Metatalktail Hour: Recipes! January 24, 2021 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Happy Weekend, MetaFilter! (Indeed, the happiest weekend in quite a while for many US mefites!) I'm in too good a mood to think of a topic but I'm bored of my winter dishes, so tell me what you're cooking lately!

And of course anything else you want to tell us about!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 10:23 AM (86 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

I've got a new air fryer and a bunch of avocadoes, so I'm going to make avocado fries. I'll slice a just-barely-ripe avocado into wedges, dip them in vegan mayo, and then dredge them in panko seasoned with tajin. Then I'll air fry them till golden, and eat them as is or maybe make avocado tacos.

I also figured out how to use the air fryer to make tacos dorados where the shell is air fried and turns out chewy in the middle and crisp on the edges. Usually you would pan fry them, but that's really fussy. The secret to air frying them is to soften the the corn tortillas by drenching them in warm oil or (vegan) butter, and then filling them with the main ingredient (in my case this might be the avocado fries, or roasted mushrooms), and laying them on their side on a tray in the air fryer. I have multiple trays so I put another tray just above the tacos so the tortillas don't relax back into their flat shape, and cook at the default heat setting until they start to get golden brown on the edges. Then fill with guacamole, salsa, vegan cheese, etc. and chow down.
posted by QuakerMel at 10:46 AM on January 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

I made some tasty food last week. Tomato Basil Soup. Pulled Pork (used hard root beer). French Dip Sandwiches.

Baking wise, I've made my bacon cheese zucchini muffins (base recipe), Tex-Mex inspired zucchini corn muffins (this is the base recipe) and root beer muffins (with the hard root beer I'm trying to use up) and olive oil apple cake with spiced sugar.
posted by kathrynm at 11:13 AM on January 24, 2021

This morning we had this Corned Beef and Spinach Strata which is made the night before and baked in the morning. It comes highly recommended by the whole Wreckage crew. I just used deli corned beef (good quality, not the stuff in the little plastic pouches) but next time I have some left over from a roast I'll be making it again. I made the rye bread for it fresh yesterday and I think that helped a lot with the consistency.

For dessert last night we had the grapefruit cake that was mentioned in the Surely this... MeTa. We don't usually have dessert at our dinners and it was such a treat. It was surprisingly good.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 11:15 AM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Over the last few weeks I've been kind of obsessed with various riffs on this Salad Niçoise recipe from Serious Eats. I pretty much ditch the anchovies though, and just increase the tuna. The best part of this for me is that it really holds up well in the fridge for leftovers, etc.

(If you try this, there's a note at the end about how to do the potatoes ahead of time: basically you sear them til crispy and browned, let cool and then add to the salad.)
posted by jeremias at 11:19 AM on January 24, 2021

The two things I've been making recently are:
Butternut squash cacio y pepe - I serve it in a big bowl with lots of spinach and replace the sausage with seitan sausage

This lemon spinach pasta thing - I haven't made it with fresh pasta, and I don't have preserved lemons, so I just make it with rotini and add capers and sometimes seitan sausage. So yummy.

My boyfriend and I made the tarta de Santiago from here for New Year's and it was also really delicious!
posted by ChuraChura at 11:37 AM on January 24, 2021 [5 favorites]

For breakfast--lunch?, anytime: Pasta Bundt cake, a clunky name for a terrific thing. It's sort of a version of mac & cheese, except it's not like mac & cheese. Today I realized I had most of the actual ingredients called for in the recipe, which is astonishing-- I'm always subbing in 2%milk mixed with ricotta for the whole milk, abandoning the concept of fontina cheese for asiago and romano and queso fresco. Then I sautee mushrooms, zucchini, a bit of tomato, garlic, onion, in dry vermouth, and pour over the top, because cakes need frosting.
posted by winesong at 11:42 AM on January 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Also the grapefruit cake looks perfect for dreary winter, thanks Clinging to the Wreckage!
posted by winesong at 11:43 AM on January 24, 2021

My sister got me this delightful thing as a "no reason" gift so I will be making APPLESAUCE when I get a chance. This is about 75% of where my fruit comes from in the wintertime. Yes I probably have scurvy.

Recipe: peel and slice and chop a LOT of apples, add to large pot with 1/4 cup water, dash of salt, some lemon juice if apples aren't tart, some vanilla if apples are too tart, some cinnamon if you like that, some sweetener (maple syrup here, brown sugar another option) if you want that. Heat water to boil, lower to simmer, cook stirring occasionally while liquid reduces. If apples aren't soft enough when liquid is reduced, cover and continue to simmer. Once cooked til "done" mash extra bits with a potato masher or blend.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:02 PM on January 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

I've wound up with a lifetime supply of various banana breads. I took this one, swapped in a small jar of artisan crunchy chocolate peanut butter, and added dark chocolate chips, with excellent results. Also these brownies, one of my fave recipes, although I find I prefer semi-sweet to bittersweet chocolate.
posted by thomas j wise at 12:03 PM on January 24, 2021

I just discovered the perfect way to make homemade pizza. While the base is cooking on cast iron pan you use a heat gun (A thing that looks like a hair drier but is normally used for stripping paint) on the top to get a perfect crust.
posted by night_train at 12:26 PM on January 24, 2021 [8 favorites]

I did chili mac last night because I wanted stupid "it's cold outside" comfort food. The amazing thing is when I asked mr hippybear how he felt about chili mac, his response was "what is chili mac?"

It came out good, he seemed to enjoy it. We don't do pasta a lot, but maybe I'll do that again sometime.
posted by hippybear at 12:27 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

A lot of veggies in the air fryer, with just a little salt, pepper and various vinegars (Balsamic, Apple Cider, etc...). Some of the best meals we've had!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:30 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Aligot (French link), decent seared sausages, bitter green salad. If you can't find tomme, then white cheese curds are a good substitute.

Also Kerala chicken, because I discovered there's a house in my neighborhood with a huge curry plant that grows over the fence. Since the house is rented by a bunch of recent college-grad bros, I figure they have no idea what the plant is and consequently I now have a steady supply of free fresh curry leaves so I don't have to be so miserly with them and may even get around to making curry leaf mayo.
posted by aramaic at 12:44 PM on January 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

I'm doing low carb again, so the other night I made these enchiladas with low carb tortillas. It's junky and not at all authentic, but it was delicious!

Ground Turkey Enchiladas (low carb)

1 lb ground turkey (or beef)
1 packet taco seasoning
15 oz can of diced tomatoes
Sm can of sliced black olives, drained
Red enchilada sauce (I got the big 28 oz can and had a ton left over)
½ jar salsa con queso
Low carb tortillas
Shredded cheddar/jack cheese

Brown ground meat, breaking up with spatula. Add diced tomatoes with their juice, olives, taco seasoning. Simmer for 10 minutes. Mix in salsa con queso and two big handfuls of shredded cheese. Cook on medium-low heat until cheese melts, stirring frequently.

