Busy Nights Real Food
Friday, January 27, 2006
  Extreme Blog Makeover: Punky Edition
Well, I am doing a bit of remodeling here, for no reason except that I was sick of looking at that green. So let me know what you think. And if you have any suggestions please place them in that file to the right of my desk. Just ignore that empty soda bottle in there. I joke. So let me know if you have problems with any areas.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
  Lucky Number 7
I had to work until 7 tonight after a really long day and came home to Funkbobito stirring up some yummy Fettucini Alfredo. It was great and I ate it too fast to catch a picture.

Well Patti over at Adventures in Food and Wine tagged me for the 7's cooking meme so here we go.

7 Culinary Things to do Before I Die
1. Make a prime rib
2. Make fois gras
3. Eat at the 10 best restaurants in the US
4. Learn to make really good sushi
5. Become a really good bread baker
6. Take a cooking class from a professional gourmet chef
7. Learn about wine pairings (I am so clueless here that it may take me a lifetime to learn)

7 Things I Can't Do In the Kitchen
1. Basically anything with potatoes
2. Clean as I go. It ain't cookin' unless you use every dish.
3. Find the measuring spoon I need.
4. Remember to not touch the meat thermometer when it comes out of the oven
5. Debone (is that a word?) a chicken or fish
6. Finish a gallon of milk before its expiration date
7. Fit another condiment in my refridgerator

7 Thinkgs That Attract Me to Food Blogging
1. I get to release those creative juices
2. Its fun to use a fake name
3. I've made some fun online friends
4. It keeps me trying new recipes
5. I am getting better at using my camera
6. I feel loved when I get comments
7. I get to bore all of you with my ramblings rather than Funkbobito

7 Things I Say Most Often While Cooking
1. Sh!t
2. Where is the damn tablespoon? (immediately followed by...)
3. How many 1/8 tsps in 3 tablespoons?
4. Funkbobito can you run to the store real quick?
5. Don't touch that, its really hot (and less than a minute later...)
6. Sh!t Sh!t Sh!t. I burnt my hand again
7. Well...I don't know if this will taste very good, but I was trying something new (sheepish grin).

7 Cookbooks I Love
1. America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
2. Best of Cooking Light
3. How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman
4. 30 Minute Meals 2
5. Cookies by the Dozen
6. Cooking Light Superfast Suppers
7. Grilled Cheese: 50 Recipes to make you melt

7 Cooking Shows I Can Watch Over and Over
1. Good Eats
2. Ham on the Street (its a new one and has sucked me in)
3. Anything with Tyler Florence
4. Everyday Food
5. Semi-homemade with Sandra Lee (its like a trainwreck, I can't turn it off)
6. Iron Chef (original version only)
7. Any of the Food TV specials about cooking contests

I have seen a lot of people who have done this meme, so if you are reading here and haven't been tagged yet, you are tagged now. Have a great night.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
  And it shall be called...
Punky's "I think I'm in the mood for Asian tonight" pork wraps. Ok, so maybe just peanutty pork wraps is faster. And I made it up all by myself. We went looking at wedding invitations last night and then stopped by the grocery store to figure out dinner. I try not to do this too often because I spend way more money. But this week has been crazy. Funkbobito moved in so we are living in sin and chaos till he gets unpacked. So anyways, after walking past the meat counter about 7 times we decided on pork tenderloin. Then the idea started to develop. Asian pork served in a pancake (or more accurately a tortilla).

Well I cut up the pork into bite sized pieces and marinated it in one of my favorite new condiments, Bangkok Padang Peanut Sauce. This stuff is great and better than any peanut sauce I've made. Anyways the pork, the peanut sauce, some soy sauce and a bit of 5 spice powder all had a party in a big ziplock for about 30 minutes. I cut up a red bell pepper and stirfried it with some snow peas. Dressed that with a little soy and peanut sauce. I then stir fried the pork and mixed them all together and served on fresh flour tortillas. It was a great flavor, but I may add a bit more heat to it next time. I should say that when I say stirfry, I don't really mean it. I used maybe 1 to 1.5 tsp of oil.

I roasted some sweet potatoes and asparagus for our sides. The potatoes were simple with some 5 spice powder. The asparagus was tied in with a little drizzle of soy. Very light and tasty sides.

So I apologize for it taking so long to get this place updated, but true culinary genius takes time (*wink wink*). No really, I have turned to familiar dishes lately. But hopefully I will have something to share with you by the end of the week.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
  Crabby kind of day
One of the things about working retail is that you have a lot of different personalities. You have customers and other employees all with their different ways of approaching the world. Today I happened to run into a few too many of the crabby approaches. I was only at work for 5 hours, yet it felt like a week. Its never fun to spend your day trying to tip toe around those grumpy people. Anyways, after dealing with the grumps this morning I decided that we would stick with the crabby theme and try some crab cakes.

