Showing posts with label cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cooking. Show all posts

Friday, August 14, 2015

Time Flies. . .


When you have much to do. Yup. Time flies. Fly, fly, time.

Within the next six hours, I plan to do this:

Finish the Husband's tunic. All I need to do is attach the sleeves and sides, then hem it up.

Make an appetizer.  The Husband and I are going to a party tonight. Fun. Maybe I'll make cheesy olive balls. They're easy to make, but that means going to the store for olives and cheddar cheese.

Put together a photo collage.  It's for a luncheon fundraiser tomorrow. I could probably do that after the party, if I print the photos beforehand. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Get this post done.  I threw this in so I can feel like I'll have accomplished something once its published.  Always look for the positive, I say.

Thank goodness, I finished reading my novel last night, otherwise I'd forget about doing these things I plan to do. Enchanted  August by Brenda Bowen.  Just like the title, the story was enchanting.

I could go for either a cup of coffee or a lovely cocktail.  That's not going to happen. So, I'll just pretend to smell the flowers.  See ya.



Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Domestic Diva Challenge -- One Down!


Ha! I completed  #4 on my list of seven things to do before the summer ends. 

A jar of lemon peels covered with vodka is now sitting in the cupboard with the glasses. In four to six weeks, it will become lemon extract. I hope, I hope. 

The first thing I plan to make with the stuff is lemon cookies. They were the first—and when I think of it, the only—cookies that the Mama baked when I was a small kid. They were perfectly round, golden, and yummily lemon flavored. I have yet to taste a lemon cookie that rivals my memory of the Mama's cookies. 

If you're curious, this was my recipe, which I adapted from Mommypotamus's.
  1. Zested 9 medium lemons. Don't get any of the white peel. 
  2. Place lemon strips in a jar and cover with about 1.5 cup of vodka. 
  3. Shake well, then put in a cupboard.
The rest of the instructions are from Mommypotamus:
  1. Shake the mixture every day for a week.  
  2. Shake every so often for 4 to 6 weeks, which I shall translate as once every 3 or 4 days. 
  3. Strain the lemon peels and pour lemon extract into clean jars. 
  4. Store in cabinet or refrigerator.

What will I do with those lemons I zested? (The zester is a very cool tool by the way.) Make lemonade!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Seven Things to Do Before Summer Ends


It's time for me to make a list of all domestic diva things I want to accomplish this summer. Otherwise, I will just vaguely think about doing them, which in my world means "I'll do it tomorrow." As we all know, tomorrow really never comes.

I shall ring Tilda-Hilda's ding-a-ling bell and...and...and...proclaim my list of things I shall complete before the first day of Autumn.


1. Sew the Husband another tunic.

2. Sew myself a tunic.

3. Sew the Christmas vest for the Husband, which I said I would do....uhm, two Christmases ago.


4. Make lemon extract.

5. Make limoncello.

6. Make candied ginger.

7. Bake energy bars. So, Tilda-Hilda and I can pedal farther and further down roads.

I can do these seven things. I can!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

From the Archives -- Taboongow


Here's another post that I wrote for my first blog, Cu'Pie Bird Says Chirp. Chirp. FYI: I slightly edited the post for today. Tomorrow, I shall be back to regular posting. Maybe.

Gourds for the Eating
(originally published November 20, 2008)

Several years ago, in the upcountry of Maui, I heard birds coo, “Ta-boong-ow. Ta-boong-ow.” I wondered if they were hungry for the gourd, and whether they wanted the long, bat-shaped ones or the ones that look like hourglass women.

Taboongow is the Ilokano word for upo, which is the Tagalog name for the gourd. (Please note that I’m phonetically spelling ta-boong-ow according to what my American ears hear.) Many people think of this vine-growing vegetable as an ornamental plant to dry and use for display or to make into crafts or musical instruments. Taboongow is also yummy to eat when they are still fresh. If you eat the gourd young, you can eat the center white part as well. Otherwise, you cut it away so you cook only the light-green part.


There are many types of gourds. Taboongow is known as the bottle gourd. They are light green and smooth-skinned. They may grow straight, roundish, or curvy. They are not to be confused with the bitter gourds (bittermelon) or the ridged gourds, which are made into loofahs when the fruits are dry.
 

The Daddy grew taboongow every year and when he passed away years ago, the Mama continued the annual sowing. In recent years, she lets the vines climb up the fruit trees in the back yard. This year, the Mama had a decent crop. We have been eating taboongow almost once a week since summer. Usually, when the Mama cuts up a fruit, we cook part of it into a soup and she freezes the rest uncooked for the winter. This year, the Mama and I decided we’d just cook each fruit she harvests and freeze cooked portions.

