Friday, October 15, 2010

On the Off-Chance That You're Hungry. Or Have a Cold.

For the most part, I'm pretty even keeled. I'm not given to fits of melodrama, (barring the occasional woe-is-me couch sleep). I imagine the people in my life know what to expect of me - and it's usually nothing extra exciting. I guess what I'm trying to say is - I err on the side of boring.

But when it comes to cooking? I'm a study in extremes. I'm Giadda and a college student and Martha and an overworked Congressional aide, all rolled into one. I'm homemade marinara and Spaghettios, roasted pork loin and cold cereal at ten p.m.

One week I'm burning up the kitchen, walking around with flour streaks on my t-shirt, a brown-sugar mustache, garlic-scented fingertips. The next week I can't be bothered to chop an onion.

Rinse and repeat.

Tonight I rebelled altogether and we ate out. $30 dollars later, I regretted the whole darn thing. The food was fine, but not great. And in true fashion, I kept thinking, "We could have ordered pizza twice for that amount."

Earlier this week we had spaghetti with Prego from the jar - no add-ins. Frozen bread.

You get the point.

The kitchen and I are mostly ebbing right now.

But last week?

Last week I was on my game. I tried four brand new recipes and all were slam dunks.

Sadly, most of the meals were entirely unfit for photos. They were a sloppy mess! Bags under their eyes, untucked shirts, ratty hair.

Oh wait, that was me...

But trust me, they weren't Homecoming Queen material, that's for sure.

Except for this girl.

She's not exactly an exotic beauty, but she's a definite front-runner for Miss Congeniality.

She had us all feeling cozy and happy to be alive.

(Incidentally, have I ever mentioned my queasiness over the word "stoup"? I hear it and my gag reflex engages. Plus, it sounds like it's short for "stupid" and that's just plain rude.)

We enjoyed our chicken and rice soup along with Pioneer Woman's rosemary rolls. These take 5 minutes of active work and with just one bite, you will never go back.

I'm not sure what exactly you'll never go back to, but I'm telling you - you will not go.

Finally, and much too late in the season, I happened upon this lusty tomato tart.

It may or may not have been discovered in Glamour Magazine - a highbrow tome of culinary domesticity if ever there was one.

But it was delish! And easy.

Divine Tomato Tart from Questionable Origins:

Thaw one sheet of frozen puff pastry
Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and prick with a fork
Arrange thinly sliced tomatoes evenly - do not overlap
Scatter fresh thyme leaves over tomates
Drizzle tart with olive oil
Season with salt and pepper
Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown

I served the tart with this sausage and tortellini stew* and it proved to be a winning combo.

As for me, I'm sipping a cup of tea and getting ready to climb between flannel sheet with a new book. I'm plum tuckered out. And, well, boring.

*My stew was started in the slow cooker and finished on the stove-top, since it seemed like the sausage wasn't cooked through.


  1. I made a very similar chicken soup last week...instead of orzo I used those tiny star noodle thingies. That's fun, right? Super fun, if you ask me!! Ask my kids and you get a solid 'no.' Ate that whole stinking pot-o-soup all by my lonesome for days on end. K dog didn't even want it.

    Grilled cheese for dinner tonight...I ebb with you.

  2. You may claim to be boring, but your posts never are.

  3. Really? I have to sign in to see the elusive sausage concoction?
    Not fair.
    I have naps to take!

    The tomato tart looks super yummy and I am the smallest fan of tomatoes. I like cherry ones, the end.

    Glamour? What?

    I'm so glad I'm not the only person that ebbs. I ebb and flow. Mostly ebb. I just ate dinner, and now I'm hungry again, thanks to all your food talk/pictures/talk.
    Lately I've been obsessed with Quesadillas.
    just, you know, FYI

  4. Good to hear that you ebb and flow too. Sometimes I think "yesss, from now on I will be a meal-planning fool" then I lose my energy and I am a fool throwing whatever together for dinner. Thanks for the laughs tonight - I have a mental image of the meals with their shirts untucked! :)

  5. My special soup that looks just like yours didn't go over too well with the picky eater...makes me sad. But your post was fun.

  6. okay if i could ever get my act together and just make a plan i could probably be an exceptional cook. for me it's having a plan. i need to refer back to this post on grocery day and PLAN accordingly. all of it sounded sooooo yummy. have a great weekend girlie.

  7. Ok - so I am the same. As I mentioned in an email to you earlier, I ate toast for dinner. Albeit, homemade wheat bread toast, but this isn't about me - it's about you. It's the curse of being a good cook - you can't eat out. You calculate the meals in your head that you could have cooked for the money you just spent. It's hard to find food good enough for you to spend your money on - and it's hard to find food that you can't cook better. Umm...seems that there was more to say...and now I'm drawin' a blank. Probably cause my brain is starving from eating toast. Stoup makes me gag too. I can't even think the word in my head without it. If I had to eat stoup and sammies, I'd just stick with the toast. I'm tired. And unwell.

