one pot cooking

one pot cooking

Our cookbook project brought us to a shelf that held mostly baking books (641.8) which would have been tough for our dinner project.  Luckily the shelf was also the start of the section with one pot recipe cookbooks! (641.82)


One pot recipes are so popular because of the promise of a quick clean up.  Since washing dishes is usually my job in the house, I was down to take this on.  And while the recipe we chose only used one pot (a wok to be more specific) I didn’t have much of a break in the dish-washing department.  We decided on a stir-fry which involves a lot of prep before hand since the actual cooking happens so fast which means lots of tiny bowls.


It also requires a lot of reading and re-reading before you actually get started.  In this project, Trent does the prep work and I try to actually cook.  It was pretty successful this time, although he had to jump in and take over during a few key (chicken cooking) moments.  I am not as speedy as I need to be on the wok!  And you need to be or everything will taste terrible!


Some takeaways:

  • Trent already knows how to make amazing stir-frys (my opinion not his) so he had to ignore his own cooking impulses when making this dish.
  • Stylish One-Dish Dinners is good, but not worth buying
  • Fish sauce smells terrible and makes you think dinner will be terrible but is actually pretty good!
  • The recipe, Chicken Walnut Stir-Fry was okay, the main takeaway for us is that it inspired us to use more Napa Cabbage in stir-frys.


Until next time!

cooking with curry

cooking with curry

T and I went to the library to get a new cookbook and when he saw the shelf that was randomly chosen, his face fell.  Vegan food!


641.5636 takes you to the magical world of vegan cooking. Don’t get me wrong I know that vegan food can be amazing!  I’ve dabbled with vegan meals after Beyonce’s 22 day vegan program and it was pretty great.  Also follow Ruth Vaca’s instagram (@yourfriendlyvegan) and her food looks so good!  So we soldiered on and picked a book by what I thought had the best the cover:


The book was vegetarian, not vegan but it was on the shelf so it still counts!  And the recipe that we chose (lentils with eggplant and potatoes) was vegan.

Indian vegetarian cooking from an American kitchen was published in 1998, and did not get a ton of great reviews.   There were lots of complaints about the seasoning being too bland.  We agreed and ended up adding a lot more spices than the recipe had perscribed. Maybe Vanatha Prasad thought Americans couldn’t handle traditional Indian seasoning?  Who knows.

Is that all??

My job for this dinner was chopping.  I am terrible at getting everything close to the same size (better for even cooking) so I need all of the practice I can get!


The end result was pretty good, but not very photogenic.  And it really could have used some chicken!

Let me know if you have a favorite Indian cookbook that we should check out!

adventures with the wok

adventures with the wok

T and I continued our summer cooking challenge by randomly picking a shelf of cookbooks at the main library and picking a cookbook to try!  We ended up at 641.5951, or, Chinese Food!!


After much deliberation we went with Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking (mainly for the pictures).


Kwong is a Chinese-Australian chef with successful restaurants and a TV show! Here she is being famous in Australia:

So we went with this book because we wanted to use our wok and wanted to try a pork recipe that looked good enough to eat with lettuce wraps (usually, I am not down with a lettuce wrap!)

We immediately ran into some problems!

First the store didn’t have pork, well I should say that the store only had low fat pork, which is pork with an ejected water solution or Italian style ground pork (which is amazing but not what we need here).  We needed the fat, and an ejected water solution seemed weird so we went with ground turkey (with fat).

Second, Kwong’s writing style was not intuitive at least for us and who we like to cook so we had to rewrite the recipe so it made sense to us.  Another example of why you should read a recipe a few times before you get started! Especially when you are stir-frying things and everything has to be fast!!

Finally, white wine.  We forgot about this but thankfully I still had the bottle of Blue Nun that my Uncle Vinny gave me in April!  German wine in Chinese food?  No problem!


After all the prep, and notes, and scrambling (and let’s be honest, he did most of, if not all of, the work) we were rewarded with deliciously flavored turkey with crunchy vegetables, wrapped in lettuce, making it the only way I want to eat lettuce.  We settled down with big bowls of meat, the rest of the Blue Nun and The Departed.  Because when you make Chinese food with German wine, the next set is to watch a movie about the Irish mob!

So here it is, the perfect bite!

IMG_0489 (1)

I had a lot more bites after this!




dinner with the Romagnoli’s

dinner with the Romagnoli’s


T and I have a summer project that I have been excited about getting started all year.  He taught a class on the history of food at the high school and, to help prepare, we stopped by the cookbook section at the main library downtown.  There are over 120 shelves of cookbooks at the main library and we thought it would be fun to randomly pick a cookbook each week and try out a new recipe during the summer.


This week brought us to 641.692 also known as the seafood cookbook section.  Perfect timing for us because of all the leftover shrimp that we still had from the other night! So we looked through most of the books on the shelf and picked one:


The Romagnolis’ Italian Fish Cookbook was published in 1994 and written by Franco and Margaret Romagnoli, a couple that had a PBS cooking show from 1973 to 1975 called The Romagnoli’s Table. Sadly, I could not find any clips of this show on YouTube! But there were a lot of great articles about the Romagnoli family.  A lot of great information about how they were inspired by the success of Julia Child’s show and how Franco Romagnoli, then a camera man at WGBH in Boston pitched the idea to people at a dinner party at his house.  The show was an inspiration for many Italian chefs to come, including one of my favorites, Lidia Bastianich.

Okay so back to our dinner!  It is hard to ignore pasta when you are making Italian food, so we went with a recipe for scallops and shrimp (all that shrimp!) with penne pasta.  I am also using the project to start to learn how to cook, so I took care of the scallops, nbd.  We also put peas in instead of capers and red pepper flakes instead of hot sauce.



Soup night: Spinach and Orzo

Soup night: Spinach and Orzo

I am very lucky to have a partner that loves to cook and I am very happy to let him take the reigns on this household chore.  I mean, the fact that he doesn’t consider it to be a chore says it all!  But schedules change up and life happens and I offered to take over cooking on Mondays.  Gulp!

I decided that during the winter I would try out different soup recipes that I find on Pinterest.  The idea is that it is more difficult to mess up soup than, say, stir fries or things that go in the oven.  My first soup attempt of 2016 was this winner from Gimme Some Oven:


Nicely plated!!  Where are all the spills everywhere!

The recipe was very easy and had a great vegetable to pasta ratio (meaning, lots of pasta).  I added some sausage to it, just some Italian flavored chicken sausage because, well, because sausage tastes good!

I’m starting to get more comfortable here!  And if I run out of Pinterest ideas, I can always go the 641.8 and find a great soup cookbook!


Soup and Bread?!?!  Yes please!