Monday, January 4, 2010

It's all for them in the end, anyway!

The kids are back at school, and even though I was dreading it, I am enjoying a little quiet this morning here at my desk, with my new super comfy chair. A chair I myself paid for, not my husband, but ME with a little cash I earned over the holidays, and that is what makes this chair all the comfier. (A note for the non-stay-at-home-mothers - this is a really, really big deal.) My husband did spoil me with some stylish new legs for an old table top and I now have my own little spot in the house to come to and write. However the number one reason I feel spoiled is due to a shiny new island sitting in my kitchen, which gives me SPACE and allows me to chop, peel and dice without a backache and also brings the kids into my little world of sugar and spice. As you can see in the photo above, they didn't waste any time, and I so very much love this creation of bread ends and yogurt, with lime splashed and honey drenched nuts. I reluctantly tasted these nuggets, but I did it with love because they, too, have tasted some odd things I have come up with. I must make some sort of impression on my girls, though, because this is not a bad start. Not a bad start at all!

I am not certain, but this weekend just might have included some of my favorite days of cooking since I began my journey. I don't often do a lot of cooking on the weekends, but rely instead on leftovers and pasta. What thrills me is that I made some killer meals with very minimal effort, and even though I do enjoy the effort part of cooking, I know life can get in the way and that is how we end up with lack luster food or frozen lasagnas thrown in the oven. On New Years day, however, I roughly chopped up two red onions, as well as a few cloves of garlic, tossed that into a bit (OK, a generous amount) of olive oil in a large saucepan, added stewing beef cubes and allowed this to saute for a few minutes. Next I put in an entire bottle of Merlot (minus a few sips for the cook), some salt and pepper and let that simmer on low heat for a couple of hours while I went about my day. My day happened to include home made bread, and although this is not usually the case on a day when the entire family is home, it was a quiet kind of a day, so bread was made. After about 2 1/2 hours of simmering, stirring once in a while and sticking my head into the pot to inhale the wonderful aromas filling my home, we enjoyed truly delicious tender braised beef over some mashed potatoes and a simple salad. Again, I felt so spoiled! It's a good thing I made a lot of this, as left overs the next day were a treat. I did spruce it up just a little, by adding an appetizer of mushrooms over crostini, which was yet another simple but succulent part of my day: I sliced a bunch of button mushrooms, as well as some garlic and I chopped some fresh flat leaf parsley. I then heated olive oil in a pan, added the garlic, after 30 seconds added the mushrooms, browned them for about 5 minutes, seasoned with salt and pepper and threw in a hand full of herbs and a little splash of heavy cream... I pan toasted slices of baguette and topped these with the mushroom sauce. YUM. Simple, fast yum.

To finish off the weekend, I made French Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Really it was out of pure laziness that I came up with this - I thought I could nix spreading butter on both sides of every piece of bread, as well as making eggs of some sort for the side. The perfect short cut was combining the two into one! I even had shredded Marble and Parmesan cheeses leftover in the fridge, from previous cooking. After the bread was sliced, all I did was sprinkle a combination of the two cheeses in between two slices of bread(when I say sprinkle, I mean cover!), then dunked the whole thing in lightly beaten egg to which I had added a splash of heavy cream. I used my homemade Herb and Parmesan cheese bread, which kicks the flavor of the finished product up a little bit, too. After coating the sandwiches in the egg mixture, I fried them in a little butter until golden. Seriously, my kids thought I was superwoman. (We enjoyed freshly sliced apples with this, it's a winning duo.)

1 comment:

Ellen said...

Awesome on the new kitchen island and the "office" furniture!

And I am gonna just rsvp now for New Years breakfast over at your place....sounds delicious!

- ellen