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November 10, 2007

Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:21 AM * 123 comments

As promised…when you ask the kids what they want for supper and the answer is “Not tuna!”


(This is very much an item from the things-in-cans, what-am-I-feeding-the-starving-hordes-tonight school of cookery. )

1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ soup-can milk
1 box elbow macaroni
2 cups grated extra sharp Cheddar cheese
½ cup diced green peppers
½ cup mayonnaise (the real stuff, not Miracle Whip or fat-free mayonnaise)
1 small can sliced mushrooms
Fresh-grated black pepper to taste

Cook macaroni according to box directions. It won’t hurt to have it a little underdone, since the baking will cook it further. Grate cheese and dice peppers. Combine all the ingredients, and pour into a 13x9 pan or casserole dish. (Or you could make two 8x8 pans, and freeze one for later.) Bake at 425° for about 25 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and bubbly. Let stand for five minutes before serving.

[Recipe Index]

Comments on Not-Tuna:
#1 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 12:42 AM:

Jim, what would you recommend as substitutions in there for someone who's very allergic to mushrooms?

#2 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 01:00 AM:

How about Cream-of-Broccoli soup and some nice broccoli?

#3 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 01:14 AM:

Pretty much any Cream-of-[Thing] would work, for your favorite available value of [thing]. :) Celery seems like a decent option, for example.

#4 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 03:44 AM:

Thanks, both of you. :) Good specific suggestion, good principle.

#5 ::: Zeborah ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 04:55 AM:

<squints> That's essentially macaroni cheese, though my mother's recipe involves a cheese sauce from scratch rather than things from cans. (My experience/taste is that making a cheese sauce from scratch isn't so much of a nuisance as washing the pan afterwards is.)

It's also good with (rather than pepper and mushrooms) bits of bacon or ham mixed in, if you eat pig, and/or with some of the cheese sprinkled on top to make it extra tasty there. Slices of tomato spread across before you sprinkle on the extra cheese also work, in which case chopped chives on top of the cheese are nice too.

#6 ::: Emily Cartier ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 07:25 AM:

The canonical subs for cream of mushroom in my parents' house are cream of chicken and cream of celery. When I was growing up, being out of cream of celery soup was a dread and dire fate. Cream of mushroom was Not Allowed, since none of us kids liked mushrooms.

Shockingly, cream of celery is pretty good as an actual *soup*. So we were out of it (and the chicken) quite often.

I seem to recall that some of the other cream of * soups have metallic aftertastes.

#7 ::: Chelsea ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 07:32 AM:

Not to be a picky eater or anything but mayo gives me gooseflesh. Could one conceivably substitute sour cream or yogurt?

#8 ::: Julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 08:00 AM:

My favorite pseudo homemade mac n cheese is slightly different, skipping the mayonnaise and cream soup.

Prepare a box of mac n cheese (I like to use Annie's brand because I like their powdered cheese best, and with whole wheat pasta for added fiber, but you may use whichever kind you prefer), but instead of milk and butter, use a cup of plain yogurt.

Mix in a handful or two of frozen peas (not heated!), 2 cloves minced garlic and half of an onion, chopped.

Add a couple of handfuls grated cheddar (feel free to also add other cheese as well if you like it and have it on hand).

Mix and place 8x8 (for bigger dish, double the recipe) pan. Sprinkle grated cheese over top and bake 25 mins at 425 or until top is brown and bubbly.

*Optional tweaks: If you don't like garlic, onions, or peas, leave them out. Add any veggie like corn, celery, broccoli, etc. so long as the pieces are small, and you'll do fine. If you like a bit of spice add cayenne pepper or chili powder. Start with 1/8th tsp and work up according to taste. If you feel fancy, sautee the garlic and onions before adding them in for a less sharp and more rich taste.

We have no children, but we routinely serve this to guests when we're too busy to really cook, and they all adore it.

#9 ::: Sajia Kabir ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 08:45 AM:

My mom's recipe for mac and cheese in Bangladesh involved shell macaroni, grated cheddar, tomato sauce, onions and chili peppers. I've never been able to quite replicate it. Jim, I am from now on relying on you to provide filling recipes for a busy music college student, apart from your other onerous duties of providing useful emergency advice and interesting sounding books.

#10 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 08:57 AM:

Ya know, I bet you could also add a can of tuna to that... (ducks and runs)

#11 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 09:03 AM:

Debbie... Don't forget to add the Twinkies.

#12 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 09:36 AM:

I'd add a small pinch of cayenne. It plays well with any sort of mac and cheese concoction. Just a tiny bit can make a big difference.

#13 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 09:39 AM:

I have a recipe for something resembling (vaguely) After-Thanksgiving Not-Tuna.

1 14-oz can tomatoes
1 can cream of anything soup
1 can water
1 chicken-stock cube (the can of water and the chicken stock cube can be replaced by 1 can chicken broth)
1 small can of mushrooms or some dried mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz frozen lima beans
2 medium potatoes, cubed
[other items, as you desire]
leftover turkey in small pieces
Cook until the beans and potatoes are almost done, then add the turkey (about 1 hour).
Just before serving, add grated cheese to taste.

#14 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 10:34 AM:

I can't get over the odd concept of macaroni cheese being sold in a box.

#15 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 10:44 AM:

Oops. Meant to add to ^ that, by a strange coincidence*, I made a kind of creamy sauced pasta thing for dinner today. Herewith the recipe, such as it was:

For 2

Slice an onion. Chop a clove of garlic. Slice a leek. Fry in some olive oil and butter until translucent/softened sufficiently.

Meanwhile cook 8oz of pasta. Preheat oven/grill -- set to whatever you consider high.

Add more butter to vegetables in pan. Chuck in a dessert-spoonful of plain flour. Stir a bit. Add enough milk to make a sauce-like consistency. Grate a bit of nutmeg into it.

Stir sauce and cooked pasta together. Transfer to oven-proof dish. Grate lots of cheese over the top (cheddar, parmesan, or hard cheese of choice).

Grill/bake for ten minutes or until cheese nicely browned.


Equally delicious with sliced chicory or Swiss chard in place of the leek. And creme fraiche instead of the butter/flour/milk sauce. Also tasty with a handful of frozen peas chucked in.


* By a further strange coincidence I made peanut biscuits on Wednesday night, without having read the recent Open Thread. I've read the thread now, and must agree that they should be squashed with a fork.

#16 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 11:19 AM:

Wouldn't Campbell's Cheddar Cheese work?

