Nuts! Anthony McAuliffe Would Be Proud


Our intrepid exercise-yard enforcer and fine cook Bluebell sent me a recipe for “Savory Spiced Pecans” a long while ago. I resisted them for as long as I could, but finally relented, and they are fabulous. Now, I would call them more sweet than savory, but hell, she’s a Red Sox fan, so the fact that everything was spelled correctly is a great victory!

Anyway, I melded her excellent recipe with a much less successful recipe for “Spiced Almonds” that I found in the New York Times, and the results are above. The jar is sort of cloudy and dirty looking because the butter and sugar mixture doesn’t really get perfectly hard and dry, but that is perfectly all right, because they taste great!

Here is a link to the PDF of the recipe. It’s pretty straightforward, and to be honest the most important part is the technique from Bluebell’s recipe. The spice mixture I used can be changed according to your palate.

Coincidentally I was wandering my local market a few days ago and saw a display for spiced cashews. Now, that is also a fine idea and one that I will be exploring in the near future. Made in my own kitchen, because $14.99/lb. is just…um…nuts!


I have extolled the virtues of the Brit’s “Sunday Roast,” and have recommended that we embrace it and improve upon it here in America.

The Ritual of Sunday Roast

The classic meal is a gray-weather-soothing, all-day-eating, then veg-on-the-couch-in-a-food-coma affair (think Thanksgiving, if it came once a week), and the communing around slabs of roast meat is a remarkably sturdy tradition—one that’s survived mad cow disease and the new appreciation in Britain for healthy (even vegan) eating and remains a nostalgic bulwark against the spread of American-style brunch.

Yup…The Sunday Pub Roasts I have attended were conspicuous in their overindulgence of wonderful, fatty, rich, alcoholic comestibles, and even more conspicuously short on healthy alternatives. It’s almost as if people like to eat good food and drink good booze and have a good time, and are less concerned with the politics of food (because that is what veganism is: pure politics). I don’t appreciate the shot at American brunch though. It’s not that big a deal in many parts of the country.


I like looking at these sorts of things because they are usually total crap, and this one stays true to form. My first hint was the incorrect conversions for weights and volumes. But it is, as you have probably already guessed, just clickbait. But a six-month Gold Membership with Ampersand utility for anyone who can find three glaring errors.

152 Things You Must Know In the Kitchen — Ultimate Guide

Hat Tip: Misanthropic Humanitarian (although I think he was trolling me)


Arby’s Makes Meat-Based Carrot in Response to Fake-Meat Food Trend

“Arby’s is not one of the restaurant companies interested in working with Impossible Foods,” Arby’s said in a statement this May. “The chances we will bring plant-based menu items to our restaurants, now or in the future, are absolutely impossible.”

In fact, Arby’s is so opposed to the idea of plant-based meats, that they’ve decided to essentially troll the entire fake-meat industry by creating a fake vegetable, called a “megetable.”

Hat Tip: Bitter Clinger



Coq au Vin is an immensely satisfying cold-weather dish, but there are many recipes that are overly complicated and just too much of a slog for it to be in the regular rotation for many people. This recipe is pretty straightforward, although it is written in European Kickball units, so you will have to translate to a civilized language.

Easy coq au vin

As for the two bottles of red wine? Buy something cheap from Australia. It will be plenty rich enough, and it won’t break the bank. Or even use one bottle of red and replace the second bottle with chicken stock. It won’t be quite as rich, but it will be good. And for my sake don’t use three bay leaves. That is at least one too many.


I absolutely love when market forces are unleashed to fix a problem.
Putting purple sea urchins on the menu could save California’s kelp forest
But because it is California, it gets stupid:

The reason for this growth in numbers of the purple sea urchins comes down to rising sea temperatures, but also a disease that affected the sunflower sea star, the urchins’ predators.

When in doubt, blame global warming! Never mind that there is another perfectly reasonable and far simpler explanation for the increase in the sea urchin population.

I spent an amazingly painful few hours in the ER, having a bunch of their spines removed from my heel. They went through my fin strap, through my bootie, and deep into my foot. So anything that knocks down their population makes me a happy (and vengeful) abalone diver.


Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren’t square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is blasphemy…it’s in the Bible!

Braising And Cold Weather — A Match Made in Heaven


The hiss of the radiators is a clear signal that braising season is upon us! And while braises are notorious time sinks, they really are pretty damned easy. Sear the meat, take it out, brown the mirepoix, add some herbs and spices, return the meat, along with some liquid (wine, beer, stock, etc) to the pot, let it simmer for a long time, then eat.

Simple, with thousands of fun variations, most of which you can do on your own without needing a recipe. Just find a good basic recipe that works for you, then tweak it and twist it and make it your own.

One of my favorites is braised beef short ribs, but the dish never turned out the way I wanted it until I realized that it is counter-intuitive. Most dishes benefit from fat, but there is so much fat in the short ribs that removing most of it really does improve the dish. I do that by making it in advance, then chilling the pot overnight and simply scraping the excess fat that floated to the top then hardened.

So give braising a shot. It’s a great technique, the cook is rewarded by using cheap cuts filled with connective tissue (they break down over time and add to the succulence), and you can empty your vegetable drawer of that old bag of carrots, the limp celery, and the onions that have seen better days. Dump it all in and be a happy and frugal camper.


Gwyneth Paltrow is a dangerous fool. Now that we have that out of the way, Let me go on a bit of a rant about healthful foods and healthy foods and unhealthy foods. But let us start with a grammar lesson! “Healthy” means in good health. It does not mean good for you. “Healthful” means good for you. And I defy you to find foods that are “healthful” and “unhealthful” independent of dose. And what I mean by that is simple…food is fuel, with a few vitamins and micro-nutrients thrown in for good measure. Most people get those vitamins and micro-nutrients from their diet without any attention being paid to much at all. So we are left with the inescapable conclusion that most food is just fuel.

That’s all. Nothing complicated. If you do well on a low-carb diet, then go for it. If you do well on a caveman diet, then go for it. But protein, fat and carbohydrate is pretty much all it is, and no amount of massaging of the sources of those macro-nutrients is going to do much.


From commenter “Muad’dib”

Lamb rib chops are great too. Get them “French” cut, which leaves the rib handles. Marinate them as CBD suggests with olive oil, crushed fresh garlic, salt, and balsamic vinegar. We call them lambsicles.


“Frenching” the ribs, whether it is on a lamb chop, a pork chop, a beef rib steak or a bumblebee is a crime against nature. That’s why it’s called “frenching!” Duh!

The meat and fat and other stuff on the ribs is a delicious bonus and should never, NEVER be trimmed off. However, I approve of this poor deluded Wisconsinite’s recipe, although I would add a bit of chopped fresh rosemary to the marinade!


Yum. Not that a bolognese sauce is anything arcane or rare, but he puts Spanish chorizo in it, and that sounds great!

Pasta Bolognese

Don’t confuse it with the Mexican version (which also has its uses), and if you have any left over, then make paella, because chorizo is fantastic in paella!


From commenter “Lurker Lou Here For Five Minutes” (and that’s a good nic!).

Found Haleem by accident at an Indian buffet in San Fran that had it…good thing that the lights were low. It’s very ugly no denying it.

Traditionally eaten to break the fast during Ramadan, but as there are no committed middle eastern or Indian restaurants near where I live, I thought it sounded like good cold weather eating and have made it from time to time.

Restaurant had it with lamb. Lovely. I made it with beef, s’okay. But then someone gifted me with a three year ole moose roast and I thought with all of those spices, it’d do.

What I’ve learned over the years is that moose + cumin are meant to be (other stories). There is pretty much every spice you’d want in this dish. But add a strong flavored meat and this is amazing. It does not hide the flavor, it augments it and elevates it.

This week a friend tried my recipe but subbed 15 bean mix beans for the lentils (avoiding the ugly presentation of lentil stew) and caribou (!) for the lamb or moose.

Better than lamb or moose with lentils. Seriously.

Get your hoar frostiest mutton out of the freezer and try this. Divine! Even if you don’t like mutton although I know you do.

Here is an easy recipe; I’m sure there are more difficult ones out there. I love to shred the meat but some people hand blend I guess. I’m not big on making home cooking fussy and this is home cooking.

Slow-Cooker Haleem — A Traditional Mixed Lentil and Meat Soup

Looks interesting, and Lou’s point about strong-flavored meats is a great one. I have always wondered why some famous dishes use a mild meat and a strong-flavored spice mix or accoutrements. Like…veal saltimbocca! I love the dish, but why waste mild veal? Use pork or chicken at a quarter the price.


One of the pleasures of cooking is the mastering of techniques that make everything easier and faster and better. Ramsey may be larger than life, but he started out as a great chef, and that hasn’t changed.

How To Master 5 Basic Cooking Skills – Gordon Ramsay

For most of us this is easy stuff, with a bit of a twist that I blame on his upbringing. Olive oil in the pasta water? Nope, not necessary.


I love baking the receptacle for this dish. What a nice idea. The recipe isn’t clear, but it sounds like you just wrap the baked pizza dough around the food, maybe like an ice cream cone or a burrito. Who knows, but it sounds like fun and I’m going to try it.

Chicken Cacciatore “Trapizzino”

The cacciatore recipe is different too, without tomato, which is a new one for me (thanks Bluebell for pointing that out).


Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren’t square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is blasphemy…it’s in the Bible!