What I made this week

Cooks Illustrated Soda Bread
Results: so-so
User error: maybe
Bake again: no
This time, my dough was too wet and I had to run to the store & get some flour. Then I had to wait to bake it. Not my best effort on this, but still fine, toasted in the oven and served with butter & jam.

Peruano beans
Made a pot of peruanos (with a 1/4 of an onion & some epazote, ala Diana Kennedy), but forgot to salt them and they didn’t taste like much. I usually cook my peruanos with mirepoix & bay leaf which makes them true comfort food, needing just a smidge of salt to make them like bean candy. These were fresh beans.

I usually leave the beans fairly neutral & season them when I eat them so they work well with the other ingredients. I had some friends coming over with the rest of the fixings for tacos, so I mashed about half the pot in a smidge of bacon grease – you don’t need a lot of fat if you have you have a fair amount of pot liquor – and seasoned them with chili powder, celery & garlic salt, Mexican oregano, and a pinch of cumin. Pretty damn good.

Martha Stewart’s Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with pasta
Results: so-so
User error: maybe
Cook again: no
I made a 2/3s recipe as that was the amount of grape tomatoes that I had. As usual, I hit a hitch. Got about halfway through the roast when I had to run out of the house. Finished the roast once I got home. My g-ds, did the house smell good, and the tomatoes looked gorgeous.

The results were okay, though there was much too much liquid to drizzle & then have left over in the pan. I used to be more okay with greasy things than I am now.

I cooked up some lasagna noodles (part of using up the old food initiative) al dente, sliced them into thinner shorter strips, and tossed them in a fry pan with the tomatoes (but no oily drizzle) and a little of the pasta water.  Seasoned with peperoncino (crushed red pepper to the rest of us), pepper, parmesan & pecorino.

It was a little too sweet. Okay, maybe more than a little. While I love the oven roasting, I  I’ll try stovetop next time.



Ginger tofu! These include tofu, Ginger, and soy sauce.

more on tofu – how to’s from seriouseats.com’s Kenji.

vegan recipes

Seriouseats.com not vegan tofu recipes

May your burdens be lightened

The problem with mourning is that it’s all about us. Our tears, our pain, our loss, our feelings of not doing enough. Maybe we can learn to do it better.

If (generally) death is preceded by pain, if I love this being, I have to wish for their liberation. Right? Above my own selfishness, right? So damn hard.

Is death liberation? Or blessed nothingness? I hope so. I can’t bear to believe it isn’t.

Is it just wishful thinking to feel their presence long after they pass?

I’m trying to get to being honored to having been in their life. I am lucky to hold them in my memory. I’m relieved their suffering is over. But mostly, I feel so much loss.

Soda Bread

When I was a young person, driving a cab, I chauffeured an elderly Irish woman back and forth to the grocery. We talked about soda bread – it was late February or early March.  I loved cooking & eating but I wasn’t very skilled or discerning about either. Had I ever, even, eaten soda bread? She offered to send me her recipe. The next day, I got a note and her recipe in the mail.

That recipe was fabulous, simple, and easy. And like so many things, I kept it, and the envelope it came in, and I glued it in the notebook that I kept recipes in. And now I can’t find the damn thing.  Sadness.

Soda bread is the world’s easiest quick bread. The classic recipe involves 4 ingredients that you would have had in your house –  75 years ago. No mixer. No fussiness. Combine dry ingredients, add buttermilk, combine, bake.

A day ago I made my first loaf (the Skillet recipe below) in at least 15 years – probably closer to 20. My one adjustment was swapping in whole wheat cake flour. I’m a little rusty, but practice will make perfect.


mostly Nigella recipes

Most of these have metric measurements, note bene.

Nigella’s fond of peas with pancetta.

6.25 cups = 50 oz

more Nigella

Guardian UK recipes, including Ms Lawson

Strangely, not NL (but obligatory NL mention, because Guardian UK)

Guardian UK articles about

Around the time NL became a tv cookery star, she was a Guardian UK writer

Cherry or grape tomato sauces

Got a little too enthusiastic when in the produce aisle the other day…

  • Vegan Burst Cherry (really, you’re calling it that? – similar to Kenji’s – 35 minutes)
  • Kenji’s fast & easy (10 minutes!! Also, Kenji!)
  • Balsamic roasted (link farm – a little more than an hour, immersion blender)
  • Epicurious (very similar to Kenji’s – a smidge of sugar – 15 minutes)
  • Martha Stewart (a more complex version than the Balsamic roasted above. Also, not an affliated link farm – a little more than an hour)

Some things I’ve cooked recently

Rick Bayless’ Black Bean Soup
I made a half recipe with organic black beans. The beans were old, cooked unevenly and tasted quite bad. This is the second or third time recently where I’ve intentionally (or not) “cooked” some old beans.

To add heartache to sorrow, I added canned hominy. Whoa, lesson learned.

I doctored it with Mexican oregano, chicken stock, chile powder & chipotle hot sauce. I garnish with lots of sour cream, avocado, cilantro, chipotle hot sauce and bacon. Really could have used more bacon.

Before doctoring & garnishes: 3

With doctoring & garnishes: 6

Would I make again? Yes.

Terry Hope Romero’s sweet potato chipotle bisque
The only change I would make is that the garlic should go in after the onion softens. Otherwise, the garlic burns.

I used coconut milk as the cream.

Before doctoring:  9

Would I make this again? Yes