September 2009

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msbabs32: (Cooking)
Sunday, June 28th, 2009 06:31 am
N was away last week on a business trip. The last time he was away I went hog wild on ordering anything N couldn't eat but I could. That was fun at first and got tedious towards the end. This time I decided to cook dinner every night, even if it was for just myself.

It was fun! I used ingredients that I normally leave out due to N's preference (but not allergies). The dish that I discovered as my new fav is Mushroom Spinach Saute )

It was so very, very good. Leftovers also add very nicely to soups, casseroles and fried rice. I may have to make a large batch of this as the weeks veggies and let N pick out the mushrooms.
msbabs32: (Cooking)
Friday, May 1st, 2009 02:59 pm
There are ups and downs when grocery shopping with N in mind. Swanson, Campbell, Progresso - all of them had some type of soy oil or soy protein in them. Healthy Valley was my savior but 1-2 months ago they too turned on us. They started putting soy protein in their cream of Mushroom and Cream of Celery soups. I had to stop making rice bakes and casserole dishes which had become weekly staple.

I researched several "Cream of" soups until I figured out a general template )

So far I've tried celery and asparagus. The flavor is something I have never gotten with canned. After a bowl of each I poured the rest in 12 & 20 oz containers for use in future recipes. Aside from the initial chopping, the work involved with this dish is minimal.

Add 1 more thing I can do from pure scratch!
msbabs32: (Bah)
Sunday, April 12th, 2009 11:37 pm
I cook with a lot of garlic. Two of my favorite dishes use at minimum 20 cloves a piece. Therefore I usually buy it prepared. The last couple weeks prepped garlic was unavailable at the normal grocery store. Not wanting to make an extra trip to Whole Foods I got the 3-heads pack. They felt firm, looked non-moldy and of enough quantity.
Just about every clove of every head had already started to sprout. I only get about 2 descent cloves from each head. To quote a friend of mine: Rasafrasa! I've gone through three packs from different stores. Every time the heads gave no indication they were bad - almost as if this was some weird food conspiracy.
So no more. Even if it means an extra trip to WF exclusively for garlic.
msbabs32: (Cooking)
Saturday, April 11th, 2009 01:29 am
I've taken to making bacon by the package in the oven of late. It is easier to make, the bacon almost always cooks evenly and is much easier to clean up. Whatever we don't eat immediately gets bagged and tagged in the freezer. However, taking it out of the oven is not for the faint of heart. a pound of bacon makes 1/3 - 2/3 cup of pure rendered lard. One can't escape the thought "This has been deep frying in all that fat"!
So I thought I would try a healthier method. I layered the bacon on a grid cooling rack that fit in a half sheet pan. "Ha," I thought, "The bacon will be suspended from all that grease below!" I'm pretty sure an evil cackle resonated immediately after. It normally takes 10-12 min to make. After 20 there was still no real progress and the ends were charring. So back into the grease they went, bubbly with happiness as they settled in. Four minutes later they were done - deep fried in their own fat, golden, crispy, and ambrosia.
As I drained off pan and dabbed the bacon I thought about how bacon is made on the stove. You are not supposed to drain the fat off until you are done. The chefs call it "lubrication" probably because most cannot bring themselves to face the fact: proper bacon must basically be deep fried.
If this story has ruined your bacon eating, I suggest you come to grips with it. Eat a salad later to make up for it or have the bacon on a salad instead of a cheeseburger. If this story made you a feel a little wiser and hungry, keep in mind that bacon fat is supposed to make wonderful biscuits. :-9
msbabs32: (Cooking)
Sunday, April 5th, 2009 11:42 pm
Crockpot Stroganoff with Cream Cheese

Given my very busy schedule, I like to do roasts and stews in the crockpot. We have our favorites but sometimes we need a break. So I found stroganoff with cream cheese recipes on the web (N doesn't like the sour cream taste). All of them call for canned cream of mushroom soup. This presents a problem as N is allergic to soy and *all* cream of soups - I looked frigg'n everywhere -of late have soy in them. So instead I found a recipe for crockpot cream of mushroom soup and modified it by halfing the stock and excuding the milk/cream products.

Verdict is - pretty good. I miss the twang of the sour cream, but this is good too. The texture of the meat was very good - soft with just a little bit of chew. The mushrooms were like butter but still had structure. The sauce came out watery, but I triaged it my adding thickener. Once thickened it tasted better. I think some of the flavor was lost in the extra water.

The next time I make it I will exclude almost all the stock and allow the beef to release enough for the "soup" If towards the end it isn't enough I can always add then. I've posted the recipe I'll use next time:  )

Stay tuned for results of the next attempt...
msbabs32: (Cooking)
Saturday, April 4th, 2009 04:11 pm
I grew up in Hawaii eating all sorts of Asian and American food. Some of my favorites were typical for a kid: ice cream and pizza. In college I started to cook for myself and my magic ingredient was soy sauce. I put it in everything, even if just a dash. "Soy makes everything better" was my culinary philosophy and catch phrase. My staples were fried rice, shoyu chicken and dressed up Ramen. I was just discovering the beauty of nuts in salad, bread, candy, etc. I swooned at Pad Thai. I discovered peaches - ambrosia incarnate. I could see my culinary future revealed to me and I was very happy. To boot soy, Asian foods and nuts were now touted as "healthy foods". I was so set.

Then I met my future (and now) husband, N. A week into knowing him I discovered that he was allergic to almost all legumes (e.g. soybean, peanuts), nuts, raw drupes - basically everything I had sworn was culinary center. For the 99% of the population that doesn't know what a drupe is look at this Wiki page. Due to not being able to take soybean oil he had never had any Asian foods, and barely ate any biscuits, buns, cakes or bread products in general. Name a food I gushed about up through that time and N physically could not eat it. We could never go to an Asian restaurant together. We would never share Thai takeout or grab a bowl of pho. It was if he breathed nitrogen instead of oxygen - and was allergic to normal air. I thought "this can't work out. I give it a week, month tops".

It is now several years, an LDR and our wedding later and here we are. N doesn't cook. I do and despite all the challenges I do a very descent job. I decided I should start blogging about my/our culinary adventures in hopes to give and get help, support and company anyone out there in the same situation.