#17 ::: jean vpxi ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 11:58 AM:

Bruce, eggplant's the "poor man's mushroom." After you cut it, salt it thoroughly, let it sit in a drainer, rinse, then cook it real, real well. (The salting is to leach out the bitterness that can lurk within.)

#18 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 12:19 PM:

That's real soup, yes? Not condensed?

It looks a bit high in fat; do you think using a low-fat soup would ruin the texture?

Speaking of which, is anyone else fascinated by that column in Cooking Light where they give you a healthier version of your old family recipe? Even when the original recipe sounds awful, I'm tempted to make it just because the process is so fascinating.

#19 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 01:26 PM:

Macdonald @ #2:

"How about Cream-of-Broccoli soup and some nice broccoli?"

That sounds fine ... for those who can wrap themselves around the concept of "nice broccoli".

I'll settle for the original mushroom, but with peas substituted for peppers in the "something green" department.

#20 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 02:31 PM:

People use RECIPES for this stuff? I make something like this at least once a week. Campbell's cream soups ALL taste like can to me, so I use white sauce, but it's the same idea. Sometimes I find myself making the white sauce long before I have any clue whatsoever what I'm going to put in it or under it.

#21 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 02:33 PM:

Best thing to add to white-sauced or cheesed pasta: smoked paprika. Mmmmmmm.
#15: That leek thing sounds delicious, but why not two leeks instead of one onion, one leek?
Around here, the usual baked pasta thingy is mac-and-cheese, and I've found that you get the best texture if you do not make it with a cheese sauce as such. Make your white sauce, prepare any extras, grate your cheese (cheddar+swiss+a little American), boil your pasta: pasta into bowl with cheese, add extras and white sauce, stir. The heat of everything else melts the cheese just fine. It will just about kill your arm muscles, though, if you make it in the quantities needed in this house.

#22 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 02:39 PM:

Madeline Kelly,

I assume your "peanut biscuits" are what I would call "peanut butter cookies," right?

Because the idea of peanut-flavored American-style biscuits, squashed with a fork, is just peculiar enough that I now want to see if it can be done. I'm not sure that fork-squishing a biscuit would do anything but make its top a bit oddly bumpy, but I could find out!

#23 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 03:39 PM:

Sarah@#18: I tried it once with low-fat cream of mushroom (by accident; grabbed the wrong can at the grocery.) The results were distinctly suboptimal.

#24 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 05:34 PM:

How could I forget Tokyo Turkey Toss?

Leftover Thanksgiving turkey, cubed (enough)
Leftover Thanksgiving rice (enough) (or cook some more up if you need to)
Slivered almonds (enough)
Sliced water chestnuts (1 can)
Chopped celery (left over from making stuffing) (enough-- can be omitted)
Bean sprouts (a big handful)
Soy sauce
Potato chips (if you have any-- if not, don't worry about it)

Get a big bowl and mix all solid ingredients except the potato chips. Add mayo and then soy sauce to wet the whole thing (go light on the soy at first). Plunk it in a 9x13 casserole and crumble the potato chips on the top (or not). Bake at 350-375 until it be anow.

#25 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 05:42 PM:

Chelsea 7: Not to be a picky eater or anything but mayo gives me gooseflesh. Could one conceivably substitute sour cream or yogurt?

No. Mayonnaise is not a milk product. But here's something you CAN substitute:

Break a couple-three eggs into a blender. Get them going on high speed until they're pretty foamy. With the blender still on high, slowly pour light cooking oil in until the mixture is approximately the consistency of mayonnaise.

Use half a cup of that in the recipe where it calls for mayo. As for the rest, it's surprisingly good on sandwiches!

#26 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 05:59 PM:

@Jim Macdonald: Fresh-grated black pepper to taste

Either you have better eyes and dexterity than most, or you're using tweezers and a microscope. Around my house, we grind the pepper in a hand-mill, not grate the little round pods individually. I'd love to see the itsy-bitsy grater, though - I'm a sucker for tiny-scale tools.

Recipie looks tasty though, have to see what I've got in the cupboard for tonight. Have you ever substituted rice for the pasta?


#27 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 06:30 PM:

Xopher, if a person objects to mayonnaise (an emulsion of egg and oil, usually flavored with small amounts of mustard and vinegar or lemon), I doubt an emulsion of egg and oil is going to go over very well as a substitute.

Chelsea, it looks to me like the mayo is not a structural binder. This is supposed to be casserole, not meatloaf. It's mostly contributing a creamy mouthfeel and some subtle egg flavor. If you want creamy mouthfeel and a different flavor (not so subtle, but I think it would go with this), you could substitute mashed avocado.

#28 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 06:39 PM:

Ledasmom #21: why not two leeks instead of one onion, one leek?

Because I only have two leeks in the house, and I wanted to save one to make carrot-leek-and-lentil soup tomorrow.

Fade Manley #22: Yes, my biscuits are your cookies. I know that it's not technically correct to call them biscuits since they're only cooked once, but to me "cookies" are special chocolate-chipped biscuits that you're only allowed to have one of on a weekend evening if you've been good, what with them being so expensive and everything. They're right up there with Kit-Kats and bananas.

#29 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 07:21 PM:

Madeline @ 28: is there a recipe for carrot-leek-and-lentil soup or is it more of a "toss things in pot, go through spice drawer and refrigerator for anything else that looks like it can be tossed in" type thing?

I like soups with carrots and leeks and lentils, but I'm not very good at them - while I can make a passable vichyssoise, I'm still trying to figure out the carrot-and-coriander soup and red lentil soup I had in Glasgow many years back.

#30 ::: emmelisa ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 07:22 PM:

Madeline at # 28: "I know that it's not technically correct to call them biscuits since they're only cooked once"

This really confused me at first, since every biscuit I've ever made (whether American-style or other) has only been baked once. Then I realized you might be thinking of ship's biscuits.

Is that a correct guess?

#31 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 07:37 PM:

emmelisa at #30: the word biscuit derives from the Latin for "twice cooked".

I'm confused by the half a soup-can of milk. If it's got milk in, wouldn't it be a milk-can? Or are you reusing the can from the cream of mushroom soup? Since cans come in standard sizes, and it's hard to tell when one is half full, wouldn't it be easier to use a measuring jug?

#32 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 07:52 PM:

In case someone is interested, biscuit is the French word for cookie. It took me a long time to recognize its different meaning in English.

#33 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 08:06 PM:

I imagine the half-soup-can of milk doesn't dirty another thing that needs to be washed and helps get any last bit of soup that's left in the can into the recipe.

#34 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 08:16 PM:

Eleanor @ 31

Soup-can, yes. Accuracy in measurement: 'close enough'. And it doesn't need to be washed (unless you're going to re-use the can for something else after).

