Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chocolate Mousse


After presenting The Gastronomer with a meal of crackers with artichoke dip, stuffed bell peppers, and potato-leek soup, I concluded with a chocolate mousse for dessert. I considered other mousse recipes but chose this one for its simplicity, and because it uses marshmallows rather than raw eggs. Apparently some people think you can't make a good, fluffy mousse without raw eggs, but I assure you, this is not the case. The Gastronomer liked this one so much that she made it again less than a week later. You can find the recipe and helpful photos here.

Yield: 6-8 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: 30 minutes + chilling time
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 45 minutes

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Potato Leek Soup


I served this soup alongside stuffed bell peppers for The Gastronomer's second Christmas meal. Or more accurately, I should say I served it after the stuffed bell peppers. Unfortunately, my timing wasn't quite right on this night; as a result, we were quite full of peppers by the time the soup arrived and weren't in the right mood to enjoy its milder flavors. I'll have to make it again sometime--I'm definitely a fan of leeks.

Recipe by The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 to 5 pounds leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced (about 11 cups) and rinsed thoroughly
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 3/4 pounds red potatoes (5 medium), scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven and stir in the leeks and garlic. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the leeks are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the broth, potatoes, thyme, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Smash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot to thicken the soup. Discard the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.

Yield: 6-8 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: 55 minutes
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Smørrebrød: Open-faced Sandwiches with Flounder, Shrimp, and Basil Dressing


After suffering through one of the coldest weeks I can remember in Los Angeles, I felt compelled this past weekend to break out The Scandinavian Cookbook. I flipped right to the January chapter--given that the temperature hadn't cracked 290 K in days, it just seemed like the right thing to do. This open-faced seafood sandwich caught my eye--a new take on familiar ingredients. Shrimp are one of The Gastronomer's and my favorite things to cook at home, and although the flour-coated fish didn't turn out quite as attractive as in the cookbook, I was generally pleased with the results. It was a different sort of dish than we're used to eating, with much cooler flavors than those typically found in Asian or Latin American cuisine. Funny how people in hot climates like to eat scalding noodle soups, while people in the arctic seem to prefer sandwiches topped with chilled sour cream.

Recipe by The Scandinavian Cookbook
  • 20 fresh basil leaves, finely shredded
  • 3 fresh parsley sprigs, leaves only, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 3/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup rye flour
  • 4 large flounder fillets
  • Butter, for cooking
  • 4 slices rye bread
  • 4 ounces mixed greens
  • 4 ounces frozen cooked shrimp, defrosted
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
Combine the basil, parsley, and lime juice in a bowl, then fold in the crème fraîche. Season with salt and pepper and place in the refrigerator. Mix the rye flour with some salt and pepper and use this mixture to coat the flounder fillets. In a skillet, melt a little butter and cook the fillets for 4 minutes on each side, or until firm to the touch. Divide the greens among the bread slices, then put a warm flounder fillet and some basil cream on each one. Top with the shrimp and a lime wedge. Serve immediately while the fish is still warm. Cold beer is an excellent accompaniment.

Yield: 4 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: Not given
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour 30 minutes (included shelling and cooking 1 lb of shrimp)
Substitutions: Instead of using pre-cooked shrimp, I blanched them myself at home. They're really luxurious--it almost doesn't seem fair how easy it is. Just drop the shrimp in salted boiling water for 30-45 seconds; they'll continue to cook a bit after you take them out of the water. The grocery I went to didn't have flounder, so I substituted tilapia. I didn't feel like purchasing rye flour for a single recipe, so I just used all purpose flour. Finally, unsure of the proper pronunciation of the dish's name, I've taken to affectionately calling it "schmorgesborg."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Spaghetti with Spinach and Anchovies


This dish makes an excellent weeknight dinner. It's very fast, and the flavors are simple but satisfying. I like spinach fine, but generally prefer its flavor to be kept in the background. However, in this dish it really works well with the garlic and anchovies. I was glad I splurged for pine nuts--they really do add to the experience. The recipe calls for capelli, which as far as I could tell from the pictures is indistinguishable from spaghetti. I'll wait for an Italian to correct me...

Recipe adopted from Pasta: A cook's guide to the delicious world of pasta and noodles with 500 recipes
  • 1 1/4 lbs fresh flat-leaf spinach or 3/4 lb frozen spinach
  • 1 lb capelli d'angelo
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (~ 2 oz.) anchovy fillets, chopped
Wash the spinach thoroughly in a colander and place it in a large pot with only the water that naturally clings to the leaves. Cover and cook over high heat, shaking occasionally, until the leaves had just wilted and the spinach is bright green. Drain well and set aside.

