Monday, February 26, 2007

food, glorious food!

Hope I haven't used that post title yet . . .

Anyhow, I've been cooking these past few days, thanks in large part to a major stock-up trip to the co-op last Thursday. News from my kitchen:

Friday night, Dan and I had his brother, Ryan, over to my apartment for dinner. I made a bunch of really yummy, Greek-type food. First, I experimented with using a new "secret ingredient" for homemade hummus:
Who knew Chana Dal made awesome hummus?!?!? My homemade hummus is still much thicker than I'd like it to be, but I'll work that out eventually. I think I have the taste closer, now -- added more tahini this time, and I liked it much better. (Mmmm hummus!)

Served the hummus on an apps platter with sliced cucumber, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives (I'm coming 'round to olives, but I'm not loving them yet,) a few stuffed grape leaves (that I purchased,) and some pieces of Wasa crispbread. I forgot to buy pita. Silly Catherine.

And the main event, in leftover form, since once the food comes out of the oven and the guests arrive, I tend to forget that I have a camera! (Eating and talking are much more important than photograph-taking, usually.)

Dan and Ryan put down two pieces of spinach pie each, and the apps platter was completely empty at the end of the evening. (And I thought one hungry boy was a challenge! Alas.)

I also made chili and cornbread this past weekend.

Last week, Michelle and I went to the thrift store, and I had a major kitchen score -- an 8-inch cast iron skillet for three bucks! I had gotten rid of my old nonstick 8-inch skillet a while ago, because the coating had begun to come off and hence, the skillet was no longer nonstick. Look at the baby, so happy with her new mama!

And, I broke in the new skillet tonight, to make myself some hashbrowns for dinner. Well, hashbrowns to go alongside scrambled tofu, topped with salsa and sliced avocado.
I really never do tire of scrambled tofu. :)

NOW, on to the exciting part! After a very long hiatus, I have decided to start working on my cookbook again. Work is looking a little light this month, and money will be interesting, but at least I'm going to take advantage of my free time and finish up the manuscript! (I hope I hope I hope!)

Off to edit . . .

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Behind the Apron

Since I sort of stopped reading other people's blogs for a couple of months there around and after the holidays, I missed out on participating in "Behind the Apron." Boo! So, here's my very belated entry.

Hey. This is me. Standing in my kitchen. (The best place EVER!) I just got my hair cut not too long ago, and it used to be really long, and really unruly. The jury's still out on the new hair cut, because it takes me a long time to get used to new things. Let's see . . . I grew up in Wisconsin, moved to Minnesota for college, and have been here ever since. I have a cat:
His name is Oliver. Sometimes he thinks he's a dog, sometimes he's just really naughty, and sometimes (very rarely) he can be very sweet.

Let's see . . . I think the best way to tell you about myself is the little random paragraph in my profile, so here it is!

Things I like: food, cooking, dining out, vegetarianism/veganism, nutrition, the environment, playing in nature, Burt's Bees lip balm, children, yoga, tea, recycling, composting, coffee, reading, ice cream, cloth napkins, ponies, playing outside, walking, movies, my cat, my friends, my boyfriend, writing my cookbook, handkerchiefs, singing in my church choir, pasta, goats, flip-flops, mustaches, wool socks, blogging, indie rock, Nalgene water bottles, public radio, attempting to live without a car, and Superman t-shirts. I'm a hippie. And a nerd.

Things people probably don't know about me: I have never left the country, and only very recently got a passport, I am left-brained, a visual learner, and an introvert, I have a terrible memory and need to write just about everything down, and I have a deep-seeded love of singing along with Broadway showtunes. (Although I like normal music, too!)

Things I'd like to do someday: visit my friend Laure in France, travel more, finish and publish my cookbook, camp in a tent, have kids, and own either my own catering company, or a bed and breakfast.

