We got the house clean for a visit from out-of-town family on Sunday. It’s still [mostly] clean. Yay!
Quite a few cooking victories. said I was “2 for 2″ on sauces. The following are on epicurious:
- Tandoori Pork on the Outdoor Grill. I made this for company on Sunday and it was quite good and easy to make. Looked super fancy, too, when served on ourgiant platter alongside grilled cauliflower (in a foil packet with just some PAM Olive Oil flavor and salt and pepper) and grilled baby bok choy (which didn’t turn out fab, but that’s OK). Both veggies were from the farmer’s market.
- The highlight, according to , was the cucumber sauce I made. I’m posting the recipe at the end of this post for anyone who’s interested (because it was based on several recipes found on the internet and the ingredient list on the Holy Land cucumber sauce packaging).
- Mixed Grill with Sweet and Sour Bourbon Sauce. Guys, I made ribs. And they were good. I mean, I wasn’t a huge fan of the sauce, but liked it, and the ribs were cooked, and that’s all I really wanted.
Unfortunately, I’m 0 for 2 on dressings for Kale. I’ll keep trying. The rejects are:
- Tuscan Kale Caesar Slaw. This was way too strongly flavored for us. I think one anchovy, instead of 8, would have been better.
- Basic “favorite” dressing from the internet (mostly lemon, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and some parmesan cheese – I added some mustard to tone down the lemon juice, but it didn’t help).
Tonight I think I’m going to try sauteeing the rest of the kale from the farmer’s market. I’ll let you know how that goes. If you have any recommendations for ways to eat raw kale, I’d love to hear them. Also, recipes for bok choy that aren’t stir-fry.
Also, we finally got some decorations hung up in our bedroom. I’ve had some small shelves and the word “love” on the cutting board in my office for at least a year, and they finally made it into the bedroom. I think I was saving them for my office, but they match the bedroom much better. I’ll try to take a picture soon.
Our garden is doing well, all things considered. We have 5-6 squash growing. I’ve eaten a few carrots (note to self: plant a different kind of seed next year – these were not the yummiest) and purple beans. The green bean plant just started producing fruit this week (I wasn’t actually sure what kind of plant it was, since after the bunnypocalypse I replanted stuff and kind of forgot to map it out. Next year I will get more than 3 bean plants producing. This 5 beans a week really isn’t doing it for me. The watermelon plant has produced several fruit, most of which have gone bad before coming to age, but there is one that looks unmarred right now. Hopefully the weather will stay good for growing for at least another month.
I’ve been organizing things at work, throwing things away, making other people throw things away. It makes me feel productive. I should probably do a bunch of that at home, too. The problem is that at home, it’s not all paper recycling, you know?
That’s it for me. More files to organize…. Happy day!
1 single-serve container of Fage Greek Yogurt, plain, 2% (obviously you could substitute another brand, but this is what I used; if you don’t have greek yogurt, you could use plain yogurt, but you’ll have to strain out the extra whey before using it, so it’s just easier to buy the Greek yogurt and be done with it)
1 medium-sized cucuber (mine was approximately 5″ long)
Oregano (I used ground, because we didn’t have flakes – I’m sure flakes would have been prettier)
Garlic powder (not garlic salt, unless you really love salt)
Vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
Peel the cucumber and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Shred and place cucumber shreds in small strainer over a bowl. Liberally salt, mix gently, and allow the salt to pull the excess water out of the cucumber for about an hour. Gently smoosh out remaining water using a paper towl or cheesecloth.
In a small bowl, mix yogurt with 1-2 tablespoons each lemon juice and white wine vinegar. Add in garlic powder and oregano to taste (I think I used probably around 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, because we really like garlic in our house, and maybe 1/2 teaspoon oregano). Stir in cucumber shreds. Taste. Fix as necessary. Hint: if it tastes a little bland, try adding some salt – much of the salt on the cucumbers will drain away with the excess water.
Many cucumber sauce recipes call for either dill or mint; we looked up the ingredient list on Holy Land’s cucumber sauce and it didn’t include either of these. It also called for sour cream instead of yogurt, which would probably be tasty, but this version was a bit healthier.
As I said, it met with ‘s approval, so that was all that really mattered. You may be used to Cucumber Sauce made from a much different recipe, but it’s easy enough to adjust the recipe to suit your needs.
How about a linkfest where you supply all the links, instead of me?
See, here’s the thing: certain parts of our garden have been very productive. Like the cucumber plant.
Washed and ready, waiting around with the other produce (farmer's market patty pans and potatoes, grocery store onion and sweet potato). The other home-grown produce is sitting in the background - our patty pans are just too big for the basket (they might squish the others!), and I don't want the tomato to overripen, or affect the other veggies somehow. As a bonus note, we used one patty pan (a small yellow one) already, and I actually cut up (blegh!) and put one of the tomatoes in a recipe for dinner.
And, well, I need something to do with all those cucumbers.
We used one already, gave one away, and there’s one sitting in the fridge (waiting to be used for – who knows what, but it’s ready!).
Lovely shade of green, don't you think?
I have a few recipes favorited in my iPhone apps, but I’m looking for more options.
What would you make with them? They’re not pickling cucumbers, at least not in the traditional sense. They’re rather large, and perfect in every way. (Really, no exterior blemishes, even the ones that were found on the ground.)
So… comment away! What would you make?
That’s how excited I was about what I’m about to tell you next. (That probably gives you an insight into how “exciting” life is these days.)
I made bread last night.
And it was fantastic!
It even looks fancy.
And tastes... superb!
The recipe is Scali Bread from King Arthur Flour. I find nothing to fault with it, though I do have some amusing thoughts for you.
When I cook/bake, I usually give a cursory glance at the recipe. I’m looking for things like “overnight” or “4 hours later…” or “12 cups of flour.” You know, clues that time or scale are not good. However, during this pre-reading, I fail to draw conclusions that would prevent lots of awkwardness. Just give a few thoughts to these instructions from the recipe:
- Working on a lightly greased surface, roll each log into a rope about 24″ long.
- Brush each rope with the egg white/water, and sprinkle heavily with the sesame seeds, rolling the ropes gently in the seeds to pick up as many as possible.
- Place the loaf on a large, parchment-lined (or lightly greased) baking sheet.
Braided dough just before going into the oven.
Just… think for a minute. First of all, bread dough does not easily roll into a log. I was doing it on a floured surface, not a greased one (though both would provide the same amount of traction – none), and it just wasn’t happening. Traction seems to be necessary in rolling dough, at least a little bit of traction. So, the ropes were more… shaped and pulled than rolled.
Now take a 24″ rope of bread dough and… do anything with it. Ha! That’s an amusing thought. Make it slippery/sticky on the outside, and it gets worse.
And then, after you’ve braided the 3 ropes together… you’re supposed to move it to another baking sheet? I was glad that I’d actually done the moving between the second and third bullet points there, which was awkward enough. My braid stayed exactly where it was until it was done baking.
And it turned out wonderfully. Like I said, I have no complaints about the recipe. Really. King Arthur recipes are really more for people who have made bread more than a handful of times. And bread-making really is an art and a science, and not to be taken lightly. I know plenty of people who probably wouldn’t have experienced the same awkwardness I did, because they’ve been making bread for decades. Alas, I am not one of those people.
Sesame seeds anyone?
Despite all that, and the internet’s [disappointing] advice that I had to wait until the loaf had cooled completely before slicing (we mostly followed that advice – it was after 10 when the loaf came out of the oven though, and bedtime was imminent), it was a thrilling experience overall. It was successful! I have been trying to learn how to make yeast bread (without a bread machine, which I gave away before getting married because I almost never used it and the loaf shapes were weird) for over two years on and off. I think I might be able to give a standard loaf a shot now.
It looks like bread, it smells like bread, it tastes like bread... it must be bread!
So today for lunch, I’m having Scali bread with peanut butter. My mid-morning snack will be Scali bread with Nutella. And my afternoon snack? The Matcha Tea Marbled Tea Cake (bread) I made up on Sunday. You know what? I have been eating light yogurt and [fill in the blank - an apple, a piece of string cheese, etc] for what seems like forever, and have not lost a single pound. Might as well embrace carbs.
