recipes for writers

Recipes for Writers: An ‘umble bean soup

I’m all for seasonal cooking when it counts, but some days, especially good industrious days when I’ve expended as much as I can, I want something homemade and restorative, but there’s nothing much in the larder except dried beans, a can of tomatoes, a dried crust of bread, and a few staple vegetables–carrots, onions, celery.

And so bean soup. It is a lovely thing, that lasts. I made one last Monday and ate on it all week, and it’s Monday again and I’m already tempted to put another pot on. For someone who has as short a culinary attention span as I, that’s saying a lot about the simple rightness of this soup.

What I did was, I dug up this 20-ounce bag whose label said “15 Bean Soup.” But it wasn’t soup, it was 15 kinds of dried beans (and a paper envelope labeled “Ham Flavor” that I discarded). I brought half the beans (so, 10 ounces, and this was everything from lentils to cranberry beans to something even bigger, so any kind of beans you got will work) to a boil with enough water to cover by an inch, turned off the heat once it boiled and let them sit covered for about 45 minutes. This, instead of soaking them all night. I’m told by people who know that beans don’t need to soak or even pre-cook, but this soup was so delicious that I want to give it to you just as I made it.


Behind the Scenes / 4 Comments
April 25th, 2011 / 11:31 am

Recipes for Writers: Migas

If Chickpea Curry is my number one dinner all-star for cooking without shopping, then my lunch/breakfast/brunch all-stars are fried rice and migas, which I think of in my head as tortilla eggs. I’ll do fried rice once I make/photograph it; today is all about migas, which I made yesterday. Basically, I make fried rice if I have leftover rice and stir-fry or vaguely Chinese leftovers, and I make migas if I have vaguely Mexican leftovers or bits of Mexican-y ingredients and corn tortillas. Flour tortillas might be good too but I’ve never tried it.

The only essentials for migas are tortillas and eggs. And hot sauce or salsa or something similar. Yesterday, I ate it with some Melinda’s Chipotle Ketchup that I bought at Marshall’s (it’s a really great Marshall’s. I also got sesame oil and walnut oil).

At left, not-migas; unhappiness. Below right, migas; less unhappiness. Below left, Melinda’s Chipotle Ketchup; happiness.

Other bits that go well in migas:


Red onions, scallions or other onions

Leftover chicken or beef or pork or shrimp or tofu

Jalapenos or other chili

Poblanos or bell peppers


Leftover cooked potato or sweet potato or squash

Tomatoes / tomato sauce / tomato paste



Yesterday, all I had were eggs, tortillas, shredded Colby-Jack, and leftover tomato sauce from when I served handmade cheese tortellini. So the tomato sauce already onion and garlic in it.

Here’s the method: Cut all your non-egg, non-sauce ingredients in little bits. Tear the tortillas into bits (around 1-inch square but precision is NOT necessary and indeed frowned upon because it’s good to have some crispier bits and some softer bits and besides tortillas are round). Beat eggs, with milk if you like, salt and pepper. Heat some fat (vegetable oil, butter, say about 1 tablespoon per egg, at ~2 eggs per person) in a pan/skillet. Add all the non-egg non-sauce non-cheese bits including the tortillas¬†(but if you are using avocado, for the love of god add that at the end).¬†Season with salt and pepper and fry in the oil till they get to desired softness/brownness/doneness. Add eggs, sauce, cheese (which you could have also added to the eggs in the beating stage). Kinda scramble those eggs with everything until cooked. Eat with hot sauce/salsa/Melinda’s Chipotle Ketchup.

Behind the Scenes / 5 Comments
February 11th, 2011 / 12:27 pm