December 2006

Did you ever have a recipe that you knew you probably shouldn’t share? For years I’ve had this one pot meal I’d throw together when times were tough and money was short. It’s filling and actually pretty tasty.

Start with starch. Cook up a couple potatoes (preferable reds) until mostly done or a bag of noodles (elbow macaroni, spaghetti, linguini, egg noodles, whatever’s in the cupboard).

Drop the starch into a pot and open a 16oz bottle of salsa (hot, mild, whatever) and pour it in. Add a little can of tomato sauce. Turn the burner on to medium high.

Basil – basil goes good with tomatoes and there’s always basil in the cupboard. Whatever fits in the palm of your hand.

Garlic – 2 – 4 cloves, finely chopped.

Vegies – Whatever looks alive and edible in the reefer. Zucchini, broccoli, green peppers, green beans. Maybe 1 minute or so in the microwave.

Meat – Again whatever is in the fridge. Half a loop of kielbasa, sliced is nice. Goop is good without the meat.

Salsa not hot enough? – Add some jalapenos or maybe a nice teaspoon or two of Tóúng Ót Tói Viet-Nam Chili Garlic Sauce (I *always* have a jar in the reefer)

Heat the “Goop” until it starts to bubble. As it heats, shred or chop up a goodly amount of sharp cheddar (preferably Tillamook).

Finish with a couple tablespoons of a good mayonaisse to thicken and stir in cheese until it just melts.

Grab a bag of corn chips and enjoy. Probably enough left over for another meal.

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I’ve been making this pork posole stew for years. It’s simple to put together and fills the house with wonderful smells. I sometimes add a couple potatoes and carrots to get the southwestern equivalent of Beef Stew. Source is an out-of-print cookbook called “Blue Corn and Chocolate”

1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lb. lean boneless pork, cut in very small cubes
1 cup dried hominy, or 2 cups cook or canned hominy, drained
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 large dried New Mexico chiles, seeded
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
3 – 4 cups cold water
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients, except the salt, in a pot. (If you are using cooked or canned hominy, do not add at this point, but reserve for the last 1/2 hour of cooking)

2. Simmer the stew over low to moderate heat, uncovered, for 2 – 3 hours until the meat is very tender and the hominy is swelled and tender. If the mixture becomes too dry while cooking, add more water. (About mid way through this time, I fish out the chiles and gently scrape the now fully reconstituted inner flesh from the paper like skins. Stir the chile flesh back into the stew and throw the skins away.)

3. When posole is done, add salt to taste. The stew should be a sort of soupy stew, best served like chili, in bowls.

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After many years of cooking, I recently acquired a crock pot and I’m slowly accumulating recipes. This one was passed on by a reader of my knitting blog and is very tasty. My only changes are addition of a few cloves of garlic (you can’t have too much garlic) and a bit less of the tapioca (I like my beef stews a bit thinner)

2# cubed beef, trimmed of fat, cut into dainty pieces
4 onions, quartered
6 stalks celery, cut in bite-sized pieces
8 carrots
1 small turnip
19 oz. V-8 juice
1/4 c. Minute tapioca – it’s with the Jell-O and puddings at the store, red box
1 T. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 bay leaf

Cook 6-8 hours on low.

12/31/06 Hmm?? There should be some potatoes in this. Yep. Seem to have managed to forget the potatoes. Add a couple potatoes cut into bite-sized chunks… Reds or Yukon Golds are nice. 😦

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An exceptional cookie recipe. Crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle. Original recipe did not have the cinnamon, but it’s a very nice addition.

Phoebe’s Fabulous Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies, from “Cooking With Friends”

12 tablespoons (175g) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (160g) firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup (130g) white sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (170g) rolled oats
1 1/4 cup (160g) plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups (200g) raisins

Preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas Mark 5.
Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract; beat until well combined.

In a separate bowl combine oats, flour, soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix into butter mixture until just combined. Stir in raisins.

Drop the dough by heaped tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets, leaving a 2″ gap between each mound.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Cool on sheet for at least a minute before transferring to a rack.

1/10/07 – Picked up a cookie scoop and tried these again. Even 12 minutes was too long with scoop sized cookies. 11 minutes turns out nicely brown chewy cookies.

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