Oh boy, have I been busy!!
After getting my mixer last weekend (oh yeah, and 3 months salary that I finally got because I finally got my tax card and was able to get a bank account), I'm quite inspired to cook. I have my own money to go to the grocery store and go a little crazy, so I've been stocking up on pantry items with complete monetary disregard.
It's not like I've been buying steaks or anything, but I go for the good olive oil now, if you know what I mean.
Stian went on a business trip earlier this week, and I decided to give a recipe that I've been looking at a try. The questionable recipes are a little bit more fun to try by myself for a "trial run" before feeding them to someone else.
The recipe I tried was a variation of chicken stir-fry. It had some Thai influences that I have absolutely no experience with - to the point where I didn't even know the ingredients existed.
The beauty of this recipe is that it comes from an online cookbook/blogger called The Stone Soup, and it features recipes that require only 5 ingredients and about 10 minutes cooking time. There are also variations for every recipe, so if you prefer meat in a seemingly vegetarian dish and vice versa, you have options.
One word: amazing.
I tried two recipes from that blog site this week, and was quite satisfied with both.
The first was the Thai dish I mentioned above. The ingredients? Ground chicken, chili peppers, lime juice, fresh basil leaves and fish sauce (I also made some basmati rice on the side). I have never actually tried chili peppers, so it was kind of exciting to cook with them, although.... I do have some bad news. Okay, more like a "rookie mistake" that I should share.
Or two, actually.
I cut up the peppers and pushed the seeds out with my thumbs, which resulted in my nail beds burning for at least 6 or 7 hours, maybe even into the next day. Then I thought (being so brilliant, of course): hmm....I don't think I've actually tasted a chili pepper (I like tasting things -like vegetables and other things that grow and aren't processed- in their natural state)....soooo I put a little sliver in my mouth. I gave it a little chew and immediately got a burning sensation that I could only handle by spitting out the pepper into the sink as fast as I could. Holy smokes. Those babies are HOT! And now I know for sure... (always have to learn the hard way!)
Alright, so two rookie mistakes in, I continued to make the dish. The chicken was cooked so I added the peppers (which at this point made me nervous), squeezed in some lime juice, measured some fish sauce, and picked off basil leaves from the little plant I bought at the store.
One observation that I feel you should be aware of: Fish sauce smells terrible. Foul, even. So awful that I thought I couldn't actually eat what I was preparing because there was absolutely no possible way that any food with this stuff in it could be appealing to the tastebuds. And in addition to that god-awful smell, there were also blazing hot chili's in there. Good grief. But I wasn't going to give up. I wanted it to be good...it's the first recipe I've really tried that was completely new to me, and I simply wanted it to be good. It had to be. I added the basil (another thing I wasn't too sure about), stirred it all up, and looked at it without excitement.
There was only one thing left to do: try it. So I picked up a fork, got some chicken, a chili, and basil leaf all in one bite, closed my eyes,and expected the worst.
But I was incredibly surprised. The combination of flavors was quite good, and I especially loved the fresh basil flavor. Mixed up with a bit of rice and it was the perfect dinner.
I patted myself on the back, and called Stian to tell him that I think he'll like this new recipe (as long as he will stay out of the kitchen while I cooked it, because one whiff of that sauce would ruin it).
I was so pleased.
Then, the very next night I thought I would try yet another new recipe. This one, friends, has already become a new favorite and I plan to make it often (it's SO easy!).
Unfortunately, I don't have pictures for this one, but I can tell you about it and you can go back to that Stone Soup link above and check it for yourself. I really recommend this one:
Ingredients: Broccoli, butter beans, pine nuts, fresh cream, parmesan cheese.
Steam the broccoli. Brown the butter beans (from a can) in some olive oil. Toss in the pine nuts. When the broccoli is done, add that to the beans and nuts. Remove from heat and add a little bit of fresh cream and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Oh, and I put in a little bit of pepper for some extra flavor.
Serve. Enjoy. Be satisfied for hours.
I am in love with this recipe, and I'm dying to make it again. It was SO easy, and SO good, and SO satisfying! And fairly healthy too! I highly recommend it.
Also, I baked my dad's Aunt Olive's brownies this week. I got the recipe from Auntie Verna (another of my dad's aunties...aren't aunties great?!), who recently passed away from ovarian cancer. Admittedly, I've never baked brownies (except from the box), so I was pretty excited. They were delish!
With my confidence soaring after so many successes, I'm searching the cookbooks for something else new to make.
Can't wait to share it all next time!