28 February 2008

Turkey Sausage with Perogies and Green Beans

This hasn't really been the month for updates, has it? I've either been not cooking or cooking things I've made before or making things that aren't interesting enough to bother with. But mostly I think I've just not been cooking.

I don't really know if this counts as cooking, since mostly it was just heating and reheating, but it did taste very good. The green beans were just barely steamed, then tossed with a bit of butter and lemon juice. The sausage is just reheated, since it's pre-cooked. The perogies were a bit more labour intensive, though.

Usually when I make perogies, I bake them. It's both lazy and wrong, but also much better for me. Perogies are pretty high in calories to begin with, but when you do them the proper way, they're little gift-wrapped heart attacks.

First, you boil them in water until they float. Then you drain them, let them dry a little over a bit of heat, then toss in a metric ton of butter and cook them until they get crispy and a bit golden. I was too lazy and trying to avoid using too much butter to get them to the golden stage today, but if I were being proper about it, that's what I'd do. And then, you have to top them with sour cream, and in ideal circumstances, fried bacon and onions. I don't have any bacon (and don't really eat it any other times, so I didn't want to buy it) so I had to use a few nasty simulated bacon bits to add some colour. Anyway, all of that - perogy, butter, sour cream, bacon, and onions - adds up to the food of the Gods of Clogged Arteries and Happy Taste Buds.

20 February 2008

Rotini with Turkey-Tomato Sauce and Roasted Garlic Baguette

At the bakery today they gave me a sample of this new bread they're making, the name of which I can't remember, but it's basically a short baguette that's baked with roasted garlic in the dough. It was so ridiculously tasty, just fresh from the oven. So I had to buy one. (Even though it wasn't fresh from the oven anymore 7 hours later when I bought it.)

And since I was having garlic bread, I had to make pasta to go with it. This was kind of a thrown together thing. I had an uncooked, frozen turkey burger leftover from a couple days ago, so I thawed it out to use for the sauce tonight.

The sauce was made of fried carrots, garlic, onion, and mushrooms - just using up things from the fridge - and oregano and some sort of spice mix from the cupboard, and then added and cooked the turkey. After that, I added tomato sauce (from a can) and then served it on whole wheat rotini.

I sometimes find whole grain pasta kind of heavy or stodgy and not very good, but it really is great with a good tomato sauce with a lot of flavours in it. (Just don't try to serve it with pesto...)

19 February 2008

Lemon Chicken with Green and Wax Beans and Baked Paprika Potato Wedges

So I bought this new cookbook the other day called Tapas, which is, of course, a collection of Spanish tapas recipes. There's nothing about any of these three recipes that strikes me as particularly Spanish or particularly tapas-like, but I don't suppose I know a whole lot about either. They were tasty, no matter where they come from.

I couldn't seem to get the chicken to brown tonight, but I didn't want it to dry out, so I gave up on that bit. It was a really simple dish - cooked down onion (though I used shallots) and garlic in oil, then add the chicken, once browned, grate lemon peel over and squeeze in the lemon juice. Add chopped parsley at the end and season. Delicious and easy.

The potatoes were supposed to be fried in a ton of oil, but I baked them in the oven instead, with not a lot of oil. They don't crisp up the same way, but it's a lot more healthy. I probably should have added more cayenne to the spice mix (cayenne, paprika, cumin) but they were very tasty anyway.

18 February 2008

Lemon Turkey Soup

This is such a terribly unattractive photo - the broth looks like water and the sugar snap peas are nearly olive green (especially next to the vibrant green parsley) - but it was the second day of this soup, and snap peas don't hold up well for a reheat (in terms of colour, anyway).

I pretty much always use tomatoes or tomato juice or crushed tomatoes in my soups, but I always have a hard time photographing reddish soups. You can't see the other ingredients very well and the colour doesn't seem to translate very well either. So I found a recipe for Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup and decided to give it a try.

