Wednesday, January 4, 2012

and now for something a little different...

New year. New you. Right? At least that's what all the magazines in the checkout aisles ensnaring our eyeballs every January want us to think. So I have a new type of post for you. Thanks to many of your generous wedding presents as welcome enablers, my New Year's resolution is to cook at least once a week in 2012. And lucky for me, I got started on this resolution a little early--actually way back in November of 2011. Resolutions are so easy to keep when you're already doing them. 
Frankly, I also lack working fingers, ahem, I mean sunlight, ahem, I  mean artistic inspiration, in these cold winter months and picture-taking becomes a little less appealing. I'd hate to disappoint my ardent viewership, so I thought I'd offer you the below photos, and recipes when I don't have new views. 
 1. My first dish (actually in September 2011). Heirloom Tomatoes and Mozzarella and Olive Oil and Salt. My friend Jer made the chicken. I assembled this while he sweated over a hot oven. I've actually been assembling for a few years now, but I am counting this as part of this "new" post/me because I like the picture :) You'll also notice a recurring theme below: I really like tomatoes.
 2. Thanks again to Jer and his gifted slow cooker, I made Slow Cooked Pork Tacos from Real Simple (love those two words).  I got around 2 lbs of pork shoulder, added salsa, chili powder and dried oregano (I skipped the cocoa powder because fancy New York City Whole Foods was sold out) and turned the machine on for 8 hours. This is cooking?! I can do this, I thought. No problem. As it turns out, it IS cooking and these were quite delish served w/ guac, sour cream, cheese, more salsa, and tortillas.
 3. Giada's Chicken Parm. This was good, not great, probably because I tried to get all chef-y and go off-recipe with the sauce. Although not pictured in this post, homemade meatballs (again, thanks to Jer for introducing me to these...I really think I have to dedicate this post, and all my meals, to him) have become something of my specialty (deemed so entirely by me), and since I love the sauce that goes with those so much, I tried to replicate it here. Didn't work. Let's just say it was a little bit wine-y. (Note there's no wine called for in the original recipe; I added 1/2 cup.) Also the chicken is baked w/o breading, and I think the chicken missed its blanky. I'm going to try again.
 4. Martha Stewart's Slow Cooker Pulled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches. These.Were.Awesome. Can always count on Martha. (I know you can't actually see any proof of the buffalo chicken--it's about to go on those two red trivets, in a pot of course.) I also mashed together some greek yogurt and blue cheese, and that worked quite nicely.
 5. CAKE! Simply a box from the bodega with duncan hines chocolate frosting. But look, TWO LAYERS!
 6. Roasted Chicken. Along with the meatballs, I've made roasted chicken a few times, and it makes me feel very "oh cooking, yea I got that."  I get a 3lb chicken from Whole Foods, wash and dry it, trim its wings, stuff it with butter, lemon, garlic, and rosemary and thyme, and rub it with olive oil. Then I roast it at 450 degrees for 30 mins or so, and then because at this point I've usually smoked us out of the apartment, turn the oven down to 375 for the last 30-45 minutes-ish until a thermometer stuck in its thigh reaches about 170. Ta-da!
 7. Greek Night! The picture above (which tasted a LOT better than it looks) and the picture below were part of Greek Night at our house. It's funny that just a few years ago Greek Night meant something very different than it does now. 2005 Greek Night: Frat parties. Beer in solo cups. Morgan. 2011 Greek Night: Domestic dinners. Santorini wine in wedding glasses. Morgan. (I'm glad some things don't change.) We had pork gyros, which, as you might remember, we had to walk miles and miles for in Greece, but now I can whip them up in a matter of minutes! And I only had to walk five minutes to Whole Foods. Win. The baked shrimp (above) was also delicious, full of spices and tomatoes and feta cheese.

 8.  My Mom's Stuffing. This is my favorite Thanksgiving dish, and it was even more fun to make knowing it was my mom's recipe. I made two versions, one with sausage and one without, and took it to our Friends-giving. I think it was a hit!
 9. My Mom's Latkes. This is my favorite Hanukkah dish (although it certainly has less competition than stuffing does during Thanksgiving). I made these for Morgan and Jer on the first night of Hanukkah and while not burning off either of my eyebrows with hot splattering oil could be the main justification to deem this a success, they also tasted pretty darn good. The secret is peanut oil. Thanks Mom!
So I hope you enjoyed LOOK AT THE VIEW'S new look in honor of the new year. If not, let me know, and I'll go back to our regularly scheduled programming. Although, I'll still be cooking. At least once a week. And I hope you all will join me for a meal, or at least an attempt at one, in the upcoming year. Happy 2012!

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