Archive for March, 2012

March 21, 2012

Day 131

Poppy Almond Muffin

Perhaps I’ve avoided poppy seed muffins for two reasons: 1. The potential for awkward social situations when a number of black nuggets get stuck in my teeth. 2. The threat of false positives if I’m randomly tested for opium. But I went ahead and took the plunge anyway. And this was a good little snack. The almond extract was a bonus.

March 20, 2012

Day 130

Corn Tortilla

Yes, I’ve had tacos before. I mean, I didn’t grow up in a cave or anything. (Well, actually, I was an adult before I ate a taco, but let’s not split hairs.) Anyway, what I haven’t ever done is fry up some corn tortillas for said tacos instead of opting for a pre-packaged taco “shell” — or, for soft versions, a flour tortilla. So this was a lovely, chewy revelation.

March 19, 2012

Day 129

Saffron Rice

Tried again with the saffron, since I couldn’t detect any in my version of Arroz con Pollo. This time I picked up a pre-made package (Vigo Saffron Yellow Rice). It was good, but pretty similar to my regular old pilaf. So my question is, Does saffron have any taste at all? Is it just a vapid, but very expensive, beauty queen? An internet search on the subject came up with “honey-like” and “earthy” and “more about smell than taste” and “bitter” if you dump too much in. But a lot of other folks out there in cyberspace are wondering about its lack of flavor. More investigation is needed to get to the bottom of this yellow-tinged mystery.

March 18, 2012

Day 128

Venison Sausage

Sausage is kind of iffy with me anyway. It’s so rich and, well, meaty. And deer sausage seems even more so. I prefer my protein bits to be completely divorced from their origins. There’s just something about chomping into a Bambi patty that makes deluding myself a little more difficult.

March 17, 2012

Day 127

Corned Beef and Cabbage

I’m sure it’s the name that’s kept me away from this food all these years. What in the world is a corned beef? Sounds like a beef that’s been compromised in a rather naughty way. But it’s actually just salt-cured (brined with “corns” of salt). And it’s good — though it has nothing on a ham. This dish could have been a winner. I like potatoes. And carrots. And cabbage. And salty meat. (No, that one wasn’t a sexual innuendo. I know sometimes it’s hard to tell with me.) But there was a typical SNAFU in the Picky Niki kitchen. Recipes called for “pickling spice.” And the brand I picked up included cinnamon. Had I known this before I dumped it into my dutch oven I would have rethought the whole thing. But a brief survey of the internet reveals that adding cinnamon isn’t Abby Normal at all. And I do always love cinnamon. I mean, almost always. Not, apparently, when it’s been stewing with meat and cabbage for a couple hours. Happy St. Pat’s anyway.

March 16, 2012

Day 126

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Not bad. Plus I tricked three picky 5-year-olds into eating zucchini. Tee hee.


March 15, 2012

Day 125

Shiitake Mushrooms

I’m a little more than a third of the way through this experiment and I know I’m making some progress, since now I’m able to put a mushroom in my mouth. Tried the shiitake variety this time, cooked with some asparagus, onion and sesame seeds in a bit of chicken broth. Good stuff.

March 14, 2012

Day 124

Irish Soda Bread

Gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day. (And, yes, I will be sampling my very first corned-beef-and-cabbage dish on Saturday. I couldn’t be less thrilled.) Actually, an angry sounding webster who runs a site called the “Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread” points out that if said bread has raisins in it, it most certainly is not Irish soda bread. And this one had raisins in it. A lot of raisins. In fact, that’s why it’s getting a frowny face. I saw that it had raisins in it when I picked it up at the grocery store, of course. But I convinced myself that I could eat around those offending fruit bits. A good plan, if there hadn’t been so darn many of them. Really, there was no escape, and that’s what doomed this otherwise solid entry in the bread family. Interestingly, it was another non-traditional ingredient that I liked best about it. There were caraway seeds in there for some reason. Once I realized I liked those little guys, a workmate pointed out that I would probably like rye bread. Now that would be a surprising development.

March 13, 2012

Day 123


I’m not sure why I never wanted to try this. Must have been the weird-sounding name. Plus the mystery meat factor. With something like chicken, you know what animal you’re dealing with. But a meat called pastrami is not so easily identified. I actually had to Wiki it. Said it was mostly cured beef. But also said that “beef navels” are traditionally used in the U.S. pastrami scene. Yikes. Luckily, the pastrami I picked up was of the non-traditional turkey variety. And it was good. Generally, you can’t go wrong with cured meat. Unless you’re talking navels.

March 12, 2012

Day 122

Scallion Pancakes

I guess we’re having a pancake kind of week. These Chinese appetizers weren’t as successful as the buttermilk variety, but it’s entirely possible that I’d like them more if someone besides myself made them. As I’ve probably said before, my first swing at a recipe is rarely a home run. It was a snippet from Cooks Country, one of my all-time favorite magazines, so I’m going to take the blame for the poor execution. Plus I’ve been having some trouble acclimating to sesame oil. Seems like it should be a winner, what with my adoration for toasted sesame seeds. But the oil is so rich, it’s hard for me to eat much of whatever it’s in. And in a dipping sauce … well, it kind of coats the tongue. Moderately disturbing.