A free class on whole grains!

Usually I would've tried out a free thing before posting it...but I've seen things like this disappear so quickly I thought it'd be okay to post this as soon as I learned about it! Let us know how you liked it or not...

I Heart Cooking Clubs: What Came First...The Chicken or The Egg?

Linking with the lovely people over at http://iheartcookingclubs.blogspot.com/ , who are featuring recipes by Diana Henry, this week either eggs or chicken.

I found an egg recipe I wanted to try, Spanish Sweet Potato with Chorizo, Peppers, and Fried Egg, from her book Pure Simple Cooking. Here's my version, first before I added the eggs and next with eggs...served with soup and some delicious bread my husband made! from a recipe by James Beard in his Beard on Bread.

Some inspiring words

from Keith Schroeder, CEO/Founder of High Road Craft Ice Cream:

Cooking:...Enjoy the process. Shop reverently. Unpack deliberately. Activate soundtrack. Strategically position your cookbook....

This Week in My Kitchen

I had a lot of fun this week in this favorite room...and I'm posting this with the great cooks at http://beautythatmoves.typepad.com/ .

I said it was fun, not that everything was absolutely delicious. This stirfry is somewhat photogenic but was pretty bland. I'm thinking I should only use "Oriental" recipes from cooks who grew up with that cuisine or otherwise really know its flavors and don't try to bland it down for Americans or whomever....I also found that this took inordinately long to make, especially compared with my favorite "real" Chinese and Japanese cookbooks.

Ditto for this Italianate dinner...though unlike Oriental cuisines I have found good American-source Italian recipes....This was from the same recipe source, which I was trying out and won't be trying again.

Then I put the fun into the week with the most successful and by far most fun Fill-Your-Freezer Day I've had in years. The fun was especially due to Jamie Oliver, and I'll be posting about that another day....I also made an interesting cheesey bread from my so-far favorite whole grain breads cookbook. I printed out and used what I wanted of the general plan at http://favoritefoodthisweek.blogspot.com/2014/10/filling-freezer-etc-day-general.html .

Used up a lot of tea towels that day! (Does anyone else enjoy calendar towels? This one reminds me of a wonderful year...)
 With the (unfortunately very bland) broth I made with the chicken leftover bones, and with other leftover vegetables, I made a bean soup for lunch yesterday...(Thoughts on bland and not-bland broths/stocks at http://favoritefoodthisweek.blogspot.com/2014/10/broth-thoughts.html -- I would love new ideas if anyone has them!)

Then last night we had a very tasty chef's salad I made up and served with some of that cheesey bread. FYI, yours truly was as usual untrusting of cookbooks when I should have trusted them -- a basic bread book I'd borrowed from the library gave the super helpful tip actually to check the temperature of your bread to make sure it's cooked through -- it should be 195 to 200 F. I thought that the cheese in the bread might have been messing up my thermometer's reading so blithely got it out when it was way below that...and sure enough it was not cooked through in the center of the round loaf. But whew I was able to rescue that center, because it wasn't too doughy, by baking it at 250 F in not-terribly-thick slices, just enough for one meal for us at a time, turning it a couple times, until it was cooked through at last. 

The art of grocery lists!

There are at least a couple cool sites that take grocery lists and turn them into art. Of course there's a long tradition of that -- isn't there a da Vinci illustrated grocery list floating around?...One of my favorite bloggers, Bianca, here http://www.goodnightlittlespoon.com/2012/01/100-ideas-week-four.html , is working on a supermarket zine -- I can't wait for it to be published! She works in a supermarket too, in addition to her other artistry! She pointed her readers to this amazing site which unfortunately doesn't look active anymore, but it's fun to look at: http://shoppinglosts.blogspot.com/ . Some are very funny....Here's a bit of my favorite today, a very elegant one:

A Simply Delicious Snack

(from this site's previous incarnation, when I lived in Europe)

a couple walnut halves
a couple prunes
a glass of orange juice
a few salted bagel chips
a wedge of herbed cheese from Holland

It's Singapore Restaurant Week!

from October 25 through November 2...

from an official tourist site, http://www.yoursingapore.com/ :

Broth thoughts

I've rarely made a great chicken broth, in my opinion. As of three minutes ago I made a mediocre chicken one, though the recipe sounded fantastic and was from one of my favorite cookbooks, whose dishes usually are full of taste. I refuse to believe that chicken broth has to be tasteless or worse. I also must admit that dishes have to be simply bursting with flavor for me to be happy, however.

