athenaltena: (D:)
I've noticed that my roommate can be a bit flaky when it comes to leaving food out, but the other day he horrified me when he left raw chicken in a containing to thaw on the counter and left for the night. I promptly stuck it in the refrigerator when I realized that and explained to him when he got home that doing that is a very good way to get food poisoning, especially since it's getting hotter outside and things spoil that much quicker. And to impress it on him I explained that restaurants can get shut down it they do that. You do not even want to chance contamination if you're cooking for someone else, and you shouldn't chance it with yourself since it can kill you. I personally use the "when in doubt, throw it out" rule on all the food I make.

And while I know it's not just guys who do this, the majority of cases I've experienced where someone does something like this have in fact been guys, including the one idiot friend who food poisoned himself with ice cream (and we're still not entirely sure how he did that). My conclusion is that we just plain do not teach guys this stuff, and that is a problem. If I ever have any male children you bet your ass they will have this drilled into their heads.
athenaltena: (cooking)
Tarragon in chicken salad adds an interesting twist to it.

I also bought labels for my spice jars since I accidentally used thyme when I meant to use rosemary the other day since they look similar, and instead of labeling rosemary with its name I just put "yours truly" on the label. That will confuse anyone who is not me.
athenaltena: (kurama)
Glad to say that I successfully managed to roast a whole chicken last night without completely smoking up my apartment. It's been on the list of "stuff I should probably learn how to do now that I'm an adult" and I did the math and realized it's more economical to get a whole chicken and use it for several things. It was even cooked to the right internal temperature and everything!

*proud of self*

I also currently want to strangle a friend of mine through texts since he's pulling the same thing he always does. It always starts with him saying "Want to hang out?" and I say "Sure! Where should we go?" and he says "I dunno" so I say "How about X?" and then he says "Not today."

*dropkicks into sun*

And he wonders why people don't hang out with him more. He sabotages his own social life enough that he might as well wear wooden shoes. And worse, he's one of the few friends of mine who is actually in the area at the moment since classes don't start until the middle of the month. Gah!
athenaltena: (adjust glases)
Yeah, good thing I'm not a vegetarian, since I just got ten pounds of various types of meat in my PeaPod order, so if I was a vegetarian I'd be the worst vegetarian ever.*

There is method to my madness, since I freeze it, and when I put in a PeaPod order it generally lasts me a few months. I generally reserve PeaPod orders for when I'm running low on a lot of things and when lots of lugging would be involved, what with the three flights of stairs and no elevator. That's why I always tip the delivery guy too.

*For the record, this joke is mocking me, not vegetarianism. I don't have a problem with vegetarians unless they start getting all self-righteous, which I consider grounds for calling out anybody, even people who I otherwise agree with in principle. Relatedly, a couple of weeks ago we had some people at the campus handing out pamphlets about vegetarianism to help the environment, and I was polite to them, but when I saw them again and they tried to give me a second pamphlet I said "No thank you, I have one already so I'll save a tree" and they said "Well, take one anyway!" which I thought was rather hypocritical.
athenaltena: (cooking)
"In this book all ingredients except rhinoceros are available in the U.S.A."

I swear I'm not making that up. It's a Chinese cookbook first published in 1959, and there's a lot of unintentionally hilarious bits in it on account of it being published 50 years ago. There's also casual mention of M.S.G. as an ingredient, lard as an ingredient, and mention of an exotic Chinese food called "Do-fu" which the book refers to as "bean curd cheese."

Despite the parts that haven't aged well there are some interesting recipes in there, and I'm actually making one. But I can't help but snicker every time I see a reference to M.S.G. since nowadays it's something people try to avoid.
athenaltena: (blank)
Gah, definitely allergy season. Developed a splitting headache during the day, lay down for a bit, and slept for about 3 hours. I then woke up groggy, but pulled myself together long enough to make dinner.

I was woken up by a thumping sound, and a couple minutes later there was a knock on my door. My next door neighbors were trying to move a couch into their apartment, and because those stairs are so narrow were having issues. So they asked me to open my door so they could manuever it, and I gladly did. It took a while, but they did get it in. I've been there with a much smaller couch so I definitely sympathize.

I also went out and bought a cast-iron skillet because I had a coupon, and because they're quite useful. Technically I can use my stainless pans for the same things and even put them in the oven, but a cast-iron is more versatile. I was telling the guy at the hardware store, who I'm friendly with, that in Team Fortress 2 you actually have a weapon that's a cast-iron frying pan, and that people play with it mostly because it's funny and makes the best noise when you hit someone with it. What was also nice is that I was in the store to also get cat litter and cat food, and so I was lugging them around while looking for something else when the same guy who helped me check out came and took them up to the front desk so I didn't have to keep carrying them. D'aww! They know me well enough to do stuff like that for me.

