The assorted Foodways miscellany that is running around in my head…

Parade Magazine this Sunday had a story on

“Muffin Tin Magic”

muffin tin

No ordinary tin – MAGIC muffin tin!

  • Here’s a keeper: take 2 soft 10” tortillas -they used spinach. (Tortillas were on sale last week so I got – dear Lord, I shouldn’t shop before a meal – a high fiber/low carb one and a Light/fewer calories version. The Light ones are smaller than the Lowcarb ones. Neither says how big it is….   And they are between 7 ½ and 8 ½ inches, and they weigh in differently. The low cal one is 39 grams and the low carb on is 62 grams…..Regardless, I’m gonna try the tortilla cups for avocado and blue cheese salad next week) Cut 2 soft tortillas into quarters. Press each piece into a muffin cup. Brush the cups with olive oil. Bake 5 minutes at 350 ° or until crisp. Cool on a rack. Then fill with salad….you can figure out the rest.
  • Using them as freezer molds for broth or stock – freezer broth pucks would definitely work, measure first so you know how much (1/2 cup or so) and label the freezer bag you store them in.(the label it is a note to self)
  • Using them as a mold for cookie bowls….this would be great to serve individual portions of ice cream in, just make sure your cookie isn’t sturdier then your spoon.
  • But wait – there’s MORE
  • It also suggests using muffin tins as a mise en place. Don’t do this. After you carefully measure everything out into the cups, how do you get things out without spilling half all over the table/counter/floor? Unless it’s toppings for your taco bowl salad…
  • GrabNGo Granola Cups – Granola mixed with 1 large egg and ½ cup honey pressed into a muffin tin (the grated lemon peel was a nice touch) baked to make a little cup and then filled with plain yoghurt flavored with vanilla – how is this not gonna run down your arm after the first bite? 1 cup of yoghurt for 12 muffin cups and each get 1 raspberry – and how long before the bottom sogs out? This seems to be in the close, but no cigar category. It’s very close to something.
  • Spaghetti and meatball nests – cook spaghetti add sauce and mozzarella and 3 large egg whites, press into cups and bake. Place 1 packaged frozen meatball…Wait! don’t use packaged frozen meatballs this way. EVAH. If you must use frozen packaged meatballs, use them in a brown gravy (like Swedish Meatballs or Sweetish Meatballs, with the grape jelly and the chili sauce or the one with cranberry sauce where you mix it up and they sit in a slow cooker for a while. Frozen meatballs should NOT go in any kind of red sauce or red gravy.) Put an egg in instead, and bake a few minutes to shirr it….

Meanwhile in the New York Times Magazine….

  • A Winter’s Tale – Project cooking and cassoulets
casoluet NYT 24Jan16

This is the image that went with the story

Cassoulet is really the Mother of all Casseroles, and has become a high end Professional Dish, although beans and bits cooked slowly is the very definition of ultimate peasant food. The bits (pig) in this particular cassoulet include knuckles, belly, lard, ears, but no tail. I feel a little mislead by the title.

The adviser on this story was not an ancient grandmere somewhere in the South and West of France, but an ambassador of the Universal Cassoulet Academy…it also includes 3 pork knuckles (which is what you call the hock before it’s smoked, in most places, and pigs ‘round here have 4) and 3 duck legs (duck round here have 2 – and if you cook 2 ducks you won’t have to go shopping for duck fat, which is also listed). Anyhow – the reason you need to shop so much for this dish NOW is that you’re not using up the bits and bobs you would have left if you were eating seasonally. The ducks, the pig, the sometimes goose  – all part of what’s around for winter. All those different roots – celeriac, turnip, carrot, and rutabaga – would all be in your garden or root cellar, needing to be used up sooner rather than later. The carrots, anyhow. Turnips can stay in the ground even after a freeze, although a thaw may harvest them for you; rutabagas, ditto. Carrots don’t like freezing and don’t last as long as other things. Most people think they don’t like turnips because the cellaring does NOT improve them, but newly pulled from the ground they are sweet and not rank. It is also the second (or is it the third?) recipe I’ve read this week that refers to a slow cooked pork dish as ‘sticky’ as a selling point.

FC Jan2016

From the January Family Circle I had earmarked (actually dog-eared) a One-Pot Cavatappi dish.

cavatappi -

Cavatappi – the corkscrews a/k/a amori, serpentini, trivelle, stortelli….

I proceeded to make it not quite the way it was written…I wasn’t testing the recipe, it was a concept  I was trying out – put the sauce and the pasta in the pan together, and cook them up. No big pot of water.

Sometime back in December or November, Harold McGee had an article internet floating about the waste of water in cooking pasta, and experimenting with using less. Not entirely sold on this, and as much as I love McGee (I have both editions of On Food and Cooking because they’re each that good) I can’t help but notice that McGee is not an Italian name….so his pasta standard might be a little different than mine.


Blue is the first edition, red the second. Known as ‘McGee’

Anyhow – cook the pasta in the sauce.


  • I didn’t have cavatappi, so I used fettuccine;

Fettuccine are little ribbons, not corkscrews. Still good.

  • it called for turkey sausage, I had Hot Italians;
  • it called for grape tomatoes and chicken stock and I used a big (32) oz jar of tomatoes from the Web of Life Farm that I got at the Plymouth Farmer’s Market.
  • It called for 5 oz of fresh baby spinach; I used I package frozen chopped broccoli (I had some baby arugula that I thought I’d use, but I ate it all up in salads before the weekend and Baby Arugula always makes me hum the Raffi song Baby Beluga);
  • it called for ricotta and I used Romano.

Excuse me, I had to stop to laugh out loud. I should have labeled this recipe an inspiration piece, not really a recipe.


  • Using a Dutch oven, brown the sausage; the recipe called for 12 oz turkey sausage out of the casings and crumbled. I wanted some portion control, so I had 4 sausages from a 1 pound package and kept them whole;
  • add some chopped onion and garlic and cook a little more;
  • Because my green veg addition was a frozen block I could have run it through the microwave, which I didn’t think of doing until I was writing this out, I added the frozen brick to the oil, onion and sausage and hacked it around a little until it wasn’t one big frozen thing, 2 minutes or so.
  • Then stir in some broth (2 cups) or a large jar of last summer’s tomatoes and a little broth to make it soupyish (wine would have been a better choice at this point, a ½ cup or a full cup red wine)
  •  I used ½ box fettuccine (about 7 oz). This is the place to add some salt. It called for garlic salt (1/4 teaspoon) which I don’t usually have and I already had a pretty large onion in so I didn’t add more. It doesn’t call for salt in the recipe, but it was pretty flat, and I topped it with Romano cheese. A little salt
  • Bring it to a boil, stirring to keep it from sticking. 8 minutes. I had my colander ready….and then put it back away. Duh. Old habits die hard.
  • Mix in ricotta (which would make it creamy, but blander)
  • I divided the pasta into 4 servings, each serving got a sausage.
  • One for supper; one for lunch Tuesday; one for frittata, one for freezer.
  • Top with grated Romano. Enjoy!

The noodles were a little soggier then I really like them. The sauce really needs to full and rich to get away with this technique. On the try again list.



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Filed under Eating, Recipe, winter

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