Grumpy Pasta.

Phew. I don’t know what got me today, but I came back from classes exhausted. Still, if I don’t cook, I don’t eat and skipping dinner is never a good idea in my book.

I made this delicious pasta with eggplant I saw on The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I ran out of parmesan and mostly did without, but it was still delicious and oddly savory for something so veggie-friendly. Ordinarily I would’ve fixed a salad and a vegetable, but I’m tired and I didn’t feel like it.

I did however pop the cork on a tremendous bottle of wine, a Moscato from Gallo Twin Valley. Blogging about wine is worse than blogging about food, but I will say this: it sells for under ten dollars but has the taste of a twenty to twenty-five dollar wine. Sweet and fruity, I was reminded of a good vigonier. Probably the best wine I’ve tried in at least six months.

Woof. I’m going to bed!


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Monday Reheat.

Monday is probably the day when I most need a home-cooked lunch, but usually I wind up having leftovers to tie up my loose ends. Today it was the last little portion of the quiche I made last Sunday. Still good, but clearly time to make a new mystery quiche: eggs with unknown cheese plus unknown filling.

While I was reheating my quiche I got a good deep whiff of my stock that I’m cooking from last night’s chicken. It’s the whole carcass, bones, some skin, innards, a little meat and the fat that oozed into the pan, with celery, onions, salt and pepper. I’m about two hours in and it already smells fantastic.

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Oatmeal has become my favorite. Oatmeal and I were estranged for a long time in my late childhood and early adolescence, only to be reunited freshman year when I discovered I could make instant oatmeal in my dorm room using an electric kettle. Those were the days: banana bread oatmeal. Look it up.

Unfortunately instant oatmeal isn’t as healthy as real oatmeal, and it has high fructose corn syrup which I’m trying – desperately trying – to eliminate from my diet. Lucky for me real oatmeal is more satisfying and just as easy if you make it in the microwave.

My favorite oatmeal preparation is oatmeal + raisins + walnuts + brown sugar + cinnamon. It equals delicious. A bit of a sugar fix, but sometimes that’s what I need to get out the door on Monday.

There will definitely be no oatmeal tomorrow because I’ve run flat out! In a way this is a blessing, because I’ve been dying to try steel-cut oats since I saw this recipe on The Kitchn. I know it will take more time but the idea of a truly chewy oatmeal gets my mouth a-waterin’!

Later this week I’ll check out some farther out grocery stores to suss out the oatmeal situation. I also need new tea and would like an opportunity to ogle fancy cheese and “luxury” grocery items.

Happy eating!


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Sunday Chicken Dinner

I’m surprised we didn’t make more whole roast chickens in my house when I was a kid. As far as I am concerned the 4.5 pound broiler is the very meaning of the word “chicken” and always comes with leftovers. I made mine by stuffing the cavity with a quartered onion, three quarters of a lemon and a couple crushed cloves of garlic. I drizzle the top of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and pepper – that skin gets crispy and flavorful!

I’m really lucky because where I live the chickens come with the gizzards in a little paper bag to remove before cooking. Tomorrow I’m going to try my hand at making stock using the carcass, gizzards (not the liver!) and some of the good pan drippings that oozed out tonight.

With my chicken I had the roasted broccoli that’s been making the rounds from the Amateur Gourmet. I don’t know that it’s “better than biting into a steak,” but it has become my favorite vegetable preparation and I’m disappointed that I’ve run out of broccoli.

My second vegetable was these delicious sweet potato fries from Sarah’s Cucina Bella. I had planned to make a dish of sweet potatoes on the stove top, but was very surprised to find I was missing an entire sweet potato! I still don’t know where it went, but I know I’ll buy more – I really enjoy sweet potatoes, and they’re chock-full of good stuff like beta-carotene. This oven-baked fry preparation was good, even though I had to omit the paprika.

I’m running low on my favorite supplies and grocery day isn’t until Tuesday. Tomorrow night might be a challenge.

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Company and a Quickie.

A friend and I had a quick dinner before dashing off to a movie tonight. Reheated that good ravioli from Sunday, and made the fabulous roasted zucchini from Simply Recipes- I wasn’t a zucchini eater until I tried this. Now I have it several times a week.

We also made a salad by ripping open a bag of Dole mixed salad, throwing in some Craisins, walnuts and blue cheese and drizzling on a home made dressing, also from Simply Recipes.

For the record, we saw W. I’d give it a B.

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Stocking the fridge.

This afternoon I did some cooking for the week ahead. Dinner was “fast food” that I can eat through the week – the terrific Giant brand cheese-stuffed ravioli that comes pre-cooked, with a little Classico sauce. I still need to master some kind of everyday tomato sauce I can make myself, but you know – it was really good.

I also made a quiche with just “stuff” I had left in my fridge. Steamed broccoli, bacon, onions and cheddar cheese. I love making quiches because I can eat them all day — good for breakfast, good for lunch, good for dinner — and it’s a good way to use up leftover veggies.

When I started making quiches I would use a store-bought frozen crust. Since I started my “Quiche a Week” initiative, I decided to learn to make my own crust. I’ve used this recipe from Recipezaar – I wouldn’t say it’s a “great” crust, but it’s good for every day and very easy to make.

Now all week I’ll have quiche and ravioli I can heat up in the microwave.

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Chicken Zucchini and Ricotta Sandwich:  Oh wow.  When I saw the recipe for this on Simply Recipes, I knew I had to give it a whirl, and it was worth the prep time in the kitchen.  Mine was half a cibatta roll, half a zucchini, a handful of parmesan, just enough ricotta to make it creamy and delicious, savory leftover chicken.  Oh yum.  I was really glad I took the time to get a little lemon zest into the ricotta mixture – it wasn’t overpowering, but leant a really nice edge.  I will say, I forgot to cut the sandwich diagonal, and mine fell apart a little at the end — not that it stopped me!

Orange Juice with Tonic Water — Super-refreshing, not unlike an Orangina, one of my all time favorite soft drinks.  I’m not a huge fan of drinking calories, but this was a nice way to get another fruit in and as a flavored beverage, was way better than soda.

Virginia Honeycrisp Apple: I just “discovered” honeycrisp apples, and these that I got from the store are about the size of a racquetball.  Could be more flavorful, but still a tasty treat.

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