La Cucina 2022, Part 1

TalkClub Read 2022

Join LibraryThing to post.

La Cucina 2022, Part 1

Jan 1, 2022, 4:07 pm


La Cucina, or The Kitchen, is the thread for all things related to food: new and favorite recipes, culinary traditions, restaurants, cookbooks, and anything else related to this essential activity.

Most of you know that I'm an avid cook, and now that I'm temporarily no longer working and taking care of my mother, a great cook in her own right before Alzheimer's disease robbed her of that skill, I'll make many more recipes this year, including some from her recipe boxes.

Please feel free to contribute, comment, lurk, and write reviews of your favorite cookbooks or other books related to food. Bon appétit!

Jan 1, 2022, 5:12 pm


As I mentioned in my first Club Read thread of 2021, Hoppin' John and collard greens are traditional New Year's Day foods in households in the Deep South. Hoppin' John, which typically consists of black-eyed peas or other cowpeas, pork and rice, was first described in slave populations in the Lowcountry of South Carolina in the 1840s, although it may have originated amongst the peoples of West Africa, as cowpeas are commonly grown there. The peas are meant to represent coins, collard greens, which are commonly served with Hoppin' John, represent U.S. dollar bills, and cornbread, with its yellow color, represents gold. A dinner with these items served on New Year's Day is supposed to ensure prosperity and good luck, which is enhanced if the black-eyed peas, pork and rice are eaten the following day, which is known as Skippin' Jenny.

This tradition spread to Southerners of all races after the Civil War, and in Atlanta, where I lived for nearly a quarter century until last month, most of my friends and colleagues are also enjoying it today. (The photos above are the Hoppin' John (sans rice) and collard greens with pork neck bones that I cooked earlier this afternoon.)

The recipe I use for Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon and Pork comes from the show Down Home with the Neelys on The Food Network:

Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon and Pork


1 pound dried black-eyed peas (fresh or canned black-eyed peas can be substituted)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 ounces pork shoulder, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
4 strips thick sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, small diced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
3 bay leaves
Hot-pepper vinegar, as desired


1. If using dried black-eyed peas, put them in a large pot and cover with about 4 inches of water. Soak the peas overnight, then drain the water and rinse. Alternatively, you can "quick-soak" the peas by bringing them and the water to a boil for 2 minutes. After this, remove them from the heat, cover the pot and soak the peas for 1 hour. Then, drain and rinse the peas.

2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the pork. Sear until the pork is browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the bacon, onion and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion and garlic are lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the salt, black pepper, cayenne and garlic powder. Cook until the entire mixture is coated with the spices, about 2 minutes. Pour in the stock and water and drop in the bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.

3. When the pork begins to fall apart, add the prepared peas to the pot and simmer until the peas are very soft, about 1 to 1½ hours (see Cook's Note).

4. Taste for seasonings, and add some hot-pepper vinegar, if desired. Discard the bay leaves and transfer the black-eyed peas to a serving bowl.

Cook’s Note:

Using the back of a spoon, smash some of the peas against the inside of the pot then stir them into the mixture. This will break up some of the peas and give them a creamier consistency. Alternatively, you can puree 1 cup of the peas and broth in a blender or a food processor, then return the puree to the pot.

I learned how to make collard greens from my father:

Collard Greens


2 lb of fresh or bagged collard greens
1 chopped Vidalia sweet onion
4 cloves finely diced garlic
3 smoked ham hocks, or an equivalent amount of smoked turkey or pork neck bones
Salt and ground black pepper to taste


1. Bring ~4 cups of water to a boil in a large soup pot
2. Add ham hocks, onion and garlic
3. Decrease heat to low medium to achieve a gentle simmer, cover and cook for ~90 minutes, until meat is tender and falling off the bone
4. If using fresh greens, cut out stems and rinse three times in cold water to remove dirt; this step is not necessary if you're using bagged greens
5. Cut (chiffonade) fresh greens into large strips
6. Add greens to pot, cover with a lid, and cook for 1 to 1½ hours until greens are tender
7. Season with apple cider vinegar, hot pepper vinegar, or other spices of your choice.

In other cultures and countries there are different New Year's Day traditional foods, such as the pork and sauerkraut made by the Pennsylvania Dutch, and by one of my medical school classmates today. What are your traditional New Year's Day foods?

Jan 1, 2022, 5:14 pm

I usually cook up a storm when I stay with my parents, and this week was no exception. On Wednesday I made another batch of ratatouille niçoise over Moroccan couscous for my mother and myself, as she and my father loved it when I cooked it for them earlier this year, using a somewhat nontraditional recipe I found online from Cookie and Kate:


2 pounds ripe red tomatoes (6 medium or 4 large)
1 medium eggplant (1 pound), diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large red, orange, or yellow bell pepper (about 8 ounces), cut into 3/4-inch squares
1 medium-to-large zucchini (about 8 ounces), diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large yellow squash (about 8 ounces), diced into 1/2-inch cubes
5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided, more to taste
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with one rack in the middle of the oven and one in the upper third of the oven. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper for easy clean-up, if desired.

2. To prepare your tomatoes, remove any woody cores with a paring knife. Then, grate them on the large holes of a box grater into a bowl (this is easiest if you hold the tomato at a diagonal), and chop any remaining tomato skin. Or, blitz the tomatoes in a food processor until they are broken into a frothy pulp. Set aside.

3. On one baking sheet, toss the diced eggplant with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until lightly coated. Arrange the eggplant in a single layer across the pan, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and set aside.

4. On the other baking sheet, toss the bell pepper, zucchini and yellow squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer. Place the eggplant pan on the middle rack and the other vegetables on the top rack. Set the timer for 15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and caramelizing on the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes.

6. Add the garlic, stir, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, and use a wooden spoon or sturdy silicone spatula to stir any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan into the mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low, or as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.

7. Once 15 minutes are up, remove both pans from the oven, stir, and redistribute the contents of each evenly across the pans. This time, place the eggplant on the top rack and other vegetables on the middle rack.

8. Bake until the eggplant is nice and golden on the edges, about 10 more minutes (the eggplant will be done sooner than the rest). Remove the eggplant from the oven, and carefully stir the eggplant into the simmering tomato sauce.

9. Let the squash and bell pepper pan continue to bake until the peppers are caramelized, about 5 to 10 more minutes. Then, transfer the contents of the pan into the simmering sauce. Continue simmering for 5 more minutes to give the flavors time to meld.

10. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon olive oil, the fresh basil and red pepper flakes. Crumble the dried oregano between your fingers as you drop it into the pot. Season to taste with additional salt (I usually add 1/4 teaspoon more) and black pepper.

11. Serve in bowls, perhaps with a little drizzle of olive oil, additional chopped basil, or black pepper on top (all optional).

Like all stews, this ratatouille’s flavor improves as it cools. It’s even better reheated the next day. Ratatouille keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for 4 days, or for several months in the freezer.


Serving suggestions: This stew is great on its own, with crusty (potentially toasted) bread, with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, with cooked eggs, or on pasta.

I came up with the idea of using Moroccan couscous when I first made this recipe, and I think it's a perfect accompaniment to it. Vine ripened tomatoes are out of season, needless to say, so I substituted a 28 oz can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes, as Cookie and Kate suggested. Barbara informed me that yellow squash is not an ingredient in classic ratatouille, which I didn't know. I used butternut squash the first time I made it, and yellow squash this time, and I like the additional flavor it adds to the stew. My mother asked for seconds after I made it, and she had it again for dinner last night, and since I also love it I'll make it on a regular basis from now on.

Jan 1, 2022, 5:15 pm

I made a Mexican version of matzo ball soup (a.k.a. "Jewish penicillin") for lunch on New Year's Eve, using a recipe from Pati Jinich's book Mexican Today that Jim (drneutron) shared with me several years ago (For Rosh Hashana, A Matzo Ball Soup By Way Of Mexico). My mother worked as a dietician at Jewish Memorial Hospital in Manhattan and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx in the mid to late 1950s before she married my father, and she often made chicken matzo ball soup for my brother and I when we were sick as young children, so this is one of my favorite comfort foods:

Matzo Balls With Mushrooms And Jalapeños In Broth
(Bolas de Matza con hongos y chiles)


1 cup matzo ball mix (or two 2-ounce packages)
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher or sea salt
4 large eggs
8 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons sparkling water
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 jalapeño chiles, finely chopped (seeded if desired) or to taste
8 ounces white and/or baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and thin­ly sliced
8 cups chicken broth, homemade or store-bought


1. In a large bowl, combine the matzo ball mix, parsley, nutmeg, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. In another small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with 6 tablespoons of the canola oil and the sesame oil. Fold the beaten eggs into the matzo ball mixture with a rubber spatula. Add the sparkling water and mix until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chiles and cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes, until they have softened a bit. Stir in the mushrooms and 3/4 teaspoon salt, cover, and steam the mushrooms for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the lid and cook uncovered until the liquid in the pot evaporates. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

3. Meanwhile, when ready to cook the matzo balls, bring about 3 quarts salted water to a rolling boil in a large pot over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and keep at a steady simmer. With wet hands, shape the matzo ball mix into 1- to 1 1/2-inch balls and gently drop them into the water. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the matzo balls are completely cooked and have puffed up. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the soup. Serve.

My mother always added chicken to her matzo ball soup, so I add 2 lb of chopped uncooked chicken thighs to the infused chicken broth, and let the mixture cook on a low simmer for 20 minutes while the matzo balls are boiling. Otherwise I follow the recipe exactly, save for a few minor changes. I normally keep some on hand, along with Down in the Tremé Carrot Coconut Ginger Shrimp Soup, for sick day meals in wintertime, especially if I have gastrointestinal infections that greatly affect my appetite. It may be all in my head, but I firmly believe in the curative power of homemade chicken soup!

Edited: Jan 2, 2022, 11:36 am

Sunday dinner last week was a modified version of Moqueca Baiana, an Afro-Brasilian seafood stew that I made late last year, using a combination of a recipe that I received from a Brasilian friend, along with Yewande Komolafe's recipe in NYT Cooking, with codfish and bay scallops:


3 T azeite de dendê (red palm oil) (available in specialty markets or online)
6 cloves diced garlic
1 diced medium sweet or yellow onion (I used half of a Vidalia sweet onion)
2 diced bell peppers, preferably of different colors (I’d suggest one red and one green pepper)
1 finely diced chile pepper (I left this out, as my mother doesn't like overly spicy foods)
1 lb tomatoes, diced into 1 inch pieces
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
12-16 oz of a firm whitefish (halibut, cod, bass, etc.), cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces
12-16 oz jumbo shrimp or prawns (preferably unpeeled and deveined by hand, although I used frozen peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp with tails on) (as mentioned above, I used 1 lb of bay scallops
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Kosher salt
2 limes (or 4 T of lime juice)
Cornstarch (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)


1. Season fish and prawns separately with 1 t of kosher salt and the juice of one lime (2 T of lime juice), along with 2 T of chopped cilantro for the prawns; set aside.

2. Heat 2 T of azeite de dendê in a large deep skillet or Dutch oven on medium heat.

3. Add diced garlic, cook for 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring constantly.

4. Add diced onion, cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently
Increase heat to high, add bell and chile peppers and tomatoes, season with kosher salt, cook for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables begin to evaporate, stirring frequently.