Funkbobito bought me The Food You Want to Eat for Christmas. It is by Ted Allen, the food guy on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy". When I saw his recipe for Crispy Oven Fried Crab Cakes, I figured this may be a good night to try one of Funkbobito's favorite foods.

These were alright, nothing to get to worked up about. The ratio of crab to filler was great. Very crabby indeed. However, something in the flavor was not quite stellar. I am hoping that I can try it again changing up the seasonings a bit. We served it with some fresh green beans and a red pepper aioli (its a cooking light recipe). The aioli was on target and one I will use again.

So here's to a bit of a less crabby day tomorrow.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
  Lets make a trip to the IHOP

That'd be the International House of Punky. That's right, yours truly finally made a successful pancake from scratch. I know there were doubters out there after the last disaster. But I was convinced if a 7th grade Home Ec class can do it, so can I. So we turn to Mark Bittman and his book How to Cook Everything. I am really liking this one as just a basic reference. Its been a great hit. So I had my pancakes Elvis style as you can see, my personal favorite. So hurray for pancakes and hurray for me actually making them without the boxed mix.

Tonight is the leftover, takeout night of the week. I have to work late and then back at 6am on Thursday. Then its supper club. We are doing an Asian theme and it should be fun. So hang in there for some pics, recipes, and a few new dishes before the weekend is over.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
  Playing blog catch up
Well, my schedule this week so far has been very good for my cooking, not so good for sleeping in. Saturday we tried a new take on burgers. The Cajun Cool Cheeseburgers (CL) were a great twist on a regular grill treat for us. And since it was beautiful out we were excited to fire up the old Char-Broil. My changes included using all ground beef (are there actually stores that sell ground turkey outside of the prepacked containers?). I also cut the blue cheese and used some gorgonzola. With some spicy oven fries and mixed veggies we were stuffed. If you make these and follow the serving size suggestion, you may have a case of the giant bun. But its okay, its not the size of your burger, its the taste and how filling it is, right?

Sunday was our super lazy meal, baked potatoes and salad. I got a little wild this time and made some carmelized onions to top mine with. It was really good and I got to use some more of my feta and gorgonzola. Being that I have had a few too many pictures of food that look like something post digestion, I thought I would spare this one for you. I also tried the brussel sprouts again. This time with a bunch of balsamic vinegar and garlic. And the verdict is in. We can live wihtout brussel sprouts. They are alright, but maybe not for us. So onward in our cooking adventures.

Monday we made an easy weeknight favorite, but actually made a bit of an effort. Chicken quesadillas are easy enough right? So I baked the chicken and then shredded it. We seasoned it up with all the usual culprits (chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, etc.) and cooked it all together in the skillet. One of our local grocery stores has a tortillaria and so we had some fresh made tortillas, nothing better. Topped with a cheese blend, the chicken and Funkbobito's homemade pico de gallo we were in heaven. It was totally good. We also made some homemade guacamole. It was really good as well. I must say thank you to Mark Bittman for offering up our condiment recipes in his How to Cook Everything. I got a bit overzealous with the burner heat so this one looks a little toasty, but it really was great. Who knew I could make this all and have it all taste good. Yummy.

Well, not sure whats on the menu tonight, but trying to plan for our January Supper Club on Thursday. It's an Asian theme so we will see what I cam come up with.
Friday, January 06, 2006
  Excuse me ma'am...I believe I have found your beef

Well I got to cook for the 1st time in the new year and it didn't turn out so bad. I really wanted a hearty, comfort food that would still be good for leftovers on Friday. So Wednesday I began looking for a good, and low fat beef stew. After no time I found a recipe for Oven Baked Stew on the Cooking Light Bulletin Board. It looked great. Really hearty, really flavorful, really stew. I made the grocery list and was getting all my stuff ready when I realized that I don't own a Dutch oven or have anything to use in the place of a Dutch oven. My lack of cooking gear often stops my planning in its tracks. So back to the drawing board. I then went to my most recent Cooking Light Magazine and fornd the Basic Beef Stew with Carrots and Mushrooms. I was very tasty and very easy. Though mental note. If you are making stew that requires over 2 hours to just cook, you may want to start a bit before 5:30. Especially when you are working at 5 am the next morning and need to get some sleep. I couldn't find white potatoes (as they described) so I used red. I was out of red wine so I used my favorite mass marketed light beer. The final result- really stinkin' good. It was super beefy and filling. I would have liked a bit more salt, but that it just a personal preference. This will go on my list to make again. So that was Wednesday and I am hoping to enjoy myself some leftovers today.

