Breathing Room: What Are You Cooking?

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

It’s been quite a while since I posted an open thread around an open question, like what are you reading, or what are you streaming or podcasting.

This time I want to ask what are you cooking, since even more of us cook than read and/or stream – even if cooking for some of us is nothing more than preparing a Cup-O-Noodles.

The topic occurred to me as I wandered the internet looking for recipes for a Lenten meatless Friday supper. I’m a long-lapsed Catholic but I still observe Lent this way.

My youngest who vacillates between agnosticism and atheism, asked me once why I still gave up some non-essentials and/or observed meatless Fridays. I told them it was one way in which I recognized my privilege – I can choose to forgo something when many people have no choice but to go without.

It’s also one of the ways I can consciously reduce my carbon footprint, recognizing not only the privilege of conspicuous consumption and its burden on climate, but actively practice a habit on which I should and will expand.

Meat production is carbon intensive, there’s just no way around it. If I want to be more aggressive about reducing my CO2 production, reducing meat in my diet is a big step in the right direction.

Animal protein is also not good for one’s health. I really don’t want to take my spouse to the ER again for another euphemistic “cardiac event,” thank you.

Nor do I want to be the reason why children are injured or killed in the work place in states like Arkansas where child labor has once again become acceptable. (Thanks, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, for that new spin on “chicken fingers.”)

Yet I admit I’m an omnivore. I can’t see myself ever completely giving up a juicy rare steak, crispy bacon, or plump and tender poultry though I’ll eat less of them. I’ll be in line when lab-grown meat finally becomes commercially viable as a replacement for our current meat production. It hasn’t yet arrived and may not for some time.

But I can cut back on the number of meals based on meat and I can stretch what meat I use. This past week because of Lent I focused on a meatless Friday meal.

I’ve got lots of different whole grains in my pantry and a mess of canned tomatoes. When I ran across this recipe for a North African barley-tomato soup, I ran with it.

Holy wah! It’s easy and tasty even with a few tweaks – even faster with an Instant Pot pressure cooker.

I found the recipe in The New York Times (I swear Cooking is the Grey Lady’s only reliable section):

But there are other very similar versions elsewhere:

Tomato Barley Soup – a simple version more soup than stew

Barley Tomato Soup – a variation from a kosher website

Vegetable Barley Soup – less emphasis on tomatoes, more veggies and some curry

Hssoua Belboula Hamra – another version of North African barley tomato soup, this time from Morocco

All of these are pretty easy to make straight from the recipes. The Campbell’s version does have one problem: it calls for two cans of tomatoes but doesn’t specify the size. Based on the NYT-Cooking version, I’d recommend two 14.5-oz cans or one 28-oz can.

This soup is also forgiving if you have make little adjustments. I didn’t have sweet paprika on hand; I substituted smoked paprika instead and added a couple healthy shakes of ground cayenne. It was delicious. Nor did I use the amount of salt the recipe called for, choosing to taste it first before adding any more salt. Still turned out great.

But I also split up the cooking between two Instant Pots – yes, I know, I’m kind of ridiculous about Instant Pots, using them 4-5 times a week and often two at a time. I divided the vegetable stock between the barley and the tomato base, using three cups of the stock in which to cook the barley, and the rest with the remaining ingredients.

In the first pot I put the 1-1/4 cups pearl barley with 3 cups vegetable stock, a tablespoon of olive oil to prevent foaming which can clog the pressure vent, and a minced clove of garlic. I cooked it on high pressure for 20 minutes and let the pot naturally depressurize.

In the second pot (you can simply put the cooked barley aside in a bowl and use the same Instant Pot), I placed all the other ingredients with the remaining two cups vegetable stock. I cooked this on high for five minutes then let the pot depressurize.

When the tomato-broth base is done, I mixed in the cooked barley and stirred well. After tasting I adjusted the salt, added a little cracked black pepper, a smattering of fresh thyme leaves from my winter kitchen garden, and served with grated Parmesan cheese as a garnish.

The NYT-Cooking recipe says it serves 4-6 and believe me, it’s more like 6-8. It’s very filling.

The pearl barley will thicken the soup as it cools; after refrigeration it will be much more stew-like if you serve it the next day. Thin with tomato juice or vegetable broth when reheating if you like it more soup-y.

Some cultures eat soup for breakfast. This one would be great with a poached egg on top, like a variation on shakshuka.

If you try this but want more non-meat protein, try cooking along with the barley a gluten-free cooked grain like rice, corn, beans, peas, or lentils which assures a full complement of amino acids. If you’re not allergic to soy you could add some TVP or tempeh chunks.

Next time I need a meatless meal I’m going to try a mushroom-barley variation since barley was so good and easy, and I’ve got both dried and frozen mushrooms to use up.

What about you? What are you cooking? If you’re cooking less meat, what’s on the menu?

This is an open thread.

180 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    HEADS UP: If you are not already aware of it, the comment system here will be updated. As part of that process we will be moving to a new 8-letter minimum standard for usernames to improve security. We are already asking users to begin the migration particularly new users whose names are far too short or too common.

    If you haven’t already been asked and have a username less than 8-letters long, please pick a new compliant name soon and begin to use it. Let us know as you do so in comments.

    With the new standard the only non-letter characters which will be permitted in usernames are dashes and underbars (yes, those of you using question marks and other punctuation will need to rethink your names).

    • pdaly says:

      For clarification, Rayne, when you state no non-letter characters except dashes and underbars will be allowed, are you asking that we avoid numbers in our new handles as well? In other words, letters-of-the-alphabet only_, ?

      [I have a bunch of people with numbers in their names. I’d prefer letters if possible but I don’t think I can get around the pre-existing names with numbers. Use numbers if you must but be warned you may have to change username again if I run into problems. Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • pdaly says:

        Good to know. I will avoid numbers. My username does not have too many simple options for expansion if I want to keep it recognizable. Considering “pdalyieio”

    • punaise says:

      Ah shucks: so “punaise!” won’t fly?

      (It’s an actual exclamation in French, kind of a polite substitute for “merde!”)

      [You are among the grandfathered (grandmothered?) as you have a much older account and more than 1000 comments to date. No worries. /~Rayne]

      • punaise says:

        Thanks, muy apreciado – dodged a bullet there! So you’re saying there is an upside to being old and in the way?

      • Peterr says:

        Unwittingly, I have used that actual exclamation myself, much to the chagrin of my German ancestors, upon finding myself on the losing end of a linguistic back-and-forth with you. “Punaise!”

        Of course, I channel my ancestors by taking this “polite” French exclamation and adding to it various less-than-polite multi-syllable German expressions to give appropriate depth and flavor to that mere single word of French.

    • GWPDA says:

      So, R(1)A(2)Y(3)N(4)E(5) we’re now going to declare that those of us who have had the same acronym since 19-bloody-94 need to add more characters?


      Great War Primary Documents Archive:
      G W P D A
      And, for what it’s worth, check out for the redistribution of produce up from Nogales – that’s more than 70% of winter produce that comes up from Nogales thru to the rest of the US. What you use it for is up to you. I can it and sometimes dehydrate it. Tomatoes? I’ve got jars and jars. Squash? Do what you will. Cukes and pickling fruit? Jars and jars.

      • bmaz says:

        Yes you clown, that is exactly what we are going to do. You have been told this for a very long time now and have belligerently refused to comply. Nobody gives a shit what you did somewhere else in the 90’s, you have a grand total of 42 comments here and have been a relentless pain in the butt. As you have been repeatedly informed, you will have to comply or get lost.

        • Rayne says:

          Thank you. I think you said it for me.

          Except for the pointed refusal in the form of multiple declarations that someone absolutely won’t change their username. Okay, then they clearly don’t belong here; go exercise their free speech elsewhere. Buh-bye.

        • PJB2point0 says:

          Sorry, I didn’t realize the numbers in the new name were a problem for you, Rayne. Do you need me to change it again or am I okay for now?

          [Leave your name as it is for now. I may have to ask for a change in the future if I run into problems with formatting, though. /~Rayne]

    • higgsboson says:

      I’m guessing from what you’ve written that spaces are also excluded, so the above is what I’ll use going forward.

