Monday, November 22, 2010

Apricot vinaigrette

I decided I wanted a salad to go with supper tonight, but I wasn't thrilled about any of the bottled dressings in my refrigerator, so I decided to make my own.  It's so easy to make dressing that I really don't know why I ever buy any pre-made at the store.  You can vary the type of jam and vinegar used to make different flavors.  First, let's start with the ingredients:

I need to first apologize for the image quality.  I am taking these pictures with my phone right now, and the lighting isn't very good, but you will get the idea.

This recipe makes enough for one large salad or two side salads, depending on the amount of dressing you like.

Apricot vinaigrette

 1 teaspoon Apricot jam (I use the 1/3rd less sugar because I think normal jam is too sweet)
2 teaspoons Apple cider vinegar
3 teaspoons Olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

I mix this up right in the bowl before I put the salad in.  Then, when I toss the salad everything gets combined. put jam in bowl and add vinegar. Whisk until combined.  Add olive oil, whisk.  Add salt and pepper to taste, whisk.  That's it!  Super easy and delicious.  This is what it looks like when it's finished.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cast Iron Cooking

I love cast iron.  It gets super hot.  It's lovely for putting a nice crispy brown crust on potatoes, and I could use it to kill zombies in a pinch.  I'm currently baking some potatoes for lunch (post on this later), and seasoning a new cast iron piece.  This has inspired me to post my rules for cast iron.

Rule #1: Buy used!  I only have four pieces of cast iron cook-ware, but I am constantly scanning thrift stores for new finds.  Seriously, what is anyone going to do to hurt cast iron?  I found a beautiful Le Creuset 10-inch round grill pan (which they do not make anymore) in a Goodwill for $30.  Even if the piece has a little rust on it, it can be cleaned up with a little steel wool and elbow grease.

Rule #2 (Actually more of a myth): Cast iron is not difficult to clean.  Two of my pieces were given to me by my mother.  She hates cast iron because she thinks it's too heavy and difficult to clean.  Here is how you clean a cast iron pan: Simply wipe out the mess after use with a paper towel or sponge.  That's it, really.  If the mess is really terrible, or you cooked gravy in your pan and didn't clean it for a few days (not that I would ever do this.  Heh) then you can put some water in the pan and boil out all the stuck on bits.  Pour the water out, and wipe dry with a paper towel.  Then put a thin layer of oil on the pan.  The oil will help to season the pan and give it a non-stick finish.  This will also protect against rust.

Rule #3:  Season your pan.  This is a very important step in cast iron cooking, and oh so easy.  To season my pan I wait until I will have the oven on for baking potatoes or a roast.  Then I coat my pan with a layer of Crisco.  You may want to use gloves for this unless you want to be picking Crisco out of your rings for hours afterwards.  I put the pan in the oven and let it bake.  I leave the pan in after the other items are done baking. I let it cool with the oven.  When the pan is cool, I pour out the excess Crisco, and and wipe the pan clean.

I hope if you were intimidated by cast iron, you give it a try now.  My newest cast iron piece?  A corn muffin tray in the shape of ears of corn.  I'll be experimenting with corn muffins soon, and will post a recipe when it is perfected.  Next post: lunches.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Drinking and The Room

I am attending a midnight showing of The Room.  If you don't know anything about this movie then check out the trailer here:  I've been wanting to see this movie for awhile now, and I thought a movie this special deserves a very special drink.  Someone must have come across the extremely important question of what to drink while watching the room?  Alas, my internet search came up dry.  I found many drinking games for the movie, but I needed a drink.  Upon inspecting clips from a movie, I found a part when the main characters appear to be mixing vodka and wine.  I am not doing this, but we will be drinking red wine during the movie.  During the epic "Lisa, you are tearing me apart," sequence, we will do a shot of vodka.  I feel that my quest for the perfect drink is now complete.  I hope I've helped someone with the search.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's been awhile

I just realized that it has been almost three months since I've posted anything.  I'm not sure that I have any readers at all, so my lack of posting may not matter, but I think it's the principle of the thing.  I'm not going to make any promises about posting more frequently.  I will try, but it seems like every blog I read that promises to post will not be heard from for months.