I do know that beef broth can be amazing even to my taste; I learned that from the 1980s Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook. When I look again at that, though, and its corresponding chicken broth, I see that they have a much different approach than I've seen elsewhere: to actually make the broth with plenty of meat, as well as with bones. Take the meat out (after just one hour, for chicken, four hours for beef) so it still is tasty and useful for all sorts of other dishes. For the chicken also take out the carrots and parsnips you've used after an hour and julienne them to serve in the broth, so they too are still tasty and useful -- which I really like, because I always feel so wasteful tossing the vegetables I've boiled to death over hours in a "normal" broth.

There is another approach I saw when I investigated this broth problem of mine. It was in the Jamie Oliver cookbook I just used in my Fill the Freezer day: Save with Jamie. This book is fantastic! I had dutifully gotten the ingredients he had called for for his aptly named "Mothership Sunday Roast Chicken," not realizing that I'd be filling my oven in minutes with his quick-to-assemble dishes -- not only a super flavorful chicken, but also a pan of the best roasted potatoes ever, some nice orangey carrots, and some tasty cabbage and peas! All of which are inexpensive vegetables, at least in this season and in my area! He had so many ideas to use up everything in the most economical and tasty ways!

One of his ideas I did not use was for broth using the bones (I used another cookbook for that) -- instead of trying to fight that broth can be bland, he just has you simmer the bones long enough to extract their goodness, without a bunch of other ingredients that can make homemade broth quite expensive, especially because you're going to be throwing them away -- yes, some nutrients do leach into the water, and the vegetables etc do add some flavor, but you're not getting enough of either to make me happy. Then to that plain broth à la Jamie you add ingredients you're actually going to eat and that add up to a tasty dish...

There are free recipes from this cookbook at http://www.jamieoliver.com/savewithjamie/ !

Another idea I've been seeing, and would like to try, for an economical -- and potentially tasty of course -- broth is to save up one's clean vegetable peelings, mushroom bits you may not have wanted to use immediately, and cheese rinds. Keep them in the freezer until you have enough, and then simmer them with water.

There is indeed one amazing chicken broth I have made, over and over in fact. It's in one of my column-of-fame cookbooks, Masterclass in Italian Cooking by Maxine Clark.  The catch is, it has half a bottle of wine in it -- so can hardly keep from tasting fabulous! Hmm, I see I've changed the original recipe tremendously, so probably should post it sometime -- it's one of the most delicious things I've ever had -- an adaptation of her Medieval Capon Salad.

...Most often in the past, however, when a recipe called for a broth, I simply added another onion and a couple more garlic cloves and some more salt to the recipe -- with far better (and faster) results than a bland broth!

Any suggestions, tips, recipe recommendations?

This Week's Cookbooks

I'm going to do a simple Fill-the-Freezer Day, including a "bone broth" like people at the linky party This Week in My Kitchen (http://beautythatmoves.typepad.com/beauty_that_moves/2014/10/thi-3.html ) were doing, made out of a budget-friendly roast chicken using a plan from my hero Jamie Oliver. You might be able to make out that I made myself a little booklet of my Fill-the-Freezer Day Plan post at http://favoritefoodthisweek.blogspot.com/2014/10/filling-freezer-etc-day-general.html ; if I ever figure out how to offer free PDFs at this site I will!

