Kill two meals with one bird


When I was at the store that first night, one of the things I picked up was a roasted chicken. The plan wasn’t to eat it immediately, but to replenish our chicken stock… and have some chicken meat available for other stuff.

This chicken was really well roasted, and I was able to pull all the meat off by hand. I got about a quart of meat and a bunch of skin and bones (I left some skin with the meat ’cause I like it).

When you make stock it’s really best to use uncooked bones – and you may be able to get those from the butcher at the supermarket – but skin, bones, cartilage from a cooked chicken make great stock, too. Usually you’ll add some sort of aromatics. The traditional French mirepoix is onions, carrots, and celery. If you were going for a Chinese stock, you might use ginger, garlic, and scallions. I had half an onion and some carrots, so I used those. Leaving the onion skin on gives the stock a nice golden color. Don’t bother to peel the carrots, but do cut the tops off as they can be bitter.


Throw everything in a slow cooker or pot, cover with cold water, bring it to a boil, then simmer it for days. Making stock is great if your attention is elsewhere because the longer it cooks the better it gets – just be sure to keep adding water if you need to. It also makes your whole place smell great so the chances of you forgetting altogether are low.

After two or three days (I’m actually not sure how long it was on for), I strained all the bits out and got two quarts of delicious, golden stock.

Kill two meals with one bird

Eat someone else’s food

The idea behind this blog wasn’t to try to be entirely self-sufficient, and having friends and family bring food over is not only a big help but also a great opportunity for them to meet the baby. One of the reasons I haven’t posted more so far is partially because it takes time to type these things up, but also because we’ve been lucky to have folks bring over great meals that last more than one sitting. So if you’re lucky in the same way, obviously enjoy that. It’s hard not to feel thankful for it.


Eat someone else’s food

Pasta in a sausage and kale cream sauce

Last night Caitlin asked what was for dinner and suggested maybe pasta. I knew we had some sausage that needed to be cooked and some greens, so I decided to put it all together for one of our favorite dishes.


2 links of italian sausage
1/2 a package of pasta (8 oz.)
some cream
4-5 leaves of kale or other green
cooking oil (like olive or coconut)
grated parmesan cheese (optional)

  1. Boil some water, add more salt than you think you should, and start the pasta. And for the love of all things, turn the heat down once it starts boiling again. You want a rolling boil, but you don’t want it boiling over every 30 seconds.
  2. Wash the kale, then strip the stems (see below for a tip for how to do that quickly) and chop them up. Cut up the leafy bits into strips.
  3. Heat oil in a pan at medium-high heat and sauté the kale stems for a couple of minutes like you would onions. Then add the sausage (I like to squeeze it out of the casing and break it up) and a little salt if you like.
  4. Cook until the sausage is just about ready, then add the leafy bits and cover the pan. Taste the pasta; it should be almost done (in the time it takes the pasta to finish cooking and for you to prep it it, the greens will be nicely cooked).
  5. Drain the pasta and return it to its pot off the heat. Add the sausage-kale mixture to the pasta and stir it up. Add a nob of butter, pour in some of the cream (maybe two glugs) and some cheese, and stir.
  6. Put it in some bowls, sprinkle some of the extra parm you have from when you ordered pizza at the hospital, and serve.

This dish feels like real cooking but is dead simple and great. You can use any kind of sausage (maybe not breakfast sausage) and any kind of green (kale, broccoli, chard, spinach, orach, etc.). On a separate note, one trick you can use to keep greens fresh in the fridge is either wrap them in a dish towel or keep them in a plastic bag with a paper towel thrown in.

The cream you use doesn’t matter either. Did you know that the difference between whipping cream and heavy cream is just a little cream of tartar? Actually, maybe that’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder. In any case, for this recipe, it doesn’t matter. You could even use milk: you just may want to add a little more butter.

For the pasta, if you have a choice use something with texture so it will hold the sauce.

And here’s the trick for stripping the kale: fold the leaves around the stem and pinch them with your finger, then grab the stem with the other hand and pull it through your first hand. The leaves should separate nice and clean.

Pasta in a sausage and kale cream sauce

Jook can do it

Sandwiches only last so long, and despite my confidence I thought that I should take some time on the first day to make something both nourishing and that would be ready to eat in case I was too tired later: jook, or congee, super easy to make, tasty, and healthy. It was also one of Caitlin’s favorite meals in the hospital.

Jook is rice porridge made with chicken broth. The basic recipe is to put broth, rice, and a chunk of ginger in a pot, bring it to a boil, and then let it simmer on the lowest heat for a couple of hours. The ratio of broth to rice is about 8:1 but isn’t critical. It cooks really well in a slow cooker, but whether you use a slow cooker or a pot, stir it when you can and add water if you need to so it doesn’t dry out. You can’t exactly set it and forget it, but it’s close. Here’s a recipe that looks more like a recipe, adapted from here:

1 quart of chicken bone broth
3/4 cup rice
a chunk of ginger (you don’t have to peel it)
some salt

Put all the things in a pot or slow cooker, bring to a boil, then simmer on low for a couple of hours or until the rice has fallen apart and the whole thing looks like porridge.


You can optionally add garlic or other things, and if you don’t have broth on hand you can make it in the same pot by adding some bone-in, skin-on chicken parts like wings.  When you take those out you can strip the meet off and add it to the jook.

Jook is a traditional Chinese breakfast food, so you can eat it whenever – not that day and night will mean much for a while. Put the jook into individual serving size containers and let it cool before you put it in the fridge, preferably on ice. Let it cool so it doesn’t warm up and spoil other stuff in the fridge, and cool it on ice so it will cool quickly and not develop bacteria.


Lastly, put a little water in the pot or cooker immediately to make it easier to clean. Even better, boil water in the pot before you clean it and it will make everything come out with no problem.

Jook can do it

Day 1: Listeria Sandwich

When she was pregnant, my partner Caitlin asked me if I could do something to make the day of our son’s birth special. We both knew the day would carry its own significance on its own, but I knew what she meant. We were planning a home birth, so I decided that I’d get a deli tray to celebrate.

A deli tray may not sound that special, but there was no way I was going to overshadow the birth anyway, and sliced turkey had been the most common topic of conversation thoughout the pregnancy, so I knew it would be well received. We ended up having a hospital birth and spending seven full days in the hospital, and coordinating artfully arranged sliced meat didn’t happen, but one of the first things I did after we got home was go to the store and buy all the food Caitlin couldn’t eat while pregnant, and then promptly made her her first meal:

You can get pretty fancy of course, but for Caitlin a turkey sandwich is comfort food to be served on rye bread with Hellmann’s mayonnaise and maybe a pinch of salt — nothing else. With bonus points if it’s cut into weird peices.

Plus rolled up pieces of sliced turkey, ham, and salami have been favorite snacks, so they’re good to have in the house. You might (successfully) argue that making a sandwich isn’t cooking, but it counts for something.

Day 1: Listeria Sandwich

Five days ago, and after four days in the hospital, I became a new parent. For several months before that, like all new parents, I received advice from all sides about many things, not least of which was food. Specifically, that my partner and I should start hoarding food in our fridge, cooking more than necessary and freezing it, and prepping our friends that if they didn’t deliver us meals after our baby came that we would likely die because we would be too busy trying to get some sleep.

Resolutely determined not to let life turn out the way people told me it would, I decided that once our baby came, I’d start a cooking blog and show the world that it doesn’t really have to be that bad. Of course, it may turn out that the only things I’ll have to eat after all this are my words, but it will be an effort well-spent, I think. Here goes…