This Morning, I Cooked a Little

Was trying to convince my father that steel-cut oatmeal was much better than regular oatmeal. Good for his heart health, etc., but also it can be really tasty. I made a big batch and then served it with a few options — I had mine with sautéed onions and green chili, with a fried egg on top — could’ve used a little cheese too, I think, but I didn’t think of it. Pretty good, though I cooked the egg a little too long, so it didn’t do the runny thing when I broke into it, so the overall effect was a little drier than ideal. Ah well — I was distracted chatting.

I also took half the sautéed onions and added chopped apples and sautéed a little longer, plus a tablespoon or two of coconut milk, and that was a great accompaniment both to the oatmeal and to pancakes (my dad wanted me to show our young Sri Lankan guests how to make pancakes, so I dutifully did, although they can make dosas, so I suspect American-style pancakes will hold no mysteries for them). The apples would also have been good with a little shredded cheddar… (Any leftover apples would be great with some roast pork for dinner or in a sandwich…)

There’s a lot of oatmeal left, which I told them could be heated and eaten later in the week, and I tried to convince them to pick up some cashew butter to enjoy with bananas and maybe some chocolate chips, but I don’t know if they’ll take me up on that recommendation. We’ll see!

Marshmallow Magic

While I was at the board retreat yesterday (4.25 hrs, whew!), Kavi started working on our picture book, “Marshmallow Magic.” She got so much done! 4 pages (these are two-page spreads) drafted already! Only 22 – 26 to go…

Kavi said it was okay to share process photos with you. 🙂 I think she’ll need to re-do the layout on the second one, to allow for the gutter in the middle, but still, very cool!!!!!

A New Recipe for Corn Muffins

Cooking for the refugees again this weekend. Kept it fairly simple — I had some onion & bell pepper marinade (left over from the Venezuelan roast chicken last week), that I’d cooked down and then frozen. I dumped that in a pot with some chicken, and just let it simmer for a few hours, then let it cool and pulled it off the bone — it was delicious, and so easy.

Kevin made beans, I made rice, and I tried a new recipe for corn muffins — it didn’t really brown up, but they’re pretty tasty anyway. I always stir corn (frozen or canned works fine) into my corn muffins. If I’m just making it for me, I add a good amount of green chili too. 🙂

The real experiment was the sardine recipe — next post!

Venezuelan-Style Sardine & Potato Stew

Okay, so this isn’t EXACTLY a Venezuelan recipe? I was thinking that mostly volunteers have been dropping off dishes with chicken or beef or pork for the refugees (meat was requested on the sign-up sheet), and maybe they’d like some seafood for a change.

Not everyone likes seafood, of course, so I also made a chicken dish to be safe. But googling led me to believe that sardines are popular there, so I thought I’d try them.

I ended up combining two different recipes, so I’m not sure this is quite what you would get in Venezuela, but I did use their flavors, and the end result is DELICIOUS. I had a little bit to try with corn muffins, and it was SO GOOD — the flavors pair beautifully.

It’s similar to some Italian sardine dishes, I think. I don’t normally eat sardines that often, but I do love a Sri Lankan mackerel curry, and sardines are in the same ballpark, so I think I may try eating them more often. Also, did I mention, they’re really cheap? In this era of soaring grocery prices, worth noting.

The recipes I started with were:

– a Sardine Mojito (not the drink kind!) —…/recipe-mojito-sardine-step-by…

– Sopa de Pescado (fish soup)…/


Venezuelan-Style Sardine & Potato Stew
(serves 12 as a main dish, 24 as a side)

1/4 c. vegetable oil
3 onions, sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 t. cumin powder
1/2 t. pepper
6 cans sardines packed in oil
2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
salt to taste

1. Heat oil in a large pan. Add onions and garlic, and stir until onions are translucent.

2. Add potatoes, cumin powder, and pepper; continue to stir until about half-way cooked (if you prefer, you can parboil the potatoes first in the microwave or on the stove, so they cook faster).

3. Add diced tomatoes, bring to a boil, cover, and lower head to medium. Cook another 10 minutes or so, until potatoes are cooked through and tomatoes are somewhat reduced.

4. Add 5 cans of sardines (reserving 1), and stir in GENTLY. Let simmer 10 minutes or so for the flavors to blend. (Add water if needed to keep from sticking.)

5. Turn into serving dish and top with last tin of sardines. Enjoy with arepas or corn muffins.

Little Bites From the Last Few Days

The first is beef & potato curry with cabbage sambol. The cabbage sambol, I’m pleased to report, came out just fine from the freezer — not QUITE as crisp as when it went in, but still with a good toothsome bite. I’m planning to just make a whole cabbage’s worth next time I cook Sri Lankan, and portion it out and freeze it, so I have an easy vegetable to add on busy weeknights.

Last week’s quick-pickling resulted in onions that are yummy on a bagel with cream cheese and lox; I also picked up some house-made roast beef at Carnivore Oak Park this week, and I’m planning on a nice sandwich sometime soon with the pickled onions and horseradish. Mmm…

And I’ve been feeling very cheese-bite focused recently, for some reason, so last’s night’s first dinner (followed, of course, by second dinner), was just 6-month aged Manchego cheese and these intense cherries in syrup. Lovely pairing. Bite of cheese, pop in a cherry, repeat. I’ll have a fair bit of cherry syrup left over, which should go nicely in cocktails or mocktails. Or maybe a glaze for roast pork…

Assembling Flash Sale Orders

Slept very weirdly last night, just waking up over and over. I feel okay right now, but moving slowly, and I suspect I’ll crash at some point today. Oh well!

I still managed to assemble the flash sale orders this morning. Next steps are packaging them up, adding ice packs to the ones with confections, asking Stephanie to make up paid shipping labels (she needs dimensions and weight for that), and then running them over to the post office.

Avocado Ice Cream with Chili, Salt, and Lime

I followed this recipe ( — but added 2 t. lime juice, 1/2 t. flake salt, and 1/4 t. cayenne. I really like the result, but I suspect a lot of people may be suspicious of avocado ice cream in general, and perhaps even more so with my additions! So, y’know, try at your own risk. If you don’t like it, more for me. 🙂

Served below with some tropical tinned fruit, which worked well! The recipe says you can use coconut milk instead of cream, which would make it vegan, but I didn’t try that, so can’t vouch for the results.