It’s no secret that I love food. That’s why I love cooking — because I really love food. So, when I need something to take my mind off the stresses in life, I head to the kitchen.
Over the weekend, I flipped through a bunch of cookbooks and cooking magazines that my mom had sitting around. I’ve been wanting to expand my horizons when it comes to summer cooking — I tend to find a few favorites and then I never make anything else. So today, when I was feeling super anxious about the million and one other things that are going on right now, I cooked like crazy. I worked a different shift than normal today, so I had the morning free. I went to Whole Foods (which is where I allow myself to shop when I’m stress-cooking), practically bought the place out, and cooked the day away.
I made a delicious minestrone that’s chock full of bright green, healthful veggies. I followed the recipe roughly, to say the least, but it turned out great. I used whole wheat orzo for the pasta, and think it would also be great with any other type (or without it!) — the recipe is here. Here’s the finished product:
To compliment the hot dish, I made something completely different than I’ve ever made before — a vinegar-based fruit salad! I used this recipe as a guide, but didn’t have time to toast the pecans and used a pink lady apple instead of granny smith. Al loved this dish. It was a little too vinegar-y for me, but I think I’d love it if I upped the olive oil and cut out a little of the white wine vinegar. I’ll definitely try it again. Look how pretty it is!
Finally, I kept going when I got home from a board meeting tonight. It was way too late to cook, but I did it anyway. I tried this recipe, which was impressive for me for a few reasons. One, I’ve never made stuffed anything. Two, I hate cooking chicken. I know this is stupid, but I just really don’t like handling raw chicken. I don’t know what it is about it, because I don’t mind beef or venison or fish or pork, but something about raw chicken just doesn’t do it for me.
Anyway, the flavor of the couscous was amazing in this dish (I substituted fresh oregano from my balcony garden for the mint in the recipe), but for me, the chicken handling wasn’t worth it. I should have baked a piece of salmon and served it with the couscous. Oh well, you live and you learn. Here are the chicken breasts right after I put them in the pan:
Everything is getting so big! I’ve used tons of the basil and oregano — and actually, just as I write this, I realize I haven’t used the rosemary. I’ll have to get right on that. And in case you can’t tell from the image above, my oregano is out of control. Look at this thing!
That guy was so teeny when I got him! It’s so nuts that it grew so fast. It’s so refreshing and relaxing to me to watch and water my plants in the middle of my crazy life. I’m so glad I got them — hopefully there will be pictures of my soon-to-be miniature garden in our tiny backyard in Richmond in the next couple of weeks!
Happy Monday — do what you need to do you take your deep breaths. :)