As you've probably noticed, I have been a little lax in my postings. This is a blog based on the idea of cooking with my husband and lately, I haven't been cooking with my husband. So it's started falling apart. Until my husband and I have a good schedule for cooking again, this blog might be quiet.
The good news: I am starting a more free-form food blog called Curly Cue Cooks at curlycuecooks.blogspot.com, where I will post weekly recipes, stories, pictures, etc. If you're interested in the literary arts, you can also read my (and my colleagues') posts at thebarking.com (I post on Sunday mornings).
Apparently, they sell low-calorie, high-fiber flatbread at the grocery store now. It's perfect for pizza. Crisp it up in a hot oven, top it (my first choice, eaten last night: caramelized onion and pepper jack cheese), pop it back in the oven to melt the cheese down, and enjoy!
Every week, when I go grocery shopping, I pick up one or two items I don't really need. I don't have a plan for them, but they seem appetizing and so I grab them. Usually, they're fairly versatile. Sometimes it's a new kind of cheese. Sometimes turkey bacon. Tomatoes. Grapes. Sometimes, I hate to admit, they get thrown away, especially when I spend a good portion of my week out of town (my husband, seeing these items in the fridge, will not boil pasta, crisp turkey bacon, and toss them together with tomatoes and cheese--he will open a can of soup from the cupboard).
This week, it's one large jewel yam and some chipotle chorizo chicken sausage. That, and some leftover tomato paste (thankfully, not yet rancid--tomato paste leftovers tend to get shoved into the back corner of the fridge and not recovered until they're carpeted in mold). Salt and pepper. Sweet and spicy. Should be pretty good.
For breakfast today, I had half a cantaloupe and a handful of strawberries. The cantaloupe, while possibly a little overripe, was flavorful and juicy. The strawberries, sweet and tart.
It's so much easier to be healthy this time of year.
I like to blame my eating habits on the season. In the fall, the only fruits that are really kicking are apples and pears, most of which seem to end up in pies or tarts (my pear tartlets are to die for). The colder it gets, the less cold food one wants to eat. Why eat cold cereal when you can have oatmeal with brown sugar? Why have salad when you can have soup? Why have anything raw when you can have it browned, sauteed, or casseroled?
But now it's getting warmer. Now warm food puts us off. Now we don't like cooking too much because it heats up the house. In certain ways, it's great for us.
Of course, there's always ice cream and sugar soda and such to cool us down. There's always an excuse for unhealthy eating. But give me a fridge full of fruit and I'm good to go. Maybe some sorbet if it gets really hot out. Something light. Something refreshing. Who needs a stomach full of cheese and bread when it's hot outside? It just makes you feel heavier, hotter, more lethargic.
OK--I'm trying to convince myself of this as much as you. As you might have guessed by my lack of postings lately, I'm dieting again. And I haven't been cooking much at all--lots of yogurt and fresh fruit and veg. It's a great way to shed the pounds and it definitely makes me feel healthier, but I'm starting to miss cooking. Real cooking. The kind where you don't have to worry about how many calories are in each ingredient, measuring and weighing everything you eat.
So I'm trying to luxuriate in fruit. It would be, if we humans hadn't gotten all tricky about our food, one of life's greatest pleasures. Imagine if we hadn't refined sugar or figured out how to manipulate the cacao bean. A strawberry might be the ultimate gustatory pleasure. A slice of watermelon. A ripe, juicy pear.
This time, I decided that my jelly-making skills just weren't up to snuff, and went for more of a chutney style. Two medium sweet onions, diced, and four jalapenos, diced, went into 2 tbsp olive oil on medium-low heat for about three hours. Plus a few tablespoons full of sugar to help the caramelization process along. It's sticky, sweet, and spicy. Amazing on crackers or crostini with cream cheese or goat cheese.
The best thing, I think, about today's attempt, is that I didn't burn myself with the jalapenos. In the past, no matter how hard I've tried, I've missed some trace of jalapeno juice on my hands, blown my nose (to relieve my runny nose and watery onion eyes), and ended up with some some part of my face burning and stinging for the rest of the day. It is relieved, I've found, by the application of heavy cream (the fat absorbs the acids) but it is so much better when the burning is prevented. This time, my husband made sure I had a rubber surgical glove to hold the jalapenos as I diced them, so no more burning.
Today I took a recipe from my Better Homes & Garden cookbook and tweaked it. It's in the canning section: pepper jelly. Only I made it into sweet onion and jalapeno jelly. And I replaced cranberry juice with apple juice (it's all I had) and used apple cider vinegar where the recipe just called for vinegar (I assumed the lack of description meant I could choose my own). Now, with the jelly cooling in the fridge (I realized only too late that I needed special canning equipment to make the stuff last unrefrigerated), I can the anticipation is heating up. There was a lot of vinegar in this particular recipe and the house smells vinegary (also of Pine Sol since I got sticky jelly on the floor) and I'm hoping the vinegar doesn't overpower the important flavors. I did run the whole mess through the blender before straining out the juices and adding the sugar and pectin, so I'm hoping the onion and jalapeno will shine through.