Fear not, dear reader. I have not abandoned you or my quest. I’ve just been living off of spaghetti and meatballs and TJ’s five layer dip (plus a trip home and other things), so there hasn’t been anything meaningful to post. I was at Trader Joe’s yesterday standing in front of their new products shelf, and this box mix called out to me. I figured it would be a good way to ease myself back into things. I wish all baking was as easy as mixing it with water and putting it on a cookie sheet.
I finally did it! The ever promised hummus crusted chicken. So delicious. The zucchini and squash hadn’t gone bad yet, so I sauteed that too. They go so well together. I’ve made this a few times. When I made it before, I made it with the zucchini and squash on the bottom with the chicken on top in the baking dish. My new cooking dish is small, so it wouldn’t have fit. The new dish barely fit the chicken breast. I’ve made it with a few different hummuses. I tried Sun Dried Tomato, but it melted off. I’d had a lot of success with the Trader Joe’s Kalamata Olive hummus, but tonight it melted off. I must not have layered it thick enough. It needs to be thick like 1/4 of an inch thick. Still tasted amazing though. I put salt and pepper on there and then was suddenly inspired to try out my new seasoning Mural of Flavor (from Penzey’s, of course). I’m not sure if I tasted it, but the chicken was delicious. I baked it for 25 minutes at 450. I got a peanut butter chocolate cupcake to eat after dinner tonight to celebrate the Oscars, but I felt like I’d earned it when I finally got home and already ate it. For some reason I like peanut butter mousse more than peanut butter.
Cooking Movie: Oscars Red Carpet Pre-Show (Flipping between broadcasts. Leonard Maltin geeking out over Gravity on the CW feed is hilarious.)
No fridge chronicles today. I promise that tomorrow they will be finished with the ever teased hummus crusted chicken. I bought a new baking dish, so I am ready to go. I just had to post about my belated birthday present. After Christmas, I got to take a ski trip to Deer Valley in Park City with my family. Every day for lunch I had a bowl of their amazing turkey chili. It was almost as good as the skiing. For days after I dreamed about how good it was. I only found out there was a mix after leaving! If only I’d known! I mentioned this to my friend, Lauren. She remembered and got me a packet for my birthday! I’m so excited. So expect amazing turkey chili in the future! Hopefully I can do it justice.
(I’ve also been too scared to try my lemon curd. I might have to tomorrow since I left my jelly out in my hurry to get out the door this morning. Thankfully there was only a little bit left, so no great loss.)
Day three of Fridge Chronicles. How much longer can I drag these lemons out? Thankfully not much longer. The thought of skinless lemons just sitting in my fridge bothered me. I searched for recipes that called for lemon juice, but didn’t feel up to going through all the effort for most things. Lemon curd sounded amazing, but most of the recipes seemed complicated/labor intensive. Enter King Arthur Microwave Lemon Curd. Now I’m pretty sure I failed this one. I tried to halve it since I really don’t need to eat two cups of lemon curd nor do I have enough lemons. I realized I had no microwave safe bowl big enough (add that to the growing list of kitchen supplies I need– toaster, baking dishes, bowls), so I used my glass measuring cup. I’m pretty sure I over cooked it. The egg whites congealed on the top. I think I also went over the cooking time by a minute or two. It got all boily and hot and sticky. Which is part of the curding process I’m guessing? I have to wait for it to cool and then sit in the fridge for a bit before it’s achieved proper curdness. I’ll try some on an English muffin in the morning. The egg bits just make it better, right? Next time I’ll make a full recipe. Or one that’s cooked on the stove.
Cooking Movie: Elementary
Day two in the chronicles of Let’s Make Something Out of Whatever Is In My Fridge. When I bought lemons for fondue and hummus crusted chicken, they had a four for two dollars deal. One got used for the fondue, but as you know the hummus crusted chicken has yet to be made. So I had two lemons just hanging out. What to make? Shortbread! I made the first recipe that came up on Google from Pinch My Salt. Super easy recipe. I like it. I halved it since there’s no possible way I can eat five dozen shortbread cookies (though I probably would try). I went ahead and used all of the zest from two lemons as everything lemony I make seems to lack true lemon flavor. I won’t be bothered if I over do it.
So far the batter tastes good, but I really think it’s impossible to mess up butter, sugar, and flour. I did have to add extra butter though to the halved recipe. The batter wouldn’t come together. It stayed crumbly. I added three tablespoons of melted butter and then it obliged me by forming into a ball. Smells good. I cut my slices a little bit thinner, so the cooking time was a few minutes shorter. They are good. Buttery and crunchy. But again that lemon flavor I crave so badly escapes me. Maybe it’s just me and my taste buds wanting everything lemony to taste like lemon curd. They are pretty lemony though. And good with tea!
Cooking Movie: Pride and Prejudice
I finally finished rereading Emma yesterday. Anyone who has ever read it will know that Miss Bates goes on and on for pages about apples and Mr. Woodhouse’s insistance that the best way to eat them is baked. I even did a presentation about food in Emma where my partner and I baked apples for the class (And we only got a B. What kind of impossibly high standards?). I’ve finally gotten my appetite back and got the urge to cook something. There were two apples in the back of my fridge needing to get eaten, so apples it was! I found this Emma inspired recipe on the PBS website. I’m afraid I’ll disappoint Mr. Woodhouse by not baking them three times. Just 30 minutes. I also have no nuts (which is astonishing. I always have nuts! Time to replenish my stores) and no raisins (ick). My apples are just stuffed with cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Tastes just like a baked apple. Definitely not as good as Mr. Knightley’s apples, but it’ll do. I have a feeling I’ll try my hand at this again in the future, so next time I’ll get the proper fillings. And ice cream!
This was just right for an impromptu nudge back into cooking. I also like the idea of literary influenced dishes. Part of my problem is that I’m floundering to come up with good things to make every week. Maybe that would be a good direction. Maybe at least one literary inspired thing a week? Unlike Miss Bates, I don’t see salted hindquarter of pork in my future. And my literary pursuits are going to be fairly 18th century focused for quite some time. I’ve vowed to get through Udolpho. I want to reread Clarissa. Finally read Cecelia. And on and on. I just need the time!
Cooking Movie: Persuasion (Only suffering through it for Ciaran Hinds. My heart is aching for Anne)
Apologies for going so long without a post. I have not abandoned you or my quest. I promise that the thought of the veggies and other foods that have gone bad in my fridge in the wake of this tragedy is torture enough. And the left over birthday cake I didn’t get to eat. I sadly contracted food poisoning. Something I ate on Tuesday. Not entirely sure what, but I have my theories. I was unable to cook anything for a day or so and then just completely unwilling after that. I haven’t quite gotten my appetite back. And I figured nobody would be interested in a post about Trader Joe’s chicken soup (I would recommend a pass on that. The rest of it is ok, but the chicken itself is icky), Trader Joe’s apples and cinnamon oatmeal (a surprise success!), or crackers. My Jasmine mint tea was a life saver.
So here’s hoping I’ll get my appetite back soon and be back on our regularly scheduled program. Hummus crusted chicken– soon!