Cooking Without the Cow

I have a dairy allergy. I digest it well enough but it gives me a headache, which is not fun. I do use a little butter, especially in baking, because margarine scares me. Cheese is such a prevalent ingredient in even vegetarian offerings that I have had to experiment with different dishes to come up with some staples that will work for my family. I hope you enjoy them, too!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I did it! I poached an egg!

The Boy was never much for cooking but occasionally he'd make fairly consistent sunny-side-up eggs or, as we liked to call them, goopy eggs.  Mine are fairly consistently overdone, i.e., not goopy.  Just kind of solid in that vaguely gelatinous, this-is-not-the-egg-you-are-looking-for sort of way.  I don't like goopy food very often but sometimes only a warm, rich, buttery, runny egg will do.

So, inspired by watching the last half-hour of "Julie and Julia" (I've seen the whole thing before.  Great movie.), I decided to try poaching an egg for the first time, even though it conjures up images of cruelly and illegally killing wild animals.  That and the scene from the movie where the egg simply dissolves before Julie's eyes.

I got the water gently boiling, carefully dropped in my egg and set the timer for 3 minutes.  I didn't take a picture of the finished product because it wasn't pretty, but it was, indeed, perfectly goopy.  Yea!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Thai fish curry!

It's Mother's Day and my kids are working and/or doing their own thing far from me.  I did nothing last year but sit around waiting for a phone call that never came.  I did get an e-mail around 11pm saying, "Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  I meant to call earlier but obviously that didn't happen.  Hope you didn't sit around being all mopey."  Me?  LOL

This year I decided that, absent someone to take me out to dinner, I would treat myself to something I would have eaten out at a fraction of the price - not to mention getting multiple meals out of a single recipe since I no longer have to deal with people who eat all day and night.  I bought some lovely frozen basa fish filets and some genuine Thai red curry paste along with some Asian eggplant and used the recipe on the back of the curry paste container.  It was a bit too salty for me but the high spice level and the rest of the sweet, sour and bitter flavors mellowed by the fish and veggies were great.  I made a mix of brown rice with some gorgeous black rice and used my good china for the first time in years and, by the time that call came, I already felt special.  :)  Plus, I have a delicious lunch and/or dinner already made for the next three days!


    Coconut milk, 13.5 oz

    Maesri Red Curry Paste, 4 tbsp (less if you don't like very spicy food)
    Fish sauce, 1.5 tbsp
    5 baby eggplants, roughly chopped
    Basa (fish) 5 fillets
Stir the curry paste into the coconut milk until mixed, about 4 minutes. Add the baby eggplant (and any other veggies you may like) and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until nearly soft. Add the fish filets and simmer, covered, until just cooked and flaky.

Makes 5 generous 1 cup servings

Sunday, January 31, 2010


I entitled this post in Spanish because it doesn't sound as creepy as it does in English. Tongue. I clearly remember having what I now know was pickled tongue as a teenager and naively thinking that "tongue" was a strange name for a cut of meat. By the time I learned that it was an actual cow's tongue, I already liked it. Kind of like this post. Here I am, talking about a cow's tongue on a blog that is about cooking with no assistance from a cow. But, I figure, no one's likely reading it but me, so I'll just post about what I've been cooking. Which, in this case, is tongue.

Cooking a tongue for tacos or sandwiches is ridiculously easy. It has a mild, beefy flavor and a crazy-tender texture when cooked properly. It's a little off-putting at first because, unlike most cuts of meat, it looks exactly like what it is. You just have to divorce yourself from it by thinking about how tasty the end product is, wash it, put it in the pot and forget about it for a while. It can be cooked on the stove for a few hours or in a pressure cooker for 40 minutes plus cooling time. Either way, you peel and quarter two onions, add a tablespoon of peppercorns, a handful of dried bay leaves and a tablespoon of garlic salt to the tongue in a pressure cooker or large pot with a lid, along with enough water to cover. Cover with the lid, bring the pot to a boil over medium high heat, lower to simmer, set the timer and walk away.

I use the pressure cooker to save time as well as fuel. After 40 minutes and time to let the pressure release naturally (or, after 3 hours on the stove in a conventional pot), wait until the meat is just cool enough to handle. (Sorry to say, there will be handling of the meat.) At this point, the skin of the tongue (yes, I know...) will come off very easily with a little help from a paring knife. Toss the skin into your organic trash and put the tongue back in the cooking water. When completely cool, the tongue can be sliced against the grain on the diagonal for sandwiches or diced for use in tacos. So good. Refrigerate leftovers in the cooking liquid. The fat will solidify on top and, when removed the next day, leaves a low fat, mildly-beefy broth for soup after the tongue is used up.

Now, on to the next, and more complicated ethnic preparation, the one that endeared tongue to me in the first place: pickled tongue. This basic recipe can be found on, among other places.

1 4-pound beef tongue
1/4 cup large-grained kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon paprika
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon saltpeter (optional)*

1. Wash and remove most of the fat from the tongue. Mix together all of the spices and the garlic and rub well into the tongue or brisket.

2. Dissolve the saltpeter in the warm water, if using, and pour over the meat. Place in a large, nonmetal container. Weight the meat down with a stone or brick and cover it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. (You can also place the ingredients in a plastic bag and weight it down.) Refrigerate for 10 days to 2 weeks. Turn the meat every 2 to 3 days.