I also found a method of making chicken thighs that yields very good results, and seasoned and threw some potatoes in too. I varied it slightly by adding a bit of paprika, and it turned out very nicely.
athenaltena: (Rakka)
Today as part of my CrimJ seminar we went up to the State House, which is literally right around the block, and had a tour. I'd been in the State House before and seen some of it, but this was a different sort of tour and in parts I hadn't seen before.

We had a more specialized tour where the legislative process was explained, and it was mentioned that there used to be a person who every year tried to submit legislation that would outlaw poodles. They happened to be from my part of the state. Yeah, I wasn't especially surprised by that one.

We all saw the Sacred Cod in the House chamber, as well as the other fish that's in the Senate chamber (which the Senators apparently like to call the Holy Mackerel) since after the Cod was moved into the House chamber the Senate wanted their own fish, and are rather proud of the fact that their fish has never been stolen. In fact, it's said the House won't meet if the Cod's not there, and when it got stolen as a prank by the Harvard students they didn't meet until it was returned.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, ladies and gentlemen.

I also paid a visit to our friend Stan, who works there, and arranged to drop off the cinnamon bread I've been promising him since we were on the Cape but didn't get around to making while he was there. I didn't actually see him since he was in a meeting doing important Senatorial business, but I arranged it with his secretary. Now I just have to make it. I feel kind of silly that I've been in the area for four years but haven't visited him until now, but hey, most people are smarter at the end of college than at the start, so that's my excuse. I also couldn't actually find a full-sized tin bread pan (so he doesn't have to bring my pan back to me) so I'll make him two mini-loaves instead.

And it's definitely the school year again since I'm fucking exhausted, though that's partly allergy-related. And having to adjust to a new sleep schedule, which isn't easy. I have actually managed to get up and get to classes and work on time, but I am not a morning person in the least so I've been a bit zombie-like. Give me two weeks or so and I should be a bit more with it.
athenaltena: (cooking)
I'm putting this down here so I don't forget what I did, but I figured out how to make english muffins from scratch after two tries. I did a mish-mash of two recipes and got a pretty good result.

Recipe for 18 muffins )

I've also figured out that one reason baking appeals to me is because it invokes the nerd in me, since it's related to chemistry and experimentation. Also because I just like figuring out how things work. In this case I had to figure out to get them to rise more so I did a mish-mash of two recipes that used a griddle and oven respectively and mixed the ingredients. I think it turned out pretty well!

athenaltena: (cooking)
For some reason last week at about 9pm I decided that I wanted to try a risotto, so I used what I had on hand. Mainly, some jasmine rice and some cheap white wine. I followed the directions carefully but it wasn't quite as creamy as it should be. I then came to my senses and got arborio rice and actual cooking white wine, and the results?

Delightful. I can see the appeal, since if you do it right it's salty but not too salty. I took a recipe from my cookbook and modified it to include green onions and thyme from another recipe I found online, and it turned out great.

I think I've found a new "want something substantial but not too heavy" food.

I also took a gratuitous photo of the finished product because... well, because.

Have a gratuitous dinner picture on Twitpic

And FYI that's butter on the bread that I hadn't spread yet, and the pieces are actually pretty small, only about as big as my clenched fist. Plus I only use unsalted butter, which is surprisingly hard to find in Boston unless you know where to look. The bread is from Bova's, the dangerous 24 hour bakery, and is very good. There's a reason people will come up to the North End specifically to buy their bread, it's that good.
athenaltena: (cooking)
So today I went out to get some groceries and meant to pick up meatballs, but I forgot to get them. So me being me, I said "fuck it I'll make my own!" and adapted a recipe I found online to fit what I had.
  • 1 pound pork chop (I had chops on hand)
  • 1 pound ground beef (lowfat)
  • 1 cup flour (you can also use bread crumbs, but I didn't have any and I prefer meatballs with a softer texture)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 chopped parsley (or use dried if it's all you have)
  • salt and pepper to taste (say 1 tsp of each) 
First, take the pork chop and cut it up into small pieces, then put into the food processor. The food processor the hell out of it until it's the consistency of ground pork. Next, add everything else into the food processor, and hit on. Have it go until the mixture is the consistency you want. Take rounded tablespoons of the mixture and form it into balls.

Aw yeah homemade meatballs on Twitpic

Next, heat 2 tbsp oil (I had olive oil) in a nonstick pan, hot enough that water will steam when you flick it onto the bare parts of the pan but not hot enough that the oil starts to smoke. Take the rounded balls of meat mixture and drop into the oil, and let them cook for about a minute on each side before turning. Keep turning until all sides are brown, then remove them to a paper towel to drain.

