Monday, April 12, 2010

What We're Eating

ROBERTA: Ever since I read the article in last Wednesday's New York Times about folks who photograph everything they eat and post pictures on the web, my mouth has been watering. I thought it would be fun to see and hear what the Jungle Red gang has been eating--hope you think so too.

I had the happy problem of half a leftover roast chicken. And then I thought about chicken divan--we can always stand to eat more broccoli. The main recipe on Epicurious called for whipped cream and lots of butter--I cut that out and made a white sauce using chicken broth and the leeks still in the garden from last fall. Add rice, steamed broccoli, Swiss cheese and here's the result. And the biscuits are from Jane Brody's Good Food Cookbook--not hard to make, full of healthy stuff like cottage cheese and oats, and completely addictive!

HALLIE: I often buy plantains in the supermarket. They're SO cheap (4/$1) and SO good - but I like them cooked ripe ("maduros") and that means holding onto them for a week or as long as it takes for the skin to turn black (yes completely). Then peel, slice, sautee in olive oil and butter until they turn golden brown. They taste sweet and delicious, like a banana only better.

We had these as a side dish with tilapia filets. Yum

JAN: My new tennis/health club makes me drive in a different direction, right past the fresh fish market. How could I just drive by? So tonight it's steamers with lemon and a little butter. I usually don't like cod, but I found some fileted thin like sole so I'm making Filet of Sole Rene, which is with a mixture of breadcrumbs, chives from my garden, butter, olive oil, parmesan cheese, topped with Cocktail sauce made with fresh lemon and horse radish. Roast red potatoes and steamed broccoli and a very nice Pinot Grigio.

LAST MINUTE REVISION: I didn't have breadcrumbs, so substituted a mix of crushed oysterettes, saltines and pecans. Since the crackers were salty, I didn't add the parmesan cheese. Actually, I liked this version better -- the pecans were key.

Dark chocolate for dessert.

HANK: Ah, we'e moving fast these days...Jonathan has a trial and I'm working on some big we're relying on my default dinner--pasta primavera. Or a version thereof---I forget where I learned this, but its so easy and so versatile and so delicious!
First you see what kind of vegetables you have..broccoli is perfect, or asparagus, peas, spinach.. Anyway--put the pasta water on to boil and as it's getting hotter, make the vegetables.
Wash and chop the broccoli or asparagus or spinach.
When the pasta water comes to boil, add the pasta (we use whole wheat pasta), and cook until it's almost done.
About a minute before it's done, add the vegetables to the boiling water.
Meanwhile, heat about a quarter cup olive oil, some garlic and some red pepper flakes in the microwave.
The vegetables will be cooked in that minute..then dump the pasta and vegetables into a colander, drain,and then put them back into the pan.
Dump on the hot garlic oil, stir, add parmesan, salt and pepper and there you are!

ROBERTA: It all sounds--and looks-delicious! And Hank, you guys are always moving fast! But Rosemary and Rhys must be moving even faster--too fast to eat...Which reminds me that Ro's book hits the shelves tomorrow! Come back to hear Paula (her protagonist) talk about gardening, DEAD HEAD, and Rosemary herself. Can't wait for that...

And then Wednesday, stop in to chat with literary agent Christine Witthohn on the state of publishing today.

And meanwhile, tell us about what you're eating!


  1. Oops I mixed things up. Christine will be visiting us tomorrow and Paula on Wednesday.

  2. My husband and I alternate cooking, but we have very different approaches--he's by the book, with a set list of favorite recipes; I make things up on the fly. I also refuse to make a special trip to the store for that one missing ingredient, so we eat whatever we have. Of course, we have a well-packed refrigerator and larder (and some really weird condiments). Last night was poached chicken with a sauce of sauteed leeks and miatake (?) and bluefoot mushrooms, with cream and a hint of blue cheese, on rice. Yes, we had all those things on hand.

  3. OH, Roberta! Beautiful! I'm SO hungry now..

    And Rosemary texted me from her cell she's out somewhere with no internet access...and will fill us in on her current culinary adventures asap!

  4. I know those two approaches, Sheila - I've become a much more seat-of-the pants chef than I used to be. Often it's: Open the refrigerator, what can I do with what's there?

    When it turns out well, my husband will say, "This is great! You should make this again." Forget that - most of the time I have no idea what I did.

  5. Last evening, blessed by the addition at the table of my older son, we grilled sockeye salmon with an Asian marinade (soy sauce, ginger, hot sesame oil, lemon juice, white wine) and I made a version of Hank's pasta, with broccoli and red peppers, plus garlic and some frozen pesto from last year. Salad. Then cut-up strawberries on those little low-fat shortcakes they sell in 6 packs. Not as good as Hallie's cake Friday night, but quick and tasty.

    I want that biscuit recipe!

  6. We're living in a kitchenless rental, so I'm not cooking much. But tonight I'll go over to my daughter's house and make some sort of veggie pasta. (Probably a post-Passover craving). Can't do that here on a hot plate with tiny pots & pans. I figure a bunch of veggies (whatever the market has) olive oil, garlic & Parmesan cheese ought to work fine.

  7. Well...still at the Hilton with no internet..EXCEPT for the bellman's station which I have commandeered. Last night I ate at Isabella's in Dedham...a very nice place that Jan took me to a few Crimebakes back. Was not able to upload the pic of my salmon in time.

    You are in Dedham? You can come here and use the Internet!!

    Sheila, I'm with you. It's no fun cooking if you have to follow directions. Much more fun to come up with something from the contents of the fridge.

    Edith, the salmon sounds delicious!

  9. yes, Edith, the marinade sounds fantastic--though I'm not a big fan of salmon, I bet it was delicious.

  10. So sorry I didn't get to the photo in time. I had problems with my camera and I don't have one of those cell phones that take good pictures.
    But what I was eating yesterday was a chicken casserole that had too many calories but was delicious:
    chicken breasts,sliced mushrooms, green onions, cream of chicken soup made with milk poured over it, topped with grated cheese, stuffing mix (not the seasoned kind) and more cheese. It was a last minute throw together because we were about to go out for a walk during the lull in the rain. But it certainly was yummy

  11. RO, I can't believe you were in DEDHAM when I was in NEW YORK.


    And there's a terrific cookbook called The Blue Strawberry Cookbook--it has no recipes, just tells you why things work and how things go together. It's fabulous.

  12. Dang. Y'all put me to shame and I was raised by a amateur Cordon Bleu chef and a mother grounded in southern "field hand" cookin'!

    I tend to experiment a lot. The latest success came from stir frying chicken bites, onions, snow peas, julianne carrots, whole green beans, and mushrooms, then adding "Thai" soup bowls. These are the bowls in the oriental markets with ramen type noodles and flavoring. Just add water, cover the bowl with the lid and let steep. I had the flavorings to the stir fry then add in the noodles, drained. It's pretty good, even if Lawyer Guy adds more hot sauce to his.

    Y'all have made me hungry now. *wanders off in search of cookbook*

  13. Roberta, I want that biscuit recipe.

  14. I just finished moving and was having sort of strange refrigerator campout meals for the entire time the dishes were in boxes. Lots of variations on cottage cheese and fruit, or cottage cheese and marinated Italian vegetable salads, or cottage cheese and, in one desperate hour, French fried onion ring bits, like would go on a casserole. And fresh rosemary. That was actually kind of tasty.

    I'm on the road now, so I'm eating a shocking amount of hotel and airport food. I do tend to take pictures of food and post them on Facebook, but at this point it's been pretty one-dimensional and not very exciting, though none of it features cottage cheese, so that is, in itself, refreshing.