April 25, 2013 § 4 Comments
Before we get to risotto, I have a few little announcements to make, housekeeping style. I trust the risotto can wait a couple moments, even though it is not known to be the most patient of rice dishes. But anyway, as I mentioned a little bit ago, this here little blog is undergoing a spiffing up process. It’s like Five and Spice is going on Project Makeover! That’s not a real show is it. Extreme Makeover? Anyway, that’s beside the point.
The point is that some major, and (so!) exciting renovations are happening, led by the (brilliant) ladies of Wooden Spoons Kitchen. In order to make it all work, starting sometime on the later end of tomorrow (Friday) the site will be down for a while. It will stay down over the weekend while the magic happens in the background. Then on Monday morning it’ll be back with its brand new look and also at a new URL. Instead of being at wordpress.com the site address will be plain old fiveandspice.com (took me long enough to make the change, right?! Some weird Estonian company or something had snagged that URL, I think in hopes of getting me to buy it from them. But when their lease on it expired, I snapped it up. Take that!).
I’ll have the old site set up to redirect, so old links will all still work and whatnot, but just know that henceforth you’ll be able to look for me at that new address. Now this is important (hence the bold typeface) if you subscribe by email, that should keep working without interruption (at least in theory. Fingers crossed.) but if you subscribe via an rss feed/reader type of thing, you will have to resubscribe. But, this should be easy enough, right? You did it once! I bet you can do it again. (I, on the other hand, have no idea how to subscribe to an rss feed. I am a luddite. This is why other people are in charge of moving the site over, and holding my hand, and talking to me in reassuring voices the whole time.)
So, with that taken care of, let us turn to the risotto. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 26, 2010 § 1 Comment
Here’s another one, like that cabbage, that I have been meaning to write about for a while and somehow have kept not getting around to, even though it’s really good. I don’t know what the deal is with that. I think it just takes a bit of turning things over in my mind before I can think of anything to say about them, since I do keep trying to be remotely interesting. I’m kind of like Mr. Collins who delights in spending some of his spare time in devising little compliments to pay the ladies, but tries to give them as unstudied of an air as possible (obscure Pride and Prejudice reference – I’m afraid I’ve read that book more times than I can count; I’m a hopeless romantic/geek). That is to say, I often think for a while about a food or a subject to try to come up with at least one amusing (well, at least to me) thing to say about it, and then I’ll suddenly sit down and write in a stream of consciousness.
So now, after ample amounts of time to muse on the topic of pasta with butternut squash, what earth shattering insights do I have to offer? Er, um, well, none, really. Except that it’s just really, really delicious. According to Joel, it’s one of the best things he’s ever eaten (unfortunately for my ego, this was in reference to a version that a friend of ours made, oh well). It’s a great fall-ish dish for when butternut squash has just come into season, but it’s also cozy and warming in winter when you suddenly discover that you still have a box of butternut squash stored very cleverly under piles of aprons, grocery bags, tupperwares, and other miscellany in your pantry (I take a cue from squirrels, hiding things so “cleverly” I forget about them and can’t find them if I’m looking for them). Sweet, mild butternut squash is so good with a little sharp cheese and olive oil tossed with pasta and salty, rich Italian sausage (sweet or spicy). I’m sure it would be good with bacon or pancetta bits instead of sausage. And, if you don’t eat meat, it’s just as good without it too.
January 13, 2010 § 2 Comments
Sometimes as a result of my general lack of planning in procuring groceries, followed by a lack of meal planning until suppertime is near at hand, I find myself stuck in kind of an improvisatory cooking rut. It looks a little something like this. Emily’s One-pot Wonders: chop and sautee meat remove from pan (or open can of legumes); chop and sautee onions and garlic until soft, add random chopped vegetables and cook until beginning to be tender; add a blend of Italian spices or Moroccan spices or Latin American spices or Indian spices or just salt and pepper; add back meat; throw in a can of tomatoes; simmer; eat. All things considered it’s not bad at all (sometimes it’s even downright tasty!). But, after doing this for a certain period of time, I find it does start to get old. At that point, Emily-with-slightly-higher-expectations has to take rather-lazy-Emily by the shoulders and give her a good shake, and say something like, “you are a lazy ass! I think, at least I hope, you can handle getting 2 pots dirty. Try making something that requires at least a teensy weensy bit of foresight, for heaven sakes!”