5. Reduce heat to medium, add coconut milk, cook for 10 minutes until stew has thickened, stirring frequently; add salt and (optional) freshly ground black pepper to taste.

6. If you wish to thicken stew further, remove ½ cup of stew, add to a glass or metal bowl, add 1-2 t cornstarch, stir vigorously with a fork, add back to stew (I highly recommend this step!)

7. If using unpeeled prawns, add to stew, cook for 2 minutes on each side before adding fish.

8. If using jumbo shrimp, add to stew simultaneously with the fish, cook for 4-5 minutes.

9. Remove from heat, add 1 T azeite de dendê and 2 T cilantro.


1. Vegetarians can substitute extra firm tofu or yellow plantains in place of the seafood.

2. Serve with rice, yucca or another side of your choice.

I used jasmine rice as an accompaniment to the moqueca, which worked well. This is another stew that tastes better on the second day.

Jan 1, 2022, 5:39 pm

Oh, yum, Darryl. These look delicious. Thank you for setting us this thread.

Jan 1, 2022, 8:12 pm

Thanks for the setup - the recipes Darryl. Yum!

Jan 2, 2022, 9:59 am

So much delicious-looking food! Thank you. I'll try and post here from time to time this year.

Jan 2, 2022, 11:28 am

>5 kidzdoc: I cook a very similar recipe to this, which I got from a friend though it was originally from her Brazilian sister-in-law. It's one of my staples.

Jan 4, 2022, 8:29 pm

>3 kidzdoc: Now that looks good, being vegetarian. I love ratatouille and my summer garden always includes tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and both zucchini and yellow squash. I'm not a traditionalist, and I think ratatouille lends itself very well to variations. I don't know about butternut squash in it, but any summer squash should be fine.

Edited: Jan 4, 2022, 8:57 pm

I tried a new recipe for New Year's - Coconut Curry Pumpkin Pot Pie. I was fairly quick and easy to put together. The recipe is here: The puff pastry made it less work, but if I make this again, I would make my own pie crust. I think I would also leave out the celery. I'm not a big fan of celery.
I'd post a photo, but I don't know how to do that here....

I also made a Citrus Trifle. Again, this was pretty easy because I used Sarah Lee pound cake instead of making my own. This made WAY more than would fit in my trifle dish, so I'd probably cut this in half next time. I'd also add some orange liqueur to the pound cake, and probably some real fruit - maybe mandarin oranges and raspberries...

Jan 5, 2022, 5:09 pm

>11 WelshBookworm: That Citrus Trifle looks amazing! Thanks for letting us know about it, Laurel.

Keep those recipes coming, everyone!

Jan 5, 2022, 5:46 pm

>12 kidzdoc: I mixed in a can of mandarin oranges last night, and about 1/4 cup of Le Roi des Oranges. Much better!

Jan 5, 2022, 9:17 pm

>13 WelshBookworm: Sounds great!

Edited: Jan 5, 2022, 10:12 pm

I had leftover pork tenderloin from the Hoppin' John I made on New Year's Day that I had no plan for. Fortunately that I remembered that one of my colleagues, an ICU physician in the hospital I (sigh) used to work in, made Pinchos Moruños, Spanish spice-crusted pork tenderloin bites, which derived from a similar recipe for lamb that came from the Moors when they controlled al-Andalus and much of Spain in the Middle Ages, and I cooked them for dinner last night.


1½ teaspoons ground coriander
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
¾ teaspoon each kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 -pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch pieces
1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
1 tablespoon honey
1 large garlic clove, finely grated
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano


1. In a medium bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Add the pork and toss to coat evenly, massaging the spices into the meat until no dry rub remains. Let the pork sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine the lemon juice, honey and garlic. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until just smoking. Add the meat in a single layer and cook without moving until deeply browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through and browned all over, another 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Off the heat, pour the lemon juice-garlic mixture over the meat and toss to evenly coat, then transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle the oregano over the pork and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Serve with lemon wedges.

Tip: Don’t cut the pork tenderloin too small. Cutting it into 1- to 1½-inch cubes produced more surface area, allowing the spice rub to quickly penetrate and season the meat. Any smaller and the meat cooked too quickly.

This was a very easy entrée to make, which took 45-50 minutes from start to finish. I thought that these pinchos would be too spicy for my mother, but she enjoyed the two that I gave her. I cooked them in a skillet, then placed the cooked pork on skewers for the sake of presentation. They tasted great, and I'll certainly make the pinchos again soon.

Edited: Jan 8, 2022, 8:48 pm

I don't often post here, but this is a really good recipe, and it's always good to have some great starch / sides in your pocket. I've made this half a dozen times since I found it in autumn, and it's always a hit. Also, we recently ordered in Greek food, and my recipe here was so much better! Greek Lemon Rice

I tried to post their picture but for some reason it didn't work. It looks like lovely Greek rice.

copied from the link:

Two Important Tips for this Greek Rice
To ensure best results for texture and taste, I apply the same tips I've learned when making Lebanese rice and Hashweh rice. Here they are:

1.The recipe starts with a very important step most other recipes ignore: wash the rice well and soak it in plenty of water for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not skip this step, this is important to help get rid of excess starch which causes rice to be sticky (this rice is not meant to be sticky.) Soaking it also shortens the cooking time, making sure the interior of the grain actually cooks before the exterior looses its shape and becomes mush.

2.Once rice is finished, leave it covered and undisturbed in the pot for about 10 minutes before adding the finishing touches (the herbs etc.) Again, this helps maintain the texture and integrity of the rice.

2 cups long grain rice (uncooked)
Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (just over 1 cup chopped onions)
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup orzo pasta
2 lemons, juice of (PLUS zest of 1 lemon)
2 cups low sodium broth (chicken or vegetable broth will work)
Pinch salt
Large handful chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp dill weed (dry dill)

Wash rice well and then soak it for about 15 to 20 minutes in plenty of cold water (enough to cover the rice by 1 inch). You should be able to easily break a grain of rice by simply placing it between your thumb and index finger. Drain well.

Heat about 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large sauce pan with a lid (like this one) until oil is shimmering but not smoking. Add onions and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until translucent.

Add garlic and orzo pasta. Toss around for a bit until the orzo has gained some color then stir in the rice. Toss to coat.

Now add lemon juice and broth. Bring liquid to a rolling boil (it should reduce a little), then turn heat to low. Cover and let cook for about 20 minutes or until rice is done (liquid should be fully absorbed and rice should be tender but not sticky.)

Remove rice from heat. For best results, leave it covered and do not disturb rice for about 10 minutes or so.

Uncover and stir in parsley, dill weed and lemon zest. If you like, add a few slices of lemon on top for garnish. Enjoy!

Edited: Jan 9, 2022, 12:57 pm

So much inspiration!

Today, I tried my hand at Egyptian food. I made shorbat 'adass (Egyptian split lentil soup), using the recipe found in Feast: Food of the Islamic World, slightly modified. The ingredients list called for 500g of raw red lentils for just 1l of water - that had to be a typo. I checked other recipes online: one cup seems standard. I added garlic (also found in other recipes) and replaced the tomatoes with tomato purée.

Here is the pot with the raw ingredients:

Shorbat 'adass


  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 courgette (medium in the recipe – I suspect mine would have counted as big), chopped
  • 1 carrot (medium in the recipe – I suspect mine would have counted as big), chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1.5 l water
  • Salt to taste

Put the quartered onion, garlic, courgette, carrot, tomato purée, lentils and water in a big pot and bring to the boil. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and the ground cumin. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry the chopped onion in 2 tbsp of olive oil until it is golden brown. Add to the soup. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
Blend using a handblender and salt to taste.

Easy and reasonably fuss-free! I’ll make it again.

The main course was hawawshi – spicy ground meat baked in pitas (using this recipe). It was nice, but we were expecting an explosion of flavours, and it fell short of that. It’s probably worth tweaking until it’s just right… I’m also thinking that I’d be just as happy with a vegetarian version. I served it with a mixed salad of tomato, cucumber, shallot, coriander leaves, lettuce and radishes with lemon juice and sumac.

The whole meal (the hawawshis were uncooked at that time):

For dessert, I was going to make om ali, then realised I’d forgotten to buy puff pastry. So we had oranges instead!

It was a decent Sunday lunch. I realised too late that I had no idea how Egyptians organise their meals: how they build their menu, in what order and in which combination they serve their dishes, etc. So I went for the standard French way of doing things: soup as a first course, meat and vegetable as a main course, fruit for dessert. Next time, I’ll do more research!

Jan 9, 2022, 3:00 pm

This thread is terrific; great recipes and mouth-watering photos!
I love to cook and a resolution for this year is to try new recipes.
I have the time since I'm staying home again due to covid surge. (sigh)
Being a compulsive recipe clipper, I have a cardboard carton-full and over 100 cookbooks.
I have small collections of kids' cookbooks, vegetarian, ethnic, southern and historical.
I have favoriite cookbooks that I've read cover-to-cover!

I have lived in the mid-west, New England, mid-Atlantic, west coast. North Carolina has been home for the most years. I've lived here three different times. Though I'm not a native Southerner, both my mom and grandmother were Southern cooks.

>2 kidzdoc:
I have made Hoppin' John from the recipe in Hoppin' John's Lowcountry Cooking by John Martin Taylor.
I was an adult before I learned to like collards. I love them but have never made them. I will try your dad's recipe which looks wonderful.

Jan 9, 2022, 3:38 pm

>2 kidzdoc: I'm a German from Pittsburgh with many Pennsylvania Dutch traditions that I didn't know were PA Dutch until adulthood for some reason. My partner is from southern West Virginia.

So New Years for us:

Sauerkraut and mashed potatoes on New Years Eve (Mine vegetarian, everyone else w/ pork)

Hoppin' John and greens on New Years Day.

All superstitions and traditions covered. :-) She also runs around putting coins on the windowsills - not sure if that's a southern or family tradition.

This is a fantastic thread - especially with pics included. Yum.

Jan 9, 2022, 4:02 pm

>19 nancyewhite:
I have German roots too . . and Irish and Dutch.
This week I made this - simple but good.

Old World Dinner

Combine in large pot:

1 qt (32 oz) sauerkraut
2 small potatoes, cubed
1 big tart apple, cubed
1-2 T brown sugar
good sprinkle of caraway seeds
1 lb smoked Polish sausage, sliced

Bring to simmer, cover, cook on low about an hour.
Works well in crock-pot too.

Edited: Jan 9, 2022, 4:19 pm

We recently made Roasted Veggie and Black Bean Burritos, which is a recipe we have made for many years. We usually double the recipe, then individually wrap and freeze leftover burritos for future meals. I like to eat them with salsa.

