Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Homemade curry heaven!

This was another successful - delicious - affordable dinner. I'll start with my rating. 3.7. Would cook this several times a week.
Ingredients can be whaaatever is in the fridge. I used a yellow squash, zucchini, red and green pepper and a little onion. A few cloves of garlic for good measure too. I chopped all ingredients then salted, peppered and sprinkled them with curry powder. I let them bask in their glory in the bowl for a bit.
A little lesson...(I am a teacher after all) everything you read says you need curry paste. Well, I didn't have any on hand. So, I improvised. (Improv is another favorite past time.)
I mixed my can of coconut milk with about 1.5 tablespoons of curry powder, 2 tablespoons flour (for thickening), about a teaspoon of peri peri seasoning (because why not) and whisked feverishly. I let this hangout and sit for a bit.
Next, heat two tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Add veggies and cook for 8-12 minutes. Add the coconut mix and let cook for another 6-8 minutes.
Cook some rice. I am not telling anyone about cooking rice. It's easy.
Photos of the process and finished product attached. Enjoy vicariously through my photos.

PS thanks for the bowls mom!

...Gooey butter cake

Om nom nom is all I have to say about this classic ooey gooey dessert. Not incredibly expensive, used some of the pantry items: eggs, butter and vanilla. Had to buy a cake mix aaaand it uses an entire box of powdered sugar. (I don't know why people call it confectioners sugar. It's flipping powdered sugar).
Delicious. I'd rate it a 4! Definitely make it again. A little time consuming so perfect for the day off.

Breakfast! Avocado boats.

Breakfast has always been on my favorite meals. I love biscuits and gravy, fried eggs, toast and jam, pancakes - hell, I'm happy with a banana and a bowl of Cheerios.
Seeing as today is my last day of winter break before returning to my second semester of teaching... I was thinking I needed to figure out a yummy (easy) (cheap) breakfast!
I looked around the pantry and fridge and stumbled upon some eggs and am avocado. Omelette was my first thought. Then... I remembered a recipe I had seen online a few days earlier. So, I split the avocado, ripped the seed out, scooped a little avocado out of each half, cracked an egg and plopped an egg into each avocado half. I topped with salt and pepper (from my shaker and grinder from Penzey's) and into the oven they went. They came out and I topped with paprika and crushed red pepper (okay okay and a little tabasco sauce). Wow. What a success. Delicious. Incredibly rich and creamy. I mean... Very very rich. The avocado was like buttah under the soft egg. Not a practical breakfast for a work day, but an absolute repeat for a weekend at home.
That brings me to a good point, my idea, the standard, the rule for a good recipe : would I make it again? I'll begin rating my recipes with my "make again" scale. A 5 means I'm probably making it again right now, a 1 means... It was a good try.
So, for my avocado boats, I'd say a 3.8. Yes, I would make them again!

The photos are the initial product and the finished product.

First total Veg dish

Last night I attempted my first full vegetarian dish. I have to give a shout out to the Brokeass Gourmet for providing the recipe for the dish. It was one of the most exciting dishes I had cooked in a long time. The excitement as I prepared the dish (this time with my mom) was almost overwhelming. The recipe was simple, cost about 14 dollars in new ingredients plus a few from the pantry.
The most thrilling part for me was the noodles... Instead of noodles - the starch layer was wonton wrapper. HOW EASY. And delicious.
Easy enough, sauté veggies (original recipe calls zucchini and eggplant only, I added mushrooms as well), layer sauce, ricotta, veggies and wonton wrappers - top with mozzarella and bake!
This is the finished product. Topped with a little fresh parm from The Cheese Shop of Des Moines.


My philosophy in the kitchen is complex. I was raised with home cooking... made from scratch, no boxes, delicious food. My mother was always willing to take a chance in the kitchen, and I sure as hell prospered from her risks- some of the biggest risks resulted in the most delicious food. As a poorer - first year teacher - living on my own - my kitchen philosophy continues to morph. I want to cook flavorful, easy, cheap, complex food. I want flavor. Spice. But I always have to be budget conscious... This is what makes me think my kitchen philosophy is complex. Yummy, easy, affordable food. Sometimes I blame my mom for raising me on good, old fashioned food - it makes being a poor first year teacher difficult at the grocery store.
I recently decided to go vegetarian. Why? No particular reason, other than a culinary and personal challenge. I also decided to grow a beard.  I don't think the two are related.
As I begin the vegetarian cooking excursion I am keeping in mind the way I was raised on food, pure ingredients, home cooking, and taking chances. I have never cooked tofu - gonna learn now. It is my mission to master Indian cooking...mmm (open to advice). I want to cook more fresh veggies and play with flavor and spices.
Follow the blog to follow my journey. (Also, I bought a Dodge Journey this fall, and no, it is not a mini van.)

This is me, and my pooch, Yogi Bear.