Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye, 2008!

I've been cooking up a storm and have only a few minor disasters to report; the cheese puffs that didn't puff, the rotisserie chicken that spun around for an hour, only without the heating element having been turned on, the braciole that disintegrated in my pressure cooker. Really, all minor and no tears involved!

Next post will have pictures, but for now a quick recipe for homemade cold spinach dip. The classic version using Knorr's soup mix is fine, but I really prefer to make things from scratch whenever possible. In this case, both versions are equally easy. My guests all commented on how much less salty this version was. And a final note, I know that the classic version includes water chestnuts, but they are one of my very few food aversions, so cook's prerogitive prevails.

Cold Spinach Dip from scratch

1 10 oz. package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1/4 cup mayonaise
16 ounces sour cream (may substitute low fat if desired)
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence (or any herb mixture you like is fine)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix all ingredients well and season to taste. Chill for a few hours or overnight. Serve with vegetables and bread cubes. It's always cute to hollow out a round loaf of bread and serve the dip in it.

Happy New Year!!! Even though some great things happened in '08, overall it sucked for a lot of people. I'm looking forward to 2009 with renewed (and pretty uncharacteristic) optimism, so see you next year!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Already slacking

Well, here it is, my first post ever, and I don't have a picture for you. The disaster that inspired me to finally begin a blog went into the trash yesterday evening, thanks to the always-helpful Dan. If it were left up to me, the pizza that rose over the rim of my baking sheet, spilling cheese all over of the bottom of my oven would still be in there. When things turn out fine, I have no problem with my follow-through, but when it's a disaster I tend to use a lot of avoidance. Like the time the hot key lime pie spilled all over the oven when the pie plate broke, and it took me about 6 months to clean the oven.

I do love to cook, and usually everything turns out fine. I participated in my first CSA farmshare this past summer, and it was truly one of the best culinary experiences of my life. If you have a chance to do this where you live, I can't recommend it enough. I went to the farm once a week to select the freshest organic produce I've ever seen. The cost savings was incredible, and being able to meet the farmer and support his craft was incredibly gratifying. And we ate vegetables that we had never tried before, so it was very satisfying to me as a cook.

I plan to post some recipes here, with pictures, I promise. I'll be back after I get some new batteries for the camera. Come back and let's hang out and cook!