Tag Archives: Still Life with Menu Cookbook

#GlimpseoftheOrdinary

Dear Laura Shapiro,

Re: Instagram Your Leftovers

I read your essay in the New York Times , but I don’t have a phone with a camera in it, so please accept this blog post v. an Instagram of my home cooking.

This is not a recipe. Not really. Not in the written down sense, even when I’m done here writing it down.

Last week, I got a bag of too-crusty sourdough rolls at a deep discount from a bakery. I tossed them in the freezer. Saturday, while I was poking through, seeing what I had on hand before planning my midweek trip to the grocery store, Hmmm – I thought – better use those before I forget…..I took the bag out to defrost.

Sunday morning, I actually read the Baked French Toast recipe I was given as a way to use them up. The recipe was from the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummand.

Although I had the bread, and the eggs on hand (really nice eggs from a friend who raises chickens….Really nice eggs), some other the other ingredients I did NOT have on hand.

One was milk – I’m lactose intolerant, so I don’t keep milk on hand. And then there was the heavy cream…..I keep a little half and half for my coffee….And blueberry season is really over, but pears and apples, with a little prep, could work. That’s when the sugar amounts hit me – ½ cup of sugar, plus ½ cup of brown sugar plus another ½ cup of brown sugar…and then syrup on top?????? That’s a lotta sweet to start the day. Or end it.  And at this point I was planning for something suppery.

I did have some buttermilk on hand (Kate’s – real buttermilk, not cultured)

Kates ButtermilkKates buttermilkk

because I was going to make a Chilaquile Casserole variation from Still Life with Menu (p. 177)

Still life with Menu

with leftover tortillas that I had planned to use in my lunchtime salads until I set one on fire in the toaster oven at work, deciding then never to bring them to work again, at least in living memory of anyone who was there that day. And some shredded taco cheese.

Yes, I had shredded Taco cheese on hand because that’s what they sell at the 7-11 down the street and I wasn’t going to drive over to the grocery just for cheese. No judgement.

So I cubed the bread into bite sized bits, covering the bottom of a non-stick 9×13 pan. I beat my six beautiful and darkly yellowed yolked eggs and added 2 cups of buttermilk, and some salt and pepper. I opened a can of Rotelle tomatoes with mild chiles and added that. Then 1 cup of the shredded taco cheese. Poured it over the bread bits in the pan. Most of the cheese and the diced tomatoes stayed on the top, so I re-arranged them to cover evenly. Put the lid on the pan and popped it into the fridge, went about my day.

At 6 pm I was back, took the pan out of the fridge, preheated the oven to 350° and popped the (plastic) cover off. There are several warnings embossed into the cover reminding you that it is plastic and it should not go into a hot oven. The contents seemed a little dry, so I poured another cup or so of buttermilk on top.

Oven ready, lid off, pan in, timer on for 45 minutes.

Mozart_Kitchen_Timer_WB_1024x1024

This is my timer. Awesomeness.

 

Looking good, smelling like eggs and chiles and tomatoes and a little bit of cheese good, tasting just fine. Something greens, something fruity – supper or lunch for several days/nights.

It took me more time to write this down then to make and eat it.

And thus goes another ordinary day.

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Filed under Books, Pantry, Recipe, Supper

24 Carrot Gold

Exactly how  many carrots are to a pound depend on the size of the carrots, but if you have 24 lovely little carrots, or about 3 pounds (2 1/2 pounds for cooking and a 1/2 pound for snacking) you can make some carrot salad for the days that remind you that although the Dog Days are over, summer isn’t really over quite yet, and some carrot soup for the days can get chilly and tell you Fall is coming soon, just not as soon as all the pumpkin flavored everything that is available would seem to indicate.

More then enough carrots here to make both soup and salad

More then enough carrots here to make both soup and salad, and have a little carrot nosh in the interim

CARROT SALAD

¾ cup dried chick peas or white beans

1 or 2 garlic cloves

1 ½ pounds carrots

1/3 cup olive oil

¼ cup vinegar –wine or cider

¼ – ½ cup chopped parsley

1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed

Scallions OR fresh cut chives or garlic chives (you might want to omit the garlic cloves if you go this route)

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin or ground coriander

Optional –

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

And/or 1/3 cup minced fresh dill

  1. Cook the chickpeas or the beans with the garlic. Drain well.
  2. Peel the carrots, or merely scrub them well if they’re very fresh and thin skinned. Cut them into thin, flat matchstick pieces, 1½ inches long by ¼ inch wide. Steam them for 5 – 10 minutes – just tender.
  3. Rinse under cold running water and drain well.
  4. Combine olive oil, vinegar, herbs and spices in a large bowl.
  5. Add cooked beans and mix well.
  6. Add cooked carrots and toss gently.
  7. Cover tightly and refrigerate.

4-6 servings

Adapted from Mollie Katzan. Still Life with Menu Cookbook. Ten Speed Press. 1988. pp. 157-8.Still life with Menu

Carrots come in many colors and can be used interchangeably

Carrots come in many colors and can be used interchangeably

CREAMY CARROT SOUP

2 cup chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into rounds

4 cups broth

1 cup white wine

½ cup ricotta cheese

½ teaspoon celery seed or dill seed

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cook onions and garlic in butter over medium heat until translucent.
  2. Add carrots and cook. Covered, another 5-10 minutes, until the carrots start to sweat (the juices start to come out of them).
  3. Add broth and wine, raise heat.
  4. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer until the carrots are soft.
  5. Puree mixture in a blender or a food processor.
  6. Put the puréed back in the pan over low heat and add ricotta, celery seed and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Heat thoroughly and serve.

Makes about 2 quarts.

From A Musical Treat: Good Food is Music for the Palate. Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra Volunteer League. 1995. p.49.This is a recipe I contributed. It’s an amalgam of several different recipes that finally became mine.

carrot blossom-Daucus_carota_May_2008-1_edit

Carrot in flower – Queen Anne’s Lace is really wild carrot. It used to be known as Bird’s Nest. Those little flower ends keep curling up as they form seeds

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Filed under Books, Recipe, Summer

Beet it!

It’s a great time of year for beets, and by beets I mean red beetroot.

Central Italian School, 17th century

Central Italian School, 17th century. On closer inspection these ‘beets’ look more like turnips, but the little pan with the eggs….and that great big beautiful ham…and the cabbage, Oh, the cabbage..and the lovely little smoked mozzarella.

‘Turnip the Beet’ would be a great name for a rock band…..seems it’s not my most original thought today

 

 

Mint_2014-06-01_00-53

Mint – great time to pot some up to take indoors for the winter

But it’s also a great time for mint….actually it’s a great time for gardens in general. Warm days, cool nights, everything ready for the Harvest Moon on the 10th.harvest moon

Back to mint – so you have a few handfuls of mint, either because it’s chosen to grow everywhere you didn’t plant it or it’s doing just fine where you did plant it (you put it in a pot, didn’t you?) or they had really big bunches at the Farmer’s Market and they were practically giving it away? In any case, dry some for the winter (wash, shake, hang upside down out of direct sunlight but where there is good air circulation and when it’s dry, take it down and put it in a jar, either still on the stem or take the leaves off and use it all winter, because when the snow melts and the weather warms up, there will be more fresh.

Or you can make some mint vinegar.

Yes, you can.

Yes, YOU can.

Easy Peasey.

Mint Vinegar

1 pint wine vinegar, heated (save the bottle for the finished product)

1 pint clean fresh mint leaves

2 cloves

1 clove garlic, peeled

Crush the leaves slightly in your hands. Add clove and garlic and pour over the heated vinegar. Cover and let stand.

After 24 hours, remove the garlic clove.

