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What I Cooked This Week, #1

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

Thanksgiving behind us, I ramped up my cold-weather cooking.

Here are a some of the dinners I cooked this week.

On Monday, I prepared an old favorite, minestrone soup. I cook and freeze classic chicken stock all fall and winter, so I can always pull stock out of my freezer. I chopped and sautéed bacon, added diced onion, cooked the mixture for 15 minutes, then added chopped cabbage, diced potatoes, sliced zucchini and Parmesan rinds to the pot. I covered the vegetables in the chicken stock, added chickpeas that I had soaked and cooked separately, and let the soup simmer for 30-45 minutes. {This soup is quite tasty without bacon, and the Parmesan rinds are also optional.} I added salt and pepper to taste, chopped up fresh basil and added it for the last few minutes, and served warming soup with a simple salad and crusty bread. Dinner at our kitchen island was cozy and tasty.

I got a little more ambitious on Tuesday. I wanted to use up some of the apples in my fridge (I store less-than-perfect apples for cooking). I also wanted to serve a roast pork dish to accompany the large pot of minestrone I had left over. I peeled and cut 10-12 apples (I like to mix the varieties for more flavor), put the apples in a small pot, covered the pot with water, added a few teaspoons of sugar and cinnamon, brought the apples to a boil, then simmered the pot for an hour. I had been preheating the oven to 450, so then I prepared the pork, rubbing olive oil and fennel, salt, pepper and lemon zest, and placed it on a cookie sheet in the oven for 35 minutes. The high heat gave the pork a nice crust, and then I turned the oven down to 325 for 2 more hours. When the meat thermometer read 180, I turned off the oven. Minestrone soup, roast pork and applesauce: what a winter treat!

My Thursday called out for corn, so corn fritters made their way into my kitchen. I bought all the ingredients, or so I thought, but I ultimately had to use some cheese slices I already had at home in a creative way. (My record on organized grocery shopping is mixed). I removed the corn from the husks, placed the corn in a bowl, added a little lime juice, mixed the flour and baking powder in another bowl, and beat the eggs, mixing everything together. Lacking shredded cheese, I took about 8 Monterey Jack slices and scraped the slices against a cheese grater, and voilà! I created all the shredded cheese I needed. I roasted cauliflower and blanched string beans, and enjoyed a little vegetarian feast.

After Zoom cocktails in front of our fireplace with our friends, we sat down to an easy pasta dish on Saturday night. I made this basic but rich tomato sauce, quickly cooked fresh linguine, added fresh ricotta and basil and topped it with grated Parmesan cheese.

Comfort food is king right now. I love to share my cooking with you. Have you tried any of these dishes? I welcome your feedback.

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