#AmCooking

It’s been a cold, gloomy, slushy, sleety day.

 

luckily, my kitchen is full of warmth and deliciousness!!

I defrosted some home made gingerbread cake from the freezer

I made flax crackers

baked potatoes are cooling, are soon to become potato skins with cheese, green onions, and bacon

minestrone is going on the stove

I’ll most likely blend some minced green onions with cream cheese later as a decandent schmear for my flax crackers.

Yum!

 

 

 

 

Egg Drop soup made simple

what’s your favorite soup at the Chinese Restaurant?

Eggdrop Soup!!

(I feel like in an alternate universe those sentences could be sung to the tune of the Spongebob Squarepants song, but I’m weird, ok?)

egg-drop-soup

Eggdrop soup is fantastic. It’s warm and soft and comforting, and it’ll cure what ails ya.  This recipe over at one of my favorite cooking websites The Kitchn, looks super easy and I’m sure it’s crazy delicious, but I’m lazy in the kitchen so I made it even simpler. But if you want to add mushrooms or ginger or tofu, that The Kitchn recipe will really come in handy for you. Hubs isn’t a huge fan of this dish, so I made just enough for one person, and it all came together in about 5 minutes. here’s what you’ll need to make one serving of egg drop soup:

2-3 cups chicken broth (from the chicken you roasted up, of course)

splash of soy sauce

1 tsp + 1/2 tsp cornstarch

one green onion, chopped thinly, on the diagonal

2 eggs

put your broth in a saucepan with a splash of soy and the white parts of the green onion. Bring to a boil.  ladle out about 1/3 cup broth and put it in a bowl. Whisk 1 tsp cornstarch into the bowl, and return this thickened broth to the pot.  Bring back to a boil, and then turn down a simmer.  beat the eggs in a small bowl (I used the same one I used for broth+starch, because one less thing to wash!), and whisk in 1/2 tsp cornstarch.

there’s two ways you can add your eggs to the soup, one way will give you egg shreds, the other way will give you egg ribbons.  Either way, the soup should just be at a simmer when you add the eggs.

if you want egg shreds – use one hand to continually whisk the soup in the pot, and with the other hand very carefully drizzle in the egg mixture.

if you want egg ribbons – very carefully drizzle the egg mixture over the barely simmering soup. The egg will slowly sink into the soup and cook as it sinks.

After you’ve added your eggs, let the soup cook another minute or so, just long enough to cook the eggs, and then pour into a bowl.   Garnish with the rest of the thinly sliced green onions.

Enjoy!

Butter makes it better. Also? Salt.

We do a lot of whole chickens in my house.  Cook up an entire chicken (or turkey), have dinner, have sandwiches, have chicken salad, and make chicken stock from the carcass. All that from one chicken!

We’ve all had dry boring chickens.  Gravy boat was invented for a reason.

But your chicken can be insanely moist and flavorful!  The secret?  Lots of butter, and salt. I’m not talking Paula Deen quantities of butter, and don’t get scared away by using some salt. it’s kitchen chemistry magic!

I am a huge fan of compound butter. It’s basically softened butter that is mashed up with a bunch of other flavorings like herbs, garlic, spices, and such.  Every time I make a whole bird, I make a compound butter with a half stick of butter, some dried thyme, fresh or dried parsley,  minced craisins, and sometimes I will chop up some pistachios if I want to be extra fancy. Use the herbs and dried fruit that you like. It’s the butter that’s important. That means don’t use margarine or any of that not-butter stuff.  if you want the benefits of butter, you gotta use the real stuff.

To prep your bird for roasting,  rinse it off in the sink, and then pat dry with paper towels. put 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt in the cavity.  Other yummy aromatics to put in the cavity – chopped onion, parsley, celery, I’ve even done orange chunks.  Arrange your bird in a roasting pan, and prepare to get messy.

Loosen the skin all over the breast, thighs, and legs, and smear the butter mixture under the skin, getting into all the nooks and crannies. Smear butter over the entire outside of the chicken as well, including the legs and wings.

Many cookbooks call for different roasting temps and times, and everyone’s oven and roasting pan is different. You do you, but with a butter covered chicken you’ll get browned skin and moist meat.

here’s why this works, or at least why I think it works.  The butter creates a water resistant cloak around the chicken, and the salt helps draw moisture out from the inside out. All that moisture has no where to go because the butter locks it in, so it stays in the meat. The flavors in your compound butter help season the meat while it cooks.

This method has always worked for me, so I hope it works for you too!

 

 

 

 

In defense of day drinking

I’m a huge fan of having a beer, or a glass of wine, or a shot of whiskey at three in the afternoon.  Need that 2:30pm cup of coffee to get you through the rest of the afternoon? I highly recommend adding a shot of Jameson’s.