2 Sweet Potatoes, peeled & cubed, small
2 Jalapenos Diced
1 Red Pepper, Diced Small
1 Red Onion, Diced Small
2 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 pinch Salt And Pepper
1 15-oz can Black Beans, rinsed & drained
½ C Cilantro, chopped
2 tsp Lime Juice
2 C Cheddar cheese, shredded
fajita-Sized Tortillas

1. In large mixing bowl, toss your raw veggies in olive oil and season with spices. Place on baking pan and roast in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes, tossing around halfway through.
2. Let cool. Add your roasted veggies to the rinsed black beans. Add cilantro and squirt of lime juice. Combine gently. At this point, mixture can be stored for later use.
3. Warm your wheat tortillas or wraps in microwave according to directions on package. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray or olive oil spray.
4. Add two heaping tablespoons of vegetable and bean mixture to center of wrap. Top with shredded cheese. Fold over, fold in sides, place in pan and continue to roll the others. Place into your baking dish, seam side down so that they stay together.
5. Bake in 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Baking this way will make the tortilla wrap crisp. For a softer burrito, spray burrito with nonstick spray, then wrap in aluminum foil and bake for same amount of time.

Jan 9, 2022, 4:29 pm

>20 nrmay: - That sounds delicious. Since I've become vegetarian, sausages of all kinds are one of the things I miss most. It's never fine cuts of fancy meats that I long for.

Jan 9, 2022, 5:39 pm

>17 Dilara86: oh, that picture - that all looks pretty amazing.

Jan 10, 2022, 9:09 am

>17 Dilara86: On my list for something to try some night this week. Are you participating in the January food & lit challenge on Litsy too?

Jan 10, 2022, 10:38 am

>23 dchaikin: Thank you!

>17 Dilara86: Yes, I am :-) Are you there too?

Jan 11, 2022, 7:51 pm

I don't cook often, my husband does most of it, but his work schedule has been much heavier than mine lately, so I've been making dinner one or two nights a week. Tonight I made this vegetarian lentil tortilla soup. It was really good - kids and adults both liked it. The only recipe modification I made was that I used the sautee feature on the instant pot to sautee the onions, peppers, and garlic before throwing everything else in. Really hearty and good - a chili that doesn't need meat at all.

Jan 11, 2022, 8:04 pm

>22 nancyewhite: Me too—I've been a (fish-eating) vegetarian for ten years now and don't miss much about meat, but when I do it's meatballs, meatloaf, sausage, that kind of thing. (Whispers: liverwurst.)

Lentils are such good winter food. Lately I've been making variations on mujadara, with caramelized leeks or onions and spinach—this one from the NYT is a good starting point:

1 cup brown or green lentils
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, roots trimmed
2 ¼ teaspoons salt, more as needed
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup long-grain rice
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
4 cups trimmed and chopped spring greens (chard leaves, spinach, kale, mustard or a combination)

Place lentils in a large bowl and add warm tap water to cover by 1 inch. Let soak.

Meanwhile, halve leeks lengthwise; run under warm water to release any grit. Thinly slice leeks crosswise.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer half the leeks to a bowl to use for garnish and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Stir garlic into the pot with the remaining leeks and cook for 15 seconds until fragrant. Stir in rice and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in cumin, allspice and cayenne; sauté 30 seconds.

Drain lentils and stir into pot. Add 4 1/4 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer.

Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Rinse greens in a colander and spread damp leaves over lentil mixture.

Cover and cook 5 minutes more, until rice and lentils are tender and greens are wilted. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with reserved crispy leeks.

(I use regular old yellow onions and/or shallots when I don't have leeks, which are good because you can really cook them a long time over low heat and not burn them.)

Jan 11, 2022, 9:22 pm

>27 lisapeet: Funny you post that right when I'm letting my red lentils simmer. And it's a dark, foggy, very rainy night here in Vancouver. So yes, it's a great winter meal, but the recipe I'm making is good in summer too. My recipe is from Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals: Tasty Daal Curry and Warm Tomato Salad (someone makes it here: I've never made the tomato salad. Anyway, it's my go-to lentil no meat recipe.

Edited: Jan 11, 2022, 9:54 pm

I am not in the mood for cooking at all lately so had been making versions of my usual red winter salad. May post a picture next time I make it if I remember - forgot to take one and it is already gone tonight.

1 can of red kidney beans
2 big tomatoes
2 roasted peppers (preferably red) - from a jar or freshly roasted; if the latter, make sure they are cold before adding them.
1 small red onion (or 1/3 -1/2 of a big one)
Italian parsley
Red Wine Vinegar
Sunflower oil (or any other oil that won't overpower the ingredients)
Ground Black pepper

Cut the tomatoes and peppers in pieces approximately the same size as the beans (or twice bigger if your beans are small).
Cut the onions either in the same size or smaller (depends on how you like your onions). Same for the parsley.
Mix all of them.
Drain the beans and mix them in as well.
Add red wine vinegar and oil to taste. Mix well and let it stand for a few minutes (you want the tomatoes to release their juice a bit as a response to the vinegar/oil mixture).
Taste and add salt if needed.
Add the black pepper.
Mix again and serve with some extra parsley as a garnish.

PS: Technically, the beans can be replaced with whatever beans you have although you may want to be careful with the vinegar - red kidney beans have sweetness that cuts the vinegar which is not there with other beans. Same for the onions - red make the salad consistent but any others work (green, sweet onions, regular yellow ones)... You can also add boiled, cooled and cut red beets if you have them (I rarely do so I almost never add them but they work here as well).

PS2: I don't do a lot of spices (as you can see) so adding extra spices based on your own taste should work :)

And yes - a much easier thing than anything above but figured I may as well share.

Jan 11, 2022, 9:56 pm

>29 AnnieMod: That sounds delicious in late summer. This time of year, the tomatoes we get taste like soggy cardboard

Edited: Jan 11, 2022, 10:10 pm

>30 Nickelini: Yeah - I was thinking about the seasons while posting. We have good tomatoes in Arizona year round (if you want to spend the money - we also have the cardboard ones...) so I tend to default to that one in the winter more often than in the other seasons - thus the name...

Back home it was definitely not a winter salad (not with the fresh tomatoes - we have a similar one with canned tomatoes (mixed tomatoes, peppers and parsley is how you can tomatoes in my part of the world) mixed with boiled potatoes or beans plus onions and (optionally) roasted peppers but it does not take vinegar or oil).

Jan 12, 2022, 2:48 am

>27 lisapeet: >29 AnnieMod: I am going to try those two recipes: I already have all the ingredients!

Jan 12, 2022, 11:27 am

>25 Dilara86: Yes, I'm bnp on Litsy (for booksnpeaches) Just followed you.

>27 lisapeet: & >29 AnnieMod: Yum! Annie, easy is always welcome in my home. I like to take longer when I can, but on the weeks when I have a one day break after six days on, I'm always looking for something quick and easy for the next week.

Edited: Jan 12, 2022, 11:39 am

>33 markon: Thank God bnp stands for booksnpeaches (and not the British National Front, which is the thing that leapt to my mind)!

ETA: I'm following you too, now!

Edited: Jan 18, 2022, 9:11 pm

For lunch, I had the best Red Lentil Soup from Eat, Habibi, Eat! (In the bowl on the left; I didn't bother to garnish it as I was too hungry. Also pictured, from the same cookbook, are Dehydrated Cherry Tomato Tabbouleh (left) and Three Pepper Salad (right). They were also tasty).


Serves 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cinnamon
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup red lentils
6 cups beef or vegetable stock
½ tsp salt

1/3 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup olive oil
1 lemon, zested
Pale celery leaves from the inner bunch

In a large pot over medium-low heat, sweat the onion, garlic, and celery in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the cumin and cinnamon and toast for an additional minute. Add the tomatoes, lentils, stock, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, or until all of the veggies and lentils are soft.

Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to process to your desired texture.

Divide the soup into 6 bowls and garnish each bowl with a drizzle of cream, a drizzle of olive oil, a little lemon zest, and a few bright-green celery leaves.

NOTE: Always save those pale-green leaves on the inside of your celery stalks. They have a bright, fresh flavor and are a beautiful garnish on a soup or salad. Avoid the dark-green leaves as they can be some what bitter.

Jan 18, 2022, 11:29 pm

>35 ELiz_M: yum! I’m tempted to buy that book, if it has a lot more like that.

Edited: Jan 19, 2022, 1:51 pm

I made your recipe for huevos a lo pobre con patatas (Spanish Poor Man's Eggs and Potatoes) that you posted on (comment 252)
It was delicious! Highly recommend it!

recipe here

Darryl, you should re-post your photo of the gorgeous dish here!
Yours was better than the photos w/ the original recipe.

Feb 5, 2022, 11:39 am

Wow, so many great recipes here! Thanks for your contributions, everyone.

I hadn't cooked anything new in a couple of weeks, as I've been rotating old recipes that my mother likes the best. Yesterday, though, I did make Truita Amb Suc, a Catalan white bean and spinach omelette served over romesco sauce, courtesy of the website and YouTube channel Spain on a Fork.


3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 45 ml
3 cloves garlic
2 cups fresh spinach 100 grams
1 1/4 cups canned white beans 200 grams
4 cage-free organic eggs
pinch sea salt
dash black pepper

5 jarred roasted red bell peppers
1/4 cup canned tomato paste 60 grams
1 clove garlic
8 roasted almonds
8 roasted hazelnuts
1 tsp sherry vinegar 5 ml
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 60 ml
pinch sea salt
dash black pepper

1. To make the romesco sauce, add in 5 jarred roasted red bell peppers into a food processor, along with 1/4 cup canned tomato paste, 1 clove garlic, 8 roasted almonds & 8 roasted hazelnuts (I bought mine preroasted from the nut aisle at the market), 1 tsp sherry vinegar and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, season with sea salt & black pepper and run the food processor on a low speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until you end up with a creamy sauce with no lumps, set aside

2. Roughly chop 3 cloves garlic, roughly chop 2 cups fresh spinach, drain a can of white beans into a sieve and rinse under cold water and crack 4 eggs into a large bowl, season with sea salt & black pepper and whisk together

3. Heat a large nonstick fry pan with a medium heat and add in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, after 2 minutes add in the chopped garlic, mix with the olive oil, after 1 minute add in the chopped spinach and mix together, once all the spinach is wilted (about 1 to 2 minutes), add in the drained white beans (about 1 1/4 cups) and season with sea salt & black pepper, gently mix together until well mixed, then transfer everything into the bowl with the whisked eggs, gently mix together and let it sit for a couple of minutes

4. Meanwhile, heat the same pan with a medium heat and add in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, swirl it around so it covers the entire surface of the pan

5. After a couple of minutes add the egg mixture into the pan, gently mix it so everything is evenly distributed, after 3 minutes gently fold the omelette in half, after 30 seconds flip it to cook the other side, then remove from the heat

6. Cut the omelette into 4 evenly sized pieces and top off each piece with the romesco sauce, enjoy!

Alternatively you can watch the YouTube video of Albert Bevia making Truita Amb Suc here:

I didn't have any canned white beans on hand so I used a can of garbanzos, along with 20 roasted hazelnuts since I was also out of roasted almonds, and since I couldn't find sherry vinegar in any of the local supermarkets or farmers' market I substituted red wine vinegar. This omelette was tasty by itself, but the romesco sauce was out of this world! The recipe for the sauce makes far too much for one omelet, so I'll use it over white fish this weekend and next week.