I just tried a Yoplait Delights parfait and it was heavenly. I don’t particularly love yogurt, but I eat it because it’s vaguely healthy (or, at least, it can be healthy) – something about probiotics or whatever. I was at the grocery store this weekend picking up food for ‘s party, and saw a 4-pack in the refrigerated section, and thought I’d give them a try. I had the lemon one, and it is fabulous. And… only 100 calories. I don’t know how they did that last part. I think, really, that they’re lying about it. Must be 250 calories. There is very clearly the yummy taste of fat in there.
[Editor's note: I'm eating lunch right now, and hungry, and so, well, this whole post might be food related.]
The dish I made for ‘s birthday party (he turned 3) was a huge hit, so I’m going to share it with you. I got it off an iPhone app, but you really don’t need a recipe, per se.
Green Beans with Bacon
Chop up some bacon. Cook until crispy. Remove bacon from pan, and remove most of the grease (save a tablespoon or two). Add some garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan, and once they smell delicious, add frozen green beans. (I’m sure you could use regular green beans, but those are not to be found in these parts right now.) Stir-fry until crisp-tender. Add the bacon bits back in, stir together, and voila!
If you use thick-cut pepper bacon, you might want to ease up on the red pepper flakes. It was hot. But still yummy. Several people requested the recipe, including my brother-in-law, who does not eat vegetables.
So…. Got some sewing done this weekend. Did not clean house or take care of the fish tank, or even trade out my summer clothes for my winter ones. We did, however, go to Sam’s Club and now our freezer (and parts of our fridge) is full. I will have to take a picture of the log of ground beef in the fridge right now. It almost doesn’t fit.
had a very busy weekend, and I did not see him very much. That’s how it is sometimes. But that was quality time we spent at Sam’s.
I am desperately in need of some turtlenecks, which I despise (that being the reason I don’t own any normal turtlenecks – apparently sweater turtlenecks don’t bother me). However, I have at least one sweater that I need a turtleneck for – it’s one my made decades ago, and my skin is now irritated by the wool. One little layer would solve that. Is there any such thing as a non-nerdy turtleneck? They remind me of junior high, and I always feel so… prim and proper, but in a bad way, while wearing one.
To leave you with some more food thoughts, I have perfected my salad dressing of the moment. We got a huge container of mixed greens at Sam’s (really, very huge – we’ll have to eat salad every day, and even then some of it might go to waste, but it’s so much better than the crap we’ve been getting from our grocery delivery service). Lately, I’ve been doing an impromptu salad dressing, just pouring on some white wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkling on some salt and fresh-cracked pepper.
A few weeks ago I had some roasted pecans left over from making fudge, and those were a tasty addition. However, the piece de resistance? Sweet roasted pecans. Chop, stir in melted butter and some sugar, and then roast (400* in the toaster oven for 4-6 minutes, but watch very carefully because they burn easily, and this I know from experience). Sprinkled on my salad, it is just… wonderful.
Of course, if the thought of a forkful of lettuce sprinkled with vinegar makes you gag, I suppose you could mix it all up in a little bowl with a whisk before pouring on the lettuce. Once I used our immersion blender, which made quick work of it.
So, there you go. A mostly food post. And now, I must finish this leftover pepperoni pizza.
The last time I had coffee (and a significant quantity of caffeine) was September 4th, 2008. Why did I give it up? It wasn’t even a fully conscious decision at the time. I thought maybe I’d try cutting back a little. Didn’t want to set myself up for failure. The internet had me scared that I’d have debilitating headaches for weeks. I thought I consumed a lot of caffeine, but I didn’t, really. I mean, at some point in the summer I’d unintentionally switched to 2 Starbucks visits a day, on weekdays that is. But I couldn’t consume caffeine after 5 pm any days, and most weekend days I didn’t have much caffeine. So, just two Starbucks drinks. Oh, and Excedrin when I get headaches (so now I have to take Advil, and it seems to work fine for that, though I haven’t gotten a really bad one yet, so we’ll have to see).
My saving graces in this “experiment” were 1) Teeccino, and 2) the Tea Garden‘s decaf Vanilla Chai Latte. So you can see that I haven’t entirely cut caffeine out of my diet, because the decaf Chai probably has 5-10 mg of caffeine, and I still consume chocolate, so there’s a little more. I have also purchased caffeine-free (not decaffeinated, since that process doesn’t actually remove all caffeine) tea for when I want a change. So other than the chocolate, I’m at less than 25 mg of caffeine per month.
