Latest Entries »

Lemon Rosemary roast chicken

Sometimes finding the right roast chicken recipe can be kind of like the search for Nessie or the Chupacabra. You want to believe it’s out there, you want to find it, but your intellect tells you it can’t be real. Your heart has been broken over chicken before and you just don’t know whether you should believe.

You can believe. Eventually you will hit the right one. The one that is perfect for you. This one is perfect for me, and by extension the people in my house, because I do all the cooking and they sort of are at my mercy.  That is how I roll.

 

1545676_10201841308329217_267495787_n

Nessie? No…it’s really a seal…but it works for me.

So, here is my roast chicken recipe. It’s a bit loose because your cooking time will vary based on  the size of your chicken, the awesomeness of your oven and what veggies you may want.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken for roasting.  You buy whatever brand you want….I am not a brand despot. I usually get between a 6-8 lb chicken because, leftovers.
  • Lemons – about 3 or 4 depending on how big your chicken is. You’re going to stuff that chicken with them.
  • Rosemary. Fresh is best.
  • Butter, salted (I dislike when they don’t tell you whether it should be salted or unsalted. Assume salted when they don’t because they should tell you and salted butter is delightful. Assume nothing with me though. I will tell you).
  • 3-5 lbs potatoes. Whatever you like. It’s chicken, not a mathematical formula
  • Package of celery hearts. You can skip if you hate celery. You can use parsnips or something else. Or nothing else.
  • Carrots. This, I eyeball. However many you like.
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken broth…JUST IN CASE. I like to hedge my gravy bets.
  • Roasting Pan. Ok, while this is not mandatory, my chicken in a roasting pan turned out so much better than it ever has in one of those throwaways. The right tools…blah blah.

What do I do?

You cook it. I kid.

Pre-heat oven to 350. Now, I cook my chicken at 350, 15 minutes per pound. You cook yours however makes you happy. I also had a chicken the last time with one of those things that pops when it’s ready and it popped exactly when I thought it should, so I win chicken manufacturer!

Here’s what you do to prepare your chicken. Cut up your lemons and chop up your Rosemary, first thing. Then cut up your butter into slices. Rosemary is to taste but about 2 tablespoons maybe. Wash your chicken obviously and don’t forget to pull out the bag of chicken innards.  Dry your chicken pretty well and then place it in the pan.  Salt, pepper to taste. Now, I place a couple of pats of butter in the pan, under the chicken, completely up to you. If you are making gravy from the drippings, it smooths out your gravy nicely.  Next, take the pats of butter and put 3-4 more pats up under the skin of the chicken, under the breast. It’s good, trust me. You will need to work this a bit, but I have faith in you. If you have butter left, put it in the cavity of the bird. I only used about 1/2 a stick but you could be Paula Deen about your butter, I have no idea.  Next, stuff the cavity of your bird with the lemons, holding two wedges out.  Take your olive oil, about a tablespoon and drizzle it over the chicken. Next, rub the oil in…all over your chicken. It makes for a crispy delightful skin. YOU WILL THANK ME.  Lastly, take 2/3 of the rosemary and sprinkle over your chicken.

Now, wash the hell out of your hands and your knife and then ready your veggies. Cut up the potatoes, carrots, celery, parsnips into chunks, all around the same size. Place them in the pan around the chicken. Salt, pepper, drizzle with olive oil, remainder of rosemary, lemon and you can place the lemon in the pan with the veggies too.

By now, your oven should have dinged to let you know it’s ready. Cover your chicken with either a roasting pan lid or tin foil and then cook it for about an hour or so. This is going to depend on how big your chicken is. I made an 8 pounder the other night. In an hour, you should have juices galore, so baste away. Get ALL of the surface area. Put back into oven, uncovered. It’s not going to get brown and crispy and lovely like you want it to if you don’t uncover it. Unless you are magic.

I let it go another 30-40 minutes and baste again. If it is getting too dark but is not ready, cover again.  The internal temperature for chicken should be 165 degrees (or if the little thingie pops out but I check the temp regardless).  When it’s ready, I let it rest on a cutting board (I use a plastic one, not wooden) and then scoop veggies in a bowl. I then, pour the drippings into a saucepan, using a strainer to catch anything that is not a dripping. Heat on low and then I use Wondra to thicken it up into gravy, using a little at a time. Salt, pepper and when it’s where you want it, done.  Side note: my mom always used Wondra so it’s what I use. If you have another gravy making technique or you just want to use drippings as is, fine. They will be lemoy and buttery.

Eat and enjoy!

1545908_10202000888598624_1404033837_n

 

First of all, apologies for being away from the blogosphere so long. Life happens when you are busy making other plans. But I’ve missed writing and I’ve missed doing a fair bit of cooking so this year, I am going to do both. Lock up your pots and pans! Along the way, we’ll talk about our, well my favorite food shows. Or the ones that have really seen better days (Next Foodnetwork Star, I am looking directly at you). But two of my goals for the year were to cook and write more. Two things I sorely miss. Another goal involves Tom Hiddleston and I am keeping that one to myself.

So, over the past several months my weight loss has become a bit more of a weight gain. I know why, it’s all good now. But more importantly, I wasn’t eating well. And I was feeling gross and sluggish. It’s bad when you don’t even enjoy what you’re eating. Don’t get me wrong, I had some lovely meals and some great cocktails and some good times. But day to day, things had to change.

But it’s me, so change is a bit slow to come. I can channel Diane Keaton in…well, a lot of her movies,,very easily. But guys, it’s the journey, not the destination. There’s no end goal here except for feeling good and strong and healthy. And enjoying what I eat. And that thing with Hiddleston. But I digress.

Today, I tried this recipe: Yummy goodness

Someone posted it, I believe, to Facebook and I knew I wanted to try it. I don’t run. Unless someone is chasing me to eat me for dinner. But I can pretend and eat like one!

A couple of differences though; I thought I had kale. Nope. I did have collard greens though. So, I used those. And I didn’t use lemon. I only bought 3 and I need them for another recipe. I didn’t miss it. I also skipped the hot sauce. Didn’t miss that either.

Have you tried quinoa? You should. It’s a grain that is a species of goosefoot and it looks super weird when it’s cooked. I’ve tried red quinoa and I prefer the white. You’re going to look at it and think “why is there an alien in my lot?” It’d little germ pops out when it’s cooked (hey you! Mind out of gutter please!) but it’s how you know it’s done.

The collards. You need to clean them and remove the stems. I soak them in warm water and rinse.

20140125-172046.jpg

The collards waiting for me to do my thing!

20140125-172100.jpg

This was my thing. Roll ‘em up the long way and cut into ribbons, the not long way. Then I sautéed them with in olive oil and garlic. So good you will slap your mama. But don’t. She gave birth to you, that would be super uncalled for. Don’t overcook them. You sauté until they wilt but are still really green. Let me say this; there is NOTHING worse than an overlooked vegetable. It should be a punishable crime. I feel very strongly about this.

So, you’ve cooked your quinoa and collards (or kale). What now? Fry an egg. No, that’s not code for anything. You need to fry an egg. You also need to cube up a 1/2 an avocado. If you use a whole one, I won’t tell. I did that. You don’t tell either. Before the egg goes on:

20140125-173206.jpg

Now an egg is a personal thing. Some people like them fried a little more (hi,mom!) some a bit less. Like me. I don’t judge. If you want to make it over medium, I won’t tell. This is between you and your egg.

And…voila!

20140125-172332.jpg

I build it thusly, quinoa, collards, avocado, egg. If you want a little hot sauce hit others don’t, a little shake over the egg would be good, no? Yes! My fella ate it and if it’s not coated in cheese or is a Cheeto, he is not on board. He liked it.

Super good. Good for you. Decent protein. I ate this and then cleaned all of the floors. And then took a nap. Naps are awesome. Don’t judge me.

Now lest you think I am going to go all healthy on you…this is what I just ate for an early dinner!

20140125-172325.jpg

Stove top Mac and cheese from Alton Brown. He’s not a favorite but this a delight.
Stove top Mac and cheese

So very cheesy. I may be having a second bowl. You’ll never really know.

