Thursday, June 22, 2006

What's cookin'?

I've been feeling a bit blog-neglectful these past few months, or at least that I'm not living up to my self-proclaimed "Food Snob" title. Other than Midweek Munchies, my blog has been nearly food-free lately! Why?

~ It's been too hot to cook much of the past few months

~ My kitchen has been a pit, and I didn't want to cook much in such a dirty kitchen

~ I don't have a camera and now that I'm in cookbook-testing mode, I don't want to post complete recipes (so what's the fun?)

All poor excuses, I realize! This morning, I decided to catch you up on the happenings of my kitchen and let you know what I've been cooking!

I finally cleaned the kitchen last weekend and washed all of the scuzzy plastic containers that have been sitting around for, ahem, a month (!), so I was ready to cook this week, finally! Here's what I made:

SLOPPY LENTILS: This is a recipe that I'm planning on including in my cookbook, and has taken several revisions on my part to get "just right." I really, really like it now. :) Ingredients: olive oil, onion, green pepper, garlic, dried Italian seasoning, tomato sauce, water, French green lentils, soy sauce, veggie Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, salt, and ground flaxseed. I'm really liking this recipe a lot -- for someone who doesn't like leftovers much, this seems to get better and better the longer it sits in the fridge! (Well, to a point, obviously.) It's a nice, healthy, quick meal when I get home from work and am so hungry I can't see straight -- cut open a roll and hollow it out, warm up the lentils, scoop some into the roll, add some fruit and a salad, and I'm ready to eat in less than five minutes.

POLENTA: I've made my own polenta a number of times, and find it's a great "go-to" food when I don't feel like cooking much of anything, but it will still taste really great and is culinarily flexible -- you can put just about anything on top of polenta, both sweet and savory, and it will be a success. I don't know what bizarre kind of cornmeal I bought bulk at the co-op, but my polenta isn't "gelling" as much as it usually does, thus it's been a bit tricky trying to pan-fry leftover slices. (They still taste good, but usually fall apart and don't look quite as pretty. Oh well.) Christine came over for dinner last night and I fried up some polenta and topped it with Hoppin' John (explanation next,) and made each of us a big, green salad for the side. Mmmmmm!!! I'm also excited to saute the kale I have in the fridge and top some polenta with kale, cannellini beans, and pasta sauce. Mmm!

HOPPIN' JOHN: I was really, really worried about the Hoppin' John. Why, you ask? Because I've had a food aversion to black-eyed peas for some time now, (had some Hoppin' John over a corn muffin for lunch, then had a migraine, then threw up lunch . . . ew!), so I set out to change my recipe significantly in the hopes of avoiding the food aversion. I started with the recipe I used to really like from the Betty Crocker cookbook, and then did some internet research to see what recipes for "traditional" Hoppin' John looked like. I switched out some of the veggies and spices, but kept the tomatoes, and am loving the new recipe! Ingredients: canola oil, onion, celery, green bell pepper, okra, garlic, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, dried thyme, a bay leaf, a can of diced tomatoes with liquid, a can of black-eyed peas, cilantro, and green onion. Mmm!

That's what's been cookin' at my house. I also tested a peanut butter cookie (for, like the 10th time,) for the cookbook, and I still don't like it. I might just cut that recipe alltogether -- there are enough other desserts in there, I think, to make up for the lack of peanut butter cookies! :)

I am going to be in town for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and all of my friends (but one, I think,) are going out of town, so I hope to do some major recipe testing that weekend. I'll have to do a "big shop" before hand and plan out what will be tested! Perhaps I can borrow a camera from someone for the weekend so I can make some more interesting posts . . . !?! We'll see.


Melody said...

Sloppy lentils are soo good.. I look forward to trying your recipe for them.. when do you think your cookbook is going to come out? Do you have a publisher and all that jazz, or is it going to be an ebook or what?

Your Hoppin John looks good too.

even though I cook for a big eating family, I'm definitely going to buy your book!!

Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

Made the Sloppy Lentils last night. I'll provide you the full review via e-mail. It was very good!

Too bad about the PB cookies. I'd love to see some Sunflower Butter cookies ;) *hint, hint*


EatPeacePlease said...

