Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Sometimes white steamed rice and lightly steamed veggies is all we need. And a little soy sauce. January 29.

It's fast and easy. The flavors are easy to process and the colors are beautiful. It's very easy on an upset tummy.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Very simple Sunday morning soda biscuits from January 26. It's all about folding quickly.

Here's the method, the secret to light, flaky biscuits.

James Beard's buttermilk biscuits. I tried and tried to get them to rise. usually one would look good and taste great. The others, not so much. The results were not good enough. Sunday morning wasn't ruined, you understand, we still have the Times. But, you know, really? I can't make a good biscuit?

Then, reading about making croissants. I found out about the creation of flaky layers. Folding and rolling. I wasn't after that kind of flake, so it sounded like I could apply the theory without taking all day.

Yeah, just three turns of folding and patting did the trick. These look pretty good, no? They were great. And now, the crossword puzzle.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Fried rice

January 25, fried brown rice with veggies and egg. Mushroom dumplings with sauce.

I've been cooking making stirfry and fried rice for decades, among the first things I learned to cook from the Moosewood cookbook.

The ingredients are rarely bought with this meal in mind, just whatever is there, especially bits of leftovers.

It's good to keep a few veggies in the freezer for an emergency stirfry.

In fact, it's tough to make this with fresh-cooked white rice.

Lately we include eggs. Cook them first, remove add to reheat after the veggies are cooked and rice is heated.

I only recently learned how easy it is to make dumplings, especially potstickers. It's a great way to add another small dish, more flavors, textures, blah, blah, blah. Also a great use for leftovers, especially when not enough for a full meal. These dumplings are adapted from this recipe.

The sauces are based on this recipe. One, to flavor the stirfry, is a hoisin sauce. The other, the dipping sauce, adds tomato and omits the heat.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

onion galette

Caramelized onion flatbread made with pizza dough and gruyere cheese. January 11. Not a true gallette (or is it galette?), which is traditionally a crepe of buckwheat flour, water, and salt.

Some make this with puff pastry, which must be more rich and fantastic. More often it's made with pie dough. but it always has those folded over edges.

An adaptation of this recipe from thisheartofmine.

For a short while we had a wine store in our little village. Not any longer. One of the owners was an excellent chef. He made an awesome onion tart that we bought a few times and devoured.

So this was somewhat of an attempt to recapture that experience. Not bad.


Blinichki from January 11. Recipe with yeast. We put sour cream and salmon roe.

An adaptation of this recipe from greatgruel.

We went to visit my brother-in-law and family, and enjoyed a wonderful trip to a Russian grocery store, the International Food Market, where we had knishes, and later had home made blinichki for dinner. Awesome.

I looked up some recipes and found them pretty easy to make. Not too different from crepes.

Friday, January 10, 2014

roast dinner

Roasted veggies from January 10. Potatoes, cauliflower, carrot, onion, garlic, s&p, sriracha.

Use your favorite veggies. Or even better, use the ones you don't like so much and you'll be amazed. Roasting (no, it's not baking) concentrates flavors in creamy middles, and caramelizes edges for sweet crunch. Anything relatively dry. Really. Should be a dry heat, not a casserole.

1. Things may not cook at the same rate, so watch out for drying out or burning. Chop with that in mind. You can check when you stir and rotate pan, maybe every 30 mins.

2. Pile a few layers, not just one layer spread out, so use an appropriate size pan.

3. Flavors should go in at the start.

An adaptation of this recipe from thewednesdaychef.

Also see here.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

All New Mac and Cheese

File this one under "You thought you knew how to make this, but here's a better way."

Mac and cheese is made with a flour roux.

Yeah, true. And delicious.

But think about this - why boil off a bunch of flour starch, then throw it out and add more flour to thicken? Right - what if you use the mac's starch as thickener? Genius.

Just cover the mac in milk (and any veggies or creative flavors) and slowly bring to a boil. Stir a few times so it doesn't burn on the bottom. In about 30 mins or so, depending on how much you're making. When you have cooked mac in a medium-thick sauce, not dry, stir in cheese until incorporated.

Let it thicken on the stove and serve from there. Or scoop into bowls while still pretty thin and top with breadcrumbs and cheese. Into the oven for a toasty top and baked-in goodness. I wrote about this style before here.

You can add as much or as little cheese as you choose. The photo is a lean version.

Either way, try this. It's better.

The Secret of Pumpkin Seeds

Every year ...

"No, save the seeds. We can roast them!"

Every year ...

Clean, soak, boil, flavor, roast, cool ... Yuck, the seeds are terrible.

Finally the secret became clear - these are not the right seeds. You want the seeds of a gourd bred for seeds, not flesh. Just like carving pumpkins are so not the best to cook with.

But, if you're patient, you can crack the seed to reveal the inner part, which is fantastic!

So go ahead, save the seeds, go through all the work, and you'll find the secret treasure. Toast 'em up, cool to crisp. Yum!