Metatalktail Hour: What's Cooking? June 20, 2020 5:17 PM   Subscribe

Happy Weekend, MetaFilter! This week, because I am sick to death of literally everything I cook due to non-stop quarantine cooking, I want to know what you're cooking lately that's really good!

As always, this is a conversation starter, not limiter, so tell us everything that's going on with you!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 5:17 PM (97 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

Right now it's the King Arthur Pan Pizza recipe, which is just ridiculously good if you let the dough do a 72hr rise in the fridge.

For Sunday, it's gonna be Zahav-style hummus using Palouse chickpeas, topped with bharat-spiced ground lamb and pine nuts lightly toasted in a nice Arbequina olive oil, served with homemade pita.

...which is goddamn revelatory. All other modes of hummus are now as dust to me, for I have tasted this.
posted by aramaic at 5:42 PM on June 20, 2020 [7 favorites]

I planted yellow crookneck squash in my garden, 3-5 squash per day. If you want something utterly eash, slice crookneck into 1/4 inch thick circles, put in a bowl, decide how much you want to make, do this part at the very end of cooking a meal. Put the sliced squash in a bowl, add not much extra virgin olive oil, parmesan, chopped fresh dill, and a dash of seasoning salt. Stir this all up, and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes, more if you must, it is tender and delicious. I don't usually advocate for microwave cooking but I was reheating cooked chicken, and put this on the plate. But, the thing I made that was extraordinary, was stuffed squash blossoms, it is kind of a several process recipe, I had feta and yogurt cheese from Trader Joe's on hand, and some 96% fat free ground beef, I was going to make meatballs from. So I mixed up the meatball recipe, then took 3 meatballs worth of meat with feta and yogurt cheese, basil I dried, cumin, and stuffed 9 flowers with it, folded the petals in to hold in the contents and stood them in a bowl to wait. I put the meat balls in to bake in muffin papers, in a muffin tin that fits in my toaster oven. I have an eight muffin small muffin tin, that will make the 16 meat balls the recipe makes. Anyway, back to the stuffed squash flowers. My friend showed me the difference between the male and female flowers which make the squash, I conflict with the whole thing had always been sacrificing a whole squash to be to make an hors d'oeuvre. So, I made a simple batter half semolina and whole wheat with baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cumin, a little olive oil, two egg yolks, some watered down Greek yogurt to mimic buttermilk, right? Then I whipped the eggwhites from the two eggs, to stiff peaks and folded them into the batter. I heated up about an inch and a half of extra virgin olive oil, in a cast iron pan, with a finely chopped shallot, to fry the dipped, stuffed flowers. Nine flowers fit in the regular sized cast iron pan well, no lid, they fry hot, use a spatula to make sure they aren't stuck to the bottom, turn with tongs. When the flowers were done, I sliced a yellow squash and battered it, and fried it, to go with the flowers. I had some organic marinara on hand and I put some cold in a dipping dish, on the plate. This is a wordy recipe, but I will tell you this was so good, I took some to my next door neighbor, because I felt dumb, being the only person to enjoy this.
posted by Oyéah at 5:56 PM on June 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

I looked up Aramaic's spice blends and recipes, way good sounding. Here is Bharat spiced albacore tuna recipe.
posted by Oyéah at 6:05 PM on June 20, 2020

(I do always spell the name wrong, because "Bharat" is a name in my universe, but the actual spice combo is properly called "baharat")
posted by aramaic at 6:07 PM on June 20, 2020

I've been feeling rather low-energy lately, but I've enjoyed the world's simplest pasta sauce:

- some cherry tomatoes
- some olive oil
- some slivered garlic
- olives, pitted
- salt, or olive brine
- basil to finish

Low heat, wide-ish pan with a lid. Get the oil a bit warm and let the garlic soften a bit. Toss in the rest of the ingredients, cover, and let cook for a bit until the tomatoes burst and everything gets a little liquidy and sauce-escent. If you've got it, toss some basil on there at the end. Toss with pasta.
posted by mdonley at 6:20 PM on June 20, 2020 [5 favorites]

Hotdogs, and Cheetos spiked with chili powder.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:21 PM on June 20, 2020 [6 favorites]

I made these no knead English muffins griddled in bacon fat. They're almost no work and they're the best English muffins I've ever had.
posted by HotToddy at 6:23 PM on June 20, 2020 [9 favorites]

I don’t know what to call this, but I’ve been making a dish with chopped shrimp, chunks of avocado, diced tomatoes, corn, red onion (soaked in lime juice), and black beans, seasoned with salt and pepper and dressed with lime juice and olive oil - tortilla chips optional. It’s delicious! My problem is I always make what I think will be three or four meals worth, but it ends up being so delicious that I eat most of it the same day. But pretty healthy, quick, very little cook time or heat, and feels vaguely summery and festive.
posted by firei at 6:49 PM on June 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

Leah Eskin’s chard tart was tonight’s very tasty dinner.

I’m excited to see my parents in person tomorrow. We’ll be socially distant on their patio. Should be nice. Our first contact in person in many months.

In less positive news, my wonderful boss can’t stop vomiting from her chemo, another coworker’s father is dying of dementia complications, I had an injection in my hip this week to alleviate tremendous pain, and a homebound immunocompromised friend from church called yesterday at 3 pm, drunk, to cry and vent about how scared and hopeless she feels. Another week in 2020. Trying to stay positive but it’s not easy. Sending virtual hugs and goodwill to all who want and need them.
posted by cheapskatebay at 6:58 PM on June 20, 2020 [5 favorites]

Tonight I cooked scallops and sweet potato wedges on the grill.

Tomorrow is Father's Day and I always barbecue. I've got two racks of ribs in the fridge with some rub I applied earlier. I also got some wings because we're in a global pandemic and there are no rules. I'll make some mac and cheese and perhaps a salad.

Tomorrow is also our tenth annual Father/child Lego build, where my kid and I spend the day building a big Lego set. This year will be the Land Rover Defender, which will be fun since I think it's our first Technique set. I started this when she was eight and now she's eighteen and while she's outgrown just about everything and usually wants nothing to do with me these days (teenagers, amirite?) she's always down for some Lego building.
posted by bondcliff at 7:06 PM on June 20, 2020 [5 favorites]

Nthing short-cooked pasta sauce recipes like mdonley's - they are so good and fresh-tasting and easy to make on hot summer days!
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:13 PM on June 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Tonight I'm prepping a whole chicken - spatchcocking and applying an herby-spicy rub under the skin. Tomorrow I'll rub a bit of oil into the skin, put it in a 215-220° smoker with a mix of hickory and cherry wood chips, and let it go as long as it likes to get to 150° internally. Then I'll pop it in a 325° oven just long enough to crisp the skin and bring the internal temp up to 165°. I'll have sautéed kale and some sort of mushroom-egg noodle thing on the side, most likely with giblet gravy but I haven't decided on a recipe for that yet. (all temperatures F because I'm a barbarous American)

For lunch tomorrow I'm having...anticipation.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:24 PM on June 20, 2020 [7 favorites]

I've had so much bread failure it's fatiguing. Fucking nothing rises properly, everything comes out looking like a dough UFO. Tasty (thanks to the poolish/biga/whatever), but flat, with a barely-there crust and dry texture. The consistency of the breads' characterlessness is making the whole exercise pretty fucking depressing. I'm about thiiiis close to fucking off King Arthur Flour's recipes forever, everybody who says their recipes work are lying.

On the upside, the first garlic of the season showed up at the farmer's market today and oh, it's so delicious. The bulbs we bought were fist-sized, and the vendor did us the favor of picking bulbs that looked like they had multiple cloves; he had warned us that some bulbs only had two cloves apiece! After cleaning the cloves and freezing most of them I set aside a couple for roasting, and then mixed them with some olive oil and salt and they did make the bread more enjoyable.

