I think it’s safe to say that anyone reading this blog knows that I am not, and will never be (barring some sort of life-or-death illness) the kind of person who gives up her carbs. I love mysandwiches, andpasta, and deargod, doIlovemypotatoes. (You’re probably sick of reading about it.) I’m not giving them up for anything. You’d have to pry them from my cold, dead hands. That being said, I’m also not averse to trying low-carb/carb-free substitutes to carbtastic, starchy goodness, because I like having my cholesterol in check, and because I’m open to trying just about any food that isn’t an insect. (Or durian.) A few weeks ago, I tried making a cauliflower pizza crust – and no, I’m not going to tell you that it tasted JUST LIKE PIZZA CRUST OMG 4 REAL because I am not a big fat liar. It tasted…quiche-y? Maybe? It was good, but it was in no way similar to actual pizza crust.
On Friday, I tried my hand this recipe, because my mom, my sister, and apparently everyone on Pinterest, ever, has gone spaghetti squash crazy.
“It tastes like and has the texture of spaghetti!!!”, the Internet says. (To her credit, this blogger never claimed spaghetti squash tastes like spaghetti. So thank you, A Family Feast.) “I call shenanigans, Internet,” I replied. (Yes, I talk to inanimate objects. You do, too, so stop raising those eyebrows.)
For Fathers Day, my mom and I made dinner for my dad. It’s a running tradition, as my dad loves food and, although he also loves cooking, probably enjoys having someone else do that (and the dishes!) for him.
There’s an excellent butcher in the next town over from them, so they picked up some beautiful veal chops. Dad wanted something with mushrooms and gorgonzola (which I can never pronounce correctly, because Colin like to call it gorGONZOla, because he is a goober).
Since I have yet to master the whole cooking for one or two people thing (as opposed to cooking for an entire freaking army thing), I often find myself with leftovers. Like anyone with at least a few brain cells and semblance of a soul, I loathe wasting food, but I also admit that eating the same exact thing two or three days in a row is monotonous. So, I’m always looking for ways to turn my leftovers into something new! different! fancy!
I’m not really one for making new year’s resolutions. Sure, I probably made some when I was younger, because I thought it was the “thing” to do, but it seems to me that more often than not, new year’s resolutions are about eating better, getting in shape, losing weight or something along those lines. Anyone who has ever frequented the gym knows that trying to get a workout in during January is all but impossible – really, it’s better to just wait ’til February, when the herd thins out – and I think that kicking off the longest, coldest, worst month ever (come at me, January fans) with a pledge to purge your diet of all things sweet/salty/carby/boozy is just a form of masochism, and I want no part of it.
In light of my resolution hangups, and as a tip of the hat to all of you who don’t share this mindset, I think I’ve found something that qualifies as both comfort food and a (quasi) healthy alternative. Also, it’s vegetarian-friendly, so, yay for that.
When it comes to weeknight cooking, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut. Especially when you haven’t gone grocery shopping for awhile and most of your favorite stuff has already been eaten, or you realize that even though you have four boxes of pasta, you don’t have any tomato sauce or parmesan cheese, and the thought of eating pasta without either of those things just makes you want to die. Or you look in your freezer and realize pretty much everything you have would require ample defrosting time, and even more ample cooking time. It’s like, sorry, self; I’m not going to start making short ribs at 7:30 in the evening.
And sometimes, I’ll admit, I get very ‘first-world-problems-y,’ when I look in my well-stocked pantry/fridge/freezer and think, “I don’t feel like making any of this.” I try to buy a variety of foods, try new things, eat leftovers, etc. etc. etc., but sometimes I just turn into a total brat and simply don’t want to eat chicken again because I just ate it for dinner last night and lunch today, or don’t waaaannaaaaaa make turkey burgers if I don’t have rolls or burger buns, even when there’s a perfectly good loaf of bread in the fridge. (It’s not weird that I keep my bread in the fridge, right?)
