Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Lovely Lentils

Once upon a time, I spent my senior year in college living in a townhouse with four other classmates. We shared the cooking chores, and mostly relied on easy foods like chicken and pasta. One night, though, I decided to be a little different. We had some lentils, and some hot dogs, and I decided to follow a recipe we had — maybe it was on the back of the lentil bag, I’m not sure — to make them into a casserole.

No surprise, it was an inedible disaster. I steered clear of trying to cook lentils for a long time afterwards. I’ve always liked eating them, but that early bad experience left me nervous about hands-on lentil preparation.

Recently, on the heels of some of my experiments with heirloom beans, I’ve been given lentils a try again. I can do a decent batch of basic lentils now, but that’s nothing to brag about. I want to do something more adventurous with lentils.

So, I’m on the lookout for some good ideas. Not really interested in lentil soups, more in lentils as a side dish or even a main course. If you have suggestions, let me know!

Winter Cooking Supplies

beans and pancetta

Even in the middle of winter, the SF Ferry Building farmer’s market has some good stuff. I haven’t decided exactly what I’m doing with the Mother Stallard beans (on the right), but Scott is planning red beans and rice for the others. Posts will follow once we have recipes in place.

The pancetta in the white wrapper is going into tonight’s penne alla vodka. I thought I’d posted that recipe but either I haven’t or it’s currently hiding from me. I’ll add the link, or get the recipe online for that one. It’s not exactly authentic Italian (sorry Claudia!) but it tastes great.

Eat Less, Enjoy More

Scott prepared a roast beef for our dinner tonight. Sadly, although his preparation can’t be faulted, it wasn’t a particularly good meal, and that’s because of the meat. It was poor-quality, and all the technique in the world couldn’t disguise the fact.

Serves us right for buying a Safeway special, I know. We won’t make that mistake again. And in a nice coincidence of timing, this article in the NY Times is another reminder that when it comes to meat, it’s better in every way to eat just one really good cut of beef than five bad ones.

Please, no drive-by sanctimony from the vegan crowd. I’m not interested in removing meat from my diet entirely. I am going to make more of an effort to focus on only buying quality meat from quality sources, even if it means we can’t afford to buy it as often.

New Kitchen Toy

The day before Xmas, I was browsing in a local shop called Ichiban Kan. It’s basically a Japanese version of the Dollar Store. At any rate, I found this little baby there for just $1.75.


It’s absolutely fabulous for slicing garlic. I’ll probably find some other uses for it as well as time goes on, but even if I don’t, for the price, how could I resist?

The garlic was part of the prep for a three-day cassoulet I’m working on. I’ll do a full blog post on that when it’s finished.

Kitchen Don’t of the Day

Deciding to put a bottle full of red pepper flakes into the blender, then trying to pour the now-pulverized flakes back into the bottle – especially while recovering from a cold – is a really, really bad idea.