  8. Did that comment make any sense? I meant to say I can't think the word 'stoup' without gagging..and now I have to stop typing it, cause I'm getting gaggy. For reals.

  9. First of all, I just love the HOmecoming QUeen title and Miss Congeniality. You are hilarious. I love your menu/grocery list series you did last year... .please do those again.... please! (Note the pitiful begging!)

  10. I totally laughed out loud at this post. (i refuse to use the popular abbreviation for that) I was just talking with a friend about being in a definite food/recipe rut. Blech. That soup looks good though. (the stoup comment was a good one. it does sound like it's short for stupid. hahaha)I made chicken noodle last weekend that was great. I should make this this weekend. I'm also happy to hear you have your flannel sheets on already. We do too. I love them. A book & tea is in my near future as well. Happy weekend!

  11. Meal planning is a life savor for me. I use to go to the store everyday, YES...EVERYDAY!!! Makes me tired just thinking about. Now I meal plan, shop for a week or so, then rinse and repeat... ; ) After four years of meal planning, I have a pretty great compilation of recipes and weekly plans! Wanna see more... ?

  12. Sounds so familiar! I've been using a menu plan the last couple weeks and WHEN I stick to it it really works!

  13. What does stoup mean? I looked it up and found 'basin for holy water'. I'm so confused. Sorry if this question makes you vomit.

    I, too, ebb and flow, in the kitchen...laundry....hoovering and dusting all areas. Maybe when we ebb somewhere, we are flowing in others?? Just a thought!

  14. Thank you for the inspiration! I will definitely try some of these recipes. And I agree with the majority: our vote is you are so NOT boring! Hugs, Lola

  15. Well gee, thanks for doing all the footwork for us all. That last tomato tart will be a must here. I think cause we still live in a convenience society, and also being mothers, we gotta cut oursleves come slack when we close down the kitchen sometimes and we just don't want to be behind the stove. I always regret too when that darn bill comes after eating out-it's just not cool.

  16. I have never heard the term stoup and I think it works great for stupid but does sound gross for stew/soup. I am ebbing big time now that the farmers have put away their toys and I am back to just feeding the one. Your food looks good but I think I'll stick with toast and oatmeal- luckily Stu man chu likes to stir things up in the kitchen at night.... I mean that in then G -rated way too :)

  17. sometimes you just make me laugh out loud. I don't know what I'm going back to... I'm exactly the same. Some weeks it's "game on" and I cook like a crazy lady and some weeks we order pizza. Oh, but I always love to eat out! :)

  18. Those rolls look yum. You inspire.

  19. I don't like "stoup" or "EVOO" either. I do like a lot of Rachael's recipes but have a difficult time watching her, little too... I don't know what but something for me. I'm more of an Ina Garten fan, although you can't each her stuff everyday or the butter would kill ya.

    I'm going to have to try that tomato tart, it looks UNBELIEVABLE! And of course the rosemary rolls. When we were going to school, way back, in Phoenix AZ there was a restaurant that served the BEST rolls ever, they had salt and rosemary on them. Even my picky eater husband would love these.

    Thanks for all of the ideas. I'm very burned out on thinking up ideas for dinner these days.

  20. There is just nothing like a good picture of good food. It's down right hot....dare I even! That tomato tart is beautiful. I'm on my way to the kitchen right. Now. Seeing what I can do to replicate that....

  21. The tomoato tart looks sexy....I can picture it topped with a combo of heirloom tomatoes!
    (some purple ones).


    Peace and Love,

  22. You are just a HOOT! We tried a Pioneer Woman recipe the other day and failed miserably.....that's how good WE are in the kitchen!

  23. Yummmyyy......Isn't it the worst when you don't usually go out to eat and when you do the food is just ok...Happened to us yesterday. Oh well, guess I'll go back to cooking! Hope your sunday is wonderful!

  24. I am the same way. I am all or nothing. Either I am cooking everything from scratch, organic style and completely healthy or I am eating Ramen noodles from the microwave! ;-) I guess it's a balance over time though. Oh and I love your Menu LIST! Meal plan plus what you need from the store for the whole week. Love it!

  25. I am the same way with the roller coaster cooking ride. The Pioneer Woman rolls? I am completely addicted. Seriously. I had them for supper one night. Nothing else. No lie. (Don't worry, I did feed the others three members of my family a normal meal.) I will definitely have to try the tomato tart. Our tomato plant still has 30 tomatoes on it. Crazy!

  26. Your thoughts on 'stoup' made me chuckle. Same way for me... Bouts of madness and mania in the kitchen, followed by aversion altogether. But I've been in 'aversion mode' for a little too long now... Really need to get in there and get cooking!

  27. oh my goodness. you put my culinary skills to shame. good thing my husband doesn't know :) xo

  28. Love the slam dunk weeks, so rewarding!