The Kitchen II

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The Kitchen II

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maig 16, 2015, 7:51pm

From Jim's opening post of the first version of the Kitchen:

Welcome to the 75 Books Challenge for 2015 Kitchen, Version II! It is new and empty now. I hope you all will gather here and fill it with food, conversation, recipes, cookbook suggestions, and fun.

Editat: maig 16, 2015, 8:00pm

I spent the week of Mother's Day with my parents, and for lunch last Saturday I tried a new recipe, Xi Jong Shi Chao ‘Jidan’ (Chinese Tofu Scramble), from the One Green Planet web site:


1 tbsp peanut oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed and drained
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp black salt
4 scallions, finely chopped, whites and greens divided
1 medium or large tomato, cut into chunks
toasted sesame oil, for garnish


Heat the oil in a deep skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until the onion is softened and translucent, about 4 minutes.

Break the tofu into chunks and add to the pan. Mix the tofu into the onions and let the tofu cook until it browns a bit, about 5 minutes.

Add the turmeric and the black salt to the pan. Toss the tofu so the spices cover it completely and turn all pieces of the tofu yellow. Pour 1/3 cup water into the pan and mix the tofu well. This helps the spices to distribute more evenly.

Add the scallion whites and the tomatoes to the mixture. Stir and cook until the tomatoes are heated through, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat off. Add a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and garnish with the scallion greens. Enjoy!

This was my first time making a recipe with tofu in it, and my parents and I were very pleased how well it turned out. I made it again for dinner for myself tonight, and it turned out just as good. It doesn't take long to prepare, and the recipe makes two to four servings.

ETA: I have no idea what black salt is, and I couldn't find it in supermarkets in Philadelphia and Atlanta, so I used table salt instead.

Editat: maig 16, 2015, 8:28pm

I think black salt is a type of sea salt with another mineral mixed in to give it the color.... Off to google!

Wikipedia references two kinds of black salt. The first is a sea salt mixed with activated charcoal to give it the black color. The second is what I bet they mean - Kala Namak is a rock salt mined in northern India that contains iron sulfide and other minerals to give it color, dark to pink depending on where it's mined. Apparently the sulphur makes it "quite pungent". Also it seems most available these days is manufactured rather than mined.

maig 17, 2015, 7:35am

>3 drneutron: Thanks, Jim! I'll have to see if Whole Foods sells it the next time that I go there.

maig 17, 2015, 8:18am

I also tried a recipe recently which was easy peasy and very yummy. I wish I'd taken a pic, but maybe next time.

It is from a pretty cookbook: Nom Nom Paleo. You need to find the Furikake Seasoning in a market which caters to Asian food cooks. It is sometimes called rice seasoning, and you will want one which does not have a lot of salt, sugar, or MSG, in it. Also, I made the effort to make some ghee with partial success. I think using grape seed oil would work well with less effort.

1 T ghee or fat of choice (high heat tolerant, is a good idea)
6-8 asparagus stalks, trimmed
2 large eggs
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
juice from a lemon
1 T furikake seasoning

Arrange an oven rack 4-6 inches from heating element, and preheat the broiler.

In a 8-inch cast iron skillet, heat the ghee over high heat. As soon as it is sizzling, remove the skillet from the heat and toss in the asparagus. Shake gently to coat the spears with the melted fat.

Crack the eggs into the skillet while it is still hot, and season with salt and pepper

Place skillet under broiler for as long as it takes to cook the eggs to desired doneness.

Remove skillet from broiler, season with lemon juice. Place an egg and some asparagus on the plate and sprinkle the furikake on the dish. Yummy.

Or as the authors would say: "nom nom nom...."

maig 17, 2015, 9:51pm

Glad to see new life breathed into the kitchen thread! The next month is going to be crazy for me, but I hope I can keep up!

maig 18, 2015, 1:06am

So a few months ago I purchased a waffle iron, not for waffles, but for everything else that can be cooked in a waffle iron. My LT coworkers decided that I should have a tumblr to document my adventures in waffling, and even thought of the name for it. So is my little spot on the web for photos and brief descriptions of waffling not-waffle-batter.

maig 22, 2015, 8:43am

>7 kgriffith: What an amazing idea...

maig 22, 2015, 9:02am

>7 kgriffith: I've got you bookmarked!

juny 7, 2015, 3:18pm

>7 kgriffith: Oh, yum!

I made a new recipe for lunch, a modified version of African Peanut Stew from the Budget Bytes web site.

Here is Beth's original recipe:


1 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.02
4 cloves garlic $0.32
1 inch fresh ginger $0.15
1 medium (1 lb.) sweet potato $1.32
1 medium onion $0.42
1 tsp cumin $0.10
¼ tsp crushed red pepper $0.02
1 (6oz.) can tomato paste $0.59
½ cup natural style chunky peanut butter $0.93
6 cups vegetable broth $0.81
½ bunch (2-3 cups chopped) collard greens $0.75
¼ bunch cilantro, garnish (optional) $0.21


Peel and grate the ginger using a small holed cheese grater. Mince the garlic. Sauté the ginger and garlic in vegetable oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic becomes soft and fragrant.

