Beans, tomato and pasta stew

When you have cooked beans on hand, this is a good use of them.

This is a hybrid of Amatriciana, tomato soup with pasta, and Pasta e Ceci

onion, 1/2, diced
Pancetta, 2 oz, approx
garlic, 3 cloves, minced
Hot pepper — fresh, seeded and diced
Dried red pepper flakes
Canned tomatoes, 1 c?
Vegetable stock, 2 c (or use water if needed)
Beans, 2 c?
Cooked pasta
Fresh oregano, chopped
Greens such as Swiss chard, spinach, lacinato kale or escarole


Sauté onion in olive oil with salt, then peppers and then pancetta.
Add tomato and stock, and cook for about 15 minutes total with pepper, adding in beans near end, along with oregano. Then add greens and cook 5 minutes or so.
Cook pasta — penne in separate pot, or small pasta, such as ditalini, cooked in tomato/stock mixture

Toppings to serve:
Grated pecorino with sprinkles of olive oil
Leftover parsley/garlic/oil pesto

Colu Henry, Pasta e Ceci (Italian Pasta and Chickpea Stew)

Baked fish on a weeknight

A good piece of fresh fish is a delight to eat, healthy, quick and easy. Easy that is if you remember the technique, which I often forget. And then I have to look up a recipe, figure out the oven temperature, and it starts to not feel so easy or simple. So here is a technique:

Preheat oven to 400 to 450 degrees. Put baking dish in oven with a bit of butter for a few minutes to melt the butter. 

Put fish in pan (skin side down if there is skin, such as salmon), dot with butter and lemon juice. Roast for about 8-10 mins, turning and adding butter 3 mins before done. Generally guide is 8 mins for every inch of thickness; varies depending on how cooked you prefer your fish. Cod is very forgiving and I like my fish cooked well.

Remove fish to plate or platter; top with compound butter and serve.

Compound butter ideas:

  1. lemon zest, tarragon (or parsley), mustard, anchovy. Mash into softened butter — good for cod or other white fish
  2. Lemon zest, sweet red pepper flakes (or paprika), mustard — good for salmon

Serve with: roasted garlic potatoes and steamed asparagus

Black bean and chicken enchiladas

Entirely from scratch — corn tortillas from masa harina, home-cooked black beans, instant pot or perhaps leftover cooked chicken, home-made enchilada sauce. Yes, you’ll spend some time in the kitchen. It’s a pandemic health crisis so a couple non-stressful hours in the kitchen is actually a pleasure. Warning: do not attempt this without a dishwasher. You are going to use many bowls, two food processor bowls, etc. But really this is not difficult or stressful time-wise, just several steps.

Instant pot chicken
Throw boneless chicken thighs — 1 to 1-1/2# — in pot with 1/2 onion, diced, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 c stock and 4 oz can of roasted chiles. Cook at high pressure 10 mins. Let release on its own or go ahead and release pressure. Remove chicken and pull off and discard skin; shread with forks (or in mixer with paddle!) or cut into large-ish bite-size pieces and set aside on plate.

8-12 corn tortillas. Use high-quality tortillas from a store or make your own.

2 c masa harina
Good pinch salt
1-1/2 c warm water

Stir together with wooden spoon, and knead a bit with your hands in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for last least 1/2 hour.
Cook with avocado oil if you do not have a cast iron skillet. Keep warm-ish, covered with towel.

Sauce: [see Sundays at Moosewood, Cheese & Pepper Enchiladas]
Onion, 1/2, diced
Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
Jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
Red pepper, 1/2, cut into large dice
Mexican oregano
Red pepper flakes
Small can chipotle sauce (or chipotles in adobe)
Canned tomatoes, 3-4 c. (whole; can use diced tomatoes)
Tomato paste, 2 T

Sauté onion, add salt, then peppers, oregano, cumin. Add garlic and cook one minute. Then add tomato paste. Add canned sauce, then tomatoes, breaking up with spoon. Cook at gentle simmer for 20 mins. Take off stove to cool and bit and purée in food processor. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Grate cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, such as in food processor. Set aside.
Enchilada assembly Ingredients:

Black beans, 3 c.+/-
Grated cheese — cheddar or Monterey Jack, about 7 oz
Cream cheese — about 2 oz., cut into chunks
Corn — 2 c frozen. Can take out and put in bowl and use even semi-frozen.
Red pepper, 1/2, diced (or try roasted peppers from jar, rinsed)

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get out large casserole pan.
Spread a layer of sauce in bottom of pan. Layer in tortillas. Add beans, chicken, corn, cheese and some peppers. Top with sauce. Add another layer of tortillas and repeat layering, ending with cheese on top of sauce.
Bake covered for 1/2 hour.

Serve with crema, or sour cream reduced with cream, milk or water.

A superior Cole Slaw

This is mayo-based but flavor-packed with buttermilk and apple cider vinegar, acid balanced with honey. I have played around with cole slaw previously and there are many variations under the sun; this is good ‘un.


Cabbage, 1/2 head green or also some red, sliced
Carrot, peeled and grated on large hole box grater

Mayo, 1/4 c
Buttermilk, 1/4 c.
Red onion, 1/2 also grated
Apple cider vinegar, 2 T
honey, 2 T
Poppy seeds, 2 T (or substitute caraway or celery seed)


Adapted from Burnt My Fingers, where adventurous eater/enthusiast home cook Otis adapted from his memory of Micklethwait Craft Meats’ version from Austin. Good as he says with barbecued meat.

Soy ginger marinated chicken thighs

When you want an easy, delicious, no-hands-on dinner, marinate some boneless chicken thighs, and roast potatoes and asparagus, or other green veg. All oven, no tending! Marinade is Asian-themed; spiciness of red peppers is balanced by sweet of hoisin and brown sugar.

Preheat oven to 425°

Whisk together:

Soy sauce, 1/2 c.
Toasted sesame oil, 3 T
Hoisin sauce, < 2T
Light brown sugar, 1+T
Sambal Olek, 1 t
Ground pepper
ginger, 1-2 T minced
Garlic, 1 clove minced

3-6 boneless chicken thighs

Place chicken on aluminum-lined sheet pan (1/4 sheet pan if 3 thighs) in 425° oven and cook for 35 mins, approx, until 165°, turning half way through and basting with marinade.

Optional toppings: green onions & cilantro
Roasted potatoes with garlic and thyme; roasted asparagus with olive oil, S&P


Sam Sifton’s Grilled soy-based chicken thighs, adapted from Chris Schlesinger


Pasta with butter and sage sauce

Pasta for when you are hungry and need to eat pronto with minimal effort.

1/2 # rigatoni (or penne or fettucine) Even better: tortellini!

Optional: Roasted delicata or butternut squash (delicata in thin half-slices; butternut in small chunks, tossed w/ olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in 425° oven 12+ minutes until tender.)

3 T good quality butter
8 sage leaves

Parmesan, grated


1. Put up pot of water for pasta. Roast squash.

2. Put butter into medium saucepan over medium heat near end of pasta cook time. Cook until foam subsides and before butter turns brown. Add sage leaves, toss and cook for a couple minutes and remove from heat when butter turns brown and smells delightfully nutty.

3. Reserve pasta water in heatproof measuring cup (<1 c)

4. When pasta is cooked, drain and put into saucepan with the butter. Add parmesan and some reserved water — not too much — and toss. Put squash on top. Serve with parmesan at the table. Not bad!


Origins: Marcella Hazan & Mark Bittman NY Times Cooking

Corn bread

I have been off corn bread for many years because I have not had great success in making at home and figured I need a cast iron pan. Not true. I baked up in a regular 8″ square baking pan which I brushed with melted butter and it was baked and done in 15 minutes with speedy prep. I made a plain cornbread with good quality buttermilk and stone-ground coarse cornmeal with was superb, moist and delicious. I’m sure it will take well to variations with optional add-ins, which I intend to do regularly now that I see how easy and quick it is to bake. When I long for polenta and have not planned ahead (1 -1/2 hr in oven no stir) this is an excellent satisfying alternative for corny flavor. It turns soup into dinner.


Heat oven to 425°.
Put 8” square pan in oven with 2 T butter to melt. Paint butter on sides and bottom of pan.

Dry ingredients:

Cornmeal, coarse ground 163 g (1 c)
AP flour, 60 g (1/2 c)
sugar, 25 g (2 T) (or honey 42 g)
Baking powder, 4 g (1 t)
Baking soda, 6 g (1 t)
Salt, 4 g (1/2 t)

Wet ingredients:

eggs, 2
buttermilk, 227 g (1 c)

1. Combine dry ingredients in one medium-large size bowl.
2. Whisk eggs in another bowl, add in buttermilk and whisk together.

3. Combine wet and dry — Wet into dry is good idea.
Stir just until moistened but don’t overstir or try to make batter smooth.

4. Pour into pan, spread out and bake 15 mins, or until toothpick in center comes out clean.

Optional: add 1/4 c. Roasted chiles
Other ideas: cooked bacon, sautéed onions or shallots, chili powder or cumin, chopped herbs, grated cheese, or corn — fresh, canned or frozen.

Vegetarian cooking for everyone
Julia Moskin, NY Times “Corn Bread”