I have a problem. I have obsessive tendencies when it comes to the ingredients I use in cooking (I most likely have these tendencies in my day to day life as well, but you guys probably aren’t the people I should be talking to about that).
For a very long time I was obsessed with using fresh basil in everything. In fact that was the only fresh herb I ever used. Now, I have moved on to thyme. I cannot get enough of those little, melt-into-any-dish leaves.
One week it’s cheese, the next week bacon is in everything, and now I am in the midst of a soup obsession.
I am sure you have probably already noticed this; I mean, you are all smart people. So, why point it out then?
Have I lost my mind? That might possibly be true. (once again, I’ll save that for a more qualified audience). Maybe this site should be called Cooking with Crazy. But honestly speaking, I know there are a lot of people out there just like me who, from the second they wake up, think, “What am I going to make for dinner?” or “What am I going to eat for lunch?”
Is it rational to obsess over parsnips? Not really. They are just another root vegetable. However, when I was out to dinner with friends a month or so ago and ate a parsnip puree, I became so obsessed with the complex and comforting flavors and consistency of this plain old root, that I had to recreate it.
For weeks it has been parsnip puree with everything, and then my thoughts moved to wondering about what other root vegetables I had been neglecting all my life? This is the thinking that eventually led me to this recipe and to the conclusion that I might just obsess over these things because, through careful thought, practice, and distillation, if I keep the obsession evolving maybe I can come up with an even better recipe than the one I made before.
Or else I’m just bat shit crazy like everybody else in this world.
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Leek, roughly chopped
4 Large Russet Potatoes, skin removed and cubed
4 Large Turnips, skin removed and cubed (should equal about 4 cups)
4 Cups of Low Sodium Vegetable Stock
2 Cups of Water
1 tablespoon of Salt
1 tablespoon of Pepper
1 Dry Bay Leaf
2 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
1 Cup of Whole Milk
1 tablespoon of Tarragon, chopped
1 teaspoon of Parsley, chopped
Start off by cutting the leek length-wise. Rinse it under cool running water to remove all sand and grit. Roughly chop each leek. You only want to use the white and light green portions of the leek. In a large stock pot, over medium/low heat, cook the leek in the olive oil for five minutes. Add in the cubed turnips, potatoes, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Then add in the water and stock.
Bring to a boil then add in the bay leaf. Boil over high heat for thirty five minutes. Remove from the heat when the potatoes and turnips are fork tender. Take out the bay leaf. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Pour the whole milk into the pot. Add the chopped tarragon and parsley. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, wait until the mixture cools and spoon it into a blender, blend until smooth. It might take a few batches depending on what kind of blender or food processor you have.
Whether you want to keep it vegetarian…
With a dash of green…
Or if you need to entice your significant other, the carnivore…
With a little bit of bacon and cheese…
Either way you dish it turnips and potatoes are worth the obsession.
Questions and Concerns Going through my Head (that I Probably Shouldn’t be Telling my Blog Readers)
1. Is it possible to have a two day hangover? If so, congrats to me. I can check that off my list of life accomplishments.
2. I’m never eating fried food or drinking anything from a brewery in St. Louis ever again. (Or until my body officially detoxes.)
3. Is it socially acceptable to wear sweatpants all week if the only two “people” that have to see me are my husband and pug?
4. Why did I have to paint my nails with glitter based polish? FYI (men) the reason I say that is because it takes a lot longer to remove.
5. Does anybody want to come over and make my tomato & rice soup for me, do my laundry, and all together organize my life while I watch Sex & the City DVDs from the comfort of my couch?
No? No takers? I will pay you in food and hugs….
Ingredients for Soup
2 15oz Cans of Tomato Sauce
1 28oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Rice
4 Pork Loin Ribs, bone-in
½ Cup Onion, diced
2 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
2 TBSP Fresh Basil, chopped
2 TBSP Salt
2 TBSP Pepper
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Clove of Garlic, grated
Ingredients for Cheesy Garlic Croutons
½ a French Baguette, cubed
1 Clove of Garlic, grated
¼ TSP Salt & Pepper
2 TBSP Shredded Cheese (Use whatever you have on hand or like. I used a blend of shaved parmesan and asiago cheese.)
1 TBSP Olive Oil
Add the diced onion and olive oil to a large stock pot and cook over medium heat until the onions become translucent. Add the grated garlic and stir to evenly distribute. Raise the heat to medium/high and add in the pork ribs. Cook them for five minutes. Add the cup of water and thyme sprigs. Flip the ribs and give the pot a stir to loosen any bits of pork off the bottom of the pot.
Simmer the ribs, thyme, onions, and garlic for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add in the tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes. Also add in one small cans worth of water. Bring to a slow/low boil then add in the rice. Cook over medium heat for about 25 minutes until rice is tender. Remove the ribs and thyme. Stir in the fresh chopped basil.
While the soup is simmering away, bake your croutons. Cut the baguette into cubes. Season the cubes with salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, and cheese. Mix all ingredients to make sure everything is evenly distributed. Spread out on a sheet pan and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, turning once.
