Complete Recipe Book

spinach-artichoke-dip “Benevolent spinach” she called it. - I’m not sure whether this is spinach dip or creamed spinach. To be honest, I don’t know what the difference is, and whatever it is, I don’t know that it particularly matters. Like so many foods, it’s what you do with it determines what it is (see previous comments on soups vs. sauces). If you […]
“Let’s throw some tacos together,” - we said when our friend Deb said she would pop over. More often than not, we have enough stuff in the house to make tacos of some sort. We’re never out of rice. I keep at least one can of refried black beans in stock at all times, in case of emergency. And Tanya’s got […]
black bean soup “What else goes in black bean soup?” - When I was a kid, the only soup I’d eat was Campbell’s Bean with Bacon. According to the official nutritional information, a half cup serving of this substance contains 36% of the recommended daily sodium intake, based on a 2000 calorie diet. The official ingredient list includes the following horrific parenthetical clarification: “BACON (CURED WITH […]
(My next recipe needs no introduction:) Introduction to Beef Stew - stew: 1. a dish of meat and vegetables cooked slowly in liquid in a closed dish or pan; 2. (informal) a state of great anxiety or agitation. Ah, Beef Stew. I’m perfectly comfortable in myself to admit that I had to look up the difference between soup and stew — partly because I bought SOUP […]
lodge-cast-iron-skillet Cast iron is non-stick - when it’s hot enough. Better yet, swipe a little oil inside the pan first and get it glistening. Set it on the flame — it better be flame if you’re cooking and you really mean it — and let it set until it smokes. This could take a few minutes, but it’s worth the patience. […]
haloumi-salad If you need to impress a vegetarian, - maybe for “Meatless Monday” or some other government holiday, then I heartily recommend this halloumi salad. One of its most appealing features is that you’ll feel as though you’re eating something healthy, though in reality you’re eating a pile of fried cheese atop what is essentially garden clippings. Yes, for the uninitiated, halloumi is cheese. […]
macaroni and cheese Kids love macaroni & cheese - unless you’re my eight year old kid who wouldn’t touch the stuff with a borrowed hand. Charlie is what we non-judgementally call “fussy”, but in reality he’s the food-choice equivalent of a hangnail. Anyway. Macaroni and cheese is one of those delightful dishes named after its main ingredients. But, don’t be fooled! You don’t need […]
May you never need Hot Honey Water - When a child sneezes into your mouth, settle in and prepare to enjoy the kid’s sinus fuckery times infinity squillion. As a parent, you learn straight off that kids heal fast and that you don’t. I’m 44. I’m happy if I don’t get hand cramps whilst wiping what I managed to squeeze out before Mr […]
Pomaine-cooking-in-ten-minutes Onion Splat, or Pomiane’s 10-minute Onion Soup - We were chopping firewood, sharing a bottle of stout, and talking about this whole cookbook idea when my friend Julian said “hey, have you read Pomiane?” I hadn’t. So Jules lent me this book and let me tell you, it’s a treat. Written in 1948, it’s full of words and drawings — not photographs — […]
roux-the-day Roux: smooth, toasty, and damned effective. - “Roux” is a French word, meaning ginger, as in red-haired. Interestingly, the recipe for roux calls for exactly zero hairs. Keep this in mind as we proceed. I first learned about roux when I was working in the kitchen of a horribly pretentious golf course, run by horribly pretentious people, in particular the horribly pretentious […]
eggs on toast Scrambled Eggs on Toast, or: An omelet for those who can’t be fucking bothered - While researching eggs on toast, I discovered that some people COOK EGGS IN THE MICROWAVE. Obviously this troubled me, so I used a widely popular search engine to research whether it is, in fact, ILLEGAL to cook eggs in a microwave. I’m happy to report that it is, in fact, illegal. I’ll cop the heat […]
season-the-meat Season the meat, not the mixture. - This tip, plus technique, plus two secret ingredients, which never really were secret and surely won’t be after I publish this history, are what, if anything, sets my chili apart from others. I don’t follow recipes, which doesn’t mean I don’t use recipes. I use them for ideas and inspiration, but I leave taste to […]
skirt-steak Skirt Steak: The cheaper the better. - In Southern California, at the carnicería you can buy pre-marinated carne asada, and it’s often skirt steak. It’s cheap. It’s delicious. And our local carnicería was typically alit with flies and a few funky wafts from out the back, which means the goods were treated like meat, and not some kind of sterile, operating-theatre-prepped, plastic-super-packaged organic […]
Mac cheese bacon So I’m opinionated about soup. - Soups use too much celery for my tastes, and by “too much” I mean the slightest shred of the shit. My opinion: like mayonnaise, the taste of celery overwhelms and utterly ruins everything. Plus it has a nasty texture. And a bunch of celery was mean to me once. Here’s a bit of a twist […]
lentil soup ingredients Some people ask why Lentil Soup makes you fart - I had this brilliant idea: when I write a title to a post, I’ll type a few keywords into a search bar and see what obscure and ridiculous suggestion comes up. I’ll let that guide me. Now here we are: you have yourselves to blame, good users of the most popular search engine on the […]
The World’s Best Blended Salsa on Earth - I don’t mean to overstate things, but mine is the best salsa this side of Betelgeuse. And yes I do mean the star that’s about to supernova any minute. This is a fact: my salsa is so good, it makes stars explode. That’s right. I’m taking credit for the destruction of a red supergiant because […]
the worlds best nachos on earth The World’s Best Nachos on Earth - I don’t mean to overstate things, but mine are absolutely the best nachos in the galaxy. Word is there’s some good Mexican food out past Betelgeuse (assuming the red giant’s even still there, given all the hooha about gravitational waves and supernova these days. Surely you’ve been keeping up with the Galaxy Gossip. Anyway) herein […]
broccoli-halves There are two things about broccoli - you should keep in mind: First, if you’ve rediscovered a wilting head in the fridge, you can revive it. Second, there’s no secret to cooking this stuff; it’s all technique. Now before you start thinking, hey there are more things about broccoli, let me add: there are more things about broccoli. For instance, the stems, […]
california-mexican-rice Toasted (Californian/Mexican) Rice - The trick is in the title. Toasting. Though really you’ll fry the uncooked rice first — however, a recipe called “Fry the Uncooked Rice First (Californian/Mexican) Rice” sounds redundant and downright odd, so let’s stick with “Toasted”. I get it: Technically, to toast is to heat and brown by exposure to radiant heat (at least […]
soup-pumpkin-kale When life hands you pumpkins - make Pumpkin Soup. Someone gave us half of a giant pumpkin, so, of course, as anyone would, I made soup. Tonight it’s me and the rascals until after dinner, so I figured I’d do something simple. Earlier today I quartered the pumpkin half (that’s eighths for those keeping track) and abandoned it in the oven […]