I just got THE most exciting package of all time. I have been all kinds of Amish these past few months, since my computer decided to lose its shit one day while I was mid-blog. I sent it down to FL, and my dad fixed it and sent it right back along with like 6 cookbooks. I can’t even describe the level of excitement going on here, but it’s midway between finding a delicious late night cookie for less than 300 calories (mild thrill) and a Free People sample sale (off the charts).
I lived off the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook in college, but for some reason I left the marinade-crusted pages with the rest of my condo in the fam’s garage when I moved to NYC. Since then, I have subsisted solely on e-recipes and spontaneity, i.e. whatever comes to me when I’m perusing Trader Joe’s shelves. Since the computer deserted me, I downgraded to recipes via iPhone, which are really not so comparable. Then, out of the blue, I decided TJ’s is a little too rat race-y for a lazy Sunday afternoon, and maybe sometimes I want to search for orzo without five people hovering in my ass space.
That said, I’ve had a kind of “return to basics” going on in my life. My mom sent me “Giada’s Kitchen” cookbook recently, if only to encourage my Talented Mr. Ripley-style relationship with her. As in, I want her life. It’s probably not going to happen though, so I settled for making one of her recipes. It’s a spicy parmesan green bean and kale dish, so it was pretty much designed with me in mind. It calls for:
one bunch (about 1/2 lb) of kale
1 1/2 lbs of green beans
1/4 lb of cremini mushrooms
red pepper flakes
1/4 cup white wine
3 tbsp. parmesan cheese
I followed the instructions all the way, although I used a vidalia onion (I’m obsessed) and about three times the amount of red pepper flakes it calls for. You basically just saute it all on the stove top starting with the onions, work up to the green beans, kale and wine, and add the lemon juice and parmesan cheese at the very end. It was really tasty, and I even made an extra batch to take to a Christmas Day potluck I attended. I goofed and accidentally came an hour late, and people still took seconds after their initial polite sampling. Success.
On the sweaty front, I’ve been trying variety on for size. When I was in my plateau phase, I was doing two to three miles a day at about 6 to 6.5 treadmill speed. Like, every day. Then, I would follow up the cardio with a consistent rotation of weight machines (Sun, Tues, Thurs legs, Mon, Wed, Fri arms). Since I realized my body has pretty much settled into its comfort phase, I upped the running to sometimes five miles at a time. For instance, the other day I ran three miles straight, and then I walked uphill for a mile, and THEN ran another mile. Bam. I’ve decided weight machines are of little to no interest, so I’ve traded most of them in for free weights. I’ve been sore as of late, so I figure that’s a decent enough sign. I went to Crate and Barrel and rewarded myself with an olive oil drizzler:
Not only is it super adorable, but it lets the olive oil come out in a stream, rather than, like spilling out to five times the recommended usage. It was the best $9.95 I think I’ve ever spent in life. It came in handy when I made this shrimp creole recipe the other day, courtesy of my dad. It calls for:
shrimp, frozen and pre-cooked
1 red bell pepper
1/2 vidalia onion
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
diced canned tomatoes
1/4 cup dry white wine
cayenne pepper to taste
I started by sauteing the chopped onion, shallot and garlic with a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Sidebar: I finally invested in the organic stuff from Whole Foods, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to TJ’s $6.99 bottle. It’s just THAT much better. When all those were translucent, I added the celery, bell pepper, canned tomatoes, and dry white wine, and sauteed those about five minutes until all was tender. Since the shrimp were pre-cooked, I just thawed them in some cold water and threw them in the pan to heat. Since I loooove my heat, I added about two tablespoons of cayenne pepper to the whole mix, which equated to about 3/4 a tablespoon per serving. I served it all atop wild rice, although my dad did it with yellow which is kind of superior. It was delicious, SO easy, and had all kinds of flavor going on. See below: