La Cucina 2022, Part 1

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La Cucina 2022, Part 1

Jan 1, 4:07pm


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, 5:12pm


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, 5:14pm

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, 5:15pm

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, 11:36am

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, 5:39pm

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

Jan 1, 8:12pm

Thanks for the setup - the recipes Darryl. Yum!

Jan 2, 9:59am

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

Jan 2, 11:28am

>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, 8:29pm

>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, 8:57pm

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, 5:09pm

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

Keep those recipes coming, everyone!

Jan 5, 5:46pm

>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, 9:17pm

>13 WelshBookworm: Sounds great!

Edited: Jan 5, 10:12pm

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, 8:48pm

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, 12:57pm

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, 3:00pm

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, 3:38pm

>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, 4:02pm

>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, 4:19pm

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, 4:29pm

>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, 5:39pm

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

Jan 10, 9:09am

>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, 10:38am

>23 dchaikin: Thank you!

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

Jan 11, 7:51pm

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, 8:04pm

>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, 9:22pm

>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, 9:54pm

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, 9:56pm

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

Edited: Jan 11, 10:10pm

>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, 2:48am

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

Jan 12, 11:27am

>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, 11:39am

>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, 9:11pm

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, 11:29pm

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

Edited: Jan 19, 1:51pm

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, 11:39am

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, 11:42am

>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, 11:49am

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, 11:56am

>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, 12:37pm

>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, 1:25pm

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

Feb 5, 4:35pm

>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, 4:35pm

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, 11:09pm

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, 4:04pm

>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, 4:10pm

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, 6:54pm

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

Feb 7, 7:49pm

>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, 11:17pm

>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, 2:35am

>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, 2:44am

>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, 3:47am

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, 4:46am

>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, 7:04am

>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, 10:31am

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, 11:04am

>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, 11:15am

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, 12:26pm

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.