One way I pass time here at the cottage is to cook and bake. This has become a bit of a problem since our return for two reasons. First, American food is really expensive. Second, American food is full of chemicals, and thus takes forever to pick through at the store. Luckily all I have is time.
Since returning home I generally make at least one baked good a week, something to have for breakfast. We are huge scone fanatics, so expect some recipes eventually. This last week I made donuts. I know, gluttonous. It was quite a fatty day (but hey, I sent The Professor to work with at least a dozen to share). I also glazed them with chocolate, hello calories. However this was sort of a last-meal type week as next week I’ve pledged to start eating healthier. I used to be quite a health nut but the return to America has sort of put that on hold as I wanted to eat everything I missed (and apparently, I’ve missed a lot. Hello turkey pepperoni!)
Hummus is my best friend, for serious. We go way back. Before moving to England I used to make a big batch each week which would serve as snacks and lunch. Then, sadly, without a food processor or the money to invest in a British one, I bought hummus from our local English grocer. Luckily, English store-bought hummus is pretty fresh, really cheap, and without yucky chemicals.
Last week I made kalamata hummus, or hummus with a bunch of kalamata olives thrown in. The great thing about hummus is you can stick to the original recipe and then just throw in whatever you fancy that week; roasted red peppers, extra garlic, artichokes, whatever. A lot of recipes call for tamari, but this can be hard to find in the middle of nowhere. My recipe basically looks like this:
- 2 cans garbanzo beans (15 ounce cans), rinsed and drained
- Spoonful of minced garlic
- Juice of 1 lemon (should be about 1/4 cup or a little more)
- Seasme oil added a little at a time until desired consistency (a lot of recipes call for about a tablespoon, but without tamari, start with two tablespoons)
- Then add in whatever extra you’d like. Here I added about three tablespoons of cut up kalamatas and a bit of their juice
- Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne and blend, blend, blend!
With the kalamatas thrown in, you shouldn’t need as much salt because they’re already drenched with delicious, natural saltiness.
I love leeks. I love to just sauté them with butter and sea salt. Delicious. The Professor, however, was raised in an atmosphere without vegetables, literally. Dinner with his family to this day is a carbophobe’s biggest nightmare. He is familiar with what I call soccer-mom veggis: corn, peas, broccoli, ect. However I love all veggis equally: bok choy, radishes, parsnips, hmmmmm turnips (don’t even get me started on bean sprouts.) So I introduce him to such things slowly, and sometimes deep fried. Enter fried leeks. I’m shameless, I know. I came across this recipe for them on FoodNetwork.com. By the by, I love FoodNetwork.com. They came out pretty good too, although it was a pretty big challenge to keep the flour batter from becoming cakey.
The Professor promises that he has become much better with food since knowing me. And if you knew how he was before you’d know of this great accomplishment. He doesn’t eat any seafood, for example. I’m quite picky with seafood as well, so this works out, but I LOVE shrimp. Those little bottom feeders have found a place in my heart. I’m turning his head towards them as well. Usually I have them as a side dish but this week I snuck them in as a main course, starting out as shrimp scampi. I learned how to make scampi while working in a restaurant during my college days. It’s really simple, but unfortunately I’ve never had a recipe for it, so you’ll have to bear with me. Also on this day I had no onions or sweet vermouth, huge fail. So I started by sautéing fresh garlic, smashed and minced, with olive oil. Then I mixed in the shrimp, lemon slices, a bit of lemon juice, and added dry white wine. I used a wine I was unfamiliar with, and it was a big acidic and strong. Thus I changed my mind of doing a straight up scampi. I just started adding in whatever I felt like, which included roasted red peppers, butter, and ricotta cheese. This created more of a creamy butter sauce. We did not complain, it was delicious. I served it with cous cous. Amazing.