Curious Cook: Superb bowls

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Football bowl games: Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, even the Cheez-It and Duke’s Mayo Bowl.


Tupperware bowl, cereal bowl, crystal bowl, mixing bowl.


Not even that oh-so-refined lawn game played by gentle folk dressed in white or the unfortunate haircut made by placing one of the aforementioned bowls on the unlucky victim’s head.

I’m talking about the current dish du jour: bowls.

On the surface it’s one more tiresome culinary trend which began on social media and then spread to hipster restaurant. Influencers artfully placed colorful food into bowls and put them on the “Insta.” Buzz ensued, and variations sprung up.

For breakfast there are the acai and smoothie bowls. Although why anyone would want to eat a bowl of smoothie is curious. For the athletic types there is the protein bowl. Yoga fanciers have Buddha bowls and carb lovers have grain bowls.

Not to be left out, I made what would be a plate of food and draped it into a bowl in an aesthetically pleasing way. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t taste any different than it would on that plate). I’ve given you that recipe along with a few variations.

These social media mavens think that they invented “the bowl.” But folks have been eating food in bowls forever.

Stew, spaghetti and meatballs, chili, and the beloved macaroni and cheese. While they may not be as pretty, they’ve always been prized for ease of use, tastiness, and portability. There is nothing better than sitting on the couch, in your pajamas and eating supper (or breakfast) in front of the TV.

Bowls are pure, 100% comfort dining.

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Superb Bowls

Farro or Brown Rice

1 1/2 cup farro or brown rice

4 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Add all ingredients into a heavy pot with a lid. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and lower heat to medium-low. Cook until the water is cooked off and farro is chewy/tender (38-43 minutes).


2 pounds pork butt cut into 1-inch chunks

1 teaspoon dry thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

15 gratings fresh nutmeg

4 crushed juniper berries

1/2 teaspoon ground carroway seed

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 onions, roughly cut

Zest of 1 orange

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and toss to coat. Cut out a very large piece of foil and cover with a piece of parchment the same size. Place on the coated pork and onions. Cover with parchment and then foil pieces. Close and tightly seal all around. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and cook at 275° for 5 hours or until falling apart tender.

Remove from oven, slit to release steam and cool a bit.

German Scented Chicken Thighs

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon dry thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

10 gratings fresh nutmeg

3 crushed juniper berries

1/4 teaspoon ground caraway seed


Freshly ground black pepper

Zest of 1/2 orange

Stir together all ingredients into a pre-heated large heavy skillet. Cook on medium until the meat is cooked through and internal temp is 165°.

*You can also do this with cubes of tofu in case of vegetarianism.

Melted Red Cabbage

1 small or 1/2 a large head of red cabbage, cored and slices extremely thin

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon caraway seed

10 gratings of nutmeg

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon water

Salt and pepper

Put cabbage, butter, caraway, nutmeg, a big pinch of salt and pepper along with water into a skillet. Cover and cook on medium until the cabbage is wilted and has released its liquid (8-ish minutes).

Remove lid and let cook until skillet is mostly dry. Then add sugar and vinegar. Cook, stirring often unto there is the smallest bit of browning around the edges. Taste for seasoning and re-season if necessary.

Melted Kale

1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and cut into ribbons

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons water

15 gratings nutmeg

1 teaspoon sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper

Into a large skillet add kale, onion, butter, water, nutmeg, sugar, and a big pinch of salt & pepper. Cover and cook for 8 minutes. Uncover and cook until the onion begins to brown. Remove from heat, add lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.

Sugar Snaps

1 pound of sugar snap peas with strings removed

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon of water

Place everything into a skillet and cook on medium-high until the liquid has cooked out and veg are tender (6-8 minutes).


1 pound very thick (as thick as your thumb) asparagus with about 1 inch cut off bottom and discarded then cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon of water

Put everything into skillet and cook, uncovered for about 4 minutes or until the water’s gone and the veg just begins to brown.

Assemble bowls: place about 3/4 cup of grain into bottom of bowl. On top arrange meat, leafy veg, and asparagus or snap peas. Sprinkle on chopped fresh chives or parsley if desired.


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