      [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

  2. pablointhegazebo says:

    O/T heads up: The link to Brandi’s post is broken – “This site can’t be reached” and “ERR_HTTP2_PROTOCOL_ERROR”.

    [Please try again as both bmaz and I have had no problems with accessing Brandi’s latest post. Please copy-and-paste the link you used for diagnostics, indicating where you saw the link that you shared and then clicked on when you experienced the error message. Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • pablointhegazebo says:

        Nope. All the other posts open up fine. I don’t understand. I’ll keep trying. The entire error message is: This site can’t be reachedThe webpage at might be temporarily down or it may have moved permanently to a new web address.

        [Clear your browser’s cache and try it again, thanks. /~Rayne]

        • pdaly says:

          Brandi’s post would become stuck when I clicked on the Title from the main page. I waited 45 seconds and tried again with the same delay. Other posts loaded without any delay.
          However, when I clicked on comments instead of the title, I saw the post and the comments load right away.

          (Maybe it was just a temporary glitch? Because when I click on Brandi’s post by title it loads right away now.)

        • pablointhegazebo says:

          I cleared the cache, went back and noticed the log in button, so, thinking I was logged out clicked it. Forgot my password and on the third try it told me I was locked out. Not listening I went back to your home page, clicked on Brandi’s post, and it worked fine. I guess clearing the ole cache worked. Thank you. Now between the PGA’s match play, NASCAR, and Brandi I have a full afternoon planned.

        • Peterr says:

          The Venn diagram intersection of golf fans, NASCAR fans, and Proud Boy Trial aficionados is probably small, but now I know that it’s not empty.

  3. rosalind says:

    ha! just finished cooking my weekly vegetable soup and came to relax in front of the computer for a while. always like to have a pot of veggie soup on hand during the week – today it’s asparagus & zucchini. next i’ll be roasting some carrots for my new fav roasted carrot salad w/baby arugula. next up i’ll be trying a new chickpea & broccoli rabe dish. then – the Sunday papers.

  4. Ruthie2the says:

    I’d been using Impossible Meat for burgers or meatballs for a while, but I moved to Spain this year and it’s not available here.

    I try to cook vegetarian meals a few times a week. Like Rayne, my reasons run the gamut, but I don’t see myself ever giving up meat entirely. Last week we ate hummus and tabbouleh one day, and a large broccoli Caesar salad another day. There’s also a Korean soup that is easy and delicious, with carrots, potato, and silken tofu with gochujang – it takes about a half hour to make, and is WAY more delicious than you’d ever guess based on the ingredients alone. Tortilla de patatas (kind of like a frittata, but with potatoes and/or onions) is another vegetarian menu staple; just add a salad and you have a meal. There’s a Basque soup with leeks, potato, carrots and olive oil, which we eat with cheese and bread, which everyone I’ve ever made it for has raved about. I could go on…

    I love to eat more than I love to cook, but to eat you must first cook.

    • Rayne says:

      So much yum, Ruthie!

      The Korean soup sounds like a version of sundubu jjigae. Here’s a recipe for it but this one calls for zucchini and mushrooms which could be an easy summer substitution for winter root vegetables like carrots and potatoes.

      I frequently make frittatas but I lean into my Asian heritage to create fusion versions which are a lot like Japanese okonomiyaki or Korean yachaejeon — a little gochujang stirred into the batter is ~chef’s kiss~

      • holdingsteady says:

        My husband and I have been dabbling in Korean food lately too, here’s the one I made recently
        but used the zucchini and mushrooms option instead of meat

        My husband made 7 banchans from our cookbook ‘Everyday Korean’ by Kim Sunee, our local food writer (co-author Seung Hee Lee) .

        Then a couple weeks later we made my son’s traditional birthday dinner of Korean short ribs but added in two more dishes: japchae (first time using sweet potato noodles – they’re so good) and spicy Korean Cole slaw.

        I now have 2 pounds organic soy beans on hand to try making my own soft tofu

        Luckily we have a nice Korean market and can find most ingredients locally, gochu garu is now maybe my favorite chile !

  5. Patient Observer says:

    Brussels Sprouts Pappardelle (or substitute fettuccini)

    Brussels sprouts, sliced very thinly until shredded — about 2 cups
    Olive oil — 2 tbsp
    Pappardelle pasta (or substitute fettuccini) — 8 oz
    Pecorino cheese, shavings to top
    Crushed red pepper to taste

    Step 1: Slice the Brussels sprouts thinly, until shredded

    Step 2: Saute on medium/high, stirring often with about 2 tbsp olive oil plus a pinch of salt & pepper, for 3-5 minutes until wilted with a few crispy bits.

    Step 3: Toss the cooked sprouts with 8 ounces of cooked pappardelle pasta, a splash of olive oil, salt & pepper.

    Step 4: Top with shavings of Pecorino cheese and crushed red pepper to taste.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      The Brussels Sprouts have been abundant this year so I’ve been experimenting with baked sprouts tossed in a chimichurri sauce and a raw sprouts slaw with toasted chopped hazelnuts, pomegranate arils, and pecorino in a red wine vinegrette. I also like roasted sprouts tossed in olive oils with a little salt and pepper.

      • P J Evans says:

        For a while the supermarket had ready-to-cook vegetable dishes. One was sliced Brussels sprouts with carrot coins and diced beets, and an orange-ginger sauce. The sauce turned an amazing rose-red when it hit the beets. It was delicious.

  6. higgs boson says:

    Would it be tacky to actually provide a recipe? This one from my late little sister:

    Mexican Spoonbread à la Elizabeth
    Yield: 8 servings Time: 1 hour

    1 standard can creamed corn
    1 cup milk
    1/3 cup shortening, melted
    3 egg yolks, beaten
    3 egg whites, beaten
    3/4 cup white or yellow corn meal
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp salt
    1 4 oz can diced green chiles
    1 1/2 cup grated cheese (cheddar and/or monterey jack)

    Preheat oven to 400° F
    Mix all ingredients except chiles and cheese, adding beaten egg whites last.
    Pour half the batter in a 9×9 greased casserole. Spread with chiles and half the cheese.
    Add rest of batter, sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
    Bake for 40-45 minutes.

    For a richer texture substitute cream for the milk, or use part cream, part milk

    • Midtowngirl says:

      Thanks for sharing this – it sounds totally yummy! I’m going to try it as a base and spoon my homemade chili on top!

    • earthworm says:

      you can also achieve this by adding just a teaspoon of whey, buttermilk, or yogurt to soaking water. works well with rice too, said to somehow neutralize the phytic acid that helps prevent seeds (grains and legumes) from sprouting before they’re supposed to.

  7. earthworm says:

    weekends are when i catch up and do some cooking ahead. today i cooked
    butternut squash soup with ginger & lime
    no-knead bread
    dilly bread
    marcella hazan’s roast chicken
    Plus — change out henhouse bedding, prick out Beira kale and rapini seedlings, take an in-line skate, and take pix, write, & submit my column.

  8. Raven Eye says:

    My periodic, simple, pre-pared* roasted potatoes. I cook these up in batches using a large air fryer.

    3 pounds mini potatoes (your fave)
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil (robust and NAOOA certified)
    Italian seasoning**

    * “pared” is just a pun
    ** You can use any herb seasoning combination you like.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Good example of how not to get with the program. :-) What’s your favorite pizza then?

        • bmaz says:

          We cook pretty spectacular ones here in the Ooni. But current favorite is from last weekend at Catania on the Shore. Wild mushroom, burrata cheese, fontina cheese, chili flake, sherry vinegar and thyme with all kinds of sausage sprinkled on top. Think this is a picture (but ours was slightly whiter in appearance). We will be making that here soon!

        • Rayne says:

          You named that upload “images”?? ~eye roll~ I have to go tinker back end and give it a more unique name, like bmaz_Ooni_wildmush.jpeg.

          You’re killin’ me, Smalls.

        • bmaz says:

          No no, that is from Catania in La Jolla, we have not copied it….yet! I don’t need to name random pizza images!

    • Raven Eye says:

      More details — wasn’t sure of the protocols when I started writing…

      1. Preheat air fryer to 390F.
      2. Wash the potatoes, cut away any blems, and cut into thumb-tip sized pieces ensuring that some skin is on each piece***
      3. In a medium mixing bowl (or other container with a lid) add half of the potatoes, pour in some olive oil, and sprinkle generously with the Italian seasoning. With the lid on, tumble until evenly covered with oil and seasoning — check and add more of either if needed. (Depending on the size of your air fryer, your batches and “bowl management” may be different.)
      4. Dump potatoes into the air fryer basket and spread evenly.
      5. Cook. Periodically toss or stir for even cooking. Times will vary, so start at 20 minutes and adjust. The edges of the potato bits should end up nicely browned.

      I pack most of these in little brown paper restaurant containers, freeze them, and eat later. If you serve in a bowl right away, a sprinkling of cheese is nice. I like Collier (Welsh) cheddar grated super-fine (like powder snow).

      This, by the way, makes the kitchen smell great.

      *** Pardon my use of the terms “thumb-tip” and “skin” in association with knife work.

  9. Guyonabike says:

    New user name.

    As a diabetic/keto follower, it’s small amounts of healthier proteins (fish, eggs, nuts) and large amounts of leafy greens

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

  10. pdaly says:

    Weekends I’ve been baking chocolate croissants that I bought in the frozen food aisle.
    Not healthy but certainly a reward for getting up early on a cold New England weekend.
    Now that the weather is warming I will have to find healthier treats.

    The soup recipes sound great.

  11. Chirrut Imwe says:

    Um, not too exciting, but I am on a steel-cut oats in the instant pot kick. Adding raisins and cinnamon before cooking so I dont need any honey or brown sugar. My doctor is happy (and so am I).

    • Rayne says:

      Surprisingly, steel-cut oats are what my kids ask for when they visit. They’d rather have that than anything else on Saturday morning, though I cook mine without cinnamon and raisins, adding a splash of vanilla extract instead.

      • Raven Eye says:

        Vanilla is one of those added flavorings that can get the “Oh. That’s nice.” reaction.

        • Rayne says:

          It’s just oatmeal but the smell while they cook is like perfume — your olfactory nerve lies and tells you it’s something much grander than porridge. The family will scarf the whole pot down. Just amazing what a little tisane of a vanilla bean can do.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Cinnamon, diced dried plums, a little butter or oil to keep them from sticking works for me.

      • Valerie Klyman-Clark says:

        Have you tried Flahavan’s Irish steel cut oatmeal?? I recently came across it in Staunton, Virginia and-hand to God, it’s the best oatmeal I have ever et. I had it with assorted seeds and chopped dates the other morning.

        P.S. We started making vanilla extract: split pods in brandy and rum. Game changer.

        Name change needed, folks?

        • Rayne says:

          Flahavan’s? Nope, just McCann’s or Aldi brand, will look for some and give it a try, thanks!

          Just bought some vanilla bean pods yesterday to make another batch of extract. I use half-and-half Everclear and bourbon in mine, though (don’t tell my spouse I’ve nipped some of his bourbon collection for this). Homemade is sooo good, isn’t it?

          You’re all set with your name as it is — more than enough letters, only a dash, and you’ve been here long enough that your identity is readily confirmed. Thanks for asking!

        • Valerie Klyman-Clark says:

          That’s funny about nipping the good bourbon, I went straight for the good stuff (and a middling brandy). The Flahavan family, it says on the can, has been milling oats since 1785.

  12. oldtulsadude says:

    Cacio e pepe.

    Once you learn the key is to mix the pecorino romano with room temperature water to make the sauce before the pasta and pssts water are added it is simple.

  13. punaise says:

    I neglected to winterize our gas grille so there’s a large spring cleaning looming before I can fire up the barby (my lane, including marinades).

    Favorite current dish (okay, prepared by Mme punaise): pan-roasted chicken thighs with shallots and oranges and harissa, served with quinoa or couscous. Probably came from NYTimes recipes.

    • Rayne says:

      Your favorite dish sounds really familiar. I think that recipe some time back and went with one which had saffron in it. Unf. To die for.

    • Peterr says:

      Neglecting to winterize a grill is a definite Berkeley thing, as opposed to folks in the central-to-upper Midwest. Around here, if you let something happen to your grill over the winter, you’d be better off running over the grill with your car or truck instead of admitting your failure to care for you grill.

      (Of course, the best way to avoid this problem is to cook on the grill year round, so as to keep everything in good order 12 months of the year. There’s nothing like a good smoked turkey in mid-February!)

      • Rayne says:

        I need the grill 12 months a year here in snow country, especially at Christmas when I make the in-laws’ family recipe for beef brisket. I need a good char on it before I slow roast it, can’t do it indoors.

        Long underwear = Michigan grilling accessory

        • Peterr says:


          And the grill also frees up the oven for things like additional pies.

          When you have a spouse with the baking chops of Mrs Dr Peterr, this is the definition of a Win-Win situation.

        • punaise says:

          Gonna have to up my game I see.

          True that we don’t really do seasons here in the Bay Area, just minor variations on a theme (present off the chart rain year excepted).

        • P J Evans says:

          The house we moved into when I was in HS had an indoor barbecue. It was a high, small fireplace, in the family room. We did hamburgers a couple of times that I recall, once when it was raining outside. The thing had a pit that was more than 18 inches deep, and it took all the ashes from the previous house to get the coal level up to “usable”. (The normal fireplace, in the living room, had a gas outlet but no logs, so it took a while to get it to work well.)

      • cschoppa says:

        SoCal living so don’t know what it means to winterize a grill:-). My MisWest mother-in-law on end asked me when I start grilling thinking it was a seasonal thing. I told her Fall of 1984… I pretty much grill weekly on Saturday nights

    • rip no longer says:

      I’ve always used wood/charcoal grills. Used to have one of those behemoth smoker units but have moved onto using one of ceramic eggs. Holds heat, is coolish to the touch (sorta), great for smoking.

      The few times recently that I’ve had to bbq for folks using a gas grill at family gatherings, I couldn’t get the temps to stabilize for long-cooking. Probably OK for searing but not for 2-3 hour slow cooking.

      And yes, we’ve become much less animal protein focused. So much good natural plants available.

  14. BlixiTheCat says:

    I’m relieved to know of one other person who has multiple Instant Pots. I have 3, 2 3qt and 1 6qt. I will use one to make lentil soup soon. I am also trying to reduce the amount of meat I eat and lower my cholesterol. So I’m going to try cooking more lentils.

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      I have two 6-qt. pots. Probably should have a small one but the second one was a steal. My mom bought one, hated it, sold it to me for $25. I wasn’t going to turn it down!

      Lentils are such a snap in the Instant Pot, but occasionally I revert to my little rice maker. 2-1/4 water (or broth) to 1 cup lentils in the rice maker, add a clove of garlic, some oregano and thyme, a splash of olive oil and it’s several tasty meals in about 20-25 minutes. I

      • ernesto1581 says:

        La Kama, (a low-key sibling of ras el hanout ) is good to have on hand for lentils, garbanzos, guandules. These guys, by the way, all have remarkably complete protein profiles, and guandules are semi-perennial.
        (ginger, tumeric, white pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, in ratios more or less of 3:3:3:2:1:1.)

        lentils and sliced sausage (cotechino if in Tuscany) is one of many traditional New Years dishes for good luck: “Lire e Scudi”

  15. punaise says:

    It’s a small thing, but a couple of glugs of buttermilk makes an omelet nice and fluffy.

    Also: buttermilk and buckwheat pancakes from Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food”.

  16. Kope a Pia says:

    Today is Hawaiian Prince Jonah Kuhio’s birthday, which is usually a State Holiday celebrated in his honor on the day of his birth except when landing on a weekend like this year.

    My wife was also born on 3/26 so she gets a holiday on her birthday every year. I got a pan of Chow Fun from Tin Roof Maui and am marinating chicken for the Family BBQ later this afternoon.

    • Rayne says:

      Chow fun?? Hô! ‘Ono loa! I haven’t made that in ages and I’m certainly not going to find that in my neck of the Midwest. I’ll have to add that to my list to make when I get a nice steak.

      Have a great birthday feast, best wishes to your spouse!

      ADDER: for everybody else looking for a chow fun recipe, try this one, even has video.