Dice the onion, add it to the pot, and continue to sauté.

Dice the sweet potato (1/2 inch cubes), add it to the pot, and continue to sauté a few minutes more, or until the onion is soft and the sweet potato takes on a darker, slightly translucent appearance. Season with cumin and red pepper flakes.

Add the tomato paste and peanut butter, and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Add the vegetable broth and stir to dissolve the thick tomato paste-peanut butter mixture. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to high.

While the soup is coming up to a boil, prepare the collard greens. Rinse the greens well, then use a sharp knife to remove each stem (cut along the side of each stem). Stack the leaves, then cut them into thin strips. Add the collard strips to the soup pot.

Once the soup reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and allow it to simmer without a lid for about 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are very soft. Once soft, smash about half of the sweet potatoes with the back of a wooden spoon to help thicken the soup. Taste the soup and add salt if needed (will depend on the brand of broth used).

Serve the stew hot with a few cilantro leaves if desired.


Mustard greens or lacinato kale can be used in place of the collard greens.

You can eat this stew on its own, or add a scoop of rice (I used brown jasmine rice) for more texture and filling power. I added peanuts as a garnish in the photo so that people would know what they are looking at, but they’re not necessary for the soup. I used chunky peanut butter and that provides all the peanut flavor and texture you’ll need.

I used kale instead of collard greens and twice the amount of red pepper flakes, substituted a large Vidalia onion for a medium yellow onion, and added jasmine rice and cashew halves to the stew when it was finished (as I forgot to buy peanuts when I went to Publix this morning). This was a very tasty and filling one course meal, and I'll add this to my list of favorite recipes.

juny 7, 2015, 3:40pm

On Friday I cooked a "low fat" version of Penne Pasta With Bacon And Cream for lunch, as I wanted to use up the leftover bacon, mushrooms, half & half and Parmesan cheese I had in my refrigerator.

The recipe originally came from Southern Living magazine:


15 bacon slices
1 (8oz) package sliced fresh mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
16 oz penne pasta, cooked
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 tsp pepper


Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove bacon, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet.

Coarsely crumble bacon.

Saute sliced mushrooms and garlic in reserved drippings 3-5 minutes or until tender.

Stir in pasta and next 3 ingredients; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring often, until sauce is thickened.

Stir in bacon and green onions. Serve hot.

My version is a "low fat" one, as I only used six strips of bacon instead of 15(!) and I substituted half & half for heavy whipping cream. It tasted great, but I don't think I'll make this too often.

juny 21, 2015, 11:13am

For anyone who has a friend who only eats gluten-free and only considers a dessert as something that contains chocolate, try this. I impressed one of my friends with it recently.

Sorry! I don't have a picture because we ate it all up, but it looks like a dense chocolate fudgy brownie and is very pretty with sliced, fresh strawberries and a dusting of confectioner's sugar on top. Think of all the protein in it!!

Servings: 9 squares

This is a GLUTEN FREE recipe!

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
4 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
Sliced, fresh strawberries (optional)
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and cocoa an 8-inch square cake pan. Melt chocolate chips. Combine the garbanzo beans and eggs in the bowl of a food processor. Process until very, very smooth. Add the sugar, baking powder, vanilla; pulse to blend. Pour in the melted chocolate and blend until smooth, scraping down the corners to make sure chocolate is completely mixed. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan. Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out completely clean. Cool completely before cutting into 9 pieces. Top with fresh strawberries and dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

Adapted from - recipe by CCUMMINS

juny 21, 2015, 11:15am

>11 kidzdoc: Darryl, I have some cookbooks that are annual collections of Southern Living magazine recipes. The cookbooks are great, but you have to be careful because they are Southern recipes and many are not all that heart healthy! :)

Editat: juny 21, 2015, 7:15pm

Oh my - I put this in the crock pot and it smells so good, I may starve to death before the rice is done cooking!

Arroz Con Pollo (Crockpot)

1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic -- crushed
1 teaspoon oregano
1 packet Goya sazon seasoning mix
3 pounds skinless chicken thighs -- (about 12 thighs)
1 medium onion -- thinly sliced
1 medium green pepper -- diced
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons red wine
1 10 ounce package frozen peas
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Combine pepper, garlic, oregano and sazon seasoning mix in small bowl, then sprinkle over both sides of chicken pieces; set aside.

Place onion and green pepper in bottom of stoneware. Place chicken into slow cooker to sit on top of veggies. Pour broth and wine over chicken, then cover and cook on low 5-6 hours.

Remove chicken and cover to keep warm. Turn crockpot to high heat and add peas.

