Kitchen Adventures

A few weeks ago we decided to start having a fresh box of fruits and vegetables delivered from a local farm, otherwise known as the CSA box. Each Wednesday, a brand new box of garden fresh organic goodness shows up on our door from J&P Organics.  Each box is a surprise...we get a little information about what might be in the box each week, but really we don't know exactly what we'll find until we open that magical box. The best part of the CSA box is trying new stuff we've never had before, like chard and kale, as well as trying new recipes, like a yummy cauliflower cabbage potato soup and the most amazing sweet potato and chard gratin. I've also tried a few other kitchen experiments like homemade bread and parsnip fries. So far everything has turned out well (Dad, don't look so surprised!).

Here are a few photos from the last couple weeks of kitchen adventures. More to come I'm sure. I might start doing a weekly recipe post here just for fun.

Just Because...

My relatively pedestrian morning at work followed by a lovely lunch hour of playing with the dog slowly derailed into a large pile of suck once I returned to my big, bad cubicle for the afternoon. And that afternoon lasted well into the evening. So now its time to go to bed and I'm left trying to find something to distract my busy mind from the ridiculousness that will be my day tomorrow...wait a minute, I'm about 100 days behind on photo posting, so hey, how about one of those photo essays I have planned in the queue. Plus, I'm enjoying John Stewart's banter about the oil spill, so its not time for bed just yet. As for the photos, remember way back in January when I was stuck in Montgomery, AL for a month? No? Oh yeah, that's because I suck at updating this blog. Anyway, yes, I was in Montgomery for a month, and Terry was even with me. There's a base in AL that Air Force likes to send all of its officers to every few years to learn how to be better officers. And all of us officers go because we get to drink beer more than we normally do because there's nothing else to do but...drink beer.

Amazingly, in the less-than-desirable locale that is Montgomery we found this incredible burrito lounge. Yeah, those words don't really go together...big fatty burrito and swanky lounge wear doesn't really conjure up the best mental image, but I'm telling you, the El Rey Burrito Lounge in Montgomery is top 5 Mexican places we've every dined in...and trust me, I've eaten a lot of Mexican. This is an educated opinion. Plus, they have a beer list that is something like 200 brews long. Mmmm. Besides the tasty tortilla-wrapped delights, unbelievable salsa, and the cold beer, its a cool location in this neat old neighborhood in Montgomery called Old Cloverdale. So, if you're ever in Montgomery for some reason, go there. Eat there. Drink there. Its worth it. There's also a great little wood oven pizza place called Tomatino's just across the street if burritos and salsa so good you could drink it aren't your thing.

Enjoy the photos...and leave a comment if you like. Terry's been working his butt off sprucing this page up, so let him know what you think!

Random scene over the patio fence.

The first round.

Serious discussion.

Sign language.

From the patio.

Beer List (just clicked this one, but now I see I should have shifted because that brew in the glass is a North Coast Blue Star I think).

The street scene in Old Cloverdale.

Beer Fridge.

Ladies Room.

Cookies Are The Answer

The joys of doing a thesis... Two days spent cutting and pasting, trialing and erroring, compiling and running, deleting and starting over...half of the little project is getting there, the other half, I have no idea. Lovely.

I reached a tipping point of frustration with a batch of data that I can't figure out how to read. I literally threw my hands in the air, said a few four letter words, brushed my hands, and went in the kitchen.

Cookies had to be made.

My favorite cookies are oatmeal scotchies. Terry thinks they are too sweet. He'd rather have oatmeal raisin, but I hate raisins in baked goods. So I developed a compromise...oatmeal craisin.

Add a little ice cream to a still-warm cookie and everything is oh-so-lovely in the world.

Maybe I'll bring cookies to my weekly meeting my advisors tomorrow. Then maybe they won't notice that I didn't figure out how to read my data...

Dinner Last Night

This weekend we did nothing but homework. I left the house for about an hour and a half yesterday for a short little ride and Terry left for about an hour today to run an errand. That's it. Beautiful January weekend with 70 degree temps and I've been basking in the CFL light over my kitchen table, pecking away at my thesis. But we have had time to cook... Last night I tried out a new recipe. It was a spin on the traditional French Coq au Vin recipe called Coq au Zin, since it is made with red zinfandel. I found the recipe on The Recipe Girl during my daily read of food blogs (apparently my new obsession). It was a fairly easy and straight forward recipe with inexpensive ingredients, just takes a little while to make. And honestly, who can complain about a recipe that includes fried chicken, bacon, and an entire bottle of wine??

The final product. (Darn right we drink $3.99 Trader Joe's wine with dinner):


We're used to making dishes that have a lot of big flavors in them, but since this was French, it was a little more mellow than my usual kitchen creations. But it was definitely rich. I think next time I might save a few bits of bacon to sprinkle on at the end. And I'll serve it with some garlic mashed potatoes on the side. But overall, a great recipe. And the name makes you feel all fancy when you're cooking it.

Terry's making his secret-recipe fajitas tonight. Mmmmm!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

So this culinary creation was my idea.  Well, almost. I read about the idea on the web and then actually put it into practice.  Get your self a rotisserie chicken and boil the bones with garlic and veggies for a couple of hours.  I did it in a spaghetti pot because it made separating the broth from the bones easy.  Then, after discarding the bones, add the chicken and veggies and other spices and let it simmer for a couple of more hours.  And voilá, you have some yummy chicken noodle soup.  And I have to say that man it was good.  Now I'm not usually one to not use the grill to do the cooking, but this was easy and still kept me out of the mystery that is the oven.