TND – Librarian Adjacent

February 15, 2012

Four and a half years of Dinner – 286 recipes – have now been sorted and tagged to within an inch of their lives.


Plus, 127 of the recipes (and counting) I’m idly eying with a view either towards Dinner, or dinner the other six nights of the week.

Let me backtrack. I used to keep a list of recipes I had seen and wanted to remember on Delicious. But then Delicious exploded in a fiery ball of self-immolation that serves as an object lesson in why you shouldn’t piss off the internets. It took a while for people to arrive at a consensus about where they would come to roost, but Pinboard seems to have won the lottery. It’s taken me a while to get around to signing up for a Pinboard account, mostly because I no longer have my credit card number memorized (long story involving me being an idiot and calling in my credit card as lost when it was really just in the back pocket of a pair of pants – upside is that it has cut down on impulse internet purchases because I keep having to get up to find my wallet). However, a week or so ago I looked at the draft email where I saving all the links to recipes I wanted to remember and realized that it was getting out of control and was frustrating me because I kept having to click on links to see what they were so I bit the bullet and signed up for a Pinboard account. In a fit of organizational zeal I decided that in addition to importing and weeding through all my old recipe bookmarks from Delicious, what I really wanted to do was create a searchable index for all the MND recipes.

A more detailed searchable index for all the MND recipes is something I’ve been trying to work out the logistics of for a while. I played around with creating separate pages in wordpress, but it’s unwieldy to keep updated and I could never get it to display in a way I found aesthetically pleasing. Plus, what I really wanted was cloud tagging. What this also means, of course, is that you now get a peek at how my mind works. I’m sure a psychologist could impute all kinds of things about my psyche from the way I choose to organize information. All I shall say is that the tags I’ve chosen to employ reflect the way in which I think about recipes, and shall draw a veil over any more esoteric conclusions that might be derived from an analysis of the tags I choose.

The recipe index on the blog site is still there, and will continue to be updated. But, if you want to be able to search for recipes more specifically you can now do that over on https://pinboard.in/u:mondaynightdinner

For example, if you’re looking for inspiration for a specific course you can search that way – appetizers, main courses, side dishes (fruit, vegetable, or starch), brunch, afternoon tea, etc . . .

Or, you’re in the mood for a particular ingredient you can search that way – apples, chicken – generically, or specifically (breasts, thighs, or ground), eggplant, dried fruit, beans, etc . . .

Or, if you have time and want something that cooks long and slow while you do other things you can search for that. Conversely, if you want something crazy-easy to make you just look at those recipes (although, admittedly sometimes my idea of what’s crazy easy isn’t everyone else’s). Alternatively, you can search for meals that are light(er), or would help you participate in meatless Mondays.

You can also search by type of cuisine – Comfort-American, Asian, Indian, Moroccan, Mexican . . . or for recipes that are a fusion of two different types of cuisine, or recipes that riff on a classic dish.

You can also explore the more idiosyncratic search strings like all the recipes that have been Birthday Dinner requests, or all the recipes that have elicited indecent noises from people when they took their first bite (funnily enough there’s a lot of crossover between those two categories). Or, you could check out all the past Oscar menus, or the myriad ways you (I) can cook with alcohol.

Within each search the cloud tag on the right will show you what other tags are associated with that search, and which ones are most common (size matters). There are, I believe, 164 different tags so there are lots of ways to noodle around and think about recipes. Anyway, have fun exploring, and hopefully this is helpful to more people than just me.

Bombay Sloppy Joes
Massaged Kale Salad
Apple-Fennel Slaw
Oven Fried Sweet Potatoes

The Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mother Lode

Bombay Sloppy Joes
The last time I tried to make this for Dinner it turned out more like soup than anything you could put on a sandwich. When you cut the recipe in half (so ½ lb of ground chicken) it’s a 45 minute meal, and I know this because I make it for my roommate and I all the time. When you multiply it up to 2 lb of ground chicken, it takes a little longer. I found that you really needed to sauté things in batches to not end up with soup. Accordingly, I cooked the chicken in two batches, and then I sautéed the onions, and then I sautéed the red peppers so that the pan didn’t get over crowded and each ingredient had a chance to brown and soften without steaming. Conveniently that turned out to be about the amount of time the sauce needed to reduce to the appropriate thickness.

I did all of my sautéing and simmering on Monday night, and then stashed the almost finished mixture in the fridge overnight. On Tuesday I brought it back up to a simmer, added the raisins/pistachios and then added the half & half and seasoned it with salt & pepper. So, a lot more time consuming, but on the other hand it was the right consistency and doing most of it on Monday meant I could participate in the pre-Dinner conversation about the first book that broke your heart on Tuesday night (probably Little Women, which drove me under the covers when my mother read it to me; although my first response was Anne of Green Gables because Matthew’s death makes me sob every single time I read it).

Recipe previously given: In which it all went kind of wrong, but was still tasty

Massaged Kale Salad

Recipe previously given: Introducing Fancy Molasses (and her cousin Black Strap)

Apple-Fennel Slaw

Recipe previously given: Ant Parade

Oven Fried Sweet Potatoes
Skipped the brown sugar, and dusted generously with salt, pepper, cinnamon and garam masala.

Recipe previously given:  In which it all went kind of wrong, but was still tasty

The Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mother Lode

We have a friend who’s a trained pastry chef, and every year she asks what I want for my Birthday Dessert. My birthday is actually in early December, but that time of year is always always insane in terms of things going on, and the amount of cake, cookies and chocolate just generally around so I always push my Birthday dessert request until after the New Year. This was the week we got around to fulfilling my request.

This year I asked for either Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies, or Peanut Butter Bars. Because she is either the best friend ever, or secretly evil, I got both.

It was the chocolate-peanut butter mother lode. I had something of a sugar hangover this morning, but I do not regret a single bite egregious amount of dessert I had last night.  There were leftovers.  They did not make it past 11pm in my house.



  1. Lovely to be able to find all the recipes.
    But what were other “the first book that broke your heart” suggestions in the pre-dinner chat. MrsB

    • I’m not sure I remember all of them. I know that “The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe” was the first one for a lot of people. As I recall that book terrified me long before it had a chance to break my heart.

      The original discussion came up on a library listserv and there were a lot of name checks for “Bridge to Terebithia”, the Harry Potter books (for people who grew up reading them, i.e. people who are younger than we are), “Where the Red Fern Grows”, “The Yearling”, “Black Beauty” . . . .

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