Tuesday, February 25, 2014
When I was a kid, my dad often took soup in a thermos for his lunch. He did not eat cold food unless he was out on a boat or the food was ice cream on a hot summer evening--in which case he'd have ice cream for supper. When I started school, he bought me my own thermos and made my lunch, too. Of course the only way that was possible was because he'd made soup the night before, intentionally making enough for lunches. He came from a generation of country people, farmers, who knew enough about life to not waste anything. Chicken necks and butts, bones, the ends of celery bunches, onion peels, and sometimes things we didn't want to know about, went into Dad's soup. Waste not….
These days, there can be an easier method, though there doesn't have to be. I'll admit I rarely buy a rotisserie chicken, for instance, but I do on the rare occasion. The carcass or the cooked flesh itself are both good soup materials. More often, I'll roast my own chicken or boil one up to make homemade broth a la Dad. However you end up with a little extra chicken, this quick, nutritious, soup is a good weeknight undertaking and stretches the protein into another meal or two. You can eat off of it a couple of days or invite a neighbor, or even take leftovers to work. Leftover takeout rice can make the soup nearly instant, though, given a choice, I like letting the soup cook with raw rice. All the elements seem to come together and the flavors marry in a way they don't with already-cooked rice. I also give a tiny idea for a more Asian-style soup; check the notes below the recipe. However you make this, enjoy soup and maybe you'd like to….
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Happy Valentine's Day to You!
Here's a menu you can make just for you with great leftovers. This post features big double lamb chops that are grilled first and then finished in the oven; a piquant tapenade tops them at the table. Meantime, you'll oven-roast large, whole carrots laced with ground cumin. There's a make-ahead green bean salad you'll fix again and again and I also give suggestions for wine and tiny, light desserts. Don't want leftovers? Cut the amounts in half for a one-time dinner. Don't want to eat alone? Invite a friend or neighbor; there's plenty..
Start with a beautiful sparkler that needn't cost much. I heartily recommend a New Mexico sparkling wine such as Gruet rather than splurging on French champagne. Despite all, I've found sparklers do keep a day two. Or, if you'd like, choose a half-bottle of a very special sparkling wine from the wine shop. Add some of the tapenade with baguette or crackers or a bowl of great potato chips--my favorite sparkler pairing. Stay away from cheese; fresh vegetables would work wonderfully. Just stick with something light; lamb is loving, but filling.
If you're cooking for just you, open the wine, turn on the music, set the table, and enjoy a beautiful night. Afterward, get out that novel you've been meaning to read and take it to bed with you along with the last glass of wine. You could write letters or cards to a few people you adore; make yourself post them in the morning. Whatever you do, have fun cooking and taking care of yourself!
Monday, January 27, 2014
A cold and snowy morning at home. Kept looking at my granola and wondering what I could do with it that would turn it into something warm. Pancakes came to mind. Eggs popped up right after that. What came to be was a short stack of pancakes that had granola and minced, cooked bacon in them --all topped off with a fried egg and a swizzle of real maple syrup, garnished with a bit more granola. Heaven as I know it.
Years ago, I used to make Marion Cunningham's granola pancakes (just add granola), but I now make my own….She has always been a great breakfast inspiration and her Breakfast Book is one of my favorite cookbooks.
|Alyce's granola--recipe below in purple make my own granola link|
Monday, January 20, 2014
Readers: If you also read my posts at More Time at the Table, please know that I've moved the blog to WordPress: http://www.moretimeatthetable.com. Do follow me there! (Migration by gorgeous and oh-so-smart daughter, Emily Suzanne Morgan--follow Emily @fightthebees)
If you have tortillas, salsa, and perhaps a little cheese in your fridge, you can nearly always find something for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you have baby kale, the sky's the limit. After the long siege of football games yesterday -- complete with potato skins, (recipe coming from son Sean…)
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Readers: I recently moved my cooking blog MORE TIME AT THE TABLE to WordPress. If you're a MORE TIME reader, too, please reset your favorites, links, and so on. Do come check out the new site and follow me there!! Click here for new site.