When the rice is tender, remove the soup from the heat. Let it cool for about ten minutes before serving. Top soup with the cheesy garlic croutons and serve. Enjoy this cure for what ails you. I know I will.
This blog post has been brought to you today by the sheer power of lots and lots of caffeine.
After yesterday’s embarrassing-my-husband-by-pointing-out-his-lack-of-cooking-skills story, I promised him that today wouldn’t be so brutal. We did enjoy a nice at home date night, so I don’t want to ruin that.
Last year, a new restaurant opened nearby. From the outside it looked amazing. It was all brick and had an outdoor fire pit and bar on a patio. We don’t have any restaurants with that charming décor around our house, so we became very curious about what it was actually like on the inside.
One night, instead of hitting up one of our standard date night haunts, we were daring and ventured outside of our comfort zone. We decided to try this new restaurant.
The moment I walked in the place I hated it. We were greeted by a girl wearing short cut-off jean shorts and half of a shirt. It was like a classy (that is not saying much, trust me) version of Hooters. Now when I say classy, I mean the building not the staff or food.
Then it got worse. Looking over the menu made me want to barf. 16 ounce beers were called “man size.” All of their food had some kind of gimmicky relation to men.
Our waitress came to take our order. She informed us that she likes to get to know her customers and sit in the booth next to them. I swear I must have given her a look of death that said, “Lady, if you try that with me I will take that “man-sized” beer glass and break it over your Hooters-wannabe head,” because she never attempted to sit with us.
I ordered a 16 ounce beer to start out. Our waitress corrected me and said, “You mean, man-size.” Barf! I remember thinking, as I looked around at all the men with their tongues hanging out, is this really what men want?
After having a long discussion about what it said about the two of us to be dining at such a place, we finally decided to order some safe cheese burgers.
When I was done eating, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I asked my husband the question I had been thinking for some time. “Is this really what men want in a restaurant?” I asked.
My husband, God bless his soul, looked up from his burger, and with half a mouth full of cheese burger said, “Guys just want a good beer and a good burger.” He shrugged his shoulders and went back to eating.
After almost a week of cooking dude food, I know that certainly is not what most bachelors want from their food or restaurants. They may have weird palates and eating habits, but they definitely have more class than this place!
In sticking with my husbands “a good beer and a good burger” mantra, I have taken those two key ingredients to bachelor life, and made a simple yet still delicious recipe for MAN SIZED Guinness chili
1 can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 Can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Can of Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1 ¼ lb of GroundTurkey
½ Cup Diced Onion
1 pint of Guinness
1 TBSP Chili Seasoning
1 TBSP Hot Sauce
1 TBSP Salt
1 TBSP Pepper
1 TSP Grated Garlic
1 TSP Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 TBSP Cumin
1 TBSP Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 TBSP Olive Oil
Add the olive oil to a large pot. Dice the onions and then add them to the olive oil. Cook the onions over medium heat until they are translucent and soft. Add the garlic to the onions. Stir garlic and cook for two minutes. Add in the ground turkey. Add all of your seasonings and hot sauce. Turn the heat up to high and cook the turkey until it has browned.
Pour the can of Guinness into the pot. Using a rubber spatula, stir the turkey and onions. Make sure to remove all brown bits from the bottom and sides of the pot. Let the Guinness boil for five minutes.
Pour the cans of beans into a strainer. Rinse them under cold water. Pour the crushed tomatoes and beans into the pot.
Simmer chili over medium heat for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the fresh cilantro. Stir chili to evenly distribute the cilantro.
Get a man sized heaping portion and top it with cheese, sour cream, or tortilla chips (or all three if you like). Grab a spoon and enjoy this chili that puts all canned chili to shame!
A long, long time ago, my husband, who at the time was just my boyfriend, decided to cook me dinner. It was very thoughtful of him, right?
I came over to his apartment after work. He was hard at work in the kitchen. I could tell he was frazzled (the kitchen isn’t his area of expertise). Then, I surveyed the stove….
(Just want to say to my husband, I love you, and I’m sorry for what I am going to describe next.)
There was a bubbling pot of gummy, overcooked rotini, an open bag of frozen California blend veggies strewn about the counter, and a jar of scary looking alfredo sauce simmering away in a pot. I watched as he scooped up the veggies and threw them into the sauce, shoving the bag from the frozen veggies quickly into the garbage so I wouldn’t see it. Then, as he drained the pasta, little bits of noodle clung to the inside of the pot and strainer.
Seeing him doing all of this, for me, should have made me so happy and thankful that he wanted to save me the effort and time of cooking after a long day at wherever I was working and hating at that moment.
Instead, I said “Really?” I made a face of disgust, and then said a line which now lives in infamy in our relationship. “Let me guess; frozen vegetables, a jar of alfredo sauce, frozen garlic bread?” Then I started laughing at him. Words were exchanged and he stormed out of the kitchen with his plate of monochromatic gelatinous gooey pasta. I am not proud of this moment at all. Maybe I’m a robot. Maybe I’m no good at showing genuine, appreciative emotion.
