What I learned this week is that no matter how cathartic cooking may be for some, for me, it isn’t a good idea to attempt if I’m in a bad mood. There are sharp objects, often hot pots and pans, and little space available to spread everything out. After having a particularly bad day, I decided “What the hell? What more could possibly go wrong?” It’s best not to ask those questions. I had found a pretty spectacular recipe that was just calling my name. I’ve been craving Mexican food for a couple weeks and this seemed like just the thing to take care of that hankering. Well, it would have been if I’d paid a little more attention to what I was doing. But we all know what it’s like, to be so angry that you’re trapped in your head and can’t step away from it. I tried a number of times. My declaration of “I AM NOT GOING TO LET THIS EMPANADA BEAT ME!” is what finally made me put my rear in gear and pound these things out. And now, the terrible tale…
COOKING ADVENTURE #81: Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta
You’re probably not going to believe me when I say this but…it actually looks better than it tastes. To most of you, this just crushed some kind of pasta food-baby you were hoping to nurture in the future and I apologize for that. I should also add that I didn’t exactly follow the directions to the letter. I have a feeling though (and this is just my opinion) that this recipe would have turned out badly even if I had followed them. It’s one of those recipes that you desperately don’t want to mess up because it looks so scrumptious…and also because you’re making so damn much of it. End result: I have a ton of this stuff and I can barely force it past my lips half the time. Still probably have enough for two meals in my fridge. Urgh…
And yes, it has been a considerable amount of time since the last cooking adventure. I wanted to make the seventy fifth Cooking Adventure very special though, which is why I waited for such a long time. This is Shark Week, one of my favorite times of the year. Why, you might ask. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a fascination with sharks. I think they are some of the most interesting and beautiful animals in our ocean. They are powerful, they should be revered especially when we are entering their territory. I was the odd kid in class in third grade reading the books about sharks, crocodiles, and wolves. So now that there is an entire week dedicated to educating people about sharks and trying to turn the mindset that has been associated with them ever since Jaws came out, I have been ecstatic. I’ve been planning a Shark Week cooking adventure ever since summer began. In fact, I’m so excited that I’ll be doing two. Yes, you’re eyes haven’t deceived you. I said two. There will be another one at the end of the week. So, get ready for some terrifying tales as I brave entering the kitchen again to bring you some sweet shark themed goodies…
Yes. You read that title correctly. Not only was I tardy in doing my cooking adventures this week, they ended up not being very appetizing at all. I also ate them in such a hurry that I didn’t get any photographs taken. Trust me, they wouldn’t have done these sorry dishes any justice. I can only say that for my seventy-fifth Cooking Adventure, I don’t want you to be disappointed with something as gross as either of these two things; chicken fingers and meatball subs (although I’m sure you’re wondering why the chicken tasted like dog food and why the meatballs were stale). I honestly have no idea about the chicken, and the meatballs had been in my freezer for over a year. Yes, I still ate them. Am I sick? No. Somehow, I’m not.
Be that as it may, I will be doing my 75th Cooking Adventure this weekend and it will be an event you won’t want to miss. (Much like the Quarter Quell from Catching Fire!) Even though the eponymous Shark Week is a couple weeks away, I’ll be throwing a Kick-Off night this Saturday. I’ll be creating some shark cupcakes and chum jello shots, while a couple friends and I watch Jaws: the Rifftrax edition. Curious? Check these guys out. You won’t be disappointed.
Now, now. I know you guys have been waiting for almost two weeks. It’s coming. Just know that in that time, I’ve been making some incredible leaps and bounds while working on my apocalyptic ghost novel, “Cold Walls.” Almost to 9,000 words and still going strong.