It was a pretty basic recipe - broth with carrots and celery, cooked cubed chicken breast, dried oregano, fresh parsley, crushed garlic, a handful of noodles (cooked separately and added at the end), and a squeeze or two of lemon juice. I used some leftover turkey from the freezer in place of the chicken and the snap peas in place of celery (since I didn't have any) and added some shallots.

It really was quite good, though I found the lemon a touch strong for my tastes (I'm finicky about lemon, though), and I found myself missing the tomato. Next time I'll stick to what I do and like best, I suppose.

17 February 2008

White Bean and Spinach Ragout

I'm starting to get a small backlog of photos and entries that I need to update, but I haven't been at all happy with my photos lately and so I've resisted updating. This is one of the photos I'm not really happy about.

Actually, there wasn't a lot about this meal that I was happy about. It didn't really taste bad, I don't think, but it somehow turned my stomach and I wound up tossing it all straight into the trash. I couldn't tell what flavour or if it was all of them together put me off so much, but I just couldn't eat it.

So it looks like a dirty ugly mess, my stomach turned into a dirty ugly mess at the thought of eating it, and... I don't know. I'm disappointed that it didn't work out for me. It should have been perfect because I quite like all the component parts.

Maybe I'll try it again someday. We'll see.

13 February 2008

Roasted Tomato and White Bean Salad with Hard-boiled Eggs

I should have updated this a couple days ago, but I suppose I've just been a bit lazy. Actually, I've been a lot lazy - it's taken a lot of effort to get out of bed most days the last little while. (But I did shovel the walk and part of the driveway today! That took energy! Energy which is now gone, resulting in me burrowing into bed to watch TV on my laptop.)

Anyway, I broke into one of my vegetarian cookbooks again and dug out this recipe. It's been quite a bit changed, to suit what things I had in my cupboard, but it turned out really lovely. I think it could use a... more constructed vinaigrette (since this just had all the components poured over top - I'd rather whisk it together properly and have all the flavours blending) but this is a bit of a kitchen sink recipe, so I think I could make it a dozen times and have a dozen different outcomes.

A few bits of it were wasted - the artichoke hearts and the olives, in particular. I don't really like olives and never have, but decided to try them out anyway, since there are a lot of things I like now that I never used to. But they're still much too salty, and I find the flavour too pungent. The artichokes, also, tasted too much of salt, though I did rinse them. Maybe another time I should try oil-marinated artichokes, rather than the ones canned with a brine.

Anyway, the roasted plum tomatoes were really delicious, as was the rest of the salad, really. It was definitely good enough to make again.

08 February 2008

Asparagus Tartlet

I've been lazy again. I haven't really felt up to cooking the last little while, and so I haven't. I've been eating a lot of crap or else nothing, and it's (once again) got to stop. So.

Tonight I was going to make turkey meatballs and a Caesar(ish) salad, but I didn't feel up to it. I was making a menu for next week, though, and was flipping through a cookbook/gardening book I've got called Shoots, Leaves and Eats trying to find a recipe for something I cooked a while back (Balti Vegetables) and I found this instead.

I'd never made pastry before and was a little scared of the prospect, but it really wasn't that difficult AND I was able to adjust it to just one serving. (Imagine that, a being able to make just one single tart. I would love to create a cookbook of single serving desserts or other baked things that don't involve putting the leftovers in the fridge.)

I didn't realize the pastry would shrink, though, as it was cooking - there was a 1-cm rim on the tart, which shrunk down to about a 1/4-cm rim (it's a bit bigger in some parts) so I guess there was a reason the recipe said to make a 2.5-cm rim. There wasn't a lot left by the time this shrunk down and I was worried the egg would just slide right off before I got it in the oven, but it came out all right anyway.

Anyway, the flavour of this was really nice. The asparagus tasted fantastic - it was frozen asparagus, which I don't usually use - and the cheese was delicious and I overcooked the egg a little but it was so so good anyway, and now I want to cook everything tucked into a little pastry tart.