Tomorrow I'll be grilling a flank steak that's currently marinating in the fridge, and making a lot of butter (and buttermilk) from the half-gallon of heavy cream that's been culturing for a couple days.
posted by ardgedee at 7:37 PM on June 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

This is your weekly reminder that King Arthur has a helpline: +1-800-827-6836
posted by aramaic at 7:55 PM on June 20, 2020 [4 favorites]

I got a new camera for my kiddo, Mabel (age 4). The camera prints instantly on thermal paper which doesn't require any ink. It's fun! So naturally, I made Mabel an Italian horror movie poster (starring her and me).
posted by sugar and confetti at 8:40 PM on June 20, 2020 [8 favorites]

Stir together peanut butter with a little honey, then mix with favorite granola-type cereal (I like the Ezekiel 4:9 cereals particularly) plus hemp hearts, raisins, nuts etc. Place in bag, mash flat and freeze. Break off pieces for quick, cold and crunchy energy boost.

This stuff has gotten me through several I’m-hungry-but-too-hot-to-cook moments during the recent hot spell.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:07 PM on June 20, 2020 [9 favorites]

Bread never works out for me. I mean the first loaf I ever baked was perfect, but every one since has been a disappointment. And there's a great bakery 300 meters away from where I'm sitting so I'm not highly motivated to perfect my technique.

Pizza though, I'm getting downright competent at. I made this pizza last night.
posted by rodlymight at 9:09 PM on June 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I wanted to use some of the rhubarb from our garden, so I made rhubarb cream cheese hand pies from Smitten Kitchen. I also made some blueberry cream cheese ones and a few chocolate cream cheese ones (because I'm not a fan of desserts with cooked fruit.) They all got eaten pretty quickly but I think everyone but me felt the hand pie format was less than ideal because the filling-to-crust ratio was too low.

Then I made a rhubarb-apple-blueberry pie. The pie dough recipe for the hand pies called for buttermilk rather than water, saying it made a more tender dough. I've been trying to find a pie dough recipe that's a good substitute for my mother's pie dough recipe, which is perfect except that it uses shortening and I don't use shortening anymore. So far the best I've found is the Smitten Kitchen all butter, really flaky pie dough, ideally with pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour. I think "more tender" is what I've been looking for, so I tried using buttermilk instead of water when I made the pie. It seemed good but to really test it I need to try it with something I want to eat, like a chicken pot pie, not fruit pie, which I don't like.
posted by Redstart at 9:11 PM on June 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

Thank the gods our garden and the farms near us have started producing and our favorite stand has set up a casual week to week csa. I personally would be stressed out by this but my husband seems to relish the way someobe else is picking out the veg and he just needs to think of something to do with it. Last week we had turnips and radishes in some sort of roasted then stir-fried dish with garlic and it was the best and i don't even like turnips. Today pesto including scapes from the box and basil from the backyard. Also though it's become easier just because it's reasonable to pop into a store for a quick pickup these days, rather than trying to anticipate a whole two weeks in one go. Please please that we don't go back to that...
posted by Tandem Affinity at 9:19 PM on June 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

Di Giorno pizza lives up to the hype.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 9:22 PM on June 20, 2020 [6 favorites]

The biggest cooking hit this week was lamb meatballs (Smitten Kitchen) and homemade pita. I made hummus too and we cut up cucumbers and grape tomatoes. The leftovers have been delicious. We also made margherita pizza from scratch, cube steak, and breakfast burritos.

The last few months have been all about making food here, as my boyfriend got interested in cooking. We have purchased 3 or 4 cookbooks and made a lot of recipes from them. Also have bought random cuts of meat from the store and researched how to cook them (hi, cube steak! highly recommend it for busy people). Most likely will get a new grill next week to maximize summer outdoor cooking, and we've made a yeasted dough recipe every week for a month I think. Our nervous dog finally became comfortable hanging out in the crate alone while we cook. It's been great.

If sick of cooking in general, my best recommendations are a cheese and meat plate for lunch with nice cheeses and maybe some nuts or fruit, and ramen with egg and veggies/other toppings. I also sometimes like ramen drained of most of the water with peanut butter and soy sauce, or breakfast for dinner.
posted by Red Desk at 9:48 PM on June 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

not so much about the food and the baking, but MY GOD THERE'S SO MUCH WASHING UP!!!! Every time we turn around we're already out of forks, the washing machine is full and the sink has at least 3 pots and/or pans in it. Back in the "normal" days it was breakfast and lunch at work on the weekdays and on the weekends lunch/brunch in some cafe/restaurant. So not so much kitchen time as now - UGH, the constant washing up!!
posted by alchemist at 9:56 PM on June 20, 2020 [13 favorites]

My household had way too many cucumbers in late spring - CSA oddity, plus we’re not fond of them. I resorted to cookbooks. All the cucumber recipes in Mastering the Art are for *cooked* cucumbers - you peel and seed them and season very lightly and bake them covered.

???? Well, alrighty, modest hassle, worth a try.

They come out as slightly less bland zucchini. Not bad, and there’s probably something they’re a perfect side dish to, but eh.
posted by clew at 11:18 PM on June 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm presently in a location where the state government and some of the populace seem determined to play Coronavirus Chicken ("Coronavirus is just a cold!"[TM]), so I'm doing even more pantry cooking practice & pantry management. Also, I believe strongly in cooking largish batches so I can refrigerate and freeze many meals worth of food.

I did a variation on my semi-usual chili recipe, this time using about 1/2 lentils instead of beans. I got to use two kinds of lentils, mostly some of the oldest lentils I seem to have, from 2017. Was glad to see everything work out well. The lentils now have kind of a slightly crumbly texture like unusually healthy pseudomeat. (The cumin helps the pseudomeat flavor.)

When making chili, I like to use several tips from a pretty good recipe/cooking website.

I am (easily?) amused to see that there's really no clear line between actual chili, and lentils in a savory oregano-rich tomato sauce.
posted by cattypist at 11:40 PM on June 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

wow. all that stuff sounds delicious everybody. have marked some in hope that a better future me will come back planning to make some. a pretty foolish and forlorn hope though.

i had got pretty good at making chili during stay at home and pretty good at stocking up in immense (for subsistence-eating me) grocery runs. probably rare immense grocery runs are still in order but i have skipped a few recent opportunities and instead eaten my pantry down to almost bare shelves so cheeseless, meatlacking and low on beans, i am scraping again at the bottom of the [wrong] peanutbutter jar. (i have learned, due to the beneficence of a person within my coëxposuresphere, that some people wrestle with whether they should get the crunchy salted or the crunchy unsalted peanutbutter, a conundrum i'd never considered & to which i will also have the answer about one tiny jar from now). the coffee situation will rouse me to action soon.

it is not all unadorned rice though: i benefit from a garden both cultivated and ... opportune. my predecessor on this property planted raspberries. i've never had so much opportunity to be around them day to day, and got to harvest and eat (and share) perhaps just a few too many. wanting yogurt, i made do pretty well with oatmeal (at about a 1:1 ratio of raspberry subbubbles & oat flakes). yum. the raspberries made me crave rhubarb, and a rhubarb raspberry pie. but i'm as unlikely to bake a pie as i am to sex my squash plants* (last i looked i had two seedlings -- the adjacent peppers do not seem to have sprouted) and stuff & cook their flowers. dill and beets and carrots and kale and chives and some wild mustard weed grow in my garden -- but the dill doesn't thrive (nor do i know what to do with it -- sprinkle it on my peanut butter?) from, i think, too much sun, and the carrots and beets are not done. the kale is fine as plucked, works in ensemble with other greens, features in the occasional omelette, draped over a bowl of rice or pasta, or headlines blanched with onions and garlic. oh: there was also a glut of swiss chard from plants that had survived the winter, but which we pulled and plucked and divvied up to make way for this year's planting. mom has always only boiled it to mush; babymama made chard soup and chard pie and stuffed chard. i used it in salad and omelettes and blanched. i have wrapped my beanrice in it & learned it does not have to be boiled quite so long.

still, essentially, staying at home (w/ regular visits w/ little lurk): recently have begun to let little lurk visit with grandparents one weekend day, distantly -- to the degree that is possible with grandparent and grandchild both of whom need constant reminding: nobody gets the "no touching!" reference; it is just startling & severe -- and outside. there is some gardening, some walking/jogging/bike-riding. we do not all sit around the same table, though we do not all consistently fail to sit around the same table, either. about two weeks in, so far so good. some sunday soon it's gonna rain, though. if the kid doesn't end up in the grandparent's lap it'll be a damn miracle.

