I have been in a cooking/baking zone for the past week!
On Thursday evening I made Chicken Sausage Risotto for Mike. I mostly followed the recipe, but I added extra chicken broth instead of white wine since I didn’t have any white wine on hand. I also added fresh thyme instead of dried, because aren’t fresh herbs always better?
Then, on Friday evening I made Mike his favorite chocolate chip cookies. It’s a recipe of my grandma’s, but I usually don’t make it because a batch makes up about 4 dozen so it’s easy for Mike to go overboard on cookies and get sick. However, my mom gave me a great tip to form all of the raw dough into cookie-shaped balls and then freeze any extra cookie balls in freezer bags. Then the next time Mike wants cookies I can just pop a few balls out of the freezer and stick them in the oven. Brilliant! So I only made up a dozen cookies on Friday (they are actually already gone now) and froze the rest for later.
Then, over the weekend, I was in the cooking frame of mind again (particularly since I knew that I had some CSA produce to use up before the new stuff came today), so I made sloppy joes with a side of sesame garlic sugar snap peas. Note: This year I didn’t try shelling the sugar snap peas. I am obviously improving on the ‘how-to-use-CSA-veggies’ front. I completely followed the sloppy joes recipe except that I used minced garlic instead of garlic powder (again, fresh herbs are always better!).
I modified the sugar snap peas recipe a little. I didn’t have kosher salt, so I skipped the salt altogether and added about a tablespoon of sesame seeds instead. I also didn’t have shallots, so I added chopped green onion and minced garlic instead… I didn’t really measure anything. I just kind of eyeballed it. I had to do that anyway since the sugar snap peas I had were from the CSA so I had no idea how many ‘lbs’ of them I had. The recipe called for half a pound and I figured that was probably close to the amount I had, but who knows for sure without a food scale? (Incidentally, if you are going to suggest using my bathroom scale to weigh veggies, it doesn’t work. Take it from someone who’s tried it in the past. Weights that are too small won’t even register on the bathroom scale.)
In addition to all of this cooking, I’ve also been using my blender to make smoothies! I have discovered that smoothies are crazily easy to make and don’t require a recipe. Oddly, to reach this conclusion, I bought a smoothie recipe book, started looking through it, and then realized that the recipes were all similar to each other and just involved throwing handfuls of things into the blender. That sounded like something I could do!
So far my most interesting smoothie has been what I have decided to call “More peas please” (What a corny name, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from browsing smoothie recipe books over the past week or two, it’s that it wouldn’t be a smoothie without a really corny name.)
More Peas Please Smoothie
- 1.5 cups of raw shelled peas (courtesy of the CSA… I wasn’t sure what to do with them so decided they’d become the base for a smoothie)
- 2 long stalks of green onion
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 apricot
- 1/2 inch knob of grated ginger
Although this recipe likely sounds revolting, it was fantastic! I credit the ginger! Ever since my friend Lia recommended adding ginger to any smoothie for a quick “kick”, I’ve discovered that ANY smoothie tastes better with freshly grated ginger. I don’t think my refrigerator will ever be without fresh ginger again unless the world goes through some sort of ginger apocalypse and there is none available. I decided to use peas as the main ingredient because I had already made the risotto that had peas in it and I made up the sesame shelled peas, but I still had some CSA peas left over.
My most classic smoothie has been Grandma’s Apple Pie Smoothie. (I shouldn’t even call it that, because my Grandma’s apple pie is WAAAAAAY better than this smoothie. (Mom, Dad, Tom… I know you’ll agree with this!) But this smoothie is still good. And because it has protein powder in it, it also fills you up longer than a more fruit-based smoothie.)
(Not Quite) Grandma’s Apple Pie Smoothie:
- 1 large granny smith apple
- 1/2 cup coconut/almond milk (I use Blue Diamond, but I’m sure you could use any brand of regular almond milk instead of the coconut/almond blend)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 scoop pumpkin protein powder (I use the Omega Nutrition brand)
This smoothie was delicious, but seemed to be missing something. I think what it really needed was a half inch knob of ginger, but this was before Lia had enlightened me on the idea of adding ginger to any smoothie.
I actually made a cabbage smoothie last night (does that ever sound terrible, or what??). Once again, I had cabbage from the CSA and wasn’t sure what to do with it. However, it made the most amazing, filling smoothie! If anyone’s interested, let me know and I’ll share the recipe, but honestly I can’t picture anyone wanting one… even though it was delicious!
So anyway, I’ve been going a little crazy in the kitchen lately… I’m not sure why!
In non-cooking news, Mike and I pretty much lay low this weekend. We did some cleaning because we thought a friend of his was going to stop by, but his friend wasn’t able to stop by after all. However, it was great motivation for us to clean, so that worked out. 🙂
Mike spent a significant amount of time cleaning the couch (this is because Piper had her accident on the couch due to her UTI about a month ago), and he has now pronounced it clean. It only took a bottle of Nature’s Miracle urine destroyer, a bunch of dish soap (I cringe just thinking about him using that on the couch), white vinegar, baking soda, leather cleaner, carbon, and probably a few other cleaners I’ve forgotten about. Crazy! But now he’s done, and he finished off by polishing the whole couch with leather conditioner. So it’s probably better than new at this point! It definitely looks shiny and Piper has been rolling around on it like crazy, so she evidently feels like it’s clean and new.
Mike has been more into guitar lately, which is a shift from his electronic music focus. Unfortunately he sold his amp a couple years ago so he doesn’t have anything to plug his electric guitar into. At least I have an acoustic around for him to play, but I think the electric would be more inspiring for him. He was picking away at that last night while I fell asleep and he wants us to watch a guitar-centered documentary after work today.
Mike lost his apartment key one day last weekend, and he and I scoured the apartment and the car for it and couldn’t find it. The keys for our apartment are expensive because they’re RFID, so we really didn’t want to have to buy another one from the front office. We identified the last time he had his key, but we still just couldn’t find it.
Well. After much fruitless searching, it turns out that Mike forget to empty his shorts pockets before putting them in the dirty clothes hamper, I forgot to check his shorts pockets before putting them in the washer… and you can guess the rest.
The key not only went through the washer, but it also went through the dryer. We found the key mixed up in the clean clothes coming out of the dryer. Oops! Normally a little extra ‘thunking’ sound in the dryer would have alerted me that something was in there that shouldn’t be, but I had a couple of jackets with zippers in this particular load and the zippers always thunk against the walls of the dryer. Bummer! Mike and I were afraid to hope that the key would still work, but Mike rushed to the apartment door to try it. Shockingly, it worked! And it’s continued working since then. What a great surprise! Mike and I are both being a lot more careful with the laundry now. 🙂
In other news that shows my sometimes less-than-common-sense, I was in a hurry getting Mike’s dinner together one day last week and when he asked for milk I grabbed the un-opened carton from the fridge and proceeded to (try to) open it. It was one of those half gallon cardboard cartons where you have to bend the tabs back and then squeeze them together to open the carton. I’ve opened milk cartons a hundred times, but for the life of me I could not get the carton open. I gave up and pushed the container in Mike’s direction.
“Mike, can you open this carton?”
“Why? I know you know how to open a milk carton.”
“I know, but this one won’t budge.”
“Go slower. You’re going too fast.”
“Going too fast has nothing to do with whether the milk carton will open. This is probably a defective carton. Extra glue was probably added when they sealed it and now it’s stuck. Or the cardboard is extra strong. I doubt the manufacturing process for these cartons is very good.”
Mike walked around the counter, looked at the milk carton for one nanosecond, flipped it around, and popped the top open.
I stared where he pointed and where my fingers had 30 seconds before been trying to pry the tabs open.
OPEN OTHER SIDE
Hmm… there really wasn’t a graceful way out of this, but I’m inventive.
“Well, intuitively this side is the front of the milk carton. Lots of people must make the same mistake I did… that’s why they have that warning on the carton.”
Mike shook his head and rolled his eyes as he headed back around the counter.
Not one of my prouder moments. 🙂
In other milk-related news, I have discovered that Mike is CRAZY with chocolate milk. I was getting ready to go to bed last night when Mike called me from the kitchen.
“Do you want to see me make chocolate milk?”
We had just bought some Nestle Quik dry chocolate powder for the first time in a long time, and I sensed that this was going to be one of those pivotal relationship moments. Like when he showed me how to make coffee the way he likes it for the first time.
I headed out to the kitchen. Mike brandished a tablespoon with the fanfare of a magician about to perform a trick. He then dunked the tablespoon into the newly-opened chocolate powder and brought up a huge heaping, overflowing spoonful of the powder and then dropped it into a tall glass. And then he did it a second time. I was already appalled by the amount of chocolate powder in that glass, but he wasn’t finished. He emptied a third huge heaping tablespoon into the glass so that the glass was now a THIRD full of chocolate powder, and then he topped it off with milk and started stirring it vigorously with the spoon.
“Mike!” I screeched. “There is no way you’ll be able to drink that! That’s mostly powder!”
“I’m going to drink it,” Mike said, quirking his eyebrow up. “I’m actually going to drink it all in one gulp.”
Why did I have the feeling having chocolate milk competitions was the kind of thing he and his buddies did in college? I wasn’t sure how to approach this, since I personally have never been either a spectator or a participant of a chocolate-milk drinking competition.. I wasn’t sure whether to clap or be appalled. As it turned out, it took him one and a quarter gulps, but it was still pretty shocking. Mike filled the empty glass with water and dumped it in the sink with a grin.
“I’ve been doing this since I was two. I’m a chocolate milk-drinking master. Ask my mom.”
Hope everyone is having a good week! 🙂