  17. wasD4v1d says:

    I’ve become rather a fan of some North African cuisine, and quite a numbers from the Levant. Throw in a nice Afghanistan pilau… or just by itself.

    For soup stock I’ve been using miso and sprigs of green (the stems have a lot of intense oil – fish them out later).

    Did I mention chick peas?

  18. Peterr says:

    We’re having crab tonight, but tomorrow I’ll be pulling out a favorite salmon recipe from Jamie Oliver (tweaked a bit), in honor of The Kid’s visit home from college. Jamie’s recipe called for a whole salmon, but it works just fine with two full salmon fillets (and if you cut down the amounts of everything, you could do this with smaller fillets).

    Thinly slice two or three lemons, and chop up a bunch of green onions.
    Have ready two handfuls of fresh herbs – parsley, basil, and fennel tops are great. Divide these in half, and then divide one of the halves in half again.
    Have ready 2-3 Tbsp fennel seeds, cracked

    Take two salmon fillets, and season with salt and pepper.

    Spread out a three page thick layer of newspaper, and put down 1/4 of the herbs, 1/4 of the fennel seeds, and a layer of lemon slices in the shape of the salmon. Drizzle the skin side of one salmon fillet with olive oil and lay the salmon on the herbs with the skin side down. Drizzle the salmon with olive oil, and layer in lemons, 1/2 of the herbs, 1/2 of the fennel seeds, and another layer of lemons. Take the second salmon fillet, drizzle the flesh side with oil, and lay it on top of the piled herbs and lemons. Oil the skin side of the second fillet, lay on the rest of the fennel seeds, herbs, and lemon slices.

    Now comes the fun part. Roll the whole thing up in the newspaper, and tie with butcher’s twine. Light your kettle-style BBQ grill, and when the coals are ready, wet the newspaper really well, and put the whole thing on the grill. Leave the grill covered, and cook for 25 minutes. Flip the wrapped salmon over, and cook for another 25 minutes.

    Using a baking pan, pull the bundle off the grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Then cut the newspaper open, push the lemons and herbs to the side, and liberate the two fillets. The skin should peel right off with a simple spatula.

    This is a very forgiving recipe. The salmon might look a bit underdone or overdone, but it is so moist that neither is a problem.

    • Rayne says:

      Sounds delicious and so simple, Peterr…except for the part about the newspaper. I’d have to hunt down a newspaper since all my newspaper subscriptions are digital. LOL I wonder if I could do it with kraft paper since I usually have a bunch on hand. I imagine this same recipe would work just as well with a nice sized lake trout or a big walleye, though I might substitute tarragon for the fennel with the lighter fleshed fish.

        • Rayne says:

          50 pounds!!?! Yikes!!! I’ll need to find a couple classrooms to which I can donate the excess first. LOL

        • Rayne says:

          That’s one helluva lot of fish to grill! My uncle fishes every day all summer long and I don’t think his catch would make a dent!

          I should confess here that most of the time when I cook fish I grill it in parchment on my George Foreman. I slap the fish between a folded sheet of parchment paper, dress the fillets with lemon peel, a dried herb blend of dill/thyme/chives/green peppercorns, drizzle with olive oil. Takes 4 minutes to heat the grill, 6 minutes until the fish is done. Put a small pat of butter on top of the fish as it comes off the George and serve. Easy-peasy.

        • P J Evans says:

          I got a bale when I was moving, to pack stuff. Didn’t need that much, but it was easier. Also got the boxes from that place. (They delivered.)

        • P J Evans says:

          (When we were kids my father would get a roll-end from the local newspaper, so we had lots of paper to draw on.)

        • Rayne says:

          Serendipity!!! I ordered some Fox Point Seasoning from Penzeys Spices four days ago as they had a nice sale, intending to use it on fish.

          Lo and behold, the entire order was wrapped and cushioned inside with newsprint! Enough for at least three salmon dinners! Now I don’t have to order a 25-lb bale of newsprint — I’m just going to recycle this packing material and use it with the Fox Point this coming Friday. Yum!

    • John Paul Jones says:

      Myself and Mrs Jones do other fish that way too, but use parchment, and an ordinary frying pan. Actually keeps the odour down a bit, and tastes wonderful when its unwrapped and plated.

    • Datnotdat says:

      There is an important proviso needed here. That’s exposure to lead and other toxins. Printer’s ink has been free of lead for several decades, but colored ink, including the ink used in colored comic sections, have lead in them. “Post consumer”, (recycled) paper, if made out of paper with colored ink on it, will have lead present. (Other heavy metals, and other compounds, are also present in newspaper ink, and newspapers, and also worth avoiding.)

      Food grade paper is made out of virgin pulp, with no recycled fiber.


  19. Tom Marney says:

    Three chicken tenderloins ($3.94/lb. at Lidl) sauteed in olive oil and slathered with chipotle slurry, top and bottom. Two cans of no-salt-added French-cut green beans plus half a can of Hunt’s fire-roasted tomatoes, doused with Worcestershire sauce and also sauteed in olive oil along with the residue from the chicken. Bizarrely, I’ve eaten this nearly every day for nearly a year, and finally hit my cholesterol goal (I had a heart attack in 2020). I’ll burn out on it at some point, but it’s working for now.

    • Peterr says:


      When you find a delicious recipe that works with dietary restrictions (i.e., post-heart attack choices), do not apologize for sticking with it. If anything, use it to play with variations on the theme — turkey in place of chicken, for example — but if it works, embrace it!

  20. Estragon says:

    6-8 Thai chilies. Chop those up, put them into a fresh bottle of fish sauce.

    Later, use equal parts this fish sauce and lime juice combined with approximately 3 cloves garlic or the equal amount of shallot, the same amount of minced ginger, and about 3/4 bunch of cilantro. You can add chilies or red pepper flakes here instead but the above infusion is better. Let it sit for an hour if you have time.

    Bmaz put this on your steak

    • punaise says:

      Got a salsa verde / chimichurri recipe that I may need to transcribe…

      I was intrigued by this red chimichurri recipe but have yet to try it. When I shared it with an Argentinian client, a hard-core griller he replied:

      “Generally there is chimichurri and there’s salsa criolla, which has tomato, but some people also put a little tomato in their chimi. Though down here nobody is very picky on names or ingredients, anything that tastes good works!”

      • Rayne says:

        Oh that recipe is funny! They go on about the “umami bomb” from that 90s era “dirty little secret” but completely ignore the real umami bomb: fish sauce.

        Thanks for sharing that, I may have to try that recipe though I think I might tweak it with the addition of one more layer of umami with a teaspoon of either red miso or gochujang, the latter adding yet more heat.

  21. Jim Luther says:

    Rice pilaf cooked in dashi broth with roasted broccoli and toasted almonds along with any fish with a crazy sauce made with toasted walnuts, miso, tahini, anchovy paste, ancho pepper, and lemon – it’s an umami bomb.

  22. Molly Pitcher says:

    Last night we had mussels cooked in white wine and leeks, garlic, red pepper flakes and to finish a bit of cream. Garlic bread and broccoli on the side.

    Tonight we are having Chicken Marsala, the chicken is not fried for this, with lots of mushrooms and a spinach salad. It is tough cutting back on meat here because Pitcher Jr. is a gym rat, lifting a lot of weight. Mr Pitcher and my cholesterol are very low, so that is not a worry, but I prefer not to deal with a ‘hangry’ Jr, hahaha.

    Just found some guanciale and am looking forward to making a Carbonara with Artichokes next week. That one came from today’s NYT. That is about as meatless as we can go.

    Now I have to go watch the Warriors, GP2 is back !!

    • Peterr says:

      As meatless as you can go? I love my meat, but there are so many more things you can do to embrace the non-carnivore elements of mealtime.

      I have one word for you, Molly, to get your taste buds drooling and your brain cells salivating at the multitude of possibilities . . . Cioppino.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        Oh, Mr Pitcher makes a killer Cioppino, it is in his genes. The issue is non-meat meals don’t sustain the growing boy long enough.

    • Chirrut Imwe says:

      ala Tom Marney above, I could easily have mussels cooked in white wine and garlic every night for nearly a year.

  23. Alan Charbonneau says:

    An easy soup is based on the 15-bean dry soup packages found at the grocery store. Soak them overnight and the next morning put them in a crock pot with a couple of quarts of V-8 juice. I haven’t made this in awhile, but it was lovely, as I recall.