Pour 1 ½ cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of 9x13 pan. Dip each tortilla in sauce (front and back), then lay it in the pan and add the meat filling along with more shredded cheese and fold sides of tortilla over filling. Secure with a toothpick temporarily until you have enough enchiladas packed together that they stay folded. Add any leftover filling around the sides of the pan. Remove toothpicks. Top with more shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:48 PM on January 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

I've had two recent successes making rolls at home but have some bread questions:

I made these dinner rolls to go with some pulled pork, though I reduced the yeast to 1 tsp because I didn't need them to be ready quickly.

I also made hoagie rolls to satisfy my curiosity about making meatball subs at home.

Both times they turned out well, but neither time was I able to attain a 'windowpane', dough that stretches thinly enough that you can see light through it. I just don't have the hand kneading stamina. And still, both breads turned out fine. Also, I used active dry yeast, and neither time did the yeast proof into a foamy layer: it just smelled alive enough that I kept going, and both times I had reasonably risen breads. We did not eat matzo or bricks or anything.

Maybe they would be even better if I had kept kneading or had frothingly active yeast, but maybe the windowpane and yeast proofing landmarks are ideals and not strictly necessary? I worry about these things because I think people get discouraged if they don't think they're doing it right and don't have my boneheaded "it's probably ok, let's just try it" attitude. Or maybe most other people have a stand mixer / more kneading stamina than me.
posted by batter_my_heart at 1:00 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

I derive comfort from cooking long, involved things, but I only seem to want to eat simple things. The freezer is full of good things I have no appetite for.

But I'm still making chili con carne today. It snowed this morning, and I'd like to warm up the kitchen. There's something reassuring about a pot of something good just simmering away on the stove.

I know kidney beans are controversial, but I have some, so I'm adding them. I'll hold off on tomatoes unless it seems to need them. No bell peppers, but I have some chipotles in adobo. And I'm toasting the cumin seeds up front. I'm 4000 miles from Mexico but I'm doing my best.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:25 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

I, too, made enchiladas. A few weeks ago, I ruined the seasoning on a cast iron pan and lid by doing everything wrong - I cooked a liquidy recipe with tomatoes in it and stored the leftovers in the pan with the lid on. And then scoured it with soap afterward. The lid got some rust - still not able to remove all of it - and the pan looked a bit bald. But I re-scrubbed and seasoned in the oven (though I didn't have the best oil), and sautéed the chicken and vegetables which seemed to rehab it a bit. I took a bit of a leap and finished the enchiladas in the same pan in the oven with the oil/fat from the sautéing - no tomatoes but the sauce could be a little acidic - in a deconstructed casserole fashion, layering sauce, tortilla, and filling. They came out nice! And after a much milder washing, drying, and wipe-down with some oil (leftovers in a separate dish), the pan seems ok, though still not back to its original glory. Just means I have more cooking to do with it. (Perhaps this is a metaphor for life and my country).
posted by bluefly at 1:42 PM on January 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

I am about to go to the grocery store, which will be the first time I have left the house in almost two weeks. Pray for me, everyone!

Anyway, I'm very excited to bake grapefruit yogurt cake tonight. I've got a lot of other, more practical recipes also lined up, but I'm mostly excited about the grapefruit yogurt cake.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:46 PM on January 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

It had been 18 years since I had McDonald's. I think the last time was when my kids were young and we were in a hurry. So I was really hungry the other day and happened to be driving past a McD's. I do not recall what happened for the next 2 minutes, but next thing I know I am pulling out of the drive in with a Big Mac, Fries and a large DC. Anticipation! Pulled into the strip mall lot next door to eat. First bite! Meh. What a disappointment. Ate the fries because Mickey D fries! but the rest of the Big Mac went out with the trash. I would have been better off thinking it was going to be delicious rather than trying it and being disappointed. If only I happened to be driving past a Popeye's!

Lesson: Whatever recipe you have at home is better than Le Big Mac.
posted by AugustWest at 1:50 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

AugustWest: I think you'll find the Quarter Pounder With Cheese is sort of the king sandwich at McDs these days. They're made from fresh not frozen patties, go on the grill when you order one (you might get parked for a bit if the drive through is not busy between order screen and pick-up window), and they pretty much taste like what I'd expect a backyard burger to taste like. If you do try again, I'd suggest one of those.
posted by hippybear at 1:53 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have short ribs in the freezer and some super fancy polenta, and the next time I want to make a slow and special meal that’s what’s happening, hopefully with chard or some other greens. Chard is weirdly hard to get from my local Kroger, they only carry organic and often it looks like someone stepped on it before it left California.

My kid and I have been making the Smitten Kitchen blueberry muffins from the most recent cookbook the last few weekends, they are quick and easy and you can make them with frozen blueberries.

We did my kid’s first blood draw this past week and yes, she does have covid antibodies. 😞
posted by Lawn Beaver at 2:05 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

  • I got a leg of lamb just before New Year's but because of my ankle injury haven't cooked it. I am craving lamb now and I might put it in the fridge to thaw and write out for my partner what I want him to do. (I would probably mince the garlic and add dried herbs and olive oil paste to smear all over the outside because I do it by eyeball/scent, have him seal in sous vide bag, cook for time, finish...ugh somehow...I really want a kitchen torch for browning things).

  • I make a really good blended squash soup and we just finished up the containers that I froze last time I made a batch.

    (Note - I roast squash in bulk and freeze it in quart size bags that I freeze flat, so I just thaw a bag of roasted squash for this recipe. I find that every roasting squash except spaghetti squash makes good soup.)
    1. Roast:
      • a squash - what size? about a pound. Acorn and Butternut are easy to find in the stores in winter. I cut the squash in half, scoop the seeds out (save for toasting), and oil and lightly salt the inside of the cavity. You can roast the halves face up or face down, in my experience they do not complain.
      • some garlic - I use all the cloves in a head, peeled. You do you
      • a thickly sliced onion and some roughly chopped potatoes, add a chopped carrot if you have a carrot

    2. In a stock pot, heat up some olive oil, toss in the roasted garlic and onion and get a little color on them. Plop in the squash and potatoes. Sprinkle in some dried herbs you like with squash. Sage is good, but I don't have any in the kitchen for some reason, so I keep using Thyme, which I always have. Sometimes I'll add oregano. I add fresh ground black pepper. Wait on the salt, because the stock can be heavy on it, or you might have salty croutons.

    3. Cover these veggies with whatever form of chicken or vegetable stock you like. I really miss Trader Joe's chicken concentrate that came in tubes and was easy to carry. Now I get Better Than Bouillon paste in a jar because it's also easy to carry. I usually use about two quarts of stock. Better to add less and thin it out later if it's too thick while you're figuring out how much liquid you want.