The number of chickens-in-a-box (think wine in a box, but these are also often called rotisserie chickens) I see in shopping carts makes me sad. It can't mean people don't know how to roast a chicken, can it? A little oil, some salt and pepper, stick it in the oven or even in the slow cooker. No. Mostly, I think it's the time factor, fatigue, or simplicity. Maybe the inability to think any more that day. The chicken-in-a-box is often cheaper, too. That just shouldn't be so.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
|Pintos garnished with plain Greek yogurt and Frontera salsa|
This is a favorite pot of "good luck" beans I'm reposting for New Year's. Invite a friend, put on a movie, and enjoy a wonderful pot of healthy, inexpensive goodness. If you have a slow-cooker, all the better! Nobody available? Cook them anyway. Enjoy the movie and freeze a few containers for lunches.
When I was a kid, a pot of beans sounded nasty to me. It smacked of nothing to do out in the country (except make a pot of beans) and I didn't particularly like the taste of beans--particularly pintos. My parents grew all kinds of vegetables and they were fond of many sorts of beans and peas; our neighbors were of a similar ilk. Married during the depression, but first raised on or near the farm, they all knew every trick for saving money on food. Moving to the big city, they searched for a piece of land out a ways in order to plant that garden every year. (Weed, can, water, repeat.)
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Merry Christmas to you! If you're cooking for just your wonderful self this Christmas morning, you're blessed to be up and about and turning on the stove. I hope you already made your coffee, fed the cat, brought in the paper, and maybe turned on some Christmas music.
Three Tenors' Christmas Concert
A lovely quick and filling breakfast can be had in one sweet little skillet. If you'd like some scones to go with the eggs, I give a recipe at the bottom. Do make the scones first! Share the rest with a neighbor or wrap them well, store in the fridge, and have with your tea or a finger or two of scotch over the next few days.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
I'm up early this morning making a big batch of nutty granola. It's way below freezing in Colorado Springs today and the temperatures are doing nothing but dropping through tomorrow. A warm oven blowing the spicy aromas of cinnamon and cloves through the house, snow flying, coffee brewing; there's something sort of homey and comforting about it. I do not have to go out in it, so I probably feel a bit differently than those who are out starting their cars.
My plan for the day--after the granola, that is-- is to stay inside so I can make two big pots of beef vegetable soup. One for today that I'll share with a couple of neighbors and one for the freezer for over the holidays. One pot may get a little barley thrown in or a couple of cans of chopped chiles for fun. I have zucchini, Parmesan, and tiny pasta; the other could move toward minestrone. We'll see in what direction these cauldrons of goodness feel like moving. One could even be stew. So many soups, so little time.
Out the back door this morning, north toward Denver:
If I'm honest, I also know I need to do a little housework. I'm having neighbors in for a holiday meal Friday night --one leaves early for a long December trip -- and it would make sense to do a thing or two ahead of time. Right? While that's so, more likely I'll do a last minute Windex-clean in the bathroom, blow dust off the coffee table, and light plenty of candles so no one can see much except one another. My house isn't decorated either.We were gone all weekend and I've been running the roads the past couple of days with errands, early shopping, and grocery stock-up.The tree is up with lights; is that enough?
Miss Gab and Tucker keeping warm.
Monday, November 25, 2013
|BUTTER-BASIL CHICKEN WITH WINTER SQUASH|
This little menu begins with a sparkler (a sparkling wine)--an inexpensive Spanish cava or New Mexico Gruet (not sweet and very reasonable)--and a bit of cheese. No need to get full before dinner. Next comes a magnificent, golden brown chicken* roasted with lemons, basil, and huge shards of winter squash. Just to show off, there are nearly instant--but incredibly luscious--green beans graced with lots of bright lemon zest and a splashy note of crushed red pepper. A very fast, cooked stove top, spicy cranberry sauce made with apples and lemons is an optional side and truly a contrast. Drink a good bottle of Pinot Noir with the chicken. (I like an Oregon Pinot Noir, which comes at several different price points: A-Z at the lower end, Ken Wright or Adelsheim further up. Can't find one you like or can afford? Ask the wine shop for a middle-ground French red Côtes du Rhône. Want white? Choose an off-dry Riesling--German or Washington state. ) Tiny individual microwaved pumpkin "pies" bring up the rear--so to speak-- with no crust necessary, though you can add a small ginger thin at the bottom of each ramekin if you'd like. Coffee you flavor yourself with cinnamon (a sprinkle in the grounds works wonders) and a nice piece of dark chocolate--or two-- end the day in happiness.
