Thursday, January 17, 2008

Food Glorious Food

Is it possible that something has changed in me? All last week, in an effort to refrain from the fast-food that has defined my diet during the time I was a student, I cooked a meal for myself every night. Part of the reason was for health's sake, but I soon found that when you cook for one you can't help but cooking enough food for two, that's just the way food is sold. So I ate the lions share of each meal, not exactly a strict diet. But a satisfying one. I was really surprised at how much fun I had with this, and a small portion of each day was spent trying to figure out what to prepare for that night. I suppose this is also a cheaper way to eat, although when I got to the grocery-store the more pricier items always beckoned. I ended up making some damn good grub. Despite some minor missteps, I've proven to myself that I've still got it.

Cooking in a home kitchen is far more difficult for me than cooking in a professional one. Everything is smaller, and those little boxes of plastic wrap fall all over the place and stick to your wrist as you try to wrap a piece of chicken with a piece that is way to small. Temperatures are different as well because most professional kitchens have convection ovens which employ a fan to circulate hot air for more even and slightly faster roasting and baking. But this is no excuse, it is just something I have to remind myself of when I start a meal. One thing I like about cooking at home, I can watch the evening news while I'm waiting for water to boil or my timer to go off.

I've continued my home cooking routine into this week. On Monday I roasted a chicken. One of the bidders for the college's food service contract sent a large bottle of excellent extra-virgin olive oil with their proposal, and I took this, some fresh garlic, lemon, sage, onion and swathed the whole thing down like an Asian masseuse. Then I stuffed the inside with the onion, lemon and garlic and roasted it. I kick myself now or not taking a picture--it was a sight to behold when it came out of the oven. The next day I stopped by the store and bought some crimini mushrooms. I took all the leftovers from the roast chicken and rice and made chicken-fried-rice with szechwan sauce. Mmmmm Mmmmm tasty!

Here are some of the things I made last week.

I started the week with a stir-fry of broccoli, chicken and peanut sauce over rice. The first photo is the chicken cooking, the second is the dish simmering in the sauce, and the third is the finished product. I wolfed this down pretty fast.





This is terriaki pork loin with yellow squash and roasted new potatoes. I didn't fan out the pork like that to be pretentious. So many years of doing this I just did it unconsciously and ended up plating it like we would have for a banquet. Of course we wouldn't have used crappy pink plates and there would have been a lot more garnish.


I wanted something vegetarian so I made a marinara boboli pizza with caramelized red onion and portabello mushrooms. I like banana peppers, so they had to go on top. And of course, lots of mozzarella. Diet my ass--literally.


The next night I ate leftover pork loin and pizza, but the next night, which was a cold wintry one, I made meatloaf with brazed cabbage and new potato mash. This was comfort food in the extreme. The best part? The meatloaf sandwich the next day.


I'm going to make vegetarian quesadillas tonight. It should be good, if not just as fattening as Taco Bell. But so much more satisfying.






9 comments:

Jeremiah Paddock said...

I read this after coming home from a 7:25-10:10pm class and I was SOOOO hungry. You are evil sir, making one's mouth water and stomache grumble at such tasty photos and descriptions! Glad to see that you're still around.

Emily Barton said...

Ummm...when can I come over for dinner?

litlove said...

Oh boy, I agree with Emily - when are we all coming over for dinner???

IM said...

Everyone is invited over for dinner anytime. I'll have to keep working on my chops--pardon the pun.

Courtney said...

I am having one of those days where one finds oneself hungry constantly, and now my stomach is growling aloud! I especially am moaning over the braised cabbage and the pizza...

Danny said...

I am literally salivating on my keyboard, running the risk of shorting out my computer. Not fair. Do the new MacBook Air computers come with Smell-o-Vision?

Froshty said...

I read this with great interest and marveled at how family member experiences can run in parallel without their knowledge. For years, I barely used my stove and my daughters and I subsisted on a diet of fast food or Stouffer's frozen food. I don't know exactly how this happened, but, suddenly, after "the accident" I became enamored of cooking. My "flagship" dish was cutting up chicken breasts into strips and cooking them in a mixture of cinnamon, vanilla, garlic, and olive oil. With the help of my boyfriend, I made home-made tortillas and served refried beans as a side. Here's an eating tip--toss out any of your "Old El Paso" refried bean cans and rush to the Mexican aisle of your local grocery store or your local Mexican store and buy La Costas refried beans; they're so much better than anything Old El Paso can come up with.

Anonymous said...

Man, does that stuff look good. You cooked more different meals in one week than we have in our whole repertoire (which actually isn't hard). linser

Anonymous said...

P.S. I really enjoyed watching the Flip Wilson. linser