Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Oh, hi, Mom. I'm up."

The baby has learned how to stand, which means that I've often open the door at the end of nap time to a little person standing up to greet me. Of course, I also get to come in during the middle of the night to a little person holding on to the edge of her crib rails and crying, because she's woken up and can't figure out how to get herself back to sleep. So, there's a trade-off. For a while there, she was napping for longer periods and getting up earlier, a nice trade-off, but now she's just getting up earlier.

Recent cooking
Mac and cheese - I declare a winner in my search for the best macaroni and cheese recipe. The roux-based recipe from The Pioneer Woman (made with the delightful cheese combination of Swiss, Parmesan, and blue from the CIA macaroni and cheese recipe) is creamy and cheesy, but not so rich that it makes you sick. The leftovers are also good, something I find important in family-sized recipes. The the copious quantities of butter in the CIA mac and cheese separated from the sauce when the dish cooled, leaving the leftovers greasy.
Red rice - I know red rice is an actual dish, but this just seems like a jambalaya hack. I only recently discovered They Draw and Cook, and while it is a very pretty format for displaying a recipe, the quality of instructions for actual cooking was not great with this particular recipe. It's hard to read and the rice needed several cups more water in order to cook properly (one can of tomato sauce and a half can of water just doesn't cut it for two cups of rice). Still, tasty.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sally Hansen 02 - Green With Envy

After having sworn off nail polish a year or so ago, I found myself unable to resist a summery green bottle of the stuff last time I was in Target. I painted my nails today and the baby was fascinated by my foot for the rest of the afternoon.

Recent cooking
Rice noodles with chicken and oyster sauce - After so many mediocre or just acceptable recipes, it's so nice to finally find one that is really tasty. Here it is several hours later and I'm still thinking about it. Definitely going into the regular rotation.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I've entered that period in life that is defined by the omnipresence of Cheerios. They cover the floor under the high chair and there are a fair number in the kitchen, but they've also traveled into the living room and I've even found a few upstairs. Cheerios are so useful, though, that I'm willing to live with the mess. The fat cat eats a few off the floor, but he's nowhere near as useful as a dog.

The baby baby likes to eat Cheerios and will spend long periods of time happily feeding herself. She learned to recognize the box fairly quickly and jumps up and down in her high chair when she sees it, something that is adorable and also a little frightening. Brand recognition already?

Recent cooking
Apple-cinnamon upside-down cake - I was expecting something with a gooey, sugary syrup on top, but you wind up with just a moist sweetness. The cake not touched by the sauce is mild in flavor and somewhat dry. This could work as a breakfast cake, possibly with some yogurt, but it definitely wasn't the dessert I was looking for.
Red velvet cake - When R expressed interest in a red velvet cake, I turned first to smitten kitchen, as the recipes there are always so carefully vetted. I wound up reducing this recipe by a third, as I only have two round cake pans, and I think somewhere in the process the cake became a little dry. Maybe it was my oven, as I cooked it for the minimum time and it came out crispy around the edges. Still, good flavor. Also, best recipe for cream cheese frosting.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Roast chicken failure

Note to self: Roasting a chicken in a Bundt pan according to normal roasting times does not work. The lower half of the pan shields the legs. So, while the juices run clear, the bottom half of the chicken is still semi-raw. Cooking longer would probably dry out the top half, plus the skin on the legs doesn't get all brown and crispy.

Recent cooking
Yakisoba - Not bad, but missing something. Worcestershire sauce isn't an exact substitute for tonkatsu sauce, and since we've got plenty of Asian supermarkets in the area, we've decided not to settle.
Chili - Made a delicious pot of chili. I really like the idea of having a "chili formula," though I'd like mine a bit more spicy (did ground ancho chili and cumin, but definitely needed cayenne). Also, I'm fairly sure cumin isn't optional if you want it to actually taste like chili.
Lime yogurt cake - Recipe calls for blackberry sauce, I made mango, and I really just preferred the cake on its own. Very tasty.
Orange-scented olive oil cake - Used one of my failed jars of uber-chunky marmalade from ever so long ago. My family liked the cake, but, as it turns out, I was scarred by the marmalade-making experience and the smell of it just turns my stomach.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Egg on top

Back when I was a kid, the running joke in my family was that my dad would eat anything leftover the next morning with an egg on top. Pasta? Egg on top. Pizza? Egg on top. Salad? Egg on top.

Thinking back, I never actually saw him eat anything with an egg on top. The man was a leftover eating machine, but he preferred them straight. My breakfast this morning? Leftover black bean patties, crumbled and re-fried, with salsa and an egg on top.

Recent recipes
Beef-fee bean burgers - I made these with black beans and sunflower seeds, but otherwise according to the recipe. I think next time I'd tone down the seasoning, as it overpowered the bean flavor, and fry in just a little oil, as the outside was dry and chewy. Still, not bad.
Beef stew in spicy berbere sauce - You know how most of the times recipes are really conservative about heat? This one is not. It claims to have "a lively heat," but I think it might be inedible for those who are less accustomed to spicy food. Certainly surprised me and my guests. (Note to self: Remember what Mom said about experimenting with new recipes on guests? Don't do it!)
Pesto-chicken calzones - Leaked pesto-oil everywhere!