*You might consider a slow cooker roasted chicken if that would be simpler.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Confused about which fish you should buy? Download a Monterey Bay Aquarium guide...
When Dave's gone (he's my dishwasher), I lean toward one-pan meals. I like hearty, healthy, and satisfying potfuls that will feed me a few times. I admit to laziness. Evenings spent on the couch reading. Kitchens that stay clean.
I also adore fish cooked with or in vegetables; it's one of my favorite meals for experimenting. As long as there's enough liquid in the vegetables and pan and the vegetables are done (or nearly done) when the well-seasoned fish goes on top, the meal is usually successful. Fish salads are next on my list; I love them, too!
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Apple Pie for You and Someone Special--Just in Time for Thanksgiving When Someone Says, "Bring the Pie!"
|10-inch pie for dessert ("A" is for apple) and a coffee cup pie for someone who needs one, like my grandson, Rhyan.|
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Cooking dinner for one or two people isn't a challenge in most ways. Think of it: that's what restaurants do and do so well. They cook one chicken breast at a time, or one piece of fish, or one chop. Of course they may also cook all of these individual meals at once, which is why your food may occasionally take so very long. I think what gets interesting is doing it for three meals a day--in your very own kitchen.
If I'm home and not involved in some big project, I often cook lunch for Dave for lots of reasons. It's a kind thing to do for someone who works 60 hours a week and pays the mortgages. Otherwise he eats peanut butter on saltines over the kitchen sink. If I cook, he takes a break, chats with me...maybe reads the paper or plays with Tucker and Gabby. And while sometimes I'm just cooking a big pot of something anyway, I also like the test of making quick, on-the-spot meals. Every meal needn't be a masterpiece, but it should satisfy.
While I'm not a big sandwich eater, Dave adores them. Sandwiches are filling, use leftovers admirably, and make a decent-sized meal without a lot of time and work. The other day I was going out to lunch with a friend, knew there was chicken left to eat, and threw together a tasty hot sandwich and salad for him in about 10 minutes. Try this:
Saturday, October 19, 2013
In the heat of the summer when tomatoes are lush and warm and cucumbers are cheap and numerous, I make a lot of Greek salads. Sometimes there are lovely smoky hot peppers and other times a few clean, green bell peppers suffice. Feta makes an appearance if I have it. Leftover salmon or chicken might get thrown in. It's no longer summer, but...
The other day I saw something somewhere about Israeli salad and, while it's similar to traditional "Greek" salad, it has lots of lemon and often includes mint and/or other fresh herbs. When I read the words, "Israeli salad," I just had to have some. I like mine with cheese, but many people also add nuts or seeds. Some never add cheese so that the salad is pareve--doesn't contain dairy or meat-- or so that it's vegan. Whichever way you choose, I think you'll be happy and full.
My favorite little bit about Israeli salad (which is served at many meals in Israel including breakfast) comes from legendary blogger David Lebovitz, who had Israeli food writer Maya Marom write a guest post about the salad after his return to Paris from a trip to Israel. Maya tells us there just aren't any rules about making the salad as far as ingredients go:
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
There are moments when there is definitely loveliness to sell. Sara Teasdale, right?*
As when you're moving and a neighbor shows up with great flowers and eggs from the nearby farmer-chef.
Monday, October 7, 2013
There are mornings when nothing but eggs will do and those mornings come around often at my house. Typically an egg white omelet or scramble are my choices, but lately -- in the middle of a move -- two big "fried" eggs aren't an unusual meal with a very large cup of coffee. Or three.
