Category Archives: Cook

Open Letter to Health Food Companies

Dear “Health food” companies: We appreciate your attempts to replace cane sugar with other natural sweeteners like stevia or agave. However, they’re still sweeteners that may not be good for the body. May we ask you to practice making your products unsweetened all together and allowing each individual to add the sweetener of their choice if it must be added at all?

Ditto on artificial colors. Without a doubt your marketing focus groups are telling you that consumers expect a food to have a certain color. Please ignore those focus groups. We don’t need the dyes.

With much love,

The health-minded consumer

Corn Nuts!

Ah, corn nuts, like garlic, is a tasty food sometimes better enjoyed alone. #sanfranciscobound


Chicken Noodle Casserole

Chicken Noodle Casserole

  • 1 Lb, spaghetti or vermicelli noodles,
  • 1 Lb chicken (boneless), cut to 1 inch cubes
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 small box mushrooms (you pick), sliced
  • 2 Tbsp sherry or white wine
  • 2 Tbsp, olive oil
  • Several pinches, dried Italian or French herbs (i.e., rosemary, lavender, basil, etc.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 can, French’s Fried Onions
  • Optional: 1/3 Lb cheese, your choice
  • Optional: 1/3 Lb Bacon, chopped; or sausage, ground or sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil noodles until al dente, drain. Put in a large casserole dish that has been lightly oiled to prevent stickiness. Add soup to noodles. Add cheese if you are using it. Stir.

In pan, heat olive oil. Cook chicken, mushrooms, herbs, wine until chicken is browned. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add contents of pan to noodles. Stir.

If using it, cook bacon or sausage in same pan until well cooked. Add to noodles. Stir.

Layer the French’s onions on top of the mix.

Put the casserole dish into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until onions are well done but not burnt.

Cooking Security Pros

This week I met a man named Mike Ahmadi. Like me, he is a dedicated security wonk who happens to enjoy cooking. Check out his blog at

Viva Italia!

Tuscan Stir-fry Salad

Try this easy-to-make meat salad with Asian-Italian fusion!

  • 1 lb chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp capers
  • 1 Tbspn olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • Oil, vinegar to taste
  • Your favorite salad mix (about 1/2 lb)
  • Steamed rice

Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the chicken. Cook until not pink. Add the garlic and let it cook a minute. Add the parsley, rosemary, lemon juice, capers. Add the white wine. Let the wine reduce, maybe 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove the rosemary sprig.

Put the salad in a bowl.  Add the stir-fry. Use the salt, pepper, oil and vinegar to your taste. Mix. Serve with a side of steamed rice. Delicioso!

Pasta Primativa Soup

Pasta Primitiva (Mediterranean Style Chicken Noodle Soup)

Primitiva was my Grandma-in-law. “Mommy P’s” life was as rich and earthy as the flavors of rosemary, onion and garlic in this soup. I made this for her when she would eat very little else.

  • 2 Tbspns olive oil
  • 0.5 pound boneless chicken, chopped (white or dark as you prefer)
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 4 lemons
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 0.5 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tbspn dried parsley (or 0.5 bunch fresh parsley) , chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 0.5 pound thin spaghetti, broken into small pieces
  • 10 cups chicken broth (water with bullion is fine)

Heat the oil in a pot. Add the chicken & cook until not pink. Add the onion & cook until soft. Squeeze in the juice from the lemons. Add the garlic, rosemary, cilantro, tomatoes, parsley, salt & pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Add the broth. Bring to boil. Add the spaghetti. Cook 10 minutes & serve hot!

If its bland, your broth is too weak or you didn’t add enough salt & pepper. Serves four in big bowls with leftovers.

Chris’ Salsa Classica

Chris’ Salsa Classica

Life IS the spice. Heat it up. It starts easy on the tongue, but as the heat grows more intense you find yourself eating more of it to stave it off. Of course, only making things worse…Now, THAT is life!

  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 2 serrano chiles
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1 habanero chile
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 0.5 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 0.5 shot of tequila (optional)
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of salt
  • Pepper to taste

Quick way: Put everything in a blender and blend until its a consistency you like. Spicy & bitter.

Right way: Boil the tomatoes & peppers until skin cracks. Peel skin from all. Then add everything into the blender & blend away! If you have extra time, roast the peppers instead of boiling them for la flavor authentica!