  24. Alan Charbonneau says:

    You didn’t ask “what are you streaming”, but after the bean soup recipe, I feel okay about adding a couple of other things. I’m following the war in Ukraine on 3 YouTube channels: Artur Rehi, aka the Estonian soldier, The Russian Dude, and
    Denys Davydov. Things are looking much better for Ukraine in recent weeks.

    Also unrelated to the cooking topic is Lucian Truscott’s column today. He says after watching the Waco rally, it’s obvious that Trump isn’t really running for president; he knows he can’t win with his true-believers only, so lauding the Jan 6th insurrectionists while video of the attack on the Capitol played on the screen behind him showed his true intention, i.e. another insurrection. The Waco rally was designed to incite violence. I think he’s right.

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        I originally posted “what are you steaming” and caught it in the edit. I’ll blame it on autocorrect. 😁

    • NickBarnes says:

      Truscott seems OK but is terribly uninformed (and therefore misleading) about the Mar-a-Lago documents case. For instance, he claims in his Substack post on Saturday that the sub-poena and search warrant were in 2021, and that Corcoran’s attorney-client privilege dispute before Beryl Howell went on for an entire year.

  25. Former Philadelphian says:

    Lunch this week will be escarole, potato, and bean soup. Very simple to make and very satisfying. I’ve been making this for years. The inspiration was a soup I had once at an Italian restaurant in South Philadelphia way back in the day.
    * 1 large or 2 small heads of escarole, rinsed and chopped
    * 2 cans of beans (I usually do one can white and one red kidney beans), drained and rinsed
    * 1-2 large russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ to 1″ cubes
    * 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
    * 1 TBSP of chicken base or to taste (can omit if you want to go veggie/vegan)
    * 1.5 – 2 qts. water (depends on whether you want the final produce more stew like or soupier)
    * red pepper flakes, salt and pepper
    * olive oil in an amount according to your preference
    * grated pecorino cheese

    Heat your olive oil in a pot over low-low medium heat. Add garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until you can smell the garlic. Next, add potatoes and stir for a few minutes. Then add escarole and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Finally, add water, beans, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer and then let cook about 20 minutes, until potatoes are soft. Serve with grated cheese.
    *Optional – if you have some day-old Italian or French bread lying around, break it up into large pieces and then pour the soup on top. Always a great addition.

  26. Ed Walker says:

    I like barley, and it works really well with lamb. I suggest buying a couple of shoulder chops, brown them in oil in a soup making dish, removing them, cut them into small pieces. Then brown the bones again, then browning some diced carrots and a bit of onion or garlic, pull the vegetables. Then boil the bones for an hour or so in vegetable or beef boullion, skim the oil, add the meat and simmer about half an hour. Add meat and simmer half an hour. Add a chopped bunch of kale, the cut meat, and a cup of barley or so. Cook until barley is done. Correct the seasoning. Boulion is salty so I don’t add salt. I do add a lot of pepper. during cooking.

    The thing I love about this dish is that the exact proportions don’t matter. I use three or for shoulder chops for a cup and a bit of barley. What matters is taste, so you vary the proportions to suit yourself.

    • Rayne says:

      Delicious. The Instant Pot can shortcut the time on boiling bones and meat. I’ll have to dig around in the freezer to see if I have some lamb on hand. I know I’ve got kale in the freezer already. Looks like tomorrow’s dinner might not be meatless. :-)

      • bmaz says:

        “The Instant Pot can shortcut the time on boiling bones and meat”. Need proof of life for Mr. Rayne.

        • Rayne says:

          He’d better be alive because I need him to finish the work he started this morning on my car’s suspension. LOL

          Worry if I suddenly take up pig farming (pigs eat everything, don’t you know).

  27. SelaSela says:

    Finally, a topic I can respond to, without worrying about getting into trouble with bmaz.

    Usually I don’t follow a specific recipe when I cook. I like improvising based on the ingredients I have in the fridge. Today, I had some beautiful giant shrimp I had to use before they go bad. I cleaned and butterflied them, added olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, pepper and smoked paprika, and seared on iron-cast pan. I also had some broccolini and oyster mushrooms that I fried with butter, some more garlic, salt and chili flakes, , and added oyster sauce at the end.

    For breakfast, I made my usual green pancakes (a.k.a “healthy pancakes”), which is one way I’ve found to sneak healthy ingredients into the kids meal. It does have some flour and baking powder, but also blended green leaves, banana, almond meal, whey protein, and nut butter or tehini in them. So, lots of good stuff (and also chocolate chips, for moral support).

  28. pH unbalanced says:

    Today I cooked a chicken/spinach curry. I cook mine in a wok, but a big cast iron skillet works too.

    Add an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic to hot oil, but then lower the heat and add your preferred curry spices. (Some mixture of turmeric, cumin, paprikas, cinnamon, chili powder and cayenne is what I use.)

    After about 10 minutes I’ll open a can of diced tomatoes and pour in *just the juice*. Add some worcestshire (or fish sauce) and soy sauce, stir, and let it cook for another 5 minutes.

    Then put in the actual diced tomatoes and 4-5 chicken thighs. Cover and let it cook for about an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

    By then you should be able to break the chicken up enough to remove the bones and skin. Add a can of plain tomato sauce, previous spices to taste, and a generous helping of garam masala. Stir, then cover with the chopped leaves from a bunch of spinach. (And seperately, put on a pot of rice.) Let it all simmer until the rice is done (about an hour would be right), stirring the spinach in about halfway through.

    Serve it over rice, and/or with tortillas (naan if you can get it, but tortillas work great).

    You can easily sub tofu in for chicken — cut the cooking time by about a half hour if you do.

    Yeah, my recipes are weird — I don’t think I’ve measured an ingredient in 20 years. This one is my best approximation of a version from a restaurant in Seattle. I feel like I’ve gotten pretty close.

    • Rayne says:

      Sounds tasty though I’m not a fan of curry. One thing you might change to increase the depth of flavor is modify the order of cooking. Add the chicken to the pan after you’ve heated the oil and warmed the spices, before adding the tomato juice. Brown the chicken — you’ll need to make sure the pan isn’t too crowded or the chicken will braise instead — so that the outside caramelizes a bit. Remove the chicken and set to the side. Then follow the rest of your recipe as usual.

      This is a lot like a cacciatore. I might try this with a Mexican spin by sticking with just cumin, chili/paprikas, and a bit of tumeric. Thanks for sharing!

  29. cschoppa says:

    Tonight was oven roasted chicken with mash potatoes and peas. Nothing special but the 6 yr old gobbles it down. Spatlock the chicken and use the backbone to start broth for gravy, shove salt and other seasonings under the skin… then, after diner make broth from the bones, with carrots, celery, and seasonings. We use it for stews later in the week

  30. Shripathi Kamath says:

    Open face veggie sandwich.

    Finely grated carrots, 2 parts

    Finely chopped shallots and capsicum, 1 part each

    finely shredded cabbage or brussel sprouts. 1 part

    Olive oil, 1 teaspoon per cup of vegetables.

    Salt to taste

    Paprika, to taste, 1 teaspoon per cup

    Mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon

    Turmeric powder. 1 teaspoon

    Heat half the oil, fry the mustard seeds till they pop, add the shallots, salt, and turmeric powder till shallots are brown. Add rest of ingredients and saute until the mixture loses most of its water.

    Mix well.

    Toast (light) slices of bread and spread mixture evenly, to the edges.

    Enjoy with a dry white wine.

  31. UKStephen says:

    I’ve been experimenting with cooking eggs various ways. Poached, fried egg sunny side up and over easy, omelette and creamy scramble.

    I was inspired by this food truck guy I frequent who consistently makes the most perfect jellied yolks for his over easy breakfast sandwich eggs. He flips them and then cuts the yolks with his spatula.

    I’ve tried copying his technique and mine are all over the place between hard and runny. Don’t know how the guy does it.

    • Rayne says:

      Food truck guy has a successful technique because he’s cooked thousands of eggs. Don’t be hard on yourself until you’ve cooked nearly a thousand and haven’t yet mastered it. :-)

  32. NickBarnes says:

    [If spaces are now outlawed, I’ll simply drop the one I used to have in my username].
    Going vegan is easier than a lot of omnivores suspect, especially if you cook. I expected to miss all sorts of things, but after a few weeks, meat became faintly repulsive, literally, and certainly not something I felt any sort of yearning for. These days, the meat aisle in the supermarket is about as interesting as the nappies. Dairy is a bit more complex, but only because the supermarkets around here don’t stock the good vegan cheeses.

    As for what I am cooking? For a couple of years I worked my way through Meera Sodha’s recipe book “East”, and other recipes of hers which are easy to find online. That got me into various ingredients I hadn’t used before, such as gochujang and tobu djian pastes. After cooking each dish two or three times, I start experimenting with quantities or ingredients (my partner would claim that I do this from the very first time, but that’s because I know how much oil or tomato puree a tablespoon is, or how much salt or ground cumin is a teaspoon, and dispense straight from the container into the pan or my hand). After a few more goes, I stop following the recipes altogether and just mix-and-match. Last night I did a salt-and-pepper tofu and veg, with rice and “seaweed” (spring greens). It was, of course, great.

    [Thanks for updating your username. /~Rayne]

  33. FourEmilias says:

    At the moment I’m on a “caprese” kick – tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, olive oil, and bread from a good bakery. Simple and delicious, especially while too busy plotting new plantings for the year to spend much time cooking.

    A remnant from my veggie days is nutritional yeast; it’s a complete protein and elevates popcorn and the pets like it on their kibble. What more could a girl ask for?

    {Moderators – Name changed from 4Emilias to FourEmilias. Thanks for all you all do!}

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

  34. Allagashed says:

    Red Kidney Bean Curry last night. It’s a wonderful vegan curry that I Added chicken to; …just because. It was a fascinating read, this thread. I grew up in a very rural region, the product of hard-scrabble farmers. We still farm. We still raise all the critters, and then stuff them into freezers. I can’t remember when the children haven’t been used as labor; throwing hay bales, driving tractors, putting their little hands too close to spinning PTO shafts. I understand the need to reduce ones carbon footprint, and I’ve done my part by parking the 1968 Chevy C-60 hay truck. We spend the winters in the kitchen. I find I’m like Julia Child; I can’t cook without a glass of wine in my hand. There the similarities end. Great thread, thank you for writing it.

  35. Ewan Woodsend says:

    Cut potatoes into fries-ish shape, leeks (lengthwise) into halves, yams into slices like half oreos, carrots and put them on a tray.
    Chopped chicken breasts into medium-sized pieces that would still need to be cut into smaller pieces to eat, versed the chicken in a bowl with enough mayonnaise and mustard so that the pieces were completely covered with the mixture, let it rest for a bit, and placed it on tray next to vegetables.
    Baked the whole thing in the oven for a while, then served it to my children. It worked.

  36. Tetman Callis says:

    My wife handles cooking and pantry maintenance operations in our home. This was not an arrangement I anticipated, nor necessarily even desired, when we first shacked up. It is a traditional approach that it took me some time to adjust to, having been unmarried for many years and accustomed to mastering all of my domestic domain. Nowadays, I could barely find my way around the kitchen.

    Eight years ago, we decided to give up meat for Lent. After that Lent, I returned to eating meat, but she never did. She asked me if that was all right, and if it was all right if she never prepared meat-centric dinners again, outside of fish. I said, sure, we’re growing older, we don’t need a lot of meat, and there are other ways to get enough meat-based protein; for instance, there are restaurants.

    Having learned, since then, about the Hell that is the American meat industry, I have, over time, weaned myself away from meat (other than fish and eggs), and joined my wife as a de facto vegetarian. She cooks meals that are based on certain main ingredients — beans (including garbanzos), green salads, broccoli, celery, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, rice, whole grain breads and pastas, cheeses — and sauces that are generally tomato sauces or curries. We have fresh fruits, nuts, and beer and wine, and we take dietary supplements to make sure we get enough vitamins B12, C, and D. I eat tinned mackerel every few days to make sure I’m getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids, and she makes tuna salad, too. We also enjoy fresh pastries and cakes, in moderation, from a local bakery. I may have overlooked one or two things in the above summary, but you get the idea — it’s a well-considered, well-rounded vegetarian diet.

    I note how good I felt as I slowly transitioned away from meat. After a meal, I no longer felt heavy and stunned. My heart didn’t feel like it was having to work so hard. On a social, ethical scale, I have come to believe that my wife and I are not imposing an unjustifiable burden on our planet through our diet, and have reduced the burden we place on our society through taking better care of our health through simply paying attention to what and how we eat. And she’s a very good cook. I stay out of the kitchen and out of her way, and make no demands; conversely, she stays out of my office and doesn’t presume to tell me how to do my job. It took us a while to reach this point, and we’re not rich in dollar terms, but our needs are met in rational and healthful fashion.

    • Epicurus says:

      TC, we are partners in taste! I love mackerel and have it for lunch three or four times a week. I add a little green Tabasco sauce. My mother’s maternal grandfather and step-grandfather were fishermen out of Gloucester, MA and died at sea off of Nova Scotia. I’ll think of you the next time I have mackerel and your lifestyle change.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        Totally agree with mackerel as being a wonder fish – at least for us pescavores, perhaps not so great for the mackerel. It has a taste that I tell people is somewhere between canned tuna and sardines. More fishy than tuna but not overwhelming. In my landlocked little state I don’t think I’ve seen “fresh” mackerel.

        And, of course, the best fish is that which is caught in the bay in front of the restaurant where you’re sitting – Menorca or otherwise.

        [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum — again. I assume this is the one you’re sticking with. /~Rayne]

  37. netjunki says:

    We’ve been on a pasta kick at my house when it comes to cooking. We had a bunch of left over pasta which we stocked up on during the pandemic so we’ve been trying to work through the last of it. Been experimenting with a new cooking method we saw catching up on old episodes of Good Eats where instead of boiling the water then adding the pasta you just toss it all together while the water is still cold and then heat it until it is done (cold water method pasta on Alton Brown’s site if you’re curious). Found it works pretty well for non-stick pastas (e.g. penne, farfalle, ziti), but still having some issues with getting it to work right for stick pasta (e.g. spaghetti, linguini, angel hair) because it likes to stick to our pot. Generally been serving that with some sort of red sauce and either meat balls (seared, but rare made with ground beef broken down with a knife from a chuck steak) or just meat integrated in the last minute while heating the sauce so the meat doesn’t cook too much. Might try making some from scratch clam sauce if we can get some clams that we wanted to try online (but they sold out before we ordered them).

    Our other frequent dish of late (since it’s super quick to make) is a chicken bone broth and tofu soup. Just toss a container of bone broth in a pot. Add a block of tofu (some variety of silken is our preferred texture). A small pile of salt. Sliced shitake (or other mushrooms) if we have them. And then bring that all to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Add some sort of noodle (Ichiban ramen block, frozen udon, or nin go (rice cake ovalettes if you’re looking for these at your local asian market)) and cook those until their correct texture.

    • Rayne says:

      I make soup with tofu in it frequently, saving the broth from whatever meat I’ve cooked in the Instant Pot so it may be pork or beef when not chicken. Most of the time it already has enough garlic in it; I’ll add some fresh ginger. I keep katsuobushi on hand, adding a smidge to my broth along with some miso (btw katsuobushi is an excellent lure to encourage a picky dog/cat to eat their kibble, just sprinkle a few flakes on top). Then toss in some wakame and/or dulse. Pour the hot broth over cooked rice or egg noodles and tofu chunks, garnish with leftover cold meat, maybe a soft-boiled egg, scallions, spinach or bok choy.

  38. Attygmgm says:

    Lately my wife has requested many times this meatless pasta dish from the NY Times. The chili crisp combined with the heavy cream makes for a great, lasting finish to the pasta. I have added more spinach lately, and sooner (to get a good wilt), but this is the recipe as it appeared in the Times:

    4 tablespoons butter
    1 to 2 tablespoons chile crisp, plus more to taste
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 pound dried fettuccine
    1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach (I use 8 oz, added to the cream as water heats for pasta)
    ¾ cup finely grated Parmesan (2¼ ounces), plus more for serving
    Salt to tatse

    Step 1
    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

    Step 2
    While the water heats, melt the 4 T butter with the 1 or 2 T chile crisp in a very large skillet or Dutch oven (I use our wok) over low heat. Whisk in the cream and keep warm over low. (It should steam, not bubble.)