A week out in the move from Saint Paul back to a house we've owned for years in Colorado, I'm still emotionally up in the air and looking for comfort wherever I can find it. "Fried" eggs are it. ARGHHHH:/
Posted by Alyce at 7:38 PM
Saturday, September 21, 2013
|Slip some baguette with Gruyère under a broiler. Saute some mushrooms with garlic, shallots, herbs, broth and wine. Spoon the mushrooms over the cheese toast. Dinner is served.|
After this post, Dinner Place will be on vacation while we move house....
My first mushroom love was the famous mushroom stuffed with sausage. That gave way to (Lord) the deep-fried variety with sauce. All the while, regular old mushrooms slowly began to take part in my kitchen pageant. One day I saw that I was buying mushrooms pretty much every time I went to the store. Talking with my oldest son the other day, I woke up and realized he was talking about cooking up a big pot of mushrooms. Never know what you'll pass on.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Maybe you've been to a wedding and brought home half a filet or you might have splurged and cooked a big steak or chop to last a few days. The things you can do with that gorgeous hunk wrapped up in the fridge are precious and myriad. Of course you could make one of these...
|Steak Cobb Salad|
- steak and fried eggs with toast and jelly
- steak sandwich with cheddar and sour cream horseradish sauce
- steak-filled omelet
- Philly steak sandwich
- pepper steak
- steak and mushrooms on toast
- stir fry and rice
- steak and blue cheese grits, or
- Alyce's Steak Cobb Salad
- Alyce's Homemade Potato Chip-Steak Salad
- your favorite
|Alyce's Homemade Potato Chip-Steak Salad with Blue Cheese|
In fact, there are those that feel the things you later make out of that leftover jewel are most likely the best thing of all. (Maybe we should call them something besides leftovers.) My friend Chris' husband, Dave, is like that. Leftovers are treasures, gold in the fridge. For instance, I adore pork tenderloin. But I think I'm most happy to make it just knowing I'll have lean pork fajitas or a dish I make where I sauté onions, garlic, and mushrooms with rosemary and then add some broth and cream for a sauce to serve over rice. That dish needs a name.
On Sunday nights, we don't truly cook. Not from scratch. I work Sundays and by Sunday night....you get it.
Dinner is wine and cheese. Leftovers thrown in a pan. Frozen chili heated. A quick one-pan wonder. It's our night to watch a movie with tv trays or "Downton Abbey" (when in season) or, like now, "The Newsroom."
Sunday, September 1, 2013
|Honest is the best policy: I was too hungry to take much time with a photo.|
Yesterday Dave and I were at the grocery looking at fish for supper and I saw a great buy on large, gorgeous uncooked shrimp. (Since shrimp takes two minutes to cook, why is there so much pre-cooked shrimp for sale?) I remembered I had a bag of cleaned romaine at home in the frig, and asked for a pound of that shrimp for $9.99. When the shrimp are large, there aren't that many in a pound; I figured whatever was leftover, we'd have the next day for a snack.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
|One big, scooped out zucchini filled with scrambled eggs, onions, basil, tomatoes+cheese. Breakfast on the porch Just add newspaper + coffee.|
Just for fun, take at look at the LA Times, who published the above photo on #weekendeats !!!
These little boats are good for a fast summer supper, as well as for Saturday breakfast. The "boat" is totally edible; make sure the skin is tender and eat it with a bite of salsa. I served this with sliced peaches and blueberries and a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and jam.
The best part of the meal was sitting and eating it on the porch with Dave. I'm grateful for the moments. Here's our porch...not at breakfast, but you'll get the idea:
Friday, August 16, 2013
Salmon Fillet en Papillote with Shallots and Tomatoes: Celebrating Julia Child's 101st Birthday One Day Late!!
(Note to readers: this is actually a repeat post from MORE TIME AT THE TABLE...written and posted last year for Julia's 100th birthday.... This year, I'm already back from our Colorado house and enjoying a gorgeous end of the summer in Minnesota. Have fun. This is FAST FOOD.)
Not spending the summer in St. Paul, I don't have any of my Julia books on the shelf....And it's Julia's 100th birthday! I shipped all of the ones I needed to work on the soup cookbook and I brought my own personal cookbook, but the whole library cannot come to Colorado. Julia's books sit in Minnesota: