NY Times asks what kind of cook are you?

In today’s NY Times “Well” column, Tara Parker-Pope cites some research on the “nutritional gatekeepers” of families.  Then on the Well blog, she has a test to see what kind of cook you are:

  1. “Giving” cooks: enthusiastic about cooking and specialize in comfort food, particularly home-baked goodies.
  2. “Methodical” cooks: rely heavily on recipes, so their cooking is strongly influenced by the cookbook they use.
  3. “Competitive” cooks: think less about health and more on making the most impressive dish possible.
  4. “Healthy” cooks: often serve fish and use fresh ingredients, but taste isn’t the primary goal.
  5. “Innovative” cooks: like to experiment with different ingredients, cooking methods and cuisines, a process that tends to lead to more healthful cooking.

I am definitely innovative, because that is the only category for someone who loves whole milk and garam masala equally, and refuses to use recipes.  What about you?

train food

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No, you haven’t been redirected to thisiswhyyouarefat.com

Last month, I was on Amtrak a LOT.  And the food on the train is TURRBLE, as Charles Barkley would say.  So I have a little train tradition.  When I’m leaving from DC, and will be on the train for long enough to get hungry, I always stop at the Uno’s in Union Station for their Pizza Skins- deep dish pizza crust stuffed with mashed potatoes, cheese, and bacon, and served with a side of sour cream.  I also stop at the Vaccaro’s in the basement to get the sliced almond cookies to take to whoever is picking me up on the other end.

It’s probably for the best that I am usually only on the train once every 2-3 months.

kerala parotha

As promised, here is my post about the lentils

and kerala parotha (before it had been rolled out and cooked)

That’s it.  There’s not much to say.  The recipe for is from Foodess.com, and worked like a charm.  The lentils were another one of my hmm, what’s in the cupboard concotions- a mix of yellow and French green lentils cooked with minced onions and garlic, garam masala, tumeric, cumin and coriander with some tomato paste and heavy cream.  Cook the shit out of it and voila!  Dinner!  I did use these two recipes as a slight refresher on how to cook lentils.  Served with the bread and with pretzels for dessert, it was a pretty good night.

Six commandments of fish tacos

ADM and I are famous for our fish tacos.  Well, maybe mostly in our own minds, but they are damn good nonetheless.  In light of the beautiful weather this past weekend, we decided to fire up the grill and inagurate fish taco and beer drinking/stoop sitting season.

There are 6 key components to a fish taco party:
1. Fish

(Duh).  We use tilapia, or sometimes cod or mahi-mahi.  NO SALMON.  I despise salmon.

2. Slaw

The first time we did this last summer, I invented a lovely crunchy cabbage slaw.  It’s been a key accompaniment ever since.  Take about a cup of white wine/rice wine/champagne/white balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper and warm in a saucepan.  Add sugar to taste- just enough to take the edge off the vinegar.  Toss over half a head of shredded cabbage and let sit.  That’s it.  Make sure the vinegar is piping hot though, just short of boiling.  You want it to cook the cabbage ever so slightly.  Feel free to add peppers or carrots as well.

3. Beer

Lots.  Fish tacos are best eaten outside, but can be consumed inside, provided that upon consumption, one moves outside to sit on the stoop, drink beer, and watch the cops drive up and down the street.  I believe we had a mix of Land Shark, Magic Hat, Yuengling, and ADM’s super secret late night beer, which I will not reveal.  This is as important as the fish, if not more so.

4. Condiments

Cheese (I know, it’s supposedly sacrilege.  Whatever).  Guac (homemade please). Chips and salsa.  Sour cream.  Tomatoes, but only if they’re in season.  Rice.  Cilantro.  And yes, champagne can count as a condiment.  It goes with everything.

5. People

Fish tacos for 2 are great.  Fish tacos for 8 are even better.  Plus, that’s 6 more people to bring beer (see #3)

6. Milk Frother

After you have consumed tacos and beer for several hours, you might find yourself in need for a little pick-me-up, so as to best continue to consume beer and stoop sit.  This is where the milk frother is vital.  I am very anti one use kitchen appliances, so I have been making fun of ADM for owning a milk frother, which is right up there with a rice cooker in terms of uselessness to me.  (I have a rice cooker. I call it a “pot”)

Then she made cappucinos.  Sold!

And there you have it folks.  Welcome to spring!

shrove tuesday

yes I know, I’m a little late.  We’re well into Lent now.

But, as a somewhat lapsed Episcopalian (fun fact: I used to teach bible school!  If you know me, you will understand how truly hilarious that is)  Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday means one thing to mean and one thing only.

Pancakes

Every year, my youth group would cook and wait tables for the pancake supper.  I haven’t done it in ages, but I also haven’t lost my taste for pancakes either.  Luckily, I have the pleasure of residing with Carolina, who in addition to being generally awesome, went to the same church, was in the same youth group, and likes pancakes as much as I do.

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There were no mimosas to be had this time, but the pancakes were delicious.  Carolina even produced a pretty awesome short stack, which my sad little picture cannot do justice:

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chicken tikka part 2

My mother LOVES Indian food.  I love Cooks Illustrated.  My friends love coming over to eat.  I love being home.

All this means that a few weeks ago, while on the road for work, I had the chance to spend 2 weekends in a row with my mother, the second of which, Lou happened to be in town along with my friend Adam, who lives nearby.  So of course, we had a dinner party.  Because it’s not entertaining if there’s no food.  Also, it gives my mother a chance to break out her table load of napkins, glasses, placemats and the like.  Please note the zebra print.  My mother is CUTTING EDGE.

We had the Cooks Illustrated Chicken Tikka Masala with cilantro rice and cabbage that my mom made mostly for herself, but that we quickly devoured (Lou even called and asked me for the recipe a few days later- it’s just cabbage and carrots , shredded with a tiny pinch of sugar and lots of black pepper.  That’s it.)

Mostly I just wanted an excuse to post this super sweet picture of my mom’s table.  Because honestly, don’t you wish you had been there?