What’s cookin’?

December 1, 2010

Since we’re in the holiday season between Thanksgiving to Christmas, I’m thinking a little more than usual about cooking. So I posted a couple of recipes for people that don’t have time for recipe war extravaganzas like Dr. Isis* and PhysioProf** did. Thought you all that haven’t made it over to Scientopia yet might want a look.
If I have any talents in the kitchen, I describe them as being a cook. I’m not a gourmet chef like MarkCC of Good Math, Bad Math (I mean seriously? get out!) and the two aforementioned recipe warriors. I mean, I can handle a complicated recipe and all and I do like that style of food smithing now and again. But where I really come alive is in opening the fridge, finding whatever is in there and trying to make something tasty based around the basic starches. Pasta. Rice. Potatoes. Or from a hunk of insert-meat-here. Or even from “There’s nothing to eat in here honeee!”
My spouse bakes. Oh, this is fantastic because if there is one thing I really don’t do in the kitchen it is bake. I can manage to not screw up a cheesecake too badly but… yeah, the oven and I do not get along. The range is my friend.
My spouse, OTOH, isn’t much of a cook. Recipe’d meals, no problem, and it all comes out tasty. Some of the signature work from that part of the household is awesome. But there just isn’t the same love there that I have for cooking. For having a basic knowledge of how you cook particular ingredients and throwing them together as variations on the basic themes for decidedly unfancy meal preparation.
I wonder how many of you all have this division of talent when it comes to food preparation? It isn’t like we did this by design but for the most part this balance of preferences works out well.
Hey, how ’bout a little poll? Select all that apply…

In the kitchen, I describe myself asonline surveys

Whoa, that was a diversion. Anyway, back to the point. Recipes for the rest of us.
Cranberry-orange bread
Slow cooker split pea soup
*mmmmm, carnitas. another recipe from Namnezia.
**credit where due, this recipe single handedly put me back on brussel sprouts. I hadn’t eaten them in probably two decades or more.

Another quick and easy recipe for those of us who don’t have a whole lot of time in the kitchen anymore. If you put it in mini-loaf pans you can even use it as a holiday gift for your neighbors, kids’ teachers, lab staff or local Tenured Deadwood F***s.


1 1/2 C white or brown sugar
1/2 C melted butter
1 3/4 C orange juice
2 eggs, beaten

Sift (although in fact I never sift):
5 C flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tblsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Stir dry and liquid mixtures together until blended.

Fold in:
3-4 C chopped cranberries (this amounts to ~one of the usual packages, picked over. I just slice them in half, I don’t really chop ’em)
2 Tbsp orange zest (grated rind in case this doesn’t translate to non-USiAns)

Pour into 2 buttered loaf pans* and let stand for 20 minutes (hmm, think I forgot that part last time)

Bake in 350 deg F oven until browned and a knife in the center comes out clean, ~60 minutes

*or mini loaves for neighbors/teachers/TDFs, or probably would work as muffins but I haven’t ever tried that, oddly enough.

Cooking conversion calculator for non-US readers. Which seems to suck. Maybe this Conversion Table for Cooking is better.