I think the cookbook will have plenty other great stuff besides PB cookies. Plus, I can't bake them, so why don't you try a no-bake (since you're hot over there too) and I can make some! J/K.

As for your cooking, it all sounds great. I have a polenta idea, mapped out on paper even. I'm working up motivation for eating something "new". I am looking forward to your posts and hopefully you can snag a camera from someone. After all, isn't food photos more important than someone's 4th of July vacation!?!

Jody from VegChic said...


Everything sounds good, especially the sloppy lentils. I'm looking forward to the cookbook too.

BTW - I just finished up a bowl of your chick pea noodle soup for lunch. I love the broth, it is just so flavorful. One of the guys from the office stopped me in the kitchen to tell me how good it smelled!

Anonymous said...

I wondered if you were ever going to post about food again!!! It all sounds wonderful. I look forward to buying your book so I can make the sloppy lentils.

Courtney said...


I agree--it HAS been to hot to cook here lately! But, I braved the heat and made your fried rice last night! It was good; I will e-mail you with more details later.

I love sloppy lentils too!


EatPeacePlease said...

Catherine, regarding the Ann Taylor Loft advice you gave me... I just avoid the mall all together. I prefer vintage finds and unusual stuff. The mall makes me crazy and I get lost and dizzy in department stores. I would check it out online, so I appreciate the help from some one else who's small too!

Catherine said...

Melody, I don't have a publisher yet, but I've resigned myself to the fact that this book won't get published unless I can sell it to a publisher. I just can't afford to self-publish. I'm taking a workshop in a couple of weeks called "selling and publishing your book," so I hope that gives me some great tips and help with writing proposals.

Crystal, I'm so glad you liked the lentils! I'm sad about the peanut butter cookies, but I don't think I can make them fantastic and egg-free, which I'm really striving for. Bah. Can't wait to hear about your lentils!

Leslie, good luck with the polenta! I hope it's a success. Also, definitely check out Ann Taylor Loft's website -- also, J. Jill has a quite extensive petite department online, although I hear their clothes are a little more "boxy." I kind of hate the mall, too, but whaddya do when you need jeans?

Megan, I know -- I was wondering the same thing about myself! Honestly though, dinner has been pretty pathetic lately (a lot of cereal, hummus, and other cold food because it's been so hot,) so I haven't felt like posting about those things! It's nice to be back in the kitchen, though.

Jody, I'm glad you like the soup, despite the noodles. :)

Courtney, I just read your email -- thanks!

funwithyourfood said...

I'll be outta town soon too.. and with nooo computer!
eekk I don;t know why that freaks me out.. i neeeed the internet haha


Jody from VegChic said...

Hey Catherine,

I hope you find some useful information at the workshop.

You can always publish the PDF and sell it online. I believe Amazon allows you to do this. If not, I know I've seen this happen before and I'd be happy to help you with finding a way to do this.

You've got quite a few people intested here and through other blogs. It would definitely be worth it.

Enjoy your time off. Also, drop me an email if you need some help picking out an inexpensive digital camera. Technology is my life during the day and I'm sure we could dig something up in your budget range.

EatPeacePlease said...

When you need jeans:
1. go to any place that isn't the mall and see if something fits (for me jeans is the worst part)
2. try getting some awesome vintage bell bottoms online
3. trade with a friend
4. break down and go to the department store but park right outside the store so you don't have to step one foot in the mall.

That's what I end up doing...

Catherine said...

Teddy, I'm a bit hung up on the internet myself -- that's why I took a self-imposed two-day "break." Since I dial up, sometimes I spend way too much time on the internet. :) Good luck with your web-free vacay! Have lots of fun and post lots of pictures when you return!

Jody, you are my hero! I would absolutely love some help picking out a digital camera -- there are so many out there to choose from, and it's all so stinking confusing! I'll email you when I get closer to being ready to make a purchase.

Leslie, I enjoy your mall-avoidance techniques. :) Jeans are a tough one, but now that I've found a brand and fit that I like, I just go directly to Macy's and pick up a pair or two when needed. With my luck, they will stop manufacturing them in the next month, now that I found ones that I really love!