Sunday, March 13, 2005

Wrong Cookbook...

Turning to Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone was a big mistake in the dregs of March. It made me feel mean and resentful of all those folks who live in less hostile climates and can contemplate decent fresh vegetables and the flavors of living plants while I sit here trying to figure out how to make winter squash acceptable (much less, exciting!) for the 3000th time. I heard a U-M meteorologist on the radio say yesterday that Ann Arbor has broken its snowfall record. More snow this year than they have ever recorded--so it doesn't just feel like a harsh winter, it is one. He also delivered the words of doom "late spring" and "snow until early May." At that point I lunged at the radio and shut it off.

I'm also sick of soup and stew. I was just singing under my breath (to the tune of What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor?) "What shall I do when I'm sick of stew now, what shall I do when I'm sick of stew now, what shall I do when I'm sick of stew now, in the depths of winter?" Singing it made me feel a little better, but still culinarily frustrated.

So dinner ended up being Southern-ish chicken with peppers and onions on top of corn grits. The recipe came from Eating Well, a magazine that I'm not usually a fan of since I like butter and salt a lot. But my parents started subscribing to it recently and they hand it off to me when they are done with it. I have no ability to resist any sort of food magazine, even if it is too virtuous for me. The peppers were frozen red, yellow and green ones--since reading the Mark Bittman piece in the NYTimes dining section recently about using frozen vegetables I thought I'd give it a whirl and they were fine and cut out the prep time. I added a little bit of smoked Spanish paprika to the regular stuff called for in the recipe and substitued Penzey's great 4-S Seasoned Salt for the regular salt. The grits were a combo of 1/3 a C of outrageously expensive Anston Mills grits and 1/2 C plain old Quaker grits. I actually liked them better than the Anston Mills grits on their own--they are too rich for me straight up. Of course I added a generous dollop of unsalted butter and far more salt than the Eating Well folks would approve of. But it actually turned out pretty well for a very low-effort meal and I'm pretty sure I'll make it again. Drank some day old Cotes du Rhone from the recent Big 10 wine sale--decent for about $9, but nothing to remember to get again.

Coming up in the kitchen this week--I think I'll have to make a Pork Loin this week since it is neither soup, stew or winter squash (yes, yes, there are other foods that fit the requirements and I'm open to suggestions). Can't decide whether to take the easy route and do the stove-top Italian Pork Loin cooked in Milk or the more labor intensive process of stuffing it with figs or prunes or something like that.

Tell me what you are cooking. Maybe it will help inspire me to get through the next few MONTHS of snowy confinement in a less crabby mood....

6 comments:

Susan R said...

Kate, how fun to read your blog! I can pretend we live near one another and can exchange recipes etc. Lately I've been in a curry frenzy. Curries and stir frys this winter. Partly because I walk by a new wonderful asian market on the way home from the el and partly because frozen veggies do well if you throw them in a stir fry near the end. Your chicken dish sounds scrumptous! I do love penzey's spices. Real flavor and worth every penny.

freddyknits said...

My mom made Greek pasta with shrimp while I was visiting - it was incredibly rich, and cooked in the amount of time it took to boil the pasta. Lots of salt & butter, and no root vegetables!

While pasta of your choice boils, (something hearty like mostaccioli), saute large peeled shrimp in lots of butter, olive oil, and garlic. Drain pasta and toss with shrimp and lots of crumbled feta. I am going to try some fresh oregano & lemon juice to brighten it up, but it is very tasty (and brain-dead) as it is.

freddyknits said...

Two words: bacon tempura.

freddyknits said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kate said...

Heh heh heh--I love Saveur magazine just for printing the Bacon Tempura recipe!

Edward Vielmetti said...

We read the same "frozen vegetables are ok, really, no it's really ok" article. Can't argue at all with how quick it is to cook them up. A recent veg side was a mix of green beans, fresh zucchini, and jarred roasted red peppers from Trader Joe's all minced up. the spice was rosemary, and we threw in some veg broth for flavor.