A Trip To The South Bronx

Me in Chicago, IL

Well in the middle of October, I finally made it to New York after all these years.  My dad hadn’t seen his mother since he was around 20 years old!  So it was about time!

We decided to take a LONG train ride there because my dad isn’t getting on a plane unless it’s life or death—and even then we don’t really know.  I’m not a big fan of planes either—let’s get real.

I had never been on a train before—so I was looking forward to it.

The train ride on the way to New York wasn’t bad at all—especially if you can manage to get two seats to yourself to spread yourself out and relax.  The scenery out the window wasn’t much to write home about though.

The food on the train was even less exciting.  Not only were the prices outrageous as I would only expect them to be—but the food pretty much tasted just like it looked.  Thank goodness I brought lots of food and drinks from home, too.

Continue reading “A Trip To The South Bronx”

Cooking With Wine

If you’re going to cook with wine, I’d suggest you get a cheap brand of wine—because it’ll all just probably go into the pot anyway.  I got mine at a local Walmart browsing the alcohol aisle—and I didn’t have a clue what I was looking for.

I mean great googly moogly—there are so many to choose from!  What’s the big difference between all the different types and brands anyway?  The recipe called for “white wine”, so I grabbed a white wine once my eyes could zero in on any particular one.

I’m not very experienced with wine or wine-cooking, but I remember when I first came across a recipe I wanted to try that called for a white wine.  Though I went to the store to get the necessary ingredients for making the recipe, I couldn’t help but think my food was going to have a strong taste of alcohol and reek of the stuff.

How wrong I was, indeed.  I mean, I even had one recipe that called for a whole bottle of wine and had the fish floating inside an entire pot of it boiling away—but when it was all said and done I couldn’t taste any alcohol in the fish at all.  Go figure.

So, if you have nothing else to do today, give cooking with wine a try and see how you like it—whether you put the wine into a recipe or whether you drink it as you cook along makes no difference—it’s still “cooking with wine.”

Take-Away Life Lesson:  Makes you wonder why a recipe calls for 1/2 cup wine during the cooking process if you can’t really tell a difference from if you hadn’t cooked with it at all.

Prosciutto & Asparagus Strata

Proscuitto & Asparagus Strata

Made with multigrain bread, eggs, milk, white wine, dry mustard, fresh grated nutmeg, salt & pepper, extra-virgin olive oil, onions, leeks, minced garlic, asparagus, scallions, Virginia ham, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, fresh parsley, fresh mint, and lemon zest.

I’m not sure what the difference is between a strata, frittata, and quiche but they’re all the same to me—gunk baked inside some eggs.  Once again, I used Virginia ham instead of prosciutto in this recipe.

And I really love those round doohickies of fresh nutmeg, too.  I like those suckers so much better than the already-ground nutmeg.  Talk about FRESH and POTENT stuff.

Recipe for—Prosciutto & Asparagus Strata

So, if you have nothing else to do today, make a nice strata, frittata, or quiche of sorts and buy some fresh nutmeg just for the sheer fun of grating it.

Take-Away Life Lesson:  Fresh nutmeg can be some powerful stuff.

Cheesy Quiches
A Vegetable Frittata To Love

Mushroom-Asparagus Risotto

Mushroom-Asparagus Risotto

Made with chicken broth, salt & pepper, extra-virgin olive oil, shallots, minced garlic, mushrooms, arborio rice, white wine, asparagus, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Recipe for—Mushroom-Asparagus Risotto

So, if you have nothing else to do today, make yourself a simple and divine risotto dish.

Take-Away Life Lesson:  Season it well; otherwise, it can be a little bland.

Saucy Vegetable Tofu

Vegetable Tofu

Made with whole wheat spiral pasta, onion, green pepper, zucchini, olive oil, tofu, and spaghetti sauce.

It’s what’s for dinner.

Recipe for—Saucy Vegetable Tofu

So, if you have nothing else to do today, find different ways to incorporate tofu into your life.

Take-Away Life Lesson:  Vegetarian dishes with tofu can turn out allllllll riiiiiiight.

Tofu Veggie Stir Fry
Chicken Teriyaki

Spiced Breakfast Quinoa

Spiced Quinoa

Made with quinoa, milk, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, honey, vanilla extract, egg white, and raisins.

So I tried a quinoa recipe.  I don’t get a chance to make quinoa very much mainly because my taste buds haven’t found a way to really like it too swell.  I think you have to find the right mix of ingredients to make it taste divine.

I’m sure quinoa is lovely if you find the right way to make it.  I’ve just been an unlucky soul in that department.  Or maybe I don’t like quinoa like I thought I did.  I do have to say that the sweetness of the raisins helped loads with the taste.  Just pile on the raisins, people!

Spiced Quinoa
Quinoa grains

I did make a quinoa recipe a couple of years ago as a side dish for dinner.  I can’t remember the ingredients mixed with it, but it was edible.

I think anyone that likes quinoa, overall, will like this recipe.  I, on the other hand, have no plans to make this recipe again.  But it was an interesting experiment in the kitchen, nonetheless.

Recipe for—Spiced Breakfast Quinoa

So, if you have nothing else to do today, see if you can make a dish of quinoa that will knock the socks off my taste buds.

Take-Away Life Lesson:  Sometimes you have to experiment over and over to get a dish to taste just the way you like it.  Or maybe quinoa just isn’t for everyone.

Quinoa Salad
Grits For Breakfast

Scrambled Eggs With Tomato Bruschetta

Scrambled Eggs with Tomato Bruschetta

Made with Italian bread, extra-virgin olive oil, salt & pepper, tomatoes, fresh basil, butter, eggs, and Pecorino cheese.

This was my first time making my own bruschetta and I absolutely LOVED it!  This recipe also gave me a reason to bust out my grill pan as I hardly ever use it.

I had a good time making the grill marks on the bread.  Then I got to spread all that tomato goodness across the top of it and finally feel all that love inside my mouth as I took my first bite.  Crunch.

And to smell the fresh basil………..ahhhhhhh.

Recipe for—Scrambled Eggs with Tomato Bruschetta

So, if you have nothing else to do today, try making your own bruschetta while having fun making grill marks along the bread.

Take-Away Life Lesson:  Sometimes a grill pan can be more fun than you expect it to be.

Eggs, Noodles, & Crescents
Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding