Sunday, February 28, 2021

Kitchen Prep

In my kitchen in February we are still mostly in isolation, so I’ve been doing lots of food preparation and cooking. Some of the recipes are new, some old favorites, some improvised.  I’ve chosen some quotes from recent reading along with photos of my various food prep steps — reading and cooking are my two main isolation activities, along with an occasional walk around the neighborhood. Next month may be different!

This is simple food, mostly. Take a look — 

Cauliflower cheese in progress: steamed cauliflower,
cheese sauce, cheese and crumbs for topping.

In the oven.

From The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook, 1961: “Yes, I cook very conventionally — careful not to invade food with many flavors, even wine.” (Marianne Moore, p. 278)

A big bowl of vegetarian pasta just about ready to serve —
it lasted for three dinners! Note the fried mushrooms & cheese on top.
Slicing mushrooms and other vegetables for a different pasta dish — one without tomato sauce.

“Mushrooms are an indispensable part of hundreds of the world’s greatest dishes, prized for the delicious flavor, color, and bouquet they impart.” — Beard on Food by James Beard, p. 87.

Ingredients for a Mexican-flavored omelet: eggs, corn, scallions, 
red peppers, butter, and torn-up tortillas. Lime for garnish.

Quote from Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson: “The versatility of eggs is a constant source of amazement, and it upsets me sometimes when they are just taken for granted. The number of dishes that can be made from eggs, plus their many supporting acts, is, quite simply, magical.” (p. 110)

Clam chowder made from scratch with potatoes and canned clams.

A quote from The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook, 2014: “Don’t forget potatoes. They got you thorough the forest, through the sea voyage, through the tent on the dock. Now they can be used to make a soup that is surprisingly delicious. Call it what every you like. Call it the Recipe for Life.” (Alice Hoffman, p. 43)

Getting started on a pot of chili: black beans, corn, onion, herbs, peppers, tomatoes, and spices.

Quote from Roast Chicken and Other Stories:  “How many savory recipes are there that do not use onions? Their harmonious flavor pulls together good stews, rich and satisfying soups; roasted around a joint of meat, they lend their essential flavor to a fine gravy.” (p. 173)

Adding smoked salmon to a pizza with Len’s homemade crust.

From The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook, 2014: “Like most impoverished twentysomethings we treated pizza as a food group unto itself.” (by Nicky Beer, p. 70) — Len and I are far from being impoverished twentysomethings, but I think this is still a good definition of pizza.

Pancake batter.

On the griddle.
A quote from The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook, 1961: “You don’t cook pancakes. You make them. ... Don’t serve pancakes in any fancy way like putting ice cream on them or fruit, or brandy, or whipped cream. Just put a generous lump of butter on top of each pancake in the stack and then liberally pour either syrup or molasses over them.” (Evan Hunter, p. 263)

Making Broccoli-Egg salad with a dressing containing olives and peppers.

Prep for tuna salad  to go with broccoli slaw.
I cooked one head of broccoli and used it two different ways. 

Tuna salad ingredients ready for mixing with mayo.
Ingredients: celery, cilantro, water chestnuts.
The Wild Planet brand tuna that I use is pole-and-line
caught to protect dolphins and other by-catch.

"The tuna salads of yore bear a lot of resemblance to those today, made with assorted elements of crunch, piquancy, and moisture: celery, various herbs, pickle relish, grated onion, mustard, and mayonnaise, as well as some ingredients, like beet juice and whipping cream, that have since fallen to the wayside." (from Taste: "A Second Look at the Tuna Sandwich’s All-American History")

About to make sardine butter for lunch sandwiches.

Feeding the sourdough starters, wheat and rye.
The old microwave fried itself. We bought this new one from amazon, to use for 
oatmeal and many other things. When shopping and installations become safer, we will replace 
our over-the-stove hood/microwave/lighting appliance, but this one is fine for now.

