Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I Loooooove Fennel

First, I did take pictures of the delish meal I made the Saturday after Valentine's Day, but they turned out all blurry and weird once I put them on the computer. So, I will just share that the food was awesome! The Barefoot Contessa Potato-Fennel Gratin was so amazing. It had a little too much cream, I thought, that made it a little runny, but the flavor was fantastic. I have never tried fennel before, but I am completely in love with it. I also cooked the steaks in the sear in a skillet and finish in the oven way, and it was amazing, too. The dessert, Couer a la Creme, was so-so. I think it might have been because I forgot to buy vanilla bean, so I just used a little extra vanilla extract. It was just a little bland to me. I will probably try to make it again, though. Oh, and I also forgot to buy raspberry jam to make the rasperry sauce, so I just used the strawberry jam I had on hand, and it basically tasted like strawberries. Still good, though!

My new love for fennel was cemented last night when I made the Barefoot Contessa (yes, I know I am obsessed) Loin of Pork with Fennel. Again, it was amazing. The pork was so juicy and flavorful. The cooking time in the recipe was exactly right. The only critisism was that the pork was a little salty. Next time I will just scale that back, and it will be perfect. The roast was so big that I will have leftovers tonight and possibly tomorrow. But, that's fine with me! Geoff was sicky with a cold, and he couldn't really taste the food, unfortunately. The only thing he could really comment on was how juicy the pork was. Hehe. Just a note, for anyone thinking of making this recipe. After a quick test w/the food processor, it seems that two slices of bread with the crusts removed makes about a cup of fresh bread crumbs. So, in total, plan on using 6 slices of bread for the stuffing. Another note, I didn't use white wine since we never drink, and there was only 1 tablespoon used in the recipe. I just used a tablespoon of chicken broth to deglaze the pan.

OMG, I can't wait to eat that again tonight.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Because of the horrible weather, I stayed home from work today. Most of the roads around my apartment STILL aren't plowed, and it is 10:45 PM.

I have a nephew! My sister in law went into labor yesterday at around 3 AM, and my nephew was born at 11:30 AM. They have named him Austin. I have seen a picture of him that my sister sent to me on my phone, but have not been able to get down there to actually see him in person. Hopefully tomorrow night I will be able to. It is kind of weird, having a nephew. I have been 8 years with only nieces. It will take some getting used to. I much prefer buying girly things!

On to food stuff. Let's see, I haven't been really cooking, because I have been lazy. For today, Valentines Day, we did nothing. We were planning on going to dinner, but it was so gross out we decided to pass. So, I made the decision to cook a big fancy dinner on Saturday for us. We will be at his dad's, dogsitting, but I will bring all my essential pots and pans over there. I am planning on making steaks (Ribeye for me, New York Strip for him), Potato-Fennel Gratin (from the Barefoot Conessa), and Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry Sauce (also Barefoot Contessa) for dessert. It all sounds so yummy, especially dessert. I don't have the fancy heart shaped dish she uses to drain the cream cheese, but I am sure I will come up with something. I will take pictures of this meal for sure. I know I say that a lot, then no pictures appear, but this time I mean it. =)

Time for bed. I actually have to work tomorrow. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I have a confession to make

There is a McDonald's in my 1st floor of my building at work, and I find it hard to resist. Now, I have yet to understand the complexity of why I eat this food. It literally is disgusting. I am always grossed out completely after I eat and try to resist the urge to, well, purge! I don't eat there often, but enough to make me feel extremely guilty. I would prefer to be able to never eat there ever again.

My goal is to seriously buckle down and stop buying crap. I am extremely rigid about the food I buy and prepare myself to be non-processed fresh, and natural. But, when it comes to eating out, and I am much less anal about it. I want to try to stop eating all fast food.

The last time I ate a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit from McDonald's, I looked at the eggs, and they literally looked like a yellow sponge. I thought to myself, would I EVER eat this at home? The answer was no. So, I couldn't figure out why I would pay someone else to make that crap for me.

Okay. That is out. I will try to stick to it, and will hold myself accountable if I slip! In the meantime, I am trying to come up with really great new lunches to bring to work. I am really getting sick of my peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches. Plus, even though the peanut butter, jelly and bread are all natural and delicious, peanut butter is still pretty fattening. What I think I am going to do is buy a split turkey breast, roast it, and with that create all kinds of different things. I can also do the same with chicken.

My obsession with broccoli still continues. I have now had it in a different form. For the Super Bowl on Sunday, I made a little snack tray instead of dinner, and cut up all kinds of yummy veggies. I had a head of broccoli in my fridge, and decided to blanch and then shock it to add to the tray. I have had raw broccoli before and I think it has a seriously gross flavor. But, I have never had cooked broccoli cold or room temperature like this. It was awesome! No butter, just cooked in salted water. I even had the rest of it the next day, cold, right from the fridge. I never knew cold broccoli could be so delicious.

Also, I have used my Chefmate Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven at least 3 times, and it has been fantastic! I even made my marinara sauce in it last week, and it did a fabulous job. For anyone who is wanting one of these, check out Target. If you can't find it, I can give you the info on how I found it, and hopefully you can get your hands on one.

Okay, back to work!