Anyway, it’s all about balance in life. Sometimes the tightrope gets a little tough to walk. If that happens, take a break. Have a snack. Call me, we’ll go for a snack and a cocktail.

Did anyone watch this past season of FNS?  Did you care if you did? I did watch it but I did something I rarely ever done in the past; I DVRed it to watch later. I opted to watch Game of Thrones and then Masterpiece Mystery instead.  Yes, British accents often trump all, it’s true.

The format of the show as a bit different this year; 3 current FN stars (heh) would act as mentors to 5 home cooks each and send them all the way to the top of the FN food chain (see what I did there?) and to their own show. We had Giada DeLaurentis, Alton Brown and Bobby Flay. So, big head, big attitude and big ego. Nice combo!  Don’t look at me that way! You know Giada has a giant head for that wee little body she’s toting around.   

At first, things seemed promising but soon, it felt like they all hated their teams, and each other. If you had forced me to take a guess at the beginning of the season as to top 3 standing; I actually would have said Justin, Ippy and Yvan. Instead, I was almost right…we got Justin and Yvan, but Michelle snuck in there. Michelle is the Guy Fieri look alike in case you weren’t sure. We also got Martie at the end there because her Southern charm and chutzpah won over Bob and Susie, who seemed softer and gentler this season.   And you may be saying to me “But Lori, what about Eric? He has had chef’ing skills.” and I will answer with “Firstly, who said you could use my name, and secondly…yes. But that doesn’t necessarily make for good tv.” His chef’ed his ass right on out of there actually. I admire him for sticking to his culinary guns. But those guns could not stand up Justin’s lip balm and Martita’s Latin spice.

And let’s go there..if that woman “Un Beso” ed me one more time, I was going to punch her. Must we ALWAYS have the spicy Latina?  If I ever get on one of these shows, I am going to be the spicy Jewess. See if I’m not! There was a soul food guy, or should I say… a guy they tried to put in the soul food category. There was the type A overly competitive one…Nikki, who I never quite warmed to. Actually, I wanted her to go home the first week. The fact she kept hanging on was commendable and annoying.  Emily was retro girl and I liked her, it was hard not to.  I like a bit of quirk.

In the end though, it was Alton’s love child, Justin that took the prize. And I think, deservedly so.  People often say that they think outside the box, but they seldom do it.  Justin actually does. He would do things and I would think “how cool!” It wasn’t how I cook or I how wanted to cook, but it is how I would want to be entertained by a cooking show. In the end, I can cook and I do get a lot of my ideas online and from books, sometimes from shows. But mostly I watch these shows to be entertained by the person doing the cooking.  I don’t watch Bobby Flay because for all of his culinary prowess, I don’t enjoy watching him.  Ok, I want to punch him in the face, but that’s just me I’m sure.

I am not entirely sure how I feel about this new format. I don’t mind it as much now as I did at the beginning and now I know that Alton is a big ole crybaby.  He teared up at the end there, go watch it. And I suspect he was the biggest surprise for me, how invested he actually got. I saw the most commitment to a team from him actually, and while I am not a fan (of him, I have watched his show), I give him props for actually giving a shit.

So, do I still care? I guess because I posted about it, I do. And I still actually want to be on this show so I must care. I think the shake up in format was probably because people were caring less and maybe this shook things up. I still really like the idea that I could be sitting here typing this one day and the next, have my own show. In theory.  I was asked recently about Master Chef and the difference there is that I want to cook on tv, I admit it. I’d like to be tv personality (I think. I could hate it). I don’t need to be a master chef, I don’t necessarily need a cookbook either…and honestly. Joe Bastianich scares me…even while he is a little sexy. Shut it…he is.  Also, I think MC is HARD. Like really hard. I think it probably is harder than FNS and that kind of scares me. I like being an armchair judge for that one.

Next post up…food trucks I have known.

Cooking like the Rock Star you are!

It should come as no surprise to some of you that I have a bit of a girl chef crush on Anne Burrell.  Her passion for food and cooking is not only adorable, it’s completely infectious. I almost wish I was a bad cook so I could go on Worst Cooks in America with the hope of ending up on her team.  Her tough love approach with her charges is no nonsense but kind of nurturing at the same time. But if you don’t respect the ingredients…watch it!

