May 2010

A while back, I had a fabulous breakfast with kitchenplay at the Green Eggs Cafe in Philadelphia. I was hesitant—I don’t generally enjoy oatmeal or other gloopy breakfasts—but on her recommendation, I tried the quinoa porridge. And then I was hooked. It tasted creamy and fresh and interesting, not at all the bland bowl of wholesome I was expecting.

After months of daydreaming about quinoa porridge, I decided it was finally time to see what I could do about it at home. I made a big batch on Sunday night and looked forward to Monday morning’s breakfast. But on Monday, even after stirring in some blueberries and adding a fair amount of salt, the result was disappointingly meh. I was ready to call off the whole experiment and go back to eating eggs.

But on Tuesday, I remembered that I’d had the presence of mind at the Saturday farmer’s market to buy some  strawberries and mascarpone cheese. I stirred in a spoonful of cheese and chopped up some strawberries, and there it was—a delightful bowl of breakfast quinoa. This was the creamy, intriguing  dish I remembered, with the sweetness of the strawberries the perfect foil to the cinnamon and cardamom in the quinoa.

Mmmm, glop.

Someday soon I’ll have to go back to Green Eggs to see if my version really can compete with theirs. But for now, I’m perfectly happy to keep eating a bowl of this every morning.



This post is for my dad, who was shocked to realize that risotto requires neither butter nor cream. I mean, butter and cream obviously make it better, but you can have a perfectly lovely risotto without them. I don’t entirely understand the science—something about the arborio rice releasing the starches that make risotto so beautifully creamy—but I’m willing to take it on faith. All you have to do is saute the rice in some olive oil, add wine, and then ladle in broth. A few stirs every now and then while you prep the other ingredients, and you have a lusciously rich and creamy cream-free meal. With this one, I stirred in some asparagus and morel mushrooms that I’d sauteed, along with seared scallops, and it was sublime.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo, since I was too busy juggling three pans on the stove and an olive oil pound cake in the oven. So instead, you get a gratuitous picture of my cat.

Mmmmm, risotto.


I live alone–and for the most part, I cook alone. I started this blog as a way to make that experience more social—to share the things that I like to make, and to get ideas about what to make from people I like. I’ve only been blogging for a few months, but the project has already been, I think, quite a success. And because the goal is about community, I’d love to have other people contribute their own recipes and stories.

This inaugural guest post—I hope there will be many more—is from my friend Cynthia, a devotee of Homesick Texan who makes some astounding enchiladas. I have a feeling her chicken marbella will blow my mind as well.

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Growing up the child of new immigrants, I had the privilege of embracing aspects of both American and Chinese home cooking: promptly at six, my mother would feed me whole steamed fish and roast duck, but also broccoli with melted Kraft singles and cornbread stuffing.  Although my mother preferred Chinese cooking in general, we often explored and adapted American recipes together.

However, my exposure to “American” home cooking has been spotty, and I’m continually discovering new recipes that my friends’ parents have (apparently) been making for years.  Which brings me to the topic of this post: I was invited over for dinner by a coworker the other week, who served up a delightful Monday night chicken dinner.  The chicken itself was incredibly tender and flavorful, and was served with a rich sauce along with capers, olives, and prunes.

When I asked for the recipe, I was told that it was Chicken Marbella from the (again, apparently) famed Silver Palate cookbook.  After doing a little research and trying the dish out myself, I’m more in love with the recipe than ever.  The cookbook was written by and for busy working women, demystifying gourmet food and unfamiliar ingredients at a time when young women were increasingly more interested in pursuing careers than perfecting domesticity. (My own mother certainly fit this bill.)  And this dish has become a staple in many American kitchens—and dinner parties—for the past two decades.


There’s a recipe I’ve been wanting to write about for a week or so now, a recipe that has completely revolutionized my mornings. For the first time in eons, I eat breakfast—two of these little beauties—and then am not hungry again until noon. I am astonished by the effect this simple recipe is having on my life.

Breakfast beauties.

But I’ve been struggling with what to call these. You see, the source for this recipe calls them “egg muffins,” and I had many reasons to quibble with that name. For one, I’ve already written about “egg muffins,” and it meant something completely different—eggs on an English muffin. Also, arguably a “muffin” means a baked good eaten in the morning that is suspiciously reminiscent of a frosting-less cupcake. Something totally unlike that can’t be deemed a “muffin” just because it’s cooked in a muffin tin, right?

These were my hesitations until a few days ago.

And then there was Betty White.

And now I have to call these something besides “muffins.”


This is another recipe for the fast-cheap-easy-healthy-good file. I wasn’t originally going to write about it—I mean, I was just using up some random half-bags of vegetables—until I started drooling while reheating my leftovers at work the next day. And while I do strive to have exciting leftovers, it’s rare that they’re quite this good.

Lunch is served. At my desk.

The recipe goes like this: saute aromatics. Add assorted contents of freezer. Voila, dinner. I’ll confess that my freezer probably has more random crap in it than most people’s—there are always assorted leftovers and half-bags of vegetables and seven kinds of whole-wheat flour and vodka and who knows what else in there—but this recipe makes a strong case for always having, at the very least, some frozen shrimp. With that and some veggies, the only perishable product this recipe calls for is yogurt, and honestly, you could probably skip it and be just fine. This might be the perfect pantry/freezer meal.