Posts tagged ‘cooking’
First, a reminder. The 6th season of Bravo’s Top Chef has begun! I realize I’m a little late in mentioning it, but I just got to watch the premiere today. Las Vegas looks like it’s gonna be a good season. I’m not going to do recaps or reviews this season, but I highly recommend these blogs if you want commentary:
Secondly, good news and a promise.
I am painfully aware that this blog has been lately lacking the one thing it’s really supposed to be about. Cooking. I know I’ve had a million excuses (end of school, getting married, getting settled, moving…) for why that has been the case. Lame. This is supposed to be a blog primarily about my learning to cook healthy and meat free.
Starting this week (aka tomorrow) I am going to start trying out new recipes. A lot of my cooking lately has been things I know are safe because I’ve already shared them on the blog. This week’s menu includes several recipes I’ve never tried before. I will share the results here. Hopefully that’ll make both reading and writing more interesting. Plus dinner around here’s getting dull.
My promise to you:
At least 2 new vegetarian recipes a week. More if I can manage it.
You can hold me to that.
Clearly getting married and then getting settled into my new life has kept me busy, because I was totally unaware that Mark Bittman published a new cookbook early last month! (Thank goodness for Facebook!)
The book, Kitchen Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less, has 101 recipes for each season and according to the review they’re “delicious”, “sophisticated” and “simple”. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about this discovery. I’m definitely seeing if I can get it from the library soon…though I’m pretty sure I’ll end up owning it.
Just when I thought my Mark Bittman obsession was fading…
A tip for all those cooks out there:
If you’re ever making tetrazzini (vegetable, in my case), make sure you add the flour to the sauce so that it actually thickens up and becomes sauce, not just a casserole dish full of pasta, vegetables, broth and hot half and half.
In short: Read your recipe carefully and completely.
(Despite this mistake, the pasta and vegetables were still edible, and so we still had them for dinner. Wasn’t really tetrazzini though.)
First of all, I really didn’t think that was how “nuptials” was spelled. But that’s not the point of this post.
In just a few weeks, I’ll be living in Western Massachusetts, finally married to my Man after an 18 month, long distance engagement. It’ll be a big change from living with my parents, but it’s one I’m very much looking forward to. I’m so happy to be marrying him.
As a married woman, I plan to cook a lot more than I have been recently. I’m looking forward to only having to run my meal choices by only one person, and he’s pretty much agreed to try anything once (he even loves beans!). My plan is to only eat meat once or twice a week, which is going to take a ton of thinking ahead. But it’ll be delicious, healthy, fun and hopefully result in a lot more blog posts! That said, don’t expect much in the way of posts for the next couple weeks…things are busy here at wedding central!
My Man is much more into working out than I am. I was pretty good about getting to the gym when I was in college, but since moving home my exercising has been sporadic at best (though I have been taking yoga and loving it since this winter). I’ve been feeling guilty about my lack of activity lately, so it’ll be great to live with someone who already has an established routine. My Man has grand plans to walk frequently, possibly join the gym and act as my workout conscience. It should be really good. I’ll keep you posted.
I was surprised by not one, but two, bridal showers this week. Wonderful presents came my way, the most remarkable of which are a set of pots and pans from my parents and a KitchenAid stand mixer from my future mother-in-law (she must love me!), and half of our requested place settings of Fiesta dishes. We also received cutting boards, glasses, a Crockpot, aprons, and a lot of other wonderful things that I’m not trying to reduce in value because I’m not mentioning them, but I suspect the world at large doesn’t need to know every gift I unwrapped. I’m really excited to get into my kitchen to use all my new stuff. Cooking is even more fun when you’ve got shiny new toys to do it with.
If there’s one thing on my registry that I really want though, it’s a Cuisinart food processor. I realize it’s not the most frugal gift request, but I use my mother’s all the time and I can’t imagine creating some of my recipes without one.
What’s your most essential kitchen gadget? Any last minute must haves to add to my registry?
I’m beginning to think I have a death wish. A normal person wouldn’t volunteer to bring the extracurricular activity they supervise snacks every week. A mostly sane person would buy said snacks. I, for some crazy reason, find it necessary to cook something from scratch every Sunday. This week I made cupcakes with a recipe from Bakerella, which were really good and cooked really well, except for the part where I ended up with 30 of them, which is way more than I needed. Needless to say, I gave away a lot of cupcakes. Special thanks to Mark Bittman for the frosting recipe. I really thought I’d bought frosting at the supermarket, but I hadn’t. Such is my life.
