Homecooking – Assorted Dishes

Intensive one week winter session over! Phew … wasn’t sure I would make it, especially with a final and presentation on the last day (today). Been wandering around like a zombie after it was all done and should probably have taken that as a sign to not cook. Ended up burning myself twice, once enough that I now have blisters on my right ring finger, which makes typing a little bit more difficult. Sigh, guess that would have happened sooner or later. Lesson learned, stay away from the kitchen when brain dead!

I should make it clear that the class was extremely interesting, and I definitely learned a lot from it. Especially when the professor is someone who’s one of the leading experts in the specific sampling method we were learning about (Response Driven Sampling, for those of you interested, for sampling hard-to-reach populations!). Anyway, the profs and lecturers all had experience in implementing it and getting to hear the different experiences when working with the method was very enlightening. Could be useful for future dissertation …

Anyway! Back to food. I know I said I probably wouldn’t cook during the week, but I didn’t want all my fresh veggies going bad, so I still made a few dishes. Besides, what better reason to procrastinate on homework and assignments then the fact that I need to feed myself?! That’s right! Food first, homework second. Hehehehe. Don’t tell my parents.

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First up was Tomato Basil Pasta (recipe from here), and the great thing about it was how it doesn’t require that much effort aside from preparing the ingredients. Then you just stick it all in a pot and boil away. Instead of using linguine, I used … er … a different kind. The exact name escapes me right now (sigh). But, as the recipe said, it was pretty fast and easy and it all fit in my tiny little pot. I  was worried that I would have to spoon out bits and pieces again, but luckily did not have to.

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After a friend suggested making guacamole on Facebook, I decided to go for it since I still had two very ripe avocados which probably needed to be eaten asap. I used recipe from Food Network, but did not have lime juice, cilantro or jalapeños … so I just skipped those steps. Heh. It still tasted pretty good, but I bet it would have been even better with some lime juice and cilantro. I’m growing to be able to handle spicy food more and more (I ate raw chili peppers at a Chinese restaurant in D.C.!! Sister and bff, aren’t you guys proud of me?), I still don’t voluntarily put spicy ingredients in my cooking, so I would have skipped on the jalapeños anyway.

Also I cannot have a meal without some sort of protein (this is why I can probably never become a vegetarian), so I just oven baked some chicken tenderloins with some soy sauce. Fast and easy, both dishes. Good stuff!

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This last dish is the one that I burned my finger on because of my stupidity.

I still had some spinach left over from my curried veggies dish, so I thought long and hard about what I could do with them. And suddenly it hit me, creamed spinach!!! I loooove creamed spinach, but now that I’ve made it, don’t think I’ll ever make it again. So. Much. Butter. Because it was left over spinach, I didn’t really have that much. So there was definitely more cream than spinach. I also added in chicken because again, need meat. I followed the recipe from The Pioneer Woman and went with the hard way. First time ever making roux, and I would say there is definitely room for improvement. I think I added too much flour, so the consistency became quite doughy. Anyway, after making the spinach part, I just pan-fried some chicken and then added it into the creamed spinach.

It didn’t help that half way while cooking, the fire alarm in the dorms went off. Probably someone trying to make something fantastic but instead burned their dinner. Regardless, we all had to exit the building, so my cooking train of thought got totally messed up. Another thing I didn’t consider was what the heck I was going to eat with my creamed spinach and chicken. I thought I had some bread, but found that it had gotten moldy (forgot to fridge it, sad). So then I  ran down to the Walgreens under the dorms to buy some bread or chips, but found that they had already closed. Bah! Luckily I realized I still had some bagels left, so I ended up eating the creamed spinach and chicken with bagel. This was definitely not a well planned or executed dish. But you live and learn, right? Definitely learned some lessons this time …. that I’ll probably forget by the time tomorrow rolls around.

Next week the spring semester starts! Classes and my first TA gig. Going to be busy busy busy! Somewhere in there I still need to decide what to do during summer … summer classes (if any are available) or internship? Sigh. I hate making decisions.

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