Friday, January 22, 2010

hey, good lookin'...what you been cookin'?

Yes, I've been gone for a long while. Yes, I do have a legitimate reason or two. You will most likely figure out this reason within the next two sentences, but I'd rather not go into detail just now.

Ok, so as most of you probably know, going from cooking for two or more to cooking for just yourself can be difficult. At first it's all like, 'Why bother? It's just me. I can live off Taco Bell burritos for a period of time.' But then you get tired of eating crap and you start cooking again. Still, cooking for one kind of blows. I'm still in the mode where I cook for an army, only to find myself with leftovers for at least 3 days afterward. Solution to depressing problem? Cook with friends! Recently, I have been cooking with my lovely and talented friend Becca about once a week or so. It's an excuse to get out of the house and socialize, yes, but it's also a reason to bring some joy back to the cooking process. We started off simple for our first kitchenventure: Indian food.
ladies in action

Becca whipped up an exquisite chana masala whilst I slopped together the curry potatoes from the 500 Vegan Recipes cookbook (which is amazing, by the way). I added about twice as much garlic as it called for and used red curry paste since I didn't have any green.
my girl stirrin' it up

lots of stirring action

The potatoes didn't require nearly as much stirring. (Above photos are courtesy of Becca's manfriend, Max, since I forgot my camera.)

end result

Paired with some fluffy basmati rice (and some whiskey), it was a deliciously awesome meal. And I only had to take home one little container of leftovers. Not to say it wasn't yummy enough to take home more, but I probably had like 3 tupperwares of pasta in my fridge already.

This next kitchenventure occurred last night...and I remembered my camera, so there's loads more photos. Also, I broke my ankle last week so I had pretty much nothing better to do but mince the garlic and onions and take an annoying amount of pictures. We decided to make a risotto...lemon brussels sprout risotto, to be exact. It started out with lots of garlic and onions (yeah, we doubled [or tripled] the amount of garlic...we love the garlic).
the woman knows how to pick out a good head of garlic

which turned into this

mincing queen

I told you, that was all I was good for. The rest is the work of the wonderful Becca. She blanched some brussels sprouts:

And then she sauteed them:

And then she cut them in half:

Waiting for the rice to 'separate and crackle' (much confusion ensued):
And this is about when Becca realized that risotto is really frustrating to make:

The lady owns the most awesome kitchen crap I've ever seen, but she does not have a ladle (we superwomen know how to improvise, however):

"I strongly suggest that you take a picture of this right now":
if only i could have taken a video so you could see it bubbling away

If you clicked on the link for this recipe, you'll see that Becca has the same lemon juicer thingamabob as the one in the picture (she's my real life Betty Crocker):

And, at long last, this:
tasted way prettier than it looked, i promise you

We both agreed that the risotto was heavenly. We added an extra squirt of lemon juice on our individual portions, which contributed a lovely tang. The brussels sprouts were sweet and tender and paired nicely with the creaminess of the rice. Upon asking Becca if it was worth all the effort, she replied, 'Yes...but I'll never make risotto again.' I warned ya, girlfran.

So, the moral of the story is this: If you're feeling a little down in the dumps or your cooking has gone into a rut, I recommend that you cook with a friend once in awhile. You're more likely to try challenging recipes that you wouldn't bother to make just for yourself, and it's just plain refreshing. (Next up, I think we might try seitan en croute...which I would never attempt on my own, but with my ladyfriend there for moral support might just be achievable.)