so much for the three course meals

So, two meals ago I made stuffed green bell peppers.  The peppers were stuffed with a delicious dirty rice (about a pound of ground beef mixed in a frying pan with cooked white rice and yellow onions) that I mistakenly flavored with a mixture of tomato sauce and honey.  If you are a fan of ketchup, you may have loved this meal.  Sadly I am not.  It was terrible.  It literally tasted like peppers, beef, onions, and rice SLATHERED in ketchup.  I should have known that tomato sauce and honey would turn out to be much too sweet… what was I thinking!?  Alas, lesson learned.  I will not post this recipe because I recommend never trying it, but it did look delicious.  On the other hand, the side dish was just a simple cooked corn recipe stolen from another food blog.  That I will both post and recommend.  Simple, cheap, and easy.

  • 1 bag of frozen corn
  • about 2 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic

Let the corn thaw in a collander in your sink for about 20 minutes.  Heat a frying pan on medium, add the corn, butter, and minced garlic until the corn is thoroughly cooked.  The trick!  Bust that heat up to high and brown/caramelize the corn until all you can smell is burnt corn.  Finito, my friends.  Done.  And delicious.

That was a bad day.  First of all, and I don’t mean to delve into my personal life… but I will, work was terrible that day.  It was cold and busy (I work on airplanes), and my supervisor is a dick… basically just all around not fun.  But I was so excited to try these stuffed bell peppers… an adventure!  I’ve never even attempted a stuffed anything.  Tonight when feeding my dinner guests I made an analogy I’d really like to share.  I spent the whole of Tuesday thinking about cooking a brand new dish, and it was terrible.  Work on Wednesday was not much better, and all I wanted for the day to end… but I didn’t want to not cook (total Julie Powell moment), so I cooked a trusty dish consisting of pork chops and a kind of green bean & red onion summer salad so as not to be more disappointed in myself.  (I’ll post the recipe in a sec, don’t you folks worry!)  Then today my supervisor wasn’t at work, therefore my day started beautifully.  To end it on the same note I decided to try something new, but this time with flavors I am not only familiar with but also enjoy very much.  So!  Now that I’ve given you the back story…  It’s like I bought a new shirt on Tuesday, but I didn’t try it on.  When I finally put it on, it looked awful!  And I walked around feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable and fat… all I wanted to do was change.  So Wednesday, in order to make myself feel a little better, I put on my favorite t-shirt.  The one I look great in, people tell me how well the color complements my hair/eyes/skin tone, and, most importantly, I feel like the hottest shit in.  So now that I’ve boosted my mood a bit, Thursday I decide to put on the other new shirt I bought.  This one is fabulous!  Everyone loves it.  I love it.  Even if I do look a little fat, people don’t notice because I am exuuuuuding confidence.  I know everyone can relate to this.  And if you can’t you’re not a real person.

Last night’s dish requires:

  • about 1 lb. pork loin chops
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika
  • salt (to taste)
  • fresh green beans (however many you need)
  • red onions, sliced (also however many you need)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard

Mix the lemon juice, cayenne pepper, black pepper, paprika, and 1 tsp. garlic and brush onto pork chops.  Sear in frying pan for about 6-7 minutes per side over medium (or until done the way youuu like ’em!).  At the same time, have the ends chopped off the green beans, then throw them into a pan with a little bit of butter (about as much as you’d put on an english muffin).  Cook until soft, but not soggy, over medium heat.  Mix the vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, and a pinch (!) of salt in a separate dish.  Take the green beans off the heat, add the uncooked onions, then drizzle the vinegar mix on top.  Ta-da!  Easy and delicious… and, yes, trusty.

Yes, everyone… I’ve switched to paper plates.  My plates are too busy!  Paper plates are a blank canvas, and just so happen to make my food look that much more delicious.

Before I give you the recipe for tonight’s delicious steak crostinis… I want to mention that I live in Navy barracks.  Basically the equivalent of a college dorm.  So the past few nights, people have been walking past my door, coming in and mentioning they can smell my dishes throughout the halls.  Tonight I sold a dish!  And I sold one of tomorrow night’s in advance.  And I sold three more nights’ worth!  I will hopefully sell enough plates to buy my groceries.  And I’m feelin’ good.  Tonight’s recipe:

  • 1/2 lb. steak (I can’t remember exactly what I used, but just get flank or skirt or roundeye)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread
  • 1/2 cup grated/shredded parmesean cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp. flour
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic

To start, preheat the oven to 350.  Mix the cheese and flour, then after spraying non-stick spray (or spreading some butter) on a baking sheet (or foil), spread the mixture in a big circle or square.  Bake for 6 or 7 minutes.  Take it out, let it cool, and if it’s not crunchy put it back in until it’s kind of brown/burnt.  Next drizzle olive oil and spread 1 tbsp. minced garlic over inch-thick slices of ciabatta bread, and toast until your liking.  While the bread is in the oven, slice the steaks into thinner slivers (they don’t have to be deli-thin!), and press the pepper into the pieces.  Cook in a frying pan with the sliced onions and pour in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice (add salt and pepper to taste).  Should take about 6 minutes if you’ve pre-sliced (I did not).  SO!   Now you’ve got however many slices of toasted ciabatta bread, lay them out on the baking sheet you cooked the cheese on (after you take the big cheese crisp off!).  Now it’s all about layering.  Put some onions on the bread.  Break the big cheese crisps into mini-crisps big enough for each slice of bread, and put a crisp on top of the onions.  Next add the steak, then drizzle with the remaining balsamic vinegar. Voila!  Fancy, easy, and delicious.  And “the cheese makes it” says my second permanent dinner guest.