3. Place the meat in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil and throw away the water. Repeat this step 3 times.

4. Cover with cold water again, bring to a boil, and cook over low heat, covered, for about 2 hours or until tender. Peel off the skin while still warm. Cool, slice thin, and place on a platter. Serve with mustard or horseradish.

*Saltpeter (a.k.a. potassium nitrate) helps preserve the color and flavor of cured meat, and also inhibits the growth of Clostridium Botulinum, the bacteria that causes botulism. It is available in pharmacies and is part of the traditional recipe. I opt not to use it.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Pasta aglio e olio

I'm many nationalities, none of which is Italian. We were not a family with a rich cooking history and I've adopted many ethnic meals as my own. If I could choose a country, I think it would have been Italy. I throw together inauthentic versions of Indian dal, Lebanese hummus, Japanese soup, African stew, Thai red curry, Mexican rice and good ol' American collard greens, but one of my clear favorites is Italian pasta with garlic and oil. Long a fan of garlic and chili pepper and hater of anchovies, this simple dish first encountered in my treasured Rao's Recipes from the Neighborhood cookbook was a revelation to me. The authentic version is often topped with Parmesan cheese and parsley and usually doesn't include tomatoes. I only include them when the local ones are in season. Of course, broccoli is my compulsion and yes, I use spinach just as often.

Pasta with Garlic and Oil

8oz thin spaghetti, or pasta of choice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
5 anchovy fillets
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 broccoli crown, chopped and steamed
or 1 package frozen, chopped broccoli, defrosted
1 medium fresh tomato, chopped

Prepare your pasta as directed. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the anchovy fillets and sauté until melting into the oil. Add the garlic and crushed pepper and continue sautéeing until the garlic just begins to color. Add the broccoli and tomato and stir until heated through. Add the pasta and serve hot.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Garlic Chicken in White Wine Sauce

I don't remember where I found this recipe. I wish I did. Apparently based on a Bon Appetit recipe from 2004, it's low in fat if you trim the chicken well, low in sodium and so incredibly moist and rich that it's hard to believe it's so simple. Well, simple outside of peeling 30 cloves of garlic. Which is simple if you smack them with the side of your knife, but my hand hurts something fierce afterwards. The garlic mellows to an almost roasted texture between the initial sauté and the braising, and 30 cloves may not be enough. Yes, I said 30. I know it looks like a typo or some type of culinary torture but I assure you, it's neither. I serve the chicken with mashed red potatoes and sautéed spinach or steamed asparagus. Sometimes I bone and shred the chicken after it's cooked and make an almost stew-like presentation. Either way, it is a delicious meal.

1 chicken, quartered
1-2 heads (yes, heads!) garlic
1T olive oil
1t ground thyme (or 3 fresh sprigs)
1T pine nuts
2 cups white wine

Brown the chicken well in a large, heavy pan over medium-high heat. Remove to a plate, lower the heat to medium and add the olive oil. Separate, peel and lightly smash (do not chop) the cloves of garlic. Sauté the garlic and pine nuts until lightly brown. Add the ground thyme and stir for a few seconds. Slowly add the wine to the pan and heat to boiling. Add the chicken back in, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 - 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Number of Servings: 4

9/25/08 - Ooh, I'm so excited! Elise of Simply Recipes fame took my dinner recommendation way seriously yesterday and gave me the credit on her blog today. How fun!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Knowledge is power

Just an anecdote: I went grocery shopping and bought, among other things, some shallots. The cashier was completely mystified and I had to tell her what they were so that she could ring them up. When I came home, The Boy was feeling uncharacteristically helpful and started unpacking the bags for me, listing his discoveries and his opinions of each item as they came out. ("Rice milk - okay. Chips - yea! Carrots - yuck. More spinach - just what we needed (not). Shallots?")

I looked at him and repeated, "Did you just say, 'Shallots'?"
"Yeah. Isn't that what they are?"
"Yes. I'm just impressed that you knew that because the cashier didn't."
"What can I say? I'm a genius. That and maybe I've been watching too many shows on the Food Network."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Jeffrey Morgenthaler's Eggnog

I hit my Stumble! button and came to this website. Not my usual fare, to be sure, but I never knew how to make a real eggnog. This recipe seemed pretty straightforward so I cut-and-pasted it below, along with my substitutions and Mr. Morgenthaler's introduction. Now, if only I could come up with a substitute for the alcohol...

This is the recipe I devised. It can be made in just about any home or bar, since the ingredients are fairly simple. It can be done entirely in the blender, so there are no whisks or egg beaters or rubber spatulas needed. It yields two servings, so you can easily multiply it to serve more. I[t] doesn’t use a ton of heavy cream, so it’s fairly light. In other words, it’s practically perfect.

2 large eggs
3 oz granulated sugar
.25 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
2 oz whiskey or brandy
1 oz spiced rum
8 oz almond milk (originally whole milk)
2 oz more almond milk? (originally cream)

Beat eggs in blender for two minutes on medium speed. Slowly add sugar and blend for one additional minute. With blender still running, add nutmeg, whiskey or brandy, rum, milk and cream. Chill and serve in wine glasses, grating additional nutmeg on top just before serving.