Thursday brought out one of our all time favorites, Spicy Ranch Chicken Wraps. These take no time to throw together and we have them at least once a month. I served these with Cilantro-Lime Rice. Just like a trip to good ol' Chipotle, only without the wonderful last bite of tortilla that has all the juice and extra sour cream. Ok, sorry got a little excited there. The rice was great. I used jasmine rice (if that isn't one of the most divine things in the world), a few tablespoons of fresh cilantro and some lime zest make this a very light and refreshing side dish. I will make this again for sure. Ok, be proud. I tried my first new food last night. They've been on sale a lot lately and I can remember thinking they are the most disgusting objects in the plant family when I was younger. I am speaking of the...Brussel Sprout. I tried them pretty au natural last night. I roasted them with just a bit of olive oil, some salt and pepper. Well, if that were the only way to eat these things, I don't know that we'd have them again. Its not that we hated them. They were just a bit more bitter than we cared for. Actually, we kind of liked the raw leaves better than the cooked version. So we have agreed that we will try them again, it may just be with some other flavoring, such as balsamic. But the new year is starting out alright. I am cooking pretty healthy and I am trying new things. So no cooking today, just lots of leftovers, but have some yummy plans for Saturday.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006
  A holiday tradition, 3/4 pounds of butter and a little conspiracy (in elastic waistband pants)
Well, Funkbobito has been talking about his family's Christmas Eve tradition for the entire 5 years we have been together. He always talked about it with such lust in his eyes I knew if we were going to work out for the long haul, I better learn how to make this holiday treat. To be honest I had never once heard of pierogies. Had no idea what to expect and was a bit curious. All I knew was that they were a bit time consuming according to Funkbobito, his mom, and his grandma. Well, as you regular readers know, I am more of a quick cook, so time consuming is not usually something I am interested in. But in the vein of the "good wife (to be)" I dove in and learned how to make these little gems.
We started by making some very cheesy mashed potatoes. Count it, 1st stick of butter. You let those get totally cool and start making your dough. I learned some good kneading techniques from my future mother in law. Then you start rolling out your dough. I am a bit of a rolling pin amateur. I always have problems with the dough sticking to stuff, and it is rarely the same thickness all around. And it takes me for ever to actually get stuff rolled out. Anyways, we rolled out the dough, and cut it into squares. Enclose a little teaspoon of potatoes and pinch your seals. We made these the night before and froze them on cookie sheets so that Christmas Eve would be a breeze. Fast forward to Saturday. We diced up a large onion and melted 2 sticks (count 'em) of butter in a skillet. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and throw in your pierogies (careful not to stir too much). Then toss with your yummy melted butter. Not exactly the most low fat meal I have ever eaten, but it was really good.

And for the conspiracy, I will figure out how to lighten this meal if it kills me. And they will never know (insert evil laugh here). Not quite sure where to start, but I will work on it little by little. It really is a very yummy dinner. I could use a bit more seasoning added in, but I understand that this is their family recipe so I won't mess with that (at least not at first).

Well, to end the holiday food frenzy we went out to dinner one last time last night. McCormick and Schmicks is always tasty around here. We went all out, appetizers, entrees, and 2 desserts. My camera died, so you only get to see one thing, but it was the best. The Chocolate Bag. Its dark chocolate in the shape of, well, a bag. Its filled with white chocolate mousse and fresh berries. So divine so rich, so gonna be wearing elastic waist band pants today. Oh God, its happened, I'm my mother.

Well, my menu for the week has been shot all to hell, so we'll see what we can come up with. May have to peruse the sale circular today and see where the deals are.
Monday, January 02, 2006
  Busy Nights Real Food
Well Happy New Year! I have been having a busy last few weeks. Between the holiday rush at work, my mom's visit, Funkbobito's parents being in town and my roommate having surgery, I haven't done much cooking. When I get my computer working right again I will share my one new recipe with you all. It was a good one.

So for the new year I am really going to try and focus on the "real" food part of my title. I want to cut out as much processed food as possible. I also want to try more new recipes, and get a bit better at posting here for you all. And last but not least, I am going to try more new ingredients and cooking techniques. I am aiming for 1 a week, but it may be more like 1 each month. We'll just have to see. Start the new year off right, you know?


Just a mom, sharing our life on this little blog.

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