Friday, June 25, 2010

Red Broccoli Salad and White Chocolate Party Mix

June is a busy month for my family; Father’s day, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations; so for a Sunday Father’s Day + a little bit of everything party, I was destined to cook. The Red Broccoli Salad was a little challenging. The recipe did not have any broccoli in it so I was immediately confused. I was going to make the recipe as is until I talked to my Mom. She convinced me that Red Broccoli salad does in fact have broccoli in it…Elementary Dear Watson. So my Friday night consisted of cooking up two pounds of bacon on two pans with oil that was entirely too hot. As always, a good portion of the bacon made it only as far as my mouth. I toasted up some almond slivers and decided the rest of the chopping should be saved until Sunday to ensure freshness. The White Chocolate Party Mix was really easy and good! The ingredients are roughly the same as the Scramble, but you add white chocolate instead of salty toppings. I had to leave the house while the chocolate dried so the pans ended up on my bed with the door closed. That little sneaky kitty can’t be trusted!
So on Father’s Day Jeff helped me to chop of the remaining veggies for the salad. My mom caught him eating some broccoli and me eating some grapes. I wonder if any recipes anticipate that people will eat as they cook and provide slightly more of the tasty ingredients. My recipes from here on out will say 2.1 pounds of bacon…just to be safe.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Watermelon Salsa (and some old favorites)

I have been so behind on cooking and posting! My apologies to my huge army of readers (AKA, thanks for still reading Grandma!). Jeff and I had Tristan and Amanda over for dinner to catch up. The menu, tofu tacos with black beans with a watermelon salsa and chili rellanos. The tofu tacos were not actually in the recipe book, but the Watermelon Salsa was and was paired with some chicken. So the picture does not depict the tacos, but instead, the next day with a beautiful piece of chicken that Jeff cooked up. I digress…I still have some ‘Jenna still sucks at cooking’ stories, just sans the photos to prove it.
The guests arrived and Tristan had brought over a 6-pack of beer to share. As I don’t drink beer because of my stomach problems, I made myself a nice tequila/orange juice blend to get through the cooking. I have a nasty habit of forgetting that I have something baking in the oven, even though I mentally say ‘Jenna, don’t forget about the things in the oven’. So as always, I hit that revelation moment when I realize I had not been attending my corn tortillas baking. The overcooked tortillas have now become crispy tostadas instead of lightly crispy tacos. Oh well! As this crisis ensued I then realized that I hadn’t stirred the tofu in a while…burnt! Just the bottom though and everyone assured me that it still tasted great (I think they were just being nice). I cooked up some chili rellanos from Jennifer’s recipe only I cooked them in way more oil than she does. Once the food had been cooked and the beers had been opened it was discovered that an extra beer was opened by mistake. Perhaps it will save in the fridge for later? Maybe I will have to bite the bullet to prevent waste? An offering to the cooking gods? Ahh, but alas, the beer just stayed on the counter, with its beady eyes watching us eat and drink his friends.
After dinner we all took up relaxed positions on the couch and watched a little basketball. After everyone had digested slightly I served up some leftover mint chocolate squares and gluten-free brownies I had frozen (not as good the second time around). Then there was a second round of digestion and Amanda and Tristan left for the night. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Harvest Salad and Beef Mushroom Montage

Harvest Salad and Beef Mushroom Montage

This meal was a two part ordeal. Part one…failure; part two…only partially successful. So Jeff and I try to make these two dishes. I work on the Beef Mushroom Montage (Gretchen) which is a creative name for Mushroom/Beef Stroganoff and Jeff was in charge of emptying the dish washer and toasting the pecans for the Harvest Salad (Amanda). Jeff was a little late getting the pecans out of the oven, but I don’t think it would have mattered anyway. The directions were either off or our stove is entirely too hot! So in conclusion, the pecans were a charred black that gave a charred ‘character’ to my cookie sheet that will never come off. Those were the last of the pecans so we scratched this recipe for tonight and just had a normal salad.
The Montage was supposed to simmer for 30 minutes to thicken. I gave it 30, I gave it 45, I gave it an hour, I turned the heat down, I turned the heat off, I left the cover on, I took the cover off, I even added copious amounts of corn starch…slosh, slosh; why won’t this dang dish thicken? I realized that maybe the problem was the type of Cream of Mushroom Soup we bought. I had gone to Whole Foods today and got a natural organic yadda yadda soup. I think this recipe calls for more of a Kroger type of soup…full of who knows what but it will thicken!
So we gave up on waiting and poured the still soup (not sauce) over some noodles that I had horribly overcooked while waiting for the dang soup to become a sauce! So I took no pictures and decided to try another day. The leftovers would surely thicken in the fridge and I could cook up new noodles .On this day, the pecans were not burnt, the noodles were great…but the stupid sauce was still not thick! What could I do!? I dumped it on the noodles and finessed the noodles a bit until it looked like something reasonable to take a picture of.
On a positive note I made some toasted French bread with Spanish olive oil, fresh basil from my dying garden, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. What a glutinous meal this has become, but the taste was worth the tummy ache.