For Christmas, a friend who loves and knows me, gave me Anne’s cookbook called Cook like a Rock Star. Well ok Anne, I think I’m up for the challenge…when I have time anyway. I’ve managed to read the book and go through the recipes, but haven’t had a chance to make anything. I’m a busy lass.  Or, alternatively, lazy. You can decide…but keep it to yourself. I prefer to think I’m just uber busy leading my very glamorous life. So, this review is about layout and form moreso than the recipes. But let’s face it…they are not going to suck.

This book is gorgeous. It could be a recipe in and of itself, it looks that yummy.  It’s set up in a farily logical order of little nibbles (Piccoolini), Firsts, Pasta, Seconds, Sides and Desserts but with a little bit of an Anne twist. SIdes are known as the sparkle factor. And honestly…when you eat out, don’t sides play a big role in the decision making process? Or, is that just me? Anyone?

Moving along…

Here is thing that absolutely sends me over the moon about the book; at the beginning of the recipe, Anne lists what the Mise en Place should be.  For those that don’t know (and why don’t you?) mise en place is the organizing of ingredients in a professional kitchen. But you can do it at home and you should. It makes life a lot easier. I do this as a general rule, no matter what I’m making.  I also set up my ingredients before I start to actually cook. With most recipes/cookbooks, you have to go through the recipe and pull out your mise en place. Anne does it for you. That’s a big honking deal in my book. And it’s something that makes the book user friendly. See? Anne wants you to succeed.  She’s setting you up for cooking success.

She also introduces each recipe and her history with it. I like that. It’s kind of warm and friendly.  It also includes explanations on techniques like braising and browning, trusssing, pasta cooking, etc.  I like that too. I like learning more about techniques and learning new ones. Even if I don’t think I’ll ever do it (I am not sure I’ll ever need to truss anything but I guess you never know) but I like having the knowledge.

Here is my one problem with book; it makes me hungry. Seriously, everything in it is so appetizing to me and all of the photos look so good that it took me ages to read because it would invariably make me hungry.  And then my eyes would start to glaze over with throughts of zucchini and parm fritters, bucatini, spice roasted cauliflower and pear tarte tatin. For someone like me who thinks about food almost constantly (no, I really do…it makes Weight Watchers a challenge sometimes), getting through a book where almost everything appeals to me is a challenge. But, that’s a good problem to have.

So, there is some definite worth and fun and love of food to be had from Anne’s book. I highly recommend it!

 

Why I Cook

There are lots of reasons to cook. I cook because I’m hungry, because someone else is hungry, because it’s there or because no one else will if I don’t.  There are the logical reasons to cook; it’s how we get nutrition, it’s how I can control what goes into my body (and my people’s bodies….I wish for my people to also eat good food), because on Weight Watchers, it’s easier to make your own food so you don’t get stuck eating diet frozen meals every night. That’s a “HELLO! to sodium right there if I ever saw one.

But I don’t cook because I have in the traditional sense. I love to cook and bake and I get a lot of enjoyment out of it and out of watching people eat and enjoy what I make. But I’ve noticed lately, since around the holidays that I actually kind of, well, need to cook.

The holidays were tough this year, for a multitude of reasons. And they never really got any better by the stunning denouement of Christmas then they had been when December reared it’s ugly head.  In order to deal with it all emotionally, I became a one woman baking machine. Anything that crossed my mind to bake, I baked it. Cookies, peppermint part, cheesecake, raspberry squares. Christmas Day saw a ham dinner (I am the worst Jew ever, I know…but I like pork) that was a little silly, but delicious, for the three people it fed.   It was a lot of food and a lot of baked goods.  And so, I thought.  I thought about what possessed me to cook/bake like it was going out of style.

The beginning of January came and it hit me, like a ton of bricks…it was about control!

