Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dinner on the new stove

So after 12 years I finally got a new stove. Which was pretty exciting considering my old stove was already about 10 years old by the time I got it.

While I might be nostalgic for the old wheezy beast, more specifically the two hot spots that are perfect for yogurt making, I will not miss the uneven cooking, the tippy grates, and the burnt insulation smell that filled the house when the oven was going full blast.

When I was shopping for a stove I only had two requirements: it had to be gas, and it could not have a "chicken nugget" button. Stoves with a chicken nugget button make me crazy, don't ask me why.

And when I say I was shopping for a stove, what I really mean is that I was at Sears buying washers - clothes and dish (hooray rebates!)- and the stove happened to be on sale and since the delivery fee was for one appliance or ten, I figured why not.

Let me just say that the difference between the old stove and the new stove is like the difference between a typewriter and a laptop.

Water set to boil for pasta? Old stove: 30 minutes. New stove: 10 minutes.

Tonight I made a very nice baked fish, with sauted zucchini and pureed cauliflower and was able to get everything the table hot. Incredible!

It was one of the top ten most satisfying moments in my home cooking career.

Baked Fish
Pre-heat oven to 350
Take a piece of white fish, trim to fit in one layer in baking dish.
Salt and pepper it and let it set out about 30 minutes.
Dip it in melted butter mixed with a little lemon juice.
Roll it in panko
(Japanese bread crumbs. You can use plain crumbs instead.)
Lay it in baking dish and sprinkle a few more crumbs on top. 
Place in oven and bake about 15-20 minutes.The fish will flake when done. 

Sauteed Zucchini
Take however many zucchini you want to cook.
Wash and dry them.
Line a strainer with a clean cloth (dish or cheese will work).
Shred zucchini into cloth lined strainer. A box grater works perfectly.
Sprinkle shredded zucchini with salt and let sit for about 30 minutes.
Gather up the edges of the cloth and squeeze the zucchini.
This will produce quite a bit of liquid but it will not mush the shreds.
In an appropriately sized pan, heat up a healthy splash of olive oil.
When the oil is hot, but not too hot, add in a bit of garlic and cook a little.
Add in the shredded zucchini and some finely chopped basil.
You can also use those little frozen cubes of basil from Trader Joes.
Stir the zucchini occasionally.
Cook for about 10 minutes or so.
What you want to do is to cook the zucchini and dry it out a bit.
Serve hot. Reheats beautifully.

Pureed Cauliflower
Clean and cut up a whole head of cauliflower.
Steam until very soft.
Blitz in a food processor.
Add in a little olive oil to help blend it together smoothly.
Season with salt, pepper, and a little roasted garlic if you like.

Easiest dinner ever. Pictures possibly coming later.

Happy Mother's Day!

Dear Mom,

Thank you for not giving me to the rubbish man when I was a screaming baby. Thank you for not seeming to mind when I came home from kindergarten with a banana mooshed in my pants pocket along with a handful of sand. Thank you for thinking I was the prettiest girl in the 6th grade when all evidence pointed to the contrary. Thank you for putting 6,250 dinners on the table at 7:30 every night for the whole family and for making us talk to each other. Thank you for making me go to the museum, to the library, to the symphony, to the theater, and to the opera. Thank you for making sure I was well fed, more or less appropriately dressed, housed, and educated. Thank you for laughing at me and more often with me. Thank you for "fly me to the mooooon" and "te la la!". Thank you for teaching me how to eat and which fork to use. Thank you for encouraging me to read and write. Thank you for being my Valentine every year and for putting a little heart shaped present in my mailbox each year. Thank you for knowing when to batten down the hatches in bad weather. Thank you for all the times you've done something nice for me when I was feeling a little low, like bringing me a giant branch of lilacs that one time. Thank you for almost always having a little piece of chocolate somewhere in the house. Thank you for being an independent woman who taught me the value of work and how to balance it with home life. Thank you for not letting me watch too much television. Thank you for letting me go and for letting me know I was always welcome back. Thank you for for making stuff from scratch and for showing me how.  Thank you for listening and listening and then listening some more. Thank you for always being yourself, and being true to who you are. Thank you for never losing your sense of humor. Thank you for never giving up on any of us, even when we've given you plenty of reason!

Pretty much I think this all the time, but it's good to articulate it at least once a year.

Your daughter.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

One hungry & thirsty girl

Last night was the Evil Twin's bachelorette party and it was a blast. Literally. We showed just enough cleavage to burst a water main, but we weren't slutty enough to cause an earthquake.... Appropriate head wear was provided, along with inappropriate chocolates, there was a show, lots of drinks, and a couple of Pedicabs.

I think that is all that I am allowed to say about the night.

As a result I am dragging today. Like SERIOUSLY dragging. I am not hungover, but I did drink tequila and as everyone knows, tequila is the vampire of alcohol. It doesn't make me sick, but it literally sucks the life out of me.

When I woke up this morning, all I wanted was a cup of coffee and a glass of water to revive myself. Alas, no water, therefore no coffee so I had to make do with an ice cold Diet Coke which wasn't bad but which wasn't the same.

I should also mention that I am still in the process of fixing up the old homestead, a project that is about as slow moving as molasses in a blizzard. New appliances are coming on Wednesday, but the stove was disconnected on Saturday.

Hmmm what to cook when you've been bitten by the Tequilampire and you can't use water or a stove...

Well luckily this was the week I signed up for Boston Organics. I am convinced that the only way that I am going to stop buying packets of cookies is to avoid the supermarket altogether.I've eaten up most of it except for two little squashes and a bag of baby carrots.

I decided that a carrot salad was the best option since it didn't require water or a stove. Plus a juicy carrot salad appealed to to my dessicated insides. I don't know why I don't make this salad more often, it really is easy and delicious.

Carrot Salad

Shred one bag of baby carrots, or a bag of big carrots - peel them first. I used the Cuisnart for baby carrots, but a box grater works perfectly for big carrots.

Make a vinaigrette. Whisk together big spoonful of Dijon mustard, a few grind of pepper, a pinch of salt, and one tablespoon of white wine vinegar or lemon juice. Whisk in about three tablespoons of olive oil. You really don't need a lot of dressing for carrot salad, but this recipe is easily scaled up.

Eat it straight away, but this will keep in the fridge for a few days getting more and more delicious with time. 

Definitely helps with the dried out innards.