Speaking of linky parties, I hope soon to re-join another favorite linky party, I Heart Cooking Clubs -- http://iheartcookingclubs.blogspot.com/2014/10/october-pot-luck.html -- here's their party from last week:

Those people are celebrating the cookbook author Diana Henry, and I finally found a recipe from her to try -- my first.

...For lunches, I'm going to continue experimenting with Lunch Bowls...

A charming retro cookbook, 1927

Electric Refrigerator Recipes and Menus, by my favorite retro cookbook author, Alice Bradley:

My favorite part is, as usual, the menus (especially since Ms. Bradley's menus in general are among my favorites). I especially appreciate menu ideas for weekend guests, and this book does not disappoint.

She suggests for Saturday breakfast

orange juice cocktail
farina with cream
scrambled eggs
coffee, cocoa, milk

-- love the sudden appearance of doughnuts after an already generous spread!

I was mystified by the remark on the above page that you could get "small pans...so that two frozen things like frozen pineapple and frozen cheese may be put into the chilling unit at the same time." It was explained by this photo on another page, however -- I guess that little bit at the top right got colder? --

You can find this book free at http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924090161070;view=1up;seq=1 ; I was able to secure a beautiful physical copy for a very low cost about a year ago. Do be careful of course if you haven't bought antique books before; today I saw someone selling a copy that was in dreadful condition for 4x the price I saw elsewhere; another person claimed the book was from the 1800s! There are other editions; here is a charming one:

A new page, of French cuisine terminology

I have my ever-evolving list of French food terms at
http://favoritefoodthisweek.blogspot.com/p/french-cuisine-terms.html ,
in case anyone is interested....I made this when I needed it and couldn't find it anywhere else! but still add to it sometimes...

This Week in My Kitchen

 Posting with the beautiful people and blogs at http://beautythatmoves.typepad.com/ -- as the hostess, Heather, says, it's

Capturing my love of whole foods, combined with the activity of a bustling kitchen.
A weekly collection of photos from the center of my home. 

First up: a Chinese-ish tempeh-sausage recipe from eat in magazine from this month -- not amazing, but that was my fault, since as usual I changed the recipe!

Next, a time-lapse of building a "Buddha bowl" -- again inspired by the hostess, Heather, of this linky site -- I didn't have as many fresh herbs as her wonderful recipe calls for, so it wasn't as amazing as it usually is actually sticking to her recipe, so I've placed more on our grocery list....I was surprised that "summer" squash is still very much in season in this area:

Lastly, my definite favorite of the week: Homemade "Pumpkin" Spice Latté -- recipe at http://favoritefoodthisweek.blogspot.com/2014/10/pumpkin-spice-latte.html .

A Homestyle French Supper

from the previous incarnation of this site...

Olive and Caper Pasta

Cook just to al dente, drain, and set aside
  pasta for 4 (I used bowties)
If you're using dried mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes that have not been packed in oil, pour hot water over them and set them aside.
Cook in olive oil just until starting to turn golden
  a lot of fresh garlic cloves (like 24 or so)
Add about 10 sliced fresh mushrooms and saute until almost done IF you want; I prefer the dried ones below or even omitting them.
Stir in and simmer about 5 min
  about 2 cups tomato sauce (plain type; or tomato puree or paste with some water added)
  about 1 handful dried mushrooms that have been soaked and drained (or saute 10 fresh, sliced mushrooms above) (optional)
  2 handfuls sun-dried tomatoes soaked in oil and just lightly drained (or if necessary soaked as above and drained); slice them into 2 or 3 pieces each if necessary
Simmer about 5 more minutes, then stir in and cook another 2 minutes:
  about 24 green olives cut into 2 or 3 pieces each
  2 tsp capers
  a fresh herb torn up, your choice, mild-ish such as basil or cilantro (we used cilantro from our first-ever successful vegetable garden!)
Stir in the drained pasta. Add more olive oil if it needs it. It shouldn't need any more salt after the capers and olives.

