I’m more of a back seat cook, I tend to either give Husband the recipe and watch/comment from my perch by the sink while he’s in the flames of it by the stove or I’m outside all of it and lounging in the kitchen waiting to eat. Something about the addition of meat or the category of “meal” unnerves me and makes me question myself. I fearlessly stare down pastry, cakes, brownies, ice creams and the like but put a piece of poultry in front of me and I turn chicken.
I regret that this hasn’t changed, and the lovely dishes pictured were lovingly created by Husband while I nagged/commented on ways to improve the recipe or upcoming steps to anticipate. I fool myself into thinking I’m helping but most likely I’m in the way and questioning him unnecessarily. While I impede his progress with a barage of comments and questions, he simply moves forward and somehow we always eat on time and he never appears worse for wear.
Husband is like the unsung hero of the kitchen, while I get accolades and praise for my many baking endeavors, he’s at the stove most nights making wonderful dishes. So perhaps, that’s why I’ve decided to “help” him and started looking for nightly recipes at Cooking Light.com. CL has a special category of recipes labeled “Dinner Tonight” and they are wonderful for these weekday meals. I know my pantry quite well and can tell you the state and supply of my sugar, flour, and unsweetened chocolate with a little give or take. Apparently Husband is the same way about the meat in the freezer, which is why he’d tell me what meat we were having and I’d spend my time searching for a meal online that he could make that night. It’s been a rather nice, since instead of resorting to the same rotation of meals, we’re spicing it up and trying something new. In my eyes, this variety makes the kitchen seem more like a restaurant and Husband is really starting to look more and more like a cute English chef. It’s a win-win except for the nagging backseat wife in the kitchen.
With the year slowly approaching the half way mark, the number of celebrations are about to triple. Trust me, I’m almost as excited about the parties as I am about the numerous baking opportunities. And early summer in California means that all sorts of stone fruits are ripe and ready to be made into pies, cakes, and cookies. It’s as if the heavens have aligned and pre-destined all bakers to find nirvana. The only downside, mind you a significant one, is that the heat from the oven can be a bit of a summer baking drawback.
But we must take all things in stride and keep positive and reflect at this mid-year crossing. Myself, I’m thinking back to when we purchased a bottle of bourbon for a cake recipe that husband and I picked for a weekend get together. Unfortunately the party was canceled and since then I’ve been working steadily to finish off the bottle. What I’ve found is I really enjoy having a theme ingredient and my frugal nature inclines me to want to use every last drop of that bottle. If it weren’t for the bourbon I might not have considered making these brownies and what would be a shame.
The most striking thing about this recipe was boiling the bourbon. Typically, I’ve just added the bourbon to the wet ingredients, marinaded with it or added it to an already cooked icing; so if not for the warning from the reviews I would have been overpowered by the stink from the boiling bourbon. I completely agree with the reviewer who said “Look out!!! Just standing too close the boiling bourbon fumes could knock the cook over!” Hopefully these brownies will bowl over my friends and teammates at the end of the season bowling league get together on Wednesday.
Lately, bacon has been getting the star treatment. With the world dominated by foodies and health nuts (myself included..in both categories), bacon is constantly rising in popularity. From bacon placemats, bacon band-aids, to bacon scarves: everyone wants a bit of bacon. I find it really interesting to hear people talk about foods they couldn’t give up. People, myself included, have such an emotional bond with food that when they think about giving up one beloved food for the sake of health, the idea of a diet becomes unfathomable. For me, it’s ice cream, but I imagine the idea of never having bacon again would also throw me into a fit. There is just something about the peppery, sweet, fatty taste of bacon that can’t be replaced or given up.
Thankfully, we don’t have to! In the July issue of Cooking Light, I found a Bacon-Cheddar Corn Muffins recipe that was absolutely perfect for an upcoming Barbeque at pair of foodies’ house. The idea of bacon in a muffin made me smile. I love when I see food outside of it’s normal habitat and bacon in a muffin wrapper definitely qualifies. The recipe was quite easy to follow and with husband’s help in cooking the bacon, it was easy to mix together prior to going to bed. Another thing I love about bacon is how the perfume of cooked bacon hangs in the air long after the meal is served. It’s almost like the bacon’s calling card, but the wafting scent of cooked bacon sent me into a deep sleep filled with dreams of peppered Applewood Bacon and B.L.T. sandwiches. Other than the enjoyable scent of the bacon, the other fun bit of the recipe was curdling the milk with lemon juice. I took a few pictures because (1) it’s cool to watch and (2) I had to wait two minutes for the brew to curdle fully.
In the end, the muffins were almost completely eaten (except for 2) at the party. And while they were a bit dry by the end, I think this could easily be fixed by not using Fat Free Kraft cheese and following the recipe. (God bless Husband, he’s so used to my ‘light’ cooking that he naturally grabbed the FF stuff.)
enjoy LOVE baking, but I am expanding my repertories and adding a new category to my personal cookbook-side dishes. Sunday night we did our grocery shopping and to my great despair discovered our local Safeway was out of my beloved zucchini. I struggled to think how I could fill my plate without my green-skinned pinch hitter. But frugal enlightenment was just down the aisle, the purple meaty eggplants winked at me and called to me with their 10 for $10 price tag. I’m always swayed by a bargain but I was hesitant to buy more than one for fear of depositing the unused, neglected remains in the the trash. How many of my produce good intentions end up filed in the plastic trash can? (Acorn squash, spaghetti squash…)
So I struck with a vengeance, and started looking for a tasty eggplant recipe at Cooking Light. There were several but I opted for Grilled Eggplant Salad since I
knew thought we had all the ingredients. When I realized that bleu cheese isn’t the same thing as feta cheese, I realized another grocery trip was in order. Husband obliged me and we headed of to the nearby Nugget to grab some feta. While walking back to the cheese section, I was stopped as the piles of tasty green-skinned zucchini waved and called me to purchase a bag full. It was a blissful meeting and we all headed home together.
After an hour of shadowboxing, I was starting to get hungry and was able to make the grilled eggplant salad and broiled zucchini in little to no time. What really made this dish a success for me was the variety of flavors in the salad. The feta softened the harshness of the vinegar, and the eggplant gave a nice meaty bite next to the soft tomatoes. There was enough left that husband and I will be finishing it off for lunch. Shame we didn’t have any zucchini left but what can I say, I’ve burned myself before from eating it straight from the pan.
After my last offering (Pecan Sticky Rolls) for the birthday brunch at work, I secretly promised myself to that next time I would either (a) bring fruit or (b) bring a casserole. But alas, I just can’t keep promises to myself. I saw the recipe for Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls in the June issue of Cooking Light and all hope of keeping my word were gone. After my first foray into bread making I got hooked and now I’m instantly attracted to any recipe that has one devilish five letter word in it, y-e-a-s-t.
I really enjoyed the process of making these rolls, it had several steps (my inner Martha beamed proudly), involved waiting as the dough rised, rolling the dough, and only minimal oven time so the house didn’t get too warm. It was absolutely perfect so you can understand why I was crestfallen when the end product just didn’t seem worthy of the process. My husband liked them and while I admit they didn’t taste bad they just didn’t taste incredible. And after multiple steps, I want incredible.