Food Bloggers visit other sites quite frequently to support, inspire, comment, and learn. I found Anjali Shah of The Picky Eater: A Healthy Food Blog, through another excellent food blog, The Duo Dishes. I remember leaving a comment on her site about being an inspiration. The voice of her food blog is of good spirits and full of adventure. She responds immediately to request a guest post for her site. “We’re really aligned in our food philosophies,” she reasons. After several emails are exchanged, we agree to collaborate on writing about lasagna. Both of our versions are relatively healthy, and they have plenty of vegetables and cheeses. Anjali’s version is an “Old World” traditional recipe with a classic tomato sauce, and my version is a “New World” traditional recipe sans the tomato sauce. To be historically accurate, both tomatoes and squash are ingredients from the “New World.” It’s the techniques and stories that separates our recipes, which makes them endearing and comforting to both of us. Read more
Promptly exiting the office at 5 p.m., I had to make a choice between two important tasks causing scheduling conflicts: going grocery shopping or working out. The local gym, free to the neighborhood, is open for two hours on three weekdays. Although, I’ve recently discovered running in cold weather is a refreshing activity, the gym is still needed on snowy days when the streets are icy. That free gym saves the budget from a yearly membership expense, because it is not needed in the summer. The recent snowstorm had enough power to close the gym, in which a few days of running were missed. It also delayed grocery shopping, and the fridge is looking bare. The eggs and the flour are gone, the pale bottoms of the drawers in the fridge are visible, and eating out is beginning to take a toll on the budget. Read more
In an effort to control our weight, we’re trying to eat dinner earlier in the day. After a couple hours of freelance work, I started grocery shopping at 4:30 p.m. to purchase a few vegetables and wine. Prepping dinner started close to 6:00 p.m. The evening’s schedule was to fix dinner, go to the gym for 30 minutes, return home to take a shower, reheat dinner and end the day with a glass of red wine. In reality, an Argentinian bottle of red wine was opened at 7:00 p.m., the coat was hung for the night and we sat down to a bowl of garlicky, roasted vegetable sauce over penne pasta. Lesson learned for the day: go grocery shopping earlier. This is a sauce that tastes better the next day when the flavors marinate over night.
Sometimes, a cook wants a day off. I recently had a morning of nothingness. It was a day meant for relaxing, watching a movie or a cooking show. Later in the day, I would meet the boyfriend at a coffee shop to go shopping. As much as I love to cook, I didn’t want to spend this rare morning prepping food. Reading one of the cookbooks, I decided to make a Bolognese Meat Sauce. Except this version will use turkey. Starting the sauce is easy, and it requires a few hours of cooking time with the occasional stirring. The sauce is traditionally made with tough cuts of beef and pork and slowly simmered to tenderness.
The prep work is easy (hint: Trader Joe’s sells a start kit of chopped onions, celery and carrots in the produce section). As the sauce slowly simmers on the stove for a couple hours, continue to have a relaxing morning. Watch television. Nap. Read a book. One hour before leaving the house to run errands; turn the stove off and let the sauce cool. Place it in the fridge before leaving the house. Run errands around the city. Come home a few hours later. Reheat the sauce. Proceed with the final steps of the recipe. Cook pasta. In 30 to 45 minutes, enjoy your fast meal.
This is my first Sunday meal after moving in with the boyfriend. The kitchen is finally a quarter decent to finally cook a meal. It’s still unfamiliar territory, yet the benefits are worth taking the time to familiarize myself in our new home. A larger kitchen; a sit down mini table for eating and rolling out dough; amble counter space; a new fridge in the near future; and dreamy decorating ideas making cooking meals a comfortable affair. After we completed our grocery shopping in the late evening, we were a little hungry. Thinking up a good, quick light dinner for our first meal here, I was going to prepare for a salad and a risotto. I overheard another shopper ask her boyfriend to pick up the spaghetti squash. I quickly changed my menu and picked another one for myself. Initially, I told my boyfriend the new dish, and he quickly replied, “Yuck.” An hour later he was helping himself to seconds.