When I think of home, I think of a place that always smelled like vanilla or apple candles, with every window in the house thrown open to let crisp air and sunlight stream into every room. There was always at least one dog always underfoot, and classic rock records always played through the speakers of the stereo we my mom bought for my dad as either a birthday or Father’s Day gift. At night, Law and Order reruns were almost always on the TV (unless it was 7 o’clock, in which case, Jeopardy always, always won out, despite my dad’s increasing annoyance with Alex Trebek. Can Anderswoon Cooper just replace him already?), and on the weeknights where we weren’t treating ourselves to Chinese takeout, my mom was usually responsible for preparing something delicious, and she always delivered.
When I reached my 20s, I learned the secret to my mom’s delicious weeknight meals: The New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet. It was dog-eared and missing its cover, a well-worn weapon in my mom’s culinary arsenal. She lent it to me briefly before getting sick of my book-hogging tendencies and buying me my own copy, and I returned it with about two dozen Post its marking recipes I wanted to make.
I am terrible at waking up in the morning. I always have been.
This is not to say that I’m a grunting, wild-haired, coffee-mug-chucking neanderthal before noon. On the contrary, I’m generally quiet and mild-mannered, although admittedly more high-functioning once I’ve had a mug of half-caff. I don’t hate mornings. I actually kind of like them, especially when I get up to walk Sam and the streets are still relatively quiet and uninhabited. What I hate is untangling myself from my pillows and comforters, shedding my cozy pajamas and putting on something work-appropriate and infinitely less comfortable than fuzzy socks and flannel pants. (Yes. I sleep in socks. I know that pretty much everyone thinks it’s weird to sleep in socks. You know what’s weirder than sleeping in socks? Voluntarily sleeping with cold feet. Game, set, match. I win.) And then I have to go to work, instead of playing with Sam, or reading on a beach, or running around outside on one of the final 80-degree days of the year.
I’m not sure what it is about summer – the sun-soaked time of year that lends itself to bathing suits and other figure-exposing attire – that makes me want to eat heaps and heaps of meat. It’s grillin’ season, and what goes better on a grill than juicy sausages, saucy ribs or cheese-covered burgers? I mean, yeah, vegetable skewers are great and all, but the stars of summer seem to be food that is no friend to a bikini. And it’s not limited to meats – the often mayo-laden cole slaw and potato salads are barbecue staples, and what hot summer night could possibly be complete without some rapidly-melting ice cream? And cold beers?
Now, I know that summer is also the season for great produce – tomatoes and zucchini especially are at their best, especially ’round these parts, and they both are conducive to light, beach-body-friendly meals. Meals which I’ll be making. Eventually.
As my extreme detesting of eggs probably indicates, I am not really a breakfast person. I almost never make breakfast, despite Colin chanting “make me breakfast!” at least once a week, because making breakfast for Colin generally means making some lackluster eggs that are probably either overcooked and dry or undercooked and salmonella-tastic, a few strips of bacon (the only thing I eat, healthyyyyy) and occasionally toast. And why am I going to task myself with scouring dried egg and bacon remnants from my cookware when I’m not even getting something that remotely qualifies as a meal out of the deal? I know; I’m selfish.
I do enjoy pancakes, but they can be time-consuming, and since between the two of us, no more than five pancakes get consumed, I’m saddled with about twenty billion leftover pancakes neither of us ever want to eat. And I love hash browns, but I usually lack two important elements for making hash browns (cheesecloth and patience), I’ve stopped setting myself up for disappointment. I also enjoy breakfast sandwiches (sans eggs, of course), but half of the time, if I order one (pork roll and cheese, no eggs, PLEASE no eggs seriously god please), the bleary-eyed short order cook throws some eggs on there because everyone else in the universe orders pork roll, egg and cheese sandwiches and (s)he probably hasn’t had enough caffeine to process this whimsical request. So again, I’ve stopped setting myself up for disappointment.
(Seriously, with the eggs, I feel like Graham Chapman in the Monty Python ‘Spam’ skit, except it’s not as funny because there are never any singing Vikings or cross-dressing Brits.) It’s damn near impossible to find a meal on a breakfast menu that doesn’t include eggs or isn’t slathered in a metric ton of whipped cream and fruit preserves — and NO ONE sees the problem with this.