More like Yum-bo.

September 30, 2008

Get it?

I am about to fall asleep on my keyboard but my self-evaluation is almost done. Matt is proof-reading it for me as I write this. He should be great at it, since he always finds and points out typos in my blog entries. Cut me some slack, Matt. I compose these gems without a fully functional space bar. There’s only so much I can do.

Tonight I decided to try my hand at gumbo, since we had lots of okra from the farmer’s market on Saturday. I’ve never made (or actually eaten) gumbo, so it was a real experiment. I checked out a few recipes, but none of them really seemed right for me. Magpie sent me her recipe, which sounds delicious. I’ll have to try that one soon; I just need to get my hands on some butternut squash. I used some of her techniques, the traditional gumbo ingredients, and a little bit of whatever was in the kitchen and came up with this:

Sorry for the semi-weird picture. I had to keep the camera far away because it was really steamy. That’s Matt’s bowl next to mine, by the way. When I want two bowls, I get seconds. Anything else is just plain wasteful.

Since I didn’t have a real recipe, I had to wing it, and I was quite proud that it turned out the be so delightfully edible. Here’s what I used:

  • 16 oz lean turkey sausage
  • A ton of sliced okra
  • A yellow onion, diced
  • Garlic
  • A red bell pepper, diced
  • A green bell pepper, diced
  • A can of crushed tomatoes
  • A can of diced tomatoes (for the liquid, mostly)
  • Fresh thyme
  • A pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

And here’s what I did:

  1. Cook the sausage until brown. I removed the casing so that it would be crumbly. And because the casings gross me out. Remove from pan.
  2. Add a little olive oil and cook okra over medium heat for 7-8 minutes. Remove from pan.
  3. Add onion, peppers, garlic, and a little more olive oil if needed. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add sausage, okra, tomatoes, thyme, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Stir. Simmer for 12-15 minutes.

We had it over brown rice, which was good, but the options are really endless.

Okay, I am going to go to bed and try not to cry that it’s only Tuesday.

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Soup time is the best time of year.

September 29, 2008

I am still evaluating myself. I think I’m about 2/3 done now. If I could talk myself into being more concise, this would be easier. But, as you may have noticed, I have a bit of a problem with that. After yoga tonight (where I had trouble focusing because this woman her mat down too close to mine and I’m way too easily distracted), I made the soup I mentioned yesterday. It was amazing. The only comment I can make is that it’s basically impossible to puree the vegetables with an immersion blender unless you add some water or broth first. I used my favorite “No-Chicken Broth.” I wanted to make grilled cheese sandwiches to go with the soup but I was in eval-land and suddenly the buzzer went off. So I tossed a little feta in my bowl, made a piece of toast, and called it more room for dessert. The soup, for being totally vegetable based, was really hearty, but a little extra protein never hurt anyone.

Look at the pretty soup.

Okay, now I’m going to stop staring at a computer screen and reward myself for a job partially done by staring at my DS screen while I play Lego Batman.


Another Sunday.

September 28, 2008

Hey, I finally cooked. Quite an accomplishment, considering that I woke up this morning and basically decided I wasn’t going to do anything today. At all.

But after about 985 hours of whining, I summoned the energy to get out of bed and make oatmeal, and I’ve been going ever since. I got groceries, went to the library, went to the gym, came home and worked on my self-evaluation for work, and made some barley risotto. I realize that only one of those things is relevant here, but HA! I snuck the rest in.

I was planning to make this soup, but we’ve had a very sunny and warm few days here, so I didn’t feel like turning on the oven. I also wanted something labor-intensive, as I find cooking very therapeutic, and there are few things I find more stressful than writing up my accomplishments of the past year for my boss to read. It’s like one of those nightmares where you have all of your lines memorized for the high school play you’re in, but suddenly you’re in front of 1,000 (okay, 100) people and you can’t remember any of them? Except in this case, it’s that I know I’ve done 8 million things since last December, but I can only remember, say, five at a time.

Basically, it’s taking forever.

Also, that actually happened to me, the forgetting my lines thing. Although, instead of being silent, I just started reciting someone else’s. And then I started crying. But it was The Diary of Anne Frank, so the crying just made me look more authentic in my role as Mrs. Frank.

Anyway, here’s the risotto:

It was from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking, which is awesome and pretty and full of recipes that take a long time – perfect for taking a break from my self-evaluation. My love for whole grain risottos is well-established, but this one was extra fun because it had oranges in it. The recipe also called for creme fraiche. Yeah, I don’t really keep that around. I added some extra cheese and voila. It’s basically my ideal meal: a whole grain, fruit, greens, and cheese. All in one pot. Oh, and I took Heidi’s advice and garnished with walnuts. Lovely.


Nothing to see here.

September 27, 2008

No, really. Nothing to see. I went out on Thursday, had some leftovers last night, and today we’re too tired to cook so we’re having smart dogs for dinner. And since the whole point of this blog is to show stuff that I make, I think I’d have a hard time justifying a post about tofu dogs in store-bought buns with some sweet potato fries that came out of a bag and maybe a few brussels sprouts.

Instead, I will ask you if you have any recipes for gumbo to share with me. I got okra at the farmer’s market again, and while I’m fine making Roni’s delcious orzo stew with it again, it could also be a nice opportunity to branch out.


So, I’m pretty full

September 24, 2008

It took all of my willpower to make this meal. We had a bunch of errands to run after work today, and somehow we were suddenly standing in line at Taco Bell and I was thisclose to getting something that looked vaguely like a salad and had “border bowl” in its name, plus some cheesy potatoes, and some of those stale, yet mysteriously delightful crispy cinnamon things. But, as Matt was ordering his five bean burritos (I am not kidding; but he only ate three), I thought about all the effort I put into planning meals last weekend, and the zucchini in the fridge that has maybe a few hours of life left, and the fact that I’m having dinner out tomorrow night, and I decided to be strong.

Luckily, it was really, really good. I made it once last year, when I finally decided that eating the same three meals over and over again wasn’t terribly interesting, and it might be nice to branch out a bit. This time, it was even better than I remembered. Really, a casserole with pasta, zucchini, turkey sausage, feta, AND mozzarella can’t be bad.

To use up a few other things that were also on their way out, I whipped up salad with white beans, tomatoes, spinach, and red wine vinaigrette.

After this I had some dark chocolate because I bought a new kind to try and I wanted to hurry up and get through this Lindt 72% I’ve been nursing. I eat dark chocolate pretty much every day after dinner. I also had some peanut butter. I eat peanut butter pretty much every day after breathing.

My point is that I’m kind of proteined-out and I feel a little like I might explode, which I hope means that I will actually wake up at a decent hour and go to the gym instead of waking up at 3am with my stomach growling. Dare to dream, you know?


File under: kitchen disasters.

September 23, 2008

This was an awesome dinner, but not worth the trouble. First, I got an oil burn while making the sauce. Then, we didn’t have crushed tomatoes. Then, the sauce splattered and got everywhere. Then, it turns out that wonton wrappers are kind of weird and ravioli made with them sticks together and forms into a gigantic piece of goop. Then, I couldn’t get any pictures that were even halfway acceptable, and then Firefox crashed and I lost my post.

Actually, there was more, but it’s even more boring, so I’ll skip it.

This ravioli had spinach, white beans, and ricotta inside. Like I said, it was pretty great, not that it matters since it put a damper on my evening. Matt did very generously offer me the pieces that actually managed to maintain some individual shape. He also cleaned the living room to the point that I actually walked in and wasn’t sure it was our apartment. So he’s on my good list.

On my bad list: homemade ravioli. Never again.


I love fall

September 22, 2008

Happy first day of fall!

Fall is officially the only season I like. I used to like winter, but that was in North Carolina, where winter mostly means Christmas. Here in Kansas, winter means snow, some ice, buying Yaktrax to strap on my shoes, some more snow, some blowing snow, and having my hair freeze on the way to work. Or at least it did last year. And that’s all I have to go on.

Maybe I’ll like it more this year since I’m not traveling for Christmas. Snow is really nice when you don’t have to drive to the airport in it.

Anyway, FALL! Fall is where it’s at. So, I celebrated the autumnal equinox by getting a pumpkin muffin for my afternoon snack. Things got a little out of control, considering that my usual afternoon snack is a Z-Bar or a Kashi bar, and not a muffin the size of my head. But I wanted it, so there you go.

Sadly, it meant that I wasn’t hungry for dinner at all, which makes sense considering that I was still eating my muffin at 7:15pm. You can’t let that goodness go to waste. But a big faceful of carby pumpkin does not a dinner make, so I soldiered through and made some real food.

We had some leftover tofu from last night’s dinner, so I marinated that in some Annie’s Sesame Orange marinade, which I picked up at the grocery store tonight. Then I just pan-fried it in maybe a tsp of olive oil. I actually wasn’t even going to blog this meal, but I think it was one of my finest tofu moments, so I basically had to. See the pretty, crispy pieces?

The tofu was so good it had its own aura. You can kind of see it. It’s the blindingly bright shiny part. I also had some bulgur-lentil pilaf, since we have approximately 98 tons of it left from Saturday.

Okay, now I have to go to bed so that I can get up at an ungodly hour of the morning and grade papers.