Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Can't Get Startered!

My second attempt at sourdough starter was not much more successful than the injera starter. You see it on day three. One problem is that it has a big dried spot on the surface, which happened because I disregarded instructions to keep it tightly covered with plastic wrap. "It needs to breathe!" I thought, wrongly. Another problem is that whereas my book predicted it would emit "a faint citrus aroma" it in fact exudes "an assertive dead-cat-in-the-basement" aroma. I threw it out and started two new batches, one with rye flour, one with whole wheat. I think one issue is my lack of a place to let it sit at the proper temperature. My book recommends 55 to 65 degrees, but where is that to be found in my house, chock a block with room-temperature rooms?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Whole-wheat fettuccine with Rao's tomato sauce and beef meatballs: ground beef, an egg, some garlic, and fresh oregano.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Today's fridge-cleaning soup contains:

1 lb. Yellow Indian Woman beans
1 Moroccan Lemon Chicken carcass
1 bulb of fennel
1 onion
2 red peppers
1 big piece of ginger

Super yum over leftover brown rice.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Banana Bread

with ginger. About a week ago I had a Thai banana fritter, which had ginger in the batter and was scrumptious. So a few days ago I threw a big spoonful of ground ginger into my banana bread batter thinking: "frittery good!" In fact it was nothing at all like the fritter, but still pretty good.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Crab Cakes

with quinoa and sauteed turnip greens (young juicy ones from the big pots of them my husband is growing).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lamb Chops

broiled, with spinach and quinoa.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Catastrophe. The worst cooking disaster of my life. A friend and faithful reader told me a while back that teff flour, which I'd bought without knowing a thing about it, is the basis of injera, the delicious Ethiopian sourdough flatbread. I love injera, and Ethiopian food in general, so I filed that information away in my "to-do" neurons. About a week ago, I don't know why, I got fired up about it and did some internet research that resulted in a week of tending a teff-based sourdough starter, and tonight I made it into injera. In Ethiopian restaurants injera is spongy and sour and compulsively eatable; in my kitchen it was gummy and faintly gritty and tasted (I'm quoting my husband) "worse than dirt." He was right; it was repulsive. Clearly, I have a lot to learn about starter. And I plan to persevere! But this time I'm going to try regular sourdough starter without the teff element, to see if I can get some basics down. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Potato Frittata

with roasted cauliflower and shiitakes.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meatball Soup

with chicken stock, onions, herbed meatballs, whole wheat egg noodles, and baby turnip greens.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Crab Cakes

with spinach and black rice.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mo Banana Bread

Two loaves. The flour was a blend of buckwheat, teff, and coconut, the fat was butter, and I threw in a half teaspoon of ground nutmeg. The nutmeg overwhelms the banana, but I love nutmeg so it's ok by me. I did, by the way, make Maida Heatter's Cuban Banana Bread last week. It calls for a cup of bran cereal (I used All-Bran), and to my taste this introduced too much salt and hard-to-identify processed something or other flavor.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Moroccan Lemon Chicken

with black rice and sprout-shiitake slaw.

White Bean Soup

I realized as I was putting this soup together that my soup-making has evolved into a game with one rule: I'm not allowed to buy anything specifically for the soup. I suppose I cheat in that I usually keep things like beans and chicken stock on hand, but the moment of making is spontaneous, and I use whatever is already in the house. Yesterday that meant:

1 lb. mayacoba beans
1 squishy box chicken stock
1 big badly sprouted oninon
a few chunks of country ham
2 ancient butternut squashes
some fresh sage

The soup is sublime. I am finally getting a handle on the texture of bean soup. Realizing that the secret to thickness is blending some of it up and adding it back to the pot was a big step. That's the thing about being self taught (at cooking or, I suppose, anything else): you gain a lot of confidence at the expense of some startling holes in your repertoire.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!

Every year I say it: I should dye all our eggs, I find them so cheering. Below is my daughter's Easter to-do list.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

or sort of: whole wheat fettuccine, broken into pieces, with sauteed red bell peppers and buffalo meatballs (ground buffalo meat, brown rice, chives, and a spoonful of preserved lemon).