Cover; cook on high 7-10 minutes. Stir in cooked rice and chicken until combined. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

This recipe serves 6.

I thought I had Goya sazon, but it turned out to be garam masala instead. :-) Ah, well googled it and made a homemade version of it.

ETA: I just tasted it and the broth tasted a touch bland, so I doubled the amount of Goya sazon and added a few flakes of red pepper.

juny 23, 2015, 3:41pm

I'm making arroz con pollo tonight! :) This is the recipe I use - it comes the closest to the arroz con pollo I remember eating in Puerto Rico.

jul. 13, 2015, 5:29am

>15 kgriffith: Thanks for posting a link to that recipe! I may try that this weekend.

Last night for dinner I made Crunchy Chinese Chicken Salad, a new Budget Bytes recipe, and it turned out better than I thought it would.

Here's the recipe:

Crunchy Chinese Chicken Salad


¼ cup Canola or vegetable oil $0.17
3 Tbsp rice vinegar $0.33
1 Tbsp honey $0.15
1 tsp soy sauce $0.10
½ tsp ground ginger (dried) $0.05
⅛ tsp garlic powder $0.02
½ tsp toasted sesame oil $0.29
Freshly cracked pepper $0.05

1 head (2 lbs.) Napa cabbage $2.86
2 carrots $0.24
4 green onions $0.38
¼ cup sliced almonds (or chopped peanuts) $0.66
1 pkg (3oz.) uncooked ramen noodles, seasoning discarded $0.29
½ rotisserie chicken (about 2 cups chopped) $3.50


Prepare the dressing first by combining the oil, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic powder, sesame oil, and pepper in a jar or bowl. Shake the jar or whisk the ingredients in a bowl until combined. The dressing will separate a bit as it sits, but will be stirred again prior to adding to the salad.

Rinse the cabbage well and shake off as much excess moisture as possible. Slice the cabbage into thin strips and add it to a bowl (about 8 cups of shredded cabbage). Peel the carrots and then shred them using a large holed cheese grater. Slice the green onions. Add the carrots, green onions, and almonds to the bowl.

Before opening the package of ramen, crush the noodles using the heel of your hand. Open the package, discard the seasoning envelope, and add the crushed noodles to the bowl.

Pull the meat from half of a rotisserie chicken, then chop it into small pieces (or use two cups of pre-cooked chopped chicken). Add the chicken to the bowl. Give the dressing a brief stir, then pour it over the salad ingredients in the bowl. Stir until everything is evenly coated in dressing, then serve.

The Napa cabbage I found at Publix was deceptively large (I suspect that it weighed closer to 4 lb), so I only used half of it. I used 2 lb of freshly cooked chicken thighs that I had left over in my freezer, along with 1/2 cup of sliced almonds. This recipe makes a perfect summer salad, and I'll prepare it on a regular basis from now on.

Editat: jul. 18, 2015, 12:06pm

I did a class this week on making beautiful Vietnamese Spring Rolls.

These aren't fried, like Chinese Egg Rolls are, but instead are a mix of wonderful fresh ingredients wrapped in rice wrappers. They are semi-translucent and so you can add colorful ingredients just before the outer wrap. We used nasturtiums, but you can also use other edible flowers or herb leaves. So beautiful! The flavors come from a variety of dipping sauces. We made a lime/thai pepper/tamarind dip and also tried bottled hoisin sauce. Our instructor's favorite is peanut sauce, but due to possibility of peanut allergies in the group, we didn't try that one.

Here's a recipe from

The ones we made had rice noodles or mung bean noodles, lettuce, carrot matchsticks, cucumbers, mango - basically a lovely salad.

ETA: And oh, yes, a combination of fresh cilantro and mint, which I had never tried together before but was yummy. When I was googling for a photo, I found others with cooked shrimp in the outer wrap - also very pretty!

jul. 18, 2015, 10:59am

>17 streamsong: Mmmm....I can almost feel those crunching between my teeth!

Editat: jul. 18, 2015, 11:30am

>17 streamsong: Yum! I'd love a couple of those spring rolls now. Thanks for posting the recipe!

jul. 18, 2015, 12:20pm

And they are so easy to make! My brother and his family will be here next week. I think one night I'll do a mild Vietnamese curry (because Mom is not good with hot) and have all the ingredients for everyone to wrap their own spring rolls.

