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chrishansenhome ([personal profile] chrishansenhome) wrote2017-04-12 10:22 pm
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Cooking lately

As I recover from my foot situation, I'm starting to pick up interest in cooking again. When you are confined to a wheelchair in a normal-sized kitchen, you have to cut, slice, dice, and the like on your kitchen table as the counters are too high for someone sitting down. Now that I can stand and walk about, I can do the things on the counter that I found difficult to do on the kitchen table.

So a few days ago I recalled that I had some avocados in the fridge. Yes, I know, I know, I shouldn't keep them in there. But they were ripe, perhaps even a bit too ripe, and I wanted them to be edible.

I have a wand blender that has a blending jar attachment. I use that for guacamole. So I tossed in a large slice of onion, the rest of the cilantro that I had lounging in the fridge, a spoonful of jalapeño slices with a glug of the liquid they were in, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, a chopped tomato, and some olive oil. Blitzed them, then added the avocado chunks and blitzed them again. Just right? It wasn't until after I'd had some of a potato chip that I remembered. I'd left out garlic.

Every time I make guacamole I seem to leave something out. These are the dangers of cooking without a recipe. HWMBO and I enjoyed it and there's still some in the fridge waiting for tomorrow's lunch and dinner. Sometimes I leave things out of other things, too, such as saying "Thank you" or "I love you". That's not always as easy to repair as garlic omitted from the guacamole.

A danger of living with your spouse and not doing all the shopping is that you may end up with duplicates of the same thing. I bought bell peppers. HWMBO also bought bell peppers. I got a bit testy, then remembered that I could make stuffed peppers.

I found a recipe that didn't require the peppers to be stuffed then set in a pan of water in the oven. Here it is, kind of.

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 a large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
5 bell peppers, seeded, ribs removed, tops cut off and finely chopped
1 can of tomato sauce
1-1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
Pinches of basil and oregano
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese, grated
olive oil to sauté

Set aside the peppers after cutting off the tops and seeding and removing the ribs. Chop the tops, and the onion. Mince the garlic.

Sauté the onion, garlic, chopped pepper tops, and the ground beef in the olive oil. Break up the beef while it's sautéing. Add the tomato sauce and stir to incorporate.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot full of water to the boil. Drop in the reserved peppers and parboil them for 3-5 minutes, or until they are soft but still somewhat al dente. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain.

Place the peppers in a bowl or pot in which they will stand up. Fill each pepper with the beef mixture. Top with the parmesan cheese and put under a broiler for a couple of minutes just to brown.

The advantage to this recipe is that the peppers will not get soggy and unappetising. The disadvantage is that they are a bit less authentic. My sainted mother used to use less ground beef and pad the filling with cooked rice. Depression-era-raised moms often clung to such practices out of habit, after the financial need had gone.

Last night while we ate our stuffed peppers, I mused out loud that I couldn't think of anything good to make for dinner tonight. HWMBO reminded me that he'd bought some beets on Saturday and gently upbraided me about wanting to make borshch for a while and then not using the opportunity. So that's what I did.

I topped, tailed, quartered, and scrubbed the beets and put them in salted water to cover and boil. When they were soft, I turned off the heat and let them cool for a while. I then put on my latex gloves and rubbed off the skins. That's much easier than trying to peel them before boiling. Then I put them back into the water and used a potato masher to partially crush the beets. My hand blender reduced most of the beets to purée. I added some tomato sauce, adjusted the seasoning, added around 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar (more or less to your taste), threw in a few pinches of dried dillweed, and put it in the fridge to cool down. When I served it, I put a spoonful of sour cream in the middle of each bowlful, some more dillweed, and a few soup croutons.

A friend who ended up in hospital through not giving himself the right dose of insulin called and asked whether I could provide dinner after he was discharged this evening. He had a bowlful of soup and thought it good, as did HWMBO a bit later. So even cold soup can be good for you.