Archive for Cooking

Partial Success

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2012 by urbannight

I got the litter box done and the hot bath done, but I intended to finish the room by sweeping and moping under and around the litter box and that didn’t happen.

The Holiday tubs are out and the Halloween wreath is put up.

I found the book in my underwear drawer. It was a supernatural/paranormal thriller/romance. Not a book I would feel the need to hide in a drawer.

I started the pork chops at about 10:00 pm. Then I did rice instead. After so I could use the pan with the pork drippings. I only just got it all packaged up for lunches.

I did very little stitching, did not watch the film I intended to watch. Took starting three movies to get one that captured my attention. I did not reread and write about the article I wanted to work on.

I am not going to bed early.

Did your evening go as planned.

Evening Chores

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2012 by urbannight

My apartment resembles this.

I’ve picked up olive oil and sweetener from the store and had dinner and fed the cats.

The litter box needs to be cleaned before I can take a hot bath.

I need to get the Holiday tubs out of the storage closet.

I need to find the book I was have through last night.

I need to cook up the pork chops and millet for lunched over the next three days.

I have a Halloween ornament to work on and some shows to watch and some articles to read.

I need to try to get the two blogs, one on a particular show and one on an article written.

And I wanted to go to bed early.

What does your Tuesday evening look like?

So you think you can’t cook…..

Posted in Food, Gaming, Life, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2012 by urbannight

Here is another fast and easy recipe for those who think they are kitchen challenged or those who just don’t feel like cooking from scratch. Like when you decided to play Star Wars The Old Republic for May Fourth and you end up playing for three days straight.

1 pound

Start with a lb of ground beef. Brown up in a large sauce pan. Season with black pepper or cayenne (if you are like me) or both (something I also do). If you use beef with a high fat content (70/30), make sure to drain it. If you use beef that is too lean you sacrifice some of the flavor. Even thought I use seasoning I can still tell flavorless beef from flavorful beef. I use 80/20 most of the time because 85/15 has gotten really hard to find. I used to use it all the time.

Black Beans

Lets talk about black beans. These are my favorite. Even thought I’ve not gotten the knack of cooking with them from scratch. Canned black beans will save a ton of time and are great for fast, easy dishes.

Take one can and drain well. If you add water to the can, shake well, and drain again, repeating for a total of 5 times to get the water to run clear. Or put in a colander with small holes and rinse out the black stuff it is packaged in. They will cook up clearer (won’t turn your dish black) and it gets rid of a lot of the sodium it is packed in. Don’t worry, I will be putting sodium back in elsewhere. I use the rinse and repeat method to cut down on dirty dishes. I’ve been known to dirty a lot of dishes when cooking so I like to cut back on that when I can. Toss in on top of cooked beef.

Normally, I have a horribly low opinion of canned potatoes. Sliced and whole ones cook up horribly. I don’t have that problem with diced canned potatoes. Use one can and rinse but don’t worry about doing it 5 times. Just a couple of times to clear out the sodium. Toss on top of the beef and beans.

Now I add three cups of water and two beef bullion cubes. These are high in sodium which is why I try to get rid of it from the cans. I know there are other forms of bullion that are not so high in salt but I don’t know the amounts to get the results I want as I do for the cubes. Let simmer a while to heat beans and potatoes all the way through and to mingle the flavor of the cooked beef with the bullion with the beans.

Northwoods Fire

You can season this simply with black pepper. It will taste a bit like beef stew. Or you can use chili powder to have a chili like flavor. In that case, you may want to add a can or two of tomato sauce instead of water. I kept it soup like and used Northwoods Fire from Penszeys to season.

I would show you the end result but I ate it while I was typing this.   I just can’t keep it in the pan long enough to photograph.  It is too yummy.  There is more at home tucked up in containers for other lunches.  Yummy lunch.  I can’t wait until lunch tomorrow to eat the other bowl.    If you make proper servings with a salad and veggie side, you get 5 servings out of it.  I tend to put more in my containers and only get three servings.  It’s easier to do lunches that way and have a veggie heavy dinner.