Adapted from a recipe in the fun magazine YUMMY from the Philippines! (In English) the October 2010 issue
from the previous incarnation of this site on this day -- though we lived in Asia at the time, so the timing might be a little off for where you are

Homemade "Pumpkin" Spice Latté

Makes enough for about 4 lucky people...or fewer if you can't stop at one cupful!

If you'd like, stir together the following and put into the refrigerator to use the next morning, or of course you can keep going and use it immediately! --
  heaping 1/3 cup sugar
  about 1/3 cup butternut squash puree
  1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1/2 tsp ground (dry) ginger
  1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

When you're ready for your latté, make and keep aside
  about 1/2 cup espresso (actually, the amount in a small Italian espresso maker is perfect, such as that found at http://www.amazon.com/Bialetti-Venus-Stovetop-Percolator-Stainless/dp/B00067WBU4 ) (or use double the amount of your normal coffee grounds and make coffee in a French press and measure out 1/2 cup)

Have the above squash-and-spices mixture in a pot and whisk in and heat (I use a thermometer to help me make sure without burning a finger that it's hot enough for my taste -- no need to bring this to a boil):
  4-1/2 cups skim milk (though I'm sure richer milks would be marvelous!)
Lastly, stir in
  2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

If you want, it's even better with some whipped cream on top! But really this was perfect to me without it!

I used a lovely butternut squash puree from Hooray Puree; one of their pouches is perfect for this; I found and got it through http://www.abesmarket.com/natural-products/food-and-drink/meal-mixes/natural-organic-ingredients-sides/hooray-puree-butterut-squash-single-2-pouches.html .

Very adapted from a recipe in the October 2014 Food Network Magazine.

A fabulous autumn breakfast

This was so perfect!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latté (the recipe is at http://favoritefoodthisweek.blogspot.com/2014/10/pumpkin-spice-latte.html )

Homemade  Oat-Pecan-Whole Wheat Yeast bread (I pretty much followed the instructions for a Rye-Wheat Bread in Beatrice Ojakangas' Whole Grain Breads cookbook, as explained in http://favoritefoodthisweek.blogspot.com/2014/10/this-week-in-my-kitchen_16.html )

An interesting glimpse of a 1930s British home

from the wonderful Angela Thirkell's Summer Half, published in the UK in 1937:

Mrs. Twicker was a farmer's daughter from Westmorland, and...her housekeeping was that of the north, and it was her boast that her husband had never eaten baker's bread except for a week at the birth of their various children. Her kitchen with a huge open range, her little dairy with bowls of cream on stone shelves, her wash-house and copper, her mangle, were all the subject of enthusiastic praise [by her young visitors. When one of them broke their buttons by over-enthusiastically using the washing mangle,] to the kitchen [they returned]. From a chest of drawers Mrs. Twicker got a large basket, once lined with quilted blue satin, and full of all sorts of enchanting odds and ends,...among them a shell-box containing apparently one of each kind of button in the world. Mrs. Twicker, putting on a much-worn thimble with an agate top, sewed them on, while the boys looked at the dough that was rising in a big earthenware bowl before the fire, and the chicks that were being raised by hand in warm flannel in a basket, with a cat taking care of them. When Mrs. Twicker had finished the [button repair] she took the dough out of the bowl and shaped it into loaves for baking. Each visitor was allowed to prick his initials on the top of a loaf, and Mrs. Twicker promised them that each should have some of his own loaf next morning....It was at this point that Swan said he would like to live there forever.


Filling the Freezer etc Day: General Planning Ideas

I love what I call a Fill-Your-Freezer-etc Day. Here's a general (and very idiosyncratic) plan about that, in order of when to do what of what I myself tend to do...I'm aiming at not-ridiculously-difficult.....

1. Make your plan.
2. Be sure you have your ingredients for your plan.
3. Go shopping if you have to.
4. If possible, make sure there's somewhere for you to sit down sometimes while you're working tomorrow, such as a stool that cozies up to a kitchen counter.