I don’t know what I expected from him. He has his limitations, but is certainly not incompetent in the kitchen. It’s not like he is going to whip up a huge pot of homemade meat sauce or make noodles from scratch, or even attempt to buy and cook a fresh vegetable. He lived with another guy at the time. They were both bachelors and I’m pretty sure they did most of their grocery shopping at 7-Eleven.
The worst part is now, he doesn’t ever want to cook for me again. Can’t really say I blame him…So, today’s recipe is an easy bachelor spin on that date night meal. It is my chance to cook with him and have a tiny bit of redemption.
1 Box of Butoni Tontellini
1 Small Jar of Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained
1 Box of Frozen Spinach*
½ a Pint of Cherry Tomatoes cut in half
1 Clove of Garlic
The Zest and Juice of a Lemon
1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Pepper
1 TBSP Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 TBSP Olive Oil
½ Cup Salted Pasta Water
*Personally, I would use a cup and a half of fresh spinach instead of frozen, because it looks nicer, but this recipe is for the ever-veggie-frightened bachelor, so I went with frozen.
Place the defrosted spinach on a paper towel and squeeze the paper towel around the spinach until all the liquid is drained. Add the dry spinach, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil to a food processor. Pulse until a thick sauce is formed.
If you don’t have a food processor, just chop the dry spinach and finely dice or grate the garlic. Add that to the pan with the salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, parmesan cheese, and pasta water. It won’t be pesto but it will still be good.
In a large sauce pan over medium heat, cook the tomatoes and artichokes until the artichokes brown a little and the skin of the tomatoes starts to wrinkle.
Scoop the pesto into the large sauce pan that has the cooked tomatoes and artichokes. Add the salty pasta water. Simmer for a few minutes to bring all the flavors together.
Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil Add in the tortellini and cook for 7 minutes. Drain the noodles. Add them to the large pan with the pesto, tomatoes, and artichokes. Stir the sauce around until all noodles are evenly coated.
Top with cheese or parsley and serve your date a lovely and cheap home cooked meal.
We’ll see how this romantic dinner at home goes tonight after my husband reads this.
The most annoying sound in the world has got to be my alarm clock’s ring. No matter what time it goes off, I loathe it all the same. I used to be one of those people that got up on the first ring. I would even try and beat the alarm clock and turn it off before it went off, just so I didn’t have to hear the ring (Ambitious right)?
Then I moved in with my husband and it all went to hell because of his addiction to the snooze button. And since I am a sucker for good old fashioned peer pressure, I am now guilty of this addiction too. (We hit the snooze button at least four times before we actually get out of bed, our neighbors must really love that.)
Since we moved in together, I have gained several bad habits or addictions, thanks to him. For example, I never really liked spicy food, now I can not get enough of it. In fact, on our honeymoon I ate a habañero pepper and didn’t even notice I ate it until I made my husband try it and he pretty much started to cry. (Not going to lie, I am kind of proud of this accomplishment.)
I also never ate chicken wings until this year. Crazy right? I never really liked the mess factor involved in eating them.
But since that was my husband’s go-to bar or take-out food of choice in his bachelor days, it has now become one of my favorite things to have as an appetizer when we dine out.
Unfortunately, wings really aren’t that good for you. (Even though the combination of frying them and then drenching them in butter laced vinegary goodness is what makes them so tasty.)
Luckily, once again, I have taken on my husband’s challenge to reinvent one of his favorite bachelor foods into something easy, healthier, and “bacheloretteized.”
Ingredients for Pulled Chicken (feeds six)
1 Light Beer (I used a can of Miller Lite).
1 Cup of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
1 TSP Garlic Powder
1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Pepper
1 TSP Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 lb of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Note: Since most bachelors do not have a slow cooker, you can also combine all the ingredients in a large pot. Bring it to a simmer, and let cook for an hour with the lid off and still get the same results as using a slow cooker.
Seriously, it is this easy: Put everything in a crock pot and cook it on low for eight hours. When the chicken is done, remove it and let it rest for a few minutes.
Using two forks, shred the chicken breasts. Add them back to the sauce. Scoop out a healthy portion and pile it on any kind of hearty bun.
Ta-da! Just call me your chicken wing-ed fairy godmother!
Ingredients for Simple Blue Cheese Dressing
½ Cup of Blue Cheese Crumbles
1 Cup of Sour Cream
¼ TSP Salt
¼ TSP Pepper
¼ Cup of Milk
1 TBSP Fresh Chives, finely chopped
Crumble the blue cheese. Add the salt, pepper, and chives to the sour cream. Mix well. Add in the milk slowly, mixing continually until you get the consistency you desire.
Every man (and most women) I know has beer and hot sauce in their fridge at all times.
So, just go to the store, buy chicken, buns, blue cheese, sour cream, and chives (because I know most bachelors don’t have those handy at all times) and an hour (or eight if you are a fancy chef kind of bachelor with a slow cooker) later you have enough pulled buffalo chicken to avoid buying wings for weeks!