I love having lunch dates, in fact I had one earlier this week with one of my best friends. The restaurants and “quick bite” deli’s in the neighborhood where I work are okay to splurge on occasionally, but spending $10 on a half sandwich and bag of chips just doesn’t sit right with me. I guess my friend felt the same way because we both brought bag lunches. Before I could even ask her what she brought, she blurted, “Yes, I did bring all of the ingredients for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I didn’t have time to assemble it this morning, don’t judge me.” Of course I wasn’t judging her, but I knew what she would ask next, and I didn’t want to seem like an arse, yes I really say arse, when it was my turn to share what I had brought for lunch.
This is probably one of my favorite sides to make because it combines some of my favorite vegetables. About two years ago, I found this great recipe for a potato and sweet potato gratin and thought it would be perfect for a potluck I was invited to. Logistically, it turned out to be a nightmare. First, potatoes turn a grayish-brown color (become oxidized) if they are not cooked right away (within 15-30 minutes) after being peeled. Also, if you don’t cut the potatoes thinly then they will take forever to cook. The gratin came out okay, but I’m a bit impatient and I knew I had to do something to cut down on the cooking time. I came up with this recipe by accident because I ran out of potatoes, and just used what I had stocked in the fridge. Did I mention it cooks in about 30-45 minutes? That’s right, this dish is table ready in less than an hour. Not too bad when you’re talking about a potato gratin.
In my attempt to make 5 meals a week, chili was one of the first dishes I thought of because it’s probably one of the easiest meals to make. There are so many different ingredients that go into this classic dish that it’s hard for me to make it the same way twice. Sometimes I’ll do ground beef, sirloin steak, all vegetable, or make it super spicy. It really all depends on my mood. I guess that’s why I love it so much, because it comes out different, like a brand new dish, every time I make it. Maybe one day I’ll have a set recipe, but for now I like to keep ‘em guessing.
No I’m not gonna shave my head, but I immediately thought of this scene from the movie Clueless when I decided on the title of my post. Just like Murray, I gotta keep it real. Although it may appear I cook like a maniac, appearances can be deceiving. I recently sat down and went through my bank statements for 2010 and about 40-50% of my purchases were food related. That breaks down to a ridiculous amount of takeout, lunches from the Deli around the corner, and worst of all fast food. After crunching some numbers I probably ate out on average 3-5 times a week. For me that’s insane! I love to cook! What happened?