Monday, January 25, 2010

When all else fails, I cook.

I'm sure you know me enough by now to know that my biggest hobby is cooking. This is something creative that Lee and I share, and although we like being in our kitchen together, I definitely end up there more often. Especially if I'm stressed out or need some down time. Want to know what makes me feel better? Or, I guess you could say, want to know what I'm doing when I'm not feeling so great? I'm cooking. That always cheers me up. Not baking, by the way, although this week I did break down late one evening and make cupcakes. From a box, because that's the only way I bake. And there were fake confetti sprinkles in the frosting, with ingredients I co
uldn't pronounce. That's not my style, but frosting something sounded like a great thing to look forward to the next morning, and then I brought them to work and left a couple at home for Lee. I prefer the salty over the sweet, but I do like a good buttercream frosting once in a while.

So, I'm working on a couple of cookbooks. One of them is 'The Complete Book of Greek Orthodox Cooking: The Recipe Club of Saint Paul's Gre
ek Orthodox Cathedral'. Long name, I know. Last night I made Eggplant Tomato Sauce, or Saltsa me Melitzana. It was a recipe that reminded me of a dish I ate nearly every day when I lived in Montana and my friend worked at a Turkish restaurant. I also worked there and learned every recipe, so this one is really more turkish to me, but I absolutely love it in any case. And it turned out just as I remembered it. It's so richly tomato-ey and the eggplant has the silkiest texture. I put it over polenta, but I remember eating it with garlic yogurt in Montana. It real
ly was good. I'm impressed I could remember how I made it, but I did need this recipe for a base.

Tonight I made a recipe from 'Lidia's Italy' by Lidia Bastianich. I chose her version of polenta that uses evoo and chicken stock, which is different from my norm and I liked it better. Typically I use milk, but this was nice. I made Beans and Sausages with Polenta, or Polenta E Fasoi. Fabulous! It's sauce is rich with tomatoes, bacon, onions and cannellini beans, then the sweet italian sausages are braised in it for quite a while. I served it over the polenta with a side of broccoli rabe sauteed in shallots and lemon. I don't think you can go wrong with either of these books, they are very authentic and simple, plus I love Greek and Italian foods.

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