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.)

25 comments:

Michelle said...

Oh no, I'm sorry hon. That must have been hard. On the positive side, I'm really glad to see you back to your blog. I missed you and your tasty meals!

Jes said...

Getting back to cooking for one *is* so hard--your cooking with friends plan is definitely the best idea, and your eats look absolutely fantastic--I'm sure the whiskey doesn't hurt either :) ((hugs)) and I hope your ankle heals soon!

Jessie said...

I'm glad to see your blog back!

Going back to cooking for one is something that I know to be really hard. Seems like you have found a great way to get out of the rut. That risotto looks amazing!

saveyrgeneration said...

shared cooking endeavors are the most fun. looks good lady!

The Paris Food Blague said...

that looks delicious. seitan is difficult....bon courage!

Hannah said...

Yay for getting back to cooking! Everything looks really delicious, definitely a tasty start. :)

Ricki said...

Welcome back! (I find big freezers really help);).

The Indian meal looks fabulous. I adore Indian food--am just prepping for a big meal tomorrow! But I must say that risotto sounds spectacular. Is there a recipe, or did you both sorta wing it?

INGRID said...

I don't know you, but I am sending you virtual hugs and good thoughts.
Also, it's good to see your blog posts again.

**hugs**

Crystal said...

Yay!! So excited to have you back! Cooking with friends is a good time, and everything looks amazing.. Good luck with that broken ankle- I hope it heals quickly!

pavotrouge said...

good to see you post! brussels sprouts risotto is an amazing idea.

jessy said...

i'm glad you're back, Jessica. i've missed you, my friend! i'm thinking happy thoughts for you and sending ya big hugs. :) that sucks crap that you broke your ankle - damn! i'm glad you're rock'n out the kitchenventures though! i'm always jealous of your rock'n photos. indian foodz + whiskey = the best! and cooking with friends kicks ass and can bring a about some happyfaces, indeed. i'm glad your spirits were lifted some, and i hope things continue to get better 'n better. lemon brussels risotto sounds like the most yummiest thing ever. i love me some brussels. never thought to use them in a risotto - genius! i don't have 500 vegan recipes yet, but you better believe it's on my wishlist now. w00t! man, i'm so glad you're back!

aTxVegn said...

Welcome back! I'm so sorry you've had a rough time of things, and breaking your ankle too. I know all about cooking for one and I do the same thing to get out of a rut. If people can't come to me to eat, I take it to them!

I have missed your yummy food posts!

The Voracious Vegan said...

I'm glad you are back! Indian food = the best food EVER. It looks delicious!

But I think I hear that risotto calling my name. So creamy and beautiful!

Unplanned Cooking said...

How fun that you have a friend to cook with. Always nice to share those little things you enjoy in life with someone.

California state health insurance said...

Wow this looks soooo sooo sooooo good! Definitely keepin this one in mind.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Cooking with a bud is a great idea - especially if you've been down in the dumps. Fun in general is a good thing to have.

And that risotto looks wonderful. It is a lot of effort, but it is worth it, well, every once in awhile. :-)

Sal said...

that's cool you've got girlies to cook with. if my friends helped me I'd probably end up throwing them out my kitchen!! hahaha.

Betty Holiday said...

I've missed your posts too. Keep rockin' and get better :)

Erin said...

Sorry that things have been sucking a little, but glad to see you back!

Tess said...

I love Indian food, everything looks so good.

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