My cooking style. And some broccoli.

There is actually a recipe here! A few things about me before I get to that…:

  • I generally use recipes more for ideas than exact directions. In other words, I don’t like measuring cups and spoons when I’m cooking. There’s a time and place for those and it’s not dinner.
  • Those measuring cups? Yah, I definitely use them for baking.
  • I love olive oil. Really, need I say more? It’s good for you, right?
  • I cook with wine. Meaning there is usually a glass of wine that I sip on as I cook + eat.
  • I’m Italian, and learned to cook from my mom and nonna. This combination may actually explain a lot of things, including my love for olive oil and wine, my inability to measure things as I cook, and my propensity for dinners to be last-minute and involve whatever I can throw together with what’s on hand.
  • Sometimes I get too into the cooking that I don’t always take pictures along the way…you may just get the final product.
  • I’m not a fan of really intricate recipes – I believe good, healthy food doesn’t have to take hours to make.

Moving on…

The other night I made roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes. The recipe landed in my e.mail a few days ago so I thought I’d give it try. I had the broccoli and sweet potatoes from my last trip to the produce market and I really just had to run out and grab rosemary. Yes, if I were awesome, I would have stepped out on my porch/patio/whatever you want to call it and picked rosemary out of my herb garden. I’m not that awesome. And I definitely don’t have a green thumb.

Excuse the really bad picture but this would be my last attempt at growing basil + parsley. Please note the brown (dead) stalks on the basil plant.

About that recipe. What you need is:

  • Broccoli (I used about 2 heads, chopped into florets)
  • Sweet potato (I used one average size)
  • Garlic (couple cloves?)
  • Rosemary
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Once you have all that, you can start by cutting the sweet potato up into chunks – however big or small you like, just make sure they are about the same size. Toss that with a drizzle of olive oil (it doesn’t need to be coated), rosemary (chopped; I used about 1 sprig), and garlic. Put it all onto a baking sheet (I put my baking mat on the pan), add a little salt and pepper, then it goes into a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. While that’s roasting, cut the broccoli heads up into florets. When the buzzer for the potatoes goes off, add the broccoli to the mix, along with a little extra olive oil. It heads back into the oven for another 20 minutes or so and comes out like this…

And that, my friends, is it. Delicious, I might add. The sweet potatoes were definitely sweet and reminded me of the sweet potato dishes Thanksgiving (that are made with sugar and all other sorts of healthiness I’m sure).

Now onto those two papers I need to write.


Back in the kitchen

I love being in the kitchen and I love cooking. And I do actually cook dinner every few nights (leftovers are wonderful, unless you get tired of those). However, I’m realizing I have a version of the same few dinners on rotation, all with a big salad on the side:

  • Quinoa or pasta tossed with sautéed veggies I have around (the ‘what produce do I have that’s about to go bad’ dinner)
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Whatever fish I pick up from the local market (the ‘it doesn’t happen very often, but I deserve a nice dinner’ dinner)

And there are also the inevitable times where I stare at my refrigerator thinking “What do I have? What can I make? I need to go grocery shopping,” which leads to snacking on whatever for dinner and/or lunch.

It’s not for a lack of not having any other ideas. I have plenty of cookbooks with a plethora of recipes I’d love to try. And some cute aprons I’d love to have reason to wear. I blame it on the time factor, and lack of planning ahead. By time I think I need to make dinner I’m: a) already hungry and b) working with what is on my shelves (limited). There’s also the whole student budget issue…

Upon talking to my mother about this conundrum, her idea was to plan ahead (really, who would have thought?) – and take on a Julie & Julia type project. Not necessarily with Julia Child’s cookbook, but rather with the cookbooks I have on hand and the recipes that I want to try. In other words, she told me to start planning ahead and actually use my cookbooks, even though they do look really nice on my bookshelf. Or use all those recipes on-line that I’ve bookmarked…

To start, I made my way to the produce market around the corner (read that as ‘good produce for cheap’), which is finally open again after being closed for two (long) weeks. Yay! I know, planning ahead usually requires picking out the recipe followed by a trip to the grocery store. I flipped it this week due to my excitement of the market being open again. This is what I came home with…

So now, armed with a full refrigerator, I shall start cooking tonight and trying new recipes. For the next week at least, until I visit the West Coast for a week. I’ll continue when I’m back though. Promise.

Oh yah, and if you didn’t already catch on, most of my cooking will be vegetarian, with some seafood thrown in the mix every now and then.