Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Yellow Bass #Vegan -- Yes, I said Vegan

Our friends from Tennessee call this "yellow bass". It's one of our favorite summer dishes. Yes, it's too early for it to be local, but we felt a craving for comfort, so I bought some from the grocery.

What it is is yellow summer squash, sliced long-ways, dredged in seasoned flour, and fried.

So delicious! Especially with a side of kale, also from the grocery, alas.

I'm posting at my own blog today about a dish called strata and also my last Story A Day May food-related story this year.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Ever-Lovin' Pea Salad #QuarantineCooking

I suppose most of this blog's readers have settled into arrangements for getting food in, but my mother is still sitting up there in my head saying, "Waste not, want not." Just like before the pandemic.

One of our favorite ways to use up bits of things is pea salad, also called seven-layer salad, maybe other things. The one thing it has to have, in order to be called pea salad, is guess what? Anyone? Now let's not always see the same hands.

Peas. That's right.

So we had this:

Starring: bits of lettuce, the tag end of a can of peas, one of the last asparagus spears, ditto celery, the last of a half-dozen hard-boiled eggs, the last shards of two bags of shredded cheese, mayonnaise (more below), and the last of the Parmesan.

Starting with the lettuce, you layer the ingredients, with cheese somewhere in the middle, and top it with an unholy load of mayo and cheese. Not for the faint of heart, but oh, so good.

I was low on mayo, so I made my own. It's easy. Measure out a cup of oil. Put an egg, a little salt, and a little oil into a blender and ... you know ... blend it. With the blender running, ve-r-r-r-r-y s-l-l-o-w-w-w-l-y add the rest of the oil. Just like magic, it turns into mayonnaise.

I use fresh eggs for this, from the farmers market or from the neighbors' chickens. Because Monk.

I'm posting at my own blog today with a Steffie the Spy stories for Story A Day May and a plate of non-toxic spaghetti.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Charlie Called Them "Egg Noodles" #Vegetarian

So we had a bit of this and a bit of that -- my favorite ingredients -- but the result looked sparse.

I decided to roast the mushrooms, although I must say I wasn't thrilled. I usually love roasted veg, but it didn't do a thing for these portabellas. Meanwhile, I gried some leftover rice and the tag end of a package of fresh spinach.

As I said, it looked sparse, so I beat an egg with some water and poured it into a pan oiled with sesame oil, cooked it flat, and cut the result into strips. Charlie laughed and called them egg noodles.

I'm posting at my own blog today about foil-wrapped cod, along with a free short story.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Pasta Avocado Salad #QuarantineCooking

I found a box of tricolor spirals in the back of the pantry and cooked all of it. With some, I made pasta salad.

Because I also had one avocado and really wanted to eat it, I bunged that in. Also: olives. Celery. Mayo.

I thought about hard-boiled eggs, but decided the avocado was enough. Yes, it was belicious!

I'm posting at my own blog today about what I did with the rest of the pasta. I'm also doing Story A Day May again this year, so there's a free short story to go with it.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Bread That Failed, The Bread Pudding That Won #QuarantineCooking

Several years ago, I bought the cookbook for Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which is only accurate if you average in the days you don't have bread. But the recipe+technique is quick and easy and makes damn good bread.

I made up a batch last week (you store the batch in the fridge and pull out what you need for a loaf or whatever). Out of it, I made some good bread, and something I'm posting on my blog today, and a loaf that was larger than they recommend and came out too dense to suit us.

So I made bread pudding with it.

I cubed the dense bread and toasted it a little in the oven, then buttered the pieces and spread them in a buttered baking dish. I broke three eggs into a measuring cup and added vanilla almond milk to equal 1 1/2 cups, beat that up, added some cinnamon and powdered cardamom, and poured that over. Then I remembered raisins and sprinkled some of those on. After the bread had soaked in the milk'n'eggs for a while, I baked the pudding at 350F (about 176C) for close to an hour.

That's powdered sugar and butterscotch syrup on top.

What a treat!

