Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pile o' Pilfered Pods

Oh, how I like extra salty steamed edamame! Finally, I found some (at Whole Foods) and got to cook them and share with John the fun (and thirst) that comes along with this super healthy food. (Was too hungry to take a photo pre-consumption...)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Kristy's Baby Shower Invite

My cousin's baby shower is in April, and she is planning a jungle decorating theme for the nursery (based upon a style currently available at Target). I decided to match her chosen theme as I designed the invitations to her shower, using fun paper from the Paper Source (from which I created the little elephant illustration).

A close-up:

See, this blog's not all food!


One of my fondest memories from a trip to Turkey (twelve years ago now!) involved the discovery of dolma: homemade dolma, specifically, created by someone who spoke no English so there was no chance of getting the recipe. (It should be mentioned that, at that time, I didn't know how to turn on an oven so it never entered my mind to ask.) Stuffed peppers and tomatoes with a delicious tomato-based sauce, ground meat (lamb?), and a side of Greek-style yogurt. This picky eater couldn't get enough.

I've been on the prowl for an authentic dolma recipe since then, and have been frustrated with my search results. Nothing quite "looks" right. Still, I decided to give one of the recipes a try tonight. My stuffed peppers didn't compare with those I had in Turkey (although I made them with ground turkey!), but we both really enjoyed them:

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Yum, Steamed Meat! ...OR... How I Long for a Charcoal Grill!

I continually try (and rarely succeed) to grill beef on our grill pan. Because there is nowhere for juices or marinade to go, instead of creating beautiful grill marks, I create steam. I don't want to eat steamed meat! (Too close to a "boiled dinner" for me...)

So, although my first carne asada was flavorful, and two of the pieces kind of grilled on one side...I was disappointed.

We have a portable propane grill, but I became increasingly paranoid of potential explosions throughout the summer of '06. With warm weather around the corner, I am considering getting a charcoal grill. I have to admit, though, that Brad Delp's recent bizarre suicide technique gives me minor pause.

We were starving when we got home last night and I took some liberties with the recipe. Surely, preslicing a flank steak will both make it marinate AND cook more quickly - right? (I think it mostly just made more steam.) I did create a pretty good spontaneous side of black beans with garlic, a little salsa, lime juice, and that magical Goya adobo stuff:

Inspired by both Roberto's Taco Shop in Las Vegas and Mexico Lindo in Melrose, I am going to make a second attempt at carne asada soon.

Or maybe we'll just eat out?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Some Realizations...

That's right. I *made* realizations. I might not have accomplished a lot this weekend, but I wasn't completely asleep. Here are some of this weekend's questions, or ideas really:

I was thinking about the planet Mars, and was wondering if they call Martian soil "earth?"

I had an idea to use financial budget software like Quicken to set up a "time budget" to see where your time goes. You could set up a "checking account" with a 168 hour (dollar) balance, which would be a week's worth of hours. Then, keep track of how you "spend" your time: an hour grocery shopping, 3 hours on the internet, 8 hours of sleep, etc...and you could actually document, budget, and visualize how you spend your time. It could be revelational! Of course, you could never deposit time. Hmmm...

And then, I was wondering why no one talks about acid rain anymore? It was such a big topic in the 80s.

And, along with a failed attempt at searing scallops, that's what I *made* this weekend. : )

Blackened Salmon - It's About Time!

The only blackened food I've ever had has been from the Border Cafe, and I really like it. REALLY like it. Adding to its appeal, it's got a lot of flavor without a lot of calories AND it's incredibly quick to make.

I found a recipe for Blackened Salmon (in Cooking Light, I think) and had to give it a try. (Attempts at blackened chicken are right around the corner!) There are so many different blackening blends. I decided to go with the one in the recipe, which was...OK. My friend, Kristie, gave me a premixed blend for Christmas, which I'll try next time. Along with some broccoli slaw, this was a really nice dinner.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Home Sick

What better to make on a windy, cold Tuesday when both you and your husband are home sick than chicken soup? I have failed several times at making my own stock (it never tastes like anything). So, I opened a can of chicken broth, dumped in garlic, onion, carrots, pepper, egg noodles, rosemary, a bay leaf...and yesterday's leftover pork tenderloin.

It took about 30 minutes, and was the best "chicken" soup I've ever made. John's already feeling so much better! OK, that part's not true.

It remains on my to-do list to perfect chicken soup (ya know, with actual chicken) and mashed potatoes. Soon...

Saturday, March 3, 2007

OK, Assembled, Not Made

Since it took up a chunk of last weekend, and since getting new (stable!) kitchen chairs was something I've wanted to for a long time, it feels good to post what I "made" last weekend: four "Jules" chairs from IKEA! (OK, ours aren't green.)

And a slight impulse buy, their "Poang" chair and foot rest. So comfy!

Am I giving IKEA free advertising?

Thank you, Helen Rennie!

(Helen Readdy, on the other hand, would be disappointed with the amount of time I've been spending in the kitchen...)

Helen Rennie (do check out her food blog) was the instructor of the fish class I took in early February at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. I learned so much about fish, cooking fish, and eating fish (which I've never been much good at) in this class - and have slowly been putting my new knowledge to great use. Although I made her Swordfish Provencal a few weeks ago, I'll have to document it the next time (when it will, no doubt, look more fabulous!)

Tonight, I made Helen's Salmon Teriyaki and it came out perfectly. I really enjoyed eating the salmon, which was a first! My body has never experienced such a volume of omega 3 fatty acids.

As I prepped for tomorrow's orange sherbet (which should be interesting since somehow Stop & Shop mixed their regular oranges with their blood oranges...the ice cream will be pink!) and baked penne with roasted vegetables, I made a very successful marinara sauce. I'd been searching for the perfect recipe, and found a tasty looking marinara recipe from (of all places) Cooking Light that came out GREAT!