Monday, February 19, 2007
In fairness, I really needed a weekend this weekend. Saturday was my birthday (an ugly sounding one--I'm not really acknowledging it), so there was much ado about nothing. It did result, however, in some nice visiting time with the Husband, the kids, and the granddaughters. I came into the weekend utterly spent, and it seemed like I fell asleep every time I sat down. Eventually, I just gave into it. Once I realized that today was not going to be THE day, I relaxed--really, really relaxed--for the first time in weeks. I know I'll kick myself later for all the things I didn't get done, but someone very wise has said to me many times, "You've got to go slow to go fast." I get it. This was my slow weekend.
With that said, though, dinner still needed cooking tonight. I did buy meat at Costco yesterday, so the rest became a scavenger hunt. I had some new red potatoes that had begun to sprout, some zucchini that was a little hinky on the ends, and all kinds of meat. I did NOT have any fresh herbs, milk, cream, or much of anything else. I don't keep a heavily stocked pantry, either, so it was really a challenge. When faced with a challenge, sometimes I just go do something else to let my subconscious work on it, which is when it happened. While sorting through all the magazines I haven't read, I dropped the Thanksgiving (insert embarrassed face here) issue of Gourmet (or Bon Appetit, don't really remember) on the floor. It fell open to a recipe for a spice rubbed pork tenderloin with a sauce made from pomegranite juice. Voila! Dinner.
It was really quite good, and I'll post the recipe later in the week. In the meantime, I've decided to scale back on my planning. Honestly, I shouldn't shop for more than a couple of days at a time, because it irritates me to no end to throw food away. Tomorrow will be ahi tuna on the grill--which was supposed to be today's dinner, but even intrepid desert dwellers don't necessarily like to grill in pelting rain. Off to bed, and ready to begin another week.
Monday, February 12, 2007
“What?” you ask. “Fast food. Chain. What can go wrong?”
Plenty. First of all, the “Fil-A” part of my sandwich only covered about half the bun. It sort of looked like two fingers and half a palm, and was about 2x3 inches overall. The coleslaw, which was my “fresh” food of the day, was definitely over its prime. But hey, the Diet Coke was just fine—nice and fizzy!
I came home and consoled myself with a slice of lemon cake, a hot bath, and a look through the stack of new cookbooks that just arrived. That’s right—I just keep feeding my addiction. Unfortunately, the Husband was home and intercepted the package. I just plead, “Hobby, honey.” He sort of secretly rolls his eyes, but it’s cheaper than some hobbies, and he benefits, too. After all, I could take up making beaded jewelry (which I secretly lust after), and I’ll bet he wouldn’t wear it. But he DOES get to eat what I cook. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!
Now I’m off to take something out of the freezer so I can cook tomorrow night without the necessity of a grocery stop.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Kira decided to explore Giada’s Everyday Italian,, although I do think she needed to pull her top down more to really replicate Giada’s style. (For those of you who don’t want Giada, pretend I didn’t say that. For those who do watch Giada—yep, you’re laughing.) She made whole wheat spaghetti with Checca Sauce, an uncooked sauce made with cherry tomatoes, scallions, garlic, Parmesan, basil, olive oil, and mozzarella cheese. Just a few pulses in the blender and a quick toss with hot pasta put dinner on the table. This was good, and I’d make it again, although it wasn’t necessarily one of those “Wow! I’ve found the ultimate!” recipes.
In fact, I realized today how few of those there are. I seldom repeat meals, as I always feel there is going to be something a little bit better if I just keep looking. I think Kira was a bit discouraged because I didn’t do cartwheels—although everyone who knows me knows that it just isn’t my style—no matter what. I rarely get excited over my own cooking, either. I guess I need to put some thought into the things that I do make over and over again. Not very many, that’s for sure.
Kira also borrowed from Bobby Flay’s Grilling for Life, and extrapolated a Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette from a pasta and grilled shrimp dish. We just had it over a spinach salad. It was also very good, but we forgot to toss the feta cheese into the salad, and I think it would have nicely offset the acid notes in the dressing. It was a very pretty, vibrant green color, though.
For me, it was another try at the Stonewall Kitchen Lemon Cake with Lemon-Vanilla Glaze. The first time I made it, it was a little bitter. This time, I started the glaze without the lemon zest, waiting to add that until the last couple of minutes of simmering. Perfect. All the tart, tangy goodness without any bitterness. This is going to be a go-to dessert, I can tell. See, already—a repeater.
I also made another dessert, which I’m going to keep under wraps until tomorrow. It’s really good, though, but I didn’t have time to take pictures, and I’m still trying to decide whether to dress it up or leave it as is.
For now, it’s off to bed to prepare for another (hopefully not so) long day! (I'll catch up on recipes later in the week.)
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Monday, February 5, 2007
Sunday, February 4, 2007
Friday, February 2, 2007
And ends up looking like this:
One of Kent's take-out favorites--Hot and Sour Soup! This is a Cook's Illustrated recipe, and they almost never steer a cook in the wrong direction. I do have to admit to some doubt, though, when I first tasted the soup. The white pepper, which combines with chile oil to put the "hot" in the hot and sour, was the dominant flavor. It had a "raw" pepper taste. I set the soup aside, though, as I prepared dinner, then tasted it again. Ah...much better. I would say this rivals take-out (as any home-cooked meal should, I suppose). One variation I would make, however, is the technique given for "wisping" the eggs. I find it works much better to start with the soup at a rolling boil, then slowly pour in the beaten egg in a steady stream, stirring the soup with a fork as you pour. The eggs truly do end up as feathery wisps with that technique.
Also on tonight's menu was Soy-Ginger Ahi Fillets. Ahi is one of a very limited selection of fish that I can eat. I think it's a texture thing; the Ahi is very meaty. I picked up this wild-caught Ahi at Trader Joe's today. It was perfect; no fish smell when I opened the package, and the meat was almost satiny. I let it marinate for a few hours, then just a few minutes on the grill and it was done. The side dish is broccoli rabe steam-sauteed with garlic chips. Just can't get enough of those garlic chips! Enough for today. Some idiot scheduled my hair appointment for 8:00 tomorrow morning. Oops--that idiot would be me. What was I thinking?
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Also on tonight's menu was a Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Vanilla Glaze from Stonewall Kitchen Favorites. This was described as a cake for those who "can't bake." The cake was really good, but none of us were crazy about the glaze. It was tart-too tart even for us. It was almost bitter, which would make me think I got pith from the lemon when I zested it. My Microplane has never failed me, though, so I don't think that's it. It could be that I didn't measure the zest and just got too much. I think it's worth a do-over when I'm paying more attention to what I'm doing. In the meantime, I know we're sleeping safe from vampires.