Demented Ramblings life is too short to refrain from eating jam out of the jar

12Jul/080

3 days of yummy dinners

Let's talk bellyfiller. You know, one of my favorite subjects - food.

On Thursday night, I stopped to pick up some hamburger so that we could grill out. Kroger had some lovely avacados and I thought I'd be sweet to my adorable boyfriend. So, I came home and mixed up some guacamole that he could then slather on his burger (pressing some bacon bits and jalapeno slices into the pile of guacamole. Ysha says yuk, but Sparks loves it.) With the burgers we had fried potatoes (I don't recommend trying to fry new potatoes, they don't brown. But it's what I had on hand.) and sauteed zucchini.

Last night, the boyfriend was working and I was craving Indian food. Big mistake, allowing myself into Tandoor all alone and hungry. I spent $40 on take out and came home for a feast of paneer pakora, papdums, onion chutney, vegetable korma, chicken mahkani, and garlic naan. I barely made a dent in the Vegetable Korma (my favorite) or Chicken Makhani (it looked rather like the "butter chicken" that I'd just watched the recipe for) but they were so yummy. Sparks had some for dinner when he got home around midnight. We've got a ton of leftovers, so I could probably eat it for lunches/dinners for several days. But I'd better not get burned out on it, I'm supposed to go back over there with some friends late in the week.

Tonight, I marinated a couple of tuna steaks in a combination of old bay and lime juice, then Sparks grilled them. I also threw together a corn and bean salad and a small bit of couscous. We topped the tuna steaks with the leftover guacamole. This was the best idea I've had for a while. It adds a bit of moisture to an otherwise dry fish but tastes better with tuna than tartar sauce. Sparks sat around rubbing his tummy and telling me what a wonderful dinner that was for a full hour after we'd finished eating it.

26Jun/080

The death of baking

Since I've moved, I really don't bake anymore.

I love my gas stove. Did you know that it is possible to make cook n serve pudding in the span of a commercial break? It always took something like 20 minutes at dad's house. Needless to say, I'm trying not to keep so much pudding in the house or I eat too much pudding. But I love it so.

But my oven? I HATES it! First, it doesn't tell me when it's up to temperature. I've had to buy an oven thermometer. Secondly, there's no light in there, so I have to pull out a flashlight to read the thermometer. The temperature seems to vary by 50 degrees in either direction depending on the moment. It takes almost twice as long to cook things as in Dad's electric oven. AND my cookie sheets didn't even fit in there, I had to swap dad for the smaller ones.

Did I mention that I hate that oven? I try to avoid using it when I can, using the toaster oven whenever possible.

Maybe I'll experiment more with custards and other stovetop desserts. Once I can get myself to lay off the pudding.

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17May/080

Experiments with pears

Well, well, now. That was one damned tasty dinner. My camera is still packed away someplace. I shoved all clutter into the spare room and closed the door. Much easier than actually cleaning the house enough to have company.

3Apr/080

Fridge cleaning

Whenever I have a party, there are leftovers out the wazoo. I was raised by a bunch of women who think that they must feed the entire Marine Corps whenever they have company. My friends were obviously raised by folks with the same viewpoint. Therefore, we can put out a serious spread. This is why I've been eating crackers and dips all week for breakfast and lunch.

There was a veggie tray brought to my party and as always the carrots and cauliflower get hit pretty hard, but not much else. Tonight I have decided to make use of the big pile of grape tomatoes left over.

I tossed them into a pan with olive oil and salt and an entire head of garlic broken into its separate cloves. Stuck them in the oven at 400ish degrees (I set the oven to 400, the thermometer said that it was more like 360) and left them in there for a half hour. I came along 2 or 3 times to give them a shake during the cooking.

I mashed the garlic out of it's skin and squished it up. Yes, squished is a culinary term! *snicker* Then put it into a bowl with the roasty tomatoes and squished them up with a fork. Added some salt and a few dried herbs. Yummo as that blasted Rachel Ray would say (she's currently on my tv).

I've got water on the stove to boil up some pasta. I plan to throw this together and hey - free dinner!

Ok, not quite, but it all came from the pantry/leftovers and did not require me to go to the store. Besides, if I weren't using the tomatoes in this fashion, they'd probably be thrown out in another day or two as I do not like raw tomatoes.

I'd considered adding a bit of wine and cream and making a schmancier sauce but I was afraid I'd mess it up. It's damn near perfect right now.

I haven't found my camera yet since moving, so no pictures. But it's not all that pretty anyway.

17Feb/080

RIP meat thermometer!

*sniff* I accidentally killed it dead. And it was such a handy gadget!

How, praytell, did I manage this? Broiling pork tenderloin and touched the thermometer to the element. OOPSIE!

It was a horrid sacrifice, but dinner was yummy enough to make up for it. Broiled pork tenderloin crusted with curried mustard, served with peas, couscous and curried fruit. *droools*

Thanks to my darling Mark Bittmann for the idea! I didn't exactly follow his recipe, but close.

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17Feb/080

A surprise to the palate

Sparks and I went away to one of the state park lodges for a couple of days. We were celebrating both Valentine's day and our second anniversary. Being that we were pretty much in the middle of nowhere, the lodge restaurant was the only game in town for acquiring dinner.

Their Valentine's special dinner was a special salad (which we never saw), prime rib, twice baked potatoes, parmesan tomato, and a special dessert. The prime rib was quite overcooked, per both our tastes, but was still tender. It was served with some sauce named for the Louisville chef who created it. It might have been wonderful on ribs, but prime rib needs horseradish. Luckily they accommodated us there. The twice baked potatoes were ok, but tasted like they'd just split the potato and then piled on instant mashed potatoes.

The big surprise of the meal, especially to a non-tomato liking girl, was the parmesan tomato. It was halved and topped with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese then toasted under the broiler. It brought out the sweetness in the tomato and was very tasty. Of course, the two of us being slight food snobs, we discussed how we thought that we could do it better, but it was very tasty.

Dessert was dry cake with way too much royal icing and a quite yummy strawberry.

I wouldn't drive up there just for the dinner, but for being the only option it was quite good.

14Jan/081

1 chicken= 3 meals

On friday, I bought a rotisserie chicken at the grocery. I get those occasionally and usually eat one breast off of it and the rest of the chicken rots in the fridge. Not this time!

So, on friday night, I had a nibbly meal with chicken and cheese and fruit and olives and bread. Yum!

Last night I stripped all of the chicken off of the carcass and threw it into a pan with a can of chicken broth and started simmering it. I tossed in a bit of seasoning, a shallot, 1 garlic clove, and a can of chopped chiles. I cooked it until the chicken broth was mostly evaporated/soaked into the chicken (softening it, as it was a bit overcooked and tough) then added a can of black beans. This I spooned over rice.

Tonight, I sauteed an onion, mixed half of it with the chicken and rice and set the rest aside. Then I made a quick chicken gravy from canned chicken broth. Half of that went into the chicken and rice and the reserved onions went into the other half and set aside for a moment. I spooned the chicken/rice/gravy mixture into tortillas and rolled them up. After all the enchiladas were rolled up, I topped them with the reserved gravy/sauce/whatever and baked them for a half hour.

And still tonight, it was too much food. If we'd made a side dish of some sort, there would have easily been enough for 3. But we didn't think they'd reheat for doodly, so pop stuffed himself to the gills and I ate as much as I could without making myself ill.

To sum up. One chicken turned into a plate full of nibblies, chicken etoufee of sorts, and chicken enchiladas. Aw yeah!

28Oct/07Off

Still not dead

For the record, this recipe is amazing!

http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/10/pumpkin-bread-pudding/

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17Sep/070

A random bit of food porn

I'm currently on a business trip - my first solo excursion longer than a day. I'm actually having a bit of fun exploring Columbus. Tonight, in my wanderings, I came across someplace called Stoney River for dinner. Pricey, but holy shit that was the best steak I've had in a very long time. I went with my waiter's recommendation of the coffee cured tenderloin. *drools* I'm stuffed to the gills right now and it still makes me drool to think about. Dude brought me their "stone puppies". *homer simpson drooly sound* Think teeny yeast roll with poppy seeds in it, deep fried like a doughnut hole and served with honey butter.

I had to ask Tony (my server) how one goes about coffee curing a steak. I'm going to put it here so that I'll remember later. Take triple strength coffee (think french press, not espresso) and lots of salt, mix in brown sugar and molasses, other spices if you like. Put your steak in there and a bunch of ice cubes to bring the temp down way low, then slide it in the fridge. Let it sit 3-4 hours. When you pull one out and check it, it should be tender but not falling apart. If it's falling apart then you've left it too long. Rinse it very well before cooking. They sear it on a griddle so that the sugar pulls out and carmelizes, then slide it into the oven to finish cooking. (it tasted rather like it had some rosemary in the marinade too)

I must try this at home. They served it with lyonaisse (?) potatoes and french green beans. Even though I couldn't finish the dinner, I succumbed to dessert when Tony mentioned the magic words....creme brulee! Ah hellz yeah! My favorite! It was a first for me, cinnamon creme brulee. I still like vanilla better but the cinnamon was damned good.

Perhaps I will find more yummy things to try to recreate at home while I'm on the road this week and next.

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8Jul/070

Too many!

Ack! What to do with a plethora of tomatoes!

Have I ever mentioned here that I really don't like tomatoes? It used to be a full on hatred, but I've been teaching myself tomato tolerance for the last few years. I still don't want to just pick a tomato fresh from the garden and bite into it, but I'm finding things to do to them that make me love them.

Twice this week, I made pizza - roasting the tomatoes first on the grill. Then on friday I threw together a quick tomato salad to go beside the burgers that we had for dinner.

I quartered cherry tomatoes, diced up a couple of slices of red onion, and minced a garlic clove. This was tossed with seasoned salt, lemon juice and olive oil. It was pretty danged tasty, I ate and even enjoyed a bit of it.

All of these tomatoes have my reflux kicking up something severe.