    Step 3
    Cook the fettuccine until al dente according to the package directions. Use tongs to transfer the noodles to the cream mixture, reserving the pasta water. Add the spinach and turn with tongs until the noodles are well coated.

    Step 4
    Add the Parmesan and toss, still over low heat, until the noodles are slicked with a creamy sauce, adding a spoonful or two of pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce. Divide among serving dishes and top with Parmesan and more chile crisp, if you’d like. Serve immediately.

  39. MT Reedør says:

    Leftover juice from pickled herring jar for dressing.

    Shredded Salad:
    Green Onion

  40. -mamake- says:

    Not sure how to handle links, so will give it a shot. Added a space after // – please correct as needed:
    [Doesn’t look the same now that it’s posted…?]

    Years ago when my mother passed a friend brought a huge batch of potato-leek soup saying, ‘root vegetables are grounding.’ She was right in that I needed that grounding. After my mothers decline and passing I had more than one foot on the other side – wasn’t ready to let her go on alone. Fortunately I had beloveds on this side too, but I was in the “doorway” for a time.

    When a loved one died earlier this month I was drawn to this soup. I modified a bit – used some bacon drippings to the initial garlic and leek saute. I usually go heavy on garlic so probably tripled what recipe called for. Another modification was adding bacon crumble (5 slices of Keller crafted maple bacon) after the blending. It was just right for the moment.

  41. elcajon64 says:

    I grilled my first tomahawk rib eye last weekend for my youngest’s 20th birthday. It was a 2″ thick beauty that weighed in at just over three pounds. Was easy enough to sear and then rotate on each side followed by some slow cooking on indirect heat until rare.

    I grill year-round here in Northern CA (a few miles west of UC Davis). I’m out there making dinner 3-4 nights a week during the winter and almost every evening the rest of the year. I love being outside and it keeps the kitchen cleaner. Mostly beef and chicken, with some lamb here and there. On summer weekends, I’ll make some shrimp skewers.

  42. JohnK-NOLA says:

    Fresh caught bass pan fried in butter with lemon pepper and a piece of toast for breakfast.

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. Please don’t bother with filling in the URL field going forward, thanks. /~Rayne]

  43. Former AFPD says:

    I’ve been vegetarian or vegetarian leaning since 1972. Living in San Francisco, where organic vegetables are so readily available, we are lucky. I make a vegetarian minestrone every couple of weeks. It lasts for a few days. It is a frugal meal but I feel lucky to have such wonderful ingredients with which to make it. Here’s how to do it.

    In a separate pot, make 2 cups of dried cranberry beans or pinto beans. Use enough water so there is stock left over for the soup.

    In a very large soup pot, saute in olive oil until the onion is translucent:
    3 stalks sliced celery
    1 large yellow onion, diced
    4 cloves minced garlic
    1/2 pound shitake mushrooms
    1 t. basil
    1 t. oregano
    1/2 t. rosemary
    1 t. salt
    1 t. pepper

    When onions are translucent, add 16 oz. organic tomatoes, in jar or fresh. Saute a couple of minutes. Add beans and bean broth. Add 4 – 6 cups of vegetable broth. Simmer for 20 minutes.

    After simmering, add:
    2 large, sliced carrots
    2 large, sliced zucchini
    1 large head broccoli
    1 bag frozen peas or 1/2 pound green beans, sliced in half
    [in summer, I substitute 3 shaved ears of corn for peas or green beans]

    Let soup simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the carrots are cooked, but not overcooked. I often simmer a bit, turn off soup and let it sit for 10 minutes or so.

    Serve with parmesan cheese and organic ww bread. I use fresh herbs when I can and fiddle with the ingredients at times. This soup got me through law school, crazy work hours and trials, etc. It is adapted from Laurel’s Kitchen.

  44. Max404Droid says:

    I learned that the key to Hungarian Goulasch is equal parts meat and onions. Today I ran 1.3 kilos of onions through a chopping blade on the robot, and then the fun begins. In a very heavy cast iron casserole which normally is upside down for baking sourdough I cooked and cooked the onions till they began to caramelize, reduced to 1/10 their former mass, giving off a sweet odor, brown. They will become the most delicious sauce thickening agent you can imagine. Then three heaping tablespoons of sharp paprika, before the meat goes in. The beef chunks, also 1300 grams browned in the onions, you add about half a litre of beef stock and cook it down so the meat braises again as the liquid disappears. Add yet another half liter of stock and repeat, the meat braises a third time. Add another half liter of stock and by this point the onions have made the stock rich and creamy. Add mushrooms and bell peppers chopped pretty small and simmer a half hour and I served it over fresh mashed with potatoes from a nearby farm creamed with real pork schmalz. Good thing it was snowing, FFS, today. Enough made for 3 more meals into the freezer for those remaining frigid days before the short summer begins. Brrrr.

  45. SVFranklinS says:

    Always using >8 characters here … don’t see what the big argument is.

    I like this Lasagna recipe, nominally using turkey sausage, but I swap out and use bulk Italian sausage, or, when going meatless, Beyond Meat Italian sausage. I also am generous in the quantity of goat cheese used.
    It’s a favorite with my wife, and the leftovers taste even better over the next days.


  46. solong tinman says:

    This is a favorite recipe I just “cooked” the other day as I practiced a few songs. (Tried attaching an mp.3 but it didn’t work.) Wrote it while in San Diego, living in a community along the bay.

    Salsa Magic

    We been slicing . . . dicing up these greens.
    Garlic, onion and tomato. Serrano in between.
    Makin’ some . . . salsa magic. If you know what I mean?

    Used to wake up frozen. Cheek down against the floor.
    Frost along the dashboard. Blowin’ in around the door.
    We hit salsa magic. We lit this mighty roar.

    Every morning now we’re feedin’, hungry kids down in the park.
    Tossin’ bones on the roof top. Ravens find them in the dark.
    Hey you. . . Old Man Noah! Get down from that ark.

    Get down and be a witness. People dying on the bus.
    That young boy in Alaska, starved to death without a fuss.
    Had no salsa magic… But he was one of us.

    Gonna turn the lights down, now. Slip behind these trees.
    Follow Newman down to Tucson. Banjo on his knee.
    Time to turn the lights down. If you know what I mean?

    But we’ll keep cookin’ . . . Slicing dicing’ up those greens.
    Onion, garlic and tomato. Serrano in between
    Got some . . . salsa magic. If you know what I mean?
    Get some . . . salsa magic. If you know what I mean?

  47. StillHopeful says:

    Way OT….

    Around 50 years ago in San Diego…

    “A silicon chip inside her head
    Gets switched to overload
    And nobody’s gonna go to school today
    She’s gonna make them stay at home
    And daddy doesn’t understand it
    He always said she was as good as gold
    And he can see no reasons
    ‘Cause there are no reasons
    What reason do you need to be shown
    Tell me why
    I don’t like Mondays……

    And the lesson today is how to die”

    Bob Geldorf and the Boomtown Rats, so long ago……

  48. b ruff says:

    Fresh Columbia River spring chinook, the best tasting salmon in the world.
    Traditionally, the spring chinook spawned in the upper reaches of the Columbia, so it has built up a large fat store for the long journey.
    It is exquisite.
    I kept enough fresh from a 21# fish to eat in two weeks, my limit for refrigerated fish. The rest went into the freezer.
    I cook a lot of salmon and have tried a lot of methods. My go to is the broiler.
    Set out your fillets and let them warm a bit on the counter; I add a little evoo, salt, and pepper. You can add more spices, and/or lemon, if you prefer, but the better the salmon, the less you need to doctor it.
    Place under the broiler for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness.
    Let it rest for two to three minutes and then enjoy. Do not overcook it!
    Better to under cook than over.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Please also enter that new username the same way each time. You have appeared now as “b ruff” and “B Ruff” over your dozen comment here since last June. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • bmaz says:

      Sounds delicious.