Feb 5, 2022, 11:42 am

>37 nrmay: I'm glad that you enjoyed Huevos a lo Pobre con Patatas, Nancy! Here's the picture I took when I made it for my parents last year:

Feb 5, 2022, 11:49 am

I just realized that I didn't post the photo and recipe for the first cake I've ever made, my mother's beloved Sour Cream Coffee Cake, which I made for a dear neighbor and close friend for his birthday last month. When Bob came over a week before his birthday he openly wished that he would love to have this cake, as my mother would make it for him on a regular basis before she developed Alzheimer's disease several years ago. She does have two recipe boxes that are filled with hundreds of recipes, including that one, so I decided to give it a try.

You may notice that a small piece of crust is missing, as it stuck to the Bundt pan. Otherwise Bob and his wife loved the cake, and my mother and I ate and enjoyed that small piece of stuck cake as well. I was very pleased that it came out as well as it did, and I'll certainly make it again in the near future.

Feb 5, 2022, 11:56 am

>19 nancyewhite: So New Years for us:

Sauerkraut and mashed potatoes on New Years Eve (Mine vegetarian, everyone else w/ pork)

Hoppin' John and greens on New Years Day.

All superstitions and traditions covered. :-) She also runs around putting coins on the windowsills - not sure if that's a southern or family tradition.

Well done, Nancy! After I posted my photo of Hoppin' John and greens on my Facebook timeline two of my Pennsylvania friends, an old high school classmate and one of my classmates from medical school, both mentioned that they made pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day, which I didn't realize was a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition until then.

I'm not sure if putting coins on windowsills is a Southern New Year's Day tradition, but putting coins underneath plates of Hoppin' John and greens definitely is.

Feb 5, 2022, 12:37 pm

>38 kidzdoc: That reminds me that I've been wanting to try making romesco sauce...

>40 kidzdoc: I am the only one who feels slightly told off by the two warnings at the end of the instructions? :-D Bolded AND with two exclamation marks each!

Feb 5, 2022, 1:25 pm

>40 kidzdoc:
coffee cake looks great!
My German grandmother made one like that.

Feb 5, 2022, 4:35 pm

>42 Dilara86: I had never made, and possibly never had, romesco sauce. I have visited Barcelona four or five times, and other regions of Spain at least two other times, so I may have had it but not realized it.

Ha! That is undoubtedly my father's doing, as I can all but guarantee that he was the one who typed that recipe card. Having said that, I would also stress the importance of heavily buttering and flouring the cake pan, especially if you use a Bundt pan. I didn't get one spot as well as the others, and that was all it took to keep my cake from coming out perfectly. The wife of one of my friends in the 75 Books group recommended cooling the pan on a rack before trying to remove the cake, which makes sense, so I'll try that technique the next time I make it.

>43 nrmay: Thanks, Nancy! As Linda (laytonwoman3rd) said, this is likely a recipe from a well known magazine in the mid 20th century that many people made back then. I don't know when my mother started making it, but I think she's been doing so since at least the early 1970s.

Feb 5, 2022, 4:35 pm

I tried another enticing recipe from Spain on a Fork for lunch today, One-Pan Creamy Tuna Pasta, which was also quick and quite tasty:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 30 ml
2 shallots
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika 1.15 grams
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes 400 grams
2 cups vegetable broth 475 ml
2 cups uncooked penne pasta 200 grams
2 cans tuna in olive oil 3.25 oz / 90 grams each
1/2 cup Greek yogurt 125 grams
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley 8 grams
pinch sea salt
dash black pepper

1. Heat a large fry pan with a medium heat and add in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2. After 2 minutes, add in 2 shallots thinly sliced and 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped, mix with the olive oil, after 2 minutes and the shallots & garlic are lightly sauteed, add in 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika and quickly mix together, then add in a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes and season with sea salt & black pepper, mix together and raise to a high heat

3. After simmering the tomatoes for about 3 minutes, add in 2 cups vegetable broth, mix together and bring to a boil, then add in 2 cups uncooked penne pasta, mix together and cook for about 9 minutes, then place a lid on the pan and lower to a low-medium heat, after 3 to 4 minutes and the majority of the broth has been absorbed by the pasta, turn off the heat and remove the lid

4. Meanwhile, drain 2 cans of tuna in olive oil into a sieve with a bowl underneath, mix the tuna around to remove any excess oil

5. After leaving the pasta to slightly cool off, add in the drained tuna, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt at room temperature, 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley and season with black pepper, mix together until well mixed

6. Top off with finely chopped parsley and serve at once, enjoy!

I used whole wheat fusilli instead of penne, as I like how the coils in fusilli capture the sauce, especially in thicker ones such as this one; otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. It didn't knock my socks off as the Truita Amb Suc did, but my mother lapped it up, so I'll make it on a regular basis from now on.

Feb 6, 2022, 11:09 pm

I recently made something I think folks here might like, and it was super easy... toasting the nuts was about as fiddly as it gets, and that's not exactly a big challenge. Don't be tempted to skip the balsamic vinegar finish! It looks like it might be horrendous, like you're vinegaring up a perfectly good pasta dish, but it adds a fantastic depth to what might otherwise be kind of simple or bland. I will say we have good balsamic, so that might have helped make it extra good, but definitely use what you've got. I didn't have a block of Parmesan to shave, so used my pre-grated stuff, and it was perfectly fine.

Swiss Chard Pasta With Toasted Hazelnuts and Parmesan

This is a light pasta dish, filled with ribbons of fresh chard and tossed with a little garlic-infused butter and balsamic vinegar. Toasted hazelnuts impart a subtle sweetness and a lovely crunch that’s complemented perfectly by the sharp, salty bite of Parmesan shavings. It’s a delicious combination, and also a really pretty pasta salad. (Epicurious's copy, not mine, but it's about right.)

4–6 servings as a side
¼ cup hazelnuts
1 pound bow tie pasta (farfalle)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more if needed
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Hefty pinch each of salt and freshly ground black pepper
Small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems finely chopped and greens thinly sliced
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (optional)
Step 1
Add the hazelnuts to a small skillet over medium heat. Toast them slowly, shaking the pan often, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove them from the skillet, and when they are cool enough to handle, roughly chop the nuts.

Step 2
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain it, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and add it to a large bowl.

Step 3
In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter begins to foam, add the garlic and use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture constantly until the butter begins to brown and have a slight nutty aroma, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Give the mixture a good stir, and then set it aside to infuse for about 5 minutes longer away from the heat.

Step 4
Pour the butter mixture (scraping the garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes) all over the warm pasta. If the pasta feels a bit dry, add a touch of the reserved cooking liquid. Toss to combine and set aside.

Step 5
Set the same skillet (without cleaning it) over medium-high heat. Add the chard stems and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chard leaves and continue to cook, tossing the mixture every so often, until the greens begin to wilt and turn bright green, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Add a touch more butter or oil to the pan if it dries out too much.

Step 6
Add the Swiss chard and hazelnuts to the pasta and toss it all together. Add the Parmesan shavings and the balsamic vinegar (if you’re using it); toss. Taste for seasonings and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Step 7
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Feb 7, 2022, 4:04 pm

>46 lisapeet: Thanks for posting that recipe, Lisa! I made a modified version of it for lunch today, substituting kale that I purchased from a local farmers' market for Swiss chard, whole wheat fusilli in place of farfalle, and red wine vinegar instead of balsamic vinegar. It tasted great, and we all loved it.

Feb 7, 2022, 4:10 pm

A quick pop-quiz (kinda) because most people here cook often enough - if a recipe calls for vinegar or oil, without specifying a type, what would you think they mean? With oil I can see how almost any will do (as long as you keep an eye on the temperatures and what will happen with the meal after that) but what about vinegar? What is the default vinegar?

Feb 7, 2022, 6:54 pm

>48 AnnieMod: If there is such a thing as a default vinegar I don't know what it is!

Feb 7, 2022, 7:49 pm

>48 AnnieMod: No matter what the recipe calls for, I only ever use rapeseed (canola) or sunflower oil so if a recipe only says “oil” (and many I use do), I’ll go with one of those, usually rapeseed.
I’m not a fan of vinegar so will usually cut it out or possibly replace with lemon juice if something acidic is needed, but I think I’d assume white wine or possibly apple cider vinegar if nothing else was stated.

Feb 7, 2022, 11:17 pm

>48 AnnieMod:
I think when they just call for oil, they mean some bland oil with a fairly high smoke point. Canola, sunflower, vegetable, corn. For me, If I'm not frying, and the dish is vegetable rich, I like olive oil. For east Asian cuisines, I'll use sesame oil. Otherwise my default (like for baking or Indian food) is sunflower oil.

I'd say white vinegar is the default, but the only food it would be my first choice for would be chips (french fries). Otherwise it's a cleaning product, or used in pickling. I think a default vinegar for recipes would be cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar.

Feb 8, 2022, 2:35 am

>51 Nickelini: See, I would never assume "white vinegar" (by which I assume you mean distilled white vinegar) because that's not even called vinegar in Swedish and I'd never replace it with another type of vinegar because the usage areas are so different (like you mentioned - pickling and cleaning being two major ones, as opposed to salad dressing and the like).

Feb 8, 2022, 2:44 am

>52 PawsforThought: because that's not even called vinegar in Swedish

That's super interesting. Maybe the white vinegar default is just a North American thing. I know the fish & chips shops would have malt vinegar which was a strange British thing. Hmm, a new cooking topic for me to explore.

Edited: Feb 8, 2022, 3:47 am

I would think that most household pantries would have white vinegar, but it's probably the one least often used in cooking. I use white vinegar in cooking less often that Worcestershire sauce, probably not even once a year, although it does come in handy to demineralize the coffee maker and as a deodorizer.

In my Atlanta home I have red wine, white wine, apple cider, balsamic, rice, rice wine, and malt vinegar, along with white vinegar. (ETA: I also have sherry vinegar.) Each has different uses, and to answer Annie's question in more detail I would base the vinegar I use on the type of recipe being prepared.

My parents' pantry only has red wine, apple cider and rice vinegar, and the white vinegar is in the garage, along with other cleaning solutions. Balsamic vinegar and white wine vinegar have been added to this week's shopping list.

My default oil is definitely olive oil, which I use practically every time I make something.

Feb 8, 2022, 4:46 am

>54 kidzdoc: I use (distilled) white vinegar on a weekly basis, but that's because I have a slight addiction to pickled red onions.

Feb 8, 2022, 7:04 am

>55 PawsforThought: Ah. My late father used to pickle cucumbers and peppers, and he may have used white vinegar in other recipes as well. I think I've used it in recipes, but extremely rarely.

Feb 8, 2022, 10:31 am

And here I was thinking I asked an easy question and I simply did not know because I don't cook much outside of what I am used to from back home :)

Thanks everyone for the responses. That was... interesting.

In Bulgaria, oil is sunflower oil and vinegar is red wine vinegar (including for canning and pickling and cleaning -- it's just the "vinegar"). There used to be apple vinegar for some canning/pickling tasks (which would be cider vinegar in North America I guess?) and that was about it 30 years ago - just does not ask me when apple vinegar was used - the recipe told you to use it, so you did and I know we had it and it was used during canning and not for everything and that's it) :)

These days the vinegar situation is pretty much the same (except for balsamic vinegar which seems to be getting popular and you can find some more exotic ones such as rice vinegar and so on in the stores) and when salads are involved, some people consider olive oil the default. But it is still red wine vinegar and sunflower oil (olive oil if they want to be fancy) in most kitchens (and if you go to most sit-down restaurants, they would be on the table together with salt and black pepper) if you order food.

Feb 8, 2022, 11:04 am

>57 AnnieMod: This is so fascinating! I'm a complete nerd when it comes to cultural questions, and especially "folk culture" issues like how people live, what they eat, how they talk and how they spend their free time. So learning about differences of vinegar and oil use in different countries is like catnip to me.

Feb 8, 2022, 11:15 am

I would always assume red wine vinegar if it wasn't specified, but a lot of what I make is along Mediterranean lines, where that would make sense. I wouldn't substitute Balsamic, since that's much sweeter and denser. And yeah, mostly I use white vinegar for cleaning/drain unclogging purposes, except when I'm pickling (which I haven't done in a while).

Mar 26, 2022, 12:26 pm

Last week I went to a local halal meat market to look for lamb, in order to make Irish lamb stew for St Patrick's Day as I often do. The butcher didn't have lamb, but he did have goat, so I bought that instead. I love curried goat, and after finding an easy recipe for it from I decided to make it.

Curried Goat

▢1.5 lbs goat meat with bones
▢2 tbsp olive oil
▢1/2 onion
▢1 red bell pepper
▢1 tomato
▢2 cloves garlic
▢1 inch ginger root
▢1/2 cup water
▢1 cup coconut milk
▢1 tsp paprika
▢1/2 tsp cinnamon ponder
▢1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
▢1 tsp salt
▢1 tbsp curry
▢1 tsp bouillon powder
▢1/4 tsp cumin

1. Wash the goat meat and drain.
2. Cut the onions, ginger, tomato, and red bell pepper, and mince the garlic.

Instant Pot:
1. Turn the instant pot to sauté mode.
2. Heat some olive oil, then add onions, ginger, garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes.
3. Add the chopped tomato, red bell pepper, cayenne pepper, and bouillon powder.
4. Stir for about 2 minutes, then pour in half a cup of water.
5. Add the goat meat, curry powder, paprika, cumin, salt, and cinnamon.
6. Mix together and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
7. Pour in the coconut milk and stir together one more time.
8. Set the instant pot to manual mode and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.
9. Let the instant pot naturally release its pressure.
10. Turn off the instant pot and switch back to sauté mode.
11. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary.
12. Let the goat curry continue to simmer till it thickens up some more.

Stovetop: The steps are basically the same, but you cook it on the stovetop till the goat meat gets soft. This might take anywhere from 1.5-2 hours.

1. This recipe serves 6 and contains 2 net carbs per serving.
2. If you want the goat meat in your curry to fall off the bone, set the instant pot to 40 minutes.
3. This recipe uses bone-in goat meat. For boneless, use the same 30 minute time if you want it very tender, or reduce it to 25 minutes if you want it a bit tougher.
4. Let the instant pot naturally release its pressure. Don't do a quick release because this can cause the goat meat to get tough.
5. You can cut down on the cayenne pepper if you want it less spicy.

I made this recipe in my father's Ninja FOODI, which is basically an Instant Pot with an attachment for air frying. I wanted the meat to be tender, so I pressure cooked it for 40 minutes. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. It turned out fantastic, and since I have another 2 lb of goat meat in our outdoor freezer I'll make it again next month when my cousin from Michigan visits.

Keeping with the African theme I also made jollof rice for the first time, using a recipe by Yewande Komolafe from NYT Cooking:

Jollof Rice

1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
½ medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 red habanero chile, stemmed
2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil

½ cup canola or other neutral oil
2 medium red onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
3 cups parboiled long-grain rice (such as Carolina Gold or Ben’s Original), basmati or jasmine rice (about 1¼ pounds)
5 fresh thyme sprigs
1 fresh bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock

1. Prepare the obe ata: Working in batches if needed, combine all the obe ata ingredients except the canola oil in a blender and purée on high until smooth. The liquid from the can of tomatoes should suffice, but you can add up to 1/4 cup of water if necessary to get the purée going. (You should have about 3 cups of purée.)

2. Heat the 2 tablespoons canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add the purée and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until the sauce is slightly reduced by about a third of its original volume, 18 to 20 minutes. (It should make about 2 cups. Obe ata can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 1 month.)

3. Prepare the rice: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the 1/2 cup canola oil in a large Dutch oven over medium until shimmering, about 1 minute. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove half the onions to a plate and set aside. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, turmeric and smoked paprika, if using, and toast, stirring occasionally, until turmeric is fragrant and tomato paste has deepened to a dark red color, about 2 minutes.

4. Stir in the obe ata sauce and bring to a simmer over medium heat. The habanero oils love to disperse in the air, so you may want to turn on your stovetop fan or open a window while simmering the obe ata. Stir in the rice, thyme and bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the stock and cover with a lid. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until rice is just tender, 35 minutes.

5. Remove the pot from the oven and let sit, covered (no peeking) for 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the reserved sautéed onions. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Serve warm.

I used grapeseed oil, and Ben's Original Parboiled Rice, and followed the recipe exactly. It tasted fabulous, and it was a perfect accompaniment to the curried goat. I'll make this much more often from now on!

I was going to make Yewande Komolafe's Fried Plantains as another side dish, but I chose to wait until this weekend, as the pound cake Cheryl brought was a sufficient dessert for that scrumptious meal.

Edited: Oct 15, 2022, 3:49 am

All that talk about the medicinal properties of soups over on Darryl's thread made me crave some home made Bulgarian chicken soup so I decided to make some tonight. I even remembered to measure and record so here is a recipe (the weights is what mine weighted at as an idea on sizing - half a bell pepper can be 3 times bigger sometimes). Sorry for the image quality - forgot to take a picture in the kitchen. But I did remember to take one at one point. :)

Bulgarian Chicken Soup

Ingredients (makes 4 portions):
1 chicken breast (10 oz)
1/2 bell pepper (any color) (2.5 oz)
1/2 yellow, white or sweet onion (3 oz)
1 stalk of celery (1.5 oz)
1 medium carrot (or a handful of baby carrots) (2 oz)
1 oz of angel's hair or another very thin pasta (see below for alternatives)
1 egg yolk
4-5 oz unsweetened yogurt (not Greek if possible but Greek also works)
1/2 tbsp summer savory
6 cups of water
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Fresh Italian Parsley (optional)
Some Lemon, lemon juice or other acid (optional)
Any other spices you like in your soups and/or with your chicken

1. Cut the chicken into small pieces and add it to the pot/saucer pan you are making the soup in.
2. Dice/cut the pepper, onions, celery and carrots into small cubes and add them to the pot
3. Add the savory, the salt, any other spices you want to add and the water.
4. Cover the pot, bring it to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Check your chicken - if it is fully cooked (or almost fully cooked), add the pasta broken into pieces (small enough to fit into a spoon), bring the soup back to a boil and boil it for as long as the pasta box tells you to boil the pasta for plus a couple of minutes (you do NOT want the pasta al dente for this soup - I usually add about 2 minutes to the al dente timing they are giving on the boxes and then it cooks a bit more while the soup is cooling).
6. While the pasta is cooking, whisk the egg yolk and the yogurt together into a homogeneous mass with a whisk or a fork. Use a bowl that can take heat as we are going to be pouring very hot soup in it.
7. Check your pasta. If it is done, pull the pot out from the fire and let it cool for 2-3 minutes.
8. Using a ladle, start slowly adding the liquid part of the soup into the egg/yogurt mixture while whisking (with a fork or a whisk).
9. When most of the liquid part of the soup is in the bowl, change the direction and start adding the mixture into the soup pot while steering the pot (you can use the ladle but you will need a second one to steer the soup with - I usually use a big enough bowl so I can safely lift it and pour from it directly and use the ladle to steer the pot).
10. (Optional) Put the soup back on the fire until it starts boiling. The egg is basically cooked at this point from the hot soup but if you rather be safe, use this step.

Let it cool for a bit and then ladle yourself some soup. Add the black pepper and the finely cut fresh parsley on top of the soup, add a slice of lemon on the side (squeeze some into the soup before you start eating) and you are all set. All of these are optional. You can also add croutons or pretty much anything else you can think of.

1. If you have bigger pieces of chicken, especially ones with bones, boil them with the summer savory and the salt and add the vegetables only for the last few minutes. Or boil the chicken, remove the meat, use the same liquid to put the vegetables and reintroduce the meat (shredded or not) back a bit later (before the pasta).
2. You can add potatoes, turnips or any other root vegetables if you want a heartier soup. Or more chicken.
3. If you have some chicken stock, you can replace some or all of the water with it or if you have any dry chicken spice/bouillon cube, add it as one of your spices. Careful with the salt if you go that route.
4. If you do not have thin pasta (angel's hair or thin spaghetti works, anything thicker doesn't), you can use rice instead. Same amount, just adjust the cooking time after you put it in (or put it a bit earlier so you do not overcook the chicken). The image above is with Barilla Thin Spaghetti #3 (because this is what I had).
5. If you do not have any use for the egg white, you can add it together with the yolk. Having the egg white in the mix makes it very likely for the egg to "break" while you are adding back the egg/yogurt mixture or while reheating the soup (or while doing that final heating up in 10).
6. You can add a tablespoon of flour to the egg/yogurt mixture to serve as thickener (or any other thickener) if you want to.
7. You can brown your vegetables before adding them to the pot with a bit of neutral oil (sunflower seed one for example). It adds flavor bit it is more work so I tend to never do that and I like the soup with the vegetables fully cooked and not crunchy... :)
8. If you are adjusting the liquids and/or adding more vegetables or chicken, keep in mind that you need to have enough liquid for the pasta/rice to cook in once added and not to turn the whole thing into a stew. Not that you cannot eat it if it gets too thick of course but it is supposed to be a thin-ish liquid soup.
9. You can add a hot pepper (dried is better) while the soup is boiling and remove it after the soup is done. Or add some hot peppers together with the bell peppers.
10. Add more pasta if desired.

PS: If you do not have chicken or do not feel like eating chicken, replace the chicken with potatoes, hold the pasta and follow the same recipe for a quick vegetable soup. You can also add the pasta or rice of course (some recipes call for it, some don't; mine usually does not). Add a tsp of neutral oil to the soup and skip the lemon/acid at the end during serving.

Oct 14, 2022, 12:59 am

>61 AnnieMod: I'm a big soup fan, and that looks amazing! I'll make that one soon. Thanks :-)

Edited: Oct 14, 2022, 2:00 am

>62 Nickelini: It is a very quick one as well - I think it took me about 40 minutes altogether with all the chopping and so on. The cook time was 15+8 minutes after it started boiling but that will depend on the size of the chicken pieces (bite-size is what I did) and the pasta/rice you use.

One thing- if you ever do a big pot of the soup, it can keep in the fridge for almost a week as long as the egg is not added. So if you make a big batch you won’t eat in 2-3 days, split it and add the egg/yogurt to half of it. Then when you are ready, bring the second batch to a boil and then add egg/yogurt to it as described above. Not that I think you will do a big pot but as this kind of finish (the egg/yogurt thingie) is standard in the Bulgarian soups cuisine, that’s a lesson you are taught early on. :) And if you boil a whole chicken, there is too much liquid - so the rule was to make a soup of all of it with some chicken pieces and then just split it for the fridge. :)

Oct 14, 2022, 2:03 am

>63 AnnieMod: All noted! Thanks. Looking forward to this

Oct 14, 2022, 2:38 am

>64 Nickelini: Have fun. :) Let me know how it turns out.

Oh, if you don’t have celery (or don’t like the taste), you can skip it - add some more onions or peppers or carrots instead. I like the taste and the flavor it adds so I add it; Mom never adds it to her soup because it is not something you buy outside of canning season back home.

Oct 14, 2022, 2:02 pm

>61 AnnieMod: Thanks, Annie!! I'll also give this soup a try soon.

Since it's now or soon will be soup weather in much of the Northern Hemisphere maybe we could post our favorite soup recipes here, a Club Read Soup Cookbook as it were. I was going to make Bolas de Matza con hongos y chiles (Matzo Balls with Mushrooms and Jalapeños in Broth) today, until I realized that I forgot to buy cremini mushrooms earlier this week. I'll make it tomorrow, after I go to our local garden farm market.

Jim (drneutron), the administrator of the 75 Books group, shared this recipe with me in 2016. As it turns out the author of the recipe, Pati Jinich, is a friend of one of my work partners, has her own show on PBS on Saturday afternoon, Pati's Mexican Table, which I watch on occasion, and has published several cookbooks.


1 cup matzo ball mix (or two 2-ounce packages)
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher or sea salt
4 large eggs
8 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons sparkling water
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 jalapeño chiles, finely chopped (seeded if desired) or to taste
8 ounces white and/or baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and thin­ly sliced
8 cups chicken broth, homemade or store-bought


In a large bowl, combine the matzo ball mix, parsley, nutmeg, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. In another small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with 6 tablespoons of the canola oil and the sesame oil. Fold the beaten eggs into the matzo ball mixture with a rubber spatula. Add the sparkling water and mix until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chiles and cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes, until they have softened a bit. Stir in the mushrooms and 3/4 teaspoon salt, cover, and steam the mushrooms for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the lid and cook uncovered until the liquid in the pot evaporates. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Meanwhile, when ready to cook the matzo balls, bring about 3 quarts salted water to a rolling boil in a large pot over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and keep at a steady simmer. With wet hands, shape the matzo ball mix into 1- to 1 1/2-inch balls and gently drop them into the water. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the matzo balls are completely cooked and have puffed up. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the soup. Serve.

I prefer to have chunks of chicken in my matzo ball soup, so I take two pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs chopped into bite sized pieces, add it to the broth, and let it simmer for 25 minutes while the matzo balls are cooking. I use a medium or half of a large Vidalia sweet onion instead of a white onion, and I cook the matzo balls, using Manischewitz matzo ball mix, for 25 minutes.

Oct 14, 2022, 2:47 pm

>66 kidzdoc: "Since it's now or soon will be soup weather in much of the Northern Hemisphere"

As far as I am concerned, it is always soup weather. I plan to make another Bulgarian staple soup ("Meatballs with rice" also known as "The Little Balls Soup") next week so I will try not to forget to post here. Depending on whom you ask, the three main hot soups in Bulgaria are either chicken, meatballs and tripe or chicken, meatballs and beans (the cold one is always and only tarator).

"I use a medium or half of a large Vidalia sweet onion instead of a white onion"

I generally use whatever onions I had bought and still have standing - white, yellow, sweet (Vidalia). It does not make that much difference in soups or stews. Never red though - it looks weird in soups and stews :) Same with yellow/orange/red bell papers and even green if that is all I have.

Oct 15, 2022, 3:29 am

>67 AnnieMod: Thanks for the note about onions - white are unusual here and I’m generally reluctant to search out rarer ingredients if I don’t know I’ll use it a lot, even more so in the current economic situation.

A couple of other questions re: the soup in >66 kidzdoc::
Is the type of mushroom important? We have tons at home (we’re foragers) but fresh cremini/button mushrooms have to be bought (and cost quite a bit). Could some other mushroom work? Or canned ones?
And does anyone have a recipe for matzo? Matzo mix isn’t sold here.

Love the idea of a communal soup cookbook - I’ll have a think about which recipe to share.

Edited: Oct 15, 2022, 4:06 am

>68 PawsforThought: I’ve updated the post above. Sorry - I did wonder for a second if I should post both oz and g measurements but did not even think on the basic vegetables. :) Use whatever onions you would usually use to cook. The Bulgarian varietals of onions, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes are different from the ones on this side of the ocean anyway so when I cook anything here, it is a bit different - I’ve kinda found the closest to what I am used to but even they are different. So I just buy whatever looks good and use it for whatever I need it. So replace the type of the basic vegetables with whatever you have (or just ask if I am overly specific again if I post another one). Most of the recipes I make at home came with me from Bulgaria so they had been adapted already once anyway (and most of them contain basic ingredients). The only not so common thing above is the thin pasta - they sell a special type just for soups in Bulgaria; here I had to experiment. Ticker pastas don’t take in liquids as well as the thin ones - thus the preference. But if thick is all you have and you decide not to replace with rice, use that. The noodle won’t be exactly as flavorful as the thin gets (ask me why I know? :) ) but is is edible anyway.

Cooking across borders can be an interesting experience. :)

Oct 16, 2022, 5:02 am

>69 AnnieMod: Wow, thank you for the update and the notes about ingredients. It’s good to know that one can use more or less whatever one has available.

Regarding measurements- I’ve given up on using American recipes for baking - the conversions are too much work. Cooking is one thing, because measurements usually aren’t as vital then, but cooking is chemistry so more important. Plus, there are always ingredients that are flat out impossible to get hold of here.

Oct 16, 2022, 2:36 pm

>70 PawsforThought: Don’t get me started on baking. Mom is a professionally trained pastry chef (and she worked as one for a few decades) so I grew up learning how to do a lot of baking and desserts (if you want them, you had to learn to make them basically). I moved here and in addition to not finding some of the ingredients (Mom helped with some replacements by telling me what she would replace with if she is out in a professional kitchen), the flour, sugar and milk are different. Add the ovens (back home you have two separate settings for the top and bottom heating elements and you can turn both of them on together at whatever combination you want; here it is bake OR broil and a single temperature). I could not get my recipes to work for ages. It may be easier if you are a good cook but I am not - I can cook and I can follow a recipe if I have to but I tend to gravitate towards familiar flavors and easy recipes.

This recipe (and most of the stuff I cook) started in village kitchens - so outside of pasta, sugar, flour, oil, baking soda, yeast and salt, everything else comes from the garden, the animal yard and/or home made jars. My grandma will add tomatoes to the soup above a few minutes before the soup is done. I don’t like them there when added fresh and I won’t buy canned for a couple of spoonfuls of them so I don’t. We (Bulgarian that is) usually can tomatoes, peppers and parsley together so when you make the soup in the middle of winter, you add this mixture towards the end instead of the peppers early and the tomatoes late and the parsley and lemon for serving. It’s like most popular meals anywhere in the world - every cook has their own recipe. :)

Oct 16, 2022, 6:44 pm

When I transcribe a recipe from the web (I keep them in Zoho Notebook, so I can make notes on what worked and what I changed, etc), I generally go find the ingredient weights and put them in then (or put them in when I decide to make the recipe - I very seldom do it on the fly, and I never do it twice for one recipe, it gets into the ingredient list right away). I'm American in America, but baking by weight is so much _easier_ than by volume - cooking too, but baking especially. But there are recipes I've looked at, drooled over, and decided sourcing the ingredients was going to be too much work, if even possible at all.

Oct 16, 2022, 11:01 pm

>71 AnnieMod: Add the ovens (back home you have two separate settings for the top and bottom heating elements and you can turn both of them on together at whatever combination you want; here it is bake OR broil and a single temperature).

Well that is fascinating. I think I'd really like that. I just moved into a new house with a very fancy stove, and it doesn't do that. Actually, I can't figure out why it's considered fancy. In my last house, I had a new top-of-the-line Frigidaire, which I loved very much. This new way more expensive stove doesn't have some of my favourite features of my last stove. It's really basic. I'm puzzled every day when I use it. But at least I didn't get the super-fancy (and ridiculous) La Cornue. They are very pretty, but why would someone pay $100,000 for a stove that doesn't even have a window so you can look into the oven?

Oct 16, 2022, 11:43 pm

>61 AnnieMod: Back to your Bulgarian chicken soup -- I see it has summer savory, which I have in my cupboard. It's not an ingredient that I see very often in recipes. Is it a typical Bulgarian flavour?

Oct 16, 2022, 11:58 pm

>74 Nickelini: Yep. Savory (summer, winter, whatever variety they packaged in the part of the world you live in) is a staple spice for Bulgarian savory dishes - except for salads and a few specialty dishes, it goes into everything. The other staple is sweet red paprika but it is not used in soups because of its color and its taste (soup broths are a bit too delicate).

Savory grows easily everywhere in Bulgaria and it is easy to dry even at home. Which kinda explains its popularity. Same with red paprika. These days most people buy them of course but still (I have proper Bulgarian savory these days (from the Bulgarian store) - it is much cheaper than what you usually pay for it in the States - it is considered a specialty spice I guess). Plus both savory and red paprika have mild enough taste not to overpower but to be felt anyway so they kinda developed into the main spices of the cuisine.

Oct 17, 2022, 12:03 am

>61 AnnieMod: About the yogurt (This is turning into a Bulgarian soup masterclass!) - in France, supermarkets sell "Bulgarian-type yogurt" (it used to be called Bulgarian yogurt, but you can't legally call it that anymore unless it is actually made in Bulgaria). Now, this might seem stupid because of the name, but given our propensity to assign dishes and cooking methods to random countries just for the fun of it, I thought I'd check with you... This yogurt is runny and on the tangy side. Does this sound right for this soup?

Edited: Oct 17, 2022, 12:30 am

>76 Dilara86: The tangier, the better. Bulgarian yogurt is supposed to be a bit on the tangy side - home made one gets tangier as it ages. Being runny is not a problem because it gets mixed with the soup anyway (part of why I don’t like Greek/Greek style yogurt for cooking is because the stabilizer that makes it almost hard makes it harder to whisk with the egg yolk (add a touch of water if it too hard to whisk) and the taste is just a bit off to me - but I grew up on yogurt) :) It will give you some of that sourness/crispness you are looking for from the lemon at the end.

But as long as it is not sweetened, any yogurt will do really. :)

Oct 17, 2022, 12:36 am

>77 AnnieMod: Thanks, that's perfect :-) I'll definitely be making this soon!

Oct 17, 2022, 3:33 am

>77 AnnieMod: I think Bulgarian (or Bulgarian-style) yogurt is similar to the kind of yogurt we have in Sweden. We have bot yogurt and "fil", which is a similar texture and taste but made with a different bacteria so slightly tangier.
My parents travelled through Eastern Europe in the 70's (mostly Poland, Hungary and what was then Czechoslovakia) and the yogurt was almost the same as they were used to from home. (I've also heard stories about sending dried out yogurt to acquaintances in Poland during the same approximate period, I'm assuming there were food shortages - but that is a very different story.)

Edited: Oct 17, 2022, 3:55 am

>79 PawsforThought: Possibly - it should contain bacillus bulgaricus to count as Bulgarian style but yogurt can be made with a lot of different lacto-bacilluses so it should work either way.

Fil sounds similar in some ways to kefir (but different in others).

Oct 17, 2022, 4:55 am

>80 AnnieMod: Kefir is made with both yeast and bacteria, isn't it? Fil is only made with bacteria (lactococcus/streptococcus and leuconostoc).

Oct 17, 2022, 12:58 pm

>81 PawsforThought: That is why I said "in some ways". It just sounded somewhat similar while different :) I've had kefir a few times - while available in stores occasionally, it is not a common drink and I am not entirely sure what it is made of besides milk - we go for yogurt based drinks instead (yogurt, water, a pinch of salt if desired, shake very very well - stick it in the fridge and you have a very refreshing summer drink; add diced or grated cucumbers, fresh dill, and a bit of garlic (not mandatory - I never put any) and you have a similarly refreshing summer soup).

Oct 18, 2022, 10:27 am

Wow, this thread has taken off in the past few days! Apologizes for my absence; as I mentioned on my thread my mother has a bad case of bronchitis and pneumonia, and I'm still battling my own case of bronchitis, which has been with me for 10 days.

>67 AnnieMod: My comment about "soup weather in most of the Northern Hemisphere" was meant to take into account people such as yourself who live in desert climates! I agree with you; it's always soup weather, even in the midst of summer, although I may not always be in the mood to cook then.

I generally use whatever onions I had bought and still have standing - white, yellow, sweet (Vidalia). It does not make that much difference in soups or stews. Never red though - it looks weird in soups and stews :) Same with yellow/orange/red bell papers and even green if that is all I have.

Ooh. Umm...I strongly prefer sweet onions, preferably Vidalia sweet onions, whenever I cook. I never willingly buy white or yellow onions. One of my favorite soups, African sweet potato soup with peanut butter, black eyed peas and beans, does call for a red onion, and there are several other recipes I make that call for it as well. The same goes for yellow, orange or red bell peppers; I always keep green and red ones in the refrigerator, and buy yellow and orange ones when they are called for.

>68 PawsforThought: Is the type of mushroom important? We have tons at home (we’re foragers) but fresh cremini/button mushrooms have to be bought (and cost quite a bit). Could some other mushroom work? Or canned ones?

I certainly think that any mushroom you favor would be fine in the matzo ball soup recipe. Cremini mushrooms are relatively inexpensive here; I paid $3.49/lb for the ones I purchased on Saturday, and I've seen them on sale for considerably cheaper than that.

And does anyone have a recipe for matzo? Matzo mix isn’t sold here.

The only thing I can think of would be to make your own matzo mix using matzo crackers, but I'm guessing that you don't have those, either. I can ask my Jewish friends who cook their cuisine, particularly Madeline from the 75 Books group.

I'm loving the discussion of Bulgarian cuisine!

Oct 18, 2022, 10:50 am

>83 kidzdoc: "Umm...I strongly prefer sweet onions, preferably Vidalia sweet onions, whenever I cook."

So use that here :) In Bulgaria the choice used to be regular onions or red onions. The latter are used for salads and canning mostly; the regular are used for cooking (and salads when you do not have or when you just do not care about red). Here you have an isle of onions. I like Vidalia because they do not make me cry while cutting them but sometimes I like the look of the regular ones better or I would just grab the wrong ones (like the weekend before I made that soup) :) It does change the taste a bit in things like the chicken onion stew and you sometimes need to account for it - a touch more salt to offset the changed taste for example or some more acid but when I am using an onion or less? I really cannot tell the difference.

We don't have bell peppers either - we have just red and green peppers (thinner and longer than bell pepper - and less sweet). I like orange and yellow peppers just for the color in salads - but I'd buy whichever are cheaper usually if there is a big difference or whichever looks the best that day. In soups and stews? It looks pretty with multiple colors but at the end of the day, I'd add whatever I have.

My first attempt at cooking here were... interesting. :)

Oct 18, 2022, 1:46 pm

>83 kidzdoc: After some converting of both currency and weights I’ve come to the conclusion that cremini costs about 50% more here (and that’s in a big store, smaller shops have higher prices, of course).

And no, we don’t have matzo crackers here, either. There’s not a big Jewish population in Sweden , and certainly not up north so it’s not something that has affected the food culture much.

Edited: Oct 18, 2022, 2:47 pm

>68 PawsforThought: I found a recipe online for matzo and matzo mix (flour, water, salt.) Looks like the mix is crumbled matzo flatbread. You could make this ahead of making the matzo balls, though that is getting a little time consuming for me.

Here is the recipe, and if you want to read about how to make it kosher, check out the web page.

2 cups flour
1 cup water

Get everything that you need ready before you start. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Get a rolling pin, pastry brush, and fork out.

Mix together 2 cups of flour with 1 cup of water.

Knead the dough on a well-floured board until it comes together, about 3-4 minutes. If the dough is really sticky add flour a tablespoon at a time until it isn’t anymore.

Cut the dough into 8-12 chunks. Roll them out as thinly as you can. Make sure that you flour everything really well, this dough is sticky.

Put the flattened dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick with a fork. Brush off some of the excess flour. This dough does not spread so you can put a bunch on a sheet. Put in the preheated oven and start working on the next batch.

After 3-4 minutes, they will be golden brown and crispy.

Oct 18, 2022, 2:36 pm

>85 PawsforThought: Look for "matzo from scratch" recipes? While the box thing is easy, the crackers are basically flour and water (and salt and oil for the baking). It is unleavened bread, rolled very thin and baked at high temperature. Or even directly look for a recipe for matzo balls (it adds eggs and fat to the matzo ingredients plus spices in most recipes). As you do not need to make it kosher, I suspect that saltines or some other mild cracker can even replace the matzo crackers (again - the taste will be slightly different but...).

Darryl will correct me if I am way off but from what I had read, that sounds about right.

Oct 18, 2022, 3:11 pm

>86 markon: Thanks for that, very kind of you to find a recipe.

>87 AnnieMod: Of course, I could do that. I do also have a Jewish cookbook somewhere that I should probably skim through. I just thought someone might have a good recipe on hand. Always good with recipes that have been tried and come with recommendations.

Oct 18, 2022, 3:42 pm

Talking about Bulgarian cuisine, I was feeling lazy today so I made the most popular Bulgarian salad for lunch (which is so popular that even Wikipedia has a decent recipe for it: ) aka Shopska salad. No picture because I just mixed all together with the cheese before I remembered about the thread. If I ever make it properly I will post a picture although Internet has a tone of them. :)

Ingredients (for 1 generous serving):
1 medium tomato
1 pepper (roasted or raw or half of each) or half a bell pepper (roasted or raw)
1 small cucumber or 1/2 Long/English cucumber
1/4 small onion
Some Italian parsley (that is the one with the straight leaves, not the curly ones - in case it is called differently elsewhere. Not that the curly one won't work but the classic ingredient is the straight-leaved one. Do not replace with cilantro)
feta cheese or White Brine cheese (2-3 oz per serving)
red wine vinegar (or other type of vinegar which you have handy)
1/2 teaspoon sunflower seed oil (or any other mild testing oil)
1 olive (optional)
Hot pepper (very optional)

1. Chop the peppers and cucumbers into roughly same-sized pieces into a bowl (I cut the cucumber in quarters and then do slices of ~2-3 mm. You do not want it too thin but you can go as thick as you want).
2. Add the tomatoes in slightly bigger pieces.
3. Chop the onions into whatever size you like to eat them raw (or skip the onions altogether if you do not like raw onions). You can use spring onions if you do not have mature onion or if you prefer the taste.
4. Chop the parsley finely and add it to the bowl. Leave a few leaves on the side whole for garnish.
5. Add the oil and vinegar. Add a pinch of salt (see my note at the very bottom - if you are adding the cheese here, you can skip the salt altogether; otherwise you want it to help the vegetables mix better). Mi well.
Note: The amount of vinegar depends on the tomatoes - the sweeter the tomatoes, the more vinegar you want usually. You should be tasting the acid when eating the salad but without it being overwhelming. If you do not like acidic food, skip the vinegar altogether. And you can add more later if you want
6. Let the salad rest for a minute or 2 so the ingredients can talk to each other for a minute.
7. Split the salad into portions and grate the feta on top of each portion. If you are in the States where feta crumbs are much cheaper than whole feta cheese blocks, use crumbles instead of grating from a bloc. It looks less fancy but it tastes the same.

Garnish with an olive, a couple of leaves of parsley and the very thinly sliced hot pepper - or whatever if these you have handy or like eating. You can also add the hot pepper into the salad if you like heat.

Note: I add the cheese before I mix everything and just mix everything together. It does not look as nice but I find that it is much tastier this way because the cheese serves as my salt and it gets attached to everything. You will end up with an oil-vinegar-cheese-tomato-onion-parsley liquid at the bottom of the bowl which is very good with some crusty bread...
Note 2: The ratio of peppers/cucumber/tomatoes are fluid so don't try to match them exactly(for example the one I just did had ~12 oz of tomatoes, 5 oz of cucumber and 3.5 oz of raw peppers because that is what I had handy. Which made it a bit heavy on the tomatoes side - but I was not leaving half a tomato in the fridge).

Did I miss something above which makes this whole thing hard to understand? :)

Oct 18, 2022, 3:44 pm

>88 PawsforThought: Oh, I understand :) I was just thinking that if you look for it in Swedish, it is likely to find one which is done with local ingredients and measures and easier to implement (or even tell you what local crackers can work as a substitute).

Edited: Oct 18, 2022, 4:33 pm

>89 AnnieMod: That is basically the recipe for Greek salad that you get at any Greek restaurant in Western Canada*. It's my go-to summer salad that I make at home. I always use a purple or red onion. I had a version at a Turkish restaurant in New York City that was delicious but slightly different.

* I've ordered Greek salad in the USA and it's basically any salad ingredients with feta. Always lettuce. I'm always both disappointed and offended

BTW I"m making your chicken soup today! Excited

Edited: Oct 18, 2022, 5:03 pm

>91 Nickelini: I did mention that it is very popular, didn't I? :)

It is popular across South-Eastern Europe under different names and slightly different ingredients - with some local competition of where it originated. The Greek one usually has more olives (the Bulgarian uses a single one for garnish). Plus no vinegar in any recipe I know but part of it is that you have the brining coming from the olives.... And you can skip the peppers in the Greek one in its classic recipes (you never skip it in the Shopska salad).

And yes - in the States, they put lettuce as a base to the Greek salad. I am always annoyed...

PS: Just saw the BTW: Have fun :) Post back what you think (even if you don't like it...) :)

Oct 18, 2022, 6:49 pm

>90 AnnieMod: Genius! I didn’t even think about searching for it in Swedish. Did a quick search now and one of the (admittedly very few) websites that came up said that matzo is very, very similar to Swedish tunnbröd, which I have in spades!

Edited: Oct 19, 2022, 12:11 am

>83 kidzdoc: And does anyone have a recipe for matzo? Matzo mix isn’t sold here.

The only thing I can think of would be to make your own matzo mix using matzo crackers, but I'm guessing that you don't have those, either. I can ask my Jewish friends who cook their cuisine, particularly Madeline from the 75 Books group.


I use plain unsalted bread crumbs interchangeably with matzo meal during the year when cooking. Matzo meal is ground matzos. Matzo cake meal is finely ground matzos. Matzo is only made of wheat and water and then baked.

Martha Stewart talks here about making matzo meal.

I never use the boxed "matzo ball mix" to make matzo balls. I just make my own:

Yield: 8 balls

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup matzo meal
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp water

Blend oil & eggs. Add matzo meal and salt. Blend well. Add wtare and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Form 1-inch balls and drop into simmering stock. Cover pot. Cook for 30-40 minutes.

This is a 1996 recipe from the Manischewitz Company (Jersey City, NJ)
Three times this recipe is perfect for a full soup pot.
Note: I had to cut the salt for ourselves to 1/4 tsp, because we're on a low sodium diet, but I like it best with the original amount of salt!

This seems a good idea for substitutions:

This seems like a good place to check to find out how to get hold of matzos and/or matzo meal in Sweden:

Oct 19, 2022, 3:14 am

>94 SqueakyChu: Thank you so much for the recipe! I'm going to save it for when I try the soup recipe - really looking forward to it.

And thanks for the suggestions of Chabad/Kosherian. It seems like an interesting place if you're near Stockholm (or are going to visit). Unfortunately I live 600 km from Stockholm and rarely visit so it's not really an option for me (and they don't have an online shop).

Edited: Nov 30, 2022, 7:40 pm

Mushroom Cobbler
from The New Vegetarian Epicure

Filling, part 1:
2 lbs. red Spanish onions (I used 1 red onion, 2 yellow/sweet onions)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. butter
salt to taste

Filling, part 2:
1oz. dried porcini
1/2 lb. fresh porcini or Portobello mushrooms
1 lb. fresh oyster mushrooms
1½ Tbs. olive oil
½ Tbs. butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped (I used 8? cloves)
pinch of dried thyme
pinch of cayenne
fresh-ground black pepper to taste
½ cup dry red wine

Filling, part 3:
1 Tbs. butter
1½ Tbs. flour
1½ cups low-fat milk, heated

Biscuit dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. chilled butter
½ cup fresh-grated Parmesan
(I only made half the biscuit recipe)

Prepare the filling: Peel, quarter, and slice the red onions. In a large non-stick skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter, add the onions and a good sprinkle of salt, and cook over low heat, stirring often, for about an hour. The onions will gradually soften and eventually caramelize to a golden- brown color and incredible sweetness.

Pour boiling water to cover over the dried porcini and leave them to soak for at least 30 minutes. Clean, trim, and slice the fresh mushrooms. When the dried porcini are soft, rinse them carefully and chop them finely. Strain the soaking water through a coffee filter and reserve it.

In another large non-stick skillet, heat 1½ tablespoons of olive oil and ½ table- spoon butter. Add the chopped garlic to it and stir for 1 minute, then add the sliced fresh mushrooms and a little salt. Sauté the mushrooms, stirring often, until they start to release their liquid. Add the chopped porcini, a pinch of thyme, a pinch of cayenne, and fresh-ground black pepper to taste, and keep cooking over medium heat until the excess liquid has cooked away and the mushrooms are sizzling and beginning to color.

Add the red wine, stirring as it cooks away, then add the soaking liquid from the dried mushrooms. Combine the mushrooms with the caramelized onions and simmer them all together for a few minutes.

In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and stir in 1½ tablespoons flour. Stir the roux over medium heat for 3 4 minutes, until it is golden. Add the heated milk, whisking steadily. Keep stirring with a whisk for several minutes, as the sauce thickens. Stir the white sauce into the onions and mushrooms. Taste, and correct the seasoning with more salt or pepper as needed.

Pour the mushroom mixture into a lightly buttered medium-sized gratin dish, spreading it evenly.

Prepare the biscuit dough: Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in the container of a food processor. Add the chilled butter, cut in chunks, and process briefly, until the mixture has the texture of coarse meal. Add the Parmesan cheese and process a few seconds.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the butter- milk, just until a dough forms. It will be thick and sticky; don't overmix it.

Spoon the biscuit dough onto the mushrooms, distributing it more or less evenly over the top. Bake the cobbler in a preheated 400° oven for about 25 minutes. The biscuit topping should be lightly golden brown.

Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 5:03 am

Quick Butternut-Garlic Soup

This is ridiculously quick and easy - and quite tasty.

1 butternut squash, about 1 lb per person
Garlic - about 4 cloves per person (adjust to your tastes, I put in more)
Olive oil (or other oil, if you prefer)
Pinch of salt

I added a couple sage leaves (crisped in the hot oil); add other herbs or spices as you please.

The original recipe said to microwave the squash and therefore cut it into about fist-sized sections (skin on). I think the next time I'll roast it, so it will only need to be halved (and the seeds removed). Takes longer, but I think it will be tastier.

Halve and de-seed the squash, cut into 4 or 6 sections. Put cut-side-down on a plate, add a tablespoon or two of water, and microwave for 5 minutes at a time until it's easily pierced with a fork, 10-15 minutes. Let cool.

Peel the garlic, place in a small saucepan and add oil to about half-cover the cloves. Heat at medium (no higher or it's likely to burn) until the cloves begin to brown on the bottom; turn them over. When both sides are light brown, take the pan off the heat and leave the cloves to sizzle in the hot oil. Add fresh herbs at this point if desired (dried can be added to the blender).

As soon as you can hold the squash, scoop out the cooked flesh into a blender. Scrape the cloves (and herbs) into the blender too - not the oil (keep that for another use) - and add a bit of salt. Blend, with about 1/4 c water per pound of squash, until it's smooth and creamy and reasonably liquid (I like thicker soups so scanted the water). Using water lets the flavor of the squash and spices come through; you can use broth if you want, or other liquids. Taste and add salt if desired.

Pour the soup into bowls. It may need to be microwaved to rewarm it. Drizzle some of the oil on top, if you like. Serve with bread. Yum!

The slowest part of this is peeling the garlic cloves. It took me less than an hour from the idea (of using this recipe) to serving.

Dec 1, 2022, 5:31 am

>97 jjmcgaffey: I love that kind of soup and make it regularly during the colder season (except I have onions in mine as well). I didn't know you could microwave the squash - I've only ever roasted them in the oven. I also dilute the soup with bouillon rather than water.

Hot tip: rinse the seeds and roast them in a frying pan. Salt lightly and serve with the soup-

Dec 1, 2022, 5:41 pm

That's what the recipe said - actually, said to fry them in some of the garlic oil. But I generally find squash seeds unpleasantly chewy/crisp, so I didn't.

Dec 6, 2022, 5:03 pm

>83 kidzdoc: The same goes for yellow, orange or red bell peppers; I always keep green and red ones in the refrigerator, and buy yellow and orange ones when they are called for.

>84 AnnieMod: I like orange and yellow peppers just for the color in salads - but I'd buy whichever are cheaper usually if there is a big difference or whichever looks the best that day. In soups and stews? It looks pretty with multiple colors but at the end of the day, I'd add whatever I have.

Botanically, green, yellow, red, and orange bell peppers are the same plant, only in different stages of ripening, which affects how sweet they are. There are other varieties of bell pepper bred for colour (chocolate, pale yellow etc), but they are still basically the same fruit, so >84 AnnieMod: is definitely on the right track with her substitutions where colour doesn't matter.

Why the price differential is so great between green and red always astounds me, even though I know it is partly due to keeping the pepper on the vine longer, and so more costly to the farmer.

Dec 7, 2022, 7:53 pm

>100 SassyLassy: When I moved to the States, one of the first things I did look up was the state of the peppers - the colors were confusing me. Once I found that they are the same pepper just in different stages, I started just having fun. The only thing I learned is that the green ones tend to be thicker and denser so take a bit longer to cook (I think it is partially because they are just green but maybe they get harvested earlier because they are not looking good to become the other colors and be sellable that way? Who knows).

When I was making a vegetable soup this week, I pulled a green one from the fridge - I had white fleshed onion, yellow fleshed potatoes, orange carrots and red tomatoes already in the pot so it kinda made sense even though I had a few more colors and was planning something else for the green one (stuffed peppers) - but could not resist the fun. Too bad I ate all the purple carrots already or I would have put some in as well. :) Sometimes it is all about the fun.

Dec 8, 2022, 3:37 pm

>101 AnnieMod: Sometimes it is all about the fun. Absolutely. Cooking should always be fun!

Good point about the green stage being more dense.

Dec 10, 2022, 11:42 am

>100 SassyLassy: Thanks, Sassy; I did not know that! I'll have to pay attention to the difference in prices of green and red bell peppers when I go to my local market next week.

Last weekend I tried a new recipe for Creole Shrimp and Grits, which turned out exceptionally well:

Shrimp and Grits

These delectable southern style Shrimp and Grits are cooked with Creole seasoning, red pepper, green onions, crisp bacon, and garlic over a bed of creamy cheddar grits.


Cheesy Grits:
1 cup quick cooking grits
4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

6 slices smoked bacon
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper finely chopped
3 green onions chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice

1. Bring the water to a boil; add the salt and slowly add the grits. Cover and cook over low heat for 5-7 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Remove from heat, and stir in the butter, cream, and cheddar cheese.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat cook bacon until crispy. Place on paper towels to drain; reserving bacon grease. Coarsely chop bacon once cooled. Add shrimp to bacon grease over medium heat. Sprinkle with Cajun or Creole seasoning and cayenne pepper. Flip shrimp after one minute, and cook for an additional one minute. Remove to a plate.

3. Add vegetable oil to skillet over medium heat. Add red pepper and cook until slightly tender; 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add green onions and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken broth, Worcestershire Sauce, and lemon juice, to the skillet, and stir. Return shrimp and bacon to the skillet and heat for 1 minute.

4. Spoon the cheesy grits into a bowl and add the shrimp mixture. Serve immediately.

• Quick grits taste best with this recipe. Boil the water then add the salt and grits. Bring back to a low boil and stir to combine. Cover, turn to simmer, and cook until tender and creamy. Stir in the cream, butter, and sharp cheddar. It is just that simple.

• Use good quality smoked bacon and don’t throw out the bacon grease. Or if you prefer add a little andouille sausage.

• Use wild-caught peeled deveined shrimp. Place them over medium heat in the bacon fat. Don’t overcook them. They only need about one minute on each side. They will be added back to the pan in the second part of the recipe.

• Sprinkle the seasoning on the shrimp while it is in the pan. It is easy to do and works to sear into the shrimp.

• Serve this recipe as soon as possible. Shrimp does not reheat well. It can easily get overcooked and rubbery.

• Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat at 50% power in 30-second intervals in the microwave until warm.

Dec 13, 2022, 10:36 pm

I was just talking to someone about shrimp and grits (and how I had a fantastic meal of them in Charleston a few years ago). I'd omit the bacon, but those look like just what the doctor ordered.