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Food, glorious food

woman-cookingI’m happy to report that the long cooking drought is over. We even made fish stew last night, and the lingering smell in the kitchen doesn’t make me ill! During the first oh, 13 weeks of pregnancy I cooked maybe once a week. And I had this bad habit of forgetting key ingredients like oil or leavening.

While I haven’t missed the cleanup work entailed in cooking, I’ve gotten mighty sick of eating restaurant and previously frozen foods. And nobody’s happier than David, he loves him some home cooking. Here are some recipes I’ve made recently:

Emeril Lagasse’s Fish Stew
I don’t cook Emeril’s recipes that often because 1) they’re usually wicked complicated and 2) they’re usually very, very high in fat. However, nobody does it like Emeril. I always turn to him for special occasion and comfort food recipes. This one is relatively easy (meaning it’s not four recipes in one) and while not low in fat (there’s a roux) it’s not too bad since none of the other ingredients have much in the way of fat. We used 2 lbs of the redfish David caught last weekend in it and it was DELISH!

Butternut Squash Soup
I’m mostly avoiding cooking meat at home, the after-cooking smell really bothers me. We also have sorely neglected our CSA (farm membership) so a lot of veggies have been given out to friends or languished. But winter squashes are pretty hardy, and I finally used one of my butternut squash to make this. It’s a great recipe, really easy. It has a lovely texture and the flavor is quite sweet. For that reason, I like to swirl some yogurt in it (tip via Emily) or some low fat sour cream. It’s really good served at lunch with some cheese toast. I added a little ginger paste to the recipe, because I almost always do.

Gingered Pumpkin Pie
In addition to the butternut, we get some other green and orange, pumpkin like squash from the CSA. I baked up two of them and scooped them out to freeze and use later. But first, I made this recipe. You would never know it’s lightened! Maybe because of all the sugar… Still, you use nonfat evaporated milk instead of sweetened-condensed and it comes out really nice.

Stove-Top Mac and Cheese
I am not the only currently pregnant lady with a wicked mac and cheese craving. And not the only one to suffer from the curse of the lumpy white sauce. Unless there’s butter involved, starting with the flour and gradually adding milk always leads to disaster for me. I usually heat the milk and then gradually sift in the flour. Takes more time, but not if you count how may times I’ve had to re-do lumpy white sauce. Anyway, this recipe avoids that problem all together. Be warned, it’s wicked rich. Normally I might say “bring it on!” but in my current state, overly rich food makes me very ill. So I reduced the fat a bit by using non-fat evaporated milk. Next time I’ll probably also combo some lower fat cheese in with whatever else I use. Maybe gorgonzola? Yum.

Enjoy! I know I am.

Belated Update

A few weeks ago David and I took a short vacation in the hill country. We stayed at a farm near Blanco, called Juniper Hills Farm. It was just what we needed – remote, peaceful, quiet, packed with plants and wildlife (there was a bird convention out our window) and included tasty baked goods. The little cabins have microwaves and fridges, so if you’re resourceful, you can pack enough food in to avoid having to go out for all your meals. They also provide you with milk, juice, granola, snack mix, and hot baked goods in the morning.

I brought enough food to feed us for a week (we only stayed two nights), and discovered that all the non-chocolate products were in low demand. I did manage to kludge together dinner the first night thusly:


Kohlrabi Goat-Cheese Prosciutto Pasta

8 oz farfalle
1 lb kohlrabi (roots only)
1/2 c goat cheese
garlic
olive oil
salt
pepper

Pre-cook the pasta, drain, rinse with cool water, and lightly toss with olive oil to keep from sticking. Peel and cube the kohlrabi, and toss with minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast on a parchment-covered cookie sheet for about 40 min (give or take) until soft and lightly golden.

To construct pasta: reheat both the pasta and the kohlrabi in the microwave. Layer thusly: pasta, crumbled goat cheese, kohlrabi, and finely sliced proscuitto or serrano ham, two slices per plate.

Nom!

We also went to Pedernales Falls, wandered around Wimberly, and had lunch at the the Silver K Cafe in Johnson City. It was a cool place, and the food was very tasty. And now, the photos.

at Juniper Hills
View from the window of our cabin.

at Juniper Hills
Juniper

at Juniper Hills
There were lavender patches covered with butterflies.

At Juniper Hills Farm
Also, donkeys!

at Juniper Hills
Lavender

at Juniper Hills
Husband relaxing.

At Juniper Hills Farm

Pedernales Falls
Pedernales Falls