Sundays are my cooking days now. I’ve experimented with a variety of different vegetables and have found that chopping a variety of different things into tiny pieces leads to deliciousness. This has been a lot better since I got my chopping knives (picture cutting eggplant and zucchini with a butter knife, pieces flying everywhere!). I’ve even started to like cooking onions, mostly because I’m seeking the Holy Grail of caramelized onions and I get closer and closer every time. I’ve learned that once onions are cooked to a certain point, I actually like to eat them ( the same goes for broccoli and mushrooms, gross when they are raw, some of my favorites when cooked) but that might be helped by the fact that I get only “sweet onions,” never red. I remembered the thing about onions, is that chopping them makes you cry, but I had forgotten that it was so painful! I started chopping and halfway through my eyes were burning to the point where I was stumbling through my kitchen but only amateurs would give up after that so I persevered :)

When I was in iHop (Apple controls the world so I should conform to their word styles) in June I had a delicious veggie omelet with roasted tomatoes that reminded me of pizza sauce and I determined that I needed to recreate them. This is surprisingly easy! You just cover them in EVOO, spices to taste, stick them in the oven at 400 for about 10 minutes in a glass dish until the tomatoes start to burst, taken from this recipe, which I liked because it worked and they illustrated with TJ’s ingredients :)

Roasted Tomatoes

The meats are the harder part for me. I have mastered cooking with ground turkey, below you will find my turkey meatballs masterpiece but chicken has been harder for me.

Turkey Meatballs, Brown Rice Pasta, Zucchini, Eggplant and Onions

Breadcrumb Encrusted Chicken with Stir Fry

I’ve tried chicken several times and I haven’t gotten it right yet. The first time I tried to do a “baked fried chicken,” with breadcrumbs in the oven, which looked gorgeous but was way too dry. Also, note the CTB glass with sangria, I’ll come back to that later.

I then decided that my oven was too quirky to time, given my other baking experiences and my new meat thermometer so I was going to pan sear it. This also turned out pretty but was dry. Finally I bought chicken breasts that weren’t cut into tenders and cut them in half during the process to better time them and put a cup of chicken stock in the pan.  They came out the right tenderness but smelled awful and unfortunately the next day I decided to throw them out. The apricot sauce was really cool though and I will try that again.

Apricot Chicken with Roasted Grape Tomatoes, Green Beans and Avocado

Now onto drinks and desserts. I have been trying to eat fresh fruit more often because it’s something I didn’t do so much in college and fruit can be delicious. I’ve been sticking with berries so far: raspberries, blackberries and blueberries specifically and have been trying to add them into my life. I first started with adding a homemade touch to Costco-bought sangria (CTB sangria being one of my favorite memories from senior year). Then I moved on to adding to my breakfast yogurt or cereal and finally (cue dramatic music) smoothies. Because I was experimenting I did not have many types of fruit and only a pint of the blueberries I did have, I supplemented with some frozen mangoes and a frozen berry mix as well as some greek yogurt and rice milk. I had not used this blender before (being one of the many hand-me-downs I received from my childhood basement, that my mom used before I was born) and did not realize that it wasn’t strong enough to blend frozen fruit so I put it on my stove and waited 30 minutes and then made this delicious (I need a new synonym I know) smoothie!

Waiting…and wishing and hoping and thinking and dreaming…

Mmm berrylicious

Now dessert time! I have been intrigued by this recipe for a few months now because the secret ingredient is chickpeas!! (adapted from these two recipes: 1 and 2.)

Can you guess what’s in the food processor?

This recipe is amazing because it combines everything I want in a cookie (/in my daily food life) without butter or oil. Just peanut butter, walnuts, oats, flour, brown sugar, chickpeas and chocolate chips with some baking soda. You can eat them out of the container if you’d like but I chose to bake them (but, in truth, they never really set) and then froze them. I’ve been eating them for 2 weeks now, the joys and perils of cooking for one.

I also want to take a moment to eulogize my food processor because after washing it I left it on my countertop to dry and, in my clumsiness, knocked it on the floor and cracked it. Dear food processor, you worked so brilliantly, I was impressed with your crushing of walnuts, I don’t think I will ever really replace you (even though I got this awesome hand-me-down mini chopper), thank you for these cookies, they are incredible.

“Me”-sized food processor!

I hope to use this on one of my next adventures – making hummus! Also, look forward to reviews of the Farragut Food Trucks!

Fin.

Was a smiley before I ran and got my camera

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