Monday, August 12, 2013

Cooking madness

I admit that sometimes I take things to an extreme. Not infrequently, I might add. I find something I like and I latch onto it like a sucker fish onto a trail of algae. Or one of those strange looking fish that attach themselves onto sharks in that weird symbiotic relationship that you learn about in school. Yeah, like that.

Anyway, my relationship with the farmers market has definitely led to my reinvigorated relationship with cooking. There is a wealth of produce and ingredients in the fridge, therefore, I cook. I can't let all of that gorgeous seasonal business go to waste. And I was kind of bored of eating it all raw. Though I still do a fair bit of that. Alright, a lot of that.

So what have I been cooking? Quite a bit of things.

Summer celery slaw

Celery slaw. I know this sounds like an odd concept but actually it's a rather successful one. I had an entire bunch of celery in the fridge and I was terrified after making my last big batch of chili that while I was eating it my celery was going to go limp. So I looked up recipes and there were two candidates.

I could either reinvent my favorite broccoli slaw recipe, as seen here (this is the same salad that has made me sick at Sweet Tomatoes on more than one occasion because I love it so much), or I could try something different like this, which called for sauteeing in the celery with ginger and boullion. Truthfully I was intrigued by the second recipe and I had basically all the ingredients (well, I had all the ingredients for both after I went grocery shopping).

...but crack salad always wins out. So I adapted the first recipe and made it with celery instead of the normal broccoli. The result?

...still as cracky as its broccoli counterpart. The celery actually does a really good job in this way; its natural sweetness and unique flavor holds the mayo dressing quite well. I still prefer it with broccoli but this worked surprisingly well. I am quite happy with it. And have been eating it constantly. You do have to take into account that this was an entire bunch of celery, an entire white onion, and a very large quantity of cashews, mixed seeds, and dried fruit. In my defense though I did halve the dressing recipe. So at least it's slightly healthier. Right.

So what next?

Homemade mustard

This is one of those things that I'm strangely proud of. The recipe basically only made a half to three-fourths cup of final product (because that's all the dry mustard powder I had), but I was so happy with it. I haven't even tried it on anything yet...but making your own condiments is so exciting. It's like figuring out that you never need to go back to the mechanic because you know how to fix your own car (something I definitely don't know how to do...but hope some day I will...or my husband will...future husband will...whatever).

Anyway, the recipe I used was this. I made the first recipe mentioned because I had all ingredients, though admittedly I switched out the cider vinegar for white because that's all I had.

I am extremely excited to use this later on this week or next. I need to get bread again so I can make proper sandwiches. I even knew how to properly water-bathe my jar from my childhood days of jarring apricot jam and marmalade with my mom. I just reused the jar my previous mustard was in. So proud.

We'll see if the final product is any good but here's to hoping.

Summer squash with local caramelized onion pork sausages

Generally speaking I've only seen these referred to as yellow courgettes, but basically they're yellow zucchini. I've seen them sold throughout my life...I should know their real name. Unfortunately I do not. If anyone does know, please put it in the comment section.

Anyway, I did my normal thing and sauteed these with chicken boullion and onions plus some amazing caramelized onion pork sausages from the local butcher. Added some rosemary for a nice twist of flavor. Really nice I'd have to say. Would be interested in doing something like this again.

Blueberry crumble

Decided to make a dessert after some time because I've been wanting to bake and I'd bought three packages of fresh blueberries the other weekend that I was failing to get through (I'd oddly prioritized the green grapes over them...weird). I'd successfully eaten one pack but unfortunately the other two were getting a bit wrinkly so it was time to do something with them. The recipe? A variant on this.

Admittedly I just made the full crust recipe and only had half the filling because of the amount of blueberries I had...but this was okay. I figured I would just be doubling down on the amount of crumb topping. And I was actually right. Turned out pretty nicely. Minus the burn accident...but I'll get to that in the next post.

And those have been my cooking adventures as of late. I plan to host my first food guest sometime next weekend if all things go to plan. Exciting times! Maybe getting back into my hosting position again after all. Things are starting to look up. :)

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