I do this every year. You probably do too, actually. I think of some lofty New Years Resolution, get really excited about it, make lots of lists, then never actually do it. Resolutions are cliche for a reason, don’t you know. However, while past resolutions have gone by the wayside, this year is going to be different. (It is! Really!) That’s where you come in.
The Resolution: Try two (or more) new recipes a week.
The Reason: It’s expensive to eat out. And I like cooking. And it’s better for me!
The Means: Cookbooks, the Internet, Stop And Shop, and my tiny 3ft x 3ft kitchen.
The How-This-Won’t-Fail: YOU! I’ll blog about my weekly recipes, things I loved, things I’d leave, and the intense guilt I’ll feel for not posting will keep me honest.
So, I like to cook, which will probably make this challenge easier. While studying in Italy in 2007 I was fortunate enough to be friends with culinary students who bartered gourmet food for Chianti Classico. Done and done. But while standing around a hot kitchen, a glass of wine in hand, watching people from all over the world cook beautiful, amazing food, I thought, this looks enjoyable. When I got home to the states, I started watching the Food Network and reading cook books, and, well, cooking. It was messy, sometimes inedible, but I felt creative, and found out that I really enjoy making people happy with food.
A 24 year old Southern girl living in a the Northeast, I now run an after school program for elementary school aged children focusing on Math proficiency. I live and cook in a tiny, tiny, tiny, studio apartment with my cat Tyson, who is obese, codependent and lovely (looking over my should now, he says Hello). I’m working on my Masters degree in Education and hope to be teaching in a classroom of my own (yikes) in a year (double yikes). I have a small, insignificant life that I absolutely love so if you want to stop reading here, I won’t be offended. But if you want to read about some pretty awesome recipes, executed by a aspiring cook who is hopelessly messy, keep on keepin’ on.
Here’s my kitchen! Gives a whole new meaning to “Too many cooks in the kitchen…”
That’s enough about me. Let’s talk food!
For my Week One, Recipe One I made a Tuna, White Bean, Artichoke Pasta dish that was divine. It’s incredibly simple. Really the only cooking I did was boiling water and cooking a pound of linguine as per the packages directions. Tuscan Cannelloni beans are marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt for 30 minutes. When the pasta is cooking, I added two small cans of tuna, one Italian Style (yum yum… olive oil-y, salty, yummy), one regular. I then added artichokes with marinade, minced scallions, and 1/2 tablespoon of anchovy paste. If you don’t cook with anchovy paste, start. It sounds gross. It looks gross. It tastes amazing. It’s salty and nutty and not fishy at all. Just… do it. Once the pasta was done, I drained, then tossed with the tuna/bean/artichoke mixture, topped with Parmesan, and devoured. I then devoured it again for lunch the next day, then again for lunch the day after (separated tuna/bean/artichoke mixture from noodles, put on a wrap spread with garlic hummus, topped with salt, pepper, and feta cheese. Best. Lunch. Ever.)
My second recipe was actually a salad. I made classic Caesar Salad and an Italian inspired Baked Potato (a baked potato with olive oil instead of Butter. I’m trying to cut back on Butter, too, this year, but that’s not really blog-worthy). The salad dressing is really the star here. It’s creamy without being too decadent, and has a wonderful rich color that isn’t typical of a bottled Caesar dressing. Here’s the recipe:
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt (or 1/2 tablespoon of anchovy paste. Do the anchovy paste.)
2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Combine lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, salt (anchovy paste!) and Parmesan in a bowl, whisking until thoroughly combined. Continue mixing while drizzling in olive oil. This is called emulsifying! When all the olive oil is incorporated, stir in the mayonnaise until completely blended. Toss with Romaine Lettuce, shredded Parm, and Croutons and enjoy!
So, that’s what I did. What did ya’ll cook this week?