December 2017
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In The Kitchen

Chipotle-Kissed Red Bean and Sweet Potato Chili from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker
Confession: I have no idea if this recipe, as printed, is any good because I’ve never actually used chipotle chiles as directed. However, I have made this multiple times using 4 minced jalapeno peppers instead and it is yummy. I like to fire it up before going off to work. Related: I love our slow cooker.

UPDATE: I still make this one a lot, but now I mostly do it on the stove top. Takes about an hour to cook over low medium heat.

Open-Faced Sloppy Joes from The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook
Herself calls these ‘smelly joes.’ I call them delicious. Your mileage may vary, depending on how you feel about ground beef cooked with tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, peppers and a few other things. Mixed with even more tomato sauce, the left-overs do (excellent) double duty as sauce for pasta.

Magic Peppers from The Improvisational Cook
‘Magic’ might be a slight exaggeration from peppers tossed in oil and then roasted. The Intended and I both enjoyed then though.

Montbeliard Sausage Gratin And Vegetable Tian With Thyme from Pork & Sons
Not having any Montbeliard sausage, I used choritzo instead. Still good – and also a huge amount of food. Huuuge. I ate from this for 4 or 5 days and still had about a fifth left. Did I mention I heart this cookbook? Recipes aside, it’s just a beautiful piece of work.

Vichysoisse from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook
I made this quite a while ago, when Herself and I had Heather and CS over. I note it here because I’d like to give it another go-around. The first effort wasn’t bad, but I think I can do a little better.

Pinto Bean, Tomato and Butternut Squash Soup from epicurious
This soup was a) pretty easy to make and b)just the thing for a chill autumn night. There’s plenty left, so we’ll get a chance to see how it tastes reheated. Also: the recipes call for 4 garlic cloves, but I used 7. Just because (I like garlic).

Penne with Pumpkin Sauce from Culinary Cafe
Long story short: we liked. Very fast to make, especially between two people. Another good Fall recipe.

Cream of Celery Soup from The Fanny Farmer Cookbook
My aunt has been making this for Thanksgiving for years; it’s kind of morphed into a tradition. So I made it this year as my contribution to Thanksgiving in the soon-to-be-in-law’s house. Easiest recipe for soup I’ve tried, and still tasty for all that.

Italian Rabbit Stew from The Bacon Cookbook
Cooking this felt like completing a quest. It took some time to find a rabbit; I eventually got one at Savenors, although I’m now told they’re readily available at Super88. The recipe itself was rather labor intensive, with lots of shifting things in and out of the stockpot. But the rabbit went very very nicely with the pancetta and Mom liked it, so we’ll call this one a success.

Roasted Chestnut Soup from The Minimalist
My chestnut roasting and peeling skills are not what they should be, so this soup was perhaps not what it should have been. I’ll try it again, next time with peeled chestnuts.

Garlic soup with tomato from Soup: A Way of Life
The half cup of olive oil called for by this recipe turned to be a little much and the soup was a little too, well, oily. If I try this one again I think a quarter cup might do the trick.

Garlic broth from Soup: A Way of Life
Yum. I used this for the next recipe.

Garlic soup with poached eggs from Soup: A Way of Life
I had trouble getting the bread to stay in the place and instead of lining the skillet the slices kind of floated about. But the soup was still delicious. The heads of garlic in the broth were soft and tender; mixed with the bread and eggs it was a warming combination.

Sweet Potato Soup from Closet Cooking
I made a few changes to this recipe. I didn’t use chicken broth, instead I made a variation (left out the carrots) of the basic stock recipe in How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. I also left the cinnamon out the soup. Still came out pretty good, and used up the last of the sweet potatoes I had hanging about.

Apple-Squash Soup from
It took longer than 20 minutes for the vegetables to soften (more like 35 minutes) but it was worth the delay.

Michael’s Best Button Mushrooms from
Herself doesn’t particularly care for mushrooms so I ate all these myself. With 6 tbsps of olive oil and 3 tbsps of butter, this recipe is a calorie grenade. A tasty tasty grenade.

Cassoulet With Lots Of Vegetables from Bitten
I couldn’t be bothered to figure out how many cups to can, so I simply used two cans of white beans and two of chopped tomatoes. I also threw in 1.5 lbs of duck breast, about half a pound more than the recipe called for. No matter, I really like the way this cassoulet turned out. I still plan on trying some other cassoulet recipes though.

