Bumps in the road, and then a sleeper hit

In case you all were worried that I’d just be having a big love-fest for all of the new recipes in Cooking for Jeffrey, I hit kind of a bump in the road this week. Literally (I hit a pot hole on my way to work this week and got a flat tire out of the deal), and figuratively, with a few of these recipes.

The roasted zucchini were nothing special, and suspiciously similar to the roasted zucchini “boats” in Make It Ahead. You can dress up a zucchini with bread crumbs and cheese and herbs, and it’s still zucchini. There’s nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but it’s kind of a lot of work to just get … zucchini and bread crumbs.

I made the saffron challah, too, which was easy enough, except that it didn’t rise. It was beautiful, but it was as hard as a brick because the yeast wasn’t doing its job. I’ll try it again with some fresher yeast, but I was kind of bummed that this didn’t taste as good as it looked.

In better news, I’ve used the pressure cooker to make chicken stock a few times now, and it has turned out beautifully. I made homemade chicken noodle soup on Tuesday night, and it was just perfect. Ina seems to include a chicken stock recipe in each new cookbook, and I just kind of come up with my own each time. The pressure cooker reduces several hours of cooking time to a much shorter time for the same richness of stock, and I don’t have to worry about tending a flame or anything simmering over.

In even better news, I also used the pressure cooker for the 16 bean pasta e fagioli soup, also in Cooking for Jeffrey. The soup was a tiny but labor intensive, even using the pressure cooker for the beans, but it was delicious. Really flavorful, really healthy, and probably even better tomorrow night. This might be the reason that ads for dried beans keep showing up in my Facebook feed…

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