And, usually I listen. This enchilada recipe is one of my most recent forays back into the world of cooking what might actually deserve the term a dish. It’s a recipe I originally got from a couple of friends back in college. It was so ooey-gooey-cheesy delicious, it quickly became a frequent guest at our dinner table and generally led to fights over who got to have the leftovers for lunch. I stopped making it because it somehow in my mind transformed into one of those recipes that just has too many steps that you don’t want to bother with – which is strange because it doesn’t! I think maybe the problem was I remembered the way the original recipe called for you to dip each individual tortilla into the sauce and shake it off before filling it, which led to catastrophic messes in the kitchen. But, this step is totally unnecessary if you just coat the bottom of the pan with sauce and then pour the rest over the top. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 21, 2009 § 3 Comments
You’d think at this point in my life, having gone through a number of years, I’d be used to the way the seasons change. But somehow it surprises and delights me every year to see the leaves change and watch the first snow fall. I’m also shocked every single autumn by how short the days suddenly become. It gets dark so early now! Holy-moly! Nowadays, even though it’s easy to buy any food you want at any time of the year, I think it’s important and pleasurable to mark the shift in the seasons by changing cooking styles and ingredients. As the nights get darker and colder, I feel like it becomes imperative to make heartier, creamier dishes (I justify this (as if it needs justification) because I still bike commute everywhere in the cold and sleet!), which you don’t really feel like eating on warm summer evenings. In chatting about the quintessentially fall foods we eat on Thanksgiving, a friend told me that his mother had recently started making a gratin of mixed sweet and regular potatoes that was amazing. Now, I don’t think I’m going to add this to my Thanksgiving meal this year because I’m just too fond of having my sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes separately. But, I thought, it sounded too good not to try at least something of the sort for a regular supper.
I had never actually made a gratin before. But, having eaten them, I felt I had a pretty good guess as to what the necessary components are. That being: vegetables, a white sauce, and cheese. And given how the dish turned out, I’m inclined to believe that my guess was correct. Anyone who thinks it requires anything more is making it more complicated than necessary (sure this may take it to the next level, but I was quite happy with the level I achieved). So, the key to making a gratin is knowing how to make a white sauce. Once you can do that you can au gratin-ate just about anything you please (as long as you also know how to grate cheese, which doesn’t usually take any advanced training, unless you want to be able to grate without scraping your knuckles, which I think might be virtually impossible). « Read the rest of this entry »
October 21, 2009 § 1 Comment
The last couple of weeks have been exhausting. Big, stressful deadlines, extra meetings, doctor’s appointments and other events to go to. Oh wait, that’s normal life. (I claim the right to be a little extra exhausted however, because I just passed an exam that my career was basically riding on) At any rate, I shlocked my way through it, only once turning to a frozen pizza for help – though I’ll admit that I also ate spaghetti at practically every meal for several days in a row. Actually during stressful weeks, I often find it a relief to cook in the evening. You get to take out your aggression by taking a knife to the vegetables. You get to prove to yourself that you really are productive by taking a handful of ingredients and transforming them into something tasty. And then, no matter how stressful the day was, you can take some time to sit and eat, just concentrating on the meal and your dining companions, letting other things slip away for the moment.
But, that brings me to today. Today I finally had nothing major going on. I got enough sleep last night. I went for a bike ride through the beautiful fall weather. I had the time to roll up my sleeves, reach for my cutting board, and whip up something absolutely fabulous in the kitchen. And I really, really, really didn’t feel like it. I had no desire to cook. Whatsoever. However, a nagging voice in my mind reminded me that I also didn’t really want to spend the money to go out to eat, now did I, and that I had perfectly good food in the fridge I should use up so as not to be wasteful, and that I would feel much better about myself if I didn’t give in to the corporate food system, blahblahblah… « Read the rest of this entry »