It has been a crazy couple weeks. That’s the only excuse that I can say for why I haven’t concocted this amazing dish. But let me make it also clear that it’s been about 90 degrees here and humid every damn day for those two weeks. And the idea of cooking something in a 425 degree oven just wasn’t that appealing to me. But, I finally did it. I decided that after dark (from the 100 degree day we just had), I will finally put my nose to the grindstone and make that shortcake. I’m glad I did. There are few things to beat the heat with that are better than a soft biscuit, molten blueberry topping, light whipped cream and coffee ice cream. Very few things. When I actually have some extra time on my hands, I’ll definitely make this for a party of some kind, because, in the end, it didn’t take as long as I was thinking it would. And though it vaguely resembles a bleeding octopus/jellyfish hybrid in its final form, all I can say is that it’s the most scrumptious Jellypus that I’ve ever eaten.
COOKING ADVENTURES #70: Rice Krispie Treats and Personal Chocolate Chip Cookie
Finally after nearly a month of no Cooking Adventures, I have returned with a necessary reboot. Most of you know the whole spiel: I went on a crazy hike, got nominated for an award, and have been working crazy hours in between whilst trying to finish a manuscript. All of that is done and over with. Now I’ve got some time to get back into the swing of things with some new recipes. And while this weeks didn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to create, I did have some trouble with another recipe that I’ve made several times without incident. I intend to share both experiences with you. And you’re going to love the one I messed up on. It was none other than a single chocolate chip cookie. “How? How utterly incompetent must you be to screw up making a chocolate chip cookie?” you may ask. Apparently, just incompetent enough.
Sometimes, there is really nothing like coming home from a long day at work and get lost in cooking dinner. It has been quite some time since I’ve done a Cooking Adventure dinner and I feel as though I’ve gotten out of touch with cooking a little over the last few weeks. My plate has been filled with lots of things this month and it has been easier for me to just buy frozen things at the grocery store to eat rather than spend time after working all day to make something. Last night as I got home and realized I didn’t have any pre-prepared dinner to make quickly. But I was also feeling a real need to get lost in something, have a real “zen” moment where I could find my calm. Somehow, cooking seemed like the way to go. And I have to say this was one of the most calming cooking adventures I’ve done yet. All of the tension and frustration I’ve been feeling melted away into a pleasurable act of creating this flavorful potato salad with a unique pink tint provided by one of the most delicious vegetables known to man; beets.
(Quick) COOKING ADVENTURE #67: Garlic Chicken Sausage Pasta with Asparagus
It’s taken me some time to do get up the nerve to write this Cooking Adventure. I say this because I’ve recently been battling with the nastiest stomach bug known to man. Everything that could possibly seem delicious is immediately revolting in my mind. I’ve been subsisting on a diet of crackers, bananas, and muffins. Whenever I try to eat anything else, I immediately become nauseated. It seems to be closely tied to the migraine that I’ve been fighting the last couple of days. So you can imagine that it hasn’t been easy for me to relive the experience of a meal with so many strong flavors, some of which just don’t mesh with an upset sensitive stomach. It’s quite sad because this really is a wonderful recipe. A friend from work had made it several weeks ago and gave me the recipe to make. I made it twice. The first time, I had no issue. The second time however… well, that’s when this stomach bug popped up. I have the feeling that I will be avoiding asparagus and goat cheese for quite some time after this episode. I can’t even say their names without getting sick. Urgh.
Two weeks. I’ve been waiting two weeks to make this damn meatloaf. This heavenly concoction wrapped in celestial bacon, and coated in a divine ketchup brown sugar glaze has been on my mind day and night. And while I underwent my search for a new vehicle, I kept hoping that I’d be lucky enough to have some time here to get groceries and time there to actually make the meatloaf. Well, finally tonight, my time came. And the finished product didn’t disappoint one bit. I allowed it to bake as I tuned into the live coverage of the manhunt for the last suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. It was a tense, edge of your seat evening in more ways than one. I’m just glad that everything turned out okay in the end. As the crowds in Boston cheered as the suspect was apprehended alive, I, too, cheered as my meatloaf came out of the oven looking like the best thing I’d seen all week (besides my new car, of course.)