Monday, September 9, 2013

Moar cooking extravaganzas!

Well it was time for the weekend again and I had absolutely nothing planned. And usually when this happens a few things happen instead: I go into super sloth mode and from the time I lock my door Friday night I don't unlock it and appear in public again until Monday morning. This was one of those weekends, more or less. I think I went outside on Sunday to dump my trash and walk across the street once or twice. I didn't even go to the farmer's market. That kind of awesome weekend.

I didn't go to the farmer's market because I still had an overload of ingredients and produce in my fridge from the last trip and I'd done a crap job of making lunches for myself instead of just buying from the company cafeteria (something I'm now terrified caused my attack). So, in an attempt to not have the same thing happen for the next week, I went into cooking ridiculous mode and cooked up a storm. What did I make this time?

Chinese hot and sour eggplant

I still had the eggplants from when I'd bought a bunch the other week and awesomely they were holding up well in the fridge. I didn't want to make them wait any longer though and I loved the idea of eggplants, so it was time to make use of them.

I looked up a swell recipe on and came up with this beautiful plan. I would make hot and sour Chinese eggplant, recipe found here. I had been having an amazing amount of it everytime I went out for Asian food...maybe I'd be good enough to make it at home.

Well, here went nothing.

Actually, it turned out stupendous. Way too spicy for my own good (could only eat small amounts of it at a time), but whatever. It was pretty good.

I changed the recipe a bit, as you can see: added an onion and bell pepper...the sauce was completely different as well. As part of my moving process my parents had given me a bag of odds and ends for our temporary apartment cooking adventures. This, as it turned out, had some pretty weird stuff in it like hot chili oil and soy sauce vinegar (I'm not even sure what that last one would be for in real life...potstickers I guess?).

Anyway, the recipe called for both vinegar and soy sauce so...why not use the soy sauce vinegar in place of both of them? And chili oil...couldn't have asked for a better substitute for sesame oil (recommended by one of the reviewers) and chili flakes. Boom.

There were also a few packets of that weird red sauce that sometimes comes with deep fried eggrolls (called sweet and sour sauce normally I think). I blended in one of those as well after tasting it. Oh and several packets of raw cane sugar. That little baggie of weird packets of stuff definitely came in handy in making this overall glorious sauce. Win for the win on that one. Unexpected awesomeness, everywhere I turn.

One of my prouder cooking moments, I'd have to say. People on FB are lining up to be part of my future dinner parties.

Sauteed zucchini and sausage

I'd also bought fresh summer zucchini along the same lines as I had when I bought the yellow squash. Love the squashes of summer. So I decided to do the same thing as I had last time and saute the entire thing together with some boullion and rosemary. Unfortunately no more onions.

Turned out great though, especially with the pork and leek sausages (unfortunately not from the local sausage man but rather from the local non-GM-fed butcher...his sausages aren't as tasty, I'm afraid to admit).

Great and healthy recipe...wasn't as tasty as the variant with yellow squashes and caramelized onion sausages with onions. Well, can't be perfect always.

Seasoned couscous with fruit and nuts

Next was a recipe that I'd been dying to make for a few weeks. The only reason I'd been holding off is because I'd had so much fresh awesomeness in the fridge so it seemed sacrilege to make something that had nothing fresh in it.

Well to hell with it, I'd done as good as I was going to do with everything previous.

The general recipe for this can be found here, though as you can tell I've deviated from it a bit so it's not really the same thing anymore.

This has nuts, seeds, mixed dried fruit and the spices of cumin and pumpkin pie spices. I don't have plain cinnamon anymore (used it all up before I left the US and now all I have is cinnamon mixed with sugar...pumpkin pie spices have cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and I think enough in most circumstances), so pumpkin pie spice was the next best thing without sugar in it.

I also made the couscous with multivitamin juice per the suggestion of the reviewers, which gave this a great fruity flavor on its own, rather than just plain water. Man those reviewers; know what they're doing.

I enjoyed this immensely and will likely make it again. There really is something about aromatic fruits and nuts. I used to hate fruit in foods but this is lovely.

And that's what I was doing this past weekend other than being a sloth and reading, watching tv, and occasionally napping. I literally didn't really leave my house. Perfectly happy with the situation. Sometimes you just need those weekends.

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