The one time during the holidays when I felt in control of the situation, my emotions, anything was when I was cooking or baking something.  For someone like me who has a bit of a thing about control anyway, you’d think I would have thought of this sooner.  Well, sometimes distance makes your head work better.   When I’m cooking, I am totally focused on it. I lose myself in the cooking but I feel in total control at the same time. I feel confident about what I’m doing and that it’s going to turn out, for the most part, fine.  I know that if I follow the steps of the recipe, then things are going to turn out. And even if I’m just experimenting, I’m in control.

I know people who don’t cook who don’t get this.  For them, the kitchen and it’s mysteries don’t make sense. To me, they do. It’s probably the one place in my life where things make the most sense. I know certain ingredients do certain things, have certain tastes and will give me certain results.  It’s comforting to me.   I feel at home among my tools and appliances. And I can tell when something is not in it’s right place.

So, I cook because I love it but I also cook because sometimes, I just need it.  I need to focus that strongly on something so that another part of my brain can either rest or work on other problems.  There are plenty of nights when I don’t cook but then I start to miss it and have to do something. Today, I broke in my new stand mixer and made brownies.  That was a labor of love for me. But, I also noticed that I worked off some frustrations I was feeling in another part of my life.

And seriously people, these brownies are good!

 

And the answer is that goals are a good thing. I don’t believe in making resolutions so much as having goals for yourself.  There should always be things you want to accomplish. Resolutions to me seem negative. I want to stop this or stop that or not be this or that. Goals seem much more positive. I made none last year and didn’t really accomplish much until year end which is not the best way to get through a year. So, I’m resolving to make some goals. Heh, see what I did there?

Seriously, now. While this a food blog, and will remain a food blog…I am also going to use this space note my goals for the upcoming year.  Some will be food related, some won’t. Bear with me…it is a once a year thing for the most part.

1. I want to continue to get healthier. My goal is to continue on Weight Watchers, continue to lose weight and exercise and take good care of myself and mostly eat delicious, healthy food….with forays into food porn.

2. In the kitchen, I want to continue to challenge myself and my goal is to try at LEAST one new, fun, scary hard to make dish per month. I am getting a stand mixer and I plan to use the hell out of it.

3. Move. Seriously. My landlord’s son called and just seeing his name gave me an anxiety attack. No way to live. It’s time. So, this is the year I want to make it happen.  By the way, the call was nothing bad…he was making sure I wanted the tenancy at will agreement and to apologize for not alerting me to the new neighbors.

4. Once this play is over and I’ve determined that I actually do like doing this, continue to audition for more things. Maybe take some classes.  We’ll see.

5. Read more

6. Not stress about making jewelery and do some of the other crafts I enjoy. Also, I am going to tackle my sewing machine and make it my slave.

7. Take the second  part of the baking class at Culinary School. And maybe another class or two

8, Did I mention move? Ok, I did…awesome. Once again…move.

9. Try and move ahead in my career..probably tough. Need to add it because it should be there but I realize it could be beyond my control.

10. Be more patient and maybe a little nicer. OK…I’ll try anyway.

11. Try and keep my closet neater on a more regular basis.

12. See more of my friends.

13. Not be so hard on myself.

14. MOVE

15. Clean up my finances…again. I did it once. I didn’t learn my lesson. I have now learned it and I can do it again.  This is going to be tough with the moving thing because I am going to have to make magic happen. But the Cohen women are known for this kind of magic.

15 things are good and probably too much…but the invisible #16 is that if these things don’t all happen, to realize I am human and fallible and that is ok. There’s always 2013.  I am going to have prioritize some of these. MOVING is pretty essential to me not being in a constant state of anxiety so that’s a priority, which means I have the face the thing that freaks me out the most and that’s money.

So, there you have it…my running list for 2012.  The hope for myself and mine is a much better year than 2011 was. And I hope for you all, the same. A healthy, prosperous, peaceful 2012!

 

You know people, I put a lot of thought into these titles….so, I hope you appreciate them.

