Justin & Meredith Winokur's Kitchen Cooking Notebook

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Lasagna Soup -- back to top

I made our regular Lasagna Soup (which we hadn't made in over a year!). We didn't have mushrooms but I added some Trader Joes "Mushroom & Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning Blend". We also had to decase chicken sausage. I prefer it ground since it's harder to break up the decased ones but I used some scissors.

I actually ended up adding some more water since I thought it was a tad too thin. We also used a bunch of different pastas. One pack of tortellini but also some penne and (???) since we needed to use it up.

It came out very good as usual. Super flavorful. Though it was not a hit with Caroline (which may be why we hadn't made it in a year)

Gnocchi Bake -- back to top

Meredith made the Chicken Parmesan Gnocchi Bake from What's Gabby Cooking (LOCAL) recipe. We used about 1.5 lbs of ground turkey instead of chicken and we didn't have parmesan (hence, not "Chicken Parmesan"). The sauce was a mix of the Delallo we like for Lasagna Soup and the other part of the Rao's pictured above.

It was certainly not bad but not as good as the recipe made it sound!

Croque Monsieur & Rustic Loaf Bread -- back to top

I made a rustic loaf bread like last time using a combination of no-knead bread and hearth bread. I tried to do it with bread flour but I don't think it made much difference.

I did accidentally forgot that I was warming the oven and letting the bread rise in the pan. So it may have risen a bit more than I would have liked before going into the oven but I think it worked out fine. I had to use a fan to cool it faster for dinner.

The Croque Monsieur was the regular recipe with leftover béchamel from last time

Kombucha -- back to top

Brew Day

Meredith is making kombucha based on Shutterbean (LOCAL, including PDF of page). She used scoby from our friends, including a bit of liquid starter. In addition to their liquid starter, Meredith used a bottle of raw kombucha (GTs Raw Kombucha Synergy).

We will update this post as it ferments

Flavors and Bottling


The scoby

Test 1:

BBQ Tempeh Nachos -- back to top

Meredith made tempeh BBQ nachos. We were originally going to make tempeh taco nachos but I suggested we do a tempeh version of BBQ Pork Nachos

They were pretty good. Not as good as real pork but I think I liked it more than the tacos we did last time. And it was nice to do it with a different meat than the pork.

Almond Cherry Smoothie -- back to top

(no photo)

Meredith made an Almond Cherry Smoothie from Ambitious Kitchen (LOCAL)

I just use this for the ingredient combo. The proportions are nuts.

Mint Brookies -- back to top

Meredith made Peppermint-Chocolate Brookies from Better Homes and Gardens (LOCAL) to go with dinner. She followed the recipe except went slightly heavy on the mint extract.

They weirdly puffed and then collapsed in the middle as you can see in the picture, but they were still very good! Meredith said they probably won't go "in the rotation" but we still enjoyed them

Scallops and Green Beans -- back to top

We made sous vide scallops for our anniversary dinner (a day late). We used a frozen scallops (defrosted) from Costco. To cook them sous vide, I followed the guide from Izzy Cooking (LOCAL including PDF of page with helpful tips). We did 30 min at 130°F and then the ice-bath. I put some butter in the bag as well.

We super-seared them in butter when they were done. I think next time, we would probably try a lower heat and maybe even the full recipe here. Ours were really good but the outside was still a tad chewy. We served them on cilantro green sauce made with jalapeños.

Meredith also made her favorite green beans. And we had store-bought bread.

Finally, we had brookies for dessert

Seared Salmon and BBQ Wings -- back to top

I had BBQ oven fried wings and I made seared salmon with cilantro chile sauce for Meredith and Caroline (well, Caroline's didn't have sauce).

The wings were only dry-brined for about 10 hours but I think that actually worked pretty well! The sauce was butter, BBQ Sauce, and a bit of sriracha.

Turmeric Pineapple Carrot Smoothie -- back to top

Meredith made a Turmeric Pineapple Carrot Smoothie from Yay for Food (LOCAL). Her notes:

Did about a quarter of the recipe roughly, plus a scoop of vanilla protein powder.

Brioche Bread -- back to top

I made no-knead brioche from America's Test Kitchen. I followed their recipe exactly. It seemed like it wouldn't make enough since it wasn't much flour but I think it was fine in the end. I started it on Thursday morning and cooked it Saturday. (I shaped it around 10:30 and cooked it around 1:15).

Final temp was 195.8°F which, while in line with the recipe, was a bit high for Albuquerque's altitude. It wasn't dry or anything so I guess that is good.

It also may have been slightly over-proofed as you can see in the cut slice. The whole were pretty big!

It was nowhere near as good or rich or soft or dense or buttery or sweet as the one from Trader Joes but it was still very good! Reminded me of challah more than the Trader Joes one. But I actually think theirs is the exception and this is closer to what I've had elsewhere.

The main use was for french toast

Cacio e Pepe Ravioli with Brown Butter Fried Sage -- back to top

This was basically the same as 2020-11-14 but we wanted to not the amounts of butter. Meredith made it with 3 Tbsp of butter for two packs of ravioli.

Chocolate Cake with Brown Butter Buttercream -- back to top

Meredith made a "Half Cake" for Caroline's half-birthday. So what you see in the first picture is the full cake!

She did 1/3 the Cakes by Courtney mint chocolate cake with rounding as needed. Note that the cake itself doesn't have any mint. For the cake, she used hot water and 1/2 tsp of espresso powder.

For the frosting, Meredith used the brown butter frosting again but again didn't use evaporated milk and instead just used whole milk. She almost made the same mistake again but caught that it is a whole stick of butter. She also again adjusted the salt to match salted butter. See 2020-10-18 for notes on major changes.

The cake was very moist! It seemed maybe underdone when we took it out but it was perfect. (~24 minutes). It “collapsed” down but really, just back to flat. And it stood up well to the very-flavorful frosting!

It was all just very good!

Sour-and-Hot Silken Tofu and Garlicky Cucumbers -- back to top

Meredith made Chinese food for lunch with Sour-and-Hot Silken Tofu and Garlicky Cucumbers. They were both very good. Caroline didn't like them but she did like the surprisingly spicy Indian snack mix!

Sweet Potato Chili -- back to top

Meredith made a double batch of Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili

Red Beans & Rice -- back to top

Meredith made red beans and rice form Mardi Gras. She used the Joy the Baker recipe (LOCAL) with the following notes:

We really liked it. Lots of flavor and very hearty. Even Meredith liked the kidney beans. Caroline did eat it though it was not a resounding success. I would have this again!

Pulled Pork Quesadillas -- back to top

Used from-frozen pork from December 2020. Also made Duke’s Southern Coleslaw. While I still did the half-yogurt thing, it was full-fat regular plain yogurt we are trying to use up.

Asian Chicken Salad -- back to top

Meredith made asian chicken salad with some broccoli slaw too! Very good as usual!

Spaghetti Squash Taco Bake -- back to top

Meredith made the Spaghetti Squash Taco Bake. Unlike last time, Meredith did the whole spaghetti squash. She also skipped the jalapeños, though we probably didn't have to since Caroline wouldn't eat it.

Meredith used Love and Lemons' method on the squash

American Sandwich Bread -- back to top

I made American Sandwich Bread [Bread Illustrated by America's Test Kitchen] for the week. I followed the recipe basically exactly. I was trying to speed it along a bit so I did a "proofing box" with the oven and boiling water. I may have over proofed it a bit as you can see in the pictures.

The final result was very tasty and had a good structure. Not as dense as their pictures but not too far off (though mine came out a lot taller but less brown). When I took the temperature, it was 199.9°F which should be about right for Albuquerque, though that could explain the lack of browning.

It did have a very noticeable swirl from how I rolled it up. Not sure how that happened or how to stop it.

Update: I asked my dad what he think caused it and it makes sense. I need to be more careful:

It looks to me like the dough had dried out a bit and you rolled that dried part into the body of the loaf when you were rolling the whole thing. Otherwise your texture looks really nice. You have to make sure you either keep it in an airtight container or that you keep it well oiled

Crispy Pan Pizza -- back to top

I made "Crispy Pan Pizza" from King Arthur Baking (LOCAL). I measured out pan to be about 12" so I 1.5x the recipe (12^2/9^2 = 1.77x,12^2/10^2 = 1.44x). Thought this may have been too much since it was very thick. The other note is I followed Almost No Knead Bread [Bread Illustrated by America's Test Kitchen] and used some beer for the liquid. And while I 1.5x the dough, I forgot and did not increase the cheese (I did measure it though!). I felt like it covered it well still but it wasn't super cheesey.

It was pretty good. Basically tasted like cheesy focaccia, which is not bad, though not really pizza per se. I was glad I tried it but I don't think this would be our go-to pizza recipe.

Right out of the fridge. Didn't spread well More spread after resting. Before topping Ready to go into the oven Crispy sides. Cut and ready to serve Internal air structure.

Chicken in Madras Curry Simmer Sauce -- back to top

I made chicken in a simmer sauce. This is basically the same as this using the method of amba chicken to cube the chicken and toss it with flour.

However when Meredith and I tasted the sauce, we thought it was pretty flavorless so we also doctored it. I sautéed onions and then added two "cubes" each of ginger and garlic. And then I added curry powder to the chicken as it was sautéing.

That seemed to add some much needed flavor and it was pretty good. Also, we added a bit of leftover rice since we may not use it up otherwise.

And Meredith made green beans

White Bean Chicken Chili -- back to top

Meredith made White Bean Chicken Chili [Eating Bird Food]. Our green chile went bad so Meredith used some Pace Salsa (less "white" but still good). No other major changes to note. Delicious as always!

Hamentashen -- back to top

All 60!

We all made Hamentashen for Purim. We used my dad's Hamentashen Dough, though see the footnote about flour (we used 480 grams for the 4 cups). It seemed to work well enough.

I had planned to halve it but accidentally didn't halve the sugar so I had to quick soften (pound out) another stick of butter and used that.

I rolled it out with the yellow spacing bands. Based on some searches I think that is 1/8" thick but I could be wrong. I used the second-largest biscuit cutter. Rolling was okay though the dough softened a lot and was hard to get up (maybe it did need more flour?). I used the bench scraper which misformed the circles a bit but it was fine once pinched.

We hand't really planned any fillings other than fig butter so it was a lot of scrounging. Off the top of our head, the list was as follows but this may have missed some:

Meredith was on a tahini kick which worked well though some of the fillings were not very sweet

Puy Lentil Stew -- back to top

Puy Lentil and Aubergine Stew [Ottolenghi Simple]

No Knead Brioche -- back to top

I made No Knead Brioche

Mixing (2021-02-24)

I initially followed the recipe but it was so unbelievably wet that I had to add a ton of flour. I was just trying to get it to come together so I wasn't measuring but it was as much as another 1/2 cup. Also, while I used bread flour in the main, I added all purpose.

This was before adding more flour. It was so wet:

I was really disappointed that (a) I had to add so much flour and (b) I don't know how much and (c) I didn't note it last time either. Meredith seems to recall I had similar issues but again, I didn't note it.

I tried to weigh the dough after everything and got 674 grams. I figured I could backout how much flour I added but, as can be seen below, I ended up with less overall. So that didn't work. I really don't think I messed up any of the measurements though it is a possibility, especially since I came out under. I will be extra careful next time to both make sure I start with the right amount and that I know how much more I add

Item Amount Ounces Grams Total (grams)
Flour 1 9.125 258.7 258.7
Yeast 1.25 3.1 3.9
Salt 0.75 5.9 4.4
Eggs 3 35.0 105.0
Butter 8 1 28.3 226.8
Water 2 1 28.3 56.7
Sugar 0.1875 198.0 37.1

Total 692.6


The dough felt pretty dry coming out of the fridge. Maybe too much flour? Or it was just cold. Anyway, I followed the rest of the recipe and once it was at about the top of the pan.

I baked for about about 30 minutes. At 25 it was too cool but I took it out at ~195°F at 30 minutes.

One side grew too much. You can't see in the cross section but there was a bubble under that side. Oops.

Otherwise, it was pretty good. Maybe a tad over-proofed. And less tasty (and less shiny) than last time but still pretty good.

Sloppy Joe Quesadillas -- back to top

I made Sloppy Joe Quesadillas. I used our recipe except with a whole pound of (lean) beef and light on the ketchup. I also added some Worcestershire sauce (and I added that as an option to the recipe). I went light on sriracha though maybe still a bit too much. And I used a whole onion and skipped the pepper.

I let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes and then I made it into quesadillas. I actually liked it a good bit though Caroline was less impressed. I would do it again but I am also not in a huge hurry.

Cheese Steak(ish) Sandwiches -- back to top

Meredith got an odd craving: Cheese Steaks. The idea was cheese steaks but heavy on the filler vegetables. As such, Meredith sautéed a green pepper, a red pepper, and an onion with 1/4 tsp salt. Then she added about 14 oz of shaved fresh (as opposed to Steak-umms) beef. She added about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp garlic powder.

We hollowed out some sourdough baguette and then topped them with cheddar cheese and broiled them (a bit too long by accident). We decided they needed more cheese so we topped them with a slice of Colby Jack.

They were pretty good. Not at all like the real thing but decent and still very tasty

Mint Chocolate Smoothie -- back to top

Meredith made a Mint Chocolate Smooth from Well and Good (LOCAL)

Halved recipe except for mint extract (oops), skipped avocado, subbed almond milk for water (and needed more to make it blend). And added vanilla protein powder, maca, and a little stevia after tasting.

Maybe cut back to 3/4 tsp of mint extract next time.

Salmon Salad -- back to top

Meredith made her favorite Fresh Dill Salmon Salad [Sprinkles and Sea Salt]. No real notes except that she doubled it. I added double numbers to the recipe since she actually made a single batch with double the salmon and then realized it, and had to make more. Also, it was a tad salty so go lighter in the future.