Cook the pasta in lightly salted water. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the pine nuts, and fry until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside (if you don't have slotted spoon, a fork works in a pinch). Add the garlic to the pan and fry until golden. Add the anchovies, then the spinach, and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the spinach is hot. Stir in the pine nuts. Drain the pasta and toss in a serving bowl with butter or olive oil. Top with the sauce, fork it through roughly and serve.

Yield: 4 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: Not given
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 50 minutes
Substitutions: The proportions seemed a bit skewed in the original recipe, which called for 2 lbs of fresh spinach, 2 garlic cloves, and 6 anchovy fillets. 2 lbs appeared to be an enormous quantity of spinach--I could barely fit 1 1/4 pound in my pot--but having seen it cook down and tasted the final product, I'd say adding a bit more would have been fine. Maybe the anchovy fillets in Britain are bigger than ours, because 6 wouldn't have been nearly enough. Even though I used a whole can, which turned out to be 15 fillets, The Gastronomer wished that the pasta had been fishier.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stuffed Bell Peppers


Of all the recipes I made for The Gastronomer's 2008 Christmas present, these bell peppers may have been her favorite. She frequently requests that I make them again, and once when I was out of town she ate them for four meals straight. The original appeal for me was the apparent intricacy of stuffing meat inside a vegetable, but in fact they're a classic American dish that's quite easy to execute. The recipe's success can be largely attributed to the following theorem:

ground beef + cheese + ketchup = delicious

which has been experimentally confirmed over 10^9 times. However, there is some added complexity here which is far above the intellectual level of a fast food hamburger.

Recipe by The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
  • Salt
  • 4 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (6 oz each)
  • 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained with 1/4 cup juice reserved
  • 5 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
Cook the rice by any method you choose. While it is cooking, cut off the top 1/2 inch of the bell peppers and scoop out the insides (it's easy to do with your hand). Bring a pot of salted water to boil, then add the peppers and cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Remove the peppers from the water and drain.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beef and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl with the rice, and add the tomatoes, 1 cup of the cheese, and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and the reserved 1/4 cup tomato juice. Place the peppers, cut side up, in a 9x9 baking dish. Divide the filling mixture evenly among them. Spoon the ketchup mixture over the tops, and sprinkle on the remaining grated cheese. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is browned.

Yield: 4 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Substitutions: We often leave out the parsley when making these, and have also tried using Parmesan instead of Monterey Jack Cheese with good results. Adding some extra garlic to the meat mixture never hurts.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Artichoke Dip


This was first dip I ever made at home--I don't buy this sort of thing at the store very often, so I can't really compare the quality of the final product, but it was so easy, I'd definitely make it again. I recommend whipping some up before sitting down to enjoy the Alabama-Florida game this Saturday (unless you live in Los Angeles, in which case you should stock up on baked goods Saturday morning at Eat My Blog).

Recipe by The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
Microwave cream cheese until very soft, about 30 seconds. Stir in the milk, artichoke hearts, lemon juice, and tarragon. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. Enjoy with your favorite crackers.

Yield: About 1 cup
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: Not given
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 20 minutes

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mustard and Panko-Crusted Tofu with Kale and Yams


It seems appropriate to follow up a barbecuing post with an uber-healthy vegan recipe. Looking for an alternative to our usual Asian tofu preparations, The Gastronomer and I stumbled upon this recipe on Aided by The Gastronomer's brilliant suggestion to supplement the prescribed mustard coating on the tofu with Panko bread crumbs, it turned out wonderfully.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, September 2007, courtesy of Epicurious.
  • 1 14-ounce package firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup spicy apple mustard
  • About 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 bunch kale, stem cut from each leaf, leaves thinly sliced crosswise (about 8 cups)
  • 1 medium red-skinned sweet potato (yam; about 12 ounces), peeled, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Cut tofu into eight 1/2-inch-thick slices. Squeeze the slices between two paper towels to remove some of the moisture from the tofu. Spread both sides of each tofu slice with mustard, then cover them with breadcrumbs (this is easy to accomplish by pouring some breadcrumbs on a plate, then placing the tofu slices on the plate and flipping them over, taking care not to break up the tofu).

Heat about 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and ginger and sauté 4-5 minutes. Add the kale, sweet potato, and lime juice. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until the potatoes are tender and the kale is wilted, 10-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a small amount of vegetable oil in another large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu; cover and cook until the bread crumbs are golden, about 2 minutes per side .

Arrange kale and sweet potato mixture on a plate. Overlap tofu slices atop vegetables and serve.

Yield: 4 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: Not given
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Substitutions: The original recipe called for 1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard--I chose to use spicy apple mustard and found 1/4 cup to be sufficient. I love ginger and used at least 2 tablespoons, while the original recipe only called for 1.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Smokey Joe


Eager to help me properly assume the role of Man of the House, The Gastronomer purchased a Smokey Joe grill and some top-notch grilling tools for me last Christmas. After browsing cookbooks and the internet for basic grilling tips and consulting with my dad, I stopped by Target to purchase some charcoal. I combed the store but could not find the charcoal anywhere. When I bumped into a store manager and asked if he could help me out, I was met with an incredulous look. "I don't know if we have any--it's not grilling season." Seriously? Sure, it was February, but isn't it always grilling season in California?

Fortunately, it turned out that they did have a couple of bags of charcoal, shoved into a corner in the Lawn and Garden section. Perhaps the age of this charcoal explained why I struggled so much getting it to light--or maybe I just didn't use enough lighter fluid. In any case, eventually I got my little pyramid of coals burning, and when the coals were covered in ash it was time to throw some meat on the grill. I started simple for my first grilling adventure: burgers and Trader Joe's hot Italian pork sausage. I mixed some salt and pepper into the ground beef and made an indentation in the top of the patties, as recommended by my cooking bible; no preparation was necessary to make the sausages taste amazing.


I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't be able to tell how long to cook the sausages without a meat thermometer, but it turned out it was readily apparent from their nice blistered appearance when they were ready to consume. In general, burgers cook for 5-8 minutes, depending how hot the fire is, and sausages cook a bit longer (10-12 minutes). One problem with the Smokey Joe is that if you're grilling more than a few things, there's a good chance the coals will cool down before the cooking is finished. However, it's quite ideal for feeding 2-4 people. On this occasion I melted some cheese on the burgers and toasted brioche buns on the grill, and we enjoyed a delicious protein feast.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Morning Glory Muffins


I made these muffins for dessert following the dates stuffed with parmesan, minty buttery peas, and salmon and leek pot pies. The recipe was chosen with The Gastronomer's fondness for fiber in mind, but in hindsight she would have probably preferred to conclude her feast with something a bit more decadent. Even though we were too full after polishing off the pot pies to properly enjoy the muffins, they were great the next day--hearty and satisfying. These were the type of thing I really used to love when I was running 60-70 miles a week and constantly needed to refuel with dense but healthy sources of calories. Now that my fire isn't burning so hot, they don't have such a well-defined place in my life, but they still make a nice breakfast.

Recipe by The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 carrots, peeled and grated (2 cups)
  • 1 (8-oz) can crushed pineapple, drained and pressed dry with paper towels
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Fold the egg mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined, then mix in the carrots, pineapple, coconut, raisins, and nuts. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Yield: 12 muffins
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Salmon and Leek Pot Pie


I never realized how awesome dill was until I tried the Vietnamese dish cha ca. The fresh version in particular adds a unique, wonderful flavor to dishes such as these pot pies. I served them alongside sauteed buttery peas with mint for The Gastronomer's Christmas meal #1.

I realize that this blog is already at risk of becoming one big America's Test Kitchen advertisement, but I must point out that, in addition to the instructions reprinted below, the Family Cookbook contains a section called Puff Pastry 101 with tips on the optimal defrosting method and pictures of the proper pastry cutting technique, a primer on removing pin bones from salmon, and instructions for buying and washing leeks. Every recipe also contains details about which steps can be made done of time. Seriously, if you're only going to buy one cookbook, I recommend this one.

Recipe by The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

For Topping
  • Flour for the counter
  • 1 9.5-by-9 inch sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
For Filling
  • 2 pounds salmon fillets, skin removed
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 (8-oz) bottles clam juice
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill (do not substitute dried)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • lemon wedges (for serving)
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Dust the counter lightly with flour and unfold the sheet of puff pastry. You can use this recipe to make one large casserole in a 9x13 inch pan, or 6-8 personal pot pies in small ramekins. If making a large casserole, cut the puff pastry into 12 rectangles; if making individual pot pies, cut the pastry sections to fit your ramekins. Brush the pastry lightly with egg, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until the rectangles are puffed and lightly browned, but not completely cooked, about 8 minutes. This pre-baking will keep the pastry from getting soggy when cooked on the pot pies.

2. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove any pin bones from the salmon and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Season the salmon with salt and pepper, then spread it in the large baking dish or distribute it among the small ramekins.

3. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the flour and coat the vegetables. Gradually whisk in the clam juice and milk until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick, about 1 minute.

4. Off the heat, stir in the peas, dill, lemon juice, nutmeg, and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture over the salmon in the baking dish or ramekins. Use a spoon to redistribute the salmon evenly.

5. Place one pre-baked puff-pastry rectangle onto each ramekin, or arrange them attractively over the casserole pan. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the salmon is fully cooked, 13 to 15 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving with the lemon wedges.

Yield: 6-8 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dates Stuffed with Parmesan

Parmesan Stuffed Dates

These dates were the appetizer for The Gastronomer's Christmas Dinner #1. They were a nice snack, but the real legacy of this recipe has been the incorporation of toasted nuts into my daily routine. I never realized how easy it was--now whenever I add walnuts or pecans to a salad, I make sure to throw them in a frying pan for a couple of minutes first to enhance their aroma and flavor.

Recipe by The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Toasting Nuts

To toast a small amount of nuts or seeds, put them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Simply shake the skillet occasionally to prevent scorching and toast until they are lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 8 minutes. Watch the nuts closely because they can go from golden to burnt very quickly. To toast a large quantity of nuts, spread the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in a 350-degree oven, shaking the baking sheet every few minutes, until the nuts are lightly browned and fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes.

For Dates
  • 16 large pitted dates
  • 3 oz. chunk Parmesan cheese
  • 16 walnut halves, toasted
Slit the dates lengthwise but do not cut them all the way through. Cut the Parmesan into thin shards about the length of a date. Stuff a shard of Parmesan and a walnut half into each date.

Yield: 6-8 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: 10 minutes
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 30 minutes

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sauteed Buttery Peas with Mint and Feta Cheese


After spending my first 24 years enjoying the fruits of others' labor in the kitchen while rarely making my own contribution to the dinner spread, my culinary career was jump-started when I decided to give The Gastronomer five 3-course dinners as a Christmas present last year. The menus were taken almost exclusively from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, a fantastic, foolproof resource for the beginning cook. These peas were served alongside salmon and leek pot pies for the main course of Menu #1.

Recipe by The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound frozen peas (3 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, mint, and garlic and cook until softened. Stir in the peas (do not thaw beforehand) and the sugar. The Test Kitchen authors recommend frozen peas for their consistent flavor and ease of use. Cover and cook until the peas are heated through, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the feta cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: 10 minutes
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 20 minutes
Substitutions: We ate some of the peas without the cheese (shown above), as we found that it overwhelmed the flavor of the mint, but both ways were delicious.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Butternut Squash Tagine with Pistachio Couscous


There's nothing The Gastronomer appreciates more than coming home to a stellar meal after a grueling day at the office, so I'm always on the lookout for simple, delicious recipes for weeknight dinners. Our subscription to Cooking Light (a Christmas present from my mom last year) has been an excellent resource for this. To be honest, this one was pushing it in terms of intricateness (I'm not the most efficient cook--see the time estimates accompanying each post), but it was a great opportunity to finally use our unopened cumin and paprika, and it turned out fantastically.

Recipe by Cooking Light, November 2009

For Butternut Squash Tagine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces peeled cubed butternut squash
  • 1/3 cup halved pitted picholine olives (about 3 ounces)
  • 8 pitted dried plums, chopped
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional)
For Pistachio Couscous
  • 3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
Make Butternut Squash Tagine

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; cook 8 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Stir in cumin and next 7 ingredients (through chicken); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, squash, olives, and dried plums; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes or until squash is tender. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Make Pistachio Couscous

Bring chicken broth to boil in a small saucepan. Add couscous; cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes; fluff with a fork. Stir in grated lemon rind and pistachios.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: 30 minutes
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 2 hours
Substitutions: I left out the chicken and doubled the butternut squash, and I left out the turmeric because we didn't have any.

Statement of Purpose


Despite being incompetent with a knife, incapable of multitasking, and generally lacking all semblance of culinary instincts, every so often I bravely step into the kitchen and attempt to produce a three-course dinner. These are generally all-day affairs, fraught with danger and near disasters. When the end product is a success, I am often too tired to eat it. Luckily, my fiancee has a deep appreciation for home-cooked meals and heaps praise upon my creations whether they deserve it or not. In light of the stupendous efforts that went into these meals and my astounding inability to recall what I have made after a few months time, I recently decided it would be worthwhile to keep a record of my gastronomical adventures. This blog won't contain much text--if it's captivating prose you're after, check out Gastronomy Blog. However, rest assured, if a recipe appears on this blog, I made it, and I thought it was tasty enough that I might want to make it again. Enjoy.
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