Sunday, June 22, 2014

Excuses, Excuses

Here's the part where I make excuses for my lack of posts.

Firstly, I've been watching a lot of Netflix.  A lot of Idiot Abroad, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, and some D- and C-list horror movies.  But that's not my only excuse!

Secondly, I've been eating a lot of salads and stir-fries.  Not super adventurous.  Especially now that I kind of love green peppers.  (In fact, they were in every meal I had yesterday!  Talk about progress!)

Thirdly, it has been outrageously humid this whole week.  Chicago has been itching for a giant thunderstorm since at least Monday.  The forecasts have predicted rain every day.  We've had about two itty-bitty little rainstorms.  Nothing to really break the humidity.  Last night, it finally stormed.

What we've all been waiting for.

Humidity doesn't sound like it should be such big deal.  But in a house with a gas stove and no central air conditioning, it means you're not going to be doing a lot of cooking.  Most adventurous meals happen to be hot meals.

Next week, it should be less humid.  Hopefully I'll be able to adventure then.  And less lazy....

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Adventures in Westeros

I have a new found respect for women who existed before modern appliances.  (And I say "women" because the home/kitchen has traditionally been the woman's sphere of influence.)  I don't know what I'd do without a crock pot.  Especially if I had small children to take care of.  There's a reason I make cupcakes when I babysit and not soup.

But, yesterday, I did make a soup.  I also made a dinner pie and lemon cakes.  Because, yesterday, we had a Game of Thrones party.  And I own A Feast of Ice and Fire.  (The authors' blog is here!)

We feasted on Bowls of Brown, Medieval Cheese and Onion Pie, and Elizabethan Lemon Cakes.

Joey and I decided on the dishes together.  However, I had the final okay on the menu because I'm the pickiest.

There is an insane amount of meat under those apples and carrots!

Bowls of Brown involve pretty much every type of meat imaginable.  It's rumored in King's Landing that sometimes they fill the bowls with a bit of human meat.  I used pork chop bits, beef ribs, top round bits, chicken thighs, and a whole Cornish game hen.  It was delicious.

I also made the pie dough myself.  I was feeling very domestic yesterday.

The only dish I had any qualms about, the Cheese and Onion Pie called for 4 onions.  That's a lot of onions.  I'm getting better with onions, but I still wouldn't choose to eat them.  At least, I wouldn't choose to eat them a year ago.

The recipe also called for cheese (obviously), fresh herbs, 8 eggs (I know, right?), and dried currants.  I love dried currants.  In fact, dried currants were the reason I okayed this recipe for our feast.

When I tried the Cheese and Onion Pie, I was very prepared to hate it.  The onions had been cooked enough to be a bit soft, so they didn't have a bite to them.  The cheese was very light and helped play up the sweeter notes of the onions.  But the best part was easily the currants.  They plumped up during the baking and were little pearls of concentrated sweetness.  Delicious!  They helped make this my dish of the night!

A little bigger than they were supposed to be....

The Lemon Cakes were also delicious.  The lemon flavors were much more subtle than modern lemon desserts.  My completely unresearched guess is that lemons were not easy to come by in Elizabethan England.  So maybe they flavored lemon treats a bit more sparingly.  The lovely people at the Inn at the Crossroads would probably know better than me.

The main courses of our feast!

The citizens of King's Landing definitely know how to eat like royalty.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Adventures in Etiquette

I work with two very lovely people.  We share an office and a love of eating.  Recently, one of my coworkers made pasta salad for our little office.  I was super excited because I love mozzarella cheese.  But I was also nervous because her pasta salad had olives and grape tomatoes as well.

Raw grape tomatoes.  I've come around to cooked tomatoes, but raw is an entirely different story.

So colorful!  But I only eat half of the foods pictured.

I figured I could get away with not eating the olives.  Olives are a controversial food.  It's pretty acceptable to dislike them.  However, most people like tomatoes.

So I ate maybe a third of the tomatoes.  And I hated them.  But the big old hunks of mozzarella made up for the grossness of the tomatoes.  And the fact that I even ate that many tomatoes is a testament to my need to be polite.  I didn't want my coworker to see me eating her pasta salad and think that I didn't like it.

I'll give raw tomatoes another chance sometime in the future.  I'll try them in a salad filled with other things.  Maybe I'll try them again this summer.

I think I'm going to need at least a year to work up to olives.