Let's eat!

Hi. My name's Carol, and I love food. No, you don't understand. I love food. If I were on the Titanic, I'd be in the galley (kitchen) eating up the chocolate pudding and the roasted quail. I go to most events, activities and parties just for the food. The company and the conversation are secondary. Here, I'll try to document everything that goes into my mouth. Aren't we excited? Oh, hey, are you gonna eat that?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What to do with Avocados

Just like the Dine And Dish blogger, I also prefer to eat my fresh avocados simply -- a little lemon or lime juice, satl and pepper, boom, done. Perfect for any meal, to accompany a bagel or eggs for breakfast, in a sandwich or an avocado sandwich, fish, chicken, in a turkey burger like I had yesterday.

But I liked the sound of these simple, few ingredients, even though the 10-ounce can of diced tomatoes and green chilies were a little tough to find until I found Rotelli (the only company that makes this particular combo). I already had Costco-sized cream cheese (so much for light), lots of avocados from the farmer's market ('tis the season), way too many cucumbers, so...

The Avocado Dip recipe was sitting on my kitchen counter for two weeks before I finally broke down, got up off my lazy butt, and put it together, an hour ago. I only forgot to drain the can of diced tomatoes and green chilies. But really, what's the difference? Add cilantro next time.

My husband couldn't stop diving into the dip. He ate up all my favorite brand of tortilla chips reserved strictly for my Victoria salsa, and dived into the baked pita chips I made.

Baking pita chips is easy, just cumbersome cutting up little triangles, separating them, brushing them with your choice of olive oil flavorings. I flavored my olive oil with a Cajun seasoning powder, then brushed it on before baking in a 400-degree oven. Stay close, these suckers can burn.

My nine-year-old son ignored the dip to dive into the baked whole wheat pita chips themselves.

Next time I'm invited to a party, I'm making a huge batch of this Avocado Dip. Might be a long time. I don't have many friends.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Copper River

I really am a bad judge of proportion. We have enough leftover Costco-sized bins of mixed greens to last us every meal for two weeks, if the lettuce lasts that long. Not to worry, we have Fran's basic and simple garlicky vinaigrette. My husband tried it for the first time for dinner tonight--with the roasted pecans and avocado chunks. He was loving himself on it, I daresay, more than the Copper River Salmon he prepared on the cedar plank.

It's the vinaigrette. You can literally put it on anything, not just salad and all its many variations, but as a marinade on chicken, fish, beef. Pasta salad if you're so inclined.

My husband soaked the cedar plank for awhile, then placed filets of the salmon on top, slathered with a mixture of Dijon, garlic, maybe mayo, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice. He wasn't satisfied with the first batch, said it wasn't salty enough. I thought it had plenty of that cedar flavor throughout, a smoky cedar flavor that went well with the salad and my rice.

We also have enough Copper River to last us the rest of the week--if we don't eat anything else. I don't know about you, but I really can't tell the difference between this special short-seasoned gem of a salmon everybody goes nuts over, versus the flash frozen kind from Alaska or the Atlantic. It's all in the preparation. Maybe the Copper River thing is hype. Wouldn't be the first time.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Something to do with leftover Thai Basil

I have been trying to make Martha Stewart's Chicken and Basil Stir-Fry for months. Either I couldn't find the recipe, misplaced it, didn't have all the ingredients on hand, or it was always too late to make so I took the lazy way out and reverted to my usual broiled Asian chicken.

After my digestive tract paid for my last lazy broil using leftover Thai chili peppers (and I still didn't use them all!) and Thai basil, I decided once and for all to make the stir fry today.

Then, a friend of mine spontaneously invited me over for barbecue. By the time I got home at 11 p.m., I was dog-tired, had to make popcorn snack for my son, and drummed up every ounce of energy I didn't have to make this recipe. I couldn't very well let the chicken rot in the fridge for three days straight, could I? (Last night, my husband treated us to burgers and crinkly fries.)

It was a pain, but I fought through it. I forced myself to take my time and cut the bell peppers in 1/4-inch strips, keep the strips of raw chicken away from the vegetables, keep everything in their proper places in bowls, and not panic. Hard to do when I get squeamish about raw chicken.

I made one slight error. I didn't read ahead as I was cooking and had to remove half the chicken from the wok. Recipe asks to stir fry until brown 1/2 the chicken strips, take out, then finish the other 1/2. So the second half was slightly wet because I had to fish the bowl out of the sink. I also didn't stir fry the strips nearly as brown as the recipe called for--even when I did do half/half. Maybe next time, make the wok really screaming hot.

Looks and smells awesome. Too bad I can't eat it right away as the recipe says. But I'll have this and the Copper River Salmon (I found at Costco today) with salad to choose from, along with barbecue chicken leftovers, for the next few days.

That way, if I come home late and don't feel like cooking, I at least have several options to merely microwave.

I just need to figure out how to carve out time for myself to do mass weekend cooking, in between my mom obligations to keep my son occupied.

On the fly barbecue

I don't normally do things on the fly. I'm too uptight. I have lists for everything--planning weeks in advance. But I've been working on spontaneity.

It took me awhile to figure out that my friend was talking about having us over for barbecued Asian-marinated chicken tonight, not whenever my husband was free too. All she asked was I bring some salad. Usually my husband makes Caesar salad. Since he was on a wedding gig, it was up to me.

I went to the nearest Costco to pick up ready-made, ready-washed mixed spring greens/spinach, then a gigantic bag of Parmesan focaccia croutons. At home, I quickly roasted whatever suitable nuts I had handy (pecans) while I whipped up "Fran's Simple Vinaigrette" from For the Love of Cooking, which I'd quickly looked up under "simple salad dressings" online minutes earlier.

Not bad, huh?

I would've thrown in avocado but they weren't ripe yet.

For dinner, I had grilled chicken thighs, the salad with my awesome garlicky dressing, garlic bread, rice, way too much jasmine rice, turkey tetrazzini... Everything was great, especially with the sun outside.