Taboongow doesn’t have a strong taste. In other words, it works with almost any spices and herbs you want to add to it. I’ve experimented a lot this year. So far it has tasted good with a curry, coconut, basil and thyme, or cilantro base. I’ve cooked it with shrimp, bacon, chicken, tofu, fish, or pork. All good. I’m sure it would taste good with beef. Hmmm.

Taboongow soup is one of my favorite dishes. The basis of my soup goes like this: Sauté onions and garlic. Add chicken or pork, if you’re using it. Once meat is brown, add tomatoes. Once tomatoes are broken up, add any herbs and/or other veggies (bell pepper, celery, etc.). Add up to 1 cup of water. Put lid on and simmer until meat is almost done. Now, stir in taboongow so it is coated with the liquid. Cook until the taboongow is translucent.


Things to note: The fruit is 90 percent water, so your soup will get a bit more flavorably soupier. (Are there such words? asked the Husband) Also it has been years since I’ve added salt to my cooking. So, add in salt where you normally would when making a soup.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for a Zip! Zing! Zee! Party


Congratulations to all of us bloggers of the Blogging from A-to-Z April Challenge! We did it. Zzzzzzzooo-hoooooo!

So, for you, today, I'm cooking up a virtual feast as my final entry for my food theme. Enjoy!

Appetizers
• Lumpia (Filipino eggrolls. Of course! I can't throw a party without lumpia)
• Potstickers
• Inari Sushi (Deep-fried bean curd skins stuffed with rice, peas, and salmon
• Assorted fresh vegetables with onion dip


Main and Side Dishes
Kalua pork
• Grilled salmon
Pancit  (Filipino noodle dish)
• Stir-fry vegetable medley (onions, garlic, mushrooms, green beans, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, tiny corn, and water chestnuts)
• Kim chee
• Bamboo relish (The Mama's awesome, delicious, pickled spicy bamboo. Double yum!)
• Brown rice


Desserts
• Apple Pie, Ollalieberry Pie, and Cherry Pie
• Suman (Coconut glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves)
• Fresh watermelon and pineapple

Drinks
• Local handcrafted beer
• Local wines
• Apple juice (locally produced, of course)
• Water

Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xmas Cookies


I bake cookies at least once a year. And, that's at Xmas. What's Xmas without the yummy smell of cookies baking in the oven, right?

Those first few years of baking Xmas cookies, I'd go through cookbooks, looking for interesting cookie recipes to try. But, always, I'd end up following certain recipes in a Women's Day cookie recipe booklet. That may be how I got hooked reading cookbooks.

I used to bake a bunch of different cookies. Not anymore. Now, I bake three kinds of cookies. Persimmon biscotti, the Mama's favorite; Russian tea cakes, the Husband's favorite: and a persimmon, chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or gingersnap cookie.

Do you bake Xmas cookies? What cookies do you like to bake?


Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.

Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for What's Wrong with Your Cake?

Once-upon-a-time, a long time ago, when I was still a young thing. . . .
 
After the Birthday Gal happily blew our her candles on the carrot cake that I baked, the other student assistant and I cut the cake and served the slices to the Birthday Gal and everyone else in the Department of Secondary Education office. The cake looked yummy. Everyone took a bite. Several people looked puzzled as they chewed.

The gruff teddy bear of a department chair said, "Sue, did you forget to turn on the oven?"

"Huh?"

The Teddy Bear Chair examined his cake. "It's flat."

"That's the way it's supposed to be." I said.

"I love it," said the Birthday Gal. "It's just like the cake from home. All full of nuts and carrots. Thank you, Sue."

The Birthday Gal was from Central America. She gave me a hug and took another slice.

The Teddy Bear Chair continued eating his cake. "Have you made this cake before?" he asked.

"First time," I said.

"So, we're your guinea pigs," he said.

"All my cakes are first times," I said. "They're never the same. I don't measure things."

"Ah ha! That's why. Measure next time, Sue." He said, then turned, walking into his cavern of an office with his nearly eaten piece of cake.

Much later, as I sat at my desk, typing paperwork, my supervisor Dr. Who-Writes-Romances-During-Her-Breaks came out from her office behind me. "Sue," she said, her voice full of excitement. "I know what's wrong with your cake."

"Yes," I said, thinking there was nothing wrong with my cake.

"You forgot the flour!" she said. She went back into office with a satisfied look on her face as if she had solved a mystery. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I did use flour.


Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for the Mama's Spoon

This is the Mama's spoon, the one with which she cooked for as long as I can remember. And, for those who are new to the blog, I'm in my early 60s and the Mama is 30-some years older than me.

I like cooking with the Mama's spoon. It's smooth, fits in my hand, and has the perfect heft to it. I also like the way the metal spoon sounds against a pot or pan. Most of all, I like cooking with it because it's the Mama's spoon.

When I pick up the Mama's spoon, I think of her using it to stir her bittermelon chicken soup, eggplant-bittermelon stew, tabongow chicken soup, pork adobo, ginger beef, fried rice, scrambled eggs, pancit, and diningding (a soup of all the Filipino vegetables in her garden).

In my mind, I see her making Thanksgiving dinner with that spoon. She sauteed the ingredients for the dressing. She basted the turkey. She mashed the potatoes with the back of the spoon. And, she stirred and stirred the gravy.

She cooked a lot of meals with that one spoon.  Nearly all of which were delicious.


Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for Nighttime Snack


"Let's have a snack," said the Daddy. He sat in his Lazy-boy recliner, while my teenage self stretched out on the couch beside him. It was a summer night, with the doors and windows still wide open for the breeze. A rerun show played on the TV, at which I looked up now and then from the book I read.

Without doubt, that scene took place around nine o'clock, the usual time the Daddy called for a snack when he was in the mood. The Daddy's favorite nighttime snack were the doughnuts without the hole that I made from canned biscuits. They were quick and easy to make, about 10 minutes, if I recall correctly.

As the oil heated in the iron skillet, I opened the cardboard can of biscuits, the best part of making the doughnuts. Pow! A satisfying blow against the edge of the corner. Pop! The eight (or was it 10) small, soft, slices of dough smiled between the cardboard.

Carefully, I dropped the round slices into the heated oil in the skillet. Sizzle. Sizzle. Sizzle. I quickly stirred cinnamon and sugar on a plate.  When the doughnuts were a golden brown, I transferred them to the plate and tossed them in the sweet topping. Voila! Cinnamon doughnuts.

The Daddy already sat at the table, ready to dig into his nighttime snack.


Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M is for Magical Meringue


Clang, clang, clang with my right hand.

Clang, clang, clang with my left hand.

Repeat and repeat. Then repeat again. And, again.
 
It always amazes me how I can get soft peaks of meringue just by beating egg whites. I'm sure there's a simple, straightforward explanation for the transformation, and maybe one day I will really want to know. Until then, I'm perfectly happy, making clang, clang noises with the egg beater against the stainless steel pan as the clear egg whites change to foam, to thicker, clingy foam, and finally to meringue. It's magic. Olé!


Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

H is for the Holy Trinity of Ingredients


If I could only have three ingredients in my pantry, they would be onions, garlic, and tomatoes. The onions could be yellow, red, or white, in that order of preference. The garlic could be bulbs or shoots. The tomatoes could be fresh, frozen, or canned.  Onions, garlic, and tomatoes are my holy trinity when it comes to making sautes, stir fries, soups, and stews. Casseroles, pastas, and rice dishes, too.

If I had to do without one of the holy trinity, I could go without the tomatoes.

Onions, garlic, and tomatoes. It's the way I learned to cook, which was by watching the Mama.

Smash the garlic with a smooth granite rock brought back from the beach, or with the side of the knife with a satisfying whack as demonstrated by Martin Yan on Yan Can Cook.  Cut the onion in half, then cut thin slices out of each half. Repeat with the tomatoes, except the slices don't have to be so skinny.

The above photo is pancit, a Filipino noodle dish made out of mung bean noodles. If you're interested in the recipe, click here. I used various vegetables in the recipe, but, without having done so, I think pancit can taste good with just onions, garlic, tomatoes, shrimp or sausage, and mung bean noodles.

I do know that scrambled eggs made with onion, garlic, and tomatoes is very yummy!  I plan on making that tonight, with bacon on the side, for our dinner.


Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for Garlic


Garlic.  Yummmmmmmm. Can you tell that I like garlic?

I eat so much garlic I can no longer taste the garlic. So, it's possible I have what people call awful garlic breath. I don't know.  But, I must not eat that much garlic since mosquitoes still love to bite me.

About 15 miles from where we live is a garlic factory. Lots of people dislike the smell that comes out of the factory. Not me. I love driving by it and getting in that sweet spot on the road where you drive right through the aroma. Yummmmmmmmmmm. Too bad a tomato cannery doesn't stand right next to the factory.

