Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned beef isn't really a traditional Irish meal, it's more of an Irish-American one. I don't care about authenticity, I just care about having three days' worth of leftover Reuben fixings in the fridge. This is a great meal for feeding a whole bunch of people without spending a bunch of time in the kitchen. You can cure your own corned beef with a week of lead time, but you can also find a nice fresh brisket at your local butcher. That's what I did here. (See the next post for what to do … [Read more...]

Pan-fried Chicken in Butter

I've been described as something of a "skin freak" when it comes to chicken and turkey. So it always catches me by surprise when someone says that they prefer skinless chicken breasts. Not as a dietary issue -- which is misguided anyway -- but they actually don't like the skin. Baffling. That doesn't mean I can't still do a fabulous skinless chicken breast. Oh, sure, it's cooked in butter. But as long as it's skinless, people seem to be happy. I can work with that. … [Read more...]

How to Make Pizza Soup

My junior high school cafeteria was probably no better or worse than the average cafeteria. But there were two things they made that were exceptional: pizza, and pizza soup. The pizza was thick and cheesy, and I never heard anyone say a bad word about it. The pizza soup, on the other hand, was great mostly for the idea of it. I've never seen it on the menu anywhere else, and had to create my own recipe for it. The version below is probably far better than what they served, but I still get … [Read more...]

Home-made Croûtons

When I was growing up, the croûtons you got in a box or bag at the grocery store were tiny little cubes, about the size of dice. Only restaurants had those big "fancy" croûtons. Seeing a marketing opportunity, the manufacturers switched to a large size, which is all you can find in the grocery store now. The problem is that store-bought croûtons have always been pretty crunchy. This wasn't a problem when they were small, but the big ones are getting so they aren't even good on salad any more. … [Read more...]

White lasagna — an experiment

This week was going to be ravioli, but I had a lot of mozzarella left after last week's chili-cheese fries. I mentioned to my wife that I'd have to figure out something to put it in, and she suggested I do a lasagna. Now I had already done that once before. But I wasn't thrilled with how the top came out, because I neglected to cover it for the first half-hour. So this would be my chance to fix that. But as we were talking about it, my wife mentioned a white lasagna that she used to make … [Read more...]