I used to have my beer or glass of wine with dinner, or while watching tv after dinner.  But then, if I wanted to go somewhere after dinner? Up to the grocery store to pick some things up, or a joyous Target run, or going out to a friends house after dinner?  hey, I’ve been drinking, so those car keys are off limits! Guess I’ll spend another evening in.  #sadface

that’s the genius behind day drinking.  Have a drink (or two) in the afternoon, and you’re sobered up by dinnertime.  You can drive safely, use super sharp knives in the kitchen safely, entertain the inlaws without slurring your words, do whatever you want, because you’ve already sobered up, yet you still have that happy warm memory of a recent buzz.

Life your life on your own schedule.   If you typically get 8 hours of sleep and have 1 drink a day,  that doesn’t mean you have to sleep for 8 hours in a row or sleep when everyone else is sleeping or wait until dinnertime or cocktail hour to have your drink.

 

 

secret language

do you have a secret language with anyone? Your significant other, your best friend, your kid, your dad? a secret language that is all in-jokes and movies lines and things only that person understands?

My husband and I have a secret language full of movie quotes, science fiction references, video game references, and other injokes. I don’t know if we could go 24 hours without one of these references. Shit, I don’t know if we could go 12 hours.

And I feel like it strengthens our relationship to have so many private in-jokes. A term we were throwing around earlier today was “peach cookie”. It’s a reference to a low level health power up in a video game we both played years ago, and I say it in a particular tone of voice that imitates a character from an online flash cartoon called “Radiskull and Devil Doll” from back when flash was a brand new thing and google barely existed. In our private language, “peach cookie” means something is fun and will help you feel better either physically or emotionally, along with the emotional connection of “I have been with you since we saw this flash cartoon and since we played this video game, and I have happy memories of experiencing those things with you”. I can communicate all of that by just saying “peach cookie” in a particular tone of voice.

My husband loves the movie Buckaroo Banzai. I’m just lukewarm on it. We do the call and response of “what’s the watermelon for”, “I’ll tell you later”. That call and response means I have a special and very strong bond with you and every time we use this phrase or anything from our secret language that bond gets stronger.

I hope everyone reading this has a secret language with someone. A language full of in-jokes and references, and little ways you tell that person how strong your bond is with them, and that every day it gets stronger.

no, that is not ok.

As part of my job, I am often working in grocery stories. I don’t work for the grocery store company, but I take my work materials in, do my thing, and when I’m done I take my materials back to my car.

The other day, I was training some new people in a grocery store, and because I was training people, I had more than the usual amount of stuff with me. When I was done and taking my materials back out to my car, I had nearly a full shopping cart of assorted work stuff.

Allow me to set the scene. It’s January. about 15 degrees outside. and windy. I push the shopping cart to my car, open the trunk, and am putting boxes and cardboard and bins and other things in my car as fast as I can. It is freakin’ cold outside, it’s been a long day already, and I’m in a rush to get to my next appointment.

A middle aged man walks by and says “You sure got a lot of stuff”.
“Yep,” I say.
he just stands there, as I am putting the stuff in my car.
“I’m gonna call you little red riding hood. That ok with you?” he says.
“no, it is not ok”. I reply.

From the look on his face, I am assuming no one had ever said “no” to him. It took a minute or two for him to get his composure back, which I’ll admit was a bit entertaining. He said a few other things to me, but I confess I couldn’t hear him very well because it was quite windy, I had a scarf over my face and ears, and in a windy environment the quality of my hearing goes practically to zero.

to all the men out there who feel they are entitled to my attention, to all the men whose goal in conversation is to get me to smile for you, or get me to tell you my name, or have a drink with me, because you feel you are entitled to my attention, here is a tactic that might actually work for you:

“It’s very cold out here and you seem to have a lot of stuff, may I help you put it in your car?”

because that will get me to smile. You are doing something FOR me, instead of TO me. You are doing something that helps ME instead of helping YOU.

Because I am not looking for some random guy to give me a nickname that I haven’t heard a million times. I am not interested in a random guy telling me my hair is pretty, or asking me if it’s true about how wild redheads are in bed, or any of that shit. My award winning resting bitch face was born from that kind of shit.

To any man who feels like they are entitled to any woman’s attention, you know what would be nice? offering to help her put her stuff in her car when it is 15 degrees outside and she has her hands full. No guarantee that I will take you up on your offer, because maybe I don’t want your help and also I’m not obligated to say yes if you offer assistance. But being selfless instead of selfish would go a long way in thawing my resting bitch face. Might even get me to smile.

They aren’t on my sleeve

I don’t smile a lot (yay RBF!). My body language is subdued. I am a very subtle and rather private person.

I’m often accused of being unemotional.

I’m very emotional. I just don’t wear it on my sleeve.

This is how I recently explained it to someone.

Imagine pipes going way down deep into the earth, like down to where there is volcano heat. All that heat is coming up the pipes, and moving all the air around, and by the time the hot air gets to the top it’s full of glitter and movement and thought and thunder and lightening and everything that was ever everything and it’s all over the place and in every color and it sparkles.

The pipes open up above ground into a giant beautiful crystal greenhouse. And the light and sparkles and lightening in all the colors of everything bustles around the greenhouse and rattles the windows and is nearly breaking the glass every second.

My emotions aren’t on my sleeve. They fill a greenhouse the size of my imagination and they come from the depths of me.