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Category Archives: cooking

Soup and Post on the Light Side

Here is a cooking post.  At least, I’m going to call it a cooking post, but perhaps I am stepping up in class.  No matter. It is Tired Tuesday, I fixed something for dinner that did NOT involve the telephone and a credit card, and I’m going to write about it.

First I poured myself a small glass of Chardonnay, because I wanted to cook with wine.

I had an open box of chicken broth in the refrigerator (I drank one mug of it recently when my stomach was bothering me) (you see, I DON’T write a blog post about every little ache and pain, although it sometimes feels that way).  I also had some leftover brown rice.  I put them both in a pot on the stove and turned on the burner.  I went to the freezer and pulled out broccoli and spinach, which I also added to the pot.

Then I went out the the living room, sat on the couch and looked a Facebook.  I feel that is an important part of the recipe.  After a while I went back out the the kitchen and added garlic powder, parsley, basil and oregano to the pot.  When it started boiling, I lowered the heat and let it simmer for a while.

Steven and I ate the soup with bread and butter.  Steven said it was very good, not too heavy, just what his stomach needed.  I hope this modest little post is just what my blog needed.  As for me, I may have another small glass of Chardonnay.  Happy Tuesday, everyone.


Souper Sunday

Imagine my delight just now when I searched and found that I have not used “Souper Sunday” as a headline.  I don’t like to repeat headlines.  I know I predicted a Wrist to Forehead Sunday, but I think Sunday Supper post might be nice.  I guess technically it was lunch, but you know how I love alliteration.

I had planned to make soup earlier in the week.  I had a big piece of beef in the freezer (I don’t remember what the cut was; it was on sale and it looked good).  I thought I would cook it in the crock pot on Saturday, then make soup with the leftovers on Sunday.  I find it is a good idea for me to plan menus for the weekend, to lessen the temptation to send out for pizza or Chinese food.  I confess that it only lessens the temptation.  That little devil on my shoulder will whisper, “That meat will be perfectly good to cook on Monday!”  However, this weekend, the devil was silent and I crock potted the beef.

I put Worcestershire sauce garlic powder, minced onions, Salt-Free Essential Spice Blend (from the So Sweet Candy Cafe in Utica, NY), and a small can of mushrooms in the crock pot with the meat, plus a little water.  It cooked for maybe nine hours.  Yum!  Steven nicely put the leftovers away.

I started the soup around 12:30 today.  As usual, I crushed up some garlic and set the timer for 15 minutes so it could “breathe” (I put breathe in quotations, because garlic does not have lungs).  I chopped up an onion and put it in a pot.  Ooh, here’s where I changed things up:  I did NOT cook it in olive or canola oil as per my usual method.  I used red wine.  Yes, I cooked with wine and I actually put it in the food!  You see, I impulsively purchased a cheap bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon the other day at Ilion Wine and Spirits.

“If it’s not good to drink, I can always cook with it,”  I said, quoting a bit of wisdom given me by another wine aficionado.  Turns out it wasn’t so good to drink.

After things had cooked for some time, I added a can of diced tomatoes.  Then I chopped up a small eggplant I had purchased specifically for the soup.  I love eggplant.  This was when I realized I had picked too small of a pot.  Damn! I put everything in a bigger pot.  After letting the eggplant cook for a while, I put in the leftover drippings and chopped up the leftover beef.  Stirring everything up, I added parsley, more Salt-Free Essential and a little cumin.

It was quite a tasty soup, and there was a goodly amount left over.  Steven put it in the freezer, for future consumption.  Now how could I have a Wrist to Forehead Sunday after such a delicious meal?


Shepherds We Have Heard on a Pie

How about a Tasty Tuesday post regarding a dinner Steven made?  I don’t know why I’m asking; it’s what I’m going to do.  I have to post it fast, too, because Steven wants my help finishing up our Christmas cards.  This is the latest we’ve ever sent them!  I blame myself.  My entire life is a case of Operator Error.  Be that as it may, here is my blog post.