I love cookbooks…I collect them. When I travel, I try and pick up a local cookbook if I can. It’s a reminder of where I’ve been, the food I’ve eaten and the people I was with.  They are also something I don’t feel translate well to a Kindle. That may change with the purchase (one day maybe) of an iPad, but I doubt it. I think cookbook pages need to be flipped through and used and they need to get stained.  For Christmas, my best friend got me this: http://www.amazon.com/Cook-Like-Rock-Star-Culinary/dp/0307886751/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325273140&sr=8-1

I love Anne Burrell. She makes cooking like fun. She dresses in great colors and has awesome hair. How can you not love her? And it seems most people do. I grew to respect her a lot on The Next Iron Chef: Superstars because she did get nervous and worry about things, but she always put her heart on the plate and you can’t ask for more than that. She’s also great on “Worst Cooks in America” and it’s hard not to root for her team.

So, I am pretty excited about this book and will be trying recipes from it…and will post a review of the book itself soon.

Onto the holidays. I did a little more baking than usual. I hit sugar cookies, a chocolate chip cheesecake, raspberry squares, lemon souffle (or mousse if you’d rather either…which by the way, until I get a standmixer, I am not making this again. There is a HUGE amount of beating [heh] going on here) and the thing I was the most excited about; dark chocolate peppermint bark. I love bark. I love it because in general, I think I am the only one in the house that eats it, much like Peppermint stick ice cream. So, I used this recipe that my friend Christine posted from Bethenny Frankel. I love dark chocolate too so yay for this. I decided to try it. Here’s one thing that annoys me whenever I see one of Frankel’s recipes…she’s all about healthful eating and such, Skinnygirl…blah blah. Yeah, try and find nutritional info on her recipes on her site? Yeah…go ahead. I can’t find it…am I looking in the wrong place? I can’t even track her SkinnyGirl drinks because there’s no nutritional info. I gather it can’t be a lot…not the point. I don’t expect her to go all Hungry Girl and give us the points, but some info so I can figure it out would be nice. Bethenny, do a sister a solid and post some nutritional info every once in a blue moon.

Anyway…the bark is freaking delicious. Next year…I’m going to do it with white chocolate.  But, some photos of the process!

Crushing Candy Canes

It’s 10 candy canes in total…5 mixed in, 5 crushed on top…you can do them all at once or in 2 batches. However works best for yo

I melted some chocolate….I only had 10 ounces of dark chocolate chips, so I supplemented with 2 oz of semi-sweet morsels, because it’s what I had.

Before the melting

After the melting, but before the candy canes get mixed in

mixing in of the candy canes

It took me several minutes to figure this one out. It’s not on the stove and the bowl is floating in mid air?! Really?  I must be holding it in one and taking the snap with my phone with the other hand. It’s weird. But that’s multi-tasking for you.

And the finished product…trumpets sound!  Actually, they sound in my head whenever I finish something that turns out ok. I lead a very rich inner life.

Becoming Bark

FYI, this is totally a picture of the inside of my fridge.

Anyhoodles, it was a great deal of baking and with Christmas dinner to make…I’ve done practically NO cooking this week, save heating up some ham and potatoes and sauteeing some mushrooms.  I think next year, a smaller ham will do.   Of course, I am going to take the big ole  bone and make some split pea soup with it. Soon. Really. Soon.

Has Top Chef jumped the Mahi Mahi?

I have a confession to make. A deep, dark confession. I’ve not been watching the most recent season of Top Chef: Texas! Or rather, I’ve been DVRing and watching later, but honestly not really paying attention to it. I tend to play games on Facebook while it’s on and then I mostly listen. Sort of.  I do forget to fast forward through the commercials though.

I am finding it boring. Or maybe it’s finding me lacking as a viewer, I’m not sure which. The people are kind of boring. When the biggest attitude is from judge Hugh Acheson (this season’s Anthony Bourdain and that’s a compliment by the way. I like Hugh), then you have a problem. I thought we might get some entertainment from this season’s Hall and Oates bromance of Chris (Hall) Jones and Richie (Oh, so very Oates) Farina, it was not to be. Richie left us early…we hardly knew ye Richie!  He also cried like a baby when he was eliminated. There’s no crying in cooking shows, Richie.  Hopefully Chris brings home the prize for you.

