Tag Archives: cooking

Kung Pao chicken

Cooks Illustrated recently sent me a recipe for Kung Pao chicken for two.

I had all the ingredients except for the peppers, which I easily found at Global Foods in Kirkwood (about which city I blogged last week).

So on Friday, I whipped up a terrifically tasty and quite (strongly? powerfully? almost-overwhelmingly?) spicy dish of Kung Pao chicken. This was SO good!!

I also made, for the first time, rice in the insta-pot cooker, rather than on the stovetop. I shall never make stovetop rice again. This was foolproof.

I’ll get two more meals out of this, so it’s Kung Pao chicken for three!

This week’s menu

Back the menu-making for a couple of weeks before traveling again . . . .

Sunday, 9 June (sourdough day)
Homemade buttermilk biscuits with homemade jam and marmalade
I’m craving Tex-Mex for lunch
Chicken in a white wine/lemon sauce, couscous, salad

Monday, 10 June (make a vanilla cream pie)
Bacon and eggs and fresh sourdough toast
Ham salad and fruit
Dinner with my sister Beth

Tuesday, 11 June
Bacon and eggs and toast, fruit
Lunch meeting at the office
Brisket, Dauphinoise potatoes, salad

Wednesday, 12 June
Bacon and eggs, fruit
Ham on sourdough toast, fruit, pie
Brisket and such

Thursday, 13 June
Sourdough French toast, fruit
Leftover chicken, pie
Brisket, beans, and a cooked apple

Friday, 14 June
Sourdough French toast and bacon, fruit
Lunch on the run
Steak, salad, and pie

Saturday, 15 June
Sausage roll and eggs, fruit
Lunch with a former student at Southwest Diner
Brisket, beans, salad

Grocery list:

  • Brisket
  • Lard
  • Potatoes for fries
  • Apple
  • Chicken
  • Yogurt
  • Tonic water


A couple of weeks ago, the sticky buns in the oven decided to grow larger than expected, and all sorts of brown sugar and butter slopped over onto the floor of the oven. I forgot to clean it. This is what happened when I turned on the oven this morning.

So out came the exhaust fan, and off went the furnace, and the house spent an hour venting. After I took the batteries out of the noisy fire alarms.


I just finished two bowls of this incredible chicken and lentils. The result is SO damn good.

This may be one of the best things I’ve made at home in the past few months. And all I did was follow the recipe (using only chicken thighs, since they were the cheapest). I do think that next time I will skin them first. Otherwise, perfection!


Now to teach four hours of voice lessons!

Tangier: cooking class

I am now in the habit of doing a food class of some sort in any new city I visit.  So I booked a cooking class in Tangier through Viator.com.

The promised four-hour class was two hours only, but I was the only one present and had the attentiveness of two different chefs.

And I learned a few things.  For instance, the chef was so attentive to appearances. We worked on the carrots and the turnips and the potatoes until we had rounded edges.  I also learned how to make authentic Moroccan couscous.

I also learned about smen, which is preserved butter with a distinctive taste and an almost cheese-like texture.  The scent is pretty overwhelming. One flavor indicator might be ‘rancid.’

The chef spoke a bit of English, and I bit of French, and the sous chef knew more English, so we got along fine.  Most of the ingredients were named in French only, and we had a fun game trying to learn each other’s terms for the veggies and the spices.

At one point I asked her how couscous was made, and she said “Cannot do in English.”  I said “let’s do French,” and after she gave me a sidelong look of bemusement, off she went. I got most of it, thanks to copious hand motions as well.

The lesson excursion started with a driver collecting me at the hotel.  We parked at the base of the medina and walked just a few blocks up hill to the Palais Zahia, a swanky hotel.  The lesson was in the hotel kitchen.

On the menu: chicken tagine, and couscous with golden raisins and almonds.

And thick, sugary mint tea.

Oh yes — I got to taste her homemade almond paste (heavenly) and the local high-end argan  oil, from a local tree.  The taste was like a nutty olive oil.  And so delicious.

The hotel itself is a recently renovated wonder of Moroccan crafts — tile, plaster, ceramic, wood painting.

But take one look from the windows of the top-floor restaurant and see reminders of reality:

Antenna dishes are everywhere here.  Everywhere.