February 10, 2009

snowball effect

It started with some roasted garlic salsa recipe that my cousin in law gave out at the wedding last fall. Broil roast 1/2 head of garlic, a habanero and Serrano pepper in the oven. This was my first trying this cooking method out and when I opened up the oven, I could feel the spiciness from the peppers...they were packing some serious heat. Then blended it with some canned tomatoes(Muir's Fire Roasted), cilantro, onion and Mexican oregano.

End product. I love salsa, and this was no exception. Chips and salsa are so addicting...

This was pretty spicy, but I felt after I added the oregano, the heat level toned down a little bit. The half head came out to be 5 large cloves, but next time I'm going to add more with a little less oregano. The recipe also called for some fresh cilantro to be mixed in at the end, which I forgot to do. I still have some leftover, and will add it tomorrow and see how it tastes.

I don't know what got into me that night. I had a bunch of stuff to do, yet I still wanted to cook. Animal physiology quiz be damned. So I decided to make some vegetable soup. Pan cooked some broccoli, onions, squash, carrots, garlic, pancetta and added it to a pot of vegetable broth. Dumped in some tomatoes, northern beans, fresh basil, and some dried italian herbs. Topped it with mozzarella cheese. I had bought some celery, but forgot to add it.

The "mystery" soup as I liked to call it came out okay. Next time, I will try adding some fresh herbs instead of the dry stuff, as well as some white wine. There is a new produce market in the Chino Hills Shoppes called Farm Boy. Herbs are $.89 and you get the same amount of herbs, if not more than if you were to buy the prepackaged ones at the market, saving you a good buck or two. I know even this is expensive, but it's closer than driving to the farmer's market for now...although there is a nice one in the Ontario/Pomona area.

Still, the soup just wasn't enough. Up to this point, I was listening to Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but now started to zone out, as I entered into a sort of cooking reverie. On my list of things I'd like to cook someday, I had a pumpkin bread recipe found on Allrecipes.com, and found this to be a nice sort of dessert. Along with the prescribed ingredients, I also added some ground ginger and chopped walnuts.

It wasn't bad. I ended up using more than a cup of the pumpkin puree simply because I had some left over and didn't know what to do with it. This did affect the consistency of the bread, making it a little "wet" (for the lack of a better word at the moment) although I tried to compensate for this by cooking it longer. Most of the bread came out okay, but some parts weren't that great. I packed some in my lunch the next day with some pretzels and found later that while the pretzels were soft, the bread was now good haha. Tastewise, the bread had a tad too much going on in the nutmeg department. I should have looked at the ingredients on the can before I rationed out the spices, but I still ate this up, and overall, I liked it.

Some could just call it procrastination in an attempt to avoid the necessary to dos of the day, but I thought it was a fun day in the kitchen, and this sort of thing hasn't happened to me before...I can only compare this feeling to having a great rally in tennis when you're in the "zone," having a grand old time, smacking away at the ball. (And in case your wondering, I gave that quiz a hard spanking it will never forget. For more on spankings, check out my friend's recent trip to Vegas)

To end, here's a picture of my latest obsession. I swear these things are like candy. No sugar added, simply dried pineapple rings, but the chew of these things are so DAMN GOOD! They are like those dried out old Harbio gummy bears you find at the bottom of the candy bin at Ralph's, which have become hardened over time, but give one hell of a chew, like a good aged wine. Now think about those, but thinner. Probably not the best analogy, but give these things a try if you like pineapples.

5 rah rah rahs:

Barefoot Plumies said...

Whoo boy that salsa looks great! I love salsa and chips!

And those dried pineapple rings look so yummy. Another food item I can't stop eating.

Good spanking on your quiz! Animal physio & neuro was my major at UCSD. Loved the labs, but then again, I'm kind of a dweed. ;-)

Christine said...

Nice post, I used to procrastinate with cooking all the time. Serrano and habanero peppers are no jokes. I took a bite of each once and saw coyotes if you catch my drift. Interesting...I've never heard of using oregano in salsa before. Your post reminds me of when I waitressed at a Japanese restaurant one summer during college and the kitchen guys who made the cooked food made some tacos and salsa to go with it. They were Mexican so I knew the salsa would be fantastic -- and it was! They too, roasted the peppers and blended them with other ingredients including beer -- yes beer! I think that added a nice kick.

It is also known that bread like that is better the next day after it has "sweated" a bit. I like days-old banana bread way better than when it is fresh out of the oven.

And yes, pineapple rings are the bomb! Crystal first introduced them to me. They're really good but kind of on the tough side for me.

shavedicesundays said...

WOW that salsa looks pretty and spicy. Now I have a craving.

Tobin Mori said...

Awesome. Glad you tried the recipe! I forgot, did I mention in the recipe that you can remove the membrane/seeds for less heat? I often do this, or remove half the membrane/seeds. Often, in Mexican cooking they just throw in a whole habanero (uncut and unopened!) into stews for a mild flavor. Keep on cookin!


Sawyer said...

bp: good to know...that's what i planned on studying too when i first started at sd

christine: beer in salsa? i'll have to look for a recipe on that

sis: the salsa def left my throat burning, but i got used to it after a while =)

tobin: You did write to remove the seeds. I will try leaving some seeds in next time to see how much spicier it gets. I am going to try out your carbonara next!

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