1. Soak beans.
2. Soak nuts and grains if you do that (and add their details to your own version of the below plan, though I do have "cook your grains" and "make your nut butter" slots). (I never have but want to try this; my favorite raw cookbook, Raw Food Made Easy, by Jennifer Cornbleet, has lots of ideas about that.)

1. Start cooking your beans. (Note I'm not venturing any guesses at when these dishes will be finished...)

OVEN (during cool weather) (of course you'll have to pay attention to what recipes require what oven temperature)
2. Make bread(s)/coffee cake(s)/whatever you'd like. Start with any yeast ones so they have time to rise etc.
3. Start roasting a larger cut of meat or a whole chicken and/or a nut/vegetarian sausage roast. (Note: This month's Food & Wine has a really great cover feature on roasting! Lots of both vegetarian and not-veg innovative ideas!
4. Start roasting whole big vegetables like winter squash.
5. Start roasting panful(s) of smaller vegetables. Keep the "good" scraps for a broth later today.

6. Make cereal(s) (such as muesli or homemade instant oatmeal). (Break idea: Have some!)

 from a 1920s? ad...

7. If you have any overripe or otherwise must-be-used vegetables or fruit, prep and freeze them for a later use.
8. Make pesto if you have plenty of basil on hand. (Break idea: Spread some on a cracker!)
9. Make your own nut butter. (Some people love to make nut milks too...) (Break idea: Spread some on a cracker!)
10. If your week ahead is probably crazy, you might also want to whip up some smoothies to stick in the fridge. (Break idea: Have some!)
11. If you have energy and want to do some other food prep, like food-processing onions, this might be a good time. (I really prefer my food chopped not very long before I use it, but some weeks this sort of thing is such a calm-saver.)
12. Set up your rice cooker to make a big batch of a whole grain to keep in the refrigerator or freezer. If it has a steamer basket, perhaps you'd like to steam a vegetable at the same time.
13. Start a nice broth using any bones from the roasted meat and any scraps from the vegetables.
14. If you like, make some gelatin dessert or a nice stovetop pudding.
cover of a 1947 magazine...

Relax while the rest finishes except when you need to turn things off, store things, etc. Admire your marvelous handiwork.
from a 1950s? ad...

Maybe tonight you'd like to take that broth, stir in some of the beans you cooked and/or the meat you roasted, plus some of the vegetables you roasted, and stir in some of the whole grain, and flavor it extra with your pesto you made. Of course you'll serve any dessert you made too...

This Week in My Kitchen

Let's see, first it was a pretty dern awful cereal, a new recipe I tried and now have way too much of! But I'll finish it eventually!

Then it was a fish meal recipe we adored in Asia, but which turned out to be extremely bland here. It could be our changing tastes, it could be the amazing produce and fish we got over the seas; more likely it's both.

 Then it was a quite good yeast bread recipe from my definitely all-time favorite baker, Beatrice Ojakangas, from her whole grain bread cookbook.

This was my first try from that one, but if it continues as wonderful and as easy as others I've tried by her, it'll end up on my column of cookbook fame, I'm sure. This was originally a rye-wheat bread with pecans and cinnamon; I substituted oats for the rye flour and used all whole wheat (no white) flour and it was great. Like she said, cinnamon (1 Tbl for one large loaf) is a great addition, even though it's not a sweet bread.

With that we had a stovetop bean "cassserole" from eat in magazine that was pretty good...
 Lastly, actually my best attempt of the week -- adapted from the Eggs section of the 1970s Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery -- fried eggs with a few chopped mushrooms and a splash of red wine and some dried herbs and salt and pepper. The extra bowl is because (for the first time since like 1979) I've been (accidentally!) getting spoiled eggs, though only from a certain supermarket, so I break them into that bowl first, to check before a bad egg ruins the rest. I believe my great-grandmother taught me that...

The egg dish was served as a very pleasant afternoon snack.

This is with the lovely people over at http://beautythatmoves.typepad.com/ . Hmm, I might not be able to join up next week, but we'll see -- lots is going on other than cooking in the days ahead.