So on to my review of Teeccino!
Let me start my review by saying I’m not a lover of black coffee. My favorite drinks at Starbucks in the recent past have been the White Chocolate Mocha, the Mocha Frappuccino, the Honey Latte, and the Sugar-Free Vanilla Latte. Occasionally someone will give me a bag of coffee as a gift, and if it’s whole bean, of high quality, and I use my coffee grinder and then my French press and do it just right, I might be able to enjoy a cup of black coffee. But I’d rather have it with cream and sugar, at least. My initial thought is that if you love black coffee, Teecchino is not the way to go for you, unless you’re really committed to giving up caffeine. It just doesn’t taste close enough to coffee to bridge that gap.
However, it is still a good product. 4/5 stars.
I ordered a sampler product that I found on the same page as the Sampler Pack. It contained the Sampler Pack with all 10 flavors of Teeccino, a 50-packet box of Steevia (a fiber-based sweetener that I’ll also review), and the Swiss Gold One-Cup Brewer (reviewed as well).
Teeccino is billed as being not only caffeine-free but also low in acidity, which apparently is something people have problems with in real coffee (not my complaint).
As far as the flavor breakdown, here’s my thoughts:
- Original (75% organic), Light Roast – good introduction to the basic flavor of this “coffee.” As I read elsewhere on the internet, you really have to like the taste of chickory to like this product, and though I don’t know how chickory tastes, I’m guessing that’s the strong taste that comes across.
- Vanilla Nut (75% organic), Medium Roast – very nice vanilla flavor. A favorite.
- Hazelnut (75% organic), Medium Roast – mild hazelnut flavor.
- Almond Amaretto (75% organic), Medium Roast – very strong flavor. Didn’t like.
- Mocha (75% organic), Medium Roast – the worst one in my opinion. In their defense, I’m very picky about my mocha flavor (which is why I don’t order mochas at Caribou, because I don’t like the chocolate they use). Others might like this a lot, but it didn’t do it for me. The only one that I couldn’t finish (there are only 3 cups in a sampler, so that says something).
- Chocolate Mint (75% organic), Light Roast – strongly minty. Reminds me of Starbucks at Christmastime, and I think it would be quite enjoyable then.
- Maya Caffe (100% organic), Dark Roast – this is the one I settled on, and have been drinking for the last year.
The above noted, as a general rule I brewed my Teeccino with the one cup brewer into a portable thermos that I brought to work (which holds 1 1/2 mugs worth), flavored with French Vanilla creamer by Coffeemate. In the beginning I was using the Steevia Sweetener and half-n-half (or even whipping cream, which we had lying around the house, intending to make ice cream). I like the flavored creamer the best, since it covers up that which is different about Teeccino and makes the experience most like drining real coffee.
Briefly, some other links:
If anyone has tried any of the other products listed on the About.com list, please let me know if they’re good or not!
Teeccino’s website suggests gradually switching over, and I think there would be several good reasons to do this (which is not what I did – I went from coffee to black tea to Teeccino in short order). First of all, gradually switching will help avoid some of the side-effects of quitting caffeine, namely headaches. My method using black tea helped with this too. I had very few headaches that were easily knocked out by Advil. Secondly, by working the Teeccino into your diet gradually with regular coffee, I think you’d get more used to the flavor, instead of the “shock” it was to me. I highly suggest doing it the way they suggest if you can.
I did see Teeccino available (in limited flavors) at my local natural foods co-op, and you can purchase it on Amazon too if you don’t want to order directly from Teeccino (though I had excellent service from them and the packaging included a $1 off coupon). If you’re local, you can buy it at Kowalskis too, but I have not seen it in any of the major grocery chains (not even Super Target).
It’s not bad being caffeine free. I never reached that point where I feel more energetic (that the Teeccino website claims I’ll get to, though I’m doubtful), but I’m no more tired than I was when I was consuming caffeine. Some of the reasons I quit were: caffeine is not helpful when dieting, caffeine has inflammatory properties and I’m trying to keep my tendinitis under control, and theoretically eventually I’d have to give it up temporarily to give birth, and I’d rather not go through that process under duress. Plus, it’s nice to keep some of that money in my wallet and not give it to Starbucks (though I miss the girls who work there terribly, but the friendly staff at the Tea Garden took up the baton and memorized my drink order, even though I only visit once a month now).
