Strawberry Vinaigrette

I just made dinner for the first time in ages. And yes, you’re probably wondering….”um, Alex, you work in a restaurant, don’t you make dinner for people every night?” And yes, that’s a valid question. Very valid. Tonight though, I cooked myself dinner. Albeit, not a great one. But I felt creative again as I haven’t in ages because I didn’t have to create someone else’s dish for the thousandth time. Which, don’t mistake me, I love cooking in the restaurant scene, but this felt nice in very different way. I can see by looking at my recently published blogs that I haven’t cooked anything I found worth blogging about at home since last July….
That’s very sad to me. I like writing this blog almost as much as I like to imagine that I’m Julie Powell of the Julie/Julia franchise. And the fact that I haven’t felt inspired to cook for myself at home, even on my days off, since July, is downright sad. But I have a new lease on life right now. I dropped a lot of baggage a while back and now I’m in a great new relationship with myself and with my new boyfriend. So I’m going to be cooking for him at home more often. And I’m in the middle of a job search, about which I hope to write some notes, too. So I should have some more fodder for my blog from here on out.
Back to the title. I made strawberry vinaigrette tonight. Fresh strawberries, garlic and balsamic vinegar and a bit too much olive oil…But it’s still tasty! The salad itself was just spinach and fennel and chia seeds, but also tasty. I also cooked up some corn and reheated a bratwurst I braised in apple juice a few days back.

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Garlic Lemon Basil…Perfectly Baked Chicken!

…And Undercooked Potatoes

So I made a real dinner tonight, for the first time in a long while. I stuffed chicken legs with basil, put them atop a bed of raw garlic, and then put potatoes over that. Lemon juice and olive oil are drizzled over all that good stuff. Now it is sitting in a 350-degree oven as prescribed, and I have been waiting for it for not even half of the recommended 45-50 minutes.

I am impatient and hungry.

I have also decided to make a quick appetizer. Just some French bread, grape tomatoes, and more fresh basil, then some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, finally I cracked some salt and pepper over it all. That was delicious, and now my food is done cooking in that 350-degree oven. YAY!

Basil, Tomato, French Bread
Basil, Tomato, French Bread

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Ugh. So the chicken was yummy-yum deliciousness! It was cooked perfectly. Still juicy and tender, but cooked all the way through, without a drop of pink in the juices. I love chicken for its adaptability and its propensity to take on other flavors. It is also tasty on its own fried in egg and flour but tonight’s chicken was simply lemon-y, basil-y goodness.

Lemon, Garlic, Basil, Chicken and Potatoes
Lemon, Garlic, Basil, Chicken and Potatoes

 

The potatoes on the other hand…not so perfect. I am thoroughly disappointed in the potatoes…they had such potential and they did not make good. Only a few bites out of all the potatoes came out even remotely cooked properly. The others were hard, dry, and just…yuck! I am saddened by said potatoes.

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Persian Poached Eggs

Persion Poached Eggs
Persian Poached Eggs

What I wrote last night:
I’m making a strange, oven-baked, banana-slice-filled pancake this weekend. I have two very much too overripe bananas that I have no intention of eating plain, nor of making smoothies with them, since I don’t have any other fruit except a lemon. I was going to make banana bread, but I don’t have brown sugar and I’m trying not to spend any more money this month, at least, not on non-necessary foods like brown sugar. Of course, this means that I will be drinking coffee with only milk. More likely, not at all since the reason I use brown sugar is that black coffee is too bitter and regular sugar just doesn’t cut it.
I wish my mom were here for this recipe because we used to make this thing my childhood recipe book called ”big fluffy pancakes” (also known as German Pancakes), which I’m sure this recipe is similar to, except that that old recipe was not filled, but topped with fruit. Usually berries and whipped cream. I never even liked it all that much except for the fluffy part. The flavor was too eggy for me as a youngin. It looked cool though. However, I, like Julie Powell, have never really liked eggs much. I eat them occasionally because they always look really neat when you fry or poach them.
Anyway, for dinner tonight I’m probably going to make some sort of chicken…I’m not sure, but it’s either that or more quinoa, which I’m not excited about lately…
2/23/13 aka tonight:
Last night for dinner, I ended up making my roommate and me “Persian poached eggs” which, while freakin delicious, I yet again slightly failed on the execution. I did almost everything right in the instructions except I let them sit on the heat for too long. Thus, my eggs did not break open and run all over the beautiful tomato-y garlic and onion mish mash. They were medium, aka soft, but not at all runny, almost hard….but they looked beautiful on the outside, and I ended up not minding the fact that I had overcooked my eggs once again. Because even though they didn’t run and get all over the spaghetti and tomato-y garlic and onion mish mash, they were yummy. Moreover, my roomie liked the dish (or at least pretended to), so I was happy.
And I’m sorry to say, I didn’t photograph the meal because I didn’t want to look like an idiot…though I’m sure in hindsight that C. probably wouldn’t have batted an eyelash…as she is a blogger/etsy shop owner herself.

Glorious Roasted “Winter Vegetables”

So I made a glorious dinner to make up for my terrible lunch. It tastes fresh and simple and did I mention glorious? And it was simple to make and as I write…it may become cold…

Hold that thought!

Brussels Sprouts and Quinoa IMG_0314[1]Ok now that I’ve done the eating-my-dinner part, I’ll tell you what it was:  roasted “winter vegetables” in Thyme, garlic and butter. All on top of a small portion of quinoa (keen-wah). And oh boy was it ever glorious. I cannot stop saying that. It may well be the ONLY thing I actually say in this blog…

I cut up potatoes and baby carrots so that they were about the same size and fried/steamed them in a pan of hot butter whilst boiling quinoa per directions (boil 10 minutes, cover for five with the heat off, then “fluff”). I also par-boiled some Brussels sprouts, and I have to say if you think you do not like them, it is probably because they were over-cooked. They are supposed to have a warm, nutty kind of vegetable flavor. They are not supposed to taste like…farts or perhaps skunk? Anyhow, apparently when you over-cook them they give off a sulphuric taste/smell.

However, I didn’t overcook my Brussels sprouts, I added them to my potatoes and thyme and carrots and commenced fry/steaming them as well. Then I spooned my veggies out over the quinoa. I was all set to eat, when I realized that I hadn’t added the garlic! So what did I do, you ask? I put another healthy serving of butter into my pan and got it all liquidy and then put that darn garlic in there and made it all golden and beautiful. I didn’t brown it mind you, that would be over-cooking garlic, which gets tough and boring. I poured this lovely garlicky butter over my quinoa and vegetables, et voila! Dinner was served!