I was also hoping for strong women this time and while we get two (Grayson Schmidt and Heather Terhune), once again I am left wondering if strong=bitchy when it comes to women. And why we are so quick to label women as bitches if they are tough in the kitchen. I am tough in my own kitchen and I’m….ok, bad example. Season 1’s Tiffany Faisson even came back to All Stars as a kinder, gentler chef and she got eliminated. What does that tell you?  Mind, I don’t find either Grayson or Heather (who I prefer, mostly because she is named after an orchard that does AWESOME wine) particularly bitchy, but then again…it’s me so you may want to take that with a grain of salt. The week before last’s episode  (episode 6) saw both of them win, one the Quickfire, one the elimination challenge. It also saw another woman, Whitney (You aren’t Grayson?) Otawka go home.  A bad gratin will get you every damned time.  And apparently two women went home last week. I don’t know…I’m behind an episode.

I am kind of perpetually behind 2 episodes. I can’t help it. BBCAmerica’s Dramaville is infinitely more entertaining than these people. At least in Episode 6, we saw Tom Colicchio get mad.  That’s always fun. But he’s right. There is nothing to commend these chefs and maybe you all did pick the wrong ones with your dumb method of getting to the top 16. The cooking has been ok, but no one has been bowled over. And personality wise, eh. You want good chefs but you also have to want good tv. And if you say you don’t, think back to any season of any reality show where there wasn’t a strong set of people personality wise. What do you remember? Nothing. You remember nothing. Trust me on this.

Maybe it’s overkill. We went from last season’s TC, to TC: Just Desserts, to this season. And while I like Johnny Iuzzini and his hair, I am generally left cold by TC:JD. TC needs to go away for awhile and let us miss it.

Project Runway did that (well, it had no choice, PR and Bravo parted company) and remember when it came back? We missed it. We were glad it came back. Even if it was short lived (and do NOT get me started on the borefest of PR: Accessories!  How do you take something awesome and make them dull as dishwater).  The good thing about Runway is that it needs Fashion Week to do its thing. TC only needs a kitchen.  I mean even Padma looks bored. Well, more bored than usual.  So Top Chef, before you decided to do another season…go away for a bit. Let us miss you and then we will welcome you with open arms and a well cooked gratin.

Food, glorious food!

Because, it is. Glorious, that is.  But lately I’ve come to think about food a bit differently. I decided that I really did need to drop some weight. There is no burning need to be a size 2 because that’s not my body type and frankly, I don’t think I have that kind of willpower. But no, I was starting to get a bit sluggish and wasn’t feeling all that hot and so I decided that my body would just feel better if I dropped some weight.  Just because I’m in my 40s, I don’t have to feel like I’m in my 70s.

So, I decided to do Weight Watchers. This came after a lot of research and thought and asking people I know and trust who are on it or have done it what they thought of it.  WW people have an almost fanatical devotion to the program and I do not mind saying that it threw me off a bit.  Groucho Marx said he would never belong to any club that would have him as a member and I kind of felt that way about WW. I’m fairly circumspect about what I weigh and I didn’t want it rah rah’ed all over the room. Once I was assured that this did not happen, I felt better.  And I was concerned about cost but it’s through work and that makes it all the more affordable. So, there were my two big issues blown to Hell.  And I did think I was going to be deprived of things I like. I’ve done diety type things in the past, Atkins being the big one. It wasn’t good long term and I put all of that weight back on when I went back to work after being laid off. Besides, life is too short to not eat a nice crusty baguette.  Bread, pasta, potatoes, all food of the Gods and I wasn’t prepared to live life without them. And the Atkins cereal sucked all kinds of serious ass.

But as you know, I love to cook and bake and I love to eat. I was worried that this was going to be curtailed by WW. Oddly, it hasn’t been. What WW has taught me is portion control. I bought a food scale and I am not afraid to use it. And yes, I did actually weigh a boob and no, I am not going to tell you what it weighed but I like to think that it explains a lot. It’s my fantasy, let me have it.  And I haven’t actually cooked less, I’ve been cooking more because frankly, they have some good recipes. And  I don’t deprive myself. Sometimes you gotta plan and sometimes you just gotta eat or have that cocktail and not worry about it. I think life is too short to not enjoy yourself when you can. If this was something that was going to make me think food was the enemy, it wasn’t going to work.  People thinking food is the enemy is the problem.  Food is wonderful. Especially cake.  Cake is beyond wonderful. Shit, I want cake now and we have none. Damn.