    4. Bring to a boil. Simmer for a little bit, maybe 20 minutes. Since everything is roasted, you don't have to cook it long.

    5. I mix everything up with an immersion blender. You can use a regular blender to mix cooled soup. Do not transfer hot soup to a regular blender.

    6. I serve with whatever I have around that I like with soup. Crusty bread? Croutons? Blop of heavy cream or yogurt into the bowl? Stir in some leftover rice from last night? Sliced cold veggies on the side? Sliced chicken sausages?

  • Tonight we are having salad with home pickled beets, orange slices, and feta over baby spinach and arugula. I might pop open a can of chickpeas and toss some olive oil and za'atar over them for extra protein.

    I have to schedule myself for ankle surgery because the MRI showed that I have completely torn the ligament (ATFL). PT is going well but a real solution is needed.

    A month or so ago I moved some of the individually wrapped hard candies to a little lidded dish on top of the microwave, and now i eat about one candy a day instead of thinking wistfully "I have hard candy here somewhere..." Last week I got a clear cookie jar to display/store some of my kit kat stash in so that we eat them instead of just collecting. I'm savoring one or two a day and it's really nice.

  • posted by bilabial at 2:55 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

    I have been savoring candy lately, which is rare for me. I will buy a Ritter Sport dark chocolate bar with hazelnuts, thinking this is more like food, maybe one every other month. But I visited a new grocery store, and it has this international aisle with all kinds of stuff, and I bought a tin of fruit drops, just clear candies. They are great. I will go back to dried fruit, for sweets, and nuts for snacks, as soon as this stuff is gone. I have been frying chicken lately, but tomorrow or the next day, I get a new stove with a working oven, back to baking stuff.
    posted by Oyéah at 3:21 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

    I forgot the Mexican Corn Cakes, they are the bomb!
    posted by Oyéah at 3:22 PM on January 24, 2021

    I was sitting around three weekends ago and decided it was time to learn to make American style pancakes. Its remarkably easy so now we've had them three Sundays in a row. The caramelised bananas are working out well too. They can't be less healthy than a fry up can they? Don't answer.
    posted by biffa at 3:24 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

    Fast food burgers; in Canada Wendy's used to lead the pack but A&W really upped their game a few years ago, which tipped McDonald's hand and McD did an ad campaign about new formulations for the quarter pounders about a year or two ago. The patties are a lot better than the standard Big Mac patties.
    posted by porpoise at 3:52 PM on January 24, 2021

    Rediscovered fried rice. Hadn't made it in years, can still nail it. Just like falling off a bike.

    My particular method is to break up and heat up the overnight rice in an oiled pan then pour salted scrambled egg and mix so each grain of rice is protected by a thin protein layer to trap the moisture inside each individual loose grain. Since the egg is salted, the salt is evenly distributed and one's left with pale coloured fried rice.

    Last batch, I marinated a longitudinally split pork tenderloin char siu-style and threw it in a Weber grill. 2x 1.5 mins each side. Glazed it with honey diluted with Shaoxing wine at each flip. Got some really nice char. Leftovers got diced for fried rice.
    posted by porpoise at 4:01 PM on January 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

    I bought a Lodge dutch oven and got really good at Boeuf Bourguignon during the first pandemic months. The recipe is quite simple actually, and since I work 3m from the kitchen, it's easy to keep an eye on it when I make it for lunch.
    It's this one.
    posted by signal at 4:03 PM on January 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

    Tonight is two homemade pizzas, baked on a 3/4" baking steel under the broiler:

    (1) cauliflower, garlic, gruyere, pecorino, calabrian chili flakes, parsley

    (2) tomato puree, fresh mozzarella, broccoli rabe, garlic, kalamata olives

    Each one will be more or less "large Neapolitan size," which is good since I am cooking for one (there will be leftovers).
    posted by slkinsey at 4:23 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

    Butternut squash cacio y pepe

    Oh wow. That looks good.

    Speaking of cacio e pepe, I tried Yotam Ottolenghi's cacio e pepe with za'atar.

    A simple twist on an already simple comforting thing. It's really good.
    posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:53 PM on January 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

    Instant pot mashed potatoes. Stupid fast and easy, and sooo goood.

    Cut 3lbs of potatoes into 1 inch chunks (skin on or off as you please). Toss in the pot with 1 cup of water, pressure cook for 8 minutes and release the pressure right away. No need to pour out any liquid, just leave it in there.

    Then add your flavours, I usually do like a quarter of a cup of almond milk, a TBS of butter, some chopped up rosemary, a bunch of salt, some basil, and some minced garlic. Then apply your potato masher, right in the pot.

    Leftovers keep really well, but don't last long in this house.
    posted by seanmpuckett at 5:26 PM on January 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

    I went for a nice hike - cold, sunny, wind picked up - along a river, with a friend and with my dog. I let the dog run free a bit and he took off, but a nice couple snagged him. He's smart and would have been fine, but I'd have worried. Time to refresh his training. Desperate to pee after, I stopped at the grocery store, and did some fast shopping. I needed fresh veg, onions, eggs, pretty seriously. also cookies. I miss leisurely grocery shopping.

    So I have plenty of veg., but, sadly, no grapefruit to make that cake. I did get grapefruit juice, which I like a lot, and is very nice with bourbon. I was planning to make pasta sauce, and have had bread dough in the fridge, because I want calzones, but my arthritic hips demanded rest. Shower, then beer. I had ham a while ago, and then made ham broth, and made yellow split pea soup with ham, potatoes, carrots, onions, curry. I made a ton, not quite tired of it yet. I have stew beef in the freezer, so beef stew sometime soon; I use olive oil and red wine, and it's so good.

    It's been unseasonably warm this January, was worried that the ice in the lake might get unstable, but now we have a cold snap, and I think the lake will be safe for skaters, snowmobilers, ice fishers. We had a big rain a week ago so the ice is pretty smooth and quite lovely.

    People I know are getting vaxxed, Yay! the Inauguration was a treat, the Bernie's Mittens meme delights me. I feel more optimistic than I have in a while.
    posted by theora55 at 5:41 PM on January 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

    So I wondered, if there were such a thing as a meatball pie, how would I make it? Here's how I did.

    I took an unbaked pie shell and I filled it with 1 inch pre-cooked Italian pork and beef meatballs interspersed and whole cherry tomatoes leaving a little space between each sphere. then I sautéed about a cup of sliced mushrooms with half a cup of chopped leeks. I then whisked six eggs and about half a cup of milk with salt and pepper. Then I added the mushrooms and leeks to the egg mixture along with about a quarter cup of chopped parsley. I mixed that together and poured it over the meatballs and tomatoes. I had some ricotta in the fridge so I spooned about eight little dollops of ricotta on top of that. I grated some moz and parm over that and stuck it in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes.

    What I wanted was something that looked cool when I sliced it, with brown and red polkadots on the edges, but which also used a bunch of odds and ends leftovers in the fridge. But frankly, it not only looked cool, it was fucking delicious.
    posted by Stanczyk at 6:05 PM on January 24, 2021 [15 favorites]

    It's definitely not fancy, but I doubled this recipe for meal prep today, and it is delicious comfort food. I sub diced butternut squash for the frozen veggies, though.
    posted by cozenedindigo at 6:38 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

    Oh that meatball pie thing sounds great. I need to get your fritter recipe because I bought oil for the fryer the other day.
    posted by kathrynm at 6:40 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

    That's awesome, signal! What kind of wine do you use for your Bourguignon?

    I found a 2019 red from Recri (Argentine) dry red discounted at $7 CAD a bottle; palatable as a table wine, more than acceptable as cooking.
    posted by porpoise at 10:09 PM on January 24, 2021

    So this is a weird thing for me; in college my very best friends couple (American/ Kansas cooking background) chastised me very hard for "over forming" ground beef. Like, they would just plop a styrofoam tray of ground beef into a pan/ pot and add salt and pepper to it while it was browning.

    When they saw me working ground beef before cooking, especially stirring it in one direction with a spatula/ double-chopsticks (to polymerize it) they got really really really mad. Shouted, literally berated me, that I was ruining the beef (ground, cheap feedlot American, which I had bought). It was kind of traumatizing.

    Years later, a Swedish postdoc that was in the same lab as me made meatballs and there was a fair amount of stirring of the ground meat mixture, for eventual texture. I felt somewhat vindicated, but, fuck.

    Mefites - work/ leave ground meat unworked before frying for texture or no?
    posted by porpoise at 10:24 PM on January 24, 2021

    I made seafood risotto (like this one, but with lots of spices, and stock from dried mushrooms). Also did griddled courgettes. Don't tend to be very happy with my own cooking, but these were both quite good.

    I need to try the grapefruit yoghurt cake, but have several old bananas to use up in banana bread first.
    posted by paduasoy at 11:51 PM on January 24, 2021

    I had some sad news, so my husband took me into the kitchen and put all of the ingredients for baking cookies in front of me. It really helped. Just very simple chocolate shortbread. Butter, half the sugar the recipe specified, salt, flour and cocoa. We're under lock down and only able to buy limited groceries, so having home baked cookies is a real treat. We had a zoom chat with my beloved sister in law later that evening and my heart felt a lot better. Ordered some more butter and cocoa this morning so I'm ready for the next time I need to distract myself.
    posted by Zumbador at 2:39 AM on January 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

    porpoise - I have never heard of such a thing as working ground beef before frying. In fact at first I assumed you were describing the process of chopping up the ground beef as it cooks (as opposed to your friends throwing in the entire square/rectangular lump from the package and oddly leaving it that way as it cooked up.)

    I put the lump of ground beef in the pan and chop it up with one of these things as it cooks. Or if you are talking about making beef patties, I just grab a fistful of the meat out of the package and shape it into a burger, no pre-stirring or anything.

    Meatloaf (and presumably meatballs) get more mixing because of the additional ingredients (egg, onions, breadcrumbs, etc.)

    I wouldn't berate you if I saw you pre-working your ground beef nor think you were ruining it. I'm not an expert cook by any stretch so I would probably just assume you were a more sophisticated cook than I.
    posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:35 AM on January 25, 2021

    My mother-in-law, who comes from a middle-eastern family, thoroughly massages the ground beef when she makes Kibbe.
    posted by signal at 4:47 AM on January 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

    Working or not working ground meat (as well as salting/not salting the meat mixture) prior to cooking depends on the texture you’re going for. If you’re making hamburgers you typically want a loose texture that barely holds together. That calls for minimal handling and salting only the exterior while cooking, although you might deliberately “cream” the meat a minor amount if you’re grilling it so it holds together on the grill. If you work and salt the meat mixture you’re going to link together a lot of the myosin and get a more rubbery, springy, sausage-like texture that binds the meat together. This is why it’s more difficult to get uniformly small bits of uncased sausage meat compared to unsalted/unhandled ground meat when cooking it off. In meatballs and dumplings and sausages, etc. you need them to hold together more tenaciously than a hamburger and you may want that springy, tightly- bound texture. In that case you deliberately salt/ handle the meat mixture in a certain way, and usually add other ingredients, to achieve the result you want.

    The issue comes, I think, when people think one technique applies to all preparations. Of course you need to salt and massage kibbe. It’s supposed to have a sausage-like texture and it needs cohesiveness to contain the other ingredients and stay on the skewer if you’re grilling it. Of course you need to salt and work Swedish meatballs and add panade, because they are meant to be both tender and springy. Of course you salt and stir many kinds of Asian dumplings because the meat is supposed to hold together in a single lump inside the wrapper. On the other hand, you don’t salt and handle ground meat prior to cooking it for a hamburger or a meat sauce or ravioli filling because you don’t want it to glom together and take on a sausagey texture. A hamburger made out of meat that got the kibbe treatment wouldn’t be a very good as a hamburger and would seem more like a “sausage burger.” Similarly, if you tried to make grilled kibbe with meat you barely handled like hamburger meat, you wouldn’t even get the opportunity to find out the texture was wrong because it would all fall off the skewer into the fire.
    posted by slkinsey at 6:03 AM on January 25, 2021 [16 favorites]

    I have been sorely missing trips to NYC. As a kind of substitute, I've set myself a goal to make authentic NYC bagels. It took me a little while to assemble all the special ingredients (non-diastatic malt powder, come at me), but I just made my first batch yesterday. They were delicious! The crust wasn't quite what I wanted (turns out my oven needs calibration -- it was running way under the 500F that it needed to be), but the flavor and texture was otherwise fabulous. And the toppings! I made everything, sesame, poppyseed, plain, za'atar, and nigella + sesame bagels and they all turned out great. I believe I will be trying again next week after some oven adjustments -- wish me luck!

    In case you are interested in starting your own bagel project...
    - I used the recipe from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice with just a few adjustments. I added a small percentage of vital wheat gluten to bring my bread flour up to 14% protein, baked my baking soda for the water bath to make it more alkaline, and added enough malt syrup to give the water bath an iced-tea color.
    - Claire Saffitz & My Name Is Andong both provided helpful process pointers.
    - This Serious Eats article on ka'ak, possibly the original ancestor of all bagels, was fascinating. It also gave me the idea to try nigella seed and sesame as a topping.
    posted by ourobouros at 6:10 AM on January 25, 2021 [5 favorites]

    I cut the squash in half, scoop the seeds out (save for toasting)

    I keep trying to save the seeds, but I can't separate them from the goop. How, how?
    posted by JanetLand at 6:29 AM on January 25, 2021

    I made this sweet & sour tofu at the weekend and was surprised by how great it was. I generally hate sweet & sour sauce (the thin pink kind you get from Chinese takeout places around here) but the sauce from this recipe came out closer to Asian-style BBQ sauce rather than the thin pink stuff. Definitely adding this one to our regular rotation.

    It helps that I got that tofu thing for Christmas. I've never been so keen to press tofu; that little device does the job so much better than freezing the tofu or wedging it between chopping boards with nowhere for the liquid to really go, to the point where I'm now excited to buy & press fresh tofu rather than considering it an epic chore that I will only countenance twice a year.
    posted by terretu at 7:25 AM on January 25, 2021 [4 favorites]

    I really want to brag about what I've been cooking, but y'all, my favorite local burrito place just started delivering and I am so done for.

    Unfortunately by law (in my backwards-ass, still hypocritical, authoritarian evangelical controlled state), they cannot also deliver me a Margarita, which is probably a net positive for my health or whatever, but still . . . sometimes a girl just needs someone to bring her a damn margarita.
    posted by thivaia at 7:35 AM on January 25, 2021 [4 favorites]

    Unfortunately by law (in my backwards-ass, still hypocritical, authoritarian evangelical controlled state), they cannot also deliver me a Margarita,

    Massachusetts, that bleeding liberal place founded by Puritans, only reluctantly agreed to allow restaurants to offer alcoholic beverages for take-out, and hinted that it would be only for the duration of the pandemic. When I went to my first non-Red Sox game many years ago, I was like wow, you can really buy beer from your seat??

    As for cooking, I am eating a ton of McDonald's, and telling no one except you, because all the aforementioned Massachusetts types are very snooty about such things.
    posted by Melismata at 7:54 AM on January 25, 2021 [3 favorites]

    I keep trying to save the seeds, but I can't separate them from the goop. How, how?

    JanetLand, you just have to do it by hand, one by one -- just squeeze and scrape the seeds away from the strands of pulp with your fingertips. It takes some effort, but it can be kind of fun.
    posted by ourobouros at 8:16 AM on January 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

    Oh my gosh, they just updated the weather forecast to predict up to a foot of snow tomorrow, and I am feeling very proud of myself for going to the grocery store yesterday and picking up food, ingredients for baked goods, and booze to last me for several weeks. I think I even have the ingredients for mulled wine. I will still have to shovel, but at least there will be caked and warm adult beverages at the end of it!
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:22 AM on January 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

    I am still out at sea (literally - I'm on a boat!), so I have not been cooking. However, I can tell you all about what we eat when we're underway.

    The ship is usually inhabited by around 30 crew and 20-ish "sponsors" (the crew runs the ship and the sponsors, like me, run the labs and the test equipment). We get three hot meals a day at set meal times (meals start at 7:30, 11:30, and 5:00). The chief steward keeps the pantry stocked and cooks breakfast, the chief cook does lunch and dinner, and then there's usually one or two assistants (just one on this trip) to help with prep, dishwashing, and cleaning the mess.

    Breakfast is usually the same every day. Eggs to order, hash browns, bacon, sausage, spam, corned beef, grits, and oatmeal are all available. There's fresh cut fruit set out, and bread is available in a "bread locker" in the mess. Coffee, tea, and juices to drink. There are also frozen waffles that they'll throw on the flat top for you if you ask nicely. Sometimes there are pastries; there have been cinnamon buns out the past couple days. Yesterday they had biscuits and gravy as a one-off. There are boxes of cereal and pots of yogurt available in the mess, as well.

    Lunch and dinner tend to be similar preparations. One of three entree choices (almost always all meat) sitting in steam trays to keep warm, a carb or two (white rice is common, and usually there are more potatoes), and then a vegetable. By example, yesterday's lunch options were a ham and cheese sandwich (griddled on the flat top), chicken cacciatore, or pepper steak. Vegetables tend to come in waves; the first few days it was all zucchini until it seemed like they used it all up, then it switched over to "vegetable medley" for a while and then we got okra for a couple days. We're back to the frozen peas and carrots now. There's always a soup (haven't eaten any of them). In the mess, there's a salad bar which frequently includes yesterday's leftovers in some way.

    Once or twice per voyage, there tends to be a "fancy" meal. Last night was barbecue, your choice of pork ribs, chicken, or these enormous T-bone steaks along with mac and cheese, collards, and cornbread.

    If you haven't been satiated by the mounds of meats and potatoes, there are also snacks out 24/7 in the mess. Bags of cookies, chips, microwave popcorn, and other things are left out in baskets for whenever you want them. There's a freezer stocked with ice cream bars. The day's leftover pastries and other desserts are left by the galley after they close up for the night.
    posted by backseatpilot at 8:27 AM on January 25, 2021 [13 favorites]

    Chili update: It turned out OK, with a decent amount of heat. A little sharp, but sour cream would level that out just fine (if I had any). I ended up with 4 portions, 1 for today and 3 for the freezer.

    In the freezer I also have a few remaining little unbaked balls of cookie dough. Drop cookies, I've discovered, are the solitary bachelor's friend. Make a batch, bake a few, freeze the rest and now there are fresh cookies whenever you want them, as long as they last.

    My mother's molasses cookie recipe is eggless, and you could probably use shortening to make it vegan. I always use heaped measures for the spices, because why not.

    This recipe uses American molasses. If using British molasses, cut it 50/50 with honey.


    ½ cup butter (4 oz)
    ½ cup sugar (plus extra to coat)
    1 cup molasses

    3 cups flour
    1 tsp salt (less if you use salted butter)
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 ½ tsp cinnamon
    ¼ tsp cloves
    1 tsp ginger

    Cream together butter and sugar
    Add molasses and stir

    In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients
    Fold into wet ingredients. Dough will be stiff and sticky.

    Roll little balls of dough - about 1 Tbsp each?
    Put a little granulated sugar in a bowl and roll the balls around to coat

    Bake at 375F/190c for 8 minutes. Cool briefly before eating.

    8 minutes-- or 10 from frozen-- means the cookies stay soft inside, even when fully cooled. Any longer and they harden by the next day.

    When taken out of the oven, they will be too soft and molten to be moved from the baking sheet. They need to cool in place for about 5 minutes.
    posted by Pallas Athena at 8:27 AM on January 25, 2021 [8 favorites]

    I made this chili recently, cut down to half size (I only have a 3 quart slow cooker and there are only two people in my apartment). This definitely works, especially if you have some heirloom black beans you want to show off.

    I also recently made this super-intense stew of beef and pork with lentils and carrots and potatoes, largely because it sounded amazing.

    I actually have a call for recipes. Lately I've been getting into a hot cereal kick - except I'm wanting to branch out and do some kind of multi-grain thing where I combine all the different random grains I have in my pantry. You know- some rolled oats, some barley, some bulgur, some jasmine rice, some grits, all combined into one intensely wholesome porridge. Except all the recipes I can find for multi-grain porridge all seem to call for my buying yet more grains I don't have; I'm looking for some kind of "use what you got" formula that will let me change it up if I run out of barley but I found some freekeh in the back of the cupboard I can throw in or whatever.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:52 AM on January 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

    My mother is 90, so has a depression era rebound mentality type of pantry that'll ensure she never goes without. She no longer cooks anything other than toast, canned soup or frozen meals. So, I am trying to use up her pantry food when I cook for her.

    The flour has gone rancid, so that is out. Lots of jars of artichokes and olives and red pepper strips. The pasta and rice are now reduced in quantity. Canned pasta sauce still awaits.

    And there's a massive amount of hot sauce which is not useful. Plus mustards and vinegars of all sorts.

    This adventure is turning into a creative conundrum.
    posted by mightshould at 3:04 PM on January 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

    I've had to reduce my red meat intake of late but yesterday I just couldn't help myself. I love making beef stew/pot roast - mine is kind of mix of both.
    Season a roast (I can never remember exactly what cut but I know it when I see it in the meat section - a pot roast?) with salt/pepper/onion powder and sear on all sides in a small bit of oil. I use my beloved Creuset dutch oven.
    Remove meat and set aside.
    Toss one medium chopped onion into the oil and saute for a bit, then add some chopped garlic and about a 1/4 cup of red wine (any kind, really), some dried thyme and paprika.
    Mix that all up for a few minutes, then add meat back and pour beef broth (about half of one of those larger boxes) until the meat is about halfway covered. I simmer it for about 45 minutes, the pop into a 350 degree oven for another hour or so.
    Remove meat and slice/shred/chunk on a cutting board, then put back into pot. Add 2 chopped carrots and about 3-4 small gold potatoes, quartered.
    Put pot back in oven for another 30-45 minutes. Remove and serve over egg noodles, rice or by itself.
    Once the pot is cooled, put it in the fridge. The next time you want some, just take the whole damn pot out and put it on the stove on low until it's heated through - it gets better every time you do this.

    I know this doesn't really qualify as a true recipe because I've left out timings and measurements. I've made this so many times that I'm not sure I could even determine the measurements. The good news is that you can't really fuck this up.

    What is funny is that when I used to work for Tastybite (indian food company), we had to come up with a recipe for the Costco cookbook. Mine won the office contest (!) and in order to submit it I had to weigh/measure to exact standards and time everything precisely, writing down each step in minute detail. So the fact is, I DO know how to write a recipe, but rarely do anymore.
    posted by sundrop at 3:25 PM on January 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

    This smoky braised kale w/ tomatoes (NYT) + some crispy roasted potatoes is pretty dang good.
    posted by Going To Maine at 3:49 PM on January 25, 2021

    The secret to getting the seeds out of a squash is to have a partner that is willing to do it.

    But in seriousness, the answer is time. It's a slow and slippery task and every time I do it I think "I could buy a dozen bags of pumpkin seeds." But then, then I pull the roasted seeds from the oven and they are so good if I managed not to burn them.

    I don't meticulously get every stringy bit of squash goo off the seeds. The goo dries up and flakes off well enough in the oven.

    Toss the seeds in a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Use the good salt.
    posted by bilabial at 4:13 PM on January 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

    I happened upon two recipes in that "too much feta" askme (ha! Such a thing? NO) that I made this week: this very odd but delicious quinoa potato feta chowder and this amazing sheet pan feta dinner. I made it over farro (with broccoli, not brocollini and added a thinly sliced potato bc I felt like it would be good. It was). Both are becoming regulars on the rotation.
    Seriously yum. And I was able to make parts of both in advance which is vital in the two parent job + twin 15 month old "lifestyle"
    posted by atomicstone at 5:18 PM on January 25, 2021

    (I read that as "guinea pig feta chowder" and while I realize that cuy is a delicacy, I feel like it would not lend itself well to chowder)
    posted by ChuraChura at 6:00 PM on January 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

    Ok, no recipes for reasons.


    I think my stubborn has paid off, wish me luck.

    Almost a year ago I was here griping about how my new apartment complex owners had bought out the place, booted the on-site manager, were planning to evict everybody living here so they could remodel and up-sell to new tenants. OK, business, reasonable, following and going above the state/county/city rent things and beyond to offering extra bonus money. But OMG pandemic like hell I'm leaving now. Asked the city, they said hell no, all is good. Except for the ever overhanging of when they can, they will all proper just evict the rest of us that stayed.

    Fast forward to November-ish when I need to message the "manager" as it were that I'd been avoiding a debate with. They still sorta listened and offered the same but more relocation. As in oh, you can move, we'll put you in some other property and you can come back once we're finished if you like. That's also sorta re-reing the lease and still pandemic and winter and actually getting worse, probably still is.

    I still occasionally see my old manager, he still manages the building next door and we'll chat like two old people who've known each other for 20 years because we have. We both originally had the thought that the obvious thing to do was to just shuffle people next door into a newly remodeled apartment.

    Just now, a big fat envelope taped to the door. That moment of dread. It's like they listened to my bitching and came to their senses at least a bit. Formal letter restating the original deal which is say like 4x monthy rent and not paying for the final month and not even thinking about that deposit or whatnot because they're literally going to strip the place down to the bare studs and make a new thing.

    The rest of the big envelope were pages of different apartments to move into. Their even calling it relocation now instead of eviction or buy-out.

    I hope and might check that the other like 3 or 4 apartments who chose to stay are getting the same bit of relocate not-evict that is understandable even from the big evil overlords has really hopefully reached the "no, we just really want you out long enough to remodel your unit now like the rest" and I can't actually blame them for wanting and having bought the complex and making it nicer and I'm still aside from my old lady neighbor in the oldest always occupied never upgraded trash apartment that OMG does need these 30+ years old inside bits torn out and replaced.

    LOL, OMG the manager just put a new envelope on the door and I caught her. While I don't think she has the authority... we're on the same page about moving out and then back. She brought up market rates, I pointed out that their offer was based on market rates and I was already paying a bit more than market for my ancient apartment. We shall see. (the old owners were under a previous rent law and used it to the full extent to raise rent as much as they legally could). I sorta have them over the they had to tell me the market rate in their offer. Ponder that.

    I'm sorta aiming for another year at current rates after the move/return. Lemme see if the new is worth it.

    Anyways one of the few good things (well last year) was several new tenants. If it weren't for covid we'd all be out in the courtyard (which used to be a pool) under stringy lights having a BBQ and tossing back beers. It's actually much more lively now.

    Anyways Anyways Anyways 2020 was meant to be my over the hill mid-life turning 50 crisis and I had it all blocked out on the calendar. Covid and this Landlord shit ruined my plans. I might have to get through those and call a do-over the mid-life crisis thing.
    posted by zengargoyle at 6:02 PM on January 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

    We’ve been combining stay home trends, viz. baking, indoors exercise, and eating whatever was in the pantry, by making flour of various things that we used to only do as porridge or soup. Chickpea flour-> socca, v nice, same idea works with lentil flour. Sorghum flour - aha, now I know what a gluten-free bakery was using. I don’t know if everyone would like the faintly gritty cakey texture but we just tried it as small pumpkin scones with black pepper and cloves in and liked them.

    There’s a jar of ?barley? that has been smoked or malted or both that we probably got at a brewing store, but we’re bakers not brewers, so it gets ground too. Haven’t found its calling yet.
    posted by clew at 10:22 PM on January 25, 2021

    Instead of posting a recipe, I'll share a favourite new booze. Flor de Sevilla gin. Damn this is fine stuff. My guy will sometimes make me a drink with it, grapefruit, a clementine and some lemon, which is incredible, but even just with ice. heaven
    posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:48 AM on January 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

    Actually *heated up* a pop tart which is pretty significant round here
    posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:23 AM on January 26, 2021 [9 favorites]

    I was just watching CNN and a pharmaceutical commercial came on. I disapprove of direct pharmaceutical advertising to consumers, but this one did something I'd never seen before: it described the drug as “for people who were assigned female at birth”!

    So that's new in my regional US media market, at least, and brightened my day. These are the days of miracle and wonder, when the commercials are more informative and momentous than the news.

    I was visiting my brother and my niblings last week and my brother asked me if I knew of any trace of the secrets of our late mother's Eastbrook Cherry Crunch dessert recipe (←that blog link is unrelated to me or my mother, but obviously they share a source: quite possibly the label on a can), which fortunately she left to me in her will—dump a can of cherry pie filling in a pan, sprinkle the top with store-bought yellow cake mix, and drizzle with butter.
    posted by XMLicious at 12:12 PM on January 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

    I pick up my groceries on Tuesday afternoons (I'll be going in about an hour), so Tuesday evenings I usually eat more of the vegetables in the order than I should. Sometimes it will be a stir fry because I can't stop myself from eating the bok choy immediately. A few times recently it has been warm mini potato and green bean salad (a reasonable amount of boiled mini potatoes, blanch an unreasonable amount of green beans just as the potatoes are about to be done, chop up and dress as you wish - I started out with miso and plain yogurt with pickle bits but it varies).

    I am so tired of feeding myself, but those things still taste good.
    posted by wellred at 12:28 PM on January 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

    I've no new recipes. But, I did discover that cocoa shells can be bought in bulk. Adding them to rooibos tea is really nice. I've always found chocolate flavored teas unpleasant. But, this one appeals to me. It fills the same role as hot chocolate but is low calorie and doesn't require having unspoiled milk. Adding brandy and a touch of vanilla extract makes for a nice desert drink.

    Also, it's not a recipe, but I've been really surprised by the quality of the canned korma sauce sold at my local liquor store. (Indianlife brand coconut cashew.) It's better than most of my attempts at sauces with similar flavors. The restaurants nearby make pretty good sauces, but the vegetables they add are always too few and thoroughly boring. Sautéing whatever's in the fridge and simmering the result in this sauce with a bit of chili is my new lazy comfort food.
    posted by eotvos at 1:10 PM on January 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

    I got a bunch of blueberries and ricotta cheese in my box from the food pantry this month, so I made some blueberry-ricotta muffins.
    posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:15 PM on January 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

    Hey, Kathrynm and I cook together on Saturday mornings at 10 am EST. We post it to IRL but I'm not sure anyone is seeing it. If you'd like to join us, here's the link.
    posted by Stanczyk at 3:43 PM on January 26, 2021 [6 favorites]

    Ramen is the current obsession in this house. We use the Serious Eats noodle recipe (omitting the extra gluten; it doesn't need it) and whatever soup base/protein/veggie combo we can muster with what we have on hand. It's been an absolute delight.
    posted by saladin at 5:39 PM on January 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

    For dinner last night, I roasted a butternut squash and put it over some romaine with a curry dressing loosely based on this recipe.

    I also used my base zucchini cheese muffin recipe to make an Italian inspired version with ground turkey (added Italian sausage seasonings to it), green onions, bell peppers, mushroom and Italian blend cheese. They are very good.
    posted by kathrynm at 6:12 PM on January 26, 2021

    It's too hot to cook here.

    I'm just going to make a salad.
    posted by HiroProtagonist at 7:25 PM on January 26, 2021

    Mrs. Example and I are finally, after almost a decade and a half, starting to work on our UK citizenship forms. (We're eligible as of Monday.) With any luck, we should be real live British-y people within the next six months. I just wish it weren't happening in the middle of, y'know, everything so we could celebrate properly.

    P.S. "Brexit Covid" would be an excellent name for a second-tier Bond villain.
    posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:12 AM on January 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

    This butternut squash recipe is delicious and makes a LOT and is my lunch all this week.
    posted by JanetLand at 5:34 AM on January 27, 2021

    It helps that I got that tofu thing for Christmas. I've never been so keen to press tofu; that little device does the job so much better than freezing the tofu or wedging it between chopping boards with nowhere for the liquid to really go, to the point where I'm now excited to buy & press fresh tofu rather than considering it an epic chore that I will only countenance twice a year.

    What?!? Where have you been all my life?!?
    posted by medusa at 11:31 AM on January 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

    I keep trying to save the seeds, but I can't separate them from the goop. How, how?

    JanetLand, you just have to do it by hand, one by one -- just squeeze and scrape the seeds away from the strands of pulp with your fingertips. It takes some effort, but it can be kind of fun.

    Try this: let the goopy seeds dry out in the strainer for a day or two. Then the pulp comes off way more easily. If a few dried bits stay stuck, it's not a big deal. They won't affect the roasting.
    posted by medusa at 2:04 PM on January 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

    Coming in to add that my "ooh, whole-grain porridges for breakfast is nice" kick is blossoming into a full-fledged "hey lemme splurge on some exotic grains from Bob's Red Mill", and is also being joined by "oh hey lemme also splurge on some heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo", so if anyone knows some good dried bean recipes, and some other recipes that get funky with funky grains, I'm down.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:46 PM on January 27, 2021

    Update: short ribs and polenta are just dandy. I made a salad instead of chard, with cara cara orange segments, avocado, and chopped almonds (did not have pistachios or hazelnuts, which would have been better).
    posted by Lawn Beaver at 6:51 AM on January 29, 2021

    Damn, I just got M. Night Shyamalaned—a film I was watching had a character who was revealed to have not actually been there the whole time, in a twist ending. I can't believe I fell for that twice; though I suppose I can allow myself once per century. But it was an even more depressing story than The Sixth Sense and getting played as an audience member brought a smile to my lips.
    posted by XMLicious at 1:48 AM on January 30, 2021

    I've been making Spanish tortillas, not to be confused with Latin American flour or corn tortillas, the tortilla española is made with potatoes, onions, and eggs. It can be eaten warm or cold pretty much any time of day.

    The first one I made because I had some potatoes I had to do something with, but if you're looking for a cheat, you can use potato chips , or what I did this week, leftover french fries (plus spinach, garlic, turkey, ham, and pepper jack).

    Traditionally, it's just eggs, potatoes and onion. But as in the one I made this week, you can add what you want: cheese, veggies (peas, spinach, mushrooms, etc), meat (I've used the pastrami from a half-eaten sandwich). They are quick and easy to make with the staples you're likely to have in your kitchen.
    posted by ShooBoo at 11:44 AM on January 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

    I improvised this this meat sauce for pasta one evening when I scavenged the fridge for what to make for dinner. I’ve made it a number of times since, because, well, it’s delicious and easy (most measurements are guesses):
    • In 1 T of olive oil and 1 T of butter, sauté a diced onion with 2 T of tomato paste until the onion starts getting tender.
    • Add 1 lb of Italian sausage (I’ve both used pork and turkey), and cook completely.
    • Add about 1 T of crushed garlic (I use pre-crushed, but you certainly can crush or mince your own - maybe 4 cloves?). Cook about 30 seconds until fragrant.
    • Add 1 cup of liquid (I’ve used white wine, beer, and cider) and 1 t of chicken bullion concentrate Better-than-Bouillon (or I suppose a bouillon cube would work). Cook a couple of minutes, making sure the Better-than-Bouillon is fully incorporated and the fond is scraped from the bottom of the pan. You don't have to really have to reduce it for thickening because of the next ingredient. (I suppose you could add a whole cup of chicken stock instead, but you won’t have the flavor of the liquid).
    • Add about 3 T of sour cream to thicken it, and optionally about 2 t of minced basil (I’ve been using preminced basil in a tube).
    • Season to taste with salt and pepper (with the Better-than-Bouillon you need little if any salt).
    • Serve over your favorite pasta.
    posted by ShooBoo at 12:00 PM on January 30, 2021

    Speaking of better than bouillon and pasta I finally cooked something different tonight. I had the idea floating in my head to make one pot pasta and I had some veggies languishing, so. Chopped half an onion and a bunch of mushrooms, sautéed them in olive oil. After a bit added a chopped tomato and a chopped yellow bell pepper. Blooped in maybe a tbsp and a half of tomato paste and a spoonful of vegetable better than bouillon and some minced garlic (I like a lot). Then I added some elbow macaroni and an equivalent amount of water - about a cup and a half of each. Put in a tsp of chili flakes. Simmered the whole thing until the pasta was cooked, at that point it was still soupy but not too much liquid. Then I chucked in one of those small logs of peppercorn goat cheese and stirred it in.

    Pretty delicious. Plenty of leftovers. Almost risotto ish.
    posted by wellred at 3:43 PM on January 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

    My spouse came across an article extolling a recipe for No Knead Bread using a Lodge Combo Cooker. The very first loaf came out delicious and now we have fresh bread every week. The recipe and articles are all over the internet, using various cookware and expanding the recipe for add ins. I highly recommend to anyone; no skill required and you get a comforting loaf of bread. Bonus - people love getting a freshly baked loaf as a gift!
    posted by racersix6 at 11:49 AM on January 31, 2021

    We've made these honey-walnut shrimp twice now and they're amazing, and not all that fiddly for breading and frying things. Very good, A++ worth the effort. Don't skimp on the sauce, it makes the dish.

    This halal chicken is one of our favorite things. I've got 4 different people who swear by the recipe now. I wrote a whole Twitter thread about it:
    1) It looks really involved, but it's not. Do the rice in the instapot or rice cooker. If you don't want to skillet the chicken, do it in the oven (I did tonight's for about 10 minutes at 400 and then broiled for a few more. It's a good time to roast a green veg to go with.)
    Make the sauce while everything cooks. You don't have to blend the marinade.
    2) It's really forgiving. Forget to put the broth & spices into the rice? Mix in after the rice cooks. Missing a spice? Add something that sounds good (I couldn't find the turmeric tonight and it was still banging). Use chicken breast tenderloins if that's what in the freezer.
    3) It's one of those rare recipes that really does taste better all together. I serve with broccoli or asparagus. Just DO NOT skip the sauce, it makes the dish.

    This crab creole. Scotty Scott is the bomb.

    These shrimp and pineapple tacos are super easy and sooooooo good y'all.

    I could keep going and going. I love cooking.
    posted by joycehealy at 6:37 PM on January 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

    It's been damp and chilly so I made some beef noodle soup. Normally I use beef hind shanks (slow cooker whole, cut afterwards, leftover meat stored in broth but everything else separate and dry) but I saw a nice 2lb beef tongue at the halal butcher.

    1 medium onion, thinly sliced, sauteed until clear (so it mostly completely melts down later)
    1/2 bulb smashed garlic
    1/2 bulb garlic cloves
    2 tbsp chou hou (a kind of lightly fermented soy and sesame paste)
    1 can condensed beef stock
    1/4 can Shaoxing wine
    2 nante carrots, chunked
    2 medium tomatoes, halved
    2lb tongue

    Slow cooker 7 hrs on low starting from fridge-cold (liquids room temp). Flip the tongue around to submerge the exposed side at 3hrs and 5. Remove tongue, allow to cool.

    Boiled some 'hand cut' frozen noodles from T&T, drain. Fried up some gai lan greens with homemade xo sauce (saved the stems for fried rice later). Peel the outer layer from the tongue and discard, cube into chunks. Combine all with cooking liquid. Should have held off the tomatoes until the 5hr mark or later.

    Really enjoyed the ultra-tender pillowy beefy mouthfuls. Wish I could find a cheaper source (it was $10CAD/lb).
    posted by porpoise at 10:09 PM on February 1, 2021

    ShooBoo, that salt & vinegar potato chip tortilla recipe looks so tasty it makes me angry, because the roads are terrible right now and I can't get to the grocery store to get the ingredients to make it right this very second. I want it! Thank you for sharing it!
    posted by ourobouros at 7:15 AM on February 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

    « Older Site Update #2, 2021   |   Tell me things to recover my optimism / good vibe. Newer »

    You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments