One-Pan Pasta to Slab Pie.
  3. 30 Refreshing Slaw Recipes for Summer.
  4. 29 Healthyish Chickpea Recipes Here for Your Weeknight Dinners.
  5. These 81 Easy Pasta Recipes Are Your Weeknight-Dinner Saviors.
  6. Our 11 Best Summer Sangrias Including One With Rose.
  7. 30 Juicy Pork Chop Recipes for Easy Weeknight Dinners.
  8. 18 Classic French Appetizers.
  9. 9 Ways To Use Up Overripe Fruit.
  10. Arugula Salad With Shaved Parmesan Three Ways

Not recipes, but interesting: 

For steak lovers, here’s:  Cuts Of Steak Ranked From Worst To Best. For fans of budget cooking like me:  The Healthyish Guide to Low-Waste Cooking. You might ask: Why Do American Grocery Stores Still Have an Ethnic Aisle? Why indeed. Is American BBQ ethnic. I dunno, but here are two good pieces on American barbeque:  The Evolution of American Barbecue and  The media has erased the long history of Black barbecue skewing our understanding. As you know, fermented food is hot:  How Fermented Foods May Alter Your Microbiome and Improve Your Health. Finally, this was excellent:  Chez Panisse reimagined the way we eat. After 50 years is that enough?.

Happy cooking!

No time to mediate or do other relaxing things? Why not try making risotto?


Yes, making risotto is a highly relaxing thing. It’s a dish I love to make just for the way it calms me down (not to mention it is delicious). You have to be mindful when making risotto. You don’t have to be constantly stirring it, but you do need to be attentive to it. Steam rises off it as you cook it, and that is relaxing. Once you get the hang of it, being mindful of the transformation of the dish is also relaxing.

Need more persuasion? Here’s the chef and owner of the River Cafe who thinks the way I do: A Chef‚Äôs Advice for Relaxation: Stir Some Risotto – The New York Times.

If the idea appeals to you, here are 20 Easy Risotto Recipes To Make All Season Long from Chatelaine.

Start off with a classic parmesan risotto and go from there! It’s really not that hard. Plus, as I argue here, it’s a great way to use up veg. Enjoy!

(Image by Roberto Caruso: linked to in the Chatelaine recipe.)

 

 

How to Make Dinner When You Can’t Even

If I were to ask you “are you sick of cooking from home during the pandemic?”and you threw something in my general direction while screaming “YES!”, then I highly recommend this: Easy Dinner Recipes (Without Having to Cook Anything) – The New York Times.¬†

Ali Slagle does a great job of helping you put together a meal using a simple formula.  So if the thought of getting out a recipe is painful and the thought of ordering take out is equally so, check out that piece from her.

(Photo: Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.)

My cooking interests for Summer, 2021


Whew, it’s been awhile since I wrote about my cooking interests, and in the meantime the list has been building up with all sorts of delicious recipes. As well, I’ve found interesting essays and articles on food generally. Here they are: dig in!

Recipes: I have found so many good recipes I am going to separate them out just to make some sense of them.

Group Recipes: First off, here are some links to recipe lists that are rather good. Ottolenghi has some quick 15 minute lunch recipes that look good. Table for One is full of great solo recipes. Bon Appetit has compiled a list of their readers’ 23 Favorite recipes… some good ones there. A friend pointed out this collection of lovely recipes from Nigel Slater. Well worth a look. I have been craving meatballs lately. If you have too, Chatelaine can help you out there. The site Cup of Jo has a great list of Quick dinners. I like the recipes there a lot. If you feel like a salad, Bon Appetit has some salad ideas for you. Maybe you want soup? Food52 has 16 soup recipes to enjoy. Maybe¬† you are too tired to cook at all. If so, check out 14 No-Cook recipes for hot Days or lazy nights. Finally here is an insane list from Bon Appetit: 76 of Our Best Steak Recipes from Rib Eye to Skirt Steak Fajitas to Skewers. Fire up the grill.

Italianish Recipes: I always love a good carbonara recipe. To go with that, from SaltFatAcidHeat, here is a good focaccia recipe. Remember how I said I liked meatballs? Here’s a¬† meatball recipe from Budget Bytes. ¬†I highly recommend you make this right away: My favorite Tuscan fries from Nigella. Or maybe you want a nice antipesto plate of roasted veg.

Ok that was nice, now back to meatballs, with Martha’s Spaghetti and Meatballs and Melissa Clark’s pantry meatballs

Low cost/pantry/cucina povera:¬†Speaking of Melissa Clark’s pantry meals — all of which I am a fan of — here are a few more. For instance this is a nice and easy meal of root vegetables paired with chickpeas and yogurt. Or this sausage and veg soup …sounds great. How about putting this savory loaf packed with cheese and olives to go with it? Sounds just right. Thanks, Melissa.

Meanwhile if you are in the mood to make loafs, I recommend these three meatloafs from Martha that are more French in style than American. There is Spicy Butternut Squash Meatloaf and also this Spanish-Style Meatloaf. Yum!

Still in the mood for more ways to eat cheap and healthy and lazy? Then read this.

Meat recipes:  Speaking of eating lazy, I love cutlets for that. Here is Smitten Kitchen with a good chicken cutlet recipe. If you fancy pork, read this:
The Pork Chop Recipe That Finally Got Me on the Pork Chop Train. If you prefer beef instead, here’s a ¬†flank steak recipe with Bloody Mary Tomato salad (wow) and here’s a recipe for grilled rib eye with shishito pepper salsa.

Soups, sauces and salad recipes:¬†no particular reason for this grouping, I just like it. Here’s a nice fennel and citrus salad. ¬†Here’s something you can have for days: Just-Keeps-Getting-Better Lentil Salad .

Need some sauces? Here’s two: a nice green sauce and a good veloute sauce.

We have a range of soups as well: from cucumber to French Onion with Comte. Here’s a general recipe to make any purred soup in 5 Steps. Last but not least:¬† If You Have Kimchi You’re Steps Away From This Soup. So sez Melissa Clark’s pantry.

Other recipes: Here’s a nice noodle dish to try. Here’s some paleo recipes that looked promising: for fans of paleo. Did we forget drinks? Ok. Here’s a good recipe that is a base for all your summertime cocktails: homemade sour mix. Get to work on your braising. I haven’t tried this but if it works it will be fantastic: making caramelized onions in the oven.

Non-recipe related:¬†Wow. That’s a lot of recipes! Here’s some other things that seemed interesting. For example, here’s three interesting stories on French chefs dealing with the challenge of Michelin ratings: Un! Deux!Trois! Here’s a good story on space food,¬†while here is another one on the economics of casseroles.This guy missed airline meals so much he makes them at home. Ok…sure. For fans of this chef, here’s a good¬† write up on Eric Ripert’s latest cookbook on Vegetables. This was fascinating: Costco Builds Nebraska Supply Chain For Its $5 Rotisserie Chickens. I loved this piece on Caroline Fidanza, the chef who used to run the beloved Saltie’s in Brooklyn. Epic sandwiches! How about this great all purpose pan?¬†Print this of if you bake: Converting cake recipes to different pans Finally, for fans of hot sauce, here is A hot sauce guide with tips for how to use 8 common styles.¬†

Wow. That’s a ton of food links! I hope you found some useful. Happy cooking!

(Image of Caroline Fidanza focaccia sandwich via TASTE.)

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.

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.

 

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).