maple cheddar omelet, salad with apple and sheep milk cheese

Maple cheddar, and the maple flavor is very strong. I have a bottle of maple syrup on the counter next to the spot where I turned out the omelet onto the plate and when I sat down and took my first bite I thought I must have spilled it over the omelet. Oh, wait. It's in the cheese. Strangest cheese I've ever tasted. And it's strong. 

Real maple is a crazy good flavor. I'm going to use it in more things. 

warm salad

Zucchini and yellow squash. That's what started this. My intention was to sear it in butter. And that's it. That was the visualization.

Then I noticed the asparagus standing up in its cup of water and covered with an upturned plastic bag, waiting to be used. And then I noticed the leftover roasted chicken. And the sandwich ham slices. 

Then I notice the herbs, tarragon and cilantro and I chose tarragon. 

And the pecans are sitting right there. And the blueberries are not getting any younger. And the avocados are becoming scary old in the refrigerator. And that means this is going to need a lime. 

Plus the whole thing can use something red. 

And I'll never have another salad this excellent again. This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal. Protein, slow carbohydrates, fat, citric acid, the pervading flavor of tarragon, all at once. The result of scrounging. 

Every single forkful delivers a different combination of flavors and textures. It is an intriguing salad to eat. 

kilebasa, napa cabbage, yellow potatoes

A few decades ago I didn't know what I was doing. I cooked these kielbasa for an inordinately long time. The casings dissolved to stickiness and the meat inside forfeited its texture to become soft as marshmallow. Right then two gents showed up at my doorstep and I invited them in for a fast dinner. One man sat with his plate in front of him and said, "I never knew that sausages can be this good." 

Since then I learned to stage the vegetables according to their expected cooking times. And I learned that other types of cabbages work too. 

These have frozen pearl onions and waxy yellow potatoes.

The seasoning in the kielbasas flavors the vegetables. Nothing else but salt and pepper were added. No garlic, no mustard, no chile, no bay leaf, all that is superfluous. The liquid becomes flavorful sauce.

rib eye steak, baked potato

I didn't rinse the potato and there was itty-bitty grit on the skin. Ewwww. I hate that grit. 

beans with bacon and mint

This was lunch and dinner, in different forms. The second one was with a fried egg. Tomorrow it might be with avocado.

The flavor is outstanding. The bacon is excellent and all of the bacon fat is used. Plus some unsalted butter for buttered beans. It has honey and mustard and wine vinegar to finish so there's standard dressing and sweet and sour right there. 

The beans were soaked overnight and cooked with pressure for one hour and that turned out to be too long. The beans are softer than I aimed for. 

smashed yellow potato and fried eggs

Tarragon and strong cheddar cheese on the potatoes. The potatoes were boiled then smashed into pan with hot butter, using the bottom of a cup. 

chicken soup with whole wheat dumplings

Something similar was my favorite thing that Mum made.

She'd use a whole chicken that made its own broth. The usual mirepoix but of course she didn't call it that. Plus potatoes. And her dumplings were actually egg noodles rolled thickly and cut into squares. They absorbed broth as they cooked. And my favorite part of my all-time favorite thing was when noodles suck together and stayed a bit doughy inside. 

I put an egg in my whole wheat dumplings because I'm putting eggs in everything where they don't belong. I almost stirred a beaten egg into the broth.

The broth is outstanding. It works by itself. It doesn't need anything else. Except possibly a little dilution with water. It's strong. Very strong.

roasted chicken sandwich on homemade sourdough bread with cheddar cheese sauce

I'm out of white flour so whole wheat flour milled here at home was used for b├ęchamel. The cheddar cheese is imported through Trader Joe's. It's about one fourth the cost of the cheddar I buy with its fascinating qualities, from Tony's a few blocks away, and I'd say about  half of its awesomeness, but still very good when compared with average American impressively industrialized and mass marketed efforts.

roasted chicken and chicken stock

Brined roasting chicken from Trader Joe's. Cost: $15.00. And that's a bit on the high side. It's organic. I suppose. I do not think it is free range. I think Whole Foods has them for less. I'm not sure.

Baked in a glass bowl with a glass lid (that fits another bowl). I used one of those steaming platforms that spreads out like an umbrella to fit various pots. The central post of mine is broken off. I think that I did that on purpose after I bought it. 

This cooked on low for too long then on higher temperature to brown for too long. I thought that I put the chicken in the bowl upside down so internal liquid would settle in the breast, or at least pass through it, but I had it right side up by mistake.

The breast meat is very dry and unpleasant.

I ate all the crisp skin because it will never be this good as it is right now.