It’s a good substitute if you really want to be caffeine-free. It doesn’t fully replace the joyful coffee experience, as it smells different (though the varieties that are strongly flavored, like Amaretto, override this), has different undertones, etc., but that’s a hard one to do. It’s not espresso, and it never will be, but that’s OK. Teeccino is an essential part of my morning routine, and I prefer not go without it (notice that I said “prefer,” and not “can’t” – because it’s not addictive like caffeine).
[Editor's note: It took me about a year to write this review from start to finish. My apologies if anything seems a little off because of that.]
Occasionally, I exercise great self-control. Like waiting until marriage to have sex, or not ripping my co-workers’ heads off. You know, important things. But, when it comes to, shall we say, smaller things, I am not so good. Want to eat that whole bag of cookies? Sure, go ahead. Don’t feel like going to the gym? Don’t. Feel the need to consume an entire bar of chocolate? Just do it.
This, of course, is what I’m struggling with at the moment. My goal for the day (just one day, mind you) was to eat healthy. I had my caffeine-free Teeccino along with some instant oatmeal for breakfast. I had a sandwich for lunch made of left-over pot roast (you simply have to try Jen’s recipe – I linked to it a few weeks ago and we made it this weekend and it was awesome!) and a slice of cheese. I also had celery with low-fat peanut butter. See how good I was? I was even going to skip the trip to the Tea Garden today since I’ve decided it would be prudent to cut back to once or twice a week, but then I got notice from a co-worker that I will be here all afternoon by myself, and that calls for some warm, toasty, Chai comfort.
But, while out to get my Chai (my decaf Chai, that is), I was overwhelmed with the desire to consume something else. I knew that back at my desk I had some lovely yogurt and a strawberry fruit leather, just waiting for my return. I took a very long walk (exercise is good, right, and this was the only chance I’d get until after dinner), all the time strongly craving something very specific. I was good. I returned to my desk with only the Chai, and quickly ate my yogurt and fruit leather. It wasn’t nearly as good as what I really wanted. But so much better for me, right? Even if I end up eating a few squares of Dove dark chocolate (the only chocolate I have in my cube), that’s gotta be better than what I really wanted.
Which was a large chocolate shake and a Moon Pie.
Since scorning caffeine late last week, kind of on a whim, I have sadly not visited Starbucks once. I have been to Caribou several times and gotten tea, and have been to the new Tea Garden in the Skyway most workdays (they have a punch card, you know). I’m totally loving their Chai, and it comes in lots of flavors (though I admit to only having tried a few), including decaf Vanilla. That’s what I’ve ordered the last several days, and they can never seem to rememer the decaf part. I’m not sure what’s wrong. It’s the only Chai available in decaf. I clear say it and the cashier says it back to me, clarifying, but then somehow it gets lost in translation to the “barista” (what is it that tea shops call their drink makers?).
Now, I’m not actually at the caffeine-free stage yet (goodness, I’m cranky and lethargic enough as it is), but it would definitely help as I cut back the caffeine if, when I order decaf, I actually get decaf. I’m just sayin’. I know that tea has less caffeine than coffee, so I’m still making net progress, just not as much as I’d like to be.
Needless to say, work is even less fun without caffeine. Apparently during the withdrawal process one gets cranky and lethargic (this in addition to mind-splitting headaches that I’ve mostly managed to avoid via medication), and it takes a few weeks. But, it takes a few months for one to actually feel more energized than they used to. Talk about a slow return on investment.
After much frustration last night while tried to fix my plugins that were broken and only being half-successful (the stupid Flickr plugin still won’t work), this morning I (again) disabled it and deleted it from the server, and then went in search of a new plugin. Well, don’tcha know it, there was a different plugin that did basiclly the same thing, only it does it better! And faster! And slicker! So, now I have it installed, and we’re just moving along at light speed, posting pictures here and there.
