I've decided to make today a lazy day. Everyone's entitled to one, right? I woke up about an hour ago and I'm still in my pajamas. I don't even care.
I had a great week of cooking that I'd like to share though! Let's start with Tuesday. Er, before Tuesday. Last weekend I went upstate to visit Ryan and attend our friends' wedding. Starting the Friday before I left, I could feel myself getting sick. My head was feeling pressure, my throat felt weird, and I knew I had some post-nasal drip going on. Gross. All this being said, by about Sunday I was going through boxes of tissues and feeling a bit foggy. So even though I had Monday off from work, I took Tuesday off as well to get some extra rest. For the record, it was worth it because at this point, I'm pretty much over sickness, and normally it would take longer. Bazinga.
So after resting and getting a lot of work done on Tuesday, I made a trip to Trader Joe's. Good parts of this trip: It wasn't nearly as crowded as it usually is, I stayed under what I wanted to spend on groceries for the day, I found awesome pre-made soup for days when I don't want to cook. Bad parts of the trip: They started using paper bags, then switched to plastic bags giving me about 7 to take on the bus (even though I told them I needed to take them on the bus), I had to redistribute the groceries once I stepped out of the store to consolidate into paper bags, One of the bags broke open the minute I stepped off the bus. Needless to say, it was tiring for a sick kid.
Later that day, I decided to make homemade soup for lunch for the week. I opted for my mom's Three Mushroom Soup recipe....but only used two different kinds because that's all TJ's had to offer. I also replaced the shallots I couldn't find with another onion, which was probably a bad idea because the soup is really onion-y. I still eat it though.
To make the soup, you cook the onions in some butter (you're not supposed to brown them, but I did a little because of my love for caramelized onions), then add in some garlic. Next, you had two containers of baby bellas, and two containers of shitake mushrooms (make sure you take the stems off of these). You're also supposed to add oyster mushrooms. You let all of these cook down and then add two containers of vegetable stock. I added one and a half since I had less mushrooms. You're also supposed to add a bay leaf at this point, but I didn't have any so I added a bunch of Italian seasoning. Bad idea. The end result will have you picking twig like things out of your mouth. Don't. Do it.
After this cooked for about 20 minutes, I lowered the heat and used my immersion blender to make it a thicker soup. Then I added in a tiny bit of cream, which accounts for its somewhat gross color. I taste tested for salt and pepper and added some until it was just right. And then I actually said, "mmmm." I'm pretty sure that when you live alone, that's how you know it's good.
Wednesday night I cooked a Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry recipe that I found in Food Network magazine. It's quickly become one of my faves, especially since I rarely make Asian foods. I started by coating the pieces of chicken. You're supposed to mix one egg white with sherry and a little flour. I mixed one egg white with apple cider vinegar and a little natural peanut butter. I figured that might be a better thickening agent than flour...and I was totally right.
I cooked the broccoli by boiling it for a couple minutes, then draining it and running some cold water over it to keep it crisp. Then I sauteed the chicken pieces and placed them in the oven after just to keep them warm. I caramelized some onions, then added chopped garlic and bell peppers, then added back in the broccoli and chicken and a sauce I made with the vinegar peanut butter, and a touch of soy sauce. Oh! And some chopped raw almonds. After letting this all mesh together, I dumped it all on my plate.
It was way too much food. I was crazy full after eating like, half of this. But so delicious! I find that when I've tried to add peanut butter to stuff like this before, it just becomes a thick mess, but by mixing it with other things beforehand, it works really well. It was my decision to add the onions, and I'm glad I did because it added some much needed sweetness. The apple cider vinegar also gave it a nice tang, which might not be for everybody, but I totally dug it. I also think it's important to watch the veggies in a stir fry, because you want them to stay crisp. With stuff like broccoli, don't cook it too long and hit it with cold water. And with peppers, add those last and just get them steaming a bit. Other wise you're going to have a big plate of mush.
Also, I didn't add rice or any grain/carb to this, and I totally didn't need it because of how filling everything was!
Thursday night I met up with my friends for dinner. I scoped out some places on Urbanspoon and came across this little gem: Ippudo.
|[image courtesy of newyork.seriouseats.com]|
Lastly, Friday night I decided to just throw together a big salad with some sauteed chicken on top. And I made my own vinaigarette. I whisked together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, salt and pepper. You seriously have to whisk this and a lot. You can't just take a fork and go at it like you're making scrambled eggs. No. You need a WHISK, and you need to go crazy on it. You end of with something that's thicker and creamier, but without the cream. I definitely got a big hit of that Dijon mustard, which is a taste I'm still getting used to. But the biggest thing making my own dressing taught me was how much sugar is in those pre-made dressings. I'm used to a really sweet and tangy balsamic vinaigarette, but this was tangy and slightly bitter. I really liked it, but I kind of wish I had some feta and craisins in my salad rather than just chicken, celery, carrots, tomatoes, olives, and parmesan. Next time.
Have you bored you enough with my food obsession? Probably. But I'll leave you with this: I've decided that Pumpkin Spice Lattes are NOT where it's at with fall drinks at Starbucks. Especially because most locations load up on the syrup. Non-fat Salted Caramel Mochas are the best. I promise.