Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 So Far

The first eleven days of this new year have been good and busy. We ended up staying home for New Year’s Eve and had some friends come over to celebrate. It was really fun and was a good way to start off the new year. We had steak, potatoes, and roasted tomatoes for dinner that night. The next morning, however, was my favorite meal. We had brunch, since we all woke up pretty late (being that we have arrived in our mid-twenties and 12AM was a late bedtime for us). I fixed grits, smoked salmon tartines, and muffins. My college roommate Megan was home from Guatemala and spent New Year’s with us, along with our friends Jesse and Krew, and she helped cook brunch too. It was like old times in the kitchen. That is one of my favorite things about cooking; it brings people together and creates awesome memories.

For the grits, I used Quaker instant, but instead of cooking them in water, I cooked them in chicken broth which I think gives them a lot more flavor. When they were finished, I added salt, pepper, butter, cheddar and parmesan cheese (I of course had already scooped out a small bowl, non-cheese, for my cheese-hating husband). The smoked salmon tartines are an Ina Garten recipe. First you make the egg salad (which is rockin’ by the way) that tops everything off. The recipe is here. After making the egg salad, you slice up some smoked salmon and place it evenly on pieces of a sliced and toasted baguette. Our grits and tartines were accompanied by apple-cinnamon and blueberry muffins (from a box- don’t judge me).

Other meals we have had thus far this year include stir-fry, meatloaf, and shrimp and grits, and pork chops. It was my first time ever making stir-fry and it didn’t come out quite as I would have hoped, but it was a good start for not following any recipe. What was really most exciting about it is that we got to use our wok for the first time. Into my stir-fry, I included red, yellow, and orange peppers, sliced, one onion, sliced, and sliced carrots. For the meat, I used kielbasa.

The meatloaf I made is from my mom’s recipe, although I never make it as good as her. I am fortunate that my husband loves meatloaf. It was one of my favorite things growing up and it’s exciting that he likes it too- in fact, he is the one that wanted to have it for dinner that particular night. With the meatloaf we had asparagus and mashed potatoes.

Tonight we had pork chops, collard greens, and roasted carrots. I had never cooked collards before, and I was feeling a little less southern by not having done so. It was time to add them to my repertoire. I browsed some recipes online before I started to get an idea of what to do. I was a little concerned at first because a lot of the recipes were calling for them to be cooked for two hours. It was 7:00 when I was looking, two hours wasn’t really going to work for me. I then found a recipe saying you could cook them in 30-40 minutes-much better. I started by washing my collard greens to get rid of sand etc., and then cutting off the stems, and cutting them to size. Then, I dropped them into boiling water and let them simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, I chopped my carrots, tossed them in evoo, salt, pepper, and dash of brown sugar and put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. I then made a butter compound with parsley, thyme, and crushed red pepper for the pork chops. I grilled the chops and let them rest while everything else finished. It was a good meal.

Today was a snow day and so is tomorrow! Yay!

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