Author Archives: susangainen

About susangainen

Whimsical Wildlife Documentarian. Abstract Painter. Writer. Teacher. Explorer.

Kitchen Catastrophes: mistakes were made

Kitchen Catastrophes: Mistake were made is a true story. Sometimes baking for “fun” is a very very bad idea. Yes, the four bananas on the counter were screaming “Banana Bread!!” I should have roasted them, and put them in the freezer for a … Continue reading

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What makes a cookbook a GOOD cookbook?

A good cookbook must have letter perfect, clear directions.  After that, it depends…  Who is reading? A reader or a cook? A beginner or an experienced cook? A timid or an adventurous cook? Someone who reads cookbooks the way others … Continue reading

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Hot peppers, pain, and evaporated milk

The end of summer finds piles of fresh hot peppers from farmers’ markets on my kitchen counter. The best way to preserve them is to roast both sweet and hot peppers and some friendly vegetables in oil. I slice peppers, … Continue reading

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Kitchen Catastrophes: Cooking under the influence

Tomato Forks Standing at Attention Kitchen Catastrophes: Cooking under the influence I ripped my rotator cuff in very late October 2013, and had surgery two weeks later. For the next two week, I was well-medicated and well-cared-for. Depending on your … Continue reading

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Nina Simonds’ Chinese Peanut Dressing – Huzzah!

Should be on your bookshelf Wil Haygood interviewed Nina Simonds on WHYY’s Fresh Air about her new book, Asian Noodles: Deliciously Simple Dishes to Twirl, Slurp and Savor, on April 2, 1997. I bought it the next day, and it … Continue reading

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Grocery surprises: frozen cheese sandwiches & oatmeal in packets

I have always loved grocery stores. Grocery shopping pattern set by Mom The pattern for my shopping was set when I was a tiny child. Once a week until I ran away from home to be a Hippie, I walked … Continue reading

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Growing food in straw bales: Thank you, Ruth Stout

Everything old is new again. A headline in the April 16, 2013 Pioneer Press caught my eye: New garden technique grows plants in straw bales. The story introduced readers to Minnesota native and Ohio gardener Joel Karsten who is promoting … Continue reading

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Chili Spiced Mango for Sick Person’s Pantry Chicken Soup

Trader Joe’s Chile Spiced Mango When I am sick but just able to get out of bed, Sick Person’s Pantry Chicken Soup is my food of choice. Trader Joe’s Chile Spiced Mango is the best addition to this that I’ve … Continue reading

Posted in Penzey;s Chicken Soup Base and Seasoning, Sick Person's Pantry Chicken Soup, Trader Joe's Chili Spiced Mango | Leave a comment

Chubby Vegetarian’s Jalapeno Poppers

Baked Poppers: Made at home The first time I had a Jalapeno Popper in a restaurant, I said “Ah ha! This should be Minnesota State Fair Food!” They are perfect little bites of spicy and cheesy fried deliciousness. Not being … Continue reading

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Spicy Lamb and Beef Meatballs with Crispy Onions

Lamb and Beef Meatballs with Crispy Onions Who doesn’t love a meatball?  So many cultures have meatballs. Wikipedia helpfully lists meatballs from 28 countries alphabetically from Afghanistan to Vietnam. So many families have their favorite meatball. My  Mother’s best meatball … Continue reading

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