And now, I'll put that apron back on, because I need to get some cooking done! Chili and cornbread, hummus, and possibly spinach and artichoke pie are on the schedule for the next couple of days . . . but perhaps I should get dressed and go buy some groceries first.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Valentine's Day, plus cash in the mail

I think I forgot that I owned a camera this past week, because I have NO pictures to share with you! (The horror!) I guess you'll all just have to use your imaginations . . . !!

For starters . . . Valentine's Day. Have I told you all how much I despise Valentine's Day? Well, I've been single on Valentine's Day and in relationships on Valentine's Day, and honestly, I'm not sold on the holiday. When you're single, Valentine's Day has always been about me cooking a huge, fabulous dinner for my friends and I, calling it a "too cool for V-Day" party, and digging in. Well, actually, that part was pretty fun. I was actually going to have one of those parties again this year, (even though I'm not single,) because it is so much fun. Alas . . . Valentine's Day fell on a Wednesday this year, and I had church choir rehearsal. Gak! So, my Valentine's Day this year consisted of working (pimping chocolate and specialty ice creams for six hours . . . I'm SO SICK of chocolate at the moment!), running to Target (poor Oliver was almost out of cat food!), mac and cheese w/shelled edamame for dinner, and church choir rehearsal. I talked to Dan for about five minutes on the phone, as I was rushing out the door. See why I don't like Valentine's Day?

However, my mom sent me and Dan twenty bucks in the mail, so we could go out and celebrate (thanks, Mom!) Dan's comment when I showed him the card? "I'm such a moron -- when's Valentine's Day?" :) (I'm shaking my head right now.) It's okay, since I do mostly hate the holiday, so we went out for Thai food on Tuesday night. Mmmmmmm Pad Thai. Dan's still under the weather, stressed out, and tired from all the farm work, so it was an early night for both of us.

In food news, I haven't been cooking much of anything noteworthy these past few weeks . . . I'm ready for a change in weather and change in available produce. Late winter in MN sucks for poor cooks! ;-) I did make a pretty wonderful dinner for myself last night -- I topped a baked sweet potato with a pinch of salt and a few dashes of chili powder, some black beans, Muir Glen organic medium garlic & cilantro salsa, frozen broccoli, and mozzarella cheese. MMMMMMMMM . . . my coworkers were all very interested in (and very jelaous of!) my dinner. Hooray for sweet potatoes. (Hip hip, hooray!!!)

In other news, my friend Ann, who is an accountant by day, helped me with my income taxes the other night. CRAZY GIANT REFUND coming my way!!!! I've decided I need to be responsible with half of the money, and I haven't decided what I will do with the other half yet. Part of me REALLY wants to take a trip, but I'm realizing I might need some new clothes (mostly for work) come springtime, and I'm really tempted to update some of my kitchenwares. Is it completely nerdy that I want to spend my tax return on canisters???? :)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Hungry Thing

Anyone familiar with the children's story "The Hungry Thing?" Well, it's a cute little book about a monster that comes into a village with a sign that says "FEED ME," and the villagers try to figure out what the Hungry Thing wants, feed him, and then he points to his sign again. This continues for quite some time during the book, until the end, when the monster flips his sign over and it reads "Thank You." I had a moment this past weekend when I identified with those villagers.

Typically, when I've made (spinach and artichoke) lasagna in the past, I prepare a whole recipe, which makes enough for a 9X13 pan, or about 12 servings. I then split the ingredients into two 9X9 pans, cover one tightly and freeze it for another day. I did this Saturday when I made dinner for Dan and I, thinking, "well, we'll have dinner tonight, plus leftovers for me for lunch a couple of times." Boy, was I wrong. Leftovers:
Dan was hungry, I guess! Three and a half pieces of lasagna, two helpings of spinach salad, and some leftover popcorn later, he finally decided he was full. (He's back to working at the farm at the nature center where we both used to work, so all that cold, fresh air, and exercise finally caught up with him!)

Now, for next time, I need to find whole wheat lasagna noodles. Anyone tried a brand they like?