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Posts tagged ‘Cooking’

Oh where, oh where has my measuring cup gone?

I am so confused. So very confused.

I cannot find my 1-cup measuring cup. I have a set of four nesting cups and I even keep them on the stupid annoying ring so they all stay together. And I just went to put away the 1-cup cup that I used earlier when I was preparing dinner, and I noticed as I put it back on the stupid annoying ring that it was actually the ½-cup cup. Which makes no sense, because I haven’t used the measuring cups in days and there is nothing else in the dish drainer or the dishwasher and I have no clue where it is.

It also means that in my haste this afternoon, when I was throwing ingredients into the crockpot, I only used one cup of something instead of two.

Sigh……

Dinner….let’s figure that out first. I think if I throw in the other cup now, it’ll be ok. It’s still got at least an hour to go and instinct says it’s ok for this particular recipe. (Instinct. Ha! This is the first time I’ve ever made this, so we may be ordering pizza later. I already told Klondike we don’t have to eat it.)

Done.

Now. Where is the freakin’ cup?

I have no idea. I have looked in every logical place and some illogical ones.

Here’s what’s super annoying and weird.

I bought these measuring cups because I had a set I really, really liked, except after I moved into my house, I couldn’t find……

THE 1-CUP MEASURING CUP!!!!

And to this day, I still haven’t found it.

I think maybe my ex kept it.

(I don’t really think that. But where the fuck is it?)

And now, another cup grows feet and takes a hike and AGAIN IT’S THE 1-CUP CUP?????

Sigh……

I know. I can use what I have to achieve one cup. But it’s kind of annoying to have TWO SETS BOTH MISSING THE SAME STUPID CUP!

I will keep looking. And I will buy another set if I have to, because I use the 1-cup cup a lot.

Wherever they are, I hope the missing ones are together, having some sort of party or something.

Because seriously. WTF????

A Farewell To Latkes

So, yeah, Happy Hanukah. 🙂

My family came over for brunch on Sunday for our annual Chanukah gathering. Noshing of food, exchanging of gifts, airing of grievances…..wait, scratch that last one, this isn’t Festivus.

Tangent: holy CRAP, there are a lot of websites for Festivus, including one where you can get your own Festivus pole. Are you freakin’ kidding me????

Anyway, back to Hanukkah! I offered to host, and I like to do brunch; it’s the meal I feel most comfortable making special occasiony. I can rock a couple of brunch dishes, yes I can.  And conveniently, traditional Chanuka latkes, a.k.a. potato pancakes, work nicely for brunch.potatoes

All latke recipes are essentially the same: shred some potatoes and onion, stir in some egg and flour, fry them in oil. Fried potato Chanukkah goodness. What’s not to love?

Hmm…..lemme make a list.

Let’s begin with my own stupidity. I always shred too many potatoes. Always.. Nobody could make or eat that many latkes. Seriously, it’s like the potatoes double in quantity in the process of grating.

One of the things I like about making brunch is I have a slew of recipes where you do all the prep the night before, stick it in the fridge overnight, pop it in the oven in the morning, and it’s fresh and awesome and delicious with little effort the morning of. Latkes do not afford this luxury. Theoretically you can make them in advance and reheat them, but there’s no way they’ll be crispy. (Please tell me if you have successfully accomplished this!) And you can’t do the prep in advance. Once you start shredding those taters, you’d better get to cooking or they’ll turn brown and/or gray and disgusting. Nobody wants gray food.

So it’s almost time for company to arrive, I’d prefer to be tending to final details and on the ready to greet people, but instead I’m in the kitchen getting sweaty and disheveled with a pan full of hot oil (I hate cooking with oil) and a ridiculously large bowl of latke guts. I put one test latke into the pan. It does not hold together. I add more flour to the bowl. I put another test latke into the pan. It’s holding together, but when it’s time to flip it, oil spatters my hand mid-flip and my reflexive jerking away causes the latke to fall into a clump in the pan.

Fuck. That.

I consider that all of my company has arrived, the caramel french toast in the oven is almost ready, and I have yet to make a successful latke.

I look at the bowl of shredded potato. The bowl of shredded potato looks at me.

I dump the entire bowl into the pan to prepare the not-yet-as-widely-celebrated Hanuka hash browns. Next time I’ll try to get them a little crispier. What I will not do next time is bother trying to make latkes.

And I haven’t even mentioned one of the worst parts yet, not directly anyway. Fried. In oil. My house reeks. Days later, my house reeks. It’s almost as bad as cooking bacon. (Bacon, not so much a traditional Channukah food.) And to exacerbate the situation, I don’t have an exhaust fan in my kitchen.

Hence, I believe I am done with my latke adventures. Food should not stress you out, in my opinion. And I’m pretty sure my family can successfully and joyfully celebrate Chanukka without them.

