Seems like we’re on a bit of a summer food binge here at AAR. A few days ago Jean talked about a new salad recipe she’d tried (mango salad that sounds divine) using fish sauce. A few weeks ago, I was all about summer cherries. Well, my summer food obsession hasn’t waned. This morning I woke up thinking about fresh corn on the cob.
Corn on the cob is definitely a comfort food for me, reminding me of summers growing up. My mother would make corn on the cob for us several times a week while corn was in season. As kids, we would stick our little yellow plastic corn cobs in the ends of the corn, slather the cob with butter, dump on way too much salt, and be in heaven.
I’ll admit it, I’ve had a long love affair with kitchen gadgets. Let me set eyes on an infomercial for the latest “must have” gadget, and, well, I must have it! Fortunately, procrastination, laziness, and my bank account have stopped me from calling in and buying the gadgets I see on TV. But let a friend mention a spectacular gadget to me, or have a chef on a TV food show demonstrate something new, and I hit the stores looking for it.
Many of these wonder gadgets have been tossed out over the years, for not being quite as wondrous as hoped. But right now, I’m still feeling the love for two inexpensive gadgets (under $10). One is at least eight years old, and the other is just a month old. Continue reading
Over the years, I’ve developed confidence in my ability to cook just about anything except bread. I regularly search for different recipes online, but also don’t hesitate to come up with my own creations.
My first kitchen experiment occurred when I was about 10 years old, and was trying to earn some kind of Girl Scout cooking badge. One of the requirements was that you had to make your own recipe. I decided to make pepper meatballs. I have no idea where I came up with this one, but my mother — trusting soul that she was — left me to it.
I recently came across an interesting article by Mark Bittman that appeared in the New York Times back in December. It advocates eating “real food,” rather than convenience or restaurant food. According to Bittman, everyone should be able to do three things: a chopped salad, a stir-fry, and a basic lentils and rice recipe. Bittman suggests that by learning to cook just these three things, we can begin to end our reliance on processed and fast foods. In the bargain, he suggests that we’ll save money, eat more healthy foods, and reduce our carbon footprint.
I found Bittman’s article quite interesting, and consistent with many things I do already. I rarely eat out, and no longer rely on convenience foods. Gone are the years when I ate Lean Cuisines every night for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t completely given up convenience products, but I do use them less than I used to. However, I approach things in a slightly different way than Bittman suggests. Continue reading
Yes, it’s the time of year when our office is being inundated with cookies. Every few days, someone brings in another plate of festive, holiday cookies. Sugar cookies in every shape imaginable, topped with bright frosting and sprinkles, gingerbread men with dashing silver buttons, candy cane twists, macaroons, and too many other varieties to name.
When I was in school, a group of us used to get together every year about this time and have a cookie baking party. We’d give proposed recipes to one of the friends, and she’d buy supplies for all of the recipes. We’d then spend a fun evening baking cookies, and go away with a mix of different cookies. Continue reading
I recently re-watched Julie and Julia, and it’s got me thinking fondly of the old days of television cooking shows. Before the Food Network and the Cooking Channel existed, the main venue for cooking shows on TV was PBS. I adored Julia Child, but was also captivated by a number of the early TV cooking stars.
One of my first favorites was Justin Wilson. I used to have a Justin Wilson cookbook and would make a number of his dishes. In some move that cookbook was lost. Lately I’ve been thinking about a few of my favorites, including a spicy broccoli salad I used to make. I think it’s time to start searching for a used version.
In my family, the traditional vegetable for both Christmas and Thanksgiving is brussel sprouts. Did I catch you turning up your nose? Then I ask you, what is it about this vegetable that people hate?
Let me start by assuring you that no, we don’t cook them until they turn gray, soft, and, well…smelly. When cooked in water, I just boil (or steam) them until the little sprouts are a bright green. That’s it. Really, just a few minutes of cooking. I then top them with salt and pepper, or some lemon juice, or even a light cheese sauce, and they’re fantastic. But there are so many other ways to prepare brussel sprouts that are truly delicious. Continue reading
Last night I stopped at my local grocery on my way home from work, and there, outside the front door, was a huge pile of jolly pumpkins in all shapes and sizes. Ah, pumpkins. While I can resist chocolate desserts and candies most days, pumpkin desserts get to me every time. So, since October is nearly here, I’m declaring it pumpkin time in my home.
What do you do, bring your lunch to work (or school) or eat out? Or do you do a mix of both?
I’ve brought my lunch to work for years, allowing myself an occasional lunch out, maybe once every two weeks or so. For me, it was not only the more economical option, but also the healthier one. If I bring my lunch, I know exactly what nutrients and calories are in my food.
But I’ve been spoiled in the past. At every other place I’ve worked, I’ve had access to a refrigerator and a microwave, making the range of my lunches pretty much endless. I also didn’t have to invest in fancy “brown bag” supplies. I’d just use leftover grocery bags to carry my lunch to work.
Sure, I’d get into a rut and day after day bring in Lean Cuisines, a piece of fruit, and some baby carrots. But other times I’d bring leftovers from home and heat them up. In general, not much thought or time involved in the preparation. All that changed a few months ago when I began working in a new location.
Much to my surprise, my new office facility doesn’t have a microwave, and doesn’t have a refrigerator. Oh no! For the first few days I went out to lunch. There are lots of great choices, so that was fun. Unfortunately, it was also costly, and something that had to stop quickly.
I hate grocery shopping. It’s right up there with dusting and cleaning the litter box as my least favorite — but necessary — household duties. Most of my friends can’t understand my aversion to grocery shopping. But for me, what’s fun about it. You spend money on something that’s going to disappear all too quickly, or spoil if you don’t use it.