Archive for January, 2012

January 31, 2012

Day 81


I wanted to try one of these for the Chinese New Year, but my timing was off … I didn’t plan ahead and we don’t exactly have mooncake dealers on every corner around here. So a workmate came through for me. (She scored a bag a couple of hours to the south.) This bean-paste-stuffed confection was green-tea flavored and kind of yummy.

January 30, 2012

Day 80


If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you might have gotten the impression that my life is just one long parade of SNAFUs. And you’d be right. Let’s take this buffalo experiment, for instance. Some poor planning skills, a dash of unrealistic expectations and an extra-long board meeting led to this poor little guy looking an awful lot like a hockey puck when all was said and done. The magic thing about buffalo, though, is it’s crazy tender. Even after hanging out in a warm-ish oven for two hours. So, if you ever have to abuse your meat like that (no dirty jokes, please), make sure it’s buffalo.

January 29, 2012

Day 79

Star Fruit

I tried to make a cheese souffle and failed miserably. So I grabbed this handy fruit. I like a fun-shaped food as much as the next guy, but this little fellow was nothing special. Kind of like a watery kiwi. I wouldn’t cross the street for one. But I wouldn’t be scared away from a star-fruit-laden dessert, either. Will try again. The souffle, too. Even though the house smells disturbingly like eggs now.

January 28, 2012

Day 78

Vegetable Samosa

My husband loves to cart home other folks’ junk from garage sales. So when he wandered in with a Fry Daddy last summer I rolled my eyes and stashed it in the farthest corner of a dark cupboard. Little did I know I would be the first one to bust it out. (Guess he’s not always wrong. Just mostly.) These crispy little critters were good, of course. I like most vegetables anyway — and if they’re tucked in a pocket of deep-fried goodness, that’s just a bonus.

January 27, 2012

Day 77

Creamed Succotash

I’m pretty bored with Mr. Bittman’s minimalist recipes, so when I decided to tackle succotash I went back to my trusty old Better Homes and Gardens red-and-white bible (and it is old: it’s my grandparents’ copy). So, out with olive oil and vinegar, in with butter and cream. BHG isn’t a trendy cookbook, but it is my favorite. My most requested dishes are all pure Americana: beef stew with biscuits, homemade mac-n-cheese, apple pie, a killer chicken and dumplings (I’m not kidding about the killer part; there’s a whole stick of butter in there). One of my fantasies (and I have many) is living the life of a 1950s housewife, with none of the sexism and McCarthyism and all of the free afternoons and easy-access Valium.

Sorry, I digress. We were talking about succotash. Before I started this new food experiment, the word “creamed” would have scared me away as a potential texture nightmare. But┬ácreamed succotash is just some veggies swimming in my usual yummy, buttery white sauce. (I never promised the experiment would lead to healthier eating.)

January 26, 2012

Day 76

Red Anjou Pear

Although I’ve had disastrous run-ins with Bartlett pears, I thought maybe nibbling on a fancier-sounding┬átype would yield better results. But a pear by any other name is still a pear — gritty, thick-skinned and unpleasant. Like chewing on a wad of sandpaper.

January 25, 2012

Day 75


I’ve never had a fruit that you can eat with a spoon like sherbet, so this was an interesting experiment. Just not a successful one. Lots of black seeds to maneuver around, and there was a disturbing hint of banana. Stupid bananas. They ruin everything.

January 24, 2012

Day 74

Spicy Thai Chicken Soup

I’ve had a cold, so what could be better than a spicy chicken noodle soup? Absolutely nothing. It was fantastic. I used this recipe from epicurious, but skipped the mint and cilantro and added noodles and bean sprouts. Plus, since I didn’t have any Thai chicken stock, I used regular old chicken broth simmered with garlic and ginger (my first exposure to fresh ginger). Worked just fine. And I got over my irrational fear of fish sauce.

January 23, 2012

Day 73

Bacon Brownies

I was thoroughly mocked by my family for attempting this combination. Most geniuses are misunderstood in their lifetimes. We can take it. But as it turns out — maybe you should sit down for this — I was wrong. At least in this instance. The bakin’-nators didn’t live up to my hype.

January 22, 2012

Day 72

Buckwheat Pancakes

These were a bust, but it was definitely user error. One attempt is just not enough to get used to a new ingredient. Turned out greasy, rubbery and flat as a, well, pancake. Will try again. Even if my five-year-old did tell me NEVER to make pancakes like this again.