27 September 2011

International Potluck

Last night, my ward (church group) had a International Potluck dinner for FHE (Family Home Evening--a Monday night tradition we use to strengthen our families). I was impressed with the variety of foods that we had. If you think about it, gathering a bunch of single twenty-somethings together and telling them to make/bring an "international" dish for a potluck dinner sounds like a recipe for 17 different kinds of salsa and maybe some fancy casserole. This was not the case. We managed to represent all 7 continents (ice water is from Antarctica right??) and there was so much variety that I couldn't even try it all. Needless to say, I ate way too much.

I made Yorkshire pudding for my food. Unfortunately it didn't occur to me to take a picture of it, so instead I'm going to make you really hungry, and maybe even drool a little, and post this picture I found online.

When it occurred to me to make Yorkshire pudding for this potluck late on Sunday afternoon I was surprised by this simple solution to the problem I'd been wrestling with for a couple weeks. I wanted to make an easy and delicious English food that was savoury. I'm sure many of you are thinking that my problem was with the "easy and delicious" part, but really my problem was that I couldn't think of anything savoury that I could easily (and cheaply) make. So when I attended a similar potluck last Saturday (strange to have to International potlucks in less than 72 hours, I know--I didn't plan them...) I ended up making Portuguese Custard Tarts because they are simple and delicious, although not savoury. (and once again, enjoy a photo I found online. I'm just not very good at this whole remembering to take pictures of my food business.)

26 September 2011

Cultural revolution

As I sat at my desk today eating my lunch I read this article about junk food vs. real food and the cultural revolution that needs to take place in order for eating real food to become the "cool" thing to do. I enjoyed the article. It was one of those times that made me proud of myself that I'm attempting to cook more, and that I haven't eaten out in over a week (sadly, a record for me--this traveling business has taken its toll on my eating habits). What made it even better was that for lunch today I had a salad I brought from home (though I will admit that it came from one of those Caesar kits you can get at the grocery store--but still). 

22 September 2011

Soy Sauce and Star Anise Chicken

So my favorite cookbook in the world is called The Three Ingredient Cookbook by Jenny White. The recipes are super simple and the full-color, full page photos are amazing. One thing that I love about this book (besides the photography) is that every time I flip through it I find new recipes I swear I've never seen before. (of course it's unlikely that it's a magic cookbook, but it sure seems that way.) So I was looking through the cookbook looking for an English dessert I can make for a potluck this weekend when I stumbled across this recipe using star anise. (It was pure luck that I actually own star anise and so had all the ingredient for this--it's quite unusual.) I wish I could share with you the picture that was in the cookbook rather than the picture I took, because mine doesn't look nearly as delicious.

Soy Sauce and Star Anise Chicken
So the chicken was pretty good, though next time I make it I will use a higher proportion of star anise to soy sauce. I couldn't really taste the star anise at all. I'd also marinade it longer. And I think I'd actually try to grill it. The recipe said to, but with no grill that can be a bit tricky. But their was just so much prettier with the grill lines on it.

15 September 2011

Chicken Curry

In theory, when I said that I wanted to try new recipes and cook I suppose you imagined that I'd be cooking from scratch and things like that. I think that's what I'd imagined too. I do like cooking from scratch, but I also enjoy prepared things. Like curry sauces. I was at the grocery store yesterday getting ingredients for the dessert I made last night and I happened upon a display of Patak's curry sauces. After reading all the labels I settled on the Butter Chicken sauce. I've used the Tikka Masala before and I really like it. So I thought I'd try something new. And it was easy. Cook up some chicken. Add some sauce. Simmer. Eat. Delicious. I definitely don't find any problem with making cooking easy with prepared foods.

After eating my curry, I tried the S'mores Cookie Bars that I made. I found the recipe on one of my favorite food blogs. Mel's Kitchen Cafe has lots of delicious looking recipes. I am excited to try more of them. I haven't quite decided how I liked them. For sure I didn't put enough chocolate chips in, and I think I should have used more marshmallow too, but really they were just very, very sweet and I'm not sure how I felt about that. I brought some of them to work and my coworkers seemed to like them. I think I will have to make them again one day so that I can form a better opinion of them.

14 September 2011

Autumn Goal

A few summers ago I made a goal for myself to try a new recipe (ideally for a dinner entree) every week that summer. I remember doing alright, though I definitely made more desserts than entrees. (but really, isn't dessert better anyways?) Then life happened and I haven't cooked nearly as regularly. Now though, I've found that my work schedule allows me to be in the states for most of the rest of the year and I think it's time that I start cooking again. So, my new goal for Autumn is two fold:

1. To try and cook one new recipe every week that I'm in town for the remainder of the year.
2. To actually cook dinner once (at least) every week (that I'm in town) for the remainder of the year.

I guess if I wanted to make my goal three fold my third goal would be to blog about it, but I don't want to get overly ambitious...