Slightly naughty story for the week. The night before my class, I was watching Master Chef on the tube. One of the contestants had made spring rolls which weren't up to Gordon Ramsey's standards. "These look like stuffed condoms!" he roared. So all the time I was rolling and tucking, I was telling myself, don't make it look like a condom, don't make it look like a condom. My table was all female, so I shared and we all enjoyed the joke immensely. I'm sure the other tables wondered why we kept going into hysterics. Definitely won't share that tidbit with my brother and his teen age sons.

jul. 18, 2015, 1:39pm

>20 streamsong: Do you have a recipe for the curry you could share? We had a Vietnamese restaurant in town for a very short period of time, and I really liked the food, but never got around to trying a curry there. Love the "naughty" story!

jul. 21, 2015, 9:04am

Had some fresh grape leaves with my farm share last week and tried a new recipe:

I went with this one because it had ingredients I owned and was very easy to make - and turned out delicious if I say so myself!

jul. 21, 2015, 9:34am

Mmmmmm, I've never used grape leaves. Sounds yummy!

>21 laytonwoman3rd: Unfortunately, I don't have one. I thought I'd experiment with the two 'staff picks' for Vietnamese curry on

The one requires kaffir lime leaves and I've been debating whether to plunk down the $$ to order fresh ones sent from Does anyone have any thoughts on these?

The second is beef (I don't think I'd use ground beef) with lettuce leaves. I've never cooked with lettuce, but I hear it's not uncommon for Southeast Asian cooking. Suddenly, I seem to be bombarded by references to recipes and talk about cooked lettuce. Is it a thing now, or is it that I am just sensitized to it?

jul. 21, 2015, 11:15am

>23 streamsong: That beef and lettuce curry sounds pretty good...I have never cooked lettuce, but I say, why not? It's just a more tender form of chard, or kale, or other greens that we cook all the time. I think it doesn't get cooked often because it doesn't NEED cooking, whereas the tougher, stronger tasting greens are more palatable (for the most part) when cooked.

ag. 1, 2015, 10:05pm

>23 streamsong:: I have a tin of dried kaffir lime leaves that I use in curries sometimes -- if there's a decent amount of liquid in the dish as it's cooking, the leaves will re-hydrate and provide plenty of flavor (or you can re-hydrate in a tiny amount of water first and then put it in, but it's not necessary unless it's a very dry dish). Of course nothing beats fresh, but dried is definitely cheaper and more convenient (and easier to find!).

ag. 30, 2015, 9:05am

On Thursday I made a tomato pie at my parents' house in suburban Philadelphia, using heirloom tomatoes from their garden and a recipe one of my work partners gave me last year.

Tomato pie

Slice 2 tomatoes into kinda thin slices, about like you’d slice for a tomato sandwich. Place slices on paper towels (3-4 layers thick) for about an hour until all of the juice soaks into the paper towel.

Preheat oven to 350 F

Deep dish pan, spray with Pam

Place one pie crust in the pan (I usually get the Pillsbury rolled up premade pie crusts, in the dairy section near the cookie dough)

Rub some (maybe a tablespoon) of mustard (I like spicy or grainy) on the pie crust

Slice mozzarella into slices about the same size as the tomatoes

Alternate tomato and moz slices, overlapping, in a spiral, covering the pan.

Drizzle some olive oil on top, sprinkle some basil or rosemary on top

Bake for 30-45 minutes until the cheese starts to brown

Remove, let it cool a little so the juices soak in

Enjoy, hot or cold!

I used part skim mozzarella cheese, along with an Oronoque Orchards* pie crust that I cooked in the oven before adding the tomato and mozzarella slices. I also covered the tomato slices with paper towels, as the tomatoes were very juicy (if you skip or shortchange that step you'll end up with a very mushy pie!). I cooked the pie for 30 minutes, but I'd probably let it go for another 5 minutes or so, as the bottom of the pie was still a bit wet. This is the second time I've used my partner's recipe, and the pie turned out great both times (my parents, aunt and I finished off the entire pie in less than 20 minutes).

*a division of Mrs. Smith's

ag. 30, 2015, 5:32pm

>26 kidzdoc: I purchased a Pillsbury pie crust, tomatoes, and cheeses. (I'm going to try the mixture of mozzarella and fiesta blend my friend suggested). It may be Tuesday before it gets made.

set. 1, 2015, 5:30pm

I have a batch of chile verde simmering away and it's making the house smell wonderful! Can't wait for dinner tonight!

Editat: set. 12, 2015, 9:30am

I've been drinking gunpowder lemonade from Bryant Terry's Afro-vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Food Remixed the last two months. Since I can't find fresh spearmint, I've used dried and am still working on getting the balance of spearmint & tea right.

Here is as close as I've gotten so far.

1/4 C gunpowder (pearl) green tea leaves
2-3 Tbs. dried spearmint
2 C water

Boil water. Let cool for 5 minutes. Add tea/spearmint & swirl for 10 seconds to rinse. Drain leaves & discard liquid.

Heat 7.5 cups water to boiling. Let cool 7 minutes. Add tea leaves, swirl, cover. After 2 minutes, strain tea into a heatproof container.

3/4 C lemon juice
1/2 C + 2 Tbs. simple syrup

I've occasionally gotten in a hurry, and discovered that letting the water cool before rinsing & steeping makes a difference in the flavor. Who knew?

This is my go-to drink when I come home from work and need a pick-me-up.


I also highly recommend his Fresh Corn Grits with Greens and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (with or without fresh corn). Yum!!

set. 12, 2015, 11:49pm

I made this cream cheese and chocolate pull-apart bread after my sister shared the recipe the other day. A little time-intensive, but a super simple and kid-friendly recipe with a bit of adult guidance.

oct. 25, 2015, 2:01am

Hi all! As Halloween is approaching swiftly, I just wanted to remind everyone that there is a Halloween theme read going on. Do stop by to talk about whatever seasonal reading you're doing, comment on what others are reading, or just to say hello. Happy reading!

Link to the Halloween thread:

nov. 21, 2015, 7:49am

I can't believe that I haven't posted anything on this thread since August! I have tried several recipes since then that I'm fond of, so I'll post them now. First is the Pasta and Zucchini Salad from Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook Plenty, which I made on Sunday:

Here's the recipe, courtesy of The New York Times:

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Pasta and Zucchini Salad

black pepper
⅔ cup sunflower oil
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
¾ cup frozen edamame
2 cups basil leaves, shredded coarsely
¼ cup parsley leaves
⅓ cup olive oil
9 ounces strozzapreti or penne pasta
Zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ tablespoons capers
7 ounces buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a medium saucepan, heat sunflower oil over medium-high heat. Fry zucchini slices in batches (do not crowd them) for 3 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a colander to drain. Tip zucchini slices into a bowl, pour vinegar on top and stir, then set aside.

2. In the hot water, blanch edamame for 3 minutes; drain, refresh under running cold water and set aside to dry. Keep boiling water in pot.

3. In a food processor, combine half the basil, all of the parsley and the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and process until smooth.

4. In boiling water, cook pasta until al dente; drain and rinse under cold water. Return pasta to pot. Pour zucchini slices and their juices over pasta. Add edamame, basil sauce, lemon zest, capers and mozzarella. Stir together gently, then taste and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Before serving, stir in remaining basil.

I couldn't find strozzapreti at Publix, my local supermarket, so I used Barilla mezze penne pasta instead, and I used a couple of splashes of lemon juice in place of lemon zest (I hate grating and zesting). The NYT article mentions that this salad is "dead simple to make", which is a bit of an overstatement IMO. It wasn't exceptionally hard, though, and this salad tastes fabulous.

nov. 21, 2015, 7:50am

The previous weekend I made Artichoke Chicken Skillet, courtesy of the web site Budget Bytes:

Here's the recipe:


2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Pinch salt & Pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic
1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp lemon zest (about ½ medium lemon)
¼ bunch fresh parsley
12 oz. cooked pasta of your choice


Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with a large sheet of plastic wrap. Use a mallet or rolling pin to pound the chicken out to an even, ½ inch thickness. Cut the chicken breasts into 6 pieces, each about the size of a deck of cards. Season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and cook until golden brown on each side (about 5 min. per side). If necessary, cook the chicken in batches to avoid over crowding the skillet. Remove the chicken to a plate once browned.

While the chicken is browning, mince the garlic, drain the artichoke hearts and give them a rough chop. Chop the fresh parsley leaves and zest the lemon (use a small holed cheese grater or a zester to remove the thin, yellow layer of the lemon peel).

After all of the chicken has browned and is removed from the skillet, add the second tablespoon of olive oil and the minced garlic. Cook the garlic for 1-2 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Add the chopped artichoke hearts, diced tomatoes (with juices), dried basil, lemon zest, and about ⅛ tsp of salt. Stir to combine.

Return the browned chicken to the skillet and nestle it down into the tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Allow the skillet to come up to a simmer, then let the chicken simmer in the skillet for 15 minutes, flipping it once half way through.

Sprinkle the chopped parsley over top, then spoon the chicken and chunky sauce over a bowl of pasta. Top with cheese if desired.


If you can find frozen artichoke hearts in your area, they are often less expensive than the canned counterparts and have better flavor. You'll need about 1.5 cups to replace the 15 oz. can.

I liked this when I made it two Sundays ago, and even more so when I had it for leftovers later that week. I divided the contents of the skillet into five different containers and put them in the freezer, and made linguini pasta to have with it.

nov. 21, 2015, 7:51am

Last month I tried a vegetarian Mexican tortilla casserole from Savory Simple, which Claire (Sakerfalcon) gave me when I went to London in September:

*1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
*1 large yellow onion, chopped
*1 medium garlic clove, minced
*1 teaspoon ground cumin
*1½ teaspoons chili powder
*1 can (14 ounces) fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained, ⅓ cup juice reserved
*¼ cup tomato paste
*2 cans (15.5 ounces) black or pinto beans (or a mix), drained
*1½ cups frozen corn
*3 cups coarsely chopped spinach
*Salt and ground black pepper
*8 corn tortillas
*2 cups (8 ounces) Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese (I used both)
*Optional toppings: chopped fresh cilantro, chopped fresh jalapeño, sour cream, salsa

