constant cravings…

I’m a bit of a fan of Food Network. There have been days (though not many) when I’ve parked myself in front of the TV and kept it on Food Network damned near all day. Once my roommate, while sitting and watching one of the challenges, turned to me and asked, “How do you not eat seventeen times a day?”

“I just eat before watching.” It really does help.

As a consequence, however, I find myself wanting to cook more often. I’ll see a recipe that inspires me and decide that I need to do something similar RIGHT NOW! If I don’t, I’ll feel slightly uneasy until that itch is scratched.

As a result, at the beginning of January I made my first homemade soup: a hearty vegetable/mushroom soup.

While I know that stock is easy to make, I decided to use the boxed vegetable stock, as I was too impatient to wait for hours. I wanted to taste my inaugural soup within two hours. And I did. I’ve got to say – it was damned good. Lots of veggies, three kinds of mushrooms, lots of herbs and aromatics (including an entire head of garlic – half sauteed, half crushed into the soup as it simmered for an hour – and a big ol’ onion) and a lot of freshly ground black pepper. It was one of the best things I’ve ever made. And the recipe was wholly my own.

The next day I experimented with combining eggs with potatoes in a kind of frittata. It’s something HSTeacher has made for me in the past (quite well, I might add) and it just sounded good. So in with the garlic and onion and black pepper and cheese and such. Once again, most yummy.

An episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay – in which muffaletta was the featured dish – made me crave an olive salad sandwich. Days later I finally purchased the desired ingredients (my own recipe again) and chopped and mixed to my heart’s delight. By itself the salad was heavenly. Perhaps not quite muffaletta grade, as I used mayo and mustard (which I understand is a huge no-no), but still excellent, with a nice balance of creamy (mayo) and salty (three kinds of olives) and tart (mustard and chopped dill pickle). I even added my personal cooking staples: onions and garlic, this time so lightly sauteed in extra virgin olive oil (not EVOO, so shut up, Rachel Ray) so as to be barely cooked. Yummy cubed.

Unfortunately, in a sandwich with toasted 12 grain bread, red leaf lettuce, tomato and provolone? Not so good. Quite bland, in fact. The tomato was a bit on the watery side and that overpowered the salad in a way I didn’t think was possible. And the lettuce added absolutely nothing. Next time? Just the salad, please.

I wonder what I’ll be raring to cook next…

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