And so, I present to you, two recipes from this weekend:
- Hot and Sour Soup
- Spring Risotto with Zucchini and Peas
They’re linked in the sidebar over there (–>) under recipes.
I had some cute pictures to share with you about our anniversary celebration, but left the memory stick for the camera at home. Silly me.
Have I mentioned I’m trying to cut back on caffeine? Way back, actually – my ultimate goal is to be basically caffeine free, but I’m not sure how successful that will actually be or if it’s reasonable (or even desirable), so at the moment, I’m focusing on “less.” This means I’ve been drinking a lot of tea, and I’ve only had one headache so far (and it was on Sunday, and I often get headaches on Sunday, so maybe that doesn’t count?). Orange Spice black tea in the morning (two cups seems to mean I don’t get a headache, and I’m trying one cup today), and some chai (decaf, which means it has much less caffeine, but is not actually caffeine free) in the afternoon, and then caffeine-free tea at night. I remember a while back when gave up meat for 3 months and I gave up colored sodas how difficult that was, because there are so very few options at that point. And I know that when we go out for dinner (and I can’t have caffeine after 5-ish already, or I’m up all night), my caffeine-free options are pretty limited and it is sad. But, I am armed with the knowledge that reducing the caffeine in my life may very well make me a happier person, or at least help with some medical issues (since caffeine is bad if you have inflammation, like my tendonitis, which I am trying to get control of, and getting rid of all the muscle tension in my back), and reducing your caffeine intake is supposed to help with weight loss as well.
To that end, a product called Teecchino is coming to my house on Thursday (or at least that’s what UPS promises me). I promise to do a review of it, especially since I spent nearly $40 on the sampler set (with shipping and all). So, look for that in the next week or two.
The homework frenzy starts Friday – first book up? Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America, by Mae M Ngai. It’s for The Color of Public Policy, a cross-discipline class for both Political Science and Ethnic Studies (I’m taking it for the Ethnic Studies aspect, a requirement for the Urban Teacher Program).
The goal of my break was simple: get a nice, hot chai tea latte (I’m trying to cut back on caffeine, which is actually going well at the moment), and a little snacky-snack.
It’s the latter part of my goal I failed on. See, I was in the Skyway store and I really wanted some Doritos. It’s been… probably 6 months since I last had a bag of Doritos. I really like the Pepper Jack flavor. You know, the one they discontinued like 2 years ago (or something like that). So I had to try something different. What did I get? Spicy Sweet Chili.
The good news: they taste exactly as they are described. They are indeed spicy, sweet, and chili-flavored.
The bad news: they’re almost inedible. They’re that gross. Trust me, don’t go out and buy some just to find out. Just don’t do it.
I am having a delicious Greek-inspired salad today (“inspired” because it has lettuce in it, which true Greek salad does not, and also because it doesn’t have olives or tomatoes, because I don’t like those) – romaine lettuce, cucumbers, feta cheese crumbles, Greek dressing (store-bought), and for kicks, a hard-boiled egg. It’s quite delish. (And yes, I am eating lunch at 3:15 in the afternoon, and no, I didn’t eat breakfast, and I’m just all completely turned around food-wise today – I almost got a frappuccino this morning instead of a mocha, for Pete’s sake, if that tells you how confused I am.) I highly recommend.
This, of course, led me to a quick search on TasteSpotting for “greek salad” (only a few posts, which taught me some of the above). But lately, what I’ve really been craving is … eggs. I know, weird. Warm eggs, specifically. Eggs Benedict would be lovely, but so would a nice poached egg just about any way you want to prepare it for me. (I actually prefer my Eggs Benedict without the Canadian Bacon, aka ham, so if you want to go ahead and give me real bacon or a nice salmon cake, that’d be excellent – notice how I avoided making any cheesy pun with the words excellent and eggs there? I’m looking out for you.) And if you search TasteSpotting for “eggs,” you get nearly 300 beautiful pictures, and I want to eat all of them.