Let stand 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks, strain and press though a cloth through a cloth. Discard the plant material. Bottle the vinegar and cover tightly. I use the same bottle the vinegar came in, and add a big MINT label to it. You can use other herbs the same way. Tarragon, for instance.

Irma Goodrich Mazza. Herbs in the Kitchen. Third edition, revised. Little Brown and Company.1939, 1947, 1975.

Herbs in the KitchenEven easier? Wash and dry the mint (say a cup, pack it in, it needs to be a little crushed, leaves no stems)  Put it in the bottom of a large clean jar. Top with vinegar, up to a quart. LABEL and set in the sun. After 2 week, if it smells good enough, strain through a coffee filter lined strainer and re bottle to use.

Minty Fresh Beet Salad

8 medium sized beets (2 inches diameter)
2 tablespoon raspberry vinegar (or any other fruit vinegar or apple cider vinegar or mint vinegar)
3 tablespoons oil, whatever you like on your salads
3 small very well mushed and minced garlic cloves (I love my garlic press)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ (packed) cup fresh coarsely chopped mint leaves
Optionals – this is the and/or list to make the salad:
½ cup crumbled feta cheese or ½ cup crumbled blue cheese or ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese….you see the pattern
½ cup or more plain Greek yoghurt
Leafy greens – lettuce, spinach, any sort of salad mix…..
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
2 cups cold cooked white beans (more or less)
2 cups cold cooked macaroni (more or less)
1. Cook the beets. (If it’s not fresh beet season and you have a can, drain and rinse and proceed). Boil them or bake them until tender. Rub the skins off in cold running water.

2. Dry your now tender naked beets with a paper towel. Slice them in half the long way and cut them into very thin half moons. Put them in a bowl or a jar with a cover.
3. Mix together the dressing: the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and mint. Pour over the beets and mix well.
4. Cover and let marinate for at least 12 hours. This will keep for up to a week….I usually manage 3 or 4 days…..
5. Salad time options:
a. Add cheese and serve.
b. Add Greek yoghurt and serve.
c. Serve over leafy greens, with or without dairy.
d. Top with quartered hard boiled eggs, with or without leafy greens
e. Add cooked white beans while marinating and serve with or without dairy, topped or not with hard boiled eggs over leafy greens or not…..
f. Mix with cold macaroni and Greek yoghurt over leafy greens and if there’s anything left, beat a couple of eggs, stir it all together and have a frittata, topped with whatever cheese you have on hand…
g. And pears – this goes really well with pears, especially pears and blue cheese….
Adapted and inspired from ‘Marinated Beets with Mint’ if Mollie Katan, Still Life with Menu 1988 Ten Speed Press. p. 57.

Still life with Menu

 

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Filed under Influencers, Recipe

Crunchy Granola

You are what you eat and you eat what you are.


Although granola’s been around since the 19th century

Kellog's Granola 1893

Kellogg Granola 1893

I never heard of it until the 1970’s, when crunchy granola was bona fide hippie food. With my waist length hair, wire rimmed granny glasses, India print warp skirt, and Swedish clogs, I was SO there. I was crunchy granola.

And what could be better than buying granola?

Making your own. Bonus points to listening to Dale Dorman on the WRKO radio at the same time. (Stairway to Heaven)

This is what he looked like back in the day....

This is what he looked like back in the day….

This is what he looked like when we went to Oldies 106 at 5 am to do a how for Thanksgiving just a few years ago.

This is what he looked like when we went to Oldies 106 at 5 am to do a how for Thanksgiving just a few years ago. Somedays it’s easier to get into Pilgrim clothes at 4:00 AM then others!

Uber bonus points for waiting  for the night WATD played Folk Music with Dick Pleasants.

Dick Pleasants , active all over the Boston and CApe Cod folk/,bluegrass/aucostic/etc music scene.

Dick Pleasants , active all over the Boston and Cape Cod folk/,bluegrass/acoustic/etc music scene.