* i would love to hear how though. i have a dear deep spot in my memory about a friend explaining in patient detail and with illustrations how to sex cannabis plants, and their theories on the appropriate timing and strategies. i have never used that knowledge yet, but i cherish it and probably still hoard a page of said illustration in a scrapbook somewhere.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:46 PM on June 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

* i would love to hear how though.

Squash plants always start as neuters, then they turn male, but finally as they grow into more substantial citizens they become hermaphrodites. Has someone written a utopian novel with this basis? :-)
posted by cattypist at 12:29 AM on June 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

I just finished making five pints of garlic scapes pickled with coriander and mustard seeds and fresh lavender buds. I grew the garlic scapes and the lavender in my garden. Absolutely the right thing to make on the solstice. I just regret that I was so excited about pickles I forgot to save some scapes for eating now.

I’m so bored with my own cooking and tired of making meals. (And I love cooking and am good at it, so that’s saying something.) This morning my kid and I just had some Trader Joe’s smoked trout, bread with honey, and fruit salad for breakfast. A new friend has a newer baby, I’m the meal train person on Monday, and I am totally uninspired about what to make.

We can go to sit-down restaurants now. No way in hell am I doing that yet, but being fed by someone else is so tempting.
posted by centrifugal at 12:33 AM on June 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

Since inheriting a bakestone (a heavy, flat, stove-top griddle) last year I've been using it to make bread ('bara planc', soda bread, potato bread), crumpets, (English) muffins, scones, pikelets and, last night, 'drop scones' (aka Scotch pancakes).
posted by misteraitch at 12:56 AM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

I’m so bored with my own cooking and tired of making meals. (And I love cooking and am good at it, so that’s saying something.) [....] We can go to sit-down restaurants now. No way in hell am I doing that yet, but being fed by someone else is so tempting.

When I got to that point, I started buying a bit of somewhat carefully chosen premade frozen & shelf-stable meal-type food (Trader Joe's frozen pizzas & such.) If nothing else, that might (1) give you a pleasant change, (2) inspire some more ideas for stuff to cook at home, and/or (3) remind you why you like your own cooking. :-)

Also, when I noticed that some nice neighbors seemed to be living 50% on takeout, I gave them a bit of home cooking that I advised can be reheated good & hot without damaging it, to help kill any coronavirus hypothetically lurking inside it.
posted by cattypist at 12:57 AM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

For a quick pasta dinner: ground lamb, hottest chilli you can abide, diced red onion, fried in plenty of olive oil. Lots of crushed garlic and basil tossed through along with the drained pasta after everything is well browned.

To drink: shot of cointreau, port glass worth of port, lots of ice, good lemonade.
posted by lucidium at 1:40 AM on June 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

I just discovered a very large Korean/broadly-Asian grocery store that's only a kilometer from me. It must not have existed when I moved here and was searching for stores and it's not on the way to anywhere I go. It's not quite as big as some of the stores in the suburbs, but I can walk to it in 15 minutes instead of biking to it in an hour like the others. And they've got some of the best produce I've yet found in the midwest. It's so much better than my farm box, I think I'm going to cancel my order, despite how much I like the delivery guys. I don't know what vitamin deficiencies you get from only eating Korean pears, bean sprouts, and six kinds of mushrooms for an entire summer, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

Lately I've found it hard to enjoy either my own cooking or my few attempts at take-away. As someone who loves both cooking and eating, that's unusual. Also, I think I may have become lactose intolerant, either by age or by going without dairy for a couple of months. (Experiments, carefully documents, but not blinded, are in progress.) I'm going to keep eating cheese either way, but perhaps only small amounts of really good cheese if it turns out to be true and irreversible.

The last week or two, miso soup with soba is the only thing I will reliably finish a whole portion of. I've spent the last few months cooking rather complicated things and then getting bored with them after the first few spoonfuls and letting the leftovers rot. (But, I've also been losing 3-4 pounds a month, which in my case is welcome.)

I'm really looking forward to Rainier Cherry season. It must be nearly here, but I haven't seen them yet. It's more or less the only thing about summer that I like, aside from outdoor theater. . . which means that this year it stands alone.
posted by eotvos at 1:56 AM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

The last two nights (because leftovers) were roast chicken, roast potatoes, roast pumpkin (from the garden), and roast carrots, with lots of garlic, homemade gravy, and yorkshire puddings (which I know are more traditional with beef, but we don't really eat beef and I wanted the puds). Very nice winter food, even if it doesn't entirely feel like winter here most days.

I'm also kind of bored of all the food we normally eat, but also too full of the blahs to make the effort to branch out much. I've been doing some nice baking sometimes though still. About a week ago I made a batch of Belgian biscuits that I've been pretty good about eating only one or two of per day, for a change, so I only just ran out today even though the recipe was a total liar and only made 9 biscuits once I halved it, not 14.
posted by lollusc at 2:48 AM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite] because I just can't be bothered to cook. Cooking in hungryroot terms is 10 minutes or less. And it's quite tasty.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 6:04 AM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Broccoli cheese soup in the InstantPot last night because it's dead simple and was raining all day yesterday. Broiled some garlic bread on the side.
posted by Twicketface at 6:10 AM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

We've been making almost-lasagne a bunch lately, either moussagne (the unholy combination of moussaka and lasagne, with layers of sliced potatoes & aubergines instead of pasta) or regular lasagne but without bechamel because I can never be fucked to make a white sauce as well as a red sauce, so we just do grated cheese for the white sauce layer and it's fine? A bit denser/less wet than regular lasagne but good enough that we both want to keep eating it.

I made the Smitten Kitchen hot fudge sauce the other night but it was a little too sweet for my preference, I prefer it more chocolatey/fudgy rather than sweet/syrupy, so next time I'd reduce the golden syrup content (or make the toffee sauce from my preferred sticky toffee pudding recipe and melt chocolate into it at the end and see how that goes).

Next on the sweet-things-to-make list is these oreo cheesecake truffles, but I've taken a short break from baking/sweet treat preparation at my partner's behest as he was suffering from a bad case of "too many puddings" a little while back.
posted by terretu at 6:18 AM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have SO much lettuce from my CSA lately, so I've been trying to eat more salads. I don't really like leafy salads all that much, but they are quick and easy and healthy. Today I'm going to make a frittata to use up other CSA things - eggs, asparagus, potatoes, garlic scapes, and I'll throw some goat cheese or parm or both in there to round it out. I am still working from work every other day and we temporarily don't have access to microwaves, so frittatas work well.

Speaking of work, even though I have to be at the factory, I try to limit my time out on the floor interacting with people. Last Tuesday, I had about a 5-minute conversation with an employee. We were both wearing masks and face shields, but were less than 6' apart in order to hear each other. Tuesday night he had a fever, and I found out yesterday that he tested positive for Covid. So, I'm playing it extra safe w social distancing, and am not going out at all the next 2 weeks (except to work because I don't fit our definition of "close contact" in order to self-quarantine, grumble grumble). It stinks, I had just seen my boyfriend for the first time last weekend, and wanted to go see dad today, but nope. With all of the PPE , the odds are probably pretty small, but still.
posted by Sparky Buttons at 6:29 AM on June 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've been keeping spiced ghee like this around in the fridge lately. Current favorite untraditional combo: garlic, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, black peppercorns, bay leaves. Good on everything tbh, but the biggest win so far is melting it on roasted sweet potato chunks. Absolutely not summer-y food, but I don't even care, it's delicious.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:33 AM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

i would love to hear how though. i have a dear deep spot in my memory about a friend explaining in patient detail and with illustrations how to sex cannabis plants

Not all plant species work like that. Sex in plants is interesting. Some species, like roses or tomatoes, have both male and female parts within the same flower. Some, like squashes or corn, have some flowers with only male parts and others with only female parts, but they're mixed together on the same plant. And some plants, like cannabis or holly, either produce all female flowers or all male flowers. You would think that a plant with both male and female flowers, or male and female parts in the same flower, could pollinate itself, and sometimes they can, but some species have mechanisms in place to prevent this from happening. Tomatillos, for instance, don't pollinate themselves, so if you want your tomatillo flowers to get pollinated and produce fruit you need to plant at least two of them. That's not the case for tomatoes.
posted by Redstart at 6:48 AM on June 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

I gifted myself a Lodge dutch oven at the beginning of the pandemic and the amount of boeuf bourgignon produced in my house has spiked noticeably.
posted by signal at 7:04 AM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Made the season’s first batch of gazpacho yesterday. It’s my go-to dish when it’s hot and humid. I make a huge amount and then just eat cups of it all day. No guilt—it’s all fresh veggies so I can eat as much as I want! I’ll probably finish it today.