The finished product on Twitpic

Then either use them or put them in a vacuum bag to freeze, keeping space between the meatballs so they don't stick together.

The finished finished product on Twitpic

They turned out pretty well, and now I have plenty to use when I want them.
athenaltena: (cooking)
Now we have... the prize.

Though I did manage to touch part of the oven rack with my arm as I was getting it out like a dumbass and have a lovely red mark there now. Oh well. I also had the sense to get unsalted butter this time so it won't be quite as lethal (or require as much water after eating).

Now I just have to wait until it's not longer molten hot so I don't burn myself again. I'm usually smart enough to avoid making the same mistake twice in one day.
athenaltena: (cooking)
The other day when I was out getting groceries I was frustrated that I couldn't find any yeast since one place that has it was closed and it was out of stock at the other places I usually go, so I went into a little Italian grocery shop I'd never been in to see if they had it. I wandered around confused for a few minutes until I asked one of the guys working there where it was, and he pointed me to a packet of it. Turns out the reason I couldn't find it was because it was all in Italian, which I can't read.

It was a good thing I asked too since he said there were two types on the shelf, one was for pizza dough and breads and the other was for sweet things and tasted like vanilla, and as he put it "I've never met anyone who likes vanilla pizza." I considered countering that I'm sure someone would (Hell, I've seen pizzas with potato chips on them) but I kept my mouth shut. I also made sure that the instructions for it were the standard ones for yeast (put in water that's about 105 degrees for five minutes, stir until it bubbles) just so there were no preventable screw ups.

In that same shop I was amused that the guys behind the counter were singing along to a Dep Leppard song (I think it was "Love Bites") and arguing about who sounded most like Joe Elliot. The great part was all of them had really thick Italian accents.

So with yeast in hand I started this recipe again, but let it rise for more time this time. I took some pictures right after I put it in the pan so it can rise a bit more before it goes in the oven.

The little turtle candle was making sure I did everything right. Not visible is Thomas watching me do it with a "Can I have some of that?" look on his face (answer: No). I also added a little bit of whole wheat flour to this batch to see how it turns out. I've discovered that whole wheat flour can be too heavy if you use too much and things won't rise like they're supposed to, so I've been experimenting with various amounts. I think this one ending up being 2 cups regular flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat. We'll see how it turns out.

New stove!

Jun. 12th, 2011 06:49 pm
athenaltena: (kurama)
So after being here for nearly a year, this apartment finally has a stove that works the way it's supposed to as of Friday afternoon! And it doesn't click when you turn on the burner, so there's no mechanism to go haywire like the last one did and sound like a bomb is about to go off at two in the morning! Yay! I made celebratory macaroni and cheese along with a really delicious cinnamon bread.

There's just one catch: The old one is still here and just sitting in the living room.

But they'll probably take it away next week. Right?



Ugh, I'll call them if it's not gone by Monday, and considering that D and I have both managed to injure ourselves this weekend they sure as Hell better not expect us to take it down.
athenaltena: (Umbrella)
The other day one of D's friends brought over a bottle of Barefoot Moscato, and they offered me a small amount. I don't usually do white whine or sweet tasting alcohol, but I really liked this one, so today I bought myself a bottle. It was only $8, but it's pretty good for the price. I'm not too up on my wine terminology, but it has a nice little pop to it.

The bottle said it went well with Asian cuisine, and I tried that with a stir fry, and I think it went very well. It also goes with cheeses so I had some crackers and Vermont sharp cheddar, and that was very nice.

Plus, I got to add the bottle to the wine rack I got last Christmas, so now it has two bottles, this one and a red wine that I should probably finish off either by drinking it or using it in something I cook, but I drink alcohol so rarely that it just winds up sitting around. At least it looks nice since it sits on the windowsill and helps add to the image that adults live here.

Yup, living in this part of Boston almost inevitably turns people into foodies.

I also put together what I need for a pulled pork sandwich tomorrow, which I'll put in the slow cooker while I'm out during the day so it'll be ready when I get back. I decided to let the pork sit in the sauce I made overnight to give it even more flavor. I also felt like a dope because I thought we didn't have any cumin and kept meaning to get some but forgetting, but when I was cleaning the cabinet out after Angelo moved out I discovered we had some all along! So I'm actually making it according to the recipe this time (though I cut down on the chili powder because I'm a wimp).
athenaltena: (cooking)
Lately I tried two different experiments with saving food, and both worked out splendidly.

