Cooking in fits and starts.

Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2005 01:14 pm
boomerang wrote:
At Costco I buy these giant bags of "petite green beans" that are sooooo good. I like them as well as fresh beans and much better than canned.

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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2005 01:33 pm
Yes, they're frozen and they have nothing added (Ingredients: Green Beans). They're these very skinny kind of beans that I have never seen sold fresh. They're very good.
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2005 02:51 pm
Good one, Bella.

Canned veggies that are good: tomatoes. And, uh, not much else.

Peas are very good frozen.
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Reply Mon 24 Oct, 2005 01:06 pm
Canned beans are good and awfully handy to have in various types. I keep garbanzos on hand for the emergency hummus; also kidney beans, butter beans and black beans. The trick is before you use them, you drain and rinse them, then marinate in something like a little bit of olive oil and some freshly crushed garlic. That's an Emeril trick and works well.

We have a yummy recipe for green beans so I'll have to look for those Costco beans. Most of their bags of frozen vegies seem so huge that I haven't bought them.

All week I've been thinking about these fits and starts, boomerang. A couple of things I do that you might want to try -- I make balsamic onions (it's an Ina Garten recipe) and use them for a couple of different dinners plus you can dig into when making eggs. They're handy to have in the frig -- a great side dish with meat, good on pasta or polenta, they'll flavor anything and they even go well cold on green salads (which is how Ina originally used hers). They easily last a week in the frig.

I sometimes buy pre-sliced mushrooms and often waste half the package. This week I cooked the whole amount (Costco 4# - it took two go-rounds in the big frying pan.) We had some that night with steak, then some more with pasta a few days later, plus they were handy to dig into for breakfast eggs. I did freeze one box of pre-cooked mushrooms as well... hope they're okay. I'll probably use them for another pasta dish or for soup.

When cutting up onions, carrots and celery I wash & scrub the entire vegetable, then save the trimmings and freeze them. I also freeze the bones and cuttings from raw meat. Eventually I can make a reasonably good broth by pulling out a few plastic bags from the freezer and putting them in the soup pot.

I save the ends of bread and cut them into cubes and freeze. These are very handy when I'm already busy making a stuffing and good anytime I need bread crumbs for some other reason.

Here's a current Ina Garten Recipe that sounds good and I'll probably try this week -- Roasted Vegies are so good. There's a recipe that mixes white potatoes, yams, onions, carrots and turnips that is really good this time of year. Anyway, the balsamic onions are similarly cooked, except with the addition of 3T balsamic vinegar and replacing the carrots with 4 thinly sliced onions.

Roasted Carrots
12 carrots
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

If the carrots are thick, cut them in half lengthwise; if not, leave them whole. Slice the carrots diagonally into 1 1/2-inch-thick slices. (The carrots will get smaller while cooking, so make the slices big.) Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a baking sheet in one layer and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

Toss the carrots with minced dill or parsley, season to taste, and serve.

The trick is to have some things in mind that you want to eat. That decision is the very hardest for me.

We had a yummy dinner last week you might want to try since you're a Costco shopper. Buy the all-natural chicken sausage links with apples. Divide the package and freeze half. Brown the sausages on one side in a little bit of olive oil, turn and add some balsamic onions and 1/2 bottle of sauerkraut. Cover and keep warm on a low fire until you're going to eat them, or cool, then reheat just before dinner. The browner they get, the better. I serve the sausages with sweet-hot mustard.

Meanwhile, when it's nearly dinnertime, steam some good potatoes (red or yellow) that have been cut in half so they cook faster, then add a little butter and a lot of fresh chopped parsley and stir around to coat the potatoes. Quick cook your favorite green veg and there's a tasty meal that hardly took any time to prepare, plus you'll have at least two servings of good left-overs. You'll probably need more sauerkraut for the left-overs.
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Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2005 08:31 pm
Uh-oh. How did I miss Piffka's post?

Those carrots sound wonderful. I love carrots.

And onions. I'm going to try both!

Thank you, Piffka.

Last week Mr. B was sick so I made chicken and dumplings, nothing experimental. I love comfort food too so that was okay.

Soup has to be the original fits and starts cooking. Plus, you can say "oh, I spent hours cooking" when really you only spent 20 minutes spread over many hours.

Here is what I'm cooking tonight, from today's paper --

Ravoli with brown butter and basalmic vinegar.

1 package ravioli (I'm using tortelini because I have some nice spinach tortelini on hand)
3 T butter, cut into little pieces
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 handfulls of parmesean (I love this instruction, I'm waiting for Mr. B to get home -- he has bigger hands)
Italian parsley
Salt and pepper

Cook the tortelinis

Meanwhile, starting from a cold skillet, brown the butter.

When the butter is brown, add the tortelini, turn in the butter and heat through.

Add the vinegar and cook a couple of minutes until the vinegar turns syrupy and coats the pasta.

Toss on cheese, salt and pepper.

How easy is that!?

I made a big salad and am steaming some fresh asparagus for sides.
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Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2005 09:38 pm
And there's tortellini and tortellini and ravioli and ravioli.. if you are lucky there are local purveyors of good fresh tortellini and ravioli.

Me, I did try to make ravioli and did ok, but the pockets didn't stay closed. I haven't given up, I've just stopped for a while. I think it's a two day thing, re my time, the doing of the stuffing and the making of the pasta and then fazooling with it. Recipes say otherwise. I don't think it is all so hard, just practice.

The best ravioli I've eaten has been from places like Joe's in Venice (CA), places that make their own interesting and good lil pockets.

I'm sure I have links on how to do this, but not right this minute.
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Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2005 10:01 pm
ACK! Making your own pasta, osso?

That would give me fits but I doubt many starts.

I used dairy case tortelinis: Buitoni was the brand.

This recipe rocks!

The whole thing was ready in 10 minutes, not counting boiling the water.

Oh man it was good. Next time, I'll eat the salad first and save myself a few calories.
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Reply Tue 8 Nov, 2005 10:09 pm
Making your own pasta is fun - to me (on her own island, watch the island float away...)

A certain young child might get into it, but not, I think, this year.
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Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2005 06:45 am
Oops, totally forgot about canned beans. I find I rinse them a lot but then they're great. I'm not a fan of soaking beans overnight and then cooking the hell out of 'em -- frankly, I want someone else to have already done that by the time I get to the cooking stage.

Last night, we had a leftovers combo. It was chicken carciofi (from Vinny Testa's), with canned tomatoes, cut up tofu and sausage, cut up baby zucchini and sliced mushrooms, tossed with a little olive oil and salt-free grill seasoning. It was good and super-easy -- it just went into the microwave for 10 minutes to cook and then another 2 in order to reheat it when we were ready to eat. I drained out the liquid, too (in retrospect, maybe I should've saved the liquid, hmmm). But the bottom line is that it was simple but didn't look it. Smile
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