The breast meat is soaking in the liquid that drained while roasting. Hopefully that will make it more moist. Usually all this liquid would go into the stock pot. But not this time. Because the breast is so dry.

These bags are all the bones from previous chicken consumed since the last time. Mostly femurs from thighs. There are bones from two whole ducks, and some bones with meat that was not roasted. 

The bones are all stuffed into this pressure pot that has three quarts of water. It's top to bottom of bones broken open with pliers. This will be an incredibly dense chicken and duck stock. There are no vegetables. Just bones and their marrow. 

Edit: Three quarts of water went into this pot, filling it to 3/4 mark. Then all the collected bones. Closed and pressure cooked. This whole pot strained out to exactly three quarts of exceedingly dark stock. Three times darker than the best tasting stock from organic and free-range chickens purchased from Tony's. Their stocks really are superior to everything else that I purchased. And this stock is 3X better. In color, in aspic, in fat content, and in taste.

There were a few tablespoons beyond the three quarts. I lifted the whole pot to my lips and drank it. Expecting weak and incomplete flavor. The stock is amazingly flavorful. No salt, no additional seasonings. Nothing but bones and scraps. It's awesome. I cannot say that it's liquid gold. It's brown. It's the best stock that I've made so far. And I have three full quarts of it. Plus half a quart of much weaker Tony's. And Tony's is twice as strong as you buy in cartons. And I'm not complaining about commercial stock. I buy it, and it's quite good. But this is a whole different magnitude of order and the comparisons are just unfair. 

At Thanksgiving, if you have a turkey and you don't use the turkey carcass for stock, then you're doing this whole cooking thing incompletely.

escalloped potatoes with vegetables, thin cheese sauce

Not shown:

* butter
* milk
* mustard powder
* nutmeg
* bay leaves
* chile flakes
* salt/pepper
* mint

Usually starch will slough from the potatoes enough to thicken a sauce but these potatoes are too waxy to do that. Still, a few potatoes can be smashed to do the same thing. Or, flour can be added to the butter at the beginning for roux, but I did not do that either. A cornstarch slurry will work also. So the milk curdles as it boils and creates these proto-cheese curds that float all around. they can be blended into a thicker sauce but I did not bother with that. If you are entertaining then you'll want a smooth thicker sauce for its eye-appeal. 

Imagine the things you can put in this. Just go through your crisper, your freezer and your pantry. 

* wine or beer
* onion
* spinach
* herbs
* tomato
* avocado
* butternut or acorn squash
* pecans or almonds or walnuts, what have you
* different types of cheese
* toasted breadcrumbs or croutons
* cream or sour cream
* dates or figs
* bacon, ham, or chicken
* whitefish, mussels or clams, shrimp, salmon, crab
* ground cornmeal
* pasta
* sourdough bread
* green beans
* Brussels sprouts
* corn flakes or oatmeal

tomato and sliced turkey sandwich on whole wheet sourdough bread

With chunks of powerful cheddar cheese on the side.  I could eat this everyday and never get tired of having it. 

Maybe not. 

Look, I'm trying to make a point over here, alright? I ate it, I'm full, and I'm already sorry it's gone. I must go talk to a psychiatrist. I'm afflicted with oral fixation. 


This is a package of prepared gyoza dumplings from Trader Joe's.

I bought similar dumplings from an Asian market and they were not good at all so I nearly passed on these because of that but these are actually quite good.

The sauce that I made is 

* toasted sesame seed oil
* fish sauce
* soy sauce
* sake
* tiny amount of sugar (in place of mirin)

Salad dressing is

* rice vinegar
* olive oil
* mustard powder
* tiny amount of sugar

whole wheat sourdough bread

Approximately 1/3 of the mass is levain (sourdough starter) from previous batches. It's the only leaven used.

Approximately 1/3 of the new flour is whole wheat that was milled here at home from wheat berries bought from Whole Foods.

Approximately 1/3 of the new dough is reserved for future levain. 

That means the new sourdough starter has salt in it and whole wheat in it and that goes against the rules of sourdough starter but I just don't care.

And it means 2/3 of the new dough is shaped into a new loaf. The levain goes back into the refrigerator.

It's a very nice loaf. And it is delicious. And you will not find anything like this commercially. 

And that makes me feel a bit guilty to hog this excellent bread for myself. But what am I to do? People like their commercial mass marketed foam Wonder bread for sandwiches and they wouldn't appreciate the excellence of this bread anyway. They've come to identify with their captors. They suffer Bread Stockholm Syndrome and there is nothing I can do about that.

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