I also made the White Bean Chili recipe from The Flexitarian Diet for lunch this week, but found it to be much more like tomato soup. I wasn’t impressed. I added a can of kidney beans and a serving of Israeli couscous to the mix, as well as some grated cheddar cheese and eventually found it pretty tasty. Usually I just leave recipes as they are, so it’s pretty exciting to have created my own success. Maybe soon I won’t need a recipe at all.
Dad was traveling for a few days, so Mom and I took the opportunity to get some swordfish. Half of this decision was prompted by a delicious looking picture on the inside of the newest issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. The Mango-Caper (and onion) Relish was well worth the effort it took to cut the mango. Mom (who had never had mango before) must’ve said “this is so delicious, and pretty, and easy” fifty times before the meal was over.
We also made a side of asparagus. Delicious.
11:43: All I’ve eaten this morning was half a granola bar (still too sweet, I haven’t changed my mind) and a hand full of walnuts. I want real lunch. Time to finish the fried rice started this morning.
11:44: Gather ingredients: oil, bell pepper (green; you should’ve seen the produce selection at the supermarket last night!), onion, the rice I cooked this morning (now plenty cooled) soy sauce.
11:47: Prep veggies. This always takes longer than I expect it to. I’m a slow dicer.
12:00 Holy crap, this onion is strong. Eyes are crazy watering. I usually don’t react to onions.
12:03: My nose starts running. Wow.
12:07: Done cutting that dumb onion, start cooking it in hot oil. Add the peppers after a couple minutes.
12:12: My Man calls; we discuss rice while I stir the vegetables.
12:22: Add the rice to the pan. Mark Bittman says (in the cookbook) to break up the rice chunks with one’s fingers. I burn myself doing so and switch to using a spatula.
12:30: It’s not very brown…let it sit for a few minutes.
12:34: Add the soy sauce–now it’s brown!
12:38: Finally sit down to lunch! It’s pretty good…I think the rice is cooked a little unevenly, but certainly edible. Definitely perfect for school lunch this week. Both parents try it and think it’s decent. Success!
This concludes the cooking portion of my weekend. Just kidding, I still have to make brownies or something for debate. *sigh*
It occurred to me this morning that sometimes I can get around to the cooking, but not to the blogging. I’ve decided to attempt doing it at the same time. If it seems to work, expect it to be a regular feature.
9:00 am: Finally drag my butt out of bed, with the realization that I have way too much to get done today, most of it in the kitchen. I want to make lunch for the week (fried rice), breakfast for the week (banana nut muffins)–both from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian–and it just occurred to me that I haven’t given any thought to what I’m going to feed the debate team.
9:05: My parents finally clear out of the kitchen (yeah, 5 minutes isn’t really “finally”). Dad made coffee for me. I should probably mention at some point that I vastly prefer tea and they should probably not bother to make any coffee for me. I pour a cup anyway.
9:06: Start making rice, following the instructions in the cookbook. Yes, I need instructions to make rice. Confession time: I’ve never made real rice before, only Minute Rice. My Man thinks this is appalling. It probably is. Today is the day I will learn to cook real rice. Either that or create a disaster.
9:10: I should eat breakfast at some point (those muffins are not getting started until after I take a scheduled phone call at 10). I have a whole batch of cranberry-chocolate granola bars that I made Wednesday night. Honestly, they’re way too sweet (maybe I should’ve left the honey out?) I feel bad throwing them out though. Maybe I can pawn them off on my parents. Or high schoolers.
9:20: The water has almost boiled. Took it long enough.
9:21: Check the recipe: “adjust the heat so the mixture boils steadily but not violently”. What is that supposed to mean? Turn down heat, read the part about “all visible moisture” disappearing and start to wonder if I’ve added too much water to begin with.
9:26: I think all “visible moisture”has disappeared. This is supposed to happen 10-15 minutes after you start. It’s more like 20. Oh well.
9:27 Stir. It seems way moist. I’ll let it sit for a few minutes, off the heat. Check email, nothing to report there. I should look at Twitter at some point
9:30: Debate whether “Live Blogging” is the right term for this post. Read one other blog post that backs me up, decide I don’t really care if its correct.
9:32 Check the rice. Looks decent. Transfer the pot into the fridge. Really check email, Facebook, Twitter.
9:44: Dad offers me a refill on coffee. I accept. What am I, crazy?
Actual fried rice creation to follow…