According to "A Mere Man" writing the preface to The Perfect Breakfast, an "accessory dish" for breakfast is "Porridge and its allies, Quaker Oats and other farinaceous foods. These may be eaten at the beginning of breakfast, as a foundation, or at the end, to fill up the cracks." (Cited in The English Breakfast, by Kaori O'Connor, p. 68) 

This kitchen blog post to be shared with Sherry and her blog event “In My Kitchen.” All photos were taken in my kitchen, and are copyright, © 2021 mae sander.


Iris Flavia said...

Hmmm, so many good ideas! That darn virus brings out some good!
How do you make the cheese-sauce?

Mae Travels said...

I used approximately this recipe from the BBC (to be authentically british cauliflower cheese:

It definitely tells how to make the sauce. I used a bit more spice.


Angie's Recipes said...

So many delicious food! Now I am just craving some pancakes :-))

Debra Eliotseats said...

Love the quotes you provided as accompaniments to your photos. That Hoffman quote is a favorite. Have you reviewed the 1961 A&W Cookbook here yet. If so, I missed it.

Mae Travels said...

@Debra -- I have not reviewed it yet. It's challenging as it is so diverse with short recipes from each contributor, not as many stories as the later Artists' and Writers' Cookbook.


Anne in the kitchen said...

I joined the food quotes with the pictures. And I agree about pancakes. Butter and real maple syrup are all that is necessary for perfection!

Sherry's Pickings said...

lots of lovely pottery there Mae. i love the mugs next to the chowder. And i think i have the same glass bowl you have - the one holding the pasta. yes i too seem to just cook and eat and read these days. and gain weight! Eek! thanks for joining in. sorry blogger is such a pain. i've had endless problems over the years and have missed many many comments, as many many people have told me. blogger just eats them up, and they disappear without a trace. Grrrrr! have fun this month.

Sherry's Pickings said...

oh yes i just remembered - when i saw your omelette - i have started to add cooked rice to mine. it is so delicious!

Tandy | Lavender and Lime ( said...

Love all the quotes peppered in between your meals. It's that a stove top griddle for the pancakes?

Jeanie said...

There are a few things in here making my heart beat a little faster! I'd never thought of broccoli/egg salad. Yum. I swooned at clam chowder. We had chili last night, too. And probably for days after! It all looks fabulous, Mae!

Jackie McGuinness said...

Love cauliflower cheese! I could live on eggs. I made chowder this week too!

Shaheen said...

i buy the Quaker oats too, but they come in a box. Not a pretty tub like yours. Admiring your variety of kitchen bowls. And honestly, other than omitting the fish, I'd eat happily eat everything you made, my husband will eat the tuna and salmon though!

Divers and Sundry said...

You've made me hungry :) So many tasty dishes. I love the bowl with the butter in it in the sardine photo.

Kim Bultman said...

Mae, I enjoyed your take on food prep in this post -- a new look at an old (or "essential") task. Very cool! I don't know how long all this will last, but at least we're filling our time (and our bellies) with soul-satisfying diversions. Hang in there! xo

Tina said...

I've only tried cauliflower cheese once. Maybe i need to try the recipe you used. Also, I agree with Debra, love the quotes you used. Thanks for the inspiration for clam chowder.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! said...

Good looking food!

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

Such a clever post! Your vegetarian past looks very good.

Laurie C said...

Delicious food and matching quotes! Our kitchen is so cluttered that I have trouble taking "in process" photos. Not to mention the lighting is terrible! Your cooking and food photos look great!

Marg said...

Lots of deliciuos looking meals here! Broccoli and Egg salad sounds good to me!

Liz said...

Thanks for the quotes, "Roast Chicken and Other Stories" is one of my favorites, I have both of his books. Your meals look delicious and I definitely agree that pizza needs a food group all its own.

New Classic r said...

I am new to this party. I really enjoyed your post. Using quotes is a favorite of mine and from reading your post I found some new resources.