'Cooking with a Friend' on Serious Eats

Cooking with a Friend: Cooking on a Weeknight

Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. The Cooking with a Friend series chronicles her cooking and menu planning adventures with her neighbor, J. Calabacitas, a great summer dish. It's been a few weeks since J. and I have been able to cook together but we eased back into it together pretty comfortably. We met on a weeknight this time, which means that we needed to be more careful about our time and doing complicated, long recipes. Since both of our freezers are quite full, we went through them to see what should be cooked, and what could free up space. We had baked a large sheet of ziti during one of our first weeks together—it was before... More

Cooking with a Friend: Kitchen Compatibility

Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. The Cooking with a Friend series chronicles her cooking and menu planning adventures with her neighbor, J. This week, as I was preparing pork stew to be cooked, I stopped and laughed. "I'm glad we have similar cooking philosophies," I remarked to J. I was tossing the pork with my bare hands, trying to distribute the salt, garlic powder, pepper, and flour on the pork cubes. I was being relatively safe—water was running so I could rinse my hands right away to avoid contamination—but nonetheless, the contact with raw pork may have made some home cooks squeamish. I really lucked out that it was J. with whom I started this project.... More

Cooking with a Friend: Cooking without a Plan

Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. The Cooking with a Friend series chronicles her cooking and menu planning adventures with her neighbor, J. This week, as we did in week 5, J. and I purchased a CSA box of vegetables. It was chock full of seasonal produce including green beans, new potatoes, cauliflower, alliums of all sorts, cucumbers, and fennel. "Does it make you itchy," I asked J. on email, "to try this week's menu on the fly tomorrow?" We had enough vegetables in the fridge and grains in the pantry, and I figured that by adding a few protein elements we could just improvise the menu when we got together on Sunday. To add to the... More

Cooking with a Friend: Some Menus Take Longer Than Others

Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. The Cooking with a Friend series chronicles her cooking and menu planning adventures with her neighbor, J. J. and I sat at the table on Sunday night wondering what hit us. This was supposed to be an easy week. Both of us are eating several meals out this week so we'd supposedly planned a light menu, and thought the cooking should be minimal. But we ended up with a menu that took longer to cook and cost more than what we'd remembered in a while. It wasn't really a bad thing, but we were puzzled that it all took so long. Looking at the list now, however, it's easy to see... More

Cooking with a Friend: Duck Fried Rice and Corned Beef

Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. The Cooking with a Friend series chronicles her cooking and menu planning adventures with her neighbor, J. A week in Southern California turned into nearly two. By the time I returned to San Francisco I was worried that J. had moved on and was ready to break-up with our little cooking project. After discussing this over drinks the night I returned, we realized that we were both as excited as ever to continue cooking together. I drove the majority of the menu plan this week. I'm desperately waiting for tomatoes to get to the market (it will be about another month before I start purchasing them), and expect our menu to... More

Cooking with a Friend: Menu Planning on the Fly

Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. The Cooking with a Friend series chronicles her cooking and menu planning adventures with her neighbor, J. Eight weeks into this project, menu planning is becoming a well-oiled machine. Normally, we chat about the menu via email late in the week and then parcel out the shopping list. To tell you the truth, I can't remember when we planned our menu this week. I have a feeling that it was sometime between trying out guest bartender Eben Freeman's amazing drinks at The Alembic and a late Saturday dinner at Nopalito. All I know is that I came home with a menu plan scribbled on a piece of paper and that the... More

Cooking with a Friend: Bun Cha and a Spring Sauté

Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. The Cooking with a Friend series chronicles her cooking and menu planning adventures with her neighbor, J. "Please don't tell anyone," I begged J. While she promised not to tell my deep dark secret, I'm telling you now: a lot of my food from last week went to waste. Once I realized that I was eating strangely, I froze what I could of my dishes, but I still sadly ended up tossing some of our spectacular food from last week. I really despise wasting food, but didn't have much appetite last week, and when I did I ate strange things instead of full meals. When I did want something nutritious, it... More

Cooking with a Friend: Tortilla Soup, Carrot Cake

Editor's note: Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. The Cooking with a Friend series chronicles her cooking and menu planning adventures with her neighbor, J. J. and I are definitely developing a rhythm to this project. Like clockwork, we now discuss the week's menu via email on Fridays, and then I compose the shopping list and we divvy up responsibilities. She's still learning my food quirks that revolve around my desire to buy from local farmers. This week, I didn't go to a farmers' market so she and I shopped together at Rainbow Grocery, a local co-op that sells locally-grown produce, and then supplemented a couple of items from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. While I pay... More

Cooking with a Friend: Seasonal Produce and a Family Soup

Whole wheat, oatmeal, and raisin muffins; albondigas. Last week, J. and I took a break from this project and ate food mostly from our freezers and leftovers. Though we have only been doing this project for a few weeks, we had already frozen some dishes and were ready to take a quick intermission before starting cooking again this week. "I really missed having food last week," J commented as we got together on Sunday morning. I had too. It's amazing how quickly we both have gotten into this routine of cooking together for the week. A majority of this week's ingredients were obtained from the farmers' market. It's a great time of year for our markets, and the abundance... More

Cooking with a Friend: Brisket and Burned Beans

"Is it against the rules to drink wine while we cook?" J. and I were trading a flurry of emails in order to set the week two menu last week when she sent that email through. I laughed, and replied no. She brought a bottle of wine, and I already had the beef brisket going in the crock pot. Due to our weekend schedules, J. and I were getting together on a Monday night to cook our week's meals and get everything ready. We planned on eating dinner together in the middle of our cooking. I handed J. the recipe for "Dad's Fish Stew," a foolproof recipe from Elise at Simply Recipes. It's an incredibly quick meal to make... More

Cooking with a Friend: Week One

I tossed out an idea to my friend and she bit: How about if we pool our resources, cooking together one day a week, taking home our individually packaged food to eat throughout the week? Here's how Week One went—and what it cost. More

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