(I confess, I might just be looking for opportunities to work Hanukka into sentences.)

I have come to accept that there are certain foods that I’m not going to master, and that’s ok. Even if they’re really basic things like latkes or cutout sugar cookies (shut up, cookie cutters are tricky). Maybe someday I’ll try again, who knows. But life is too short to get bent out of shape over a potato.

Happy Hannuka! I mean Hannukkah! I mean Chanuqa! (Ok, not that last one.)

Ruby Dogwonkafonka wishes you a very Happy Chanukah!

Ruby Dogwonkafonka wishes you a very Happy Chanukah!

(I was going to look for some fun pic of the Muppets or something wishing a Happy Hanukah and then I realized I already have something much more fun, courtesy of my friend Mark Lahey from last year’s Great Photoshop Smackdown. It’s time to do that again!) 

I cooked a chicken, bitch!

Last weekend I did something I’ve never done before: I cooked an entire chicken.

This may not sound like much to some of you, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never before cooked anything with a bone in it. (I’ll pause now for my friends whose heads are exploding due to euphemism overload.)

I really don’t like to know my food in ways that remind me it was once alive, and bones have a tendency to do that. Plus, bones in food are just kind of gross and annoying. Most of my cooking of animals revolves around boneless and skinless. But I kind of had chicken & noodles on the brain. The weather got cold and something warm & smushy (which is how I tend to define comfort food) was sounding good, and I’ve never made it before, so I thought why not? A Google search for “easy chicken & noodle recipe” yielded several easy-sounding chicken & noodle recipes. (The internet is amazing, no?) And they all called for cooking a whole chicken. Okey dokey, I can do this. Plus, someday soon I would like to cook a turkey, and cooking a chicken is probably a good gateway poultry opportunity.

I am not scared of you.

I addressed the chicken situation immediately so I could get the traumatic part out of the way.

Okay, I am a little scared of you.

Fortunately all I had to do was cut it up a little bit and throw it into the pot. Am I the only one who always starts with too small a pot? Anytime I make soup or chili or anything in a big pot, I always underestimate the size of the pot necessary. Which meant I had to touch the chicken again. Ew. But once the chicken and vegetables and broth are in the pot, all you do is wait – it really was ridiculously easy.

Ooh. Except for the noodles. All the recipes I found also called for making your own noodles, which wasn’t on my radar at all. But all these yahoos on the internet were doing it, so how hard could it be, right? I figured I’d give it a try. That was my only real mistake. I need to remember that things involving rolling pins are not in my skill set. (Seriously. I cannot make cutout cookies. It’s the weirdest thing.) Although someday I will make a delicious pie crust. I truly believe this. Will report back on that one. Anyway, the noodles….eh. I wasn’t very precise in my sizing of the noodles, so some of them got….unwieldy, shall we say. And doughy. I did eat a meal of the chicken & homemade noodles and they were fine, but not delicious. I think I could tweak what I did and figure out how to make them better, but the better solution was to fish out my ridiculous noodles and throw in the bag of egg noodles already in my pantry. When I had that the next day in leftover form, the whole thing was yumtastic success.

And being just one person, I had enough for multiple meals, plus froze two large batches for future enjoyment.

I took a little bit from a couple of different recipes on allrecipes.com, and made a couple modifications of my own, so here’s a rough estimate of what transpired – not to suggest this is a breakthrough into some innovative culinary world of chicken & noodles.  🙂 I just figured I’d share, as long as we’re both here and maybe you now have a similar craving – save you some browsing time.

Easy chicken & noodles
Cut a whole (2-3 pound) chicken into pieces. Which I barely did – I think mine was two large pieces. That whole not wanting to handle it thing. Put the chicken pieces into a large (um, yeah) pot with four or five stalks of celery (diced), 1 onion (halved), and a handful or two of baby carrots, or chunks of carrots, or whatever shape you like your carrots to be. I really like cooked carrots, so I think next time I would use more. A lot more. Like a pound of baby carrots, if I were cooking a whole chicken again.

Pour three 32-ounce containers of chicken broth into the pot, and add salt and ground black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is tender and falls from bone, approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

While chicken is cooking, realize that making your own noodles is completely unnecessary and go sit down.

When the chicken is done, turn off the heat and remove the meat so it can cool for a few minutes. While it’s cooling, strain the chicken stock. Reserve the carrots and celery to go back into the pot.

Remove the skin from the chicken and pull the meat from the bones. Add the meat, carrots and celery back to the broth, and bring it to a boil. Add the noodles of your choice and cook till they’re tender and ready for eatin’. Fewer noodles = brothier and more like soup. More noodles = thicker and more like something to eat with a fork.

And as some of these dishes tend to be, this was even better the second day. Although that could have been due to Operation Noodle Replacement. And if you DO make your own noodles, I tip my hat to you. 🙂