I've been busy cooking, eating, and doing blog-worthy things.  I also received two adorable vintage aprons from Etsy that I will post eventually.  I've settled into a nice summer routine of reading, watching movies, cooking, and cleaning every once in awhile.  I've been thinking about veganism, dreading going back to school as a teacher, wishing to go back to school as a student, and just living.  Above is a picture of a Rick Bayless recipe that I made for his twitter contest.  This was the food from week one.  I didn't win, but I am very happy with the pictures and it is something I will make again.  The week 2 winners will be posted sometime today, so I will try to post my pictures here tomorrow.  If you are reading this and don't know about the contest there are still two weeks left.  You can get details from

For now no promises, but I'll see you soon.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Healthier eating

I woke up this morning feeling terrible.  I proceeded to eat an unhealthy (but delicious) breakfast of biscuits and gravy.  At lunch I was still feeling awful, and I ate leftovers from dinner a few nights back.  They were restaurant leftovers of steak with sukiyaki sauce, rice, and veggies.  Not terrible food, but not exactly healthy either.  I have decided I need to eat better.  I've been slacking off lately because of stress.  I'll just throw something quick together that tastes good.  Tonight was the turning point.  After feeling miserable all day I made myself a portabella mushroom sandwich.  I had cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh strawberries on the side.  I am feeling a little better.  I hope this continues.  Following is not really a recipe, but just instructions for the sandwich.  Use any type of bread you like.  I had some oat bread, which is too gummy, but I'm trying to use up the loaf.

Clean mushroom.  Sometimes I cut out the gills, but tonight I just rubbed the entire mushroom with a damp paper towel.  Detach stem and slice into small pieces.  Place a few teaspoons of olive oil in a frying pan and heat until warm.  Add mushroom gills up.  Drizzle a small amount of oil over gills.  At this point I cover the pan so everything doesn't splatter.  After a minute or two flip mushroom and add mushroom pieces.  I sprinkle in a little Bragg's Amino or soy sauce at this point.  Go sparingly here because too much will make the mushroom salty.  Cook for another minute then remove from heat and let sit.  One of the most important things about cooking a mushroom is to let it rest for a minute.  If you immediately place it on the sandwich you will lose all the juice in the first bite.  It's too hot to eat now anyway, so let it rest!  Place on sandwich and enjoy.

I had mustard, tomato, avocado, and lots of pickles on my sandwich.  I also cut it in half, so it's easier to eat.  The picture didn't turn out very well, but it gives an idea.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pizza night

My fiancĂ©e and I made pizza Friday night, which is something we used to do, but haven't lately because we've been out of town so much.  It's a fun activity we can do together, and the final product is always amazing.  Right now I'm using Jiffy pizza crust that just needs hot water.  I'm going to experiment with a yeast crust from scratch once I have more time.  We are also using canned sauce for convenience, but I plan on canning a homemade pizza sauce this summer when my tomatoes are growing.  I will post recipes for both the crust and the sauce once I have them perfected.  Our pizza toppings were: fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, green and black olives, red pepper, red onion, and tomato.  I also made a Stromboli-type pizza roll with the same fillings.  The roll tasted great, but looked awful, so no pictures of that.

I finally feel like i'm getting things together enough to cook exciting dishes, so I plan on posting more frequently.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No cooking and big decisions

I haven't been cooking anything noteworthy lately which is why I've not posted any recipes lately.  I have some exciting yet stressful things happening right now, which I will share when they are confirmed.  I've been so busy that I've had breakfast burritos the last 2 nights for supper, and I actually had to eat school lunch today because I had no leftovers to pack.  The lack of home cooked meals is starting to take its toll on me.  I find that I eat a lot more if I don't sit down to an actual meal.  It's a psychological thing I know, but I just don't feel satisfied if I don't have a full meal.  Right now I am craving a pizza, but it would take an hour to drive into town and back, and I don't have the items to make my own.  I will probably raid the pantry soon and see what I can come up with.  Tomorrow I will make a real meal.