It’s menu time! Between work trips and meetings, dinner has been rather, uh, spontaneousaround here. And while I like to fly by the seat of my pants for 90% of life, a little bit of structure in the kitchen makes me a happier cook. 🙂
Monday 3/11 – Leftovers. Exciting, I know, but I won’t be home until after 7:30, so it’s every man for himself when it comes to dinner.
Tuesday 3/12 – Tortellini soup
Wednesday 3/13 – Roasted shrimp with feta and green beans. It’s been ages since I’ve made this dish, so I’m looking forward to it! (Hopefully it’s as good as I remember.)
Thursday 3/14 – Shredded beef tacos! (I’m not observing pi day this year… whoops.) But, I might get home late Thursday night, so it’s winner winner, crockpot dinner.
Friday 3/15 – BBQ chicken pizza on my favorite sourdough crust. I just fed Fester this afternoon, so I can mix up the crust later this week.
In other food-related news, I have a hold request at the library for one of the newest books from America’s Test Kitchen, Vegetables Illustrated. I can’t wait to check it out, and I’m sure it’s going to make me want fresh, in-season produce even more! My goal is to check it out before farmer’s market season and see if it’s worth adding to my personal collection!
Finally, Andy and I spent a quick weekend in San Diego last month, and while we failed at my goal of getting tacos, we did enjoy some great beer and food at Legacy Brewing Tap & Kitchen. The peanut butter milk stout was like drinking a peanut butter cup. Too bad I couldn’t figure out a way to get a growler on the plane. 😉
Oh look at that… I let May go right by without writing ANYTHING. Whoops. I’d like to promise that it won’t happen again, but let’s be honest… we’ve been here before. (Plus, I’d hate to lie to all five of the people still reading this blog. Ha.)
I might not be writing, but I am still cooking. I’ve acquired a new cookbook (thanks to Karen!), and the more I read it, the more I’m convinced that I could be friends with Bridget and Julia. (That’s not weird, right? I’m just cooking their recipes; not camping out at ATK in Boston.) 😀
I’m also monopolizing the library’s copy of The Perfect Cake, which is counteracting all of my summer exercise. So far, I’ve tried one of the mug cakes, the chocolate sheet cake, the icebox Margarita cheesecake, the strawberry dream cake, and the Boston cream pie. I’m hoping to make at least a couple more cakes before I hit the renewal limit in a couple weeks. 🙂
We also planted our garden! We’ve added a raised bed, so things are a little less crowded (in theory… somehow we still ran out of room), and our lettuce just started to poke up through the ground yesterday. Grow, baby, grow! Our rhubarb is up and thriving, so I’m going to start filling the freezer and make a few desserts along the way.
For the first time in five years, we aren’t participating in a CSA. Our CSA farm isn’t offering a CSA share this season, so we’re going to try their market share instead. I have mixed feelings about it, but I am excited for the season to start! (I’ll definitely miss the “grab bag” aspect of a CSA, since it forces me out of my comfort zone, but it will be nice to get to the farmer’s market regularly. And I won’t miss trying to find ways to use the kohlrabi.)
That pretty much brings us up to the present. I do have an ice cream recipe to share soon, so hopefully June isn’t as quiet here as May was!
Unfortunately, it was a short loan, so I had to give it back after only two weeks, but it was fun to look through! There were lots of recipes that caught my eye, but I only had a chance to try three – butterscotch meringue bars, s’mores blossom cookies, lemon sour cream cookies and salted peanut butter pretzel chocolate chip cookies. Out of those four, the peanut butter pretzel cookies were my favorite, and I got to make them with two of my nieces over Thanksgiving. (I brought the book back to Ohio, and they picked out the recipe I wanted to try most. They have excellent taste!)
I snapped pictures of a few more recipes that look intriguing, and I’ll probably try those out over the next few weeks. It’s cookie season, after all!
Speaking of cookies, would you believe that I didn’t make a single Christmas cookie this year? Food blogger fail. Things just got away from me this year. I won’t have time before Christmas to bake anything now, but Andy pointed out that I could make a batch the day afte Christmas. It’s supposed to be crazy cold, so spending some time with the oven wouldn’t be the worst thing. 🙂
Two weeks!! 14 measly days! That’s how long the library let me have a copy of Cook It In Cast Iron from Cook’s Country. You can usually check out books for four weeks, but new books are only available for a “short loan,” especially when there are 10+ people behind you waiting to get their hands on the book.
Ugh. Sharing is not always my strongest point.
In true dorky fashion, I literally read through the entire book before I made anything out of it. (It helped that I picked it up from the library the night before a weekend road trip.) I thought all of the tips and techniques were helpful, and I can definitely see why you’d want a 12″ skillet for several of the recipes. I managed with my 10″ skillet, but the pan was just about overflowing with some things.
I did my best to make the most of the time that I had the book, and I think I did all right. We tried (in this order):
Chipotle chicken tacos (4 stars!)
Skillet mac and cheese (3 stars from both of us; this is still my favorite mac and cheese recipe. It’s also a lot simpler!)
Blackened chicken with pineapple salsa (5 stars from me; 3-4 from Andy, who may have met the only fruit salsa he’s hated in this dish. Lesson learned: Serrano peppers are too much for him. Whoops!)
Sausage lasagna (5+ stars. We were so sad when the leftovers were gone… I almost licked my lunch dish clean at work the next day.)
Baked brie with apricots and honey (5 stars, but I made the mistake of only making 1/3 of a batch…)
Skillet chocolate chip cookie (5 stars. I mean, there was browned butter. Need I say more?)
Mexican layer dip (2-5 stars, depending on who you ask. As written, it’s kind of spicy, thanks to the 1 1/2 tablespoons of chipotle chili powder, which means it’s hotter than Andy likes. However, it was well-received by half of the adults at taco night, and Andy said that if I scaled the heat back a bit, he would really enjoy it.)
I snapped a picture of a couple of the appetizer recipes, so I’m hoping to make those sometime in the not-too-distant future. Of course, there are recipes in there that I’ll probably never make (Meatloaf with mushroom gravy? Umm, no thanks. Paella? Not until I can get over the cost of saffron, thank you very much.), but overall, most of the recipes sounded like things we’d enjoy.
I did feel like some of the recipes could be streamlined to use fewer dishes, but when you consider the source, that really shouldn’t surprise you. I also wish the book had more of the science behind some of the recipe steps. I’m sure there’s a reason why I had to whisk the cookie dough for 30 seconds and then let it rest for 2 minutes before repeating the step two more times. I’d just love to know what that reason is!
If we rated cookbooks on the Andy scale, I’d give it a solid 4, which means that it might be worth getting a copy of my own someday. What I loved most though, was rediscovering how many things I can do with my cast iron skillet. It hasn’t gone back in the cupboard in two weeks.
Off-topic, have you seen the Apple commercial with Cookie Monster? THIS IS SO ME!! (Except for the iPhone part. I’m an Android girl.) My friends make fun of me for watching cookies bake through the oven door! I laughed so hard when this came on TV the other day.
Full disclosure: Cook’s Country / America’s Test Kitchen has NO idea that I’m writing about their latest cookbook. I’m fairly certain that no one there even knows that this little blog exists. I wasn’t compensated in any way for my thoughts; I just happened to really enjoy the cookbook.
Yesterday, I visited the library on my way home from work. (In theory, I was there to pick up some movies for our weekend entertainment, because yes, we are that lamecheapold insert your own adjective. Movies from the library = Friday night at our home.)
But since I was there, why not kill two birds with one stone? I was just going to look for one book (Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes) in order to get some ideas for several baby shower cakes/cupcakes that are coming down the pike. Even though that one wasn’t available, I still picked up quite a few books for my weekend reading.
Ripe for Dessert, David Lebovitz (Dessert with fruit? How fast can I try every recipe?)
Everyday Pasta, Giada De Laurentiis (Have I mentioned my love for carbs?)
Cupcakes, Shelly Kaldunski (I did get a cupcake book, so we’ll see if it’s as good as Martha’s.)
Let Us Eat Cake, Sharon Boorstin (Anything with the subtitle “Adventures in Food and Friendship” is going to catch my eye.)
My Life in France, Julia Child (Seems like one of those books that I should read… even though I haven’t made any of Julia’s recipes… yet.)
Thankfully, my library lets me keep books for four weeks. That should give me ample time to try a few recipes (like those cream-puff-looking things on the back of the dessert book) and hopefully an evening or two to read the others. And maybe then I’ll pick up the next Hunger Games book…