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Triumph of the Mundane

Slow blogging at its finest

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The Lazy Cook

What with work and all the other stuff of life clamoring for my attention and zapping my energy, the joy of cooking has eluded me for months. Fortunately, the cooler days are perking me up a bit. A bit. Let’s not overstate the case.

So I’m adapting my cooking ambitions – Welcome to The Lazy Cook. Once again, the interwebs provideth.

The Lazy Cook 1

First up, the laziest cookie recipe ever – plus I found it on Nordic Northwest‘s* Facebook page so it pings the Nordic cooking button, too!

Mash together oatmeal and banana, then toss in a flavor. Here, I added mini chocolate chips because this was not an exercise in creativity. Blop vaguely round mounds on a cookie sheet and bake for the usual cookie-baking amount of time at the usual cookie-baking oven temp.

The result: Edible and not entirely unpleasant. Chewy would be generous assessment; after a day rubbery is pretty much spot on. But if mid-morning you need a big snack, you can eat several of these (providing they hold together) and not feel guilty.

I’d make them again but maybe add a little water or yogurt to help hold the dough (if it could be classified as such) together. But maybe not because, well, you know. . . The Lazy Cook.

The Lazy Cook 2

Next, falling in with the sheet-pan cooking craze: Blueberry muffin blob from Food 52. Since I didn’t bake this when blueberries were in season, out came the humongous bag of frozen wild blueberries from Costco. And if you keep ingredients like this a smidge (spelled W-A-A-A-Y-Y) past the best-by date, you get the bonus frost that melts when mixed, giving that ‘unique’ (yes, that’s the word I’m looking for. . .) purplish haze to the batter.

I couldn’t even be bothered to get out the mixer and just mixed it all together by hand. Rise and fluff wasn’t the aim because, well, you know. . . The Lazy Cook.

The result: Color notwithstanding, actually quite tasty. I unnecessarily fretted a bit about over baking, so a few minutes longer would have crisped up the edges a bit more. And I’ll aim for a thicker, smaller blob. Mebbe get out the mixer for some added fluff factor.

I cut them in squarish pieces – like Chicago pizza the way it’s supposed to be cut, ahem! – and can stack two in a container for a portable snack.

I’d show after pics for these but, well, you know. . .The Lazy Blogger.

What’s next? Maybe a whole meal on a sheet pan – most likely a gooey mess. And granola in the slow cooker. Yes, that’s a thing and, like the sheet-pan muffins, why not?

*Yes, I see the apostrophe is wonked. I tried three ways to correct it. Obvs, unsuccessful. Left as is because, you know. . .The Lazy Editor

Christmas Cooking Surprise

My first go at making Parmesan Mousse went well, but the surprise came in the spoils.

egg-parm-surprise-1

Onions and rosemary are cooked and steeped in heavy cream. Their flavoring work complete, they’re strained out and discarded. Looking at the strainer, I couldn’t help but take a flavor-filled bite. Some of the parm clings to the onion bits.

Hmmm. Grab a small leftover potato. Slice up a tomato. Combine and heat in the microwave, then broil for a few minutes in the toaster oven. In between those cooking steps, soft-cook an egg (I did a 6-minute steam). Top potato-tomato mix with cooked onion spoils and the egg.

egg-parm-surprise-2

Sometimes I surprise myself — in this case, delightfully so!

Here’s another quirk: The onions are mild since they’ve been well cooked; a good choice for me because I don’t like strong onions in breakfast dishes. But then I generously topped the dish with Frank’s Hot Sauce. . .

Merry Christmas to all; may the day bring you happy surprises.

 

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Big Tomato — It’s What’s for Dinner

big-tomato

The original plan was to make a honkin’ big batch of Pasta alla Vecchia Bettolana using the jumbo can of plum tomatoes. But then stuffed green peppers sounded good, too, what with the green peppers being garden fresh. That should leave just the right amount tomatoes for standard-issue spaghetti sauce. Fortunately, this last stroke of brilliance hit when standing at the meat counter so a pound of the good Italian sausage made it home without the need for a second trip. And the four cans of tomato sauce in the pantry could be called into action.

The results: Eight meals of Pasta alla Vecchia Bettolana, ditto spaghetti sauce, now in the freezer, plus stuffing for four meals of stuffed green peppers on hand. One or two less meals to plan each week for a goodly while. Zero cans of tomato anything in the pantry.

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Food Pass-Fail 4

Puff Pastry Waffle

Pass.

A wicked, slightly naughty A for Puff Pastry Waffles!

In a bit of interwebs serendipity, I came across Puff Pastry Waffles as we plowed through a  Costco box of standard-issue waffles. If you ever want to take the joy out of a fun food, buy it in bulk. Waffles are a favorite, but as we approached number 72, boring became the operative word. Yes, just leaving them uneaten in the freezer was an option except for the room even the unboxed bags took up. Just be rid of them!

My love of waffles was reignited upon seeing the video. And the cosmos has saved me from myself: Our Costco does not sell puff pastry. Amen.

Tomato Sauce II

Tomato sauce

Winter remains, as expected, here in the Midwest. Mid-day temps mostly in the teens all week. Turning the oven on for a couple of hours to make the Pasta alla Vecchia Bettolana seemed an absolutely splendid idea.

Also absolutely splendid is this sauce! I anticipated a flavorful outcome, and using Italian plum tomatoes (rather than plain ol’ supermarket variety) no doubt added to the flavor. Still super rich even after cutting the cream by a quarter.

Now I’m trying to figure out why/if the oven cooking vs. simmering on the stove makes a difference. A good friend with oodles of cooking experience (former food editor for a major magazine) wasn’t convinced method significantly affected outcome in this case. My guess was the sauce perhaps steams rather than simmers. She shrugged – not a big diff.

Need to do a little investigating – and with at least an hour and a half of cooking time, maybe that’s time smartly spent researching.

Tomato (Non)Express

Yes, the slow food, slow cooking thing isn’t new. And I was raised to cook mostly from scratch. Tomato sauce for pasta or pizza or whatever does taste better after simmering on the stove for a goodly while. At the same time, however, taking hours to make a meal just to zen out on the process doesn’t cut it for me. Keeping it real here!

So Ina Garten’s Pasta alla Vecchia Bettolana featured on Food52 has me intrigued. Again, nothing new to the world but new to my experience. So I’m all in for trying this. Only I’ll double the recipe because, well, that’s what I do. . .

Image from Food52

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