Chickpea Ragout from Fast Food My Way
This is the first cookbook I bought. I’ve found it to be very reliable, and at least one of the recipes has become a stand-by. So I don’t know why the chickpea ragout leaves me feeling so ‘meh.’ I’ve tried to punch it up (adding more chickpeas for instance – can you have too many chickpeas?) but nothing so far has provided the zing necessary to elevate this one from ok to good or great status.

Asparagus With Croutons And Chorizo from Fast Food My Way
This was the second so-so recipe from this particular cookbook. Although in Mr. Pepin’s defense I should note that I omitted the nuts (almonds if I remember correctly – I’m too comfortable to go and actually pull the book down and check) which may have been the ingredient to supply the missing oomph.

Pan Fried Duck Steak With Caramelized Shallots from The Improvisational Cook
As far as I’m concerned, this recipe is reason enough to own a cast-iron skillet. The two make a perfect match. The second time I tried this I threw in some mushrooms I had left over in with the shallots. I thought they cooked well enough in the duck fat, but then, like certain hobbits, I am favorably disposed towards mushrooms.

Savory Garbanzo Beans from Betty Crocker’s Slow Cooker Cookbook
I love me some garbanzo beans but man is this recipe dull. In order to get a stronger flavor I added more garlic (never a bad thing) and, at Herself’s suggestion, some cardamom cumin. If I ever returned to this recipe, I’d lean heavily on the spices.

Half Day Ratatouille from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker
What this ratatouille lacks, oddly enough, is vegetables. The recipe calls for a ‘small’ eggplant and ‘small’ zucchini, which just wasn’t sufficient. If I try this one again, I’ll ignore the ‘small’ directive.

Farfalle with asparagus, lemon, and ricotta from The Boston Globe
A little hotter, that is to say spicier, than I prefer my pasta. Or maybe I’m just not used to thinking of pasta as something that goes with red pepper. Not that I didn’t eat plenty of it, mind you, just not my usual. Herself liked it better.

Gratin Dauphinois from Chocolate & Zucchini
This dish is pretty easy to put together, especially if you have a mandoline to help with all the slicing. I think that if I try this one again, I’ll use a larger dish for baking the ‘taters, which hopefully well make them browner and crisper. That’s the plan anyway.

Sweet potato hash with poached eggs from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Vegetarian
I made this quite a while ago, and am only now getting around to adding it here. Mainly so I have a reminder that both Herself and I found this recipe kind of ‘blah’ – which is odd since we both like eggs and sweet potato.

Chilled Avocado Soup from The Minimalist
Big Win here. With the caveat that you must like avocados, because that is the dominant flavor in this soup. Now, that suits Herself and I just fine, but your mileage may vary. Anyhoo, it’s ridiculously easy to make, especially if you have an immersion blender.

Mom’s Summer Squash Recipe from Simply Recipes
This recipe is basically squash and zucchini draped in cheese and it is basically yummy. We made it with some fresh produce from the Quincy Farmer’s Market and it was delicious.

Pommes Sautees Au Lard from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook
On the one hand this recipe is so simple it’s more an idea or notion than a proper recipe. Cook bacon. Leave fat. Cook taters. On the other hand, I still managed to not follow the directions, by failing to chop up the bacon. Still came out pretty tasty, just not as much of a hash as I suspect it should be.

Courgettes Sautees, Maitre D’Hotel from Mastering The Art Of French Cooking
Excellent, simple fare. But then it’s hard to go wrong when you walk with the Queen.

Roasted Tomato Soup from 101 Cookbooks
Herself tells ,me we tried this previously, but I don’t recall for sure. Anyway, it was pretty simple to make and tasty to boot. The main thing I wanted to note here is that the tomatoes took longer than the 45 minutes indicated in the recipe to roast. Which is not criticism – it could easily have been the stove or the ‘maters.

Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Puree from The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Soup
Another soup that required roasting, but was worth the effort. The book says combine everything in a blender and puree until ‘very smooth.’ I couldn’t be arsed to do all that pouring and used the immersion blender instead. So the soup was a little chunkier than the recipe indicated – didn’t bother us.

Madame Monet’s Fast-and-Easy Homemade Crouton Recipe from Writing, Painting, Music and Wine
This was very handy way to utilize some stale bread. I had some trouble getting the seasoning to stick properly, but there’s always next time.

Onglet Aux Echalottes from Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World: Paris
Confession: I couldn’t get hold of hangar steak and used flank steak instead. I thought it turned out not too bad anyway, though I wouldn’t mind another stab at the sauce.