I had gotten burger out of the freezer on Sunday, but after making bruschetta (perhaps you read my blog post about it), we didn’t want it.  Tonight, Steven decided to make an old favorite of his he had not made in a long time: Shepherd’s Pie.  I sat in the living room, looking at Facebook and email, then took a shower, while he was cooking, but I pretty much know how he did it.  Also he’s sitting right here, so I can ask him about parts I’m not sure of.

First he boiled the potatoes and cooked the hamburger in a  frying pan, adding Worcestershire sauce and spices.  When they were cooked he mashed the potatoes, then layered them and the burger in a casserole dish with frozen corn.  He put the dish in a 350 degree oven for about a half hour.  Just to add a personal note, he paused in the layering step to come upstairs and put lotion on my back after my shower.

I put grated cheese on mine.  I pronounced it a hearty and satisfying dinner.  I pronounce this an adequate blog post as a change from Tired Tuesday.  I hope to see you all on Wednesday, when I will probably Wuss Out.


Not a Wrist to Forehead Appetizer

So today was my day to get stuff done that I did not get done on Scattered Saturday.  That, I felt, was just setting myself up for Wrist to Forehead Sunday.  At least I got a couple of things done.  Then I made a delightful appetizer for Steven and me without a recipe, and I thought that would make a good blog post.

I had gotten the tomatoes on the vine at Hannaford yesterday (on sale This Week Only!) and some in-store bakery Italian bread.  I had it in mind to make bruschetta (my computer thinks that is misspelled, but Facebook seems to think it is correct) (my dictionary is upstairs, that’s too far for me on Wrist to Forehead Sunday).  Naturally the first thing I did was to crush up some garlic and set the timer for 15 minutes (so it could reach its full cancer-fighting qualities).  While it breathed, I cut some very thin slices of onion and started to chop up some rainbow peppers which had also been on sale at Hannaford (This Week Only!).  I also opened a can of black olives.  Somewhere during these activities I also set the oven to pre-heat to 400 degrees.

When the garlic was done breathing, I put it in the blender with olive oil, basil, oregano, and the Salt Free Essential Spice Blend from So Sweet Candy Cafe that is my new favorite seasoning.  I sliced the Italian bread and brushed it with the olive oil mixture, then topped it with onion, diced peppers, black olive slices, and pieces of tomato.  I put them in the oven for ten minutes. Yum!

With such a good — and labor intensive — appetizer, I no longer felt like cooking dinner.  We put the burger I had taken out of the freezer this morning into the refrigerator.  I’ll do something fun with that Monday or Tuesday.  I may even write another blog post about it.  I think these cooking posts are a little more interesting than my usual schtick, but perhaps I flatter myself.  In any case, I hope you are all having a lovely Sunday.


Crock Pot Cooking with Steve

How about a cooking post on Tired Tuesday?  It involves a crock pot and my dear husband, Steven. Full disclosure: I have not eaten the meal in question yet, because I want to get my blog post done.  However, it smells pretty damn good, and I have no reason to think it will not taste good as well.

The dinner started yesterday, when Steven took some sausage out of the freezer.  He thought we had a jar of Paul Newman sauce in the pantry then remembered we ate it last week.  I had some peppers and onions in the refrigerator that I had been thinking, in a vague sort of way, of putting in the crock pot with some canned tomato sauce, which is practically always on hand.  So we ate leftovers yesterday and planned for the crock pot today.

I must confess, Steven was the main mover and shaker behind our creation.  Last night he said, “What can I do to get this crock pot thing going?  Cut up the sausage?”  It was in links.  I was at that point trying to get my blog post together, having already done a load of laundry, and feeling my usual Monday tiredness.  Steven pointed out that I get up really early in the morning with not a lot of time before leaving for work.  I knew I must bestir myself so, following his good example, I chopped up a half an onion (they were big onions) and two green peppers. I put them in a container in the refrigerator.

