Sunday, June 23, 2013

Imagine this was a new picture. Imagine these were Korean-ish. Imagine I'm not a failure.

My current fail category in life is pretty much full.  Sleep?  FAIL.  It's currently 2:40 in the morning and I am too hot to sleep.  What's that about air conditioning?  Oh we have it, and it's on.  I'm just still too hot to sleep.  So I guess that would put me at a fail for body temperature regulation as well.  Returning phone calls and texts?  SUPER FAIL.  I haven't called back my darling cousin who I adore and am massively proud of because she just graduated from med school.  I haven't texted or called back two lovely people I work with who just wanted to check in with me and have been supremely kind to me.  Preparing for the baby I am supposed to be having in less than 3 weeks?  PROCRASTINATOR FAIL.  Carseat? Not installed.  Crib or other similar sleeping device?  Not in place.  Diapers of any sort? Not purchased.  Any type of book on how to actual keep a baby alive once you get home from the hospital? Unread.  And of course, the one you all are familiar with, keeping up with my blogging?  EMBARRASSING FAIL.  And the worst of it is, it didn't need to be this bad.  I have things to say about food.  Last night Ryan and I went out to a fancy dinner, probably for the last time pre-baby.  I fully intended to write about it here (even if I didn't cook it, I thought you might be interested) but of course, another fail, this time in the category of taking pictures.  I made sure to pack my phone which takes much better pictures than Ryan's phone.  I told Ryan to remind me to take pictures.  And then I ate my appetizer without taking one.  So in between courses, again, I told Ryan to remind me.  I reminded myself.  And then I ate my dinner, without taking a picture.  I didn't even bother with that charade by dessert.  I just shoveled it down without a thought.

So, PHOTOGRAPHY FAIL.  That would be why, instead a of brand-spanking new photo up there, you're getting a recycled one.  But that seems only fair, because instead of a brand-spanking new recipe, you're getting a recycled one.  Or at least a twist on a recycled one.  Remember these deliciously tasty lettuce wraps? Well, while spending far too long in the doctor's waiting room reading magazines, I stumbled across a suggestion to make lettuce wraps with Korean flavors.  They had me at gochujang.  I e-mailed myself some sketchy notes on what ingredients to include and then came home and (I know, brace yourself here) actually made dinner.  Right?  I never would have expected it of me either.

Anyway, they were completely delicious, so my fail category must have been full, because cooking? When I actually get around to it?  Actually competent!!

Inspired by some magazine.  Good Housekeeping?  Southern Living?  What do they normally have at the doctor's office...

1 lb ground turkey
1 T grated fresh ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1 T peanut or vegetable oil
2.5 T soy sauce
3 T rice wine vinegar
2 T brown sugar
1.5 T gochujang (I am a huge wimp about spicy right now. If you like spice, add at least 2 T)
1/4 C dry roasted, unsalted peanuts
lettuce - about 3 big leaves per person

In a large skillet, heat up the oil to medium.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 3 minutes or until the garlic is slightly golden.  Increase your temperature to medium high and add the turkey and cook until mostly browned (look, once you add the other stuff, it's kind of hard to tell if the turkey's fully cooked, so go ahead and cook until until done if you don't trust yourself with that kind of thing).  Add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar and gochujang.  It gets a bit soupy with all those things, so you'll need to stir it and cook it a bit longer to make sure they're all incorporated.   Then toss in the peanuts and stir again to coat them.  Serve on a lettuce leaf.  If you've made yours spicy, you will be relieved to have rice as a side.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I'm Sorry, Were You Expecting a Recipe?

Honest truth?  I have barely cooked in the past two weeks.  Barely.  I have eaten out, from crappy prepared dinners from Whole Foods and cheap chinese food and to amazing black pepper fettucini with pork guanciale, english peas, onion cream and grana padano which was so good I went back and had it a second time within a week.

I have eaten leftovers from a party thrown by my mother.  Amazing smoked pork barbecue, cheese and spinach pie and moist rich chocolate cake, none of which I have the recipe for.

I have gratefully eaten anything my husband has put in front of me, either on the weekend or late after he comes home from work and finds I have made no progress towards dinner.

I have managed very little in the way of cooking and you have my sincerest apologies.  Tonight I am going to cook something and if it's any good, I promise to tell you all about it.  In the mean time, thanks for not giving up on me entirely.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Not Another Potato Salad...

Actually, yes, yes, another potato salad.  Why?  When I already have two recipes for potato salad, why would I possibly need a third?  I don't know.  Why do I need more than two pairs of shoes?  More than two colors of lipstick?  Is it greed?  Or is it just good old fashioned variety?

All I know is that this potato salad is delicious and was a huge hit at our Memorial Day gathering.  It was the perfect compromise between the traditional mayonnaise laden potato salad my mother and I prefer and the elegant if not somewhat austere green bean and red potato salad dressed in vinegar that satisfies Ryan's stringent no mayonnaise requirement.

This is tangy, but casual, rich, despite its lack of cream.  And so, yes, here I am, with another potato salad.  With hard-boiled eggs and bacon, it's plenty festive and feels indulgent.  The spicy brown mustard dressing, dotted with bits of jalapeño gives it a tangy kick without being fire-y in the least.


2 lbs red potatoes
6 slices of bacon
2 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 + 1/8 C extra virgin olive oil (you could possibly increase this to a half cup)
3 T apple cider vinegar
1.5 T spicy brown mustard (none of that high-faluting dijon here)
1 scallion minced (white and light green parts only - about a tablespoon)
1/2 a jarred jalapeño, minced
1 t salt (adjust to your liking)

Cook your bacon until crispy and set aside.  If your potatoes are large, quarter them.  If they're little, you can half them or if they're tiny, leave them whole.  Add them to a large pot of boiling water.  Cook at a boil for 10-15 minutes.  You want them to be able to be cut, but not mushy at all like you'd need for mashed potato.  Drain them and set aside until they're cool enough to handle.  At that point, you'll need to cut them into bite-sized (1-2") chunks. Place these in a large bowl, big enough to handle the potato salad.

Mix up your dressing.  I used a dressing mixer, but a whisk should do nicely.  You combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper, the jalapeño and the scallion.

Grab your large bowl of potatoes.  Pour the dressing over it and gently toss to coat.  Get your bacon and cut or crumble it into little pieces and toss it into the salad.  Peel and chop your hard-boiled eggs.  Add them to the salad as well.  Toss it all extremely gently, you don't want the eggs to disintegrate.  Taste and adjust the seasonings accordingly.

This is much better when it's had time to sit, because the potatoes need to absorb the dressing a bit.

Also, if you hate jalapeños or just want to make the whole thing more kid friendly, consider substituting chopped up baby gherkins.  Because who doesn't like little sweet pickles?


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