Monday, July 23, 2007

Earth, Wind, Fire..water..smoke...

Not much cooking in my kitchen the last couple of days. You know how just when you think you are finally getting ahead, and you are gleeful with that knowledge? And then God, or whoever is in charge of these things, says "Psych!". Welcome to my world. Just when all was going right, my washing machine blew up. Literally. Well, ok, not literally, but there was smoke. And a horrible burnt smell that 2 days later we are still trying to get out of the house. (any and all suggestions for smell removal would be most welcome). My only six and a half year old washer gave up the ghost. With a load full of clothes. And water. And soap. Yeah. My Saturday night consisted of a whirlwind research of washers, a frantic dinner and the world's fastest purchase of a washing machine in recorded history. Not to mention that we then had to come home (it's after 9pm by now) and pull out and wring out a load full of wet, soapy clothes. To be put aside to wash at the Mother in Law's house next day. So much for our relaxed Saturday night.

Have you priced washing machines lately? Good gawd. If you want any color than white, you will have to take out an additional mortgage on your house just to purchase it. I drooled over the red, blue and graphite colors, but just couldn't justify paying double for something that is going to sit in a room I don't spend much time in and do nothing but my laundry.

OK, I realize in the grand scheme of things, this is not the Apocalypse. But it did kept me from cooking. And baking.

And if you are wondering which washer I purchased... it's this one

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Recipe? We don't need no stinkin' recipe!

I will be the first to admit most of the things I learned to cook early on in my life did not come with a recipe. My mother was one of those cooks who'd eyeball things. You know the type, dump an ingredient in the pot, stand back and say, "that looks about right". Most of the time I do the same thing, having been raised by this no-holds-barred, who-needs-a -measuring-spoon woman. I will endeavor to be a bit more precise here, as not everyone, including me, always gets it right with the dump it in and pray you got it right method.

As I type this post tonight, the tantalizing aroma of garlic and herbs is enveloping the house, as I have a batch of homemade croutons in the oven. If you've never made your own croutons before, I really suggest you try it, as the flavor and texture is far superior to anything you can get at the mega mart.

Garlic and Herb Croutons
1 loaf sourdough bread
1 to 1 1/2 sticks butter
4 good size garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tbsp italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cube the bread. Melt butter in large sauce pan or small-ish stock pot. When butter is melted, add in the minced garlic and turn off heat. Stir in italian seasoning and toss in bread. You may have to do this with only half the bread at once, depending on the size of your loaf, repeating the process for the other half. Toss bread well to coat and spread out in an even layer on a sheet pan. Put in oven and let bake until golden brown and toasted. In my oven this takes about 60 minutes. Depending on your oven, you may want to start checking on them around the 40 min mark.

Let cool and enjoy! I keep a batch of these around all the time. They keep really well in a plastic zip top baggie and are great for snacking even without the salad.


This recipe was given to me by a dear friend who is no longer with us. It seemed only fitting that I start out with something she shared with me, as I know she'd have been the first to read this blog. Here's to you, Sweet Pea.

Why oh why did I do it?

You may ask yourself, all 2 of you out there reading this, why did you start a blog? The answer is... I don't know. It seemed like something fun to do, and everyone else is doing it, so why not? I love to cook, and I love talking about cooking, so this seemed like an ideal vehicle. I am a "southern yankee", having been extracted from the south I grew up in and replanted in the Pacific NW. A great deal of my cooking still centers around the comfort foods of my childhood, mac-n-cheese, fried chicken, meatloaf, fruit cobblers, etc. However, moving away from the south has given me an outlook on cooking that has allowed me to experiment with a wide range of cuisines, from Mexican to Italian and French to the occasional side trip to Asia. My real passion is baking and I do it every chance I get, my dear husband, here on out referred to as "The Babe", my coworkers, family and friends being my taste testers. As they say, it's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

Over the next few days, weeks and months (if you can stick around that long without wanting to poke your eyes out with an icepick), join me in my culinary endeavors...some of which are bound to fail, and if nothing else, will give you something to point and laugh at.