This morning, I was prepared to put the ingredients in the crock pot, but Steven graciously offered to do so.  I instructed him to put the onion and peppers on the bottom, then the sausage, then four cans of tomato sauce (they’re kind of small).  I explained how the crock pot must be filled to a certain amount in order to cook properly, and that vegetables cook best on the bottom or sides of the pot.  I am not an expert at crock pot cookery, but I have some experience.  I said eight or nine o’clock would be an OK time to turn it on.

When I talked to Steven during the day (I was at work; he had the day off), I told him not to stir it yet.  We stirred it when I got home.  Ooh, it was smelling good.   We took a teeny taste. I added a small can of tomato paste for thickening.  Steven sprinkled in some garlic powder, basil and oregano.  I turned the pot on high.

Now the water is on for the rotini, and I am very hungry.  If this is not the delicious meal I am expecting, I shall edit this post to say so.  But I don’t think I will have to.  Happy Tuesday, everyone.


Hey, It’s a Blog Post

How about a cooking post, to make a change from my moaning and groaning about my health woes (yes, it gets a little old, even for me).  For one reason, I’m back on solid food.  Yay! My doctor specifically recommended macaroni and cheese.  I had some cheese in the refrigerator, so I decided to make some. I wondered when I started out if this would really be worth a blog post.  I mean, it is not the most imaginative recipe.  Then again, it is Non-Sequitur Thursday, and, hey, it’s a blog post.

I peeled and crushed some garlic, setting the timer for 15 minutes so it could “breathe”  (that is a correct use of quotation marks;  garlic cannot literally breathe, since it has no lungs) (that is a correct use of “literally” as well, so yay me).  I put on some water to boil and looked in the fridge for the aforementioned cheese.  I had mozzarella and colby-jack.  This would be great.  I grated the cheese while the macaroni cooked.

When the shells had cooked, I put it in a casserole dish and stirred in the garlic, then added butter and milk (which I did not measure), then the cheese.  It looked like a lot of cheese for the amount of macaroni.  Yum.  I covered it and put it in the oven, which I had pre-heated to 350 (forgot to mention that, but I don’t think anybody was cooking along with me as they read, were they?) and set the timer for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, things got a little different.  When I took the stuff out to stir it, it seemed the cheese had melted into a big glooby glob in the middle of the dish.  What was that all about?  Is that what mozzarella is supposed to do? I added more butter and milk, stirred some more, and put it back in for another 10 minutes.  I wasn’t too worried.  After all, it would still taste good, even if it was a pile of macaroni next to a lump of cheese.  I might just have to eat it with a fork and knife.

After 10 minutes, the glob seemed a little less globby (or I guess, glooby, as I described it before), but the milk was making kind of a soupy puddle.  Oh well, I like soup.  I stirred, then put it back in for five minutes uncovered, in hopes some of the liquid would boil off or get absorbed.  Not much did.  Oh well.

Steven was home by this time, delighted by the smell of me cooking dinner for the first time in over a week.  Um, the smell came more from dinner than from me.  We ate it from bowls, because it was still pretty soupy.  It was pretty tasty.  I could feel my body melting in gratitude for the first carbohydrates in days.  I wanted seconds but refrained.  For one reason, I didn’t want to make myself sick.  For another, I did lose five pounds since last Wednesday.  I’d like to keep some of it off.


Cooking Without a Vague Idea

Well, I had thought about doing a cooking post for Non-Sequitur Thursday, but I am not convinced that what I cooked tonight is all that blogworthy.  Then again, I got nuthin’ else.   It’s been a rough week, especially for a short one.  But my purpose here is not to bitch but to blog.  So on with the blog.

I have not been cooking lately, because Steven comes home so much later than I do and I go to bed so early, I usually just eat something when I get home, then he eats something when he gets home, and then I write a run-on sentence about it.  Today I had thought all day about cooking something.  I even had a vague idea of what to cook.  I won’t tell you what it was, though, because I didn’t do it and I might yet one day.  Then I’ll have another blog post.

When I got home, I felt down.  Oops, slipped in a little bitch.  Eventually I got myself to do a couple of things: showered, put in a load of laundry, took the dog for a walk.  I thought it would cheer me up to cook something.  I have long been an advocate of the therapeutic benefits of chopping vegetables.  Accordingly, I looked to see if I had a yellow onion in the refrigerator (I knew I had a red one).  I did have one great big yellow one.  I only cut up about a quarter of it, which I put in my cast iron frying pan with some canola oil.

Next I crushed some garlic and set the timer so it could breathe for 15 minutes.  Regular readers will realize that this is how most of my recipes begin.  Onion and garlic in oil, first letting the garlic breathe.  How dull.  This is why I almost didn’t write a blog post about it.  After the 15 minutes, I put the garlic in the pan with the onion.  I had covered the pan, by the way.

When the onion was pretty much cooked, I added some miniature kielbasas we had leftover from pigs-in-a-blanket Steven had fixed recently.   I found some frozen spinach in the freezer (where else?) and a can of mushroom pieces and stems in the pantry.  Should I add anything else, I asked myself.  A search of the cupboard and refrigerator did not result in any ideas.  After a while, I cooked some twisty macaronis to add to the other mixture.

Steven was pleased to come home and find dinner almost done.  We both thought it tasted pretty good.  At least it was good enough to have seconds and no leftovers.  Was it a good enough blog post?  Only you, dear reader, can be the judge of that.


Mystery Squash for Sunday Supper

How about a Sunday Supper post instead of my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday?  Is that a category?  If not, it is now.

I have some squash my lovely friend Kim gave me from her garden.  She had also given me some cucumber, but I used that in a salad I’ve been eating for lunch all week.  I thought it would be a good idea to use the squash tonight.  I consulted Joy of Cooking, an excellent  resource.  I did not remember what kind of squash she said it was.  By the pictures in the book, it looked like a butternut.  Only Joy of Cooking said that was a winter squash, and it is clearly NOT winter (although the weather did get nicely cooler today; not really cool, but definitely more comfortable).  I was confused but just glanced through a bunch of recipes before deciding to wing it, as I usually do.  For one reason, I thought it might make for a good blog post (of course, you, my reader, will be the judge of that).

I know, I just could have called or Facebooked (I just love that word as a verb) Kim and ASKED what kind of squash it was.  I preferred to let it remain a mystery. I do love a good mystery.

I began my cooking by peeling and crushing several cloves of garlic then setting the timer for 15 minutes (you know, to let it “breathe” in order to reach its full health benefits; I put that in for new readers as well as previous readers who may have forgotten).  I chopped up a small onion and put it in a frying pan with some red wine.  You see, sometimes when I cook with wine, I actually use it in the food (full disclosure: I also had a glass while I was chopping etc).  Then I pulled out the squash.

First I washed it, then I chopped in in half.  What a chore!  Some squashes are pretty damn tough, let me tell you.  Then I peeled it with a potato peeler.  This did not go as swiftly as peeling, say, a potato or a cucumber (further disclosure: I rarely peel potatoes and only peel cucumbers when they have that waxy stuff on the skin).  However, I managed to get all the skin off, then chopped it into bite-sized pieces (depending on the size of your bite; I can’t accommodate everyone).  I added the squash to the pan and covered it, so the wine wouldn’t all cook out and make the stuff burn.

After letting all this cook for a while (what, you thought I was going to keep track of how long this all took me?), I added a can of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato paste.  I put water in both cans to get all the tomato stuff out.  I sprinkled in dried basil, oregano and hot peppers.  After a good stir, I put the cover back on, cracking it to let the steam out.