I was about 30 years old when I realized that not everyone cooks with a lot of garlic. At a dinner in which we, guests, helped prepare the meal, the hostess asked me to make the garlic bread. She set out a loaf of French bread, a cube of butter, and a bulb of garlic. So, I smashed, cleaned and minced the garlic, then cut the bread in two, slathered butter over the two halves, and sprinkled the garlic over them. Each half was completed studded with minced garlic.  I wrapped the bread in aluminum and put it in the hostess' oven.

After dinner, the hostess said, "I've never had garlic bread like that before. It was delicious."

That night I learned that people don't normally use a whole bulb of garlic for garlic bread. Ah ha!

The next time we had a dinner party at the hostess' house, she asked me to make the garlic bread again. With no changes to my recipe.

Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.



Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for Experimenting

I used to think that the Mama was a rigid, but, awesome, cook. Everything she cooked was perfect. Her cutting of meats and vegetables always came out precisely small and neat. Her dishes always tasted consistently the same—yummily delicious.

When it came to Filipino cuisine, nobody, including Filipino restaurant chefs, came close to her food. The Daddy came very close. The one dish of his that surpassed hers by a tiny bit was his fried chicken. His was a subtle melt-in-your-mouth delicious, while the Mama's was more a pow! wow! in-your-face delicious.

My perception of the Mama-the-cook changed when I was in my late 30s. Suddenly the food she put on the table when I came to visit was different. Her pork adobo no longer was the consistently same delicious taste. It was still delicious, but the taste slightly differed each time she cooked it. At first, I thought she was being forgetful when she cooked. And, perhaps, there was a bit of that.

During one visit, the Mama served fried chicken with thick deep-fried lemon slices and deep-fried chayotes. I had no idea lemons and chayotes could be deep fried and taste so good that way. When I told her that I liked them, she said, "It's good to experiment. You don't know if something tastes good until you make it."

I was totally floored, to say the least. Something else I had inherited from the Mama.


Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A is for Adobo, Pork Adobo

http://www.a-to-z-challenge.com
Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.







The clatter of metal against metal and heady aroma of frying pork, garlic, and onions lured me to the dark, cool kitchen that hot summer morning. At the stove was the Daddy's young cousin who was staying with us while on leave from the Navy. One hand shook a large grey soup pot on a burner, and the other hand stirred the ingredients rapidly with a large silver spoon that made a rhythmic clang against the inside of the pot. His body swayed and seemingly danced. The sizzle of the meat and vegetables was his music.

I was maybe four or five years old. I don't recall the Mama being home, otherwise why would the handsome, dark-haired man with a sweet smile be at the Mama's stove. But, maybe that day the Daddy's cousin said to the Mama, "Let me cook." So that she could care for Baby Sister who Died too Early. Now that I think of it, that was more likely what happened.

The Daddy's cousin smiled at me as I came up beside him.  "What's that?" I asked, most likely taking a deep breath of the developing delicious perfume. I had never smelled anything like it before.

"Adobo," he said. "Pork adobo. Do you like it?"

"I don't know."

"Just you wait then." 

As I remember the Daddy's cousin, my imagination sees him as a magician dancing a ballet. In my mind's eye, I see him pouring apple cider vinegar into the pot, next sprinking salt and pepper, and then tossing in a bay leaf or two.  .  . .Clang, Shake, Sizzle.Clang. Clang. Sizzle. Shake. . . Finally, he throws in a healthy amount of spice that brings the dish together -- paprika. He continues wildly. . .Clang. Clang. Shake. Clang. Clang. The sizzle has turned into pure jazz.

With one last clang and shake, the dish is done. Then with great flair, he spoons the tender, glistening red pork on a large plate.

I don't recall eating lunch, but most likely the Mama, the Baby Sister who Died too Early, the Older and Only Bionic Brother,  the Daddy's Young Cousin, and I sat in the cool, dark kitchen eating the pork adobo with rice. No doubt that was the day pork adobo, cooked Ilocano style, became one of my favorite dishes.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Ditzy Moment


A couple of weeks ago, the Appliance Guy checked out the burners on our electric stove. We were down to only one working burner. I actually watched the third burner spit up flames as it died. Both the Mama and I were worried that we'd have to get a new stove. All for naught. The Appliance Guy told us that all we needed were burners and immediately called in an order for us.

Since the Appliance Guy was there, I asked him if it was possible to calibrate the oven. "It's not working?" he asked, opening the oven door.

"Sometimes my dishes come out dry or undercooked, even though I follow the time and temperature on the recipes," I said, watching him take out the oven racks, turn them around, and insert them back.

"Were they in backwards?" I asked.

The Appliance Guy stood up. "The door wasn't closing properly because of the racks."

"Oh."

"The stove is also old," the Appliance Guy said, which he most likely added to cover for my ditziness.

"Over 25 years," said the Husband. Chiming in, I like to think, to also make me feel less scatterbrained.

"So, all this time I had the racks in upside down and backwards. I can never remember which way they go in," I said, thinking about the time I  couldn't figure why my boots hurt until a friend said, "Sue, you've got your boots on wrong."

The Appliance Guy said, "Just remember that the hooked ends go in first with the hooks down."

I nodded. "I thought they had to be in the front to catch the pans in case they slip out."

"I never thought of that," he said, smiling.

After the Appliance Guy left, the Husband  started washing the breakfast dishes. He was bent over the sink laughing like crazy.

"What's so funny?" I asked.

"You thought the racks would keep the pans from slipping," the Husband said. "If they slipped out it's because the floor is uneven."

What could I do but laugh with the Husband. Loudly and long.

I hope the Appliance Guy had a good laugh, too.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cubed Tofu


Did you know that you can buy tofu already cubed? 

Seriously. I must quote the Mama now. "These businessmen are very smart. They know how to make money."

The other night I opened what I thought was a container of a block of extra-firm tofu. As I was about to drain the now opened container, I noticed loose pieces of tofu. What the heck? Then, I saw that the container was full of small pieces of tofu. I looked at the wrapper. Extra-firm CUBED tofu!  Again: What the heck?  

So much for having fried slices of tofu with roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. It was time to get creative.  As the Brussels sprouts roasted in the toaster oven, I diced a fragment of orange bell pepper, a handful of browning chives, cilantro, and a bunch of garlic cloves. I also chopped salami slices, which I found in the freezer. 

I heated a big glob of bacon fat. Yes, bacon fat. The bell pepper was thrown in first. Two minutes later, the cubed tofu. Stir. Stir. Stir. In went the rest of the ingredients. Ding. The Brussels sprouts were done. Some leaves were burnt. I pulled out as many as I could, then tossed the Brussels sprouts into the tofu mix. Stir. Stir. Stir. Done!

It was okay. Probably better that fried slices of tofu.

Next time I'll make sure to read the tofu container label. Who the heck can't cube tofu?!

Much later: I decided to link up with Mix It Up Monday. Is it the right place to be? Someone will tell me otherwise,  I'm sure. Want to check out recipes and DIY craft instructions with me?  Click here.

Mixitup

Saturday, January 17, 2015

#2 Book Review for My 2015 Reading Challenge


Thug Kitchen is written by Matt Holloway and Michelle Davis, who are 29-year-olds, hence I can cross A book written by someone under 30 off my 2015 Reading Challenge

If swearing bothers you, walk by this cookbook, because a lot of f-bombs and sh-words are dropped. The title had me open the cover at the bookstore, but it was the novelty of the cussing that drew me into flipping through the book. There was nothing new under the sun for me. I know how to roast garlic, for instance. But, what  impressed me was that the authors offered recipes like the ones I make up and not make again because I can't remember what I did. Maybe I cook like someone under 30.

I left the bookstore without the cookbook, but I kept thinking about the intriguing recipes such as ginger-mushroom summer rolls, cauliflower cream pasta,  spicy plantain chips, and lemony red lentil soup. A couple weeks later when I was choosing books online for my birthday gifts, I thought, "Why not?" I needed inspiration for making more vegetable dishes.

About halfway through the book,  I realized that Thug Kitchen is a vegan cookbook. I guess the cursing is a gimmick to get people to eat their vegetables.  Anyway, I can easily adapt many of the recipes to include eggs, cheese, or other animal protein if I want to. Maybe I will somewhere down the road.

Fruit salad smoothie, anyone? How about almond Caesar salad, or, perhaps, whipped cream made with coconut milk?


Note: FCC and you need to know that the link leads to Amazon.com. Should you click it and happen to purchase anything there, Amazon may reward me with a bit of change.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Freshly Baked Bread


Yesterday, I made bread. White bread, to be precise.  I even followed the recipe, almost precisely, which is pretty good for me. I forgot to add the salt, but that's okay. We already finished one loaf.

I thought about putting up the Christmas tree yesterday morning, but chose to bake bread and make carrot and leek soup for lunch instead. I had a yen for freshly baked white bread for the past two days.  And, since I wasn't going to find what I wanted in the local grocery stores or bakeries, I might as well knead one to fulfill my need. Yuk, yuk.

I don't make bread much anymore. Not that I was ever a bread baker. I just like pounding the dough. Okay, the kneading. Knead, knead. Pound. Pound, Knead. 

Easy pounding. Not like the first time I made bread many decades ago. Imagine me, a 20-year-old college girl living in a second-floor apartment in San Francisco's Richmond district. It's late in the evening. Because I'm either stressed or bored, or both, with my studies, I am making bread on the flimsy kitchen counter.  Knead, knead, Pow! Pound. Pound. Pow! Pound Pound. Knead, pound, knead. My roommates say, "Gee, Sue take it easy."

Rat-a-tat-tat. Rat-a-tat-tat.  There is an angry rap at our front door. It is our downstairs neighbor. He is not very happy with the loud, continuous thuds keeping him awake. Poor guy.

I learned my lesson: Pound bread dough quietly and kindly.

By the way, the Christmas tree just might go up today.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Eggplant, Tomato, and Sausage Pasta


The other night, I made the kind of red pasta sauce for which I have been hankering for the longest time. Hurrah! The photo shows the leftovers I ate for breakfast.

Getting that "perfect" taste was by accident so I have no idea if I will be able to do it again. Booo!

I'm one of those people who likes to read cookbooks but modifies recipes while cooking and doesn't pay attention to how things are being changed. I also rarely measure amounts, and, when I do, I'm eyeballing amounts. That's probably why my chemistry experiments in school usually failed. Ha! on the person who copied my answers.

Ingredients I Prepped
  1. Slice 1/4" circles out of two long Japanese eggplants
  2. Destem a handful of cremini mushrooms and slice them into halves
  3. Mince two fist fulls of chives (which is from the Mama's garden)
  4. Smash and mince 6 to 9 garlic cloves (assorted sizes of small to medium)
  5. Dice a small yellow onion.
  6. Slice 1/4" circles out of two basil-mozzarella sausages  (already precooked)
  7. Defrost a cereal bowl of frozen tomatoes, probably 10 to 14 small and medium size (which we had picked last year at a U-Pick organic tomato farm)
  8. Boil 8 ounces of  fresh garlic-basil pasta.
How I Cooked the Sauce

Saute the onions for a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms, garlic and chives. Stir. A minute later, add the defrosted tomatoes. Stir. A few minutes later, add the eggplants. Stir. A minute later, add dried basil and black pepper. (I don't add salt because the Husband is on a low-salt diet.) Let it all simmer for about 5 minutes, gently stirring now and then to make sure the eggplants get cooked in the juices. Finally combine the sausages with the concoction. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring to make sure nothing gets stuck on the bottom of the pan. That happens to me a lot. (Note:  If the sausages weren't precooked, I would have added them after sauteing the onions.) Oh, at the last minute I threw in less than a handful of leftover snap peas.

The Verdict

I served the dish by first putting a layer of noodles on the plate, next a slice of provolone cheese, then a layer of the sauce. 

The Husband told me what he thought about the dish before I could ask. "Yum," he said. "This is like eggplant parmigiana."

"I like the eggplants," said the Mama. She ate most of the sauce, picking out almost all of the eggplants.

Molly the Cat turned away from a sampling, but she did give it a good sniff.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Impulse Buying

I don't know what got into me.

The Husband and I went to the supermarket yesterday afternoon to purchase fixings for split-pea soup for dinner. That meant grab a slice of ham from the meat department and fill a bag with about 2 pounds of split peas from the bin in the produce section.

But, then we walked by the fish display. Wild, but previously frozen, Rex sole was on sale for $4.99 per pound. Neither of us ever had it before. Its name intrigued me. About a pound, please, sweet butcher lady.

Then I saw the squid. Ooooh. And, the octopus. Double ooooooh. The squid would be a treat for the Mama and for me. The octopus, too, if cooked correctly so it wasn't all rubbery. The Husband doesn't care for either, but he can have 2 pieces of the Rex sole. So, I asked for about a half pound of the squid and a quarter pound of the octopus.

As the butcher lady wrapped the items, I spied the locally made sausages. I turned to the Husband. "Shall we get some sausage?"

"I like those sausages," he replied. I asked for two calabrese sausages, which to my surprise was just over half a pound.

Rex sole, squid, octopus, and calabrese sausage. So many possibilities to create!