Oh!  And tonight I cooked whilst wearing a holiday dress and drinking Blue Moon with orange slices.  FANCYTOWN.


ooo la la

Aha!  One meal down.  So I managed to make my way to the grocery store today, and I’ve planned out this week’s dishes in advance so I’d know which ingredients to buy to avoid rotten vegetables or unused meat.  I have to say, it was so exciting to sift through other food blogs and choose dishes I’d never even imagined trying to prepare.  The dinner was delicious, but there wasn’t much preparation.  It took about 30 minutes to cook in entirety, and the only thing I got to chop was green onions!  The friend whom I’ve shared my meals with suggested I post the recipes… and where the dishes may lack dazzling names (like ‘Purple Tang Pork Chops’ or something), they make up for in simplicity of preparation, handling, and ingredients.  Maybe another novice chef will read and attempt, then comment: “It really needs about half a teaspoon more salt.  And an entire teaspoon of garlic!  I didn’t think it needed it at all.”  REVISIONS!  I’m not against them.

  • 4 pork chops (about a pound)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 cup chicken broth

I mixed the vinegar, lemon juice, salt & pepper, and let them marinate the pork for about 6 hours.  Then (with the help of some vegetable oil) I browned the white rice over medium heat.  Once satisfied, I poured in the chicken broth and added the chopped onions.  Bring that to a boil for about 5 minutes, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.  While the rice simmers, sear the pork chops with the remaining marinade for about 4 minutes per side (or until you like it).  Ta-da!  Easy as pie (porkpie, that is).  I think it could be a good idea to use the rest of the vinegar from the pan as a gravy, but I did not.  And I promise it was better than it looks in this terrible mobile upload; I’m going to start using a digital camera to get some decent quality.

Anyway, all day I’d been itching to cook, and now it’s done.  It feels good.  I hope this isn’t some new toy fascination.  I’d like to ride this big wheel right on outta here, if ya know what I’m saying.  And is it bad that I don’t care if the people I feed like my food?  I’m beginning to view my food the way I view my own jokes… just because I’m the only one laughing doesn’t mean the joke’s not funny.

Oh!  Something else exciting:  I bought a baking sheet.  Look at me, guys!  I’m practically a professional.  And after the rice I made tonight, I think I hear Bobby Flay calling me for a Throwdown.  I will totally take you, man.  So in lieu of my excitement to cook today’s and the next week’s worth of dinners, I decided to celebrate by skipping my usual Arbor Mist Strawberry Zif for a fancy $8 bottle.  As I’ve said, I’m but a novice in this crazy cooking world so I have no clue what wine or other beverage to pair with whatever meat or vegetable…  If you are well-versed in the subject, please unleash some knowledge!  Red Bicyclette Chardonnay, 2007.  That’s right…  one thing I do know is that adding a comma plus the year after listing the wine’s name multiplies your own personal fancy-ness exponentially.

So, yes.  A successful evening.  Tomorrow is another exciting day.  I’m going to make bell peppers stuffed with a kind of dirty rice and a side of spicy corn relish/salsa.  That will hopefully make up for the prep-work I so dearly missed today.  As for now, the dishes are calling my name.

i’ve been eatin’ with a good friend

To begin!  I’m revgreen, and this blog has been inspired by a friend I’ve been cooking for recently.  He bought me a potato masher, and it made me think of all the cooking tools I don’t have… but why I’d like them.  Also, I’ve recently been pretty hobby-less, unless you count drinking as a socially acceptable daily hobby.  Regardless I’ve decided to start cooking.  Now, there are obstacles I’m going to have to overcome in order to make this a serious hobby.  To start I have no formal training, no driver’s license, and no car.  I’m also currently credit card-less, and the nearest grocery store is miles away.  There is a small store within walking distance, but its selection is very small.  If I know what I’m capable of (and I can assure you I do), I know I’ll prevail.  Basically, I’ll be using this blog as a chronicle of my meals and a measurement of my improvements.  I’ll also be making note of how many new cooking utensils I acquire, and whether or not I think they’re relevant to the home cook.  At this time I’ve decided I’m in desperate need of an apron, a wok, a baking sheet (that’s right, folks!  I don’t have a baking sheet), and a set of knives.  If anyone out there thinks I’m missing any other fundamental tools of cooking, please don’t be afraid to shout at me the necessities of “A POTATO PEELER (insert your favorite handy utensil here)” right through your computer screen.  And, no, I do not own a potato peeler.  Like I said, I just got my first masher… and it was a gift!

Ah, so that’s enough of an introduction for now.  Let’s talk food.  Tonight I will be serving (…or should I say searing?) up balsamic-lemon marinated pork chops with a side of white rice cooked with chicken broth and yellow onions.  Due to the fact I have such terrible access to the grocery store, my dishes can only be loosely based on recipes.  I am always missing at least two stated ingredients.  After perusing recipe sites, though, I’ve found it’s not uncommon to pick and choose ingredients.  I feel that a recipe is an outline, and it is the cook’s duty to come up with the thesis statement, the fillers, the reasons, etc.

Quickly back to potato mashers:  mine is very difficult to wash!  I suppose that’s something to keep in mind, especially if you (like myself) are dishwasher-less.  It was easy enough to fork the stubborn bits of potatoes out of the holes, but who wants to?  And while I feel it is a valuable addition to the kitchen, it is definitely a luxury item.  I made my first mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving, and I had yet to receive “the gift” so I was forced to use a plastic serving spoon to mash.  Fortunately I prefer my potatoes a little lumpy, but I also prefer my arm a little less crampy (zzzzing!).  With the masher I was able to achieve textured, creamy potatoes quickly and pain-free.  Nice addition, indeed.