By Contrast, I Love Mushrooms

Since Stuart just hated on the 'shrooms, I feel obligated to post a contrary view. I love 'em. Not all of them of course, but they are highly fungi-ble (hah!) in cooking. I won't call myself a mushroom expert but I think they're a versatile ingredient.

Raw mushrooms seem fairly pointless most of the time. Maybe as a little sponginess in a salad with a hint of earthiness perhaps. A lot of the more flavorful mushrooms are simply too tough for easy chewing.

Chicken Soup Secrets

A couple of weeks ago, my brother came over and we cooked up a big meal for our parents. Among other things, we made chicken soup. When my mother saw how the soup was cooking, she exclaimed that it was genius. Why? I was using a pasta pot with a built in colander. The vegetables and chicken (bones and all) were in the removable colander. Take it out, and you have broth left in the pot. Chicken meat and vegetables that you might want to add back into the soup are now easy to separate. I also use this method for other soups and stocks.


Back when I was a kid (in the 1970s) my parents used to go gaga over asparagus. I didn't get it then. Many years later I learned. Now it's not hard to get out of season as an import but in my mind it's still a spring vegetable. Whenever it hits $1.99/lb (or so) I pick some up. It doesn't really need much help.

It does have one, ah, unusual side effect, though... #1 smells funny. But that's a small price to pay.

Drunken Spaghetti Feels No Pain

I've been a bit obsessed with the idea of Spaghetti All’Ubriaco, or drunken spaghetti since I read about a couple of weeks ago over on Serious Eats. What is drunken spaghetti?

Seven Uses For Your Electric Wok

Do you have an electric wok languishing in a closet somewhere? Many people do. I actually acquired mine when I moved into an apartment several years ago and found it in a cupboard. I don't know about elsewhere, but electric woks became very popular in the United States as Chinese food became less exotic and people wanted to begin making stir-fried food at home. Ironically, electric woks aren't very good at authentic stir-frying. Among other things, they rarely get anywhere near hot enough, they usually have non-stick coatings (less than ideal), and they are stationary. While they aren't actually all that useful for their intended purpose, you can retrieve yours from the closet because there are plenty of other things you can do with it.

Frozen Stock Cubes


Over the weekend, I realized that my vegetable scrap box was getting full, so I made some stock.

I also noticed that I had some frozen chicken bones, so I tossed those in and ended up with chicken soup for dinner.

Usually, when I make stock or soup I stash leftovers in freezer safe containers. This time, I reserved some and froze it in an ice cube tray.

Save Your Vegetable Scraps for Stock

Image by tina vallèsThere's a certain simple beauty that can be attained by taking things that would otherwise be wasted and turning them into something delicious. I have a middling-sized air-tight plastic container that I keep in the freezer. I toss scraps and ends of vegetables in it. When it starts to get full, I make vegetable stock.


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