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray an 8x11 or 9x9 inch baking dish (or a similar sized pan) with cooking spray.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skilled over medium low heat and the onion, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Stir for a few minutes until the onions are soft and the spices are fragrant. Add the tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, tomato paste, beans, corn and spinach. Stir and cook for another minute or two until the spinach has wilted and the corn has thawed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Place two corn tortillas in the bottom of the prepared pan and top with ¼ of the bean mixture, spreading the mixture evenly. Sprinkle evenly with ½ cup of the cheese. Repeat until all of the ingredients have been used up, finishing with the cheese.
4. Bake until the tortilla casserole has cooked through, approximately 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting.
5. Serve with garnishes, if desired (I highly recommend them!).

I used a large Vidalia onion in place of a yellow onion, and kale in place of spinach. I used one can of pinto beans and one can of black beans, and I added a few dashes of Tabasco habañero sauce, to bring out the flavors. I didn't use the optional toppings, as I thought that the casserole tasted great on its own. I had two servings, and wanted a third one because I enjoyed it so much. This is an easy and quick recipe, and I'll add this one to my list of favorites.

nov. 21, 2015, 7:54am

On Wednesday I made a Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Gruyere Quiche with Oat Crust, which a co-worker gave to me the previous week. It turned out great, despite a couple of minor mistakes:

I didn't mix the egg custard as well as I should have, as you can probably see, and I forgot to add the thyme until the quiche was ready to be cooked in the oven. Despite that, my partners and office staff enjoyed it (I brought some to work today for everyone to try). Here's the recipe:


For the crust:
Cooking spray
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons cold, lowfat buttermilk

For the filling:h
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thinly into half moons
8 ounces sliced mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, oyster, shiitake
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dry)
3 large eggs
3 egg whites
1 cup evaporated fat-free milk (not condensed milk)
2/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese (about 1-ounce)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch pie dish with cooking spray.

To prepare the crust, put the oats, flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 3 times to combine. Add the butter and pulse about 12 times, until you get a pebbly course texture. Add the buttermilk and pulse 3 to 5 times more to combine. Form the mixture into a ball and place it between 2 large pieces of waxed paper. Roll out into a circle about 10 inches in diameter.

Remove the top sheet of waxed paper. Transfer the crust, still on the other piece of waxed paper to the pie dish, then remove the waxed paper from the top. Press the crust gently into the dish. Bake for 9 minutes, then let cool.

To prepare the filling, heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Transfer the onions to a bowl. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan and heat over a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released their water and begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the onions back to the pan, stir in the salt, pepper, mustard and thyme.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, egg whites and evaporated milk.

Sprinkle the cheese into the pie crust. Top with the mushroom-onion mixture and pour the egg mixture on top. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for 35 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into 6 wedges and serving.

If anything, this quiche tasted better on reheating than it did when I first made it. It may seem like a labor intensive recipe, but I found it easy to make, and I may make it again during Thanksgiving Week when I visit my parents and family. Very highly recommended!

Editat: nov. 23, 2015, 9:40am

Thanks for posting those recipes, Darryl. The food you make is exactly the kind of food I love. I might just have to give them a whirl.

Here's a recipe I tried last night, but I don't have a picture of it because my husband and I ate it all up. I adapted it from one I found in The Washington Post yesterday. I thought that the combination of mustard and maple syrup sounded interesting. My husband doesn't usually like "sweet" vegetables , but he did give a thumbs up to these Brussels sprouts.

Maple and Mustard Brussels Sprouts
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed (bottom cut off and X’ed)
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. Grey Poupon honey mustard (or Hearty Spicy Brown mustard)
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter or margarine in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add sprouts; cook and stir 5 min. or until lightly browned. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover. Cook 5-8 min. or until sprouts are tender and sauce has reduced to a thick glaze, removing lid after 5 min.

nov. 28, 2015, 4:11pm

I am somewhat cooked out, but made this quick 'dump soup' (dump a can of this and that together) to go with Thanksgiving leftovers

1 can condensed potato soup
1 c. water
1 c half and half or can of evaporated milk (I used no fat evaporated milk)
1 15.5 ounce can of pureed pumpkin
2 Tb butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine ingredients in saucepan over medium heat. Simmer 10-15 minutes.

This time around I also added: (this made approximately 6 cups)
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 Tbs dried parsley
3 leftover green onions (including tops)

The beauty of this soup is that you can use whatever potato soup you like as a base - cheap condensed generic, expensive organic, leftover homemade soup, even soup from your favorite high priced organic food bar if you like. Adjust the liquids if you use something besides condensed soup and the brand or type of soup may affect what other herbs you want to add.