Where was I? Oh yeah…it’s amazing what you think is a portion and what really is a portion.  In some cases, it’s better than you expect and in others, you’re all “Seriously?  I can eat double that amount of cereal. Really?” and then I take a little extra because shit, it’s cereal. I love cereal. It’s one of my comfort foods.

And so far, it’s not a drag and I can do it easily enough and I don’t feel like I can’t eat what I want. I just need to eat less of it and exercise  (Feh…now this IS something I don’t like to do). And sometimes, I eat more. Whatever. I have Activity and weekly points. I can do that.  Now, let’s be honest..it’s me and that means I get distracted by shiny, pink objects a lot. In 6 months I could be over this but this is actually the one thing that seems to be consistently working at taking the weight off. Now, I just gotta stick with it. Again..me…distracted…shiny things.  I don’t even mind tracking. I’m a born list maker so to me, it’s like making a list.

I do have some blog guilt though. I go away for a long time and I come back and talk about diets. Blech. It’s more to share what’s going on but it is not going to become the focus of this blog. I shall be back to posting recipes, herb failures and smack talk about  Food tv shows very shortly.  And there is new season of Top Chef! Whhhooooo!

But yes, I do feel better and I do feel like I have more energy and I am still enjoying food and eating. I’m also craving fried chicken (my numero uno favorite/comfort food) so I need to get me some of that!

 

Epic Herb Fail

So…I admit it, sometimes I’m having a bad day, or I’m hormonal or I’m just a moody bitch. This past Monday, all three aligned to occur at once and when I saw the little black flying bugs on my herbs, I acted before I thought.   It’s not something that I do regularly anymore, but Monday was such an epic fail of a day that it was the basil leaf that broke the camel’s back.

Little black, flying bugs I hate you.  Between them and the outrageously hot July, it was getting tough keeping them misted enough, watering them enough but not too much and just overall keeping them alive and happy.  So before I could even think about, the herbs…dead and alive…were relegated to that herb garden in the sky.

That sound you hear is the broken heart of a green thumb.  So…once I got down feeling sorry for myself and my herbs, I did a little research and found out how to kill the little boogers, getting some good info in the process.  Why did I not do this beforehand, please see paragraph one. If I have one regret about this, it is acting before I thought it through. But we all get to do that sometimes in life and this was my moment. Hey, I could be sitting here, lying to you about it. Telling you the mythical herb God came down from the mountains of Herbacia and took my herbs as his yearly sacrifice, all the while cackling. Enjoying my heartfelt and bereft screams to him..”Not my herbs, you bitch!” but no, I told the truth.  I had heat, black flying bugs and a terrible, no good, bad day.

So…where does that leave us? Well, it leave us with a little more room in the kitchen and a new plan. I am one of those people who tends to dive in at the deep end (swimming metaphors are weird when you don’t swim) with things. If I don’t know how to do something, I tend to pick something overly complicated to start. Yes, I just make things more difficult. With gardening, I already have a green thumb, I’ve already grown things and I’ve already tested my abilities so I figured the more, the better.  Well no, maybe not in this case. I am going to take a step back and start small. I am going to grow basil and MAYBE one other herb, but definitely basil to start. I had the best luck with it. I am going to do a little research, take some notes and start again.

It’s not failing that makes us who we are, most people fail at some point. And at some point, we all have to fall on our sword a bit. What makes us who we are is what we do once we fail. It’s ok to go off and lick your wounds for a short time, but you can’t let it beat you.  I have faith in my ability to grow things and I have faith in my ability to pick myself, clean the potting soil out from under my fingernails and start again.  I am going to master one herb, then the next. And believe me when I tell you, I will master them.

Good news is I do have a good amount of basil to work with now. I was able to get some chives, sage, cilantro and parsley out of the deal before it all went south. So, I know it can be done. So,  HERBS: MACH 2 (electric boogalo) is coming to a blog near you!

IN MEMORIAM

My herbs in happier days…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 336 other followers