#35 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 09:38 PM:

Oh, spoiled my little joke. Silly person.

#36 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 09:52 PM:

I'll see C. Wingate's Tokyo Turkey Toss and raise my mom's post-Thanksgiving Turkey Tacos:

>Vegetable oil for frying
>Corn tortillas (or flour tortillas, if you're feeling adventurous)
>Leftover T-day turkey, cubed
>Leftover dressing/stuffing (Mom usually made cornbread stuffing from scratch, or used Mrs. Cubbison's white-bread variety)
>Leftover gravy, warmed
>Grated cheese--either sharp cheddar or Monterey jack
>Shredded lettuce
>Hot sauce of choice (at the time, there was a much less abundant selection than today; Mom's choice was called Pio Pico or Pico Paco or something along those lines)

In a large, high-sided skillet (10-inch cast iron with two- or three-inch-high sides, if you want to truly recreate the experience from my mom's perspective), heat about a quarter-inch of vegetable oil until shimmering.

Take a tortilla. Along the center line, add a couple of spoonfuls of dressing/stuffing, leaving a bit of space at either end (at least a quarter inch for a standard corn tortilla). Top with a couple of spoonfuls of cubed turkey.

Holding the tortilla in a folded configuration with a pair of tongs, place the bottom of the taco-to-be into the oil and hold until almost crisp. (I recall this taking a minute or two, but Mom's been gone fifteen years, and I haven't made them since...) Once the bottom of the taco is cooked enough to hold its shape, carefully lower one side into the oil with the tongs. At this point, you can add another taco to the skillet for the initial browning. (Very helpful to have a taco-making assistant so that one can assemble and the other can cook.) Keep an eye on things, and when the first taco's done on one side, carefully turn to the other side.

When your tacos are cooked, part the sides enough to dress with grated cheese (always first, so it melts!), gravy, hot sauce and shredded lettuce in desired quantities and combinations.

Repeat until replete.

Oh, man...major memories...

#37 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 10:32 PM:

We just had Not-Tuna with tuna, and I'm fairly sure it didn't cause a rift in space-time.

Some observations:

It really does need to be condensed soup. I used condensed tomato and regular cream of mushroom, and cut the milk entirely, but it was still a little too gloopy. If I'd been able to find any bread crumbs in the cupboard, that probably would have fixed it. I replaced the green pepper with canned green chilies, which worked well. Thanks, Debra, for steering me away from low-fat soup.

And now I'm concerned, since I spent the afternoon watching Doctor Who, thanks to Serge in the open thread, and made dinner according to Jim's instructions - if I buy a glass spinning wheel before the weekend is out, I may need to head to a Fluorospherians Anonymous meeting.

#38 ::: Sajia Kabir ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 10:41 PM:

Well, Xopher, thanks to you, I now know making mayonnaise from scratch isn't the hardest thing in the world. Making GOOD mayonnaise, on the other hand...

#39 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 10:53 PM:

@#26, I answer my own question by saying "it works with rice." Tried the recipie out tonight, subbing yellow peppers and a bit of onion for the green peppers (had no green ones and I like onions), fresh mushrooms for canned (had no canned, needed to use the 'shrooms before spoilage) and used ~6 cups cooked rice? It was a bit less than half a gallon zip-close plastic baggie of leftover cooked rice. Oh, and I subbed "mexican" shredded cheese with spices and some shredded mozzarella (both are getting a bit old, need to use before they get fuzzy) instead of the sharp cheddar - my wife would not be pleased if I used up all her cheddar! Pepper that has been freshly ground with a hand-mill works well when you don't have a suitable miniature peppercorn grater.

I was a bit skeptical when all the ingredients were staring me in the face as an unmixed pile in the baking pan, tiny soup-can scavenging spatula in hand. Took a bit to mix, plus I had to break up the clumps in the rice (gets that way in the fridge) but wasn't that bad. Ended up cooking it an additional 3-4 minutes or so to get just a bit of golden brown on the cheese in the middle - I suspect having had all the ingredients straight from the cooold fridge inhibited cooking for a while. Smelled good coming out, and yes it is good to let it sit! That bubbling, steamig surface looked like it would be mean to anyone who tried carving out a chunk before it settled down...

Turned out pretty yummy, even my wife liked it. Stiff enough a result to serve on a plate - not very runny at all. Probably the rice soaked up a lot of the fluid.

This was pretty much my first foray into baked "whatever's in the cupboard/fridge" cooking. I've plenty experience with stovetop cooking of that sort.

Why try the recipie tonight? Because it's fun! And, we're hungry.

Thanks, Jim!

Cooking tip #5310257: Don't run your finger around the inside edge of the pop-top condensed soup can to help rinse the can out. It stings, and having a band-aid on the end of your finger makes typing the resulting cooking tip a bit more difficult.


#40 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 10:53 PM:

I make mayonnaise pretty frequently. It's fun, and the variations are endless. Experiment experiment experiment.

#41 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 11:21 PM:

Serge @ 32: Which "English"? Back in Open thread 86, starting somewhat before my remark @828, as part of a language discussion (scones, frex) we started a discussion of English (UK, Australia, perhaps other ex-British or French possessions) 'biscuits' and USian 'biscuits'. I think it lead to an exchange of reminiscences, & possibly recipes.

NOTE, however, that a "peanut cookie/biscuit" is (to me) not the same as a "peanut butter cookie/biscuit". I like both, but the solid crunchy lumps of yer akchool peanuts mixed in with biscuit taste & texture, are not the same as the allover peanut-flavoured biscuit created by mixing peanut butter in with the cookie/biscuit batter, or even a cookie/biscuit with a discrete dollop of peanut butter.

Presumably a half-a-soup-can is rather more than just a soupçon?

#42 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 12:39 AM:

ethan experiments with mayonnaise. O...K...

#43 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 07:56 AM:

Epacris beat me to it, but I thought biscuit was the french word for biscuit. Or rather the french word for "those french biscuits from the supermarket in Calais".

#44 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 08:06 AM:

shadowsong #29: I have a basic soup recipe that I alter to suit the contents of the fridge and vegetable rack. The carrot-leek-and-lentil goes like this:

Serves 2, if you like really BIG bowls of soup

Chop an onion. Chop a clove of garlic. Chop a stick of celery. Slice a leek. Fry the lot in olive oil and butter until translucent/softened.

Chop 2 or 3 carrots (peel them if they're not organically grown -- bog-standard carrots have high levels of pesticide in the skin layer). Add to pan.

Add some white wine to the pan -- no more than a glassful. Bring to the boil.

