Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cooking Guilt

I was really, really half-assed with my cooking last week. And I know it.

We've suddenly gotten very busy at work, and combine that with waiting for the other shoe to drop in the current state of the economy, it was just exhausting. Getting home and wanting to do nothing but just veg out. It happens. And I've learned to just go with that feeling rather than try to push myself and ending up crashing and burning.

But I wanted to make it up to myself this weekend.

Headed out yesterday into the frozen tundra that the Chicago area has become to do my weekly shopping. I did make a fun little discovery in stopping by a little Italian deli that is very nearby, and I found out they do some GREAT sandwiches. Too bad they close at 6pm in the evening. But I figure if we've got a taste for sandwiches on a Friday, I can always try to stop on my way home from work.

For dinner, it was shrimp with pasta and cream sauce. Mmmm... cream sauce.

Started by making some garlic confit...



And then some tomato confit....



Add some garlic and unfortunately all of the tomato confit... I wanted to have some of it for another dish later this week, but two of the tomatoes I bought were just too darned hard to use... to the cream, plenty of salt, and break out the stick blender...



Always tasty, even though I sprung for the wild-caught American shrimp this time around and all I could taste while eating them was chlorine, but the pasta and sauce was good.

Also, yesterday, I dealt with a mess of onions and turned this....



Into this...



.. which went into the slow cooker with a stick of butter before we went to bed, and in the morning, I came downstairs to the wonderful sights and smells of this...



The weather is not going to be any kinder to us this week, so I figured for lunches, I'd do some grilled turkey and Swiss sandwiches with some French Onion soup.

One of the reasons I love doing the onions in the slow cooker (other than the Unattended Cooking Time... seriously... it took me a half hour to clean/chop all those onions) is all the juice you get. The cover traps the liquid in the cooker insert....



See? Look at all that liquid. You don't want to waste that.

Now time to play with some of the stocks I have made recently.... dumped in some veal stock, some duck stock and some chicken stock....



I also added some balsamic, some pepper, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, put the lid on, and let it cook for 4 hours on high.

Hmmm.. how do I amuse myself in the meantime??

Spice rub!!!



A bunch of spices for a rub for my ribs for next Sunday. I usually do a version of Alton Brown's "No Backyard Baby Back Ribs", but we're not fans of the spice rub he uses. WAY hot. My favorie recipe comes out of The Complete Meat Cookbook. AWESOME cookbook. If you like meat, you should own this cookbook.

Even though I have a very nice cookbook stand, I usually jot down notes on a post-it and thwap it on a cabinet to give me instruction while I cook. See??



For those interested....

2 T paprika
2 T chili powder
2 t cayenne
2 T garlic powder
2 T brown sugar
1 T cumin
1 T mustard powder
1 t ground sage
1 t oregano
1/4 cup salt (kosher)
1 T fresh black pepper

Wooo.... pretty.... it's like tasty sand art....



And then it's time to shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake your spice rub!



I actually did a double batch.... really... have you ever heard anyone say "Gee... I just have too much spice rub around...."??? I don't think so.

Dinner tonight was chili.... mmm... tasty, warm chili.....



And with my new huge Le Creuset pot, I was able to make a double batch. Which means loads and loads of chili for freezer for later use....



So... at least for the near future... the lazy cooking nights can at least make use of my chili stockpile. Chili dogs, chili over tamales, chili omeletes (I know, it may sound gross, but it is seriously good - we had them once at Cheeseburger Las Vegas and we quickly became addicts). Really, what can't you do with chili??

2 comments:

Hurricane Mikey said...

What can't you do with chili?

Hmmm... How's about a chili Caesar salad? (Although I'm sure some bachelor somewhere has tried. I'm just sayin') And it's tough to put on samminches, too.

Chili is damn good, but bacon is the king of all food.

MrsVJW said...

I donno... a common order from me at Wendy's involves a cup of chili and a Caesar side salad. And they put their chili on their taco salad...

And I'd never bother with a chili sandwich... if I'm going the chili + starch route, I'll just grab a sleeve of saltines and a half a stick of butter (lightly butter the cracker, put a spoonful of chili on top, and then marvel at your ability to make a tasty little appetizer, then repeat).