Monday, April 12, 2010

On My Mind

I've been thinking a lot about whether to continue with this blog. On the one hand, writing and cooking are two of my favorite things to do. On the other, I've been lacking inspiration for quite some time. Not really on the cooking side, but on the "coming-up-with-worthwhile-things-to-say-about-cooking" side.

About a month ago or so I got a great haircut, the kind that real grown-up women get, one that seemed to give me a new lease on life, at least for a few days, or till I realized I would have to blow-dry my hair for an hour every morning to make it look the way it first did. Similarly, perhaps a makeover to this blog would be good for a spell. Anyone know how to do that kind of thing? I am pretty tired of this generic, late '90s-ish template.

Since right now I don't have anything to say that can be condensed into a single pat post, I will resort to a kind of list of recent musings on cooking and eating. Perhaps this will spark something worthwhile for a better-crafted post next time. One can hope!

~After a brunch of oatmeal with a bruleed crust, my friend Rachel W. was inspired to go out and buy a blowtorch to fancify her morning cereal. The other day she texted me that she was making oat bran brulee. Livin' it up while stayin' regular! So, if you too own a blowtorch, that's something fun you can do. Be careful, of course!

~I've started cooking a lot differently now that a Special Someone is around. I probably don't cook for him more than once or twice a week, but when I do, it's mostly goodbye weird one-pot experiments with ingredients that may or may not work together (see: this entire blog), hello real sit-down dinners with a protein, a starch, and a green vegetable. Like the grown-up haircut, maybe it's a sign of progress. Yes, I AM worth opening that whole package of chicken breasts.

~Speaking of Special Someone, one of our (hopefully not tragic) differences is that he eats to live and I live to eat. But he raved about this one experiment I created a few weeks back, sort of a pasta puttanesca meets spaghetti bolognese. Puttanese? Bolognesca? In any case, I made a spicy tomato sauce with ground turkey (instead of ground beef - so yeah, total insult to both puttanesca and bolognese. But still delicious). It had a lot of garlic, Worcestershire sauce (no anchovies on hand), olives, ground fennel seeds. It was really good, and that is all I can think of to say about it for now.

~I tried Mark Bittman's Minimalist recipe for "weeknight tagine" from a couple weeks ago, and have a few thoughts. I'm pretty sad about the end of his blog, Bitten. The Times has condensed all its food blogs into Diner's Journal, which I guess is good news for their budget, but bad news for those of us who have no interest in restaurant trends or wine. Anyway, this tagine, while delicious, was not the first dish of his I've tried that makes me question how well he tests his recipes. He calls for using whole chicken thighs, browning them on either side, and then basically braising them for fifteen minutes. The idea is to turn a traditionally time-consuming recipe into one you can make any weeknight. However, chicken thighs take a much longer time to cook than this recipe implies. My suggestion, if you are strapped for time, is to cut up the chicken into chunks. You can cook them whole, but it will take at least half an hour, not fifteen minutes. Other than that minor misdirection, the recipe is a near perfect mix of sweet and savory.

~As always, I'm really late in catching onto a food craze, but the banh mi sandwich is my new obsession. And it turns out I no longer need to travel all the way to wretched Virginia to get my two-buck fix: Saigonese in Wheaton makes one that, in my opinion, is superior to the original Banh Mi DC Sandwich in Falls Church. Eat that, NoVa!

So, I guess that's all I have to say for now. In the meantime, I'll hang around the stove and see what happens.

1 comment:

Mike Hernandez said...

Don't give up on this blog! Just because you're grown up now doesn't mean you can't blog anymore. Put THAT in your puttanesca and eat it!