Next time around, I plan to use the top recipe for a base for curried pumpkin soup. I'll add curry paste, probably extra ginger, and will think about possibly adding coconut milk to replace the evaporated milk.

Editat: des. 5, 2015, 9:09pm

Is there a word for losing something and being convinced you were never going to see again and then finding it unexpectedly? If there is, I would very much like to know because this happened to me twice recently.

The first thing I rediscovered was my Norton Critical edition of Paradise Lost. I searched high and low for it for months, pulling every book I own off the shelves and digging through every box and stack of books looking for the damn thing. I had almost resigned myself to having to buy a new copy when I found it in a bag I was moving--a place I never put books, btw--while looking for a different book. My irritation at finding it in such a stupid place was totally overshadowed by my joy at having my wayward book returned to its proper place on my shelves.

The second thing I found was my favorite bookmark. It's a Buffy the Vampire Slayer bookmark that I've had since high school and, while it's just a mass produced thing, I would never be able to replace it. I searched through my piles of bookmarks, looked in all the books I remembered reading around the last time time I saw it, and even went to the public library to see if I had left it in a book I had returned, all to no avail. Fast forward a year and I noticed that one of the books I was putting away had a bookmark in it; I opened the book, assuming it was just one of the business cards I normally use to mark my place, and was delighted to discover my beloved Buffy bookmark!

Just small things, but they made me ever so happy.

des. 6, 2015, 10:52am

I think the word you're looking for is "gremlins"!

des. 6, 2015, 7:45pm

Of course! How could I forget about those sneaky little monsters?

Editat: des. 7, 2015, 12:48am

Nice gremlins, apparently, since they gave your things back eventually*. What do gremlins like? Brownies like a bowl of milk...

*ETA - Actually, thinking about it, _very_ nice gremlins. They gave them back _before_ you bought a replacement (for the one that was more-or-less replaceable)...

des. 17, 2015, 10:49am

Had a request on Amber's thread for my gumbo recipe. Here it is!

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup flour
4 cups chicken stock or water
1 lb diced chicken
1 lb andouille or smoked sausage, sliced
1 big green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup diced green onion
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce
Tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste ( I use a tablespoon or so, I think)
1-2 bay leaves
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper

1. Make the roux:
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot you can cover later. Have the stock ready to pour. Occasionally drop a small pinch of flour into the oil. When it bubbles in the oil, add the remaining flour, turn the heat to medium, and continue stirring the mixture as it browns. (note: this stuff is called Cajun napalm for a reason. Don’t use a plastic spatula to stir - it’ll melt.)

- As the mixture cooks, it will thicken and brown - this could take as long as 20 minutes depending on temperature, and slower is better. Once it’s paste-like and a medium brown, pour the stock into the pot and mix thoroughly. Add everything else EXCEPT the filé. Simmer covered until the veggies are done, about 45 minutes. Once it’s done, take it off the heat and stir in the filé. Serve over rice.

Some comments: Filé is a thickening agent made from sassafras leaves. It’s more common in grocery stores these days across the US - I have no idea whether it can be found outside the US. Gumbo comes in two varieties - filé gumbo and okra gumbo. Both serve to thicken, and are never used together in real Louisiana gumbo. Also, while it’s good when you make it, it’s usually better the next day!

des. 17, 2015, 11:12am

Thanks so much for the recipe, Jim! It sounds amazing!

des. 17, 2015, 11:31am

Glad to see new life breathed into the kitchen thread! The next month is going to be crazy for me, but I hope I can keep up!

des. 17, 2015, 12:13pm

Oh, and here's what the gumbo looks like when it's done!

des. 17, 2015, 2:13pm

>38 amanda4242:, >39 laytonwoman3rd: - maybe those gremlins stole my teeny-tiny Christmas cookie cutters! Have searched everywhere in the kitchen for them, but am not finding them. I just know they will turn up round about January 3rd...

des. 17, 2015, 6:33pm

Thanks for the gumbo recipe, Jim! I'll give it a try soon.

des. 18, 2015, 7:00am

>45 drneutron: Whoa. That looks delicious!

Editat: des. 18, 2015, 8:33am

>46 Fourpawz2: Ha! Mine were in the "miscellaneous implement drawer" since LAST Christmas, when I was too lazy to climb up to the top shelf of the cupboard for the can they are supposed to be stored in. So I had no trouble finding them at all, remembering all the times I saw them there and said "I really should put those away properly..."

des. 18, 2015, 4:57pm

>49 laytonwoman3rd: - sounds SO familiar. Am still hoping the cookie cutters will reveal themselves, but not holding out a lot of hope. Maybe I should check my junk drawer....

des. 19, 2015, 9:07am

>50 Fourpawz2: Found 'em! They were in an old periwinkle blue Wispride Cheese crock-thingy. So excited to find them as I want to use them to make the dog cookie snacks I am making for my friend's dog, Bailey. Hope she likes them.

des. 19, 2015, 10:41pm

I tried a new recipe from The New York Times, Indian-Spiced Tomato and Egg Casserole:

Here's the recipe:

1 ½ pounds fingerling potatoes
Kosher salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded if desired, finely chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded if desired, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground garam masala
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
¼ cup chopped fresh mint, more for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or basil, more for garnish
6 eggs
Black pepper, as needed

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with generously salted water. Bring to a boil; cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. When just cool enough to handle, slice into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.