When Life Derails You.

Posted in Art, Books, Entertainment, Food, Gaming, Life, Movies and Theatre, Tea, Work, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2012 by urbannight

I was under the weather at the start of the week and then I have been working long days in order to make up some of the time rather than burning sick time or vacation time.  As a result, my list of blog topics is growing but I’m not finding time to actually work on them.  

I’ll try to get back to writing something this weekend.  I want to review a movie I saw, write about books I’m looking for but have forgotten the titles, the tea I ordered, not so lovely doctor’s visits, and a photo shoot of beloved clothing I can’t part with and the clothing I would like to purchase if I ever lose some weight.  

So if you like movies, books, YA sci-fi, tea, and gothish and gothic clothing and corsetry, Heavy Red in particular and some random cooking and crafting stuff, stay tuned for future installments.

OMG, Black Bean Heaven!

Posted in Art, Food, Life, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2012 by urbannight

Start w/ half pound stew meat.  Dice up into smaller pieces.  Brown in olive oil. I used Alpine Touch seasoning at this stage.

Add 3 cups water and one beef bullion.  This has enough salt so don’t add any more.  Unless you like really salty food.  Cover and simmer until beef is tender.

In small pot or pan, heat olive oil, mince onion and garlic, amount to taste.  I added Cayenne here.  Saute until soft and just starting to caramelize.

While I was stirring the above, to keep if from burning, I peeled and sliced 2 small potatoes.  I added these to the pot and then added the onion and garlic. Add black pepper to taste.

Cover and simmer while reducing the broth about half way.  Potatoes will be almost done.  If your broth isn’t reduced enough, raise temp and take lid off for a couple of minutes.

Open, drain, and rinse one can of black beans.  Add.  Cover and simmer until beans are heated through. Turn off heat and add 1/4 cup of potato flakes.  I like to use that over a flour or corn starch thickener.  But you can do it whichever way you want.

Really, it was heaven in a bowl.

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Posted in Art, Education, Entertainment, Food, Life, Uncategorized, Work, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2012 by urbannight

I have not tried these yet.  I intend to soon.  Possibly this weekend.  I was in the lunch room to heat up my soup when I over heard two women talking about it.  So I got nosey and asked how she made it.

Brush the round top of the mushroom with an Italian dressing.

Remove the gills from the mushrooms.

Saute garlic and spinach until wilted.  (I would say that if you got mushrooms with stalks you might chop the stalks and add to this part.  Green onion or just chives might be good to add as well.  And I’m a big fan of Cayenne so I might add a bit here as well.)

Drizzle a little Italian dressing over the stuffing and stir in, then stuff the mushroom caps.

Sprinkle a bit of cheese over the top.

Bake in over for 18 to 20 minutes at 375. 

It sounds lovely.  Crumbled bacon or minced scallops might also be good in it.

I learned something new today.

Posted in Education, Food, Life, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , on March 28, 2012 by urbannight


Watermelon Rinds can be pickled and made edible.  It takes three days.  I’m not curious enough to do it.

Not Vindaloo but Delicious Anyway

Posted in Entertainment, Food, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2012 by urbannight

Last night I decided to make Vindaloo.  Without a recipe.  Not actually knowing what IS in Vindaloo. 

I started by dicing chicken and cooking it up.  Anytime I cook with chicken, I pre-cook the chicken.  I just feel better about it.  I tossed the diced chicken with cayenne to cook some of the heat and pepper into the meat.  After that was done, I added a small tin of tomato sauce, some vinegar, vindaloo seasoning I got at Penzeys, and more cayenne. 

From past experience, I knew that the vindaloo and hot curry seasonings I have bought or been given are all flavor and no heat.  Hence the cayenne.  Cayenne is my favorite seasoning.  It has a very mild taste with heat.  If you add it to mild dishes, you taste the light pepper flavor.  It is really great for adding to dishes where you want more heat but you don’t want to alter the actual flavor.   So it is perfect for jazzing up dishes with a stronger flavor.

I let that heat up and then sit and simmer while I cooked up some long grained rice. 

