Never Arrive Empty Handed

After an invite to a BBQ came my way, I started browsing cook books and websites for something to bring.

Then reality struck and I realized I was working the day before, and the day of the cookout (and the day after if that really matters). So I needed something with either ingredients I had or could quickly grab on my way home from work, something that could be made a day ahead, and something that was summery, shareable, and relatively healthy.

I decided on two solutions: peach-strawberry salsa, and a guacamole. Both could be made ahead of time, quickly, and served easily with tortilla chips.

For the salsa I diced some overripe peaches, strawberries that had lingered a little too long, onion (less is more with this salsa), seeded jalapeƱo, and a bit of tomato. I added lime juice, garlic, and cinnamon for a sweet and savory dip.

IMG_3995.JPG

IMG_3996.JPG

IMG_3991.JPG

IMG_3993.JPG

For the guacamole I cheated a bit. Very ripe avocado mashed with fat free Greek yogurt and spicy Rotel tomatoes.

IMG_4002.JPG

IMG_3998.JPG

IMG_3999.JPG

IMG_4001.JPG

I love these Rubbermaid brand food containers; they’re glass so they look pretty for serving and don’t stain. But I do find that the lids don’t deal great unless you only fill them less than halfway. (Hello design flaw) For these particular recipes I put a piece of Glad Press and Seal right into the surface of the food and then put the lids on. Hopefully this will prevent leakage as well as browning, within reason.

Advertisements

New Tastes

We’re trying Indian.
I realized I’ve only been out for Indian food once. I’ve had Indian-esque snacks and elements but I don’t think I’ve really jumped into the ethnic cuisine with the attention it deserves.

After a successful takeout order from Jewel of India on Lark Street, we decided to tackle the dinner buffet to try more dishes in one meal.

IMG_3920.JPG

IMG_3915.JPG

IMG_3919.JPG

We had plenty of delectable morsels. Butter chicken was by far our favorite. I want to eat it by the bowl, with an extra large serving spoon and maybe a swirl of hot rice.

IMG_3917.JPG

IMG_3918.JPG

Oddly enough, we learned that being first to their dinner buffet isn’t a good thing. It was obvious that all of the food was held over from the lunch buffet. I’m not complaining about that, I can accept economics and cooking etc. However my issue was that the seemingly solo waitress didn’t light any of the warming sterno flames until after we had started eating.

This meant we each had one plateful of lukewarm, almost congealed meat and veggies. The variety wasn’t as great as we were expecting, and would probably return for the cheaper lunch buffet. Logic would predict the food might be both warmer and fresher the first time around.

What is your favorite Indian dish? Recipe? Restaurant?

Quick Treat

It’s 930 and you’re craving a sweet bite. I’ve heard of the illustrious mug cakes and brownies in a mug but have never attempted them until now.

Voila.

IMG_3908.JPG

I followed an easy recipe, one of the top results following a google search.

And it worked. Flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon and I added a spoonful of peanut butter to compensate for my lack of vanilla. 1 minute, forty seconds in the microwave. Hot, gooey chocolate mug goodness. Can’t wait to experiment with this.

Reheated Restaurant

Cooking is not reheating. Reheating is not cooking.

When you go out to a restaurant, it’s with the expectation that someone else is doing the cooking for you. Unfortunately, at L.A.X. on Lark Street, they use the term “cooking” loosely.

The menu confused us for starters. It’s an Asian/Italian fusion concept. Amidst our attempts to decode the menu, we decided sushi wasn’t a good choice at a place that also offered pizza and burgers in a club like atmosphere.

Settling on a slider duo we felt assured date night was off to a comfortable start. The duo consisted of both chicken and meatball Parmesan sliders; in theory we pictured gooey and gluttonous bites.

IMG_3834-0.JPG

Sadly, the cook had apparently given up. What arrived were frozen, breaded chicken tenders and frozen meatballs on mini rolls, with bland jarred sauce and a hunk of cheese. The only highlight of these was the soft, potato rolls which were slightly sweet. Everything else was a reheated disaster.

The meatballs were frozen. Like buy one get two free at Price Chopper level frozen. Gritty and chewy frozen. We both managed less than a bite. I pulled out the chicken tenders, which were fine. But clearly previously frozen.

IMG_3835.JPG

The waitress that retrieved this dish from our table didn’t comment on the fact that we ate maybe one slider between the two of us. Instead she delivered our entrees.

Trying to be healthy I stuck to a salad. The arugula salad was neither Asian nor Italian, and was admittedly good. Maybe that’s the secret to ordering.

IMG_3837.JPG
Arugula, strawberries, sliced apples, goat cheese. I asked for no candied walnuts, the addition of grilled chicken, and the balsamic dressing on the side.

Mister wasn’t as lucky. He ordered a burger off of their specials list.

IMG_3838.JPG

Let’s just take a moment to really look at that hamburger patty. It is almost certainly previously frozen (from the uniform shape and size), grayish, with an unappealing texture just based on looks alone. He soldiered through less than half.

We paid with a groupon (which is the reason we gave the place a try) and Mister took the opportunity to complain to the server about the overall quality of the food. The servers response? We didn’t order one of their specialties.

His reasoning for our food being sub-par, reheated, mass produced dreck is it wasn’t some of the restaurants specialties. I don’t have enough energy to elaborate the irrationality within that argument.

Breakfast Rut

This weird weather has gotten me in a very cozy breakfast rut. I can make it without thinking at 7 am when I get home from the gym and it has the perfect blend of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, and sugar.

IMG_3738.JPG

I mix a scoop of whey isolate protein powder with half a cup of oats. Cover with water and microwave for 6 minutes at 40% power.

Then mash that all up. The texture isn’t bizarre like those egg white oatmeal concoctions because the protein powder is a little more “solid.”

Once that’s done I add one cup of blueberries, one packet of stevia, and a quarter of a cup of walnuts. Cover with as much cinnamon and ginger as you want.

IMG_3739.JPG

Genius Gio

The title says it all. I’ve written posts about making pizza. I’ve written posts about Chef Gio. He read those posts and took pity on the horrible pies I was cranking out and invited me to take a class with him on the subject.

He shared his secrets, ingredients, and techniques. It worked. It really worked.

I followed his recipes for dough, sauce, and garlic oil.

IMG_3714.JPG

IMG_3710.JPG

IMG_3711.JPG

IMG_3708.JPG

I even referenced pictures I took during the class to make sure I was stretching the dough the Gio way.

IMG_3716.JPG

IMG_3719.JPG

And we made pizza. Two pizzas actually. A crispy, bubbly plain and a no sauce, extra garlic delight. We may never order pizza again.

IMG_3718.JPG

IMG_3724.JPG

Lesson learned. Trust the experts.
I wouldn’t dare share his recipe, because it’s useless without the class.
Go, learn, and enjoy your pizza.

Scavenging and Foraging

Sometimes I open the fridge and just stare.
I do the grocery shopping, I do the cooking, and the eating. Things do not appear or disappear in there. (Mister and I straightened out that issue early on, hands off my meals).
Yet I still open, and stare.

I don’t want to eat what is in there some nights. Or I’m craving something sweeter. Or fresher. Or nothing at all but something to full the roar of a growling stomach.

Tonight I was excited for a big hunk of salmon. It went bad, while lost in the depths of the very same fridge referenced above. Perfectly delectable salmon, wasted.

Nothing else in the fridge seemed as good.
So I decided to finish up the rest of the orphaned items that were at risk of going bad.

IMG_3638.JPG
Mung bean sprouts were introduced to a hot pan.

IMG_3640.JPG

IMG_3639.JPG

Almost wilt-y snow peas, shredded leftover chicken. The last egg from the carton.

IMG_3635.JPG
A dash of Braggs Liguid Aminos. Some ginger. Garlic.

IMG_3643.JPG
It wasn’t salmon. But it was spicy and warm. Light and justified.