While potatoes cook, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until almost tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in peppers and cook 3 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, cumin, garam masala and coriander; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer over medium-low heat, breaking up tomatoes with a fork, 15 minutes. Stir in mint and cilantro or basil. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place potatoes in a single layer in a 9-inch-square baking dish. Pour the hot tomato sauce over potatoes. Transfer pan to oven and bake 20 minutes.

Make six wells in the tomato mixture. Crack eggs into wells and season with salt and pepper. Bake until egg whites are set but yolks are still runny, 8 to 13 minutes, depending on how much the potatoes and sauce cooled before baking. Serve garnished with herbs.

I couldn't find fingerling potatoes at Publix, my local supermarket, so I chose to use Melissa's Baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes, which were similar in size. Publix didn't have fresh mint, so I used dried mint instead, and halved the amount I put in. I had to bake the eggs for closer to 15 minutes, until the whites were fully set, and yolk of the portion I tried was perfectly runny. This dish, which was inspired by a Parsi recipe, reminds me a bit of the shakshouka I had when Paul (Polaris) from Club Read and I went to Café Also, a fabulous vegetarian restaurant on Finchley Road in Temple Fortune, North London, which has a sizable Jewish community. The café is affiliated with and connected to Joseph's Bookstore, an excellent bookshop, and these two establishments are co-owned by Michael Joseph, a Czech-born Jewish lawyer, and Ali Al-Sersy, an Egyptian chef. Paul & I went there in June, and I went back with Claire (Sakerfalcon), Joe (jnwelch) and Debbi (walklover) in September, although I had something else that time. This recipe is very tasty, but it can't beat the shakshouka at Café Also, which may be my favorite restaurant in London.

des. 20, 2015, 10:43am

That looks wonderful, Darryl. Also thanks for sharing the NYT casserole site - I've bookmarked it for future ideas.

I had some pulled pork in my freezer so I made Beth's 30 Minute Posole from BudgetBytes. It is really delicious. I topped the bowl with avocado, cilantro, bottled lime juice (couldn't get out of my driveway to get groceries due to snow), a smidge of shredded cheddar and a tablespoon of plain Greek yoghurt (my go-to instead of using sour cream).

In the comments section, people said they also substituted shredded chicken breast and even leftover roast beef for the pork.

I haven't cooked very much with hominy, but believe it should be more GI friendly than many of Beth's Southwest recipes that have beans. Hopefully, I can get to the store today - I'd like to add a second can of hominy before portioning it out for freezing.

des. 21, 2015, 1:46pm

I made Dr. Neutron's Chicken and Sausage Gumbo last night. Yummy!! (And super easy).

des. 21, 2015, 2:01pm


des. 21, 2015, 2:05pm

Do you include celery in your gumbo, Jim? Do you cook the chicken beforehand? (I would assume so.) I like okra gumbos, so I'll probably use that in place of filé.

des. 21, 2015, 2:10pm

>56 kidzdoc: I don't, but lots of people do put celery in gumbo. As far as chicken goes, I dice the chicken and saute it in butter beforehand, but if you simmer it with the veggies, it cooks through.

des. 21, 2015, 2:13pm

When I used to make gumbo I usually included celery. I didn't include celery in Jim's recipe and it was great without the celery. (Onion, celery, and green pepper mix is called "The Holy Trinity" in Louisiana cooking).

I don't care for okra (slimey), so I was glad the recipe didn't include okra. :)

Editat: des. 21, 2015, 2:16pm

>57 drneutron: Thanks, Jim. The recipes I have for jambalaya and étouffée use celery, although in smaller portions than the other two parts of the Trinity (bell pepper and onion). If I use okra I should cook it with the rest of the vegetables, I assume.

ETA: >58 arubabookwoman: I love okra!

des. 21, 2015, 2:16pm

Yup. Cook it with the rest of the veggies.

des. 21, 2015, 2:18pm

Deborah and Jim, do y'all use Vidalia onions, or (plain) yellow onions in your Cajun and Creole dishes? I almost always use Vidalias, especially since they are so easy to get in Atlanta.

des. 21, 2015, 2:19pm

Real Vidalias when I can get them, but they're a bit scarce in Maryland. Otherwise I use a regular white or yellow onion.

des. 21, 2015, 4:04pm

I usually use yellow onions. I only eat onions well-cooked (soft). I gag on raw onions.