(Amy, what you wanna do?/I think I could stay with you/For a while, maybe longer if I do) Pure Prairie League 1974

My first attempt came shortly after I got some recipe cards in the mail. Cards for an all-natural cooking series….and you would get more cards each month for a low introductory fee….printed out by some big company. I think I still have the free box that was my gift to keep whatever – I’m not one to look a gift box in the mouth, as it were.

I was too young and naïve to see the irony in all this.

Until these cards arrived, I hadn’t thought that Granola was something that could be made at home.

Granola was in the same category as Wheaties and Cheerios and Grapenuts and Life. Cereal made in a factory, came in a box, you  eat it and buy more. Beginning and end of story.

The same Quaker Oats that made oatmeal raisin cookies cold make granola? Wicked cool!

Into the kitchen go I.

These self-same oats must be toasted.

One of the inherent problems is that oats go from toasted to toast – make that charred tasting and truly nasty – in a flash. And once smoke detectors became de rigueur, it became annoying and embarrassing.  Maybe this was just MY problem and not an oat problem.

I’ve since read about a Theory of Cooking Relativity, that we all have a set point of how much/how well our cooking chops are, and sometimes we must lose something we’ve thought we’d mastered in order to take up something else new; that there’s always something that we don’t get good at. Sort of a Superpower/Kryptonite sort of thing.

I also burn English muffins in the toaster. I was becoming rather famous for it. I stopped toasting English muffins in the toaster, and now I only toast them in a toaster oven, watching them the whole time.

By this time I had collected quite a few recipes for granola, and tried them. Most of them were sad stories, never to be retold.

You’re welcome.

Then I discovered: Stove top granola. -enchantedbroccoliforest-katzen-cvr-200

Thank you Mollie Katzan.

Mollie Katzan now - she has yet another book out....

Mollie Katzan now – she has yet another book out….

Just when I had forgotten about stove top granola, dear Ms Katzan came out with Still Life with Menu Cookbook, which is my favorite of hers, (although I’m madly in love with all of the ones she wrote for children, too.) and mentioned it again. In case you missed it the first time. Or just plain forgot.Still life with Menu

Pretend Soup - one of my faves!

Pretend Soup – one of my faves!

I still cut out granola recipes and save them – even today David Levovitz  with NO BAKE GRANOLA BARS (it would be a challenge for even me to burn these- I’ll let you know how they turn out). I have these clippings: Jane Dornbusch in the Boston Globe (trimmed off the  date, but a Wednesday when the food pages had gone to the pullout G-section, because food is now with the Funny pages. And the horoscopes and the word puzzles); Melissa Clark in the NYTimes July 15, 2009 with a more savory than sweet granola; Jill Santopietro form the Globe, May 2, 2007.

But they all include coconut. It not that I don’t like coconut, I do. What’s a pina colada without it? Or coconut cake? I just don’t care for it in granola. And it’s usually a large enough component that leaving it out leaves things unbalanced.

I don’t like recipes that make me fretful before I’d begun.

But there was ONE recipe that coconut was an add-in, not the base, if only I could find it.

Again.

I had a dream….I have very vivid dreams.

AND in this dream I was in a 15th century bake house (straight from a picture I’d be drooling over the day before) and as I was in this bakehouse all the walls became a golden color, and the outlines became red…

Forno -1481 French

Forno -1481 French

When I woke up, I thought “Tassajara Bread Book”

the-tassajara-bread-book_1

The last recipe, #98 in Tassajara?  Granola. No Coconut. Why is there a granola recipe in a bread book? It was the ’70’s.

In the meantime, I’ve eaten most of the ingredients I bought for the granola project…and just today David Lebovitz (Living the Sweet Life in Paris)  published No Bake Granola Bars…..here’s the link:

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2014/02/no-bake-granola-bars-recipe/

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Filed under Books, Perception ways, The 1970's