Sunday, January 17, 2010

Full of Something...

In this case, roasted red peppers and mozzarella cheese. Both delicious companions to the turkey burgers my hubby and I made tonight. These were stuffed turkey burgers. Delicious. But may I ask, Why? Why why why why why?

Why what? You may be asking yourself. The question is this. Why stuff a burger when you can top it? Why do the peppers and cheese have to be inside? Novelty? Challenge? Salmonella? It seems like an excellent opportunity for cross-contamination if you ask me. We cooked ours thoroughly, of course, and so far we don't feel sick, but what if the stuffing touches some bacteria and despite the temp of the meat, the stuffing doesn't reach its goal?

Maybe that's paranoid. But all food-borne illnesses aside, what is the point? I'm seriously asking. Can anybody tell me? Does it somehow impart more flavor? Do some people burnt cheese sticking to their grill pan? I can't figure it out. Ian and I are baffled. Our bellies are full, but we are baffled.

On a happier note, however, we had a lovely time cooking together. It was a simple meal: stuffed turkey burgers and sweet potato oven fries (another question for any readers: is it possible to make crispy sweet potato fries without deep frying them?). We ate at the table for once. With a candle (fancy!) and the romantic sounds of Iron Chef America in the background. Morimoto won. I'm not giving anything away because it was last week's episode on the DVR.

I'm hoping for some answers. Please. Help!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Bacon Explosion

This weekend, I witnessed a culinary [insert noun here]. Feat? Wonder? Atrocity? I'm not sure. It's called the bacon explosion and I had nothing to do with it. I was simply at my husband's college club's alumni ski trip, and two of the wackier alums (if you're reading this, I mean that as a good thing!) took it upon themselves to create the most awesome, heart-clogging mass of meat you've ever seen.

Here's how you do it:

Cook some bacon. Set it aside.
Take 10 pieces of raw bacon. Make a bacon basketweave.
Take two pounds of sausage. Layer it on top of the bacon.
Crumble the cooked bacon on top of that.
Roll it up.
Call 911.

Needless to say, this caused some strong reactions in the 15 people who had to share a ski cabin with the meat monstrosity. Some were salivating, others plugging their noses. Some, like me, were intrigued watching its assembly but nauseated by the end product (I didn't actually eat any--but the smell alone--woof!). Others (the majority, it seemed) had the opposite reaction. Lots of groaning and moaning as the meat log was assembled, but once it was cooked, it rapidly disappeared. Hmm.

Now, it's up to you if you decide to try this recipe or not. But I do have a few warnings.

1. Beware your cholesterol levels. The weak of heart should not attempt the bacon explosion.
2. Expect dirty jokes. Lots of dirty jokes. It'll be a regular sausage fest.
3. Prepare to smell like pork products for 3-6 days.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Chili and Complications

First Sunday of 2010, supposed to have been spent in the kitchen with the hubby. We had the best intentions. We planned the menu--simple as it was--together. We were looking forward to hot food, since the new year's diet has had us eating salads for the past two days and walking all around town in the cold (we're wimps--but at least we admit it). We were going to make lentil chili. We've made it before, with various recipes, and doubtless we'll make it again.

But this time, we didn't make it. I did. Because Ian was a bit too busy for cooking--he was on the phone with our credit card company. Apparently someone in Michigan thought it would be nice to steal our card numbers (online Christmas shopping? We're not sure.) and buy something for $700 at Walmart, and when that purchase was declined (they thankfully had the wrong expiration date), try the counterfeit card again at Burger King. So he was on the phone--still is, actually, after a break to eat some chili--with the various companies that receive their payments automatically on that card. It could have been worse. If the transactions had gone through, the hassle would have quadrupled.

But enough about that--back to the chili. I sort of winged it as far as a recipe goes--went on the sweeter and tangier side to counter the earthy flavor of the lentils. I made it in my new dutch oven, my favorite Christmas present (in-laws, if you're reading this, thank you again!). It was a simple affair. I probably wouldn't have needed Ian's help even if he'd been available, though it is nice to have him chopping onions and manning the can opener. It made four generous servings, each of which contained only 350 calories--a dieter's dream! Here's the recipe I cooked up:

Laura's Lentil Chili

1 cup lentils, dry
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp tomato paste
7 oz fire roasted green peppers, drained and chopped
14.5 oz can Italian stewed tomatoes
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

*Rinse and boil lentils according to directions on package. Set aside.
*In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add onions and bell peppers; cook until soft.
*Add chili powder, cumin, vinegar, and tomato paste; stir and cook for about a minute.
*Add fire roasted peppers, both cans of tomatoes, and cooked lentils; stir and cook for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

So this week we missed out on that together kitchen time, but we have had a good deal of time together lately, since both our schools are on winter break and we've had a long weekend for New Year's. My school starts back up tomorrow, and Ian goes back to his normal work schedule, with his class starting in a week. I suppose if we had to miss any weekend cooking together, this was a good time to do it. Once he gets off the phone (if he ever does) we'll snuggle up on the couch and watch our latest DVD purchase: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. We would watch Julie & Julia again, but I've watched it four or five times since I got it for Christmas and Ian is probably getting sick of it by now. He offered to watch it again tonight, but I can't do that to him. But who knows--he might be secretly addicted to it, too.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Happy New Year!

This year I resolve to learn as many healthy, delicious recipes as I can--and maybe create my own!

This year I resolve to cook with my husband once a week, to help him learn how to cook, and to be a kind and loving teacher.

This year I resolve to learn how to balance healthy eating habits with my love of food.