Normally, a craving like this would signal to me that my diet is lacking in protein at the moment – such cravings usually come in clumps, like when I want chicken or eggs or cheese, and then I realize the common denominator and that I haven’t eaten much of that particular item lately. But I am absolutely, positively sure that my diet is not lacking in protein. No way, no how. The quantity of steak consumed by myself is, well, just disgusting. We went out to dinner (Granite City, which I highly recommend) on Thursday for date night, and I got a steak, which meant leftovers. Those were eaten on Sunday for lunch, followed by a lovely dinner of… grilled steak. Yes, I did used to be a vegetarian. Used to being the key words there. There’s nothing like a steak from the butcher made lovingly by exactly the way I like it (medium rare, with the “special seasoning” rubbed in).
So if I don’t need protein, why exactly am I craving eggs? It’s not like I need cholesterol in my diet (though I don’t need to worry about it either – my test results always come out lovely, thanks to good genes). What else is it that eggs provide?
While I ponder this, I’m going to go drool over pictures of eggs on TasteSpotting. Join me if you wish (sorry, can’t post a link directly to a search on their site)….
I’ll avoid ranting about class last night, or co-workers today. My co-worker and have already heard it, so I suppose it’d be like beating a dead horse to re-tell those stories a third time.
Instead, let me tell you about the genius thing I did today (and it’s only 10:30 am!).
So I’ve been working on this horrendous coding project which has me so bored that I’m literally falling asleep at my desk while doing it (seriously – the moment I turn away and do something else I’m fine, but when I turn back to the computer to work on it, my eyelids get heavy). Tuesday was rough, so yesterday I decided to attempt to keep myself awake by, um, eating 1/3 box of those Ritz crackers and cheese sandwiches (but the Target brand, which is even better because the cheese is yummier, in my opinion). I probably would have eaten more, but, well, that was all I had left. You can guess that this is not helping the I-don’t-own-any-pants-that-fit problem.
Today, however, while packing my lunch (and rummaging through the fridge for things that I could bring), I found a container of green beans from last week’s farmer’s market, all washed and ready to go. So today, to keep myself from falling asleep and also to keep myself from eating… myself into oblivion (though tells me this is the incorrect usage of this phrase), I am eating green beans while coding. Not nearly as tasty, but they still do the trick. Plus, extra fiber in my diet! And nutrients and vitamins and micronutrients! Always a good thing.
I looked up the nutritional analysis for raw green beans, and here’s what I found:
- Serving size: 3/4 cup
- Total carbs: 5 g (2%)
- Fiber: 3 g (12%)
- Fat, Cholesterol: 0
- Great source of: Potassium, Vitamin A, & Vitamin C.
So there you have it. Do my pants fit yet? Yeah, didn’t think so.
I was really thinking that I should try making fried green beans – I had them and they were yummy. But the recipes I’ve found are for beer battered fries, and frying in general makes me scared, and we usually don’t have beer in the house (I don’t think wine-battered is a good idea), so I haven’t yet. Oh, and I haven’t really had any spare time. Maybe I’ll stop by the Farmer’s Market today and get some more so I can try this weekend (I heard they have sweet corn finally, and I definitely want some of that).
I may have gone slightly overboard at the Farmer’s Market today. It’s so easy to do, even if one is limited by the bag they brought (that’s right, Farmer’s Market and avoiding all those plastic bags by bringing my own! I conquered … something very earth-friendly today, don’t you think?). On the list: potatoes for Thursday’s dinner and lettuce for BLTs on the weekend. Purchased: potatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, dill, cauliflower, peas, and a lovely bouquet of flowers (I’ll have to post a picture tomorrow – they’re so colorful and summery, so much so that I just accidentally described them as colorfully). Well, it was all still just $20, so as long as we actually consume a large portion of it, we’re doing good, I think.
Of course, now I have to get it all home, which means wrangling it on the bus (only a task when they give us the crappy tiny bus, or worse the less-crappy-but-tinier bus), which if this morning’s commute into the city and yesterday’s home are any indicators, will be chock-a-block full of people. Oh well. Hope no one’s allergic to flowers. Also, I hope the driver does not crank up the heat, or whatever the issue was yesterday. That was unpleasant.
when it hits my tongue, it tastes almost salty, then it disappears
arriving instantaneously in my nose
searing pain and heat and spice
always lingering a bit longer than i think i can bear
because i keep using more and more
it’s never enough, i love it so
Is it worth pointing out that, specifically for the last post, recipes and ideas that can either be done the night before or take less than half an hour are important? I’m seriously short on time these days and while I’d love to cook fancy meals, I just don’t have the time and doesn’t really care about presentation (he actually eschews it a bit).
There are plenty of people in this world who think that I am a very picky eater. And, I have been blessed that at least some of these people have been willing to be forgiving of that and work with it (including my MIL, who made me my own potatoes on the grill this weekend without onions, so sweet!). Without arguing that too much, I like to think that in some respects I’m not that picky. I just have a few ingredients I don’t like (OK, “few” might be an understatement to some of you). Whatever.
"I has a flavor"
But then again, don’t we all? Or whole types of cuisine we don’t like? Or… you get the idea. I know very few people who like everything ( being one exception, because I’ve never seen him turn down food ever, and he likes some really nasty foods too, like Lima beans and eggplant and rhubarb).
The problem in cooking for two is not where our dislikes overlap, but where they don’t, leaving one or the other of us to not get to eat a favored food as often as we’d like. I know would like onions, tomatoes, spicy food, sandwiches, etc more often. For my part, I’d like fish and seafood more often, as well as avocados, pork products, etc. I’d like to think that we do a decent job of compromising on this issue, though if feels differently he can certainly leave a comment about that.
This week, he was generous enough to put fish and bacon on the menu, neither of which he particularly cares for. The bacon is for BLTs (or, if you’re me, BLs, since T is just not in the cards, but we bought some for so he can have authentic BLTs), lunches for this weekend. The fish was all me, so I picked out some salmon steaks and decided to have potatoes on the side (so that, if he really hates it, he can fill up on those).
(I’m getting to the point, I promise.)
I like salmon all number of ways, and there are quite a few out there. As I was looking for recipes and ideas online (good starting point: Tastespotting), I realized how many different flavors there are out there that people seem to love (or hate). I personally like my salmon with a nice pepper marinade or with barbecue sauce, but lots of people prefer lemon, dill, or Cajun seasoning.
My theory here is that some of the more objectionable foods (but not the ones on the “will make me throw up” list) can be appreciated more if they are cooked with flavors that one likes. I’m not a huge sandwich fan, but if I can get some italian seasoning, oil, and pepperoni on there, it’s much more enjoyable. I don’t care for onions, but if they’re still crunchy and taste like the grill (a la kabobs), they’re edible. See what I mean?
So, what flavors do you love or hate? I’m thinking more flavor than ingredients, though it can certainly be argued that flavors are also ingredients. But take for example lemon-dill salmon. Salmon is the ingredient, the main focus of the recipe. Lemon and dill are the flavors. Got it?
Some flavor examples: lemon, different spices and herbs, BBQ, heat (jalapeno, red pepper flakes, etc), cheese, gravy, etc. I’m sure you can come up with more than enough on your own. Hint: if you are someone that I frequently (or infrequently) cook for, it would be beneficial for all involved if you commented here, so that I can try to make Saturday brunch or cookies or whatever that you enjoy, which would in turn make me happy. I may have to change the name of this blog, as I feel I am becoming (ever so unlikely and reluctantly) a foodie. A foodie who doesn’t like food that much? Strange, I know. Perhaps I like food more than I thought? Or maybe I just like taking photos with the macro setting. For my part, I’m going to work on figuring out which flavors I really enjoy and which ones I don’t.
"Excuse me - do you has a flavor?"
If that’s too ambiguous for comments, let me suggest this. I’m still looking for a good salmon recipe. Some of the suggestions include: soy-glazed, mediterranean, roasted, cajun (2 different Cajun recipes at the moment)…. Already removed from the running: mustard, orange-glazed, dill (though a favorite, we don’t have fresh dill at the moment because I neglected my plant, and it would be best that way). Also, I’d rather not cook the salmon on the grill, because that would mean would have to do some of the work preparing the meal, and that doesn’t seem right. Any flavor suggestions for the potatoes that compliment the salmon are acceptable as well (I’m leaning towards “crashed” new potatoes, since I’ll be getting the potatoes at the Farmer’s Market tomorrow, but there are plenty of fresh herbs available there, so I’ve got options; I’d make potato salad if anyone could come up with a good, reliable recipe that doesn’t taste like all the store-bought kinds I’ve ever had, because I don’t really like potato salad that much).