I'm posting today at my own blog about pita I made with that same batch of dough.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Stir Fry Noodles #QuarantineCooking #Vegan #Vegetarian

You know I have a love-hate relationship with leftovers. I hate to have bits of things cluttering up the refrigerator, and I love to use them as ingredients in another dish.

One good way to use them is in soup, another is in casseroles, and another is in stir fry.

So this happened:

Ah, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, cashews, and noodles, how I love thee! I made a sauce out of soy sauce, a bit of brown sugar, five-spice powder, water, and cornstarch.

Of course, you could add meat and/or scrambled eggs, as you please.

There were no leftovers.

I'm posting on my own blog today about another bits-and-bobs dish, this one with rice.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Bubble and Squeak #QuarantineCooking

You wouldn't think anything so simple would be so satisfying, but this might be our ultimate comfort food. A friend in England, the super writer Andrea Gilbey, told me about it, although hers is undoubtedly much nicer than mine.

What you do is boiled cabbage and potatoes, drain them, mash them a bit, and fry them. Sometimes Andrea adds cashews in the frying, and some people add bacon. I believe I added some onion powder.

So very good.

I'm posting at my own blog today about bean and kale soup with corncakes.

Remember to maintain social distance, but also maintain social connection. Phone calls, letters, emails, video chats, but "six feet asunder or six feet under".

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Pasta Fazool From Leftovers #QuarantineCooking

I found some very old pasta in the pantry and cooked it longer than directed. It was still more al dente than al dente should be. Same went for some elderly dried navy beans that I made into soup.

So I put both of them together and cooked them 30 more minutes in my Instant Pot under pressure.

This time, they were perfect.

As Dory would say, "Just keep cooking. Just keep cooking. What do we do? WE COOK!"

I'm posting today at my own blog about a chicken soup I made with what I call slacker crackers on the side.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Needs Must Pimiento Cheese #QuarantineCooking

"Needs must" means "If you need to, you do what you must to achieve it."

Well, I suddenly NEEDED to eat some pimiento cheese. But I didn't have any pimientos.

I did, however, have a bottle of sliced olives, wherein the olive slices had lost their pimientos, which were sheltering in place at the bottom of the bottle.

I also had a log of fluorescent orange processed cheese-like substance (known in America as Velveeta, although mine was an off-brand because cheap). If you don't have this stuff, I recommend it. It keeps indefinitely in the pantry before it's opened and, after it's opened, it keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator. If you can't stomach it (Charlie hates it. I love it.), it keeps even longer.

So this happened.

Cheese-like substance, mayonnaise, salt, and olive-y pimientos. I usually put hard-boiled egg in my pimiento cheese, but we were low on eggs and needs must.

I'm posting on my own blog today about another mushroom feast.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Mushroom Hand Pie and Broccoli Leftover Soup #QuarantineCooking

No actual hands were harmed in the making of this recipe. It's called a hand pie because you eat it with your hands. Don't take the title of this blog so seriously. Sheesh!

ANYWAY, in better times, I bought some mushrooms and broccoli and then ignored them because there was so much food available and I could just run out and get more whenever I wanted to. Remember those days?

So I decided I'd better use them up.

Broccoli Leftover Soup

I fried some mushrooms and onions in vegan margarine in a cooking pot until they were tender. Then I took out most of the mushrooms and some of the onions. In the same pot, I covered broccoli with water and boiled it until the broccoli was tender. Then I mashed the broccoli.

I had some leftover white sauce (milk gravy), but you can make some, since you probably don't have any left over:

White Sauce (Milk Gravy)

Melt butter, stir in an equal amount of flour and cook briefly, add milk and stir well, getting out all lumps. Cook until thickened.

That white strip on top is cheese. I topped the soup with cheese. The thing in the back is my ugly hand pie.

Mushroom Hand Pie

Do you know how to make pie crust?

Pie Crust

Take some flour and cut some COLD butter or margarine into it until you have lumps the size of dried peas. Or, if you don't know what size dried peas or, until you have flour with lots of little lumps in it. Add icy-cold water and stir gently until you have a dough that sticks together and only sticks to your hands a bitty bit. You want to mess with this as little as possible, so the butter doesn't melt until it cooks.

How much of everything? I used a cup of flour to make two hand pies.

Divide the crust into as many pies as you want and roll it out on a floured board. Put in your filling (I used mushrooms and onions, but you can use whatever you like), fold it over, and tuck in the ends.

You can make it pretty, but I just wanted to eat it. I totally meant for those holes to be in there, to release the steam. Martha Stewart, I'm not.

Bake it at 400F for about half an hour, checking to make sure it doesn't burn.

Messy, but nourishin', as my grandpa would have said.

Both dishes were delicious.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Rice Burger Needed Something #Vegetarian

I had some leftover rice and some leftover beans and some leftover mushrooms, so I made a veggie burger out of them.

Upon reflection, I should have added egg and bread crumbs to bind them, but I didn't. I just didn't.

I topped it with smoked paprika, cheese, and a pickle. Alas! it fell apart as I ate it. It was delicious, but not at all burgerish.

I'm posting today at my own blog about a veggie burger that I bought and cooked/presented to utter deliciousness. Yay!

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Potstickers and Stuff

So we had this.

Jasmine rice (we are all about Jasmine rice), shredded cabbage fried with onion and tri-color sweet peppers, and store-bought pork pot-stickers. If I had made the pot-stickers myself, I would have stuffed them with mushrooms and water chestnuts and maybe some chicken.

Maybe your grocery will have another iteration of potstickers, but this is what mine had, so this is what we ate.

I'm posting at my blog today about a meat substitute that's so good, true vegans wouldn't eat it.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Vegan With Noodles. Er, #Vegan MEAL With Noodles #GF

I had the tag end of a bag of rice noodles, and decided to use it up. So I stuck them in a bread pan and covered them with boiling water and let them soak for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, I boiled some broccoli until it was bright, and cooked a pot of lentils with carrots, celery, and onions.

When that was about done, I pan-toasted the noodles in sesame oil, along with some cashews. The end result was this:

In retrospect, I should have let the vegan margarine melt a little before I took the picture for full foodie voluptuousness, but I was hongry.

I'm posting at my own blog about the same veg with my first successful (I cheated) cod.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Leftover Fruit Salad

Yes, I'm at it again: freshening up leftovers.

I got this fruit plate with dipping sauce for church, but somebody else brought a honkin' big box of donuts, so the fruit went begging.

Suits me. I brought it home, cut the fruit into smaller pieces, added the last of the blueberries from the fridge, stirred the dipping sauce into it, and we had a treat with supper.

I'm posting at my own blog today about vegetarian "beef" stroganoff.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Extra Sweet Sweet Potatoes Because CHEAP #Vegan

For some reason, bagged veg were on super-sale at the grocery, so I grabbed a bunch of bags. Here's my favorite:

They're steam-in-bag, so I did that. Then I dumped them into a bowl, stirred in some vegan margarine, honey, brown sugar, and salt, and BOOM!


I'm posting today at my own blog about the not-quite-as-cheap-but-equally-delicious green beans I also bought and prepared.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Rice Ball Fail #Vegan

Charlie doesn't like sticky rice, so we always eat our rice fluffy. But leftover rice gets a bit sticky, in spite of itself. So I decided to see if I could make rice balls or rice cakes or whatever shape I could force them into.

I looked up a recipe. They suggested wrapping the rice fill-in-the-shapes in seaweed. That was never gonna happen. Not a fan. They also suggested poking something into the interior, which I'm always up for. The only thing pokeable I had on hand was cashews, so I used them.

OKAY. I wet my hands and rubbed the palms with salt (as per directions), scooped up a palmful of sticky-ish rice, poked a cashew into it, and formed it into a sort of a hockey puck. Dipped it on both sides into sesame seeds, and fried them in my cast iron skillet in a thin glaze of sesame oil. Flipped them (they fell apart a bit but not entirely).

I'm tellin' you what: These babies were DELICIOUS! Imma make some sticky rice sometime, and try them again.

I'm posting at my own blog today about a gnocchi casserole that was also delicious.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Gnocci Feast #Vegetarian #Vegan

I can make gnocci, but I generally buy gnocci, just as I can make noodles, but generally buy them. So I bought some potato gnocci and we had this feast:

All about that starch.

If you don't think a vegan meal can be satisfying, try one, sometime. Different flavors, different colors, different textures, the corn so crisp and the baby limas so creamy and the gnocci so toothsome and the vegan margarine so buttery-tasting.... ~swoons~

I'm posting today on my own blog about a pescatarian meal that is neither vegan nor Kosher (it has shrimp in).

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Noodles. Oh, Noodles! #Vegan

I am all that about noodles. So, now that I've learned how easy they are to make, I make 'em. I got the recipe from The Woks of Life, a super site for Chinese cooking! Actually, this is a half-recipe, because it makes a TON of really thin noodles.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt to taste
  • 1/3 cup water
The closer to exact your flour and water measurements are, the better. Mix the flour and salt. A little at a time, mix in the water until it's all in. Put that dough on a floured board and knead it FOR FIFTEEN (15) MINUTES, adding flour until the dough is smooth and not sticky to the touch. Cover the dough with a bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Roll it out paper-thin, as thin as you can roll it. 

Cut it into strips much smaller than you think you need to, because the noodles expand as they cook.

Toss any you aren't immediately using in flour, so they don't stick together, and store them, or let them dry and store them.

The thinner they are, the less time they need to cook in boiling liquid (soup or salted water). Nice thin ones only need 3-4 minutes of boiling.

They look like this.

I'm posting on my blog today about dumplings I made using this noodle recipe, and I cut the scraps from the dumplings into, well, scrappy noodles, and made a mushroom noodle soup. As my grandpa would have said, "Messy, but nourishin'." He would also have said, "That don't hurt the eatin' of it."

The green stuff is parsley.


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Glazed Tofu #vegan

I'm the only one in my family who likes tofu, so I don't get to have it very often. ~weeps~

I indulged myself a couple of weeks ago, which means, since I've slept since then, I don't remember exactly what this glaze was made of.

From the color, I'd say it was Hoisin sauce with a little soy sauce, maybe some minced ginger and onion? I do remember I sliced it and pressed liquid out of it. Then I heated my beloved iron skillet with enough sesame oil to cover the bottom. I arranged the tofu in there, not crowded, and brushed the tops with the glaze. The heat? Probably just below medium. It probably took about 7-10 minutes to brown on the bottom. Then I flipped the pieces and glazed the browned side, continuing to cook for another 7-10 minutes.

When the tofu was done, I took it out, put some more oil in (just a blip), and cooked the leftover rice with water chestnuts and cashews.

I was in heaven! Charlie ate it, but he wasn't thrilled.

I'm posting todayat my own blog about the Okonomiyaki  I made the other day which did get a good review.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Low-Fat DIY Potato Chips

So easy, so quick, so good.

Slice a potato super-thin. Smear oil on a microwave-safe plate. Spread the slices on the plate. Sprinkle with salt and/or spices. Microwave in increments of 1 minute, checking to make sure they aren't overcooking, for around five minutes. When they start to brown, they're done. They crisp up as they cool.

The thinner you slice them, of course, the less time they take to cook, so watch out!

I'm posting today at my own blog about my home-made bao. Yes, she made fresh bao!

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Superfluous Fruit Salad #Vegan #Vegetarian

It was my turn to bring the treats to church this Sunday. When I walked in the kitchen door, my friends said, "Oh, no!" I said, "Ya'll, that is not what you want to hear when you walk into a room." The problem was, three other people had brought treats for one reason or another, so we had an embarrassment of riches.

I brought my raggedy old fruit salad home, and Charlie and I had it for supper, with Bear Whippin' Sauce over it.

No bears were harmed in the making of this sauce.

What is Bear Whippin' Sauce? It's equal parts mayonnaise (in this case, vegan "mayonnaise") and brown sugar. It got its name in our family when I told a wee one I was making "berry dipping sauce" and she misheard me.

I'm posting at my own blog today about a casserole made almost entirely of tag ends and leftovers.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes