How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Monday, September 21, 2015

Just Peachy Quesadillas

For Sunday's dinner, James played the role of Pam, concocting a new meal from ingredients we had on hand. On my way to Harvard Forest with students on Saturday, I had of course stopped at the "farm stand" of Bolton Orchards.
The stand is more of an emporium of all things apple -- including apples, applesauce, apple butter, apple candy, apple cider, apple donuts -- as well as all things local. It is such an excellent place to include in a land-protection field trip that we stopped twice -- on the way to the forest and on the way back. I was careful to restrain myself, but still managed to come home with quite a few peaches, apples, cider, and, yes, some cider donuts that the whole family enjoyed.

My dinner idea did not include the apples or the donuts, but it did make use of the peaches and the cider, as well as several other items in the house. I began by slicing two chicken breasts into thin stripps and browning then in olive oil in our indispensible cast-iron skillet. As the chicken was browning, I sliced two of the peaches (ripe but quite firm) and put them in the pan. That is when I realized that this dish had potential, at least to be photogenic.
I added a few vigorous squirts from the Tabasco bottle and a few spoonfuls of some blackberry preserves we had on hand. I stirred over high heat until the chicken was cooked through and the peaches slightly caramelized. I then added a glug of apple cider and allowed the mix to continue cooking until reduced.

To assemble, I used a slotted spoon to fold the mixture into tortillas with some sliced provolone and shredded Monterrey Jack, though other soft cheeses would serve just as well.
We topped these with standard salsa from Newman's Own, though one of his fruit salsas would have been even better. Similarly, we had it with our weekend house wine, a pedestrian Sauvignon Blanc that was refreshing but not quite a perfect pairing. We are open to suggestions on the wine front! 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Our Most Important Libro de Recetas

Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any DayMoosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day by Moosewood Collective
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This may be the most important book in our kitchen. When I was getting ready for my dissertation research -- three months in the Amazon without my sweetheart -- we already had the "regular" Moosewood. We liked it, but also knew that most of its recipes were a bit of work. Pam wanted to eat well while I was gone, but we needed something convenient enough for a cooking-for-one lifestyle.

This was just the ticket -- great, simple recipes for anyone who would like to have healthy meals on a weeknight.

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Good Read Tortilla

James is adding some old favorites to his Good Reads profile; this is the first cookbook to be included.

The Well-Filled Tortilla CookbookThe Well-Filled Tortilla Cookbook by Victoria Wise
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We purchased this book more than 20 years ago, when we lived in Tucson -- where these things are decided. We do not traffic in "wraps" -- just tortillas. As hard as decent tortillas are to find in New England, this book allows us to put them to good use when we do.

Many of the recipes in this book have become comfort food in our home, but we still open it to a new page fairly often. Anyone who loves to cook will find plenty to enjoy in this book. On our recipe blog, we probably cite this book more than any other --


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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Salmon with Root Vegetables

This recipe came from the "August" page of out Old Farmer's Almanac Cookbook Calendar. James likes to pick up seafood whenever he goes out with his rowing club. We eat later than usual on the nights he rows, so we try to find quick and simple ways to prepare the fish. Last week he brought some salmon so we could make the monthly meal from the recipe calendar we have in our kitchen this year.

I improvised a bit on the ingredients to use what we had on hand. We used white potatoes instead of red, and scallions instead of leeks, otherwise we followed the instructions combining the diced potatoes, diced carrots and chopped scallions and in our indispensable cast-iron skillet along with a c. of chicken broth. The veggies were covered and simmered over a low heat for 10 minutes. The fish was placed in the pan with them and covered again for another 10 minutes. Here the recipe calls for removing the fish and vegetables, then making a sauce with Dijon mustard, butter, and lemon juice, but I just added everything into the same pan and let it all simmer a few more minutes. A tender and flavorful meal.

James adds: Most recipes with "root vegetables" in the title feature beets and other variations on dirt, so this was much more delicious than the name implied for us.