Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hiatus... Again

Hi guys. I think I mentioned to y'all that aside from the health problems I've been dealing with, I've had some other major life changes underway. One of those changes is that P and I are not together anymore. I'm moving out of our house and into an apartment on Friday (well, I'm sure it'll take the whole weekend, but I start moving Friday), and I cannot imagine trying to get all my things packed and moved, figure out what P is keeping and what I am taking from the shared items, etc. while having to do the dishes after cooking. And while keeping up on my homework so I don't fail my classes. Moving mid-semester? Not something I recommend, so if you can avoid it please do so.

My plan is to cook nothing until after I am done with the move and am unpacked. This, I think, should not take me more than a week or two. I'm moving into a really small place compared to where I live now. This means I have to think carefully about what I'm bringing. I will, however, be bringing The Cave, so no one needs to worry about that. :) My plan is to leave P the foods he would actually cook and eat, which means most of the food in the house will come with me.

The upside is that once I'm on my own in the new place, I will probably be cooking a lot more (since you know I rarely seem to go for take out when I'm on my own), which means a lot more posting.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know I'd be missing again, but that there should be more regular posting finally once I get back.

I think I normally give y'all dog pictures, but today is a cat picture. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chorizo and Black Beans

Why aren't Dennis Haybert and Eric Balfour in more tv shows? I mean, at least with Haybert you can always refrain from fast forwarding through the Allstate commercials. But still. And why am I so equally fascinated with both actors that I can't help but alternate reruns of Conviction, The Unit and Haven? And why am I wondering about this when I should be reading my linear book? And what does this have to do with food (nothing)?

Here's another quick and mostly health meal. I think given how little chorizo is in this, it might even count as healthy. Well, unless you have dietary restrictions. Anyway. I had cooked the last of the chorizo so I could make a pizza with it (pizza crust, salsa for the sauce, monterrey jack or cheddar, chorizo on top) and I had some left over. Not wanting it to go to waste, and also discovering that I like chorizo a lot less than I used to (or perhaps it's just the brand?), I figured if I put it in with some other stuff I'd get the lovely fattiness without the heavy, cloying thing chorizo can do (heavy, says the girl who types this while nomming sickening quantities Ruffles and full fat onion dip) to a dish.

Plus, I hadn't cooked beans in a while, and that seemed not right somehow. So here we have it. Hope you enjoy!

1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
3/4 cup cooked chorizo
1 can black beans, drained
1/2 onion, chopped
3/4 cup sliced celery
juice of one orange
salt and pepper as needed
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint

Put all of these things together in a saucepan and simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve over rice. Add a little water or broth while it's cooking if you need to to keep it saucy enough for the rice.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tilapia and Potatoes

This is really similar to the dish I made a while back, with the tilapia (incorrectly spelled, if I recall) and the spinach. The same basic principle is what I used here, cooking all the stuff and then throwing the fish on top to steam right before serving. This dish took me forever to cook, though, because I kept adjusting the heat to stall on the food being ready so I wouldn't have already eaten and set a plate aside for P. If I'm going to cook, I prefer everyone be home to eat it I suppose. So the times I put here are kind of a guesstimate based on how long I think this should have taken as opposed to how long it actually did take. Also, this meal was made entirely from food storage (including the freezer). I really don't want to go to the store. Hope you enjoy!

1 can sliced potatoes, drained
2 cups frozen and thawed pearl onions
1 cup frozen and thawed kernel corn
1 tablespoon each: schmaltz, olive oil, sesame oil, tomato paste, harissa, lemon juice, minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste (I was pretty liberal here, you might not want to be)
1-2 teaspoons dill weed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 can artichoke hearts, drained (I used whole ones, not quartered, canned in water not marinade)
2 tilapia filets

Heat a large pan over medium. When hot, add all the oils (fats), plus the tomato paste and harissa and stir it around to integrate the tomato paste and harissa into the fats (or you can be a dolt like me and forget to put this in until later, when the potatoes are frying and it's a huge ordeal to get it evenly throughout everything). Then add the potatoes (season!) and fry them until brown. Turn them over and fry until the other side is brown. Add in the corn, garlic and onions (season!) and give them about 10 minutes in the pan. Then add the artichoke hearts, the dill and the paprika (plus more salt and pepper!) and give another 10 minutes (really, you could give it just 5). Then put the fish (season!) on top and sprinkle the lemon juice over (plus any more dill you may feel like adding, if you're in a mood). Cover for 5 minutes. Serves 2.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Extra Corn Grits and Bacon

I was poking through the freezer looking to see what might be in there that I haven't eaten in a while that might be good. I know I have the white board on it, but sometimes it's good to just get your hands in there and touch stuff to decide what you want. I had forgotten that there were some Anson Mills grits, which are super expensive (hence I don't make that often. Not that, in fairness, I've cooked a whole lot recently) but incredibly delicious (that's the company that made me stop hating grits). Their expense is probably why I forgot they were tucked in there anyway, but it seemed like a good thing to eat for dinner. With bacon.

This is probably more of a breakfast thing than a dinner thing, but it's what I wanted for dinner. I like grits (when they're made well), but sometimes I like a little more textural variance in there. So I decided to add kernel corn. I've had grits made that way in restaurants before and I find it's a really nice touch that results in me eating more grits than I'd originally intended to. But I can't just be eating corn and corn for dinner because I have eaten so much less food on a daily basis lately that I try to pack in enough fat and protein into each meal to keep me going (more so than I used to when I ate constantly). So I decided to add in some Farmer's Market bacon that we didn't really like for just eating bacon strips but which I thought would be nice as lardons (they have a different kind of spice than we like for strips of bacon). And then I figured, while I'm at it, I might as well fry up an egg and have a full breakfast for dinner.

So this is simple, hearty food and doesn't take a lot of work to prepare. Which is what I'm all about right now. Anyway, hope you enjoy!

3 ounces bacon, cut into cubes
3/4 cup kernel corn

1/3 cup grits
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
tablespoon of butter (for this whole grits section, you should use whatever ratios are appropriate for the type of grits you have, but this is the ratio for the kind I have).

tablespoon butter (or the fat from the bacon, which is what I used)
2 eggs

Put the bacon in a pan set over low-ish heat and render the bacon until the bits are crispy. Set aside. Cook grits to package directions, but put the kernel corn in while the grits are cooking (I put the corn in when I first started cooking the grits so the water in the corn wouldn't mess up the texture like it might've if I added it later in the cooking process). Fry eggs. Spread grits into a bowl or plate, top with one egg and half the bacon bits. Serves 2 (this might only serve 1 person normally, but it makes 2 meals for me now. If you have a big appetite, scale it up to feed more than just you). Oh, I also like to eat this with pickled okra to add a little acid to the mix, and of course an egg gets made for the dog. Can't eat eggs and not give him one too.