Mel’s Diner

Sharp Knives, Raw Meat and Fire


Really?  How much do I love this!!!  A medium-crappy day at work, home life…well, let’s say I’ve been married 21 years with teenagers.  Then this guy.  Cooking bread in a dutch oven.  Not crazy, my grandfather did it a lot.  In his garage.  OOOOKKKKK, still, not crazy for New Hampshire.  With a fire-starter and a hunting/gutting knife.  Now we have moved into Mike/weirdness territory.  And Mike is Happy.  Mike also likes referring to Mike in the third person…..

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Bread and Stuff | Leave a comment


Back, oh so many years ago….I had a post that became popular.  At least in my micro-blogger world, it became popular.  For a very long time, this was the most visited page on Mel’s Diner.  It took the lovely Nigella and a failed, mace-induced nightmare to do a busty coup d’etat to take top place (Is that actually a win?).  Well, in the resurrection of Mel’s Diner, what should start to get hits again?  Roasted Red Pepper Gnocchi.  To me, a slice of happiness.  To the rest of he world?  The post that won’t die (and I hope it never does).

April 14, 2014 Posted by | Pasta, Presto Pasta Night | Leave a comment


Did anyone see the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks?  Yeah, me either.  In it, he tries to re-create his old life with no tools but the stuff from a Fed-Ex plane (I mean, who doesn’t use UPS?), but can’t pull it together  As I look back upon my old blog friends, it feels like I was living this movie.  I gaze upon all of the “old regulars”, I see they stopped posting about the same time I did.  Was it because I stopped posting?  IN MY DREAMS!!!!  No, blogging – for the most part – is a short-term exercise.  I miss them all.  Ruth, my other Canadian girl I thought would keep doing it forever, but, alas….no.  The Queen of all Blogging is still my first love, Sara.  Love and Kisses to you, Sara!

April 11, 2014 Posted by | Random Blather | 1 Comment


My good friend brought into work today the new Pepperidge Farms Blueberry Cobbler cookies.  Now, to say I have a love of Blueberries is like saying Justin Bieber somewhat likes public urination.  So, when Tony generously offered me one, I jumped at the chance.  Amusingly noticing the claim on the front I see everywhere, “Naturally Flavored With Other Natural Flavors”,


I switched to the dense list of ingredients.  Imagine my surprise to find in the list, “Cranberries”.  Imagine my further surprise to find Blueberries in the wasteland of “Contains 2% or less of the following:”


What?  Blueberry Cobbler cookies actually have more CRANBERRIES than Blueberries?!?  Cook at home, eat at home, know what you eat……

April 9, 2014 Posted by | Dessert | Leave a comment


So, I made the Peposo Notturno via Bill Buford. I have a feeling the beef shanks he gets are much larger than the ones I get here at my local Market Basket. He said he uses two shanks along with four Tablespoons of black pepper, a Tablespoon of salt, a head of garlic and a bottle of wine. That’s it.  No browning, stock, veggies, pancetta, etc. OK, I did all of that, including removing the bone, marrow and a lot of the connective tissue. As I put it in the oven, I was thinking, “That looks like a lot of ‘stuff’ for so little meat’.  Oh, well – bring it up to a simmer on the stove and into an oven at 200 degrees for 12 hours.



It was too much stuff.  The next time I make this, I will be sure to have at least 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of meat, not just two shanks, trimmed.  The pepper and wine were overpowering, but you could tell they would be wonderful with a bit more (OK, twice as much) beef to slow cook for 12 hours.  Oh, I will do this again….look for the post!



April 7, 2014 Posted by | Random Blather | Leave a comment


As a cooking freak, this looks soo good!  I mean, really?  A grilled cheese with ham, bechamel AND a fried egg???!!?? I feel a post and a meal coming on……

April 6, 2014 Posted by | Main Dish, Sandwich | Leave a comment


When I rashly decided to start up this blog again, I figured out why it’s actually good for an amateur cook to have one of these things once so aptly explained as, “Never have so many with so little to say said so much to so few” – It keeps us cooking.  I haven’t thought about, tried or looked for new dishes in the past year more than I have in the past week or so.

April 4, 2014 Posted by | Random Blather | Leave a comment


Bill Buford talks about this and gives his recipe in his fantastic book, Heat.  He’s fairly specific, not perfect with the recipe, but close enough to make it at home.  I did the requisite Google search for the recipe and what others have done.  NEVER EVER did I find someone who followed the recipe from the book – not even the German page I had to translate.  Look for a post soon where I do the AUTHENTIC Tuscan-Buford recipe.

UPDATE: 8:20 PM Friday night.  It’s in the oven.

April 3, 2014 Posted by | Main Dish, Random Blather | Leave a comment



So this is my BLT Salad.  Sure, it looks just how you would expect a Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Salad to look like – Bacon, Lettuce & Tomatoes.  Of course, the obvious choice to capture the bread component of a BLT is croutons, summarily added.  But what about the mayonnaise?  As any self-respecting sandwich lover knows, most sandwiches are really just mayonnaise delivery vehicles.  For a BLT salad, we need a mayo based dressing, of course.  But, what kind of mayo dressing?  How about a mayo dressing made with BACON fat?

Stop.  Just stop.  We should all take a moment of silence and contemplate that.

Bacon Mayonnaise.

So, with a 1/3rd of a cup of bacon fat, another 1/3rd of canola oil and a fresh, free range (honest free range, I know the supplier by name) egg yolk, – I went to Mayo-town.  Whisking away like taste depended on it (and it did) I created a bacon mayo.  So rich, so creamy…so rich!  I added some whole grain dijon mustard and champagne vinegar to thin it out.

The next day, I composed the salad and added the dressing.  The dressing was soooooo rich and filling, I couldn’t finish the salad and like I said, I was bloated and sick all afternoon.  I think I’ve found veggies I like.

April 2, 2014 Posted by | Bacon, Salads | Leave a comment


Oh, so many years ago when I was an micro-popular blogger, my best friends introduced me to blogger who had left us prematurely.  Her name was Sherry.  Seeming fairly wonderful, there was a “Cook a Sherry Special” I missed because of familial obligations.  I gave my marker and a few days later, made good on that marker – with a kids alphabet soup!  Enjoy a blast from my past – I did and I will, too.

March 31, 2014 Posted by | Random Blather | Leave a comment


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