Friday, March 6, 2015

No one likes burnt coffee. No one.

Holy crap, it's March. It's been an insane 2015. Since the new year, Hubs accepted a new job and therefore agreed to move closer to LA. We moved February 1st. Which means and we're now OUT of my Central Valley political hell—hooray!—yet smack dab into my own personal hell. The Inland Empire. The IE. The place I grew up. The place I swore I'd never return.

I now live quite literally a stone's throw from the house I grew up in. My parents still live there. We take a "hike" (aka a third of a mile walk up a steep hill) to their house. The dude likes the walk. (Even though his legs "hurt" halfway up and it's always "sunny.")

Is this bad? Totally not. My parents are amazing. They've cooked for us and watched E for us and given far too many financial handouts in the midst of all of this. (I should note that we've firmly reached the horrible threes. E is his sweet self about 6 hours a day. At least one of those is between 2-3am. My parents have handled this about as well as we have, which is impressive.)

But. Shit. I basically moved back home. It's still my parents. You know how it goes.

So we're finding the plus sides. We live at the base of a little mountain. (It's literally called Little Mountain.) So we hike the three miles to the top 3 days a week or so.

It's beautiful. I hate every second of starting the hike, but love every second after about a 1/2 mile up. Plus Hubs and I are sharing an office these days, so it gives us a little chance to take advantage of this working from home bullshit. And the dog actually sleeps afterwards.

I've even been cooking a lot in my fucking tiny smaller than average kitchen. I've made Chicken Saltimbocca. Stuffed tomatoes. Swordfish. Caramelized onion and blue cheese pasta. I also made spinach pesto this week. And it was delicious. I've had it with pasta, on salad, and in orzo. And it also gave me Pine Mouth.


Pine Mouth, as it is so aptly and unfortunately named, is a rare yet real condition where eating certain pine nuts affects certain people by basically shitting on their taste buds for a week or so. Basically, eating any other food causes your taste buds to puke (not actual scientific terminology), causing your entire mouth to taste like you just drank the bottom of a burned coffee pot after not brushing your teeth for a few days. After. Every. Bite. You. Take.

Let that sink in.

It's been an interesting month at my new house. I'm fully intending on giving recipes for a few great things I've made...but after this taste goes away. I'm utterly unable to give any sort of accurate review currently, and the thought of the good stuff I've made recently just makes me sad. And a little hungry.

Til then, lay off the pine nuts, y'all. It's not worth it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

I officially need a bigger kitchen.

Well, my family officially thinks I live in the kitchen. Christmas gifts included:
A set of 4 meat thermometers 
A new cutting board
A cookbook holder
A Bobby Deen cookbook
An Ina Garten cookbook 
A new kitchen timer 
A bottle of vodka 
A new potholder 
A skillet

I'm not complaining. Almost all of the above were desperately needed and/or much appreciated. 

First thing I tackled (after the vodka, natch) was the Bobby Deen cookbook. 30 minute meals under 350 calories? Good work, Ma. So far everything we've tried has been easy and delicious, so I'm sold. 

Well, not the zucchini and corn fritters. I don't want to talk about those. (Hubs thinks I "saved them" by making them a hash and putting them under some chipotle pork chops. But that was not the intent. I have long standing deficiencies in the fritter/fried cake department.)

Last night we tried the Lemony Greek Chicken Soup with Spinach. Adjusted it just a tad to make a bigger pot by adding more low sodium broth (half regular and half low), two small chicken breasts and more spinach, but otherwise followed his recipe. I was afraid it wouldn't be enough as a main course, but it worked for me. Hubs had two bowls. Some French bread would have been a nice addition. Or a spinach salad, actually! 

Trying to update to a better photo btw. Low light and yellow soup are a bad combo...

Lemony Greek Chicken Soup with Spinach 
9 cups chicken broth 
1/2 cup orzo pasta
8oz chicken breast, cooked and cubed
Half a bag baby spinach, rough chopped
Juice from one lemon (1/4 cup)
3 eggs, room temp 
Fresh pepper 

Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add orzo and cook 7 minutes (or 2 less than the box tells you to). Stir in chicken and spinach, cook two more minutes. Turn off heat. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon until it gets nice and frothy. Keep whisking as you take a ladle full of broth and very slowly add it to the eggs. Repeat with another ladle or two. Then stir the soup as you pour the egg mixture slowly back into the soup. (This makes sure you don't end up with scrambled eggs. This isn't egg drop soup.) 

Season with fresh pepper and serve immediately.