soup

Welcome to my cookbook

This is a compilation of the recipes that I have posted in my facebook group from 2013 onward and many I did not. When I started organizing those recipes in 2015, I was quite surprised there were so many already. And since then, there have been many more, enough for a really big book.

I have tried to compile that book. It turned out to be a never-ending story. And who would ever get to read it when I have no means of distributing it? I am publishing my recipes in this website to make them more widely available than through facebook alone.

I never cared for cooking before. While I was still working, I usually ate in the hospital's cafeteria. I didn’t mind. Some of them were actually pretty good. It wasn’t until several years after retirement that I started finding some interest in cooking at home.

Eventually, I even came to enjoy food preparation for its own sake, but only for my own family in my own home. Don't expect me to open a restaurant anytime soon. I would hate having to cook the same things day after day over and over again.

This is home cooking.

Do not expect five-star restaurant presentation here.
I have no professional culinary background at all. I expect most of you won’t either. And yet just like mineyour families need to be fed every day too.

Delicate flavors and beautiful presentation are not my priority at all. This is about feeding the family with wholesome delicious food with BIG bold flavors This is about making an enjoyable meal with the limited food variety of small-town America.

I live in Deming, New Mexico, USA, a small southwestern middle-of-nowhere town near the Mexican border.

My recipes reflect those limitations. After all, I can’t cook what I can't get.

One does what one can to relieve tediousness. In 2013, I started a vegetable garden and began raising chickens, ducks and rabbits. That ended abruptly in July 2015 when a tornado took out the chicken coop and rabbit house and killed most of the animals. In 2016 I started ordering frozen fish online to have a greater variety of seafood.

This is not a comprehensive cooking manual

There are huge gaps in this listing (e.g. drinks, desserts, baking) for the simple reason that I hardly ever do those missing things.

One criticism of professionals will likely be that my grouping of recipes is not according to the French or other established cooking schools. I couldn’t care less. Again, this is MY real-life home cooking, not a chef’s Masterwork presentation.

This is not a formal cooking class.
Nevertheless, I do take time to explain  why I make certain choices. I consider it more important that you understand why I use a specific cooking method in a recipe than that you can follow instructions to the letter. Once you understand the reasoning behind that first choice in every recipe, you will be able to make those choices for your future cooking adventures without having to consult a manual.

Substitute & adapt

I do my thing, you should do yours.

Whenever I use something you don't like, do your own thing and substitute with something that you do like.

my oven is not your oven

Oven thermostats are not all the same. One oven's 350 ºF. may not be the same temperature in another. Also, the actual temperature can be higher or lower than the indicated one. When I increase oven temperature by 25-30 ºF. after a while, quite often the oven is already at that higher temperature. To get an idea of these fluctuations in your oven, attach a bimetal thermometer to the inside of the oven window to display the actual temperature.

One of the bigger differences between my new and old ovens is convection. The new oven has that fan that forces the hot air to circulate throughout. With convection, the thermostat can be set up to 60 ºF. lower than with a conventional one. Don't expect that you can just shorten the cooking time. Baking in a convection oven at the recommended 425 ºF. for a conventional oven will burn your pastries to a crisp well before the recommended cooking time is over. Trust me on this one. Been there, done that.

Pictures

With computer editing, it is now possible to include many more pictures in the text than printed books could, to document every step in cooking a recipe. It makes following the recipe a lot easier and more pleasant.

I took most of the pictures in this site myself while cooking these recipes. I did borrow some pictures from the internet when I forgot to take pictures or when mine didn’t come out well enough to my liking. I have credited the source of any recipes and pictures when possible. Information borrowed from the internet is included under fair usage, for educational purpose only.

Navigating THIS SITE

     I have tried to make it as simple as possible.
     You can get to from any page in this cookbook to any other with only 2 clicks.

  1. The recipes have been divided in 7 main categories, with an extra one for 'other' kitcheneering articles.
  2. The banner and footer of very page in this website have links to this home page and to those 8 categories.
  3. Each category page shows links to all recipes in that category.
  4. If that list is too long to scroll through to your liking, go one level down to the chapter of your choice by clicking one of the dark buttons in the link bar that you will find underneath each category introduction just above that very long link listing. That chapter page will have links for the recipes in that one chapter only.

 

next-level links

 

other page links

ABBREVIATIONS

  1. Boil, reduce and simmer
    = Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover the pot and simmer over low heat.
  2. Reduce
    = Boil or simmer to reduce the volume of a liquid and concentrate the flavors.
    Reduce to 50% = do that until you have only half the original volume left.
  3. ( for) reference only
    = Information without recipes, may refer to recipes elsewhere in this site.
  4. IMO, imo
    = in my opinion
  5. S&P
    = salt and pepper to taste. That means as much or as little as you want to add, or none at all. That also means any other seasoning you want to add.
  6. S&wP
    = salt and white pepper, for those few recipes where white pepper is specified.
  7. Oil Dough
    I rarely use butter for cooking. I prefer to use olive oil instead. In analogy with beurre manié (Fr. kneaded butter,) oil dough is a mixture of equal parts vegetable oil and flour that I use to thicken soups and sauces. It gives sauces an almost glossy appearance. 

IN CONCLUSION:

Feel free to visit as often as you wish.
I hope you'll like what you see well enough to occasionally give some of my recipes a try.