The Case of the Overambitious Cook

Sunday evening rolls around and I decide I should cook something for tonight and tomorrow.  After some surfing around, and considering what (I thought) was in the house, I decided on a dangerously multi-stepped plan:

– cornbread
– black bean and ham mixture, to be combined with…
– brown basmati rice

Seems simple, right?  Heh.

Even knowing how tragic my skills are when it comes to cooking brown basmati rice, I bravely forged ahead with yet another technique to attempt.  Let’s just say that, although the methods change, the outcome is horribly consistent.  Maybe I need to try white rice and build my confidence?  I don’t know.  Nonetheless, I’m getting better at recovering from these rice disasters.  One day, I’ll figure this out…

The cornbread was a fun one.  I used a gluten-free recipe concocted by a talented friend of mine, on which I’ve sat on for far too long.  Even though I nearly scorched the whole thing at the end (while I was fighting with my gloppy rice, of course) I’d say this turned out fairly well.  I even successfully “made” my very own buttermilk by adding apple cider vinegar to regular milk.  (1 Tbsp. vinegar per cup of milk – let stand for at least 5 minutes.)

And the plan for the black bean and ham mix up (where I was going to use the rice…), this was the inspiration:

Cuban Ham, Rice and Black Bean Casserole

I had planned to follow it a bit more closely than I ended up doing.  But since there was an unprecedented onion shortage in the house I tweaked.  A lot.  I used what little onion we had, chopped up some celery, carrot, and red pepper to go with it, then used some leftover bacon instead of ham.  I drained an entire can of black beans to add in, and all of this looked and tasted good.  But when the dreaded rice needed help, I tried adding some of it directly to the fried up mix.  Of course _after_ doing so, I found a recommendation to rinse and drain the unfortunate rice to help recover, so I’m hopeful that will help what sits leftover in the fridge now.

Anyway, after the ups and downs and trying to build up this underdeveloped skill set, I had something that was relatively enjoyable and leftovers that will see me into another day with more lessons learned.

But, wow, I gotta get past this rice thing… I love rice too much to be inept at preparing it myself!

The quest for a quick curry

My personal pantry has been expanding for several months now, although I’m not taking advantage of it often enough! But on Sunday night I felt like a curry, and we all needed a meal. And the leftovers would help me with a lunch or two as well.xpanding

After Googling around, based on what I felt like and knew I had on hand, I finally found something to work with:
RECIPE: Easy Coconut Curry

Making a few minor alterations (rice instead of quinoa, and no sweet potato) and with help from Mom we gave it a go. Mom is an excellent sous-chef. She handled the rice cooking — a phobia I absolutely must get over — and chopped vegetables up while I was tending to the sauce. However I don’t think I took the “simmering” instruction to heart and may have missed out on a smoother tasting curry because of it. So there’s something I need to understand better for the next time I’m told to simmer down, literally.

We also had almonds on hand and I found these were an amazing addition. Another time I would be curious to try with the sweet potato (Dad isn’t a fan, so I left it out) and with the quinoa. But it was a simple, fuss-free recipe (especially with Mom’s assistance!) and it met the night’s need.

As for the leftovers, they were also a success.  Especially in this bone chillingly cold weather!  It was yummy comfort food combined with the convenience of not needing to go outside.  A perfect fit.

Snack: Curried egg

I was hungry.  I wanted a snack for one.  Here’s what I did:

Small fry pan on the stove top at a medium heat.
Add a bit of butter.
Add some chopped onion.
Add a healthy amount of curry powder on top.
Add some broken up pecans, almonds.
Keep stirring.
Toss in a little bit of sugar.
Let it all blend together.

Crack a medium-small egg into a small dish and beat.
Add a splash or two of milk to the egg.
Combine the egg and milk.

Add the egg-milk mixture to the fry pan.
Mix all the ingredients, and allow enough time to cook egg to the desired consistency.

Tonight I pretty much creamed the egg, as opposed to simply scrambling or frying it.

I also chose to serve my crazy curried creamed egg along with one of my favourite egg accompaniments… don’t laugh too hard:  cottage cheese!

This odd combination of eggs and cottage cheese was something I stumbled across on my own a number of years ago and it has remained a funny little favourite.  It is especially good when the eggs are hot but the cottage cheese is cold.  Although, cottage cheese works well as an omlette filling, either heated up or cold.

By the way, the egg experiment tonight?  Very goooood.  Mmmmmm.