First I had a lot of cilantro that my mom sent back with me to Boston, and even though I'd been using it I still had a lot left. I had no idea how to save it, so one Google search later and I had a possible solution: Freeze it, but not just stick it in the freezer, put the leaves in ice cube trays, cover in water, then freeze. I think the result looks cool:


The other one was thinking of ways I could do a cheap version of the Pillsbury premade cookies that come in a tray. The ones you break apart and bake. The idea is that I'll only use a few at a time rather than have cookies lying around all the time. So I made the dough, put it in a plastic bag, flattened it, froze it, took it out the next day and cut it into squares. Worked perfectly, so now I have a bag full of them that I can use.

The first one I looked up, but the second one was pretty much all me. Worked out well.
athenaltena: (chibi aus)
The agenda for today:
  • Make pork stock out of the pork bones I've been saving
  • Make pizza dough
  • Buy eggs
  • Go get more trashbags
  • Get a new espresso carafe because I dropped mine and broke it*
  • Get new earplugs because my old ones have worn out
  • Do laundry
  • Work on paper for Global Health and Healing
As a result of the first two the apartment smells very nice.

* This one is going to be harder than I thought because the ordering process for new ones is apparently more expensive than just getting a new one with shipping, and they make them so they only fit certain models. Or I could just rough it and just put my cups directly under the machine.
athenaltena: (feed birds)
The title refers to a saying my dad used when I was a kid to describe learning from mistakes, inspired by something that happened to our dog Cinder. The smart dog gets quilled by a porcupine and stays away from them from now on, while a dumb dog keeps attacking it. Pretty simple, and I often wind up quoting the principle.

Today I had a Smart Dog, Dumb Dog moment when I opened up the lunch I’d brought from home. On Wednesday I made fettuccine alfredo with a sauce from scratch* and had a bit left over, so I saved it for lunch today. That was going well until I opened it up and caught the distinct whiff of mold. It was brief, but it was unmistakable. I also consulted a coworker who didn’t smell anything herself, but she agreed that it was better to just trash it.

So I spent $7 and got a honey mustard chicken wrap instead. I remembered the last time I probably gave myself food poisoning and just decided it was worth it.

So in short: Smart Dog says, “When In Doubt, Throw It Out”, Dumb Dog says, “Eh, what’s the worst that could happen?” and three hours later is praying to the porcelain God.

*If I do say so I think the sauce I made turned out better than the jarred kind, mainly because I didn’t load it up with salt and only put in half the butter the recipe suggested.


Feb. 14th, 2011 08:32 pm
athenaltena: (Rakka)
I didn't get much sleep last night because I was having stomach trouble, but I lasted most of the day until about 4 today when it felt like I got hit by a truck.

I mostly avoided the Valentine's stuff, though I did have a moment where I was looking around at a crowd and thought "A lot of people are wearing red" before I looked down at my own red coat. Oh. That wasn't intentional, it just happens to be the color of my coat.

My day was also made when something I ordered a while ago finally showed up in the mail today. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me, but I got something dorky. Mainly, Wonder Woman panties. Yeah, I know, but what else did you expect from me?

I also had something cooking in the crock part all day, and it was so worth it. I had some 15 bean soup mix and added chicken sausage to it with a chicken stock base. I had cornbread and a salad with it, and it proved to be just what the stomach needed.
athenaltena: (cooking)
I think the slow cooker is probably one of the most useful gifts I've gotten in quite a while, and I've been using it pretty frequently. Earlier this week I made a beef stew and today I have red beans and rice with some pickled pork going.*

Pickling the pork was actually pretty easy, it's basically just boil some stuff, stick the meat in a bag, put it in the fridge and forget about it for a few days. I did read that it's a good idea to wash it off so the vinegar taste doesn't transfer to the beans.

It is pretty nice to fix something in the morning and know that it'll be ready when you get back. Especially since we're supposed to get (another) fuckton of snow today. I don't mind the snow so much as the people who act like idiots about it and don't get stuff like the fact that you shouldn't be walking three abreast on a sidewalk that already is about half as wide as usual and force other people into snowbanks while you gab with each other and are completely oblivious to everyone else. Classy. That's happened about three times to me in the last week.

* For the record I know about red kidney bean poisoning and slow cookers and boiled the beans before I put them in, since the last thing I want is food poisoning.


Jan. 17th, 2011 08:27 pm
athenaltena: (cooking)
As most people who know me are aware I'm pretty much a wimp when it comes to spices, but I've been experimenting with ginger lately. One turned out to be an epic fail (too much salt) but this one turned out pretty well.

Carrot and ginger soup )

It turned out really well, and it had just a little bit of heat to it while not being too overpowering. It was also a lot creamier than I was expecting, and I saved a little for tomorrow.


athenaltena: (Default)

June 2012



RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 26th, 2017 09:52 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios