Friday, February 12, 2010

Flotsam and Jetsam

I have been incredibly lazy with my cooking. I'm not thinking up new recipes. I'm not really blogging about anything important. I'm just eating.

I thought I'd still do a catchup post. What have I been cooking and eating if I haven't been playing Mad Chef in the kitchen and inventing recipes.

Sunday night I missed the Super Bowl in favor of a birthday dinner for my mother-in-law. I took lots of pictures thinking I'd do an entire blog about it. I went to Trattoria Tre Colori in NYC (theater district). It was a nice restaurant, but I decided the food wasn't worthy of an entire blog. Not exciting. Nothing wrong with food, decor, or service, just didn't excite me. I ate antipasto,chicken Scarpariello, and chocolate mousse cake and then trashed the photos I took of them.

Monday I had a huge craving for chicken cacciatore and very little time with which to shop for the ingredients and prepare it. I realized I had no wine in the house.* I tried to find something in the supermarket that would substitute. I found these.

Pouring about 2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar into a cup of white grape juice gives you the taste of a sweet cheap wine (like a white version of the Manischevitz stuff they serve at Passover). Hey, grape juice, wine, and vinegar are just 3 phases of the same substance. I mixed pre-wine and post-wine to make wine.

The cacciatore wasn't too bad. It was a little sweeter than I like it, but totally edible. I'd prefer it with real wine though.

When the snow rolled in, I made chicken pot pie. I decided to sub out the milk in my original recipe for homemade chicken stock for a different taste in the sauce (and less stress on SPP's stomach). I was out of sherry, so I used tarragon and sage (dried in both cases) for flavoring. Quite good. Definitely a good winter day meal.

My theater group was doing it's annual Mardi Gras party on Saturday night, the same night that Kevin's best friend was having a birthday party for his wife. We decided to go our separate ways that night as we both felt rather committed to our separate engagements.

I decided to send him off with a pan of brownies so our friends would know I was thinking of them. I had leftover buttermilk from the pot pie, so I chose this recipe. I wasn't impressed with it and won't make it again. I tried to make the recipe a bit more interesting by adding shredded coconut and coconut extract to the batter and cacoa nibs to the icing. They didn't add much. I won't make this again.

For Valentine's Day, rather than go somewhere fancy and sit among huge crowds and pay too much money for an overpriced price fixe meal, we are opting to have dinner at a place that isn't necessarily Valentine-y, but is always tried and true for us, Rani Mahal. It's our favorite local restaurant.

I think this will win the prize as my Most Boring Post. There are no long stories about how I was inspired to create a recipe, no geek references, and no bad puns.

I need some inspiration soon!

*I know I'm about to get a dozen comments about how unthinkable it is to not have wine in the house. Yes, it's true. I don't habitually have wine around. Kevin and I don't drink much alcohol. He is prone to random migraines and he never knows if alcohol will trigger it. I am prone to bouts of insomnia and alcohol tends to aggravate it (I may fall asleep faster, but as soon as the alcohol is metabolized, my eyes fly open and I can't go back to sleep- and that usually happens at 3AM). We really only drink on weekends. I will buy a bottle if I need it for recipes and will try to make as many recipes as possible with the bottle - and I admit to an evening tipple when I have it around, but in general, wine is not a household staple.


Sue said...

I wasn't going to comment on the NO WINE until I read your last paragraph. Don't tell anyone, but I keep opened bottles of wine (well-corked) in the fridge FOR AGES. That includes champagne with a proper champagne cork. They are absolutely fine for cooking. And I really am talking MONTHS. And ONE bottle of sherry (stored in the fridge) will last you for years! You could absolutely pick up a couple of SEVEN dollar bottles (get the ones with the screw tops, which will last longer) and hide them in the closet for cooking emergencies.

Having said that, your grape juice and balsamic vinegar idea was sooooo smart. I'm not sure you even needed the grape juice though. It's amazing how much body balsamic vinegar gives to a dish. Smart!

See? If you hadn't said NOT to say something, this comment wouldn't have been so long.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Ha ha. Good point. It's just that any time I say I have no wine in the house, I get a chorus of, "No wine in the house! Unthinkable," from some place or other. I actually do sometimes freeze wine that I have left over from recipes so that I can use it for other recipes, and avoid drinking it on weeknights when uninteruppted sleep is over utmost importance (Gotta get up at 5:15 for the gym).

And I don['t mind long comments at all! I do it to other people after all!

The Blonde Duck said...

Now I'm craving chicken pot pie.

CookiePie said...

You couldn't be boring if you tried!

I think it's high time you got yourself some wine in that house :) Then, go to your cookbook collection, pick out a book you haven't used for a while, and make whatever's on the page you open up to. Could be a fun challenge to get your cooking mojo going again? :)

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm sharing it on Thursday!

Complaint Department Manager said...

Well there's your problem right there, not enough alcohol. I guarantee-damn-tee ya that if ya drink enough of the stuff, you'll sleep like a baby...a very drunk baby.

Lo said...

Heh. I'm just going to sit here and smirk about all this wine talk. And then move right along with the conversation. :)

You're very lucky I just satisfied my cacciatore craving last week, or I'd be lusting after some of yours. Instead, you're going to have me craving pot pie. Which I suppose is OK... it's perfect for the cold weather, after all!