After this had cooked for a bit, I covered it all the way and turned it off so Steven and I could take Spunky for a walk.  One must walk one’s dog, after all.  When I returned, I turned the sauce back on and put on water for pasta.  While the pasta cooked, I grated up the last of some Parmesan-type cheese I had on hand (can’t remember exactly what; the label is long gone.

Our dinner was quite yummy.  I really like that unknown squash.  Imagine my delight when I discovered there is another one in my refrigerator.  I forgot Kim gave me two.  Thanks, Kim!


Dinner Before Movie

How about a quick cooking post.  Never mind why; I’ve had kind of a stupid day, but I will not burden my readers with that right now (no promises for the future).

Steven suggested sending out for food, but I REALLY wanted to cook something.  But something not too long and involved, because I was hungry and it was already late.  We had some bacon (somebody gave Steven a coupon).  I suggested bacon and eggs.  We did not have much bread for toast.  Oh dear.  I was not up for a run to the store.  I looked in the refrigerator for inspiration.  I saw some hot dog buns.   And grape tomatoes. Well!

“I’ll cook some bacon, toast a couple of hot dog buns, cook eggs with broken yokes and make sammiches,” I said.  “With tomatoes.”

Steven readily agreed.  He even helped me keep an eye on the bacon while it cooked.  Why does bacon take so damn long to cook, anyways?  I put mayonnaise on the buns when they were toasted.  I love mayonnaise.

Our BET (Bacon, Egg, Tomato) Sammiches were delicious. And I was SO pleased with myself that we did not send out for food.  Of course I love to support the local economy and we have some delightful restaurants that deliver. However, sometimes one must save money and consume fewer calories (bacon and mayonnaise notwithstanding).

Now we are on the movie-viewing portion of our evening.  We are going to watch Young Frankenstein.  We would have watched it soon anyways, as a favorite Halloween movie.  Sadly, we watch it tonight in tribute to the recently departed Gene Wilder.  What a comic genius. Really, not a bad end to my Saturday.  Hope to see you all on Wrist to Forehead Sunday.


Or Was It Cancer Fighting Benefits?

How about a Cooking In Progress post in lieu of my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday?  I am in the midst of what I hope will be a delicious dinner.  While it cooks I am sipping a beverage, looking at Snapped and, well, typing this.  And I thought I couldn’t multi-task.

I multi-tasked while I was cooking too, and not just sipping and chopping.  I chopped with a dual purpose.  I made a salad for my lunch in the coming week and chopped vegetables to nibble on as well.  The vegetables I chopped included some rainbow peppers destined for dinner as well.   Ooh, that made it a triple purpose.

Of course my recipes often lack variety, but perhaps some readers have missed previous cooking posts or forgot about them or are new readers or will just forgive me.  Or they have already stopped reading, thinking, “I can’t read again how she crushed garlic and set the timer for 15 minutes so it would reach its full anti-oxident benefits, or was it cancer fighting?”

For anyone still reading, I peeled and crushed some garlic.  It is the last bulb from the braid I purchased at the Mohawk Valley Garlic and Herb Festival in Little Falls, NY last September.  Either that was a bigger braid than I have previously purchased or I have not been cooking nearly enough, because that braid has lasted me  long time!  Next I chopped a yellow onion and put it in olive oil in the cast iron frying pan.  Then I chopped the rainbow peppers into smaller pieces and added them to the pan.

The fifteen minutes have passed and the garlic is cooking now.  I have the heat on low and the pan covered with the lid cracked.  When things seem cooked enough I will put on water for angel hair pasta I happen to have from The Pasta Shoppe in Utica, NY (just for another bit of local).  I have some mushrooms to add to the frying pan as well, but those don’t take as long to cook.

Hmmm… I hope this post has been as amusing as my usual Wrist to Forehead schtick.  I always feel I should write a post about something other than Why I Can’t Write a Post Today, but then I worry that the posts about not writing are the more amusing.  Or do I flatter myself?

No matter.  I am over 350 words and I am going back to other Sunday activities.  Hope to see you all tomorrow for Monday Mental Meanderings.