What’s On My Mindgrapes

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Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Cooking without recipes

I am not adventurous. People have to force me into situations and give me no choice but to take the risk I am too chicken to decide to take for myself. A prime example of this when I saw my first real concert. It was Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters at the Target Center and I was fourteen. My friends wanted to lose our nice, comfortable, safe plastic seats for the scary, smelly mosh pit down on the floor. What was I to do?? After watching them effortlessly hop down to the floor, I gingerly stepped-crawled-slid-fell down the wall onto my ass. The concert was just starting, and everyone was too distracted to see the dorky middle school girl who just fell, and if anyone was watching, I was too enthralled with the music to care.

I sometimes cook with that same attitude. Afraid to make mistakes, embarrass myself, poison my friends. Sometimes, when I make new dishes, I only share it with only my dearest friends, because I know they will be honest with me (Rox) or tell me it’s delicious no matter what (Jake). This past weekend, I put that shy girl on time-out and decided to make a chili. I couldn’t find a recipe I liked, so I made one up, remembering tasty chilies from my past. I like corn, so I added corn. Sure, it’s not technically “white,” but if I called it murky, yellow, cream-colored chili, I doubt you’d be interested in making it. (more…)

Two big ass turkey legs in one week!

Lately, I’ve been too busy eating to update the blog. In the past two weeks or so, I was lucky enough to have two Thanksgivings with friends, and a restaurant-worthy beef tenderloin dinner with my family, and various junk food and cheese-and-cracker binges here and there. I love the holidays.
 
For the first Thanksgiving, or Thankskegger as we say, I made the usual hummus, and had a bowl of candied almonds out for munching. My main job was kitchen manager, or yeller-at-everyone, and I made sure every dish was properly reheated and everyone was fed.

A view of the buffet table, photo courtesy of Sarah

A view of the buffet table, photo courtesy of Sarah

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Self-congratulations and an offering of pasta

I know, I know. My last entry was a shamefully long time ago. There was an election, as you know. I went on my first business trip the very next day. Oh, and I was mentioned (not by name, but still…) in Publishers Weekly. I was the intern to happen upon the manuscript of one of Coffee House Press’ most successful books to date. It’s a great feeling as I slowly build a name for myself in my industry. Though it would be better to have my name printed in one of the most widely-read trade mags in the book world, this is genuinely worthy of Xeroxing and sending to my grandparents.

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Not s-ing around, here

There’s no better way to start off a weekend than with a warm, satisfying, bacon-flecked dish of Brussels sprouts. Seriously. Like many, I grew up fearful of this little green orb because of the horror stories of my mom’s childhood. Back in the day, these were served mushy and boiled. Now they’re the supposedly the trendiest vegetable out there. Most food blogs I read have at least one BS recipe, but my first exposure was on Orangette. And let me tell you, that woman is obsessed with the sprout. If you don’t take my word for it, take Molly’s.

How would I describe the BS? It’s cabbage-y, crunchy yet tender. Best when roasted or sauteed; I’m hesitant to try it boiled or blanched (associations with mushiness). It begs to be paired with something flavorful, like balsamic vinegar or caramelized onions, which was a favorite dish of last winter. This winter, I’ve upgraded to bacon. It’s salty, chewy, familiar, and fills your house with that wonderful aroma. “There’s only one thing that smells like bacon, and that’s BACON!” 

 

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Lovely

October is the most satisfying month. It’s extra long this year; we get almost five whole weekends. That means extra time to spend planning your Halloween costumes, so no excuses.

October is also the best time of year in the Midwest. The leaves and still mostly on the trees, and I look down my street and see fiery reds and greens fading to yellow. I dread the day when all the trees collectively agree to lose their leaves and, POOF, the frigid bleakness that is Minnesota winter sets in for the next five months. But I won’t get ahead of myself. Thankfully it’s only October.

The Mighty Mississippi
The Mighty Mississippi

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