      Please do, however, read the first comment on this thread by Rayne. You need to change/adapt your name to fit our 8 character requirement. Rayne’s comment explains it all. Thank you.

  49. gruntfuttock says:

    Name changed to fit the new standard. Thanks to the informative posts here, I hope that I am a bit less puzzled than I used to be. And, yes, I am a fan of classic British radio comedy.

    I’m not a particularly keen chef but I am rather fond of a vegetarian cottage pie and it’s not too difficult to make. I don’t bother with exact quantities (or ingredients for that matter), it’s what my Dad used to call ‘bucket chemistry’.

    Soften some chopped onion in a pan, add vegetarian mince, a tin of tomatoes, some peas, maybe some chopped carrots (any vegetables you like, really), herbs and seasonings according to taste. Simmer all that for 15 or 20 minutes while preparing some mashed potatoes and getting the oven hot. Pour the filling into a casserole dish, top with the mashed potatoes, and bake in the oven until the top is crispy.

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. Community members may recognize this commenter as “puzzled scottish person.” /~Rayne]

  50. vigetnovus says:

    This is me, the same ole viget since 2008 (I think?). Well, since the great orange god site’s heydays at least.

    There was a bit of a hiatus during the Obama years, but I’ve been back since 2015 at least.

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

  51. klynn says:

    Well, I’m late to the food party! Nonetheless, I’ll drop a birthday greeting for EW here!

    Happy, happy birthday Marcy! Hope your celebrations are full of good food, good friends and judicial birthday gifts!

  52. Loulu_fan says:

    Linguini with leeks, walnuts, and pesto was my dinner on this night after yet another winter storm doused San Francisco.
    First, I sauteed thinly sliced leeks in the Instant Pot with butter and olive oil. Then I tossed in chopped raw walnuts once the leeks were well along and soft. After a couple of minutes I stopped the heat and put aside the cooked mix in a bowl, remembering only then to sprinkle a bit of salt.
    Linguini, broken in half to fit, went into the pot with 2 cups / 473 ml water and a tablespoon of olive oil. Could have gone with a scant two cups, maybe 465 ml of water. Submerged the pasta, then set the Instant Pot to 4 minutes high pressure. Released pressure by hand after the 4 minutes elapsed, tossed with tongs to separate the strands, and dropped in the leeks and walnuts. Added store-bought refrigerated pesto, 3/4 cups / 177 ml worth, and mixed around. The pasta still had a bit of water which melded with the veg and pesto. I added a teaspoon per serving of a lemon/olive oil/parsley mix that had been in a jar in the refrigerator. The pasta turned out just a hair beyond al dente. If I’d had parmesan I’d have dumped a tablespoon or two on top of each serving.

  53. theartistvvv says:

    I cook, I swear I do, and most nights. Osso Buco is coming up later this week, leftover home made (Ooni-less) pizza* tonight …

    But last night, a can of Mexican black bean soup mixed with a half onion chopped and 8-10 slices pickled jalapeño (not my homemade cold-pickled, just some commercial jarred) chopped, a side of a half pack of soda crackers, and Roberto’s my cheap and easy uncle. For the full experience, a cuppla glasses of white plonk from a box.

    *Tip: cook on stone or cast iron, with another stone or cast iron on rack immediately above – for Neapolitan start on an iron pan or pizza iron on stovetop, finish under broiler.

    • bmaz says:

      Who is this Osso Buco guy? Is that a character from the Sopranos? Anything cooked in an Ooni is pretty good.

  54. theartistvvv says:

    I am so tempted by a Ooni but Chicago weather. That said, I have a brand new electric snow blower I never even unboxed this winter, and I only shoveled mebbe 5 times.

    Yeah, Osso Buco could be my stripper name but is so delicious; traditionally veal shank, I have also done it with beef and lamb, the latter of which (because I have some Greek heritage?) may be my fave. I like it with a good mushroom rissoto, and a cheap Retsina.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh no, if you have any kind of back patio cover, the Ooni will work. Like a grill, just cover it, we even do here when not in use. It is an insanely good thing, and not just for pizza.

    • Rayne says:

      If you have an outdoor gas grill start using that instead of investing in an Ooni. I use mine to cook pizzas during the summer when it’s too goddamned hot to turn on the oven. I have a pizza stone and a few unglazed quarry tiles which cover much of the grilling surface. By the time the temperature is 400F on the grill’s thermometer, the stones are hot enough. I usually roll out the pizza dough on parchment; the grill is plenty hot if the paper starts to scorch during the end of cooking.

      I have a side burner on my grill; this year I’m going to try cooking pizza over it by placing a round stone on top of the burner and a stainless cloche-type lid over that to keep the heat in.

      • bmaz says:

        Yeah, we used to do that. Not even close to the Ooni experience. The difference between cooking at 400º and 750º is a mile wide. Granted, it is a bit of a cult thing, but once into it, Ooni is superb and pretty darn fun.

  55. TheresaN says:

    Hi, I haven’t commented in a while, but I got hung up on this recipe thread. 😊

    I want to make sure I am in compliance with the new username rules, so I’m running this by the powers that be.
    PS love all the recipes & comments!

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

  56. harpie says:

    Thanks for providing space for this wonderful deep breath, Rayne! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading about your cooking adventures, and all of the yummy ideas here. I agree about the NYT cooking section…still seems worth keeping the subscription for that.

    We’ve never been heavy on meat, [but do eat quite a bit of chicken and seafood], and since spouse had a heart attack almost two years ago, we’ve cut down even further. He has completely cut out cheese [which we never ate much of anyway] and other dairy, but I have not [butter is too good!], so now our traditional pizza night [no Ooni] is different, but OK. We have always eaten tofu about once a week, so that fits in even more now.

    At this time of year, I love to make a soup based on this one from Joy of Cooking, which I adapt with spring vegetable instead of the summer ones. It’s really good as is, as well!

    Provincial Vegetable Soup [Joy of Cooking]
    About 10 cups

    2 Tbsp olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 small leak [white and tender green parts], chopped
    1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
    1 large stalk celery, chopped

    2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
    1 small potato, peeled, chopped
    8 cups water
    2 tsp salt
    Pinch saffron threads [optional]

    1 15 oz can cannellini [or other white] beans, rinsed and drained, OR 1-2 cups cooked
    1 small handful of thin spaghetti broken into small pieces
    1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
    4 oz green beans cut into 1 inch pieces

    D Pistou
    2 cups basil leaves
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    1/4 cup olive oil

    2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 tsp ground black pepper

    1. Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium low heat. Add ingredients in group A and cook until tender, but not browned, 5 to 10 minutes.
    2. Stir in ingredients from group B and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potato is tender, about 30 minutes.
    3. Stir in ingredients from group C, and simmer just until the pasts is tender
    4. While the soup cooks, make Pistou: puree ingredients from group D in blender until smooth.
    5. Remove soup from heat and immediately stir in Pistou and ingredients from group E.
    6. Serve immediately, or at room temperature or cold.

    In spring, I don’t use the tomatoes or pistou, and have added fennel with the [increased] carrots and leeks, and used asparagus instead of the zucchini. I like to add a leafy green like chard or spinach. For me, the pinch of saffron is not optional.

    Bon Appetit!

  57. blueedredcounty says:

    I know someone else posted a minestrone recipe already, but if anyone wants a video, I started making mine after watching this clip of Martha Stewart:

    Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives did a stop at Anderson’s Inn in Buellton, CA – their famous pea soup is vegetarian. It’s amazingly easy:
    1 cup carrots
    1 cup celery
    1 large onion (I prefer yellow or sweet)
    6 cloves or so of garlic, minced
    Dried thyme, rosemary, sage, and black pepper, to taste
    Salt to taste
    1 package of split peas

    I chop the veggies up fairly fine, and saute in good olive oil. Celery first, then onion, then carrots, and finally the garlic.
    Once all soft and translucent, I add the dried herbs/spices and cook for several minutes.
    Then I add the amount of water recommended on the split pea package, bring it all to a simmer, and add the peas.
    I cook for the recommended time (usually 45 minutes to an hour), then puree it all with an immersion blender.

    It ends up as multiple meals, so I usually end up freezing half of it for another time.

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