You ‘red’ it here first — a simple way to cook fish

Using a bed of chopped tomatoes and onions keeps fish moist while it cooks. Photo by Laura Groch

Using a bed of chopped tomatoes and onions and low heat keeps fish moist while it cooks. Photo by Laura Groch

Lots of people are frightened by fish — by cooking it, to be more exact. It can be intimidating — and easy to dry out — but I think I have a way to keep it moist and cook it more easily.

The idea is to poach the fish over a bed of juicy vegetables so it can’t burn, be overcooked or otherwise become unpalatable. It’s also a way to make use of some of those bushels of tomatoes everyone seems to still be harvesting.

This recipe came from seeing other recipes that called for cooked-down cherry tomatoes. Continue reading

Chili Without Carne — and chili — is right up my alley

Chili Without Carne goes easy on the chili powder but is still flavorful and has great texture from all the vegetables. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Chili Without Carne goes easy on the chili powder, but is still flavorful. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Anyone who knows me knows better than to invite me to a chili cookout. It’s never been one of my favorite dishes, and when I was a food editor I turned down many requests to judge chili contests. (It just wouldn’t have been fair. I would have rated everything C-minus.)

Chili has wonderful ingredients in it — meat, beans, onions, garlic, tomatoes — but the “authentic” chili seasoning just turns me off. I’ve always found it bitter and harsh. So I Continue reading

For 2019, a book that will entertain you while improving your cooking (and eating)

My well-thumbed copy of "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" is my recommendation to you for 2019.

My well-thumbed copy of “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School” by Kathleen Flinn is my recommended reading to you for 2019. (Photo by Laura Groch)

If you’re one of the millions who are resolving to change your eating/cooking/food-buying habits in the new year, have I got a recommendation for you. I have meant to write about this book forever, but I just keep rereading it and re-enjoying it for myself. (And procrastinating too, yes.)

But no more. My 2019 resolution is to share this book with you, so: “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices Into Fearless Home Cooks,” by Kathleen Flinn (Penguin Books, 2011).

Here’s the premise. Flinn was in the supermarket one day when she saw a woman whose Continue reading

A nice (rice) way to handle leftovers

fried rice

Fried rice is an easy way to use leftovers and a fun addition to the dinner repertoire. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Lots of folks made ham for Easter, others did a nice brisket for Passover. (We did a pork roast, make what you will of that, Facebook)

So: leftovers. (By now I hope yours are neatly packaged in your freezer, awaiting the call for meals like this.)

This Fried Rice recipe isn’t anything new or fancy, but it’s a fun change of pace and a Continue reading

Post-pumpkin, a few tasty ideas

pumpkin oatmeal

Pumpkin is a warm, welcome addition to your morning bowl of oatmeal. Photo by Laura Groch

Halloween is over, but pumpkin is still with us. And will be with us through year end. And really beyond, because pumpkin is just too good not to eat more often than just in chilly weather.

It’s nutritious, full of beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber, and you can use it in myriad cakes, pies, muffins and cookies — none of which I’m going to discuss here.

Instead, I’m going to suggest a few simple ways to use the rest of that can of pumpkin you Continue reading

Safe at home: Those pesky ‘best by’ dates

"Best by" dates aren't absolutes. Most canned foods are perfectly fine for up to five years. (Photo by Laura Groch)

“Best by” dates aren’t absolutes. Most canned foods are perfectly fine for up to five years. (Photo by Laura Groch)

 

For the past three months, I’ve been feeding myself poison.

That is, if you count “Use by,” “Best by” and “Sell by” dates as absolutes when it comes to wholesome food.

Obviously, I don’t.

We’ve recently seen stories about how wasteful Americans are with their food, and how Continue reading

Lettuce try some new ways to do salad

Radish leaves are edible, so why not try them in a salad?

Radish leaves are edible, so why not try them in a salad? (Photo by Laura Groch)

With California’s winter rains flooding out some lettuce farms, greens are going up in price nationwide. Some reports say that lettuce is going for $3.99 a head.

Well, if you use your head, you can still enjoy salads without going broke. Stores and farmers markets still have plenty of less-expensive green leaves to fill your salad bowls.

Green and red cabbage come to my mind first, especially green. Just slice the leaves into Continue reading