I realized recently that I’ve never made homemade bread. Got a no-knead recipe from a trusted cooking friend at work, FINALLY was able to buy yeast, and I’m going to try it when it cools off a bit. I make homemade soup A LOT and I would love to make my own crusty bread to serve with soup.
posted by bookmammal at 7:09 AM on June 21, 2020 [4 favorites]

Puerto Rican inspired chicken and rice. Cube two large chicken breasts and sauté for about 4 minutes in an Instapot with 3 TBS of sofrito and a TBS of Olive Oil. Then add a packet of saizon and salt and pepper to taste and cook about 2 more minutes. Add 8 oz of tomato sauce and a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes and cook another couple of minutes while stirring. Add 2-cups chicken broth and 2-cups of rice, seal the Instapot and hit the rice button. It'll take longer than the default 10 minutes because it'll take longer to build pressure with all that food in there. It'll be fine, don't mess with it.
posted by COD at 7:13 AM on June 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

Does your family eat beef? My kids and I are obsessed with Kenji Alt-Lopez's carne asada recipe, which ends up giving you super tender (but still with texture!) slices of slighty-spicy, ridiculously acid/umame beef, which can be repurposed into tacos or rice bowls or eaten like a caveman without utensils or care. I get all my dried chiles from Penzeys, but I imagine it would be just as good with chiles from your local grocer too.
posted by Mayor West at 7:34 AM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

I made French toast with maple-berry syrup and a side of (veggie) sausage for breakfast this morning, and it was so lovely. I haven’t had French toast in ages, but it’s actually perfect for the just-past-use-by bread I rescue from being tossed at work, so I should do it more!
posted by obfuscation at 7:41 AM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

In the before times I usually have the role of the cook, baker and preserver of cultural foodways in my family. Which means for my Mennonite in-laws I often make their cultural foods for special occasions (with, more often than not, a French Canadian twist - like my tourtière Fleisch Perisky). This year one in particular was greatly missed, due to the pandemic, Paska (their version of the Eastern European sweet & eggy Easter bread). I use a highly tweaked recipe based on their traditional recipe (similar to the one I linked to) which I think is pretty good and overcomes some of the shortfalls of the bread (it dries out quickly)... but I have long sought an acceptable gluten free version. I've tried many variations including my usual standby of just using Bob Red Mills 1 to 1 gluten free flour but it doesn't turn out with the correct texture. My goal is always to make a gluten free baked good that a non-gluten free person would not realise that it was gluten free. Pretty tricky. But with more time on my hands I managed to get a very acceptable version of Paska, learning some interesting techniques along the way, about which I feel triumphant. Critically, it also doubles as a mean French toast.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:16 AM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Slow cooker white chicken chili from I grade all recipes on a combination of ease of cooking (I have minimal cooking skills) and deliciousness/was it worth the effort. This is one of the few that gets the coveted A+.
posted by JanetLand at 8:16 AM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Normally we have a solstice party in our garage for immediate neighbours but of course that isn't a safe idea right now. As I did want to mark the Solstice, pride month, and National Indigenous People's Day, we went ahead and bbq-ed a brisket and pork roast. Then I made several salads and a couple of desserts and passed meals from my garage, all masked up, take out style in containers.
It was fun and after going to our individual houses and eating, some of us came back and had a social distance drink in the alley behind our houses.
posted by biggreenplant at 8:59 AM on June 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

The CSA has just launched so I will be soon beginning my usual summer routine of "pasta-and-veg thrown together based on what vegetables need using up" with "cold salads prepped in the fridge" and "things that will use up all the damn eggs". One of the supermarkets near me had yeast, and I pounced on that; next week I'm going to attempt a chocolate bread I have a recipe for because why not.

In three days my roommate leaves town for a month, and I"m taking the opportunity to cook through a lot of the stuff in the pantry and fridge; we've both had a little bit of a hoarding habit and the fridge is full to bursting, and it's getting even worse now with the CSA started up. So I intend to actually USE some of all this stuff in there (my roommate has granted me squatter's rights on anything of his from the fridge that would otherwise go bad). The goal is to have a more organized and sorted fridge and freezer by the time of his return. But that means I'm going to have to start getting seriously experimental in order to use everything.

Quiches are good for that kind of thing. I have a single roll-out crust, I have plenty of eggs, I'll have three kinds of shredded cheese, all I'll need to do is scour the fridge for some cooked vegetables and throw them in and boom. (Can be as simple as "throw some zucchini into a quiche lorraine because why not.) Quiches can also be eaten hot or cold, so that also takes care of brown-bagging lunches.

I'm also getting into the habit of having a drink when I get home - not necessarily an alcoholic one, either. I treated myself to a copy of David Lebovitz's book Drinking French, which has some fancy cocktail recipes but also has some more easy going, non-alcoholic cafe drinks, as well as some low-proof things. One of my favorites is just milk, sugar, and cocoa powder, dumped into a cocktail shaker with three ice cubes and then you shake the hell out of it. Or, instead of the cocoa, you add three shots of espresso. You end up with a cold, frothy creamy thing. ....A lot of the other drinks seem to be just lemon soda spiked with something; everything from green mint syrup (a surprisingly good non-alcoholic thing), to a shot of strawberry liqueur mashed with a couple fresh strawberries (that was AMAZING). i've also been meaning to try a beer cocktail - lemon soda cut half-and-half with a pale ale. Maybe adding a shot of grenadine. I'm not really a beer person, but that much sugar and I may be into it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:50 AM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

The most recent thing I was proud of concocting was a sort of fusion dish of farro cooked in the style of fried rice. Cook one cup of farro in roughly 6 cups of liquid (I did about 1 c dry vermouth and 5 c water) with a couple of bay leaves on a low simmer until tender and all the liquid has absorbed or evaporated (a little more water if the grains aren't cooked through). Chop up a bunch of asparagus, chiffonade a bunch of kale, dice an onion, and mince a couple cloves of garlic. Heat up a few tablespoons of oil (I used shallot oil from frying some shallots a few days prior), saute the onion for a couple minutes, and then toss in the garlic and stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Throw in the asparagus and cook for 4-5 minutes until starting to get tender, and then chuck in the kale. Stir fry for a minute or two until it starts to get a little wilted, and then toss in the farro and fry for a couple more minutes. At this point, I added a mixture of a few tablespoons of soy sauce, some fermented bean paste, and a few tablespoons of chili crisp (and some rice vinegar, too, I think? I really need to write these things down). Stir until the liquid has mostly evaporated, and then plate. I topped it with a few leftover crispy shallots. In the future, I might add some scrambled egg or maybe some diced Chinese sausage or pork belly.

With the exception of dairy and eggs, most of our raw ingredients come from various CSAs nowadays so most of my cooking involves throwing together whatever we happened to get in the veggie box that week with frozen meat from the monthly butcher pickup and grains out of the pantry.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:10 AM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

(I do always spell the name wrong, because "Bharat" is a name in my universe, but the actual spice combo is properly called "baharat")

My husband's previous boss was named Bharat. I spelled it "Borat" (like the Sacha Baron Cohen character) in an email one time and I thought he would never stop laughing.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:43 AM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've been making up a vat of shrimp ceviche every week as my go-to thing to snack on. It's low in WW points and something I really enjoy, which is a fairly rare combination of traits in a food.

I don't have an official recipe, I just get a bag of small, cooked, tail-off shrimp, a bunch of chopped cucumber, and some chopped avocado. Add tomato sauce, lime juice, and a couple of tablespoons of fresh salsa from the deli (so I don't have to fuck around with a fresh bundle of cilantro.) I season with a little chili powder and Tabasco sauce for heat. It's refreshing and delicious. Eat it with a spoon, scoop it up on tortilla chips or eat with crackers.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:01 AM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

I baked a pie with the marionberries that are slowly taking over my fence. That was new and good. For father's day we got a lox box from Grands and a veggie box which was packed full. I'm in that position where my harvests from my garden are like 90% squash and 10% herbs, so I thought a veggie box would give me some variety and I was right! But I have a question! What the heck is this? I have 4 and I can't figure out if it's a type of eggplant or squash. Either way I'm good- I just want to know how to cook it!

In garden news- I have forked the cats. No context. But I can divulge that no felines were hurt in this operation, but cucumber plants may have been saved. Also it's looking like the crazy ass heat waves are gonna give me mondo tomatoes this year.
This is good. However in a lesson not to count the chickens as it were- it rained in the night last night and now everything is wet out which of course means the return of the tomato fugal issues. Can't win.

Might head back to work soon, scared a bit.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:05 AM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]


Yes. I have not a lot of countertop space and no dishwasher and it's hot af here the past few days so that has been a consideration. My fave discovery during pandemic cooktime has been this sweet potato, peanut, lentil stew that Lyn Never told me about. Filling, tasty, easy to make ten servings at a time. Goes well with fritos.

I have a weird food story and no place to put it so I will put it here. There are a lot of people living with food insecurity in Vermont. I am not one of them (and I donate generously to our local Food Bank who are amazing). However i have a lot of anxieties about the supermarket and my non-mask-wearing neighbors so I assemble food from a variety of places (farmer's market, local health food store, trades with friends for notarizing or computer help &c.) and it works fine. There are a lot of farm-to-table food distribution things going on, many of which are inclusive and meant for anyone. So when I decided to go to one at my local high school, I thought it was one of those "Hey get a box of produce" things. Reader, it was not.

My first inkling that I was maybe in the wrong place was that the National Guard was there....

So turns out this was one of those MASSIVE food distribution projects that have been happening statewide. I had assumed it wasn't because... our town has 4500 people and these have mostly been happening at airports and other large scale places. So anyhow I showed up at my appointed time, was directed into a car line where some nice masked people asked if I had done the census, knew about 211, knew other food resources etc. They wrote some code on my windshield based on a five question survey I had done to reserve my time. I drove forward and FOUR people opened all the doors of my car and FILLED it with boxes of food including (the only thing I could identify) FOUR GALLONS OF MILK. Which, hey that was nice but I wondered if maybe they thought I had a family of four, but by the time I was ready to ask a question they had shut the doors and banged on my hood (like "move along") and so I moved along.

I live up two flights of stairs and am a small person and it's beastly hot here, so just getting everything into my apartment was my cardio for the day (7 boxes + four milks = 6 trips?) and then, well, everything doesn't fit in my fridge/freezer and also I feel embarrassed/ridiculous because I don't actually need all of this and I somehow spaced my way into it. So I start clearing space but also texting people I know who have various challenges (my depressed friend who doesn't drive, my friend with three young kids, my 96 year old landlady, the friend who had gotten me occasional stuff from the supermarket these past months) and I spend the rest of the afternoon making deliveries of milk, cheese, butter, veggies, bags of... chicken something. We have super-low COVID rates here so I had some nice distant-but-mostly-unmasked conversations with friends who I mostly haven't seen much. My legs are killing me. All the stuff I was keeping in my freezer just to keep it fresher (bread, quinoa, flour) is all over the counter space. I had bought three potatoes at the farm stand before the food pickup.... now I have ten pounds + 3 potatoes.

So my plan for now is to google up some recipes for this weird chicken (it's like bulk bags of pre-cooked cut-into-strips breast meat I think?) and see if I can make some pre-made chicken and potatoes meals for me, my landlady, and my other friends. Of course there's at least one more day of heat, so cooking ANYTHING in my small no-range hood, no-AC , no-microwave apartment seems like it's an investment in future bad-sleep. And yet I really need to covert more of these raw materials into stuff that's good to eat. I am grateful we have these systems in Vermont, and sorry I took something that was not meant for me; I hope to pay it forward.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:32 AM on June 21, 2020 [8 favorites]

What the heck is this? I have 4 and I can't figure out if it's a type of eggplant or squash.

This is just a guess, but I assume squash. All eggplant varieties I can find pictures of online seem to have a green stem/leaves that very tightly cap the end, and the item in your pictures clearly doesn't have that. So more likely squash (or something else) than eggplant.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:33 AM on June 21, 2020

So I've done some more research and I think it's actually a type of cucumber! Which at least gives me some cues towards proper storage. Of course cucumbers and squash- closely related.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 12:05 PM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

I made my very first skillet cornbread from scratch today! I learned things: many people have Very Strong Opinions on savory vs. sweet cornbread; it is easy to make cornbread without flour; you can substitute plain whole milk yogurt for buttermilk in baking recipes; and heating up and putting a little bacon fat in your cornbread recipe is delicious.

It turned out really well, though I would probably use a finer grind for the cornmeal next time.
posted by bedhead at 12:22 PM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

I live up two flights of stairs and am a small person and it's beastly hot here, so just getting everything into my apartment was my cardio for the day (7 boxes + four milks = 6 trips?) and then, well, everything doesn't fit in my fridge/freezer and also I feel embarrassed/ridiculous because I don't actually need all of this and I somehow spaced my way into it. So I start clearing space but also texting people I know who have various challenges (my depressed friend who doesn't drive, my friend with three young kids, my 96 year old landlady, the friend who had gotten me occasional stuff from the supermarket these past months) and I spend the rest of the afternoon making deliveries of milk, cheese, butter, veggies, bags of... chicken something.

I may have inadvertently started a bonding thing with the neighbors downstairs because of the CSA by doing something like this. Usually, I go to where the distribution site is, and each vegetable is laid out on its own table and I collect one of each and go on my way. I often try to get a smaller size bunch or portion of something if I know that I won't finish it all just by myself, so it doesn't go bad. If it's something I already have a lot of, I just skip it.

However, because of coronavirus they had to come up with another system that got people out and on their way faster. Now the organizers parcel everything out into grab-and-go bags and boxes, and you go to the check-in desk and give your name, they look up what you're owed, and then grab it all ("one veg bag, one fruit, half dozen eggs, and coffee if we got it this week") and present it and you grab it and go. You're not allowed to linger and sort through to give anything back you don't need, you're not allowed to check over and see if you could maybe have a smaller bunch of turnips - you get what you get and you skedaddle.

So last week I ended up with two enormous heads of lettuce in my share, along with the big bunch of garlic scapes and the big bunch of scallions. And I was only halfway through one head of lettuce and had only used a couple scallions when this week rolled around, where I once again got two more heads of lettuce, another bunch of garlic scapes, and another bunch of scallions. Now, I know the garlic scapes will get used, and I learned last year you can freeze scallions, so I chopped up most of those to store for later. But that left me with three and a half head of lettuce still.

However, downstairs is a young family that's only been here about two years. We've had occasional can-I-borrow-a-screwdriver interaction, but that's it. And so out of desperation I bagged up the two head of lettuce and went down to knock on the door, and when the mother answered I asked "this is going to sound weird, but do you want some free lettuce?" I explained my CSA had given me way too much, and she just blinked a couple times and then shrugged and said sure. And then her kids came to the door to tell me all about the pretend beaver dam they were making and so now I have two new very young friends as well as a new option for getting rid of produce I won't be able to eat on time.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:51 PM on June 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

I am currently wreathed in the scent of smoldering cherries*. I'm also getting quite hungry.

*which, incidentally, is my new band name
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:59 PM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

I too have rhubarb that I wanted to use, so I managed to get some Bramley apples (British cooking apples, big sour bastards) and made a rhubarb-apple crisp. I boiled the rhubarb with a bit of sugar and vanilla before putting it in the dish with the apple pieces. Topping was butter rubbed into a mixture of white sugar, brown sugar, flour, oats, ginger and cinnamon.

Of course, now I have an entire rhubarb-apple crisp in the house and no one to share it with. Why do I do this to myself????

So I have a couple of questions for the hive mind:

1. How do I make an omelette without it getting stuck to the pan?

2. Relatedly, how do I get bits of cooked-on egg off the god damn pan?

In the early days, I made a couple of canonically perfect omelettes. Since then, the gods have punished my hubris by making every single one stick to the pan and get mutilated. Mutilated eggs are still delicious of course, but I wish I could make a decent omelette again.
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:03 PM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Well, so...

For the sake of science, I feel obligated to inform anyone interested that I should have set the smoker to a lower temperature*. I think the crucial points to be learned from this experience are that (a) spatchcocking the chicken (which I don't normally do) ends up making it cook quicker; and (b) lately I've been soaking the wood chips before dumping them into the smoker, which makes for a smoother smoke flavor but also increases the time needed for it to fully infuse the meat. Also (c) "crisping the skin" doesn't seem to be possible after slow-cooking the chicken even if one does finish in a very hot oven, so it will always be a trade-off between smoky meat and delicate light crispy crunchy luscious chicken skin...phooey. Anyway, clearly I need to do a lot more experimentation!

The mushroom-spring peas-egg noodles with homemade chicken stock, on the other hand, was excellent.

*My electric smoker has a separate attachment for actually heating the wood chips, so the temp I cook the food at is independent of the heat needed to get the wood chips hot enough to start smoking. It's no Pit BBQ, but if I work it right the results are reasonably close.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:05 PM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

1. How do I make an omelette without it getting stuck to the pan?
2. Relatedly, how do I get bits of cooked-on egg off the god damn pan?

1. Get an inexpensive* nonstick pan then don't abuse it: never heat it above Medium, FOR THE LUVVA PETE don't use metallic utensils on it, and never use it for anything but cooking eggs.

2. After the pan has cooled, if necessary fill it with lukewarm (not hot!!) water and let it soak for 30-60 minutes before carefully washing it with a non-abrasive implement and dish soap.

If you still have problems with sticking eggs at that point, it's time to seriously rethink your egg-cooking technique....

*According to multiple sources, there's no such thing as a "long-lasting" non-stick surface, so why spend a bunch of money? Go cheap and just replace it once the nonstick surface inevitably starts to fail. If you follow the above suggestions, that should still take a while.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:24 PM on June 21, 2020 [4 favorites]

we are about to get into a bunch of grilled swordfish and veg. We went to the beach for two hours today. We got our first CSA box a few days ago, lots of greens! And we got a container garden starter box from these folks so we are now growing tomatoes, cukes, corno peppers, bell peppers, mint, cabbage, broc, red basil, thyme, two kinds of parsley, chives, cilantro, corriander, dill, batchelors buttons, sunflowers, roses, and weed. The weed plants did not come from the starter box, a neighbor gifted us those.

Lots of people here this weekend and last, about half of them not masked and clearly not taking the virus seriously.

At work we are taking baby steps towards some outside seating while curbside continues to crank. Indoor dining is allowed as of tomorrow here in Mass, and we have no plans to go in that direction for at least months. As we move into outdoor seating, I'll have to make a choice- do I take the lead and do the outdoor tables myself, and stop being Captain Takeout? Do I let someone else establish the service and safety standards in what will essentially be an opening (my workplace has never done outdoor seating before) ? Do I leave the curbside operation in the hands of someone else? We are the only restaurant on the island that has had ANY trip ad visor reviews since March. We've had three. All three were 5 star. I fear if I am not there we can not sustain that. On the other side if I don't take charge of the outdoor section that could crater.

Gonna be a nutty summer. When this is all over, when there is a vacccine, we are doing the late summer/early fall mefi MV retreat. Smart kind people all in one place. Near the beach and with lots of grilling.

Love you crazy kids.
posted by vrakatar at 6:37 PM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

If you do what Greg_Ace says with the nonstick skillet, you can still use the old one for everything else before it gives up too much of its magic smoke. Yes, I have two identical skillets, one for delicate eggs, and one for everything else (and, of course, a stainless skillet of exactly the same size for searing and browning and so on). Professional chefs and masochists (but I repeat myself) will insist you should be able to make an omelette in a carbon steel pan, but I have not found this to be a skill worth mastering when I can just throw $20 at the problem every 18-24 months.
posted by fedward at 6:46 PM on June 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

Tonight’s dinner, not even cooked: a quick salad of a tomato, an avocado, a can of yellowfin tuna (including the olive oil), lotta salt and pepper, and scallion. Spread on yesterday’s sourdough. (To make this, go back in time and bake some sourdough yesterday).
posted by fedward at 6:51 PM on June 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

Professional chefs and masochists (but I repeat myself)

posted by Greg_Ace at 6:57 PM on June 21, 2020 [4 favorites]

your on the fryers tonight
posted by clavdivs at 7:12 PM on June 21, 2020

Wait. I left out the lemon juice in that quick yellowfin tuna salad. Juice of half a lemon seemed about right. I should have proofread.
posted by fedward at 7:34 PM on June 21, 2020

your on the fryers tonight

In the sense of attending to the station, or strapped to the cooking surface, or...?
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:39 PM on June 21, 2020

I think in the lean weeks when there isn't much from the garden I might spend on this organic veggie box from Oakland- lox box or no lox box! The funny veggies were almost certainly a type of cucumber and a miracle happened- Dad could taste them! He has anosmia (nasal polyp surgery gone wrong) and so a lot of his sense of taste is based on texture and memory- so If a vegetable is new to him he can't always (99%) taste it fully. He can still appreciate the texture and the seasonings/sauce (if it's something he's had before) but nuance is dead to him mostly. EXCEPT- I made a big sort of salad with the mesclun and some cooked collards and tuna etc etc and I cut up one of the funny cucumbers and HE COULD TASTE IT! This happens sometimes because his anosmia isn't 100%- but a new vegetable! I'm gonna call up Grand Bakery tomorrow and ask for the exact name of this cucumber and then go buy some seeds because a new variety of veggie that dad can taste is HUGE. I'm already thinking of tearing out the buggy swiss chard for whatever type of cucumber this is- I'm so excited and dad's so happy! This was just about the best father's day in years!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:53 PM on June 21, 2020 [5 favorites]

We got a tiny chili pepper that was about half an inch long in our meal kit last week - it was so tiny in fact that I did not see it when I made the dish and assumed they omitted it. I saw it later and put in some rice tonight. I am glad I made all 4 cups of the rice because that pepper had some heat in it! I had to wash my hands twice to make sure I got it all off. It is good rice, though with garam masala and several fridge veggies plus bacon bits.
posted by soelo at 9:02 PM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Have I told you about the glories of stewed kale yet? Because stewed kale is the best kale. You can't just dump inna pot of water and expect good results. You gotta build the stew around it.

Caldo Verde is technically a Portuguese soup, but immigrants from the Azores to SE New England make it much more like a stew, and if you're patient, you make it a day ahead and then re-heat and serve with fresh baked bread and it is literally a conversation killer, as everyone is too busy gorging themselves to talk. Stews benefit from stewing, especially off-heat.

Whatchu gotta got:

Half package turkey linguicia sausage - I did a blind taste test with two eleven-year-olds, the turkey variety has more dried herbs, and tastes better as a result. Also, folks with gastric issues won't have to deal with heavy pork grease, only some turkey schmaltz. Yes, you can get it online. Even with a distant delivery date, that's dependent on the local delivery hub getting the refrigerated package, it's not sitting in a hot UPS or Amazon truck the whole time.

Two red potatoes, or two Yukon Gold poitatoes, russet/baking potatoes are not a good choice here. Yes, I know what Chef John thinks, he is objectively wrong, here. Waxy potatoes, two good size ones (which will be much smaller than a single russet).

Kale - I like the chopped and washed bagged variety, as I am lazy and also have no use for the gigantic bundle of fresh fronds I have to buy by the pound, 3/4 of it will go bad before use. The frozen variety has been a severe disappointment across a number of vendors and their frozen forms.

Chicken stock, one carton/1 liter, make your own or use Chef Emeril brand boxed stock. I am not even kidding, it's cheap and lightyears better than the pricey boutique boxed stuff.

Half a yellow or white onion. Minced fine.

Buncha saltnpeppa. Toooo taste.

OK, here's whatchadu:

Slice up the linguicia, don't worry about being on "the bias", these will be little gold coins in our stew. This is turkey sausage: you start on low, splash in some Portuguese Olive Oil so it doesn't stick, and then dump it in and sauteé until the oil in the pot on medium is this amazing orange-gold color from the sausage and the little gold coins have a very nice brown and crispy finish.

Save the little gold-brown coins with a slotted spoon! Leave in as much oil as you can.

Onion? Into the Portuguese olive oil/turkey sausage schmaltz it goes! Soften, do not burn.

Taters? Take out the eyes, which involves some effort for New England grown spuds, and peel them to the best of your ability. Yeah, you can half-ass it if you want. Potato peels taste good when cooked, but you have to wash it really well. Just sauteé that action until the taters are still firm but very colorful from the spiced sausage oil.

Chicken stock goes in here. Have a wooden or wood-like spoon or other stirring-like appliance at the ready the scrape up the bits stuck to the bottom. You're deglazing like a champ, send a mefi-mail to me if you need clarification on deglazing. I'll be sure to ignore it or send you a five paragraph missive. Either/Or.

Let's talk about kale. If you bought a great big leafy green armful, toss three quarters of it in the garbage, it will go bad before you decide you like sauteéd kale. Or baked kale. Or raw kale because you're not giving in without a fight. The washed and bagged kale? Good for two weeks and des-stemmed, UNLIKE THE FROZEN KALE WHERE YOU CAN LITERALLY NOT DE-STEM AS IT IS FROZEN.

Yeah, dump half the bag in. It'll cook down. Cook down into FUNKY AWESOME.

Instant Pot - 10 minutes high pressure. Dutch Oven? Cracked lid, at least two hours, in the oven, at 325ºF. Ad back in the sausage before serving. The difference? Low and slow, the onions and kale and potatoes have dissolved into the stew, low and slow. There's just enough left of the leaf structure to give texture. Pressure cooker is still more of a quick soup, tho one more glorious than most, with lots of textures and a ton of flavor. Irt gets much better the next day, reheated.

How does it taste? It tastes like the first time you were invited over to play with toys by a neighborhood kid in your class, and the house smelled weird and strange and comfortable, and everyone had a good time.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:02 PM on June 21, 2020 [6 favorites]

What’s cooking? Well, the foil wrapped head of garlic in the toaster over just announced that it’s reached the roasted garlic stage of its journey. Just all of the sudden, the house filled up with the soft comfortable smell of roasting garlic, and it’s such a positive, enjoyable feeling.

Some of it will be mixed up with butter and smoked paprika for garlic bread, and the rest will form the base of tonight’s mushroom cream sauce for the linguine. Sure, I just spent a total of 28 hours over the weekend doing my first food event this year, but why not jump back in the kitchen!
posted by Ghidorah at 3:54 AM on June 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

Slap*happy, to thank you for that recipe for Caldo Verde I will now give my own tutorial on how to Freeze Your Own Kale So It Doesn't Go Bad, since I've been doing that for a few years now.

* Get the biggest pot you own, and fill it with water. Put that on the stove to come to the boil.

* While you're waiting for it to boil, prepare your kale. "Preparing your kale" means: wash it, cut off the stems (or just rip the stems off by hand), and then roughly chop it so it's in more-or-less bite-size pieces. Then wash it again for good measure.

* When the water in the pot is boiling, dump all the kale in and make sure it gets submerged at least briefly. (You may need to press down on the floating kale with a spoon; it may pop up again, but at least it's gone under once.)

* Let it boil about a minute or two. Stir the kale if you feel like it.

* Then, turn off the heat, put a colander under the faucet in your sink, turn the water on cold and dump the whole pot of water and kale into the colander. Let the kale rinse under the cold water; you'll notice it's wilted down a good deal and is still a nice bright green color.

* When it's cool enough to handle, squeeze the kale in your fists to get as much water out as possible.

* Divvy it up among little freezer bags - based on how much you think you might need at a time - and then throw it in the freezer.

….I actually like to use those tiny little "snack size" plastic bags to portion frozen vegetables out - they're more-or-less single-serving size for whatever vegetable I'm freezing, and so it's easy to fill each one up, seal it, and then throw the whole baggie entirely into a larger quart- or gallon-size freezer bag. Then when I need a bit of frozen whatever I can just pull one of the littler baggies out instead of trying to hew off a corner of an enormous frozen brick. If I need two servings, I pull out two baggies, and so on.

That may be a way to get the best of both worlds - you can DIY your own frozen kale so it doesn't have the stems in, you can do something with the leftover bagged kale if that's how you roll, etc.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:01 AM on June 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

I just brought in 16 garlic scapes from the garden and will probably use them to make this soup, unless anybody here has a better idea.
posted by JanetLand at 11:31 AM on June 22, 2020

We started out doing a lot of chicken tikka, palak paneer, and butter chicken , but my grocer has been out of garam masala for WEEKS, and now I'm down to my last few teaspoons. It's a sad time.

Otherwise, we've been making stir fries with whatever veggies look good, a few baked pasta dishes (although tinkyada GF pasta was out of stock as well during my last excursion), and many (many) stuffed grape leaves.

I really need to find more garam masala.
posted by blurker at 12:31 PM on June 22, 2020

...been perfecting my technique of breading fish filets for pan-fried fish.
It's a matter of letting it all rest in the fridge for a while before frying, so the crust keeps sticking to the fish, and of using not too little oil in a heavy skillet.
Otherwise the usual drill: a coating of flour, dip in egg (sliiiightly diluted with water, salted and loosely beaten), turn around in Your Favorite Breadcrumbs, all the while using the dry-hand-wet-hand choreography. It's obviously important to use fresh fillets of white fish without any bones, or otherwise only upscale-frozen, thawed. Done well, the results beat any battered deep-fried fish I've had.
posted by Namlit at 1:26 PM on June 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

If it's not too late: save one garlic scape to make the best scrambled eggs ever.

And maybe another two for pesto. Garlic scapes, pinenuts, basil (not as much as you'd normally use), a little salt, e basta.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:59 PM on June 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

Okay so I suck at bread, but I'm good at butter and pretty decent at buttermilk biscuits.
posted by ardgedee at 6:07 PM on June 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

So, due to repeated mishandling by UPS and companies issuing replacements followed by UPS finding that which was lost ... I now find myself in possession of literally 10 pounds of pine nuts.

Uh, what do I do with this unexpected bounty? There's kind of a limit on how much pesto I can reasonably consume.
posted by aramaic at 6:20 PM on June 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

There's kind of a limit on how much pesto I can reasonably consume.

I formally challenge that baseless assumption.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:26 PM on June 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Uh, what do I do with this unexpected bounty (of pine nuts)?

If you want to share the wealth....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:33 PM on June 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

We got a counter top oven so I’m doing more oven cooking than I normally would in the summer (this isn’t all from the oven). Red enchiladas, green enchiladas, black bean burgers, vegetable lasagna, pasta with blistered tomatoes, nachos, quesadillas filled with peppers and onions, tacos, more tacos, grilled cheese and tomato soup, tofu green curry, kimchi fried rice, spaghetti and veggie meatballs, and lots of interesting salads from Salad Samurai cookbook.
posted by gryphonlover at 10:27 PM on June 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Just for fun, I've started maintaining a culture of buttermilk (so easy even I can do it - I keep 250 ml in the fridge and use a tablespoon of it every few weeks to make the next batch) and using it to make way too many baked goods. I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes compared to just using milk+lemon, to be honest, but everything's been tasting great and it's almost no effort to keep it going so why not.

Most recently, I used it to make these for the second time this month: lemon-cranberry scones, with buttermilk subbed for the milk. The dough ends up too sticky for me to easily roll out as directed, but dropped in 1/4 cup scoops they're perfect. Super light and fluffy and taste great.
posted by randomnity at 9:16 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Bounty of pinenuts: roast them in the oven or on the stovetop in a pan. No need for oil; they'll sweat their own oil as they heat. They can go in any number of dishes, or you can eat them as snacks.

When roasting them, they'll stay pale for ages, then go slightly brown, then go from medium brown to burnt very quickly, so keep an eye on them.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:02 PM on June 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've been making endless winter soups, because they're easy to do while I work from home, at the dining table.

But for more cooking ideas, here's a very Aussie chef from my neighbourhood, giving his takes on how to make at home a variety of typical supermarket convenience foods, with a covid isolation theme.

Maybe start with End of Days Bolognaise.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:19 PM on June 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

If you eat pine-nuts for fun by the handful, even after I told you told you not to, well, for one, you're wealthy and dumb, and for another now everything tastes like licking a 9 volt battery. That's not covid, it's dumb ass. It's the rest of your life.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:13 PM on June 25, 2020

Pine nut croccante. I have made this exact recipe many times. It's easy, delicious, and impressive to people who don't know how easy it is to make. It can be a nice gift too. You could make a ton of it and then go around leaving little bags of them for all your lonely friends and neighbors.
posted by HotToddy at 9:30 PM on June 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

I got three huge zucchini in my CSA box last week, along with a half-dozen eggs. I already had a half dozen eggs left over from the previous week so that now left me with a bakers' dozen. I'm getting more eggs tomorrow with the next CSA haul.

My roommate also left yesterday for a five-week trip to Seoul, during which he said to please use up all of the refrigerated food that was his. That included a potato, a tomato, and a couple sad carrots. And a lot of cheese of various kinds.

The potato, tomato and carrot all joined one of the zucchini and seven eggs in an enormous and vegetable-laden frittata last night, that also incorporated some of the cheese. That will feed me for a couple straight days (I had a slice for dinner last night, and another slice is in my lunch tote today). Today after work I'll be doing a re-org of the fridge to pull all the cheese and eggs out to the forefront, and after that I forsee a lot of souffles happening.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:30 AM on June 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I would like to just mention that I am jealous of a CSA that delivers coffee, of all things.

My CSA right now is like, "Hey, we got Kale! Have we given you any kale? Also, here's a bunch of basil, but seriously, you want some kale!?".
posted by madajb at 9:19 PM on June 27, 2020 [3 favorites]

I would like to just mention that I am jealous of a CSA that delivers coffee, of all things.

It's a CSA based in Brooklyn. Of course it would include coffee.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:56 AM on June 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

We are getting kale from our CSA, also sugar snap peas I think, and eggs and all sorts of good stuff.

At work, we are soft opening an outdoor section tomorrow. Today in fact as I look at the time. We are only going to do 5 or six tables all night, staggered, so I can figure out how it will all work. We were doing a kitchen expansion in March that included a takeout window, now we are cranking curbside out the front door (112 orders in 4 hours tonight) and the takeout window is now the pass. We can't send bussed plates and glassware back that way, so that has to go through the back kitchen door, through the pizza kitchen, down a narrow hall past the walk in door, to dish pit. We got two tray stands and three SWEET big oval trays to run food from the pass to the table, but I might be the only person in the building who can carry one properly. On the job training here we come.

My boss built this space from the parking lot with shrubs and a tent and old tables and his bare hands.

We've got everything from Kung Pow chicken to fried New England seafood to Brazilian rice and beans to tiramisu. Of course we have a brussels and kale salad and we'll make you a kale caesar. We got the chowder, we got the sirloin tips, we got the scallops from Menemsha. And we are going to do just a little more public health things than any other place on island. 4th of july weekend and here on MV some people are acting like it is a normal summer. It is not.
posted by vrakatar at 11:01 PM on July 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

Vrakatar, this is interesting tracing the vegetable availability from NY Hudson valley to Martha's Vineyard. We're getting similar things from my CSA, but I think that I'm slightly ahead of you - no kale in the last box, but I got sugar snap peas and snow peas - and fava beans, for the first time ever. I found something that used all three, and about half of the fuckton of dill I got, in a lovely warm salad with some grilled chicken.

The rest of the dill got used up in some tuna salad (I dipped into the COVID--19 panic-buy stash) and some shrimp pasta salad. That's been feeding me for lunches the past few days, and today's lunch is a DIY bento that used up the last of the sesame noodles that have been lingering for a week, the rest of this week's cucumbers, a handful of this week's cherries, and some quick-and-dirty Japanese chicken nuggets (cut a boneless chicken thigh into pieces, marinate in a little soy sauce and garlic, then roll 'em in flour and fry).

I also found a recipe for a strawberry shrub-type thing that made for an AMAZING non-alcoholic drink when mixed with seltzer and that's helping use up the last of the strawberries.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:45 AM on July 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Notes from the opening: One of the handheld POS units failed and/or could not connect to our wifi, so that sucked, and while the space is groovy, there is really no way to get plates and what not to the dish pit easily. There are two doors with knobs between the floor and the dish pit, so two hands on a bus bucket is hard, and I know my staff can't get a shoulder tray through there, I tried it myself tonight and made it but barely. It did feel good to hoist a nice big tray again.

The kitchen certainly had trouble doing curbside and outdoor seating, and we will need more hands if we try to be any busier. We fed...38 people tonight. We have 57 seats out there, so turn and a half is about 170. Without a clear path to and from the kitchen, and the bar, I don't think we can do that.

We could go a different direction. Instead of turn and burn we could do pre fixe chef's table type service, what chef makes is what you get, premium wines, laser focused service. That way we maximize profit from the outdoor space while slowing down service and let curbside just keep cranking, and growing. Reposition after Labor day.

People were thrilled to be out there and I had at least a dozen people walk up and try to get a table It felt very strange to be a manager and maitre'd after being Captain Curbside for almost 4 months. The servers were great. The seagulls were not great. I set up a busing station and the seagulls started dive bombing it. So we are not doing that again. We have to "sacca du mesa" and get that crap out of there as fast as possible.

Tomorrow We are going to semi-soft open again, take a few more tables and take them on the late side, so curbside will be slowing down and the kitchen can focus on the outdoor area. I made copious notes and forgot my notebook at work. FUCK!
posted by vrakatar at 10:08 PM on July 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Much smoother tonight, 44 covers. Tomorrow is the 4th of july and we are going short handed full bore. Rumors are swirling about vacationers taking too much risk. Our guests love our "no tap water, no cash" policies, so far anyway.

My two servers got into a beef over something and I'm like kay, day two and I hand picked you and right away you drain my focus with bickering? Not having to manage waitstaff has been a big silver lining of all this for me. They are young and they find drama in every nook and cranny.

My new gig in the new space does let me get plenty of sun, however, so I'm digging that.
posted by vrakatar at 11:19 PM on July 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Great night tonight. No server bickering, fantastic food, and a slow night curbside and a late pop in the 3 day old outdoor seating. We set up coolers full of white wine, soft drinks, water, beer, etc so the servers could take less steps. Closing takes longer as a result.

I gave a little speech to the staff before we opened, and started crying. It has become a joke that I cry at work because this is the second or third time I've cried at work this week. Happy tears each time.

All the official 4th of july fireworks were canceled of course but some one was doing fireworks in Waban Park, or Inkwell, and some of the 55 people we served tonight had a view of them. I had a large group of 12 show up on foot and bikes, big family I reckon, several with drinks or beer cans. The guy insisted on two tables of six, I insisted on 3 tables of 4, and they walked out. The guys daughter doubled back and said sorry.

We got a five star yelp review tonight.

Day off tomorrow.

posted by vrakatar at 10:51 PM on July 4, 2020

I'm going to finish up a tres leches cake in a bit. It's the first time I've made a sponge cake from scratch and it came out nice and fluffy! So proud of myself.
posted by kathrynm at 12:40 PM on July 5, 2020

Q. What can one do when all one has left is a stalk and a half of rhubarb? It's not quite enough for even a single-serving-size pie or anything like that.

A. Apparently, if you're me, you start a very very small batch of a rhubarb cordial. Chop up the stalks, dump the chopped 'barb in a little screwtop jar with a tablespoon of sugar, dump in a half cup of gin and wait.

…I still have to do the usual bit of "shake this up every couple days and then leave the whole thing in the fridge for a couple months first to mellow out". But it should make a little tiny jar of rhubarb liqueur, which I'll be able to sip through slowly in the fall.

Looking into doing the same with some of the cherries I got.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:14 AM on July 6, 2020

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