Add lentils -- one handful per person (but I do have very small hands). Stir.

Add enough stock that the vegetables are comfortably jostling with each other in the pan. I say "add stock", but I normally just add water from the kettle and a teaspoon of vegetable stock powder.

Stir. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, put the lid mostly on the pan, and let it cook for 15-20 minutes. Due to my imprecise measuring system I tend to check it after 10 minutes to make sure the lentils haven't absorbed all the liquid. If they have, I just add another slosh or two from the kettle.

Once it's cooked you can either (a) pour into bowls and eat, or (b) blend it to delectable smoothness, pour into bowls and eat.



1. Simpler: you don't have to use the leek, or the wine, or the garlic, or the celery (although my grandmother says that a soup without celery isn't really a soup at all).

2. Beetroot/turnip/parsnip: you can use any root vegetables that you happen to have in as well as/instead of the carrots.

3. Tomato: you could turn it into tomato-and-lentil soup by replacing the wine with a can of chopped tomatoes (probably won't need so much stock either). A red pepper works well with this version too. And some spices: cinnamon, paprika, ginger and cumin. Or basil, stirred in at the very end.

4. Courgette: a chopped courgette works well with the original recipe, if you have one that needs using up.

5. Peas: you could replace the carrots with a few handfuls of peas. And replace the lentils with a peeled, chopped potato.

6. Spiced: add spices at the initial onion-frying stage. Ground coriander and/or ground cumin. Or curry powder.

7. Runnier: if after cooking and blending it's too thick to be considered a soup, just add water, milk, cream, yoghurt, etc to thin it down.

8. Really fancy and time-consuming: preheat the oven to high (eg. 220 C) peel a variety of root vegetables (when I did this on Tuesday I used beetroots, parsnips, carrots and turnips) and chop into roughly equal-sized pieces. Put them in one or two roasting tins -- so that they form a single layer in the tin(s). Slosh olive oil all over everything. Roast them until they're soft on the inside. This took an hour with my pathetic little oven, turning the vegetables halfway through. Heat olive oil in a saucepan, add chopped onion and garlic and cook until translucent/softened. Add all the roasted vegetables, and enough stock so that they're jostling each other comfortably. Bring to the boil and cook for a few minutes. Blend. Thin down with thinning agent of choice. Eat. Try to save some for the next day because it's even tastier then.

I make some variant on this soup several times a week. When our cupboards are really bare, I have been known to make a soup using only onions, butter, lentils, curry powder and stock.


Epacris #41: the solid crunchy lumps of yer akchool peanuts mixed in with biscuit taste & texture, are not the same as the allover peanut-flavoured biscuit created by mixing peanut butter in with the cookie/biscuit batter, or even a cookie/biscuit with a discrete dollop of peanut butter.

The recipe I followed resulted in a kind of peanut butter batter (as fun to say as to eat!) -- 8oz of peanut butter stirred into a basic biscuit batter (also fun to say!) -- which makes it your second option.

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 08:21 AM:

Madeline Kelly @ 44... Add lentils -- one handful per person (but I do have very small hands).

Did you know that the French word for lentil is lentille, which is also the French word for lens?

#46 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 08:29 AM:

Serge: No. I thought the French word for lens was lens...

#47 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 08:29 AM:

(but I'm rubbish at French)

#48 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 08:33 AM:

Same word in French. I was reminded of that when you made a comment about your hands being small. I was going to make a bad joke about using lentils to better see your small hands then I remembered the difference.

Saved by translation!

#49 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:18 AM:

Indeed, the Roman name for lentils was "lens" — botanically named Lens culinaris — and those useful pieces of shaped glass were named because of their resemblance to the seeds. (Not the reverse, as some sources say.)

#50 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:26 AM:

Serge #32: I grew up thinking of 'biscuit' as the English word for what Americans call 'cookie'.

#51 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:35 AM:

Fragano @ 50... I wonder if people are now hopelessly confused.

#52 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:42 AM:

(Late to the party, but chiming in anyway...)

The recipe title "Not-Tuna" suggests to me that this dish got its name when someone frazzled was assembling the ingredients for a tuna casserole, the family pet wanted in on the action, and the Dearly Beloved wandered into the room at the moment of consternation to ask what's for dinner to get the pointed response of "Not Tuna..."

(But if that's not how it happened, I'm not sure I want to know, because I like my version.)

#53 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:51 AM:

Biscuits and cookies.

I'm an American. Cookies are sweet baked goods, usually flat, which my Australian and British friends quaintly refer to as "biscuits." (Except for bar cookies - the kind baked in a pan as one unit then cut into pieces for serving, such as brownies. I've never had anyone call those biscuits but perhaps they know not the madness that is brownie lust.)

However, they also use "biscuit" to refer to crackers, which are salty-savory flavored (more or less unleavened) baked things that I can't be bothered to make at home.

If pressed, my friends will admit to a distinction between "sweet biscuits" and "savory biscuits" but in my universe these are two entirely different categories of foodstuff. Apparently in other parts of the world a "cracker" is either a lunatic or a sort of minor pyrotechnic (neither recommended for consumption with a slice of cheese and perhaps some olive paste or a bit of sausage.)

I have yet to determine what word they use for an American biscuit, which is a leavened baked good, usually neutral to savory, prepared by cutting the fat into the flour as one would for a pie crust, so it rises tall and flaky in layers when cut (or puffs up into a big blob when dropped on the baking tray.)

Am I confused yet?

#54 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 10:22 AM:

Manx definitions:

Biscuits = sweet, crunchy things that you can dunk in your mug of tea.

Cookies = posh, sweet, crunchy things with chocolate chips in that you can dunk in your mug of tea.

Crackers = salty, crispy, crunchy things that you eat with cheese.

Not included in the above: flapjacks, brownies, crispbakes (like a flattened Rice Krispie cake), shortbread (unless it's shaped like a biscuit, in which case it's a shortbread biscuit), teacakes (both Tunnocks and fruity-bread-dough varieties), buns, bonnag, Eccles cakes, fairy cakes, butterfly cakes, cupcakes, and cakes generally.

#55 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 10:30 AM:

Madeline @54: and here I was wanting to visit the place! I may need to avoid a place that caters to the sweet tooth in such bountiful variety :-)

#56 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 10:33 AM:

Madeline Kelly @ 54... Guess what Québec francophones call muffins? The word is pet, which is the French for fart.

Aren't you glad I told you that?

#57 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 11:00 AM:

Serge @56:
Guess what Québec francophones call muffins? The word is pet, which is the French for fart.

Whereas in Dutch pet is a baseball cap, as opposed to a hat with a brim, which is hoed*, or what a Canadian† would call a toque, which is a muts‡.

* pronounced "hood"
† an Anglophone Canadian, anyway
‡ As I found out in a very funny lunchtime conversation, muts is also slang for the female genitalia. Which is why I cracked up the next time I came in wearing one (it was cold) and one of my colleagues said, "Nice muts."

#58 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 11:18 AM:

Abi... one of my colleagues said, "Nice muts."

Which reminds me of the time a restaurant opened in Québec City. It was called Le Toît because it was located on the roof of a high building. Apparently some anglophones pronounced it twat.

As for the anglophone toque, it is known as a tuque. Yes, I used to wear one and there probably are pictures of me in my mom's photo albums thus coiffed. Alas.

#59 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 11:41 AM:

Serge #51: I expect so.

#60 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 12:23 PM:

Madeline 54: bonnag, Eccles cakes, fairy cakes, butterfly cakes

I don't know, or more likely have forgotten, what any of these are. Could you describe them?

It's fascinating that 'cookies' are more posh than 'biscuits'!

As for crackers, I think those are the same in America as in Mannin. I simply called them 'savory flatbreads' when I was playing "Teal'c Talk" on another site. ("Were he to consume savory flatbreads upon my sleeping platform, I would not, on that account alone, expel him.")

#61 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 12:57 PM:

Adrian 27: To elaborate on what I said earlier, if Chelsea thought sour cream might substitute for mayonnaise, it's unlikely that the composition of mayonnaise is what she objects to. If she did, she would recognize what I was doing and have the same reaction you did.

If it was just a "Yuck! Mayonnaise!" reaction, my suggestion might have allowed her to get past that and make the recipe exactly as Jim recommended it. If this had worked, I'd've told her it was mayonnaise.

But nooooo, you had to go in and throw your sabot into the machine. Did you really think I knew how to make that emulsion, yet didn't know that it was mayonnaise? Implausible. I expect you wanted to interdict what you perceived as a dirty trick; in fact the opposite was intended.

Chelsea, I'm curious what your reaction is to this. Did you know right away what I was trying to do? If not, did you resent my trick when Adrian pointed it out? Or resent Adrian's pointing it out? Or just not care that much?

I'll tell you why my favorite main dish recipe is called "Pasta-Cheddar Casserole." It began life as a recipe for macaroni and cheese with just a little more flavor than the usual, but I rang a lot of changes on it (a LOT more mushrooms than what I started with, for example, and a little bit of cayenne—and sundried tomatoes are not at all a usual ingredient for mac&cheese).

One friend of mine refused to eat it, saying that macaroni and cheese was supposed to be bland, and mine was too richly flavored. Another refused, saying she'd vowed after college that she'd never eat macaroni and cheese again.

Both ate it when I changed the name. I've also discovered that rotini work much better in the dish than macaroni, so its alternate name is "Rotini Casserole."

Sometimes people's problems with various foods are conceptual and associative rather than substantial. For one last (I swear!) example, eggs and oil are both common ingredients for rich cakes, but when I made a chocolate cake once (the recipe calling for mayonnaise), the people who tasted it first ate it happily, and the people who heard the ingredients first (except one cook) refused to even try it. "Mayonnaise? Cake? Yuck!"

Jim's recipe isn't going to TASTE like mayonnaise either.

I'm not actually pissed off about this or anything. I'm no more than mildly irritated, but I did want to explain where I was coming from.

#62 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 01:00 PM:

Meanwhile, casserole is the French word for frying pan.

#63 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 01:01 PM:

Yes, words once borrowed continue to shift in meaning, resulting in faux amis, if I spell that right.

#64 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 01:26 PM:

Breadcrumbs on top makes everything better (with the possible exception of certain single-malts).

#65 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 01:30 PM:


For what it's worth, I saw what you were doing and thought it clever. And a fair point, because the stuff you get from following your suggestion is not the same as the goop in the jar. So if it's jargoop that someone doesn't like, maybe this is a way to get good stuff.

#66 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 01:45 PM:

Jim @64:
Breadcrumbs on top makes everything better (with the possible exception of certain single-malts).

As opposed to The Gort a' Bhaile, you mean. It's a feisty lowland malt, with overtones of soot and cracking harling above a base of potato and cabbage. The bonnie* flavour is improved by letting it soak into breadcrumbs, which are then deep fried and served with salt and vinegar**.

* or, more accurately, a flavour usually associated with bonnie
** because it's a west coast malt; it would be salt & sauce further east

#67 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 01:52 PM:

Xopher #42: Dirty! Besides, as much as I love mayonnaise, both the homemade stuff and what abi calls jargoop, the idea of that kind of experimentation with it makes me a bit vomity.

#68 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 01:53 PM:

Abi.. 'Gort'? I'd watch out for that ale's death-ray if I were you.

#69 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 01:53 PM:

Xopher @ 63... You did.

#70 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 01:59 PM:

I find rotini kind of hard to eat - the pasta shape I've found holds up best to casseroling (and soups and reheating) is ditalini.

I don't know that the kind of sturdiness I need in pasta would be important for most recipes. I generally make up huge batches of things on the weekend for my family to reheat, because left to their own devices (I'm generally not home until fairly late) they're likely to eat linguine with red sauce from a jar.

#71 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 01:59 PM:

And a Canadian toque is a North Carolinian toboggan, which leads to endless hilarity in my originally-Michigander boyfriend's household when crime reports state "The robber was wearing a blue toboggan on his head."

#72 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 02:01 PM:

The rotini hold the right amount of the sauce for that recipe. If you like a higher pasta-to-sauce ratio, use penne rigate (not smooth penne).

#73 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 02:03 PM:

re 61: Another solution is to dub it "my mother's macaroni and cheese." After all, it's entirely possible that your mother made hers differently, and of course you would not dare to tamper with such a Sacred Culinary Deposit. In my personal case, it happens that my mother's version of mac & cheese is atypical, as are a lot of her "common" recipes.

It's also amusing to watch the mayo/Miracle Whip division, because one can be sure that a recipe which mixes vinegar and mayo is going to end up tasting like Miracle Whip. It's not the difference in taste that seems to matter, though the two take very similar ingredient lists and produce quite different flavors (mayo = eggy, MW = sour/sweet): it's the religious fervor on the anti-MW side.

#74 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 02:22 PM:

My spouse firmly believes in the One True Mayo*, which happens to be Hellman's. After two decades of refusing to eat anything with mayo on it, he introduced me to his favorite brand and I actually started eating mayo on stuff. Because that brand is tasty. So I wonder how much mayo hatred is from being introduced to a lousy variety of it.

(Not all, I'm sure. I still dislike white bread, and I've been introduced to what I'm told are quite good varieties of it.)

* He also believes there is a One True Canned Peas. As long as he keeps doing the cooking, I'm willing to agree on this point.

#75 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 02:48 PM:

Fade @ 74

AKA Best, west of the Rockies. Good mayo; it's easier to buy than it is to make the stuff. (I've made mayo: it's fun to watch it turn from egg-yolks-and-oil to mayo. Once I got almost-red yolks and ended up with yellow mayo.)

Miracle Whip is mayo mixed with salad dressing (more oil, more vinegar, herbs and spices). You can do that with real mayo if you want. I wouldn't use MW on sandwiches, though, because it's almost 'tartar sauce' for fish.

#76 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 02:48 PM:

xopher @ #61, there are some ingredients better left untold, I think.

For example, Susan Stamberg's Cranberry relish, prominently read out on NPR every Thanksgiving:

Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish

2 cups whole raw cranberries, washed

1 small onion

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar ("red is a bit milder than white")

Grind the raw berries and onion together. ("I use an old-fashioned meat grinder," says Stamberg. "I'm sure there's a setting on the food processor that will give you a chunky grind -- not a puree.")

Add everything else and mix.

Put in a plastic container and freeze.

Early Thanksgiving morning, move it from freezer to refrigerator compartment to thaw. ("It should still have some little icy slivers left.")

The relish will be thick, creamy, and shocking pink. ("OK, Pepto Bismol pink. It has a tangy taste that cuts through and perks up the turkey and gravy. It’s also good on next-day turkey sandwiches, and with roast beef.")

Makes 1-1/2 pints.

Horseradish and cranberries sound to me like an awful mix, and I admit I've never tried this (my family really really doesn't like changes to its Turkey Day menu), but it's gotten so many testimonials over the years that it must be good.

#77 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 03:07 PM:

P J Evans #75: Wait, when you make your own mayonnaise it's not normally yellow? Mine always is. Now I'm afraid I'm doing something wrong.

Actually, I always wondered why store-bought mayonnaise was white.

#78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 03:10 PM:

Fade Manley @ 74... My spouse firmly believes in the One True Mayo

Virginia Mayo?

#79 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 03:26 PM:

I can testify to the Stamberg cranberry relish. It's nicely bracing and palate-cleansing as part of a meal that's often fairly rich.

My husband, who believes that cranberry sauce is cylindrical in form with ridges and should be displayed untouched for the length of the meal, then discarded, was perplexed and disbelieving the first time he had Thanksgiving dinner with my family and saw eight different kinds of cranberry sauces on the table.

And when the serving dishes were all empty by the end of the meal, he really started wondering what kind of gang of freaks he had married into.

#80 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 04:10 PM:

Nobody Googled Gort a' Bhaile, I guess. Fair do's. It's the original Gaelic name for the Gorbals, one of the roughest neighbourhoods in Glasgow, right on the Clyde (thus Bonnie), one of the native haunts of the deep fried Mars bar.

Note to self: be more comprehensible.

#81 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 04:13 PM:

P J Evans #75: Miracle Whip and mayonnaise are both perfectly good foods, in my book. The biggest difference is MW is sweeter, so if you have to substitute mayo in a recipe where your taste buds are firmly expecting Miracle Whip (for instance, in egg, chicken, or potato salad), you need to add a pinch or two of sugar. MW is also tangier, but for some reason that difference doesn't seem to stand out as much.

I haven't run across a context where I could acceptably substitute the other way; when you want mayo, you want mayo.

Fade, #74: I agree with your spouse; Hellman's is far and away better than any other bottled mayonnaise we've tried.

#82 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 04:20 PM:

Re varieties of mayonnaise: I am increasingly fond of the Dutch fritesaus, at least on frites*. It's kind of mayo-plus.

The ingredients of the jar in front of me are in Dutch, which I will not utter here, but can be rendered in the common tongue** something like this:

water, vegetable oil, sugar†, modified starch, vinegar, egg yolks, mustard, salt, chemicals‡

Weblogs compare it to Miracle Whip††, but "not so cloying".

* chips in British English, fries in American English.
** of this weblog
† or sugarlike stuff
‡ you know what I mean
†† which I have never tasted

#83 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 04:25 PM:

Abi @ 80... Gort a' Bhaile (..,) one of the native haunts of the deep fried Mars bar

Klaatu Barada Nikto!

#84 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 04:31 PM:

Abi @ 82... frites * chips in British English, fries in American Englis

frite being the French word for fried. What is known as fries in the USA are patates frites in Québec and pommes frites in France. (Why pomme, which is also apple? It is because, over there, poatoes are called pommes de terre, or apples of the earth.)

#85 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 04:40 PM:

Serge, you do know that poatoes are merely the unconventionally-spelt plural of Croatoan, a mystery vegetable, right?

#86 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Linkmeister... I didn't know what the original name of the potato was, but I knew they were from the New World. That's why, when Sam said how much he wanted to eat 'taters, in LoTR, I went 'Huh?'.

#87 ::: JaniceG ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 04:55 PM:

Recipe sounds good but unfortunately suffers from one of my Pet Peeves: recipes that say "one can" or "one box" or (not in this recipe's particular case) "pour into a pan" and I'm left whimpering pitifully "What *size*?"

#88 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 04:56 PM:

There are a couple of jarred mayonnaises here that are pretty good, one I know by reputation and the other which I buy in the biggest jars it comes in because it is very good, almost as good as homemade.

In this Australian household (corrupted by a Canadian, and eccentricity on many parts):

biscuit = flat, sweet thing, dunked in tea, eaten with enthusiasm
cookie = the same thing, but especially when it includes pieces of things, like oats or dried fruit, or chocolate chips
cracker = flat, unleavened, savoury thing, except for graham crackers
scone = flour and butter rubbed together, milk added, cooked so that it rises up and is then split and butter or cream and jam added.
slice = biscuit base, various layers, made in one big piece and then sliced up into serving portions.

#89 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 05:05 PM:

JaniceG @ #87

That looks like a hearty sort of serves four - six recipe. I think when things aren't very precisely stated, it means you have a lot of leeway. I'd start with a box (or bag) of pasta (around a pound of pasta?) and the soupcan (that's usually the same size everywhere), use the other ingredients as measured, and the "one can" ones as you like, or what you have. These sorts of casserole things are really madly forgiving, accommodating what you have on hand, or something you particularly like. It wants to go into a decent sized baking thing, probably the one you'd use for lasagne for four to six people.

#90 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 05:07 PM:

Hi again! I'm like the telemarketer who just wants one more go at selling you this amazing house siding stuff.

I just noticed that I made a cooking vessel size guess for the Not Tuna when Jim already specifies the size, so ignore that particular bit of babble.

#91 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 05:11 PM:

ethan @ 77

No, I meant noticeably yellow, not the pale creamy color that it usually is. I don't know what that hen had been eating; the egg yolk looked like the sun in a really good sunset: deep, deep orangey red.

It isn't that I object to MW, it's that I object to people confusing it with mayo.

#92 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 05:41 PM:

Speaking of recipes, and the cocktails for literati particle, there is a non-zero chance that the customer mentioned in this weird piece in SF Gate was me. On the other hand, it's possible that the Monkey Gland is more popular than I thought.

p.s. I use Pernod.

#93 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 06:33 PM:

Serge (#58) Speaking of embarrassing four-letter words, a few days back a friend showed me Sony's amusing misstep on one of its leather carry pouches. Checking the original site again shows that the company has responded to the feedback and changed its designation, so we're lucky to have the first version thoughtfully preserved for ongoing hilarity.

#94 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 06:34 PM:

Serge @#86 I didn't know what the original name of the potato was, but I knew they were from the New World. That's why, when Sam said how much he wanted to eat 'taters, in LoTR, I went 'Huh?'.

So that means they come from the Lands to the West, maybe Númenor... wait a minute! This is just another trick to make me borrow my Dad's copies of the Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. Again!

#95 ::: JaniceG ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 07:17 PM:

ema #89: Thanks for the tips. I already have coping mechanisms related to recipes that don't mention sizes - I just thought I'd take the opportunity to vent about recipes that make me have to use them :->

BTW, I'm in Australia too so I'd appreciate the name of the mayonnaise! I'm using Praise, which is ok but not as good as Hellman's/Best.

#96 ::: ema nymtonsti ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 07:49 PM:

JaniceG #95

S&W Whole Egg Mayonnaise! We use it on almost everything.

#97 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 07:58 PM:

re 91: MW is basically a vinaigrette stabilized with a little egg. Hellmann's uses both whites and whole eggs, which is why it isn't as yellow as some. It also makes a great deal of difference where you get your eggs from. Our store eggs have very pale yolks, whereas the free-range eggs we get locally have yolks somewhat darker than an orange.

I tend prefer MW on some sorts of sandwiches; however, that's because I like the sour edge.

#98 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 08:07 PM:

I'll admit to making the occasional mayo sandwich (two slices of bread with mayo, all else optional). Also sliced cheese and mayo on hot English muffins.

#99 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 08:28 PM:

Mez @ 93... I once saved one of our users from a bit of embarassment when, after reading the first draft of his specs, I pointed out to him that there is an 'L' in the second syllable of 'public'.

#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 08:30 PM:

Neil Willcox @ 94... This is just another trick to make me borrow my Dad's copies of the Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. Again!

I wouldn't dream of it.

#101 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 08:33 PM:

In French(*), the word recette can be used to mean recipe and receipts.

(*) "Oh, no... Not again!!!"

#102 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 08:39 PM:

#101 ::: Serge

Recipe=receipt in slightly antiquated (OK, 17th century) Engligh as well, as in Eleanor Fettiplace's Receipt Book.

#103 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 08:52 PM:

vian @ 102... Interesting. By the way, when I mentionned receipts, I was referring, maybe erroneously, to the total amount of money that a theater, for example, will have made by the end of a day. I think another slang word in English would be the 'take'.

#104 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 08:56 PM:

English, even.

#105 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:44 PM:

And here is Chicken Peregrynne:

Chicken thighs, skin-on and bone-in (6-8)
Olive oil as needed
Garlic (powder will do)
Carrots (sliced or baby carrots halved)
1 can straw mushrooms (broken ones will do)
1 can baby corn
coconut milk (use decent stuff, see below)
Old Bay seasoning, to taste

Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Season thighs with garlic powder (or saute garlic in the oil first, for you high church types) and brown thighs in oil, skin side first and then bottoms. Set aside.

Add carrots and some Old Bay to the pan and saute a bit. Drain baby corn, break into smaller pieces (like halves or thirds) and add to pan.Stir around a bit. Add straw mushrooms, including the juice, to the pan. Stir around a bit. Add coconut milk, and stir around a bit. Taste and see if you want more Old Bay. Bring to boil.

Now produce a tall-sided casserole. With a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the pan and arrange in a bed in the casserole. Arrange chicken thighs, skin side up, on the vegetables. Pour the sauce over the casserole, making sure that the tops of the thighs are not swimming. Back in 350 oven until done (45 min to an hour). If the sauce starts to disappear you need to stop. Serve with rice. If you are feeling oliophobic you can run the sauce through a separator cup before adding to casserole, or you can do this after baking by carefully draining it off. Feeds plenty.

Note that this seems to be sensitive to the quality of the coconut milk. The light stuff definitely will not work. If you don't know about Old Bay, I really can't explain it to you. It is entirely responsible for the surge of crabs past oysters in the Maryland seafood economy.

#106 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 11:44 PM:

C. 105: Garlic (powder will do)


(or saute garlic in the oil first, for you high church types)

Oh. Well then. Dominus vobiscum.

#107 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:17 AM:

P J Evans #91: Ah. OK. I feel better now. Those do sound like highly peculiar eggs, by the way.

Re: favorite kinds of jargoop, my favorite is far and away Otto Seidner's. I have no idea what the availability of it is--I've only seen it here in the semi-local (i.e., not Whole Foods) organic market in the Jewishest neighborhood in Providence--but since I've had it no other brand will do.

The major problem with it is that that market is far out of my everyday route, and also far too expensive for me to shop at regularly, so when I need mayonnaise I need to make a relatively extensive trip just to buy the one thing. But it's worth it.

#108 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 05:21 AM:

emma #55: Don't be put off by my list of sweetness. We have kippers too...

Xopher #60: bonnag, Eccles cakes, fairy cakes, butterfly cakes

I don't know, or more likely have forgotten, what any of these are. Could you describe them?

Bonnag: to me it's a kind of fruity soda bread, but apparently it started out life as a plain soda bread. We just got all fancy in the intervening years and started adding raisins to it. (recipe here)

Eccles cakes: puff pastry discs stuffed with currants. My husband calls them "squashed fly cakes", for obvious reasons. (recipe here)

Fairy cakes: somewhere between a cupcake and a muffin. (CAUTION: this may be a family definition rather than a Manx definition, like "Hellicky-Jellicky" and "pupe".)

