Saturday, March 26, 2011

lack of creativity

Thursday potluck.

The people: Small crowd, but Robin, a really awesome dance teacher who teaches our kiddos how to do Zumba came! We told lots and lots of terrible dating stories. Robin won- who could really compete with a story about a guy who stalked her and thought he could get into her good graces by sending her his bodybuilding DVD?

The scene: My place. I felt a sense of responsibility to make sure no one left hungry. And as it turns out, everyone left stuffed.

The eats: By seeing what I served at this week’s potluck, you dear blog readers, will basically see what I’ve been eating, due more or less to just lack of creativity, for several days. It has been a long week.

1. Brown Irish soda bread from Cooking Light.


I really just felt the need to redeem myself after it was dry when I made it last week. So I’ve made it again… twice actually. And oh did it redeem. BUTTAH. It’s like buttah.

I set out an area for delicious food dunkage, highlighting the two other major food groups in my life for the past week:


2. More of the tomato chutney

That recipe made four cups. Two people live at my house! Furthermore, while it’s good, I have decided it definitely didn’t need the two cups of brown sugar it contained. It’s a bit much. I’ll cut back and get a little more tang going next time.

and finally

3. Snow peas (!)

Our awesome awesome food bank (I attended a Community Forum for after school programs that receive food from our food bank and it was one of my favorite things I’ve gotten to do for my job! Hope to share some stuff later) sent our kids SNOW PEAS!

We did a fairly decent job of getting them all to at least try them. Kyle came up with the idea of telling them that the snow peas had real snow in them.

Kid: “How do they get snow in them? That’s stupid.
Kyle: “They’re from the mountains.”
Kid: “Ooooooooooooooh.”

They were decent sports about it, but we still had a lotta leftovers. And so, to my coworkers and I it went. I smuggled it home for the chutney and yet another purpose! Lest I be dull, my next dish featured a fun ingredient I rarely have on hand. Delightfully, my house currently contains:


Fresh mint! From that delightful cod the other day.

I thought about minty freshness… I had snow peas… that made me think some kind of Asian noodle thing. I perused recipes. I assembled ingredients.



(the carrots were basically just for color and actually ended up being, in my opinion, the most delicious item in the dish)



Erin, after tasting the noodles, asked what was in the sauce. I inhaled and said, “soy sauce, fish sauce, chili-garlic paste, lime juice, brown sugar, vegetable stock, fresh mint…”

She was highly impressed. I pointed out that the reason noodles are so delicious at Southeast Asian restaurants is that they have all those sweet-salty-spicy-sour flavors all packed in.

Here’s how I did it:

Garlic and chili garlic paste went into hot peanut oil. (Yes, garlic with my chili-garlic paste. Because you know what makes garlic better? More garlic). This smelled delightful.


Veggies went in to get nice and blistery.


Vegetable stock, brown sugar, and lime juice were whisked together.


And into the pot went that sauce, cooked soba noodles, soy sauce, fish sauce, and mint.


Also making an appearance at potluck: Steve followed another recipe! Madness!

This was polenta with mushroom gravy on top.


Poor Steve. I think I am influencing him rather more than I should, because he was as negative about his perceived recipe fail as I am when I have perceived recipe fail!


I thought it was okay. Yeah, it would’ve been better with butter, but what isn’t?

These next things, though, which Erin brought, needed no improvement.


Oh my GOD they are good. If white cheddar Cheez its got a pedigree and a lesson in subtlety. And they are tiny. So a serving is 31 of them. That is BEAUTIFUL!


A leave-no-carb-behind sort of dinner. From your three o’clock going counterclockwise, it’s the heavenly crackers, minty soba noodles, bread ‘n chutney, polenta ‘n shrooms, and finally pasta from Patricia (super yummy! She says her mom raised her on buying sauce packets, apparently found in the aisle with all the pastas, and it was totally delicous! Plus peas and itty bitty super yummy bay scallops)

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