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Visit the Cook for Good blog for wildly good cooking tips, money-saving ideas, book reviews, and more from Linda Watson and guest bloggers.

Wednesday
Aug262015

Summer, Friends, and Basil Pesto

On Saturday, my friend Philippa and I stocked up on basil. We then sat on her screened porch, took the leaves off the stems, and talked, talked, talked. We felt like old-timey women stringing beans together -- and realized how smart they were to turn a chore into a joy. Her husband came by to say hello and offer snacks and water, then went out for pesto-making supplies. Her elegant gray cat Bast kept us company while watching the birds. What fun!

stemming basil to make pesto with leaves in a salad spinner

I bought four big bunches of spray-free basil for $12, enough to make five batches

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Wednesday
Aug262015

On the road to recovery after my truck accident

It's been 4 1/2 months since my truck was rear-ended and rolled just as I was turning in to go to a potluck at a farm. My brain is still healing. I'm not driving yet and still taking naps every afternoon. The naps may sound fun, but after a day or two you'd probably want your afternoons back.

The concussion has affected my cooking in funny ways. I have a hard time measuring ingredients correctly. I mix up corn starch, baking soda, and baking powder even though I try to concentrate. It's beyond me to double a recipe in my head, which used to be no problem. I thought I'd made but recovered from three separate measuring problems for double batch of Hot Italian Cocoa Cookies shown above, but clearly I did something wrong! They turned out flat and oily, even after resting on a brown paper bag. (Here's what they should look like.) My Taster now

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Friday
May082015

Where I've been (or please drive safely)

I haven't posted new recipes or news for several weeks because I've been mostly asleep or staring off into the trees, as prescribed by several doctors. My truck was rear-ended when I was turning into my farmers' driveway to go to our CSA potluck on April 12th. The truck rolled and I was well tossed along with my tossed salad. My truck was totaled. (How will I get fresh mulch for the garden or a tree in December?)

my truck in happier times

Amazingly, the salad bowl and lid made it OK.  The other driver

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Tuesday
Apr142015

Gwyneth Paltrow's food stamp groceries are good start

Thank you, Gwyneth Paltrow, for casting dried beans and brown rice as the stars of your food-stamp challenge this week. You are taking a lot of flack for those seven limes and the cilantro, but overall you made good choices. You bought real food and will save money by cooking it yourself. (Dried beans are much cheaper than canned beans.) Read below for my tips for shopping on a food-stamp budget and stretching what you buy, plus my experience with four weeks of SNAP challenges.

Gwyneth Paltrow twitter pic on her food stamp groceries

Key to delicous, healthy food on a food-stamp budget

You've got many of my favorite wildly affordable ingredients: dried beans, brown rice, greens, ...

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Wednesday
Apr082015

Q&A: do electric pressure cookers work? Which one is best?

Barb emailed me to ask:

What is your take on electric pressure cookers? I recently bought one, and had to send it back. I have used pressure cookers for decades, but this was a disappointment. I do plan on ordering another one...........any suggestions?

I frequently used a traditional pressure cooker when I had an electric-coil stove, but stopped when I got a glass-topped stove. I worried about the rocking motion damaging the top.

Fortunately, I know Jill Nussinow, the Veggie Queen and the Princess of Pressure Cooking. When I asked her about electric pressure cookers, she said:

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