Category Archives: Dinner
Recipe: Roasted peppers
If you don’t like the way they make ‘em in the city
Cause they taste all wrong and the dang pepper ain’t pretty
Roast your own, roast your own.
˜ With apologies to Hoyt Axton
Freshly roasted peppers are a staple in my kitchen. You can throw ‘em in a salad, eat ‘em with pasta or grind ‘em up for soup. They’re also delicious on sandwiches or with fresh mozzarella for lunch. Sure you can buy them in jars at the market, but they always seem to have vinegar in them and they never taste good. And anyway why would you buy something nasty that’s so easy to make and tastes infinitely better when you do?
Traveling hindered me from posting a gluttonous recipe last week, but we’re back on schedule this week with a healthier alternative of that old favorite Mac & Cheese. As with any mac & cheese recipe this one couldn’t be simpler: prepare a few items, toss em all in a pot, and stir. However, it’s the subtle nuances of herbs, the slight amount of heat from cayenne, and the combination of Montegrappa cheese* and roasted butternut squash that sets this mac & cheese recipe apart anything out of a box.
Read more and get the recipe.
Note from KS: In addition to providing all manner of sporty updates, the Sports Glutton is a serious cook! This recipe takes mac and cheese to new and previously un-dreamt of heights. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. If you’re pressed for time, you could substitute frozen squash, but really fresh is so much better. Ideal for a company meal or a kitchen supper. Well done, Glutton!
Recipe: Crock Pot Chicken
Over the years I’ve regularly come across recipes for roast chicken that call for bunging the whole bird into a crock pot and just letting it go for four or five hours, and although I find nothing to quibble with in terms of the labor involved (next to none), I have up to now shied away from this approach mostly on principal. To me, the crackly skin and pan drippings of an oven roasted bird are among its main attractions.
Also, most crock pot recipes rely on spice rubs for flavor, and I just can’t seem to go there. I know people love them and the food cognoscenti swear by them, but in my experience they disappoint, usually because they are overly salty, inedibly spicy or both. Three bites into the Moroccan lamb and I’m parched and coughing, leaving me with no alternative but to wash it all down with vast oceans of beer, which – in addition to being an integral part of the backyard grilling experience – is the only cure for the double header of excessive salinization and digestive conflagration. Trust me, no good can come of that.
Just ask the nice folks who invited us over for a barbecue last year and ended up having to help Mr. Slattern wrestle me into the car at three AM sobbing about the ’03 ALCS and ranting about “that-pussy-Alex-Rodriguez-and-his-asshole-buddy-Jeter.” Needless to say, we were not invited back and subsequent letters of apology were returned to sender. I suspect our hosts may have since left the state. I was also informed that a lesser man would have considered that behavior to be grounds. Point taken.
Turkey vegetable chili: One bowl fits all.
Feeding my household is challenging at best. I am the only mammal eater, so there’s no upside to making beef or pork. In fact it’s come to the point where I have to take my steak or burger into another room to spare my loved ones the traumatizing smell of charred, formerly sentient flesh. Salt and cheese are off the menu owing to Mr. Slattern’s health concerns, the apple of my eye dislikes potatoes, I’m trying to avoid pasta and bread, and serving beans more than once a week would be, gastrically speaking, unfortunate on an Old Testament scale. Let’s just leave it at that.
So it’s fish or chicken or turkey or fish most nights, except on omelette night, or in the event of a sit down strike, which in my house is shorthand for I’m sick of cooking, out of ideas and borrowing patience, so unless you’re prepared to have cereal (and in my case, vodka) for dinner — yes, again — we’d best go out.
Though this is technically a “pre-loved” post, it’s among my favorites by virtue (if that’s the term I want) of the half-assed, utterly un-subtle sexual leitmotif. And the pictures of Peg Bundy and Lucy. I neglected to mention it in my recent 7×7 award post, but I think it merits a second look, if only for its utter scabrousness. Also, I’m too busy to come up with anything original at the moment. Bear with me.
Get warm with Easy Fish Stew
You know how it is, some nights you just cannot get it up for making dinner. It happens to everyone eventually. As apathy turns to desperation, you frantically flip through usually reliable triggers of culinary desire – The Naked Chef, Nigella Bites, The 60 Minute Gourmet – all to no avail. Nothing but nothing, not photos of plump pink shrimp glistening with teriyaki or video of Daisy Martinez expertly deboning a chicken or even the excitement of Anthony Bourdain filling in for Tom Colicchio, can get you in the mood to sauté, braise or fry no matter how hot your family is for a decent meal. You don’t want to cook; you want to want to cook, but it is just not happening. What to do, what to do?
Enter the one bowl meal. If handled correctly, it’s easy, pleasurable and satisfying and from start to finish takes only minutes. As an added bonus it seldom causes much mess by virtue of its unfussiness and limited number of ingredients. So even if you have to close your eyes and grit your teeth to get through it, the whole ordeal is mercifully brief. Your family walks away from the table flushed with the glow of a hot meal, and you can feel serene in the knowledge that your duty has been done, even if you did have to fake it, at least to some extent.
I have a few standbys for these situations: pasta with butter, broccoli and parmesan; spinach and feta omelet; leftover chicken and gravy on toast. These are the usual suspects, and really any leftover lends itself to this kind of cooking, but my best one-bowl, would-ya-hurry-up-and-get-it-over-with meal is a kind of slattern’s bouillabaisse (a quickie, if you will)….
Easy Fish Stew
- Mince a smallish onion and a few ribs of celery and sauté them in a big pot with olive oil and a couple tablespoons of chili powder for about five to ten minutes. You can add red or green peppers to this if you want, though, as you know, I do not recommend green peppers for anything. But if you like ‘em, have at it.
- You can also add a small summer squash or zucchini (quartered and sliced) to the onion mixture after it’s been cooking for a couple of minutes if you happen to have one or both on hand. Not, strictly speaking necessary, but a nice touch.
- To your sautéed vegetables, add a large can of chopped tomatoes (I use the Pomi brand in the box because it has less sodium than most, but if that’s not a concern to you, just toss in whatever you’ve got.), half a can (or half a box) of water, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional) and half a cup or so of frozen corn. Stir and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes or so, uncovered.
- Check for taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. Turn off the heat.
Now at this point the base is complete, and you can just leave it on the stove or the counter for several hours before adding the fish. In fact, it actually tastes better after it’s been sitting around a while, as is so often the case with soups.
- When you’re ready to eat, just cut up about a pound of white fish into cubes (cod, scrod, haddock, even tilapia, but not flat fish like sole or flounder – they just fall to pieces) and throw it all in the simmering soup. If you like, you can also add shrimp (fresh or frozen) with the fish or use shrimp only. Whatever you’re in the mood for or can scavenge from the freezer, as the case may be. Fresh fish and shrimp take very little time to cook, so gratification is immediate.
And really that’s it.
By the by, quite often once I get going I find I don’t mind the act of cooking as much as I had thought I would, and sometimes I even kind of relax and enjoy it. At times like these, I’ve been known to make a little starchy side for the fish stew. Sometimes I throw together a batch of corn bread (from the recipe on the back of the corn meal bag – no big deal there) or whack open a baguette, butter it, sprinkle on a little minced garlic and parmesan then bung it under the broiler for a couple of minutes. Occasionally I even leave the lights on.