Butterfly cakes: get your fairy cake, slice off the pointy bit on top, scoop out a teaspoonful of spongey goodness from inside the cake, fill the cavity with whipped cream, cut the pointy bit in half and stick both halves into the cream so that they look like wings. Eat.

Serge #84: (Why pomme, which is also apple? It is because, over there, potatoes are called pommes de terre, or apples of the earth.)

I've always thought that was such a lovely, romantic thing to call a potato. It's right up there with calling tomatoes "love apples".

#109 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:32 AM:

Serge #86: Papas, I believe.

#110 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:41 AM:

Another Brit's take, for linguistic triangulation purposes:

Biscuits: Crisp texture, sweet, to be dipped in tea. Fancy biscuits may be chocolate-coated, or have 'cream' or jam fillings (cf. Jammy dodgers, Custard Creams, &c.)

Cookies: as any fule (and abi, who is Most Emphatically Not One) kno, this comes from the Dutch 'koekje', or 'little cake'. Large biscuit with a soft chewy texture, generally laden with a payload of chocolate chips, fruit, peanuts, and other such goodies.

Cheese or water biscuits: thin savoury crisp baked goods, a sub-species of which are known as crackers. Excellent for conveying stilton* from the plate to ones mouth.

American biscuits are unknown here, but they seem to resemble a savoury scone.

*NOT THE NOSE. Oh, and pass the port.

Madeline Kelly #108:
Not to be confused with the German 'Pferdeäpfel'. Which would make for memorably ghastly cuisine.

#111 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:46 AM:

Madeline Kelly @ 108... calling tomatoes "love apples"

I dare not ask why they are called that.

#112 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:28 AM:

re 111: Oh, it's from the middle-aged-male-fear-of-impotence school of herbology that designates nearly every new/odd thing as an aphrodisiac. (There are times when I think that the best way for the WWF to preserve protected species would by universal distribution of free V***ra.

#113 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:09 PM:

A recipe for Chicken Divan taken from a 1970s cookbook put out by the teachers where my mother taught fourth grade has a haunting similarity, if you make three substitutions: cream of chicken soup for mushroom, chicken for macaroni, and broccoli for peppers. We seem to have a whole class of dishes here for which the essential ingredients would appear to be the cheese, the mayo, *some* kind of cream soup, and some sort of veg.

I will also note, in reference to my own cooking style, that clearly I don't keep quite enough tinned/prepared food in the pantry. Some years back, I was given something called _Desperation Dinners_, which is supposed to be what to cook if you haven't got anything in the house. Turns out that their spin on "anything" is actually "anything fresh", as you combine various cans of things with some kind of carb base, and then dress it up with some sort of tinned exotic ingredient. I went looking through this cookbook several times in search of something I could throw together without a special supermarket trip to get at least one ingredient, and never once struck even bronze, much less gold or silver.

#114 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:27 PM:

Zeborah #5 (and anyone else for whom washing up after cheese sauce is annoying)

My Mom (and all her kids) make the cheese sauce for macaroni and cheese in the blender, thusly:

Basic Macaroni and Cheese:

--8 oz. macaroni or other pasta, cooked according to pkg. directions
--2 cups cheddar cheese, cubed (almost any mixture of almost any kind of leftover cheese bits works well, though I like at least some cheddar for the sake of tradition. Too much parmesan will make a grainy sauce.)
--2 cups hot milk (microwave ~3 minutes, stir, repeat)
--2 T butter
--2T flour

Preheat oven to 350.

Put butter, flour, salt, and pepper into bottom of blender. Add about 1/2 cup cheese. Pour in 1/2 cup hot milk. Blend. Remove center cap from blender lid, continue to alternate adding cheese and milk, ending with the last bit of milk.

Pour cheese sauce over macaroni. Top with paprika.

Bake at 350 for ~35-40 minutes, or until GBD.

[And the cleanup? Put a small amount of soap and water into the bottom of the blender. Blend. Rinse. Done.]

#115 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:03 PM:

#113, joann -

Hm, I have Desperation Dinners and I like it a lot. I would have said the spin was not "don't have anything in the house" but "only have half an hour to cook," which is an entirely different animal and makes me wonder if there aren't two different cookbooks with that name.

Of course, I'm only just learning to be organized enough to plan ahead and cook a meal once a week. I read the foodie blogs and realize I've got a fifth-grader's palate, or nearly. So it could be that we're talking about exactly the same cookbook.

Mine is the one by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross.

#116 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:21 PM:

RM Koske #115:

It's the same book; I guess we just took different things away from it. My usual style is to do a whole week's menus on grocery day, and make a list based on that and whatever stock items we've run out of that got written up on the fridge whiteboard. This results in a bunch of staples on hand, but very little tinned (aside from various forms of tinned tomato product, which I regard as staples, and some tinned veggies to add a green to a meat plate) or frozen that I haven't deliberately acquired, or that got frozen because I bought a package of three chicken whatever-pieces and there's only two of us.

#117 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:42 PM:

One of my sisters made that or a version of it one year. Flavor-wise it was tart and spicy. I liked it better as a topping/ingredient.

#118 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:32 PM:

#91, #107: That is what a free-range egg should look like, at least in summer. When we can get them (I found them in a jewelry store in Shelburne Falls last year) we get a few dozen, because you can pretty much live on free-range eggs if you like eggs.
If one drives down to Shelburne Falls early enough in the spring, one drives by the place with the twenty-five-cent soft-serve maple ice cream cones, which also sometimes has free-range eggs.

#119 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:21 PM:

C. Wingate, #105, I hate Old Bay. It gets glopped on all crabs around here. Back where I grew up, we had crabs with enough flavor we didn't need Old Bay.

#120 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 03:08 PM:

I made Madeline Kelly's leek pasta at #15 last night, and everything went well up through my second square of it, which I was carrying into the living room to eat at the computer when my shoelace caught on one of the springs on the mini-trampoline, which had been moved during the day by the younger boy, causing me to catapult faster than expected towards the computer and the pasta to in turn shoot off the plate. Luckily, most of it landed on a still-wrapped package of computer-printable checks and was slid back onto the plate in one piece, a triumph for slovenliness, I think.

#121 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 03:13 PM:

Ledasmom #120:

And here I was expecting a pasta-meets-keyboard moment.

#122 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 03:28 PM:

Ledasmom #120: you just made my day! I hope it tasted good, even after the spilling and recovering.

#123 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 04:20 PM:

#s 121 and 122: I can confirm that Madeline Kelly's leek pasta is a sturdy dish that holds up well to dropping on the floor and also reheats nicely.

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