Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Randomosity: Why I Love My Hubby, IUOF, The "To-Try" List and the New Addition!

Jumble of a post ahead. Deal.

Why I love the hubby... as much as he is NOT a foodie, at least I no longer get looks when the time at night is this.....

... and I have a pot of Potato Leek soup on the stove.....

... and rather than giving me odd looks, he just goes "Oh, potato leek soup. That smells good."

Other randomosity....

Why is it, even when I follow a recipe to the letter, I still get watery scalloped potatoes? It is just one thing I cannot get right.

"IUOF" and the "To-Try" List....
Ok... a group I've known online for ages has a bunch of little phrases/abbreviations that we use... one is IUOF. Inappropriate Use Of Fruit. For recipes where the addition of fruit is really just kinda a big "ew" to some people. I discovered a new one... IUO Olives. I went to the cafe in our building yesterday, and they had "Roasted Tomato Soup" on the menu.
Yeah. I thought tomatoes, maybe a little cream, and all would be good.
Not so.
It had OLIVES in it. GREEN olives. Now, I love me some black olives. Green olives are wonderful in the bottom of a martini glass, and OK in moderation. In soup?? YUCK. I ended up tossing it all. Just way gross.
Which brings us to.....
The To-Try list.
I know it's not uncommon at least among my friends to have loads and lists of recipes that you want to try, but never get around to. I also have that. One of those has been Creamy Tomato-Balsamic Soup. Been wanting to try it since 2005 and it has not yet happened. But it got stuck in my head recently, and I made a batch tonight. I have to say, easy enough to make, and I just whizzed it in the food processor and didn't bother straining the solids... but tres yum....

Yeah, it might be prettier if it didn't have the seeds in it, but it was still very yummy.

And last..... The New Addition!!
It's been something I've been wanting to do for years... it took some talking to get the hubby to go for it... but I'd like to introduce you to....
Our future sink!!!

Yes, I am totally over excited about a new sink.

I swore, shortly after I was into the layoff period from my last job, that our sink was GOING to be replaced when I was back working. And considering I started working right before the Turkey Day and Xmas holidays, I consider this to be pretty quick timing.
We went to Home Depot a couple weeks ago and looked over the options, I liked the Kohler Double Staccato sink that is pictured above. Other than the shape, which should allow for larger pots, I am totally excited that it is a whole EIGHT INCHES deep. Our current sink is the cheap-ass builders model that went into the place when it was built... six inches deep. And any lady wil tell you... sometimes those numbers do matter, and six is not enough.
Also got a new faucet and garbage disposal. Yay!!!
The plan is that the hubby is taking Friday off of work to work on the installation. I'm glad, because I will not be home for any of it and will happily sit in bliss at work while it happens. If all goes perfectly, it should be done on Friday. I figure worst case... it gets finished on Saturday.

And I will be a happy, happy hausfrau.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Ladies and gents... I give you, Irish Soda Bread.

It looks scraggly. I know. But it was good. And I didn't cook it in my stoneware pie plate... that is where it ended up after I pulled it out of the cast iron skillet.

It was easy to do... and it was tasty. I whipped it up on Sunday morning before we headed over to my in-law's for my mother in law's traditional corned beef dinner. She may be Polish... but that lady makes a mean corned beef and cabbage.

And Ireland always makes me think of soda bread.

I think it was fifth grade... we had to do a report in some class on a country, and I got stuck in a group with "Ireland" as our country. Being a budding foodie at the time and a big fan of Jeff Smith (I still think that guy got a bad rap) and the international food stuff he was doing at the time, I decided I was going to cook.

I made Irish Soda Bread (not the ATK recipe) and potato leek soup. My mom made a special trip with the heated up soup to deliver it to my class... it was AWESOME. Everyone got a slice of soda bread and a cup of soup. Soda bread was a hit. The soup was kinda so-so for the average fifth grade taste.

I took the leftover soda bread and soup to the teacher's lounge. And I got nothing but compliments from every teacher at the school for the next week.

I also remember running to the store to purchase and then eat a half of loaf of soda bread back when I was in college. It was the day of the Chicago South Side Irish parade (RIP). If you're not familiar... it's basically a big reason to get drunk in public. I was working for a radio station at the time, and me and the other intern did all the details of the float and the scheduling and ordering up the sweatshirts for everyone at the station.... and it was my first St. Pat's where I was over 21. So I actually got sent off the float at some point to run into a liquor store that was on the parade route because we were low on Guinness on the float. Yes, it's not only a parade where the people watching are drinking... it's a parade where the people on the floats are also drinking. Someone almost feel off the float - don't remember who.

(That is the same job where Pat Boone whacked me in the back of the head with a door, hard - so hard I actually blacked out for a moment - ahhhh.... memories.....)

And there was a lady in the crowd that I will remember forever... the lady watching the parade with her husband and kids, who gave us a "woooo!" and raised her - I kid you not - box of wine as a salute.

Yeah.... I was more than slightly drunk by the time I made it back to the dorm room after that parade.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Skillet Baked Ziti

Am am falling more and more in love with the Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen folks every day.

They do know their stuff. And I love that they've done quite a few "skillet" recipes in recent times.... basically, a more "homemade" version of Hamburger Helper.

I used to LOVE Hamburger Helper as the person responsible for the cooking... nice and easy. But I will admit... I've recently graduated to another level of food-snobbiness where I just don't like the taste, even as a guilty pleasure.

In comes things like Skillet Baked Ziti. Which I apparently must have had on my mental to-cook list for awhile, since I had a package of ziti (and I usually never have ziti on hand).

The time change this weekend, combined with waking up at 6am on Saturday when the hubby's alarm went off (he had to go into work, of course I couldn't get back to sleep after that and he slept until 7:30) and getting up yesterday to make soda bread (I'll post that tomorrow) and a second looming deadline for this week added to the one we know about... I was pooped when I got home from work. Tried to nap, didn't really happen, but I knew I at least wanted something for dinner that was pretty brainless to make.

Hello, Skillet Baked Ziti.

I did change it up a bit (of course...). Started with a pound of ground beef and a chopped onion (always a good start) and rather than be fussy, I dumped in a jar of Prego and added a jar full of water (and probably ended up needing another 3/4 jar by the time the pasta was done). Had some leftover cream sauce from the weekend, and some leftover cheese from some other point in time... easy, mindless, and tasty.

Was it good? Yes. The hubby had two huge servings. And I am more than happy to have some leftovers for lunches this week, espeically with two deadlines looming.

But... lessons in Why You Shouldn't Wear a Low-Cut Top When You're Coooking Number 4375.... watch out when you're tasting the tubular pasta to see if it's done. Because, ya know, the SCALDING HOT liquid you're cooking in tends to hide out in that little pasta tube. And it burns like a bleepity-bleep when it squirts out the other end and right down your d├ęcolletage. And leaves SUCH A lovely little burn mark.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Great recipes that you forget about...

I don't know why, but there are just some recipes I totally forget about until I make them (usually unplanned). Tabasco Shrimp Tacos with Spiked Sour Cream is one of those recipes.
See... my plan tonight was to stop at Fresh Market on the way home from work, and I wanted to get some egg rolls or pot stickers or something so I could make a shrimp stir-fry. The only way I can get my hubby to NOT complain about a stir-fry night is when I also have something like pot stickers or egg rolls.
Fresh Market? No frozen egg rolls, none in their semi-prepared foods, and I was not going to spend $9+ on chicken potstickers. Number one, I've never had a chicken potsticker that was not seriously lacking in flavor. Two, seriously... over nine bucks?? I am well away that this store is overpriced (it's a neighborhood over from where I live... and what a difference a neighborhood makes) but I wouldn't pay $9 for potstickers that were prepared for me.
So... came home... was still planning on the stir-fry (hubby would have to suffer). And... no ramen noodles. Wanna make a stir-fry night even worse? Try ro serve up only rice to the hubby.
And it was a long day at work with much stress and posturing with other groups (it's always fun when people try to change requirements a week before a project is supposed to wrap up - for a project that has been going on for over six months). I didn't wanna put up with the whines and complaints.
Enter Tabasco Shrimp Tacos.
Seriously... they take about 15 minutes to make. You put the seasonings on the shrimp and let that mellow, then mix up a lovely sour cream....
Um, yeah... there is Tabasco and chili powerder in there. I just re-charged my camera battery. Apparently the flash REALLY liked being all charged.
Anyway... then you cook up your shrimp.....

Good with flour tortillas, good with corn tortillas, or my favorite - on a tostada. Wonderful... yet I only make this recipe once or twice a year because I just forget about it.

(Although maybe that will change... I will admit that the hubby and I tried Taco Bell's new shrimp tacos over the weekend and we actually kinda liked them. Which is what must have gotten this recipe in my head)