The final result tasted wonderful.  I loved it.  I wanted more but I already had two servings and had two packed up for lunches today and tomorrow.  It tasted nothing at all like vindaloo.  Despite the rather heavy hand I had with the cayenne it was still not hot enough.  But that was okay.  I will make it again. 

Like I said, it might not have been a proper vindaloo, but it was definately a success.

The Evils of Frozen Meatballs.

Posted in Food, Life, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2012 by urbannight

Do not try this at home.  You will not like it.   A cautionary tale.

When you approach cooking from a creative standpoint, not everything turns out.  You have the occasional disaster.  Some are edible and some are not.  Last night’s disaster is edible but not very good.

The disaster usually starts as a short cut.  I was tired when I bought the groceries and I have been tired all week since the time change.  The tiredness while getting groceries told me that trying out those frozen meatballs might be a good idea.  The tiredness while cooking led to impatience and bad decisions.

The first thing I did was open the meatballs and take a look at them.  I didn’t like the color.  To pale for fully cooked meatballs.  So I dumped them in a pot to brown.  After 15 minutes of stirring and turning only spots were browning.  Here I lost patience and put them in a microwave save bowl and zapped them for 30 seconds here and there as I did the rest of the work.

I started the mushroom gravy in the pot I was trying to brown them in.  I soon learned that if you do not make your gravy in a pot in which you properly cooked beef the gravy does not taste right.  When it was ready, I added the thawed meatballs to finish heating all the way up and made mashed potatoes.

I have nothing against using instant potatoes when I’m making very small batches of mashed.  Peeling, boiling, and mashing a single potato is to much work.  And it is convenient if you want to jazz them up while cooking them.  I like curried mashed potatoes so I got out the curry and added some to the potatoes.  In the back of my mind I suspected mushroom gravy over curried potatoes might not work out. 

I was right.  When it was all done, put together on my plate, I discovered another evil aspect of frozen meatballs.  They taste weird.  They have a mushy texture.  They have a ‘fake’ meat quality to them.

Dinner ended up a disaster of mushy meatballs, mushroom gravy that lacked richness and tasted like soup, and curry mashed potatoes that tasted really odd with mushroom taste on top.


An Evening to Myself

Posted in Apartments, Life, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2012 by urbannight

My roommate starts classes tonight.  He won’t be home until 10:30ish.  I find myself looking forward to it.  I can do some cleaning I have gotten behind on.  There are certain chores I can’t bring myself to do if there are people around.  Vacuuming is one. 

I believe this goes back to childhood.  My entire family helps make holiday dinners but never more than one person in the kitchen at a time.  We don’t clean or cook well together.  Someone is always trying to ‘fix’ the way someone else does things. 

My sister and I were okay to clean together.  In fact, after school on Wednesday and Friday’s, we would clean the entire house.  That way our parent’s couldn’t say no when we asked for spending money to go skating or to the movies.  This is what we did instead of getting an allowance.  It worked for us.

During college, If my folks went out of town on the weekends, I would then clean the house while they were gone.  That way I felt like I was doing my part and I wouldn’t have to listen to someone telling me I was pushing a vacuum cleaner wrong or that I ought to dust a different way.

When I had a house w/ a yard, I tried to wait for weird times to do yard work.  I hated doing it on Saturday or Sunday when everyone else was also doing it.  I hated the feeling that people were watching me and judging how I was doing.  Drove me nuts.  I’ll be happy never to have to do yard work again.  I decided renting is better than owning.  If something needs fixing, you call maintenance. 

As my roommate hasn’t gone to do a few of his other things lately, I’ve gotten behind on a few chores I normally handle.  So I’m looking forward to Tuesday and Thursday evenings now.  I’ll get the carpets and floors caught up and kept up.  And it will be nice to get my bathroom done, top to bottom. Maybe I’ll get really ambitious one day and take the stove apart to clean the trays under it and clean the oven out.  But not tonight. 

I think I’ll just ease back into it again and take care of the carpet and floors and clean cat hair from the sofa.