Category Archives: food

Green Goddess dressing

Homegrown summer herbs and a yogurt/mayonnaise base make for a yummy salad dressing!

Ingredients: mayonnaise, nonfat plain yogurt, a squirt of anchovy paste, garlic, lemon, rice vinegar, salt and

A mix of herbs (maybe NOT basil, though?) : parsley, chives, tarragon.


1. Put 1/2 c mayonnaise and 1/3 cup yogurt into cuisnart along with five cloves of garlic, juice of half a lemon, dash of rice or white vinegar, a squeeze of anchovy paste, a teaspoon of stevia, and two fistfuls of herbs.

2. Mix

3. Add additional veggie for greener color, such as chard or spinach.

4. Taste and adjust acid, salt, and sweetener until dressing sings.

This adventure was based on two recipes from the NYTimes recipe app (which I cannot recommend enough). Here and here. Mostly the latter.

Note: the first recipe uses basil, so that might be worth a try. It also adds the creamier Greek yogurt which I definitely want to try.

Since I generally rely on the tried and true oil and vinegar dressing (with Dijon and garlic), this made for a really nice change.

Locally grown pepper, lettuce, radish and pea sprouts were worthy carriers of this Green Goddess mix!

Kitchen notes:

1. If you chop fast, leave a generous stub on your carrots, celery, cukes, etc. Since you’re a home cook and not a professional, you can pop these tidbits into your mouth. Way better than chopping a flap of your thumb off. Trust me I know.

2. Keep anchovy paste in the fridge. Essential for Caesar salad. Never goes bad, as far as I can tell.

3. Stevia is, by volume, four times sweeter than sugar. Adjust your dashes accordingly.

4. If you hand mix, use a whisk and a bowl with steep sides. But I have to say, this recipe is one of many reasons to keep a mini-cuisinart to hand.

5. Even if you live where growing veggies is impossible (like here — too much shade), treat yourself to container-grown herbs. It really is nice to have fresh basil, chives, sage, and parsley on hand. Pesto has been one of the most pleasurable foods of the summer (worth the outrageous cost of pine nuts!)

6. Re: knives. Either marry someone who will sharpen your knives for you or learn how to do so yourself. Nothing ruins kitchen prep like dull knives. * * * Having said that, it’s more important to know the status of your knife’s edge than to have a sharp one when it comes to safety. That is, as they say, another story, one that involves blood, an onion, and a poor attempt to assist a professional home chef in Cambridge.

Black bean soup

Damnit! This is my blog and I’m gonna use it how I want! This post is for my boys. I want to now and again show how to make some simple fare. Dishes that could easily become standard for them. Food they ate growing up.

Most of my readers (I think), don’t need such instruction. So scroll on by! Unless of course you have a trick or special ingredient of your own to share.

Ingredients: One onion, one carrot, half a green pepper, the equivalent of a good sized potato, chicken stock, black beans, jalapeños. Cumin and cilantro.

To be served with a dollop of sour cream and chopped cilantro.

Since I don’t have a regular green pepper in the fridge, I’m using shishito peppers. That means I will skip the jalapeños. About every tenth shishito pepper is very hot.

It goes without saying that I prefer homemade chicken stock, but since I don’t have any, boxed will do. The fact that the key ingredients for this soup are either standard pantry items or standard root cellar items is one of its key virtues. The only grocery wild cards are cilantro and sour cream.

1. Chop veggies. Rough chop is fine, since we will be purée-ing with an immersion blender. Another virtue of this soup. Chop chop done.

2. Sauté the onions. Add a good amount of cumin halfway through. Cooking spices in the oil causes their flavor to bloom, so don’t just add later.

3. Add other root veggies and pepper and stir to coat with oil and cumin. Salt the pot.

4. Rinse the beans and add. Stir in thoroughly before adding stock.

5. Add a box of stock and if you have enough, some sprigs of cilantro.

6. Cook long enough to soften carrots and potatoes, about 20 minutes. Then purée. Taste and adjust salt.

Serve with a couple of generous tablespoons of chopped cilantro and a heaping tablespoon of sour cream (lofat works).

Delicious on its own, the soup becomes a meal with the addition of cheese quesadillas (also super simple to make) or, if lazy, cheese toast.

Bon appetit!

PS If using shishito peppers, be prepared to add a few disks of jalapeños. This batch was a little bland because none of the shishitos were hot.

Also, because I had half an ear of corn leftover in the fridge, I added it and another half can of beans after puréeing. Soup will have a little chunk, which is sometimes nice. The other half can of beans will be added to a salad later in week.

KITCHEN NOTE: I keep an appliance-tool spare kitchen. For instance, I squeeze lemons with one hand, poking with a knife if need be. I use the other hand to catch the seeds. No metal or plastic tool needed.

But! I have two sizes of Cuisinarts (and use both all the time) and consider an immersion blender one of the very best appliances going.

You can, of course, use a blender. It means pouring hot soup into the blender (which for me also requires sliding a stepping stool into place) and possibly doing so in two batches. More to clean afterwards.

Pandemic Pie Bonus

Being able to start eating the pie on Thanksgiving Eve counts as a silver lining this year. As does sitting here typing instead of running around in a dash of last minute clean up and then prepping for hours in advance of the big meal. I enjoy the latter, but still, this is nice. I slept til nine.

Given Finn’s propensity for fowl thievery, the brined bird is airing behind a barricade of coleus cuttings. The other side is a staircase to which he has no access. Ha! Look at us! Dog people who finally learned a thing or two.

Why a whole bird for two people, you ask? I was gonna keep it simple: breast only, one-ingredient side dishes. Well, I couldn’t find breasts at the critical moment and pomegranate seeds and walnuts are demanding to be partnered with Brussel sprouts. Maybe a maple glaze?

We already finished the holiday puzzle but another is on the way. This year will require at least two.

There will be two zoom calls and episodes of Money Heist. Twitter. Maybe a fire, even though it’s warm enough to rain.

I have so so much to be grateful for — including all of you, dear readers. Have a wonderful day in whatever way. Let’s all live to see another holiday!

Puzzle, dunk, and beans

The crossword puzzle gets me out of bed on Sundays, eager and curious.

Another beautiful day. It might rain at six. Regarding our patio dinner postponed from last night, K quips, “We should hold it yesterday.” It ended up being beautiful at six last evening.

A dunk a day keeps the depression away! Not gonna happen, but how grateful I am when we go.

You know it’s time to chuck a suit when the elastic crackles as you put it on. Since I love polka dots so much, a piece of the Lycra/poly blend will go into the fabric stash. I’ve used other synthetic polka dots to good effect.

Here’s a hint about tonight’s bean salad.

Here’s a hint about how the chicken will be served.

Here’s a link to GimmeSomeOven for their chimichurri recipe. Yummmm! I hope there will be some leftover for leftovers!

Gutters and lemon squares

It was cooler and then not. One pile of dirt has been dispersed, the other sifted of rocks. More news on patio in another post.

I made lemon squares and cut K’s hair. Worked on a bunch of chapters. Yesterday, met “the guys” over at the lake.

Saturday afforded some beautiful late afternoon light.

K cleaned gutters and I laid additional slates in the landing area. One of the beauties of watching a professional crew is learning how to do something. My rubber mallet, small yellow level, and trowel have been busy!

For instance, I’m interrupting the median plantings so that when the nearby elementary school resumes in-person learning, it’ll be clear where to step. A good use of the multitude of rocks uncovered in our patio project. My mother used to joke that rocks are New England’s best crop.

Recording the above because dinner prep is in the works. I’m roasting tomatoes, soaking beans, chopping olives and cooking rice for a rice, corn, and bean salad. Tons of garlic and shallots will add flavor.

Fortuitously, even before the obscenity that is Ivanka hawking Goya beans on her twitter feed, I ordered heirloom beans from California. Very exciting for this mid-level foodie!

Two friends are coming over to watch Hamilton this evening. I’m excited way out of proportion to the event. I’ve seen both friends recently and have already watched Hamilton once, but it feels special.

For one thing, I haven’t had a reason to tidy the living room in a LONG time. Plus, I love an excuse to rearrange the furniture (we’ll sit six feet apart and wear masks – except when eating).

And when have I cooked for friends last?