Fish with Rutabaga

(Note you really need the preserved lemon for this; it adds a lot; normal lemons just won't be half as good.)

Slice 1 big red onion into medium wedges and cook in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil until getting tender and browned.

Add and stir
   2 c chicken broth (I just used a generic though organic and low-sodium one)
   1/3 c red wine (I used leftover Mouton Cadet Bordeaux from Baron Philippe de Rothschild)
   3 big garlic cloves sliced
   black pepper freshly ground

Then stir in
   2 medium rutabagas peeled and irregularly cubed into about 1" cubes (I got mine very fresh through a farmer-direct home delivery) (I'm sure turnips would substitute quite well)
Simmer until almost done; mine took about 20 min.

   1 preserved lemon diced, seeds discarded (people often recommend just using the peel but I love the whole thing) (I like the brand I used today -- Mustapha's -- I found it at World Market -- though decades ago I found another brand I loved completely, possibly just a homemade one, in a small New York grocery which also had flavorings such as saffron in it)
   2 thin fish fillets
Simmer covered until everything's done; when it's almost done add and keep the lid just partially on
   a small handful of fresh parsley chopped (scissors made it easy)

Taste and add salt if necessary (it usually won't be with most chicken broths and preserved lemons). Serve over couscous because it'll have a nice sauce.

Extremely adapted from Nigel Slater's A Dish of Lamb Shanks with Preserved Lemon and Rutabaga in his Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch

A Delicious Weird Dinner

I had some ingredients I had to use and found a recipe that sounded perfect in a cookbook that just arrived today -- Nigel Slater's Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch. I always loved Mr. Slater's recipes, and this book looks fantastic, and this first recipe (though I changed it a lot) was fabulous! The meal was even better than I expected, though it sounds weird!

Fish with Rutabaga (see recipe I'll post this weekend) served over Couscous (I used instant couscous)
Broccoli with Garlic (I just microwaved it)

A general idea for a delicious winter spread

Gladys Taber mentions that she and her family found it was easy to put together a satisfying spread like this when they were having people over in the winter -- this is my adaptation from her February chapter in her wonderful Stillmeadow Daybook:

a couple vegetable casseroles
a big easy salad
a cheese platter with lots of choices 

(if you're having omnivores/carnivores!) a large piece of meat/poultry/fish you can roast
 She is the authoress of some cookbooks I should check out, such as this one:

A reminder of the modernity of our modern kitchens

RULES FOR HOUSEKEEPERS in a Cooking School in Boston, which seemed to be originally written in 1887, then updated in 1909 and published in 1914. 

from Boston School Kitchen Text-Book: Lessons in Cooking for the Use of Classes in Public and Industrial Schools, by Mrs. Mary J. Lincoln (I believe this is no relation to the Boston Cooking School, nor of couse to Mary Todd Lincoln...)
A. M.
Get kindlings and coal.
Build the fire.
Regulate the dampers.
Empty ashes into sifter.
Brush the stove and under and around it.  

Blacken the stove.
Light the fire.
Polish the stove.
Regulate the dampers.
Fill tea-kettle and reservoir with fresh water.
Wash hearth or zinc under the stove.
Wash cloth and put to
Sift ashes.
Bring cinders to kitchen.
Collect soiled dishes from desks and take them to the
Put clean dishes in their places. 

P. M.
Regulate the fire.
Replenish kettles.
Empty kettles and copper boiler, and turn them over to


Dust the room thoroughly. Begin at one corner and take each article in turn as you come to it. Dust from the highest things to the lowest, taking up the dust in the cloth, not brushing it off on the floor. Shake the duster occasionally in a suitable place, and when through wash and hang it to dry. Use two or more cloths if needed.
Bring stores to teacher when directed. 
Scrub dresser and teacher's desk.  
Keep dresser in perfect order.
Wipe dishes if needed.

Sweep room at 11.40 and 3.40, beginning at one side and sweeping toward one place. Hold the broom close to the floor; sweep with short strokes, and let the broom take the dust along on the floor instead of tossing it into the air. 

Polish the boiler.
Clean knives and spoons in dresser drawer. 

Wash and wipe dishes.
Wash dish-towels.
Scrub sink outside and inside with hot suds.  

Wash cloth and hang it to dry. 

John Keats had trouble sourcing good food too!

I believe my favorite poet ever is John Keats. Here is an interesting mention of food in his letter of May 10, 1817, to Leigh Hunt:

I went to the Isle of Wight - thought so much about Poetry so long together that I could not get to sleep at night - and moreover, I know not how it was, I could not get wholesome food - By this means in a Week or so I became not over capable in my upper Stories, and set off pell mell for Margate, at least 150 Miles - because forsooth I fancied that I should like my old Lodging here, and could contrive to do without Trees. Another thing I was too much in Solitude, and consequently was obliged to be in continual burning of thought as an only resource.