I am one of those melodramatic fools…

8 November 2007

neurotic to the bone, no doubt about it.

Argh.

I really, really wish I could just relax.

I saw A. four times last week. Pretty clear that he is interested in me, yes? But I last saw him Saturday night. We’ve e-mailed only a little; he has a bad headache and a ton of work and plans every night this week. I asked if, for a change, he’d like to come over and let me cook dinner for him this Saturday night, but he can’t because he’s having dinner at his Mom’s house with her and his aunts. Although I am venting to my friends (and my parents, and my brother-in-law), I am smart enough not to call him and say, “Pay attention to meeeeee!” I e-mailed him the other day, when he’d told me about his plans with family plus his work project that had sort of exploded, “Yikes, I hope things calm down soon. Will I at least get to see you again before T’giving? :)” He wrote back – a day later – a more chatty e-mail (still stressed) that included, “Hope all is well, and it will be before Turkey Day, I am sure!” So that was a little reassuring.

Tonight I am cooking and baking for Shabbat lunch. Once the peppers were stuffed and baked, the pumpkin bread was in the oven, and the chicken was marinating, I saw that he was still online at work, so I IMed him. It was a short conversation, nothing special, and I’d typed that I didn’t want to bother him at work and was really just saying hi. He wrote back that he actually had to go because he’s having dinner at a trendy new restaurant, and after a quick “talk to you later,” he signed off.

I know that he’s busy, and he has a life, and presumably he is still interested in me or he would either stop e-mailing or take the “in a relationship with Midnite99” out of his Facebook profile (yay Facebook) or actually, y’know, break up with me. I get that, intellectually. It’s just that thanks to my idiot ex, I am just so insecure that every new guy in my life is going to abandon me. Sigh.

My brother-in-law is in town for work, and we had dinner (kosher Subway) last night. His advice was not to worry. He told me, “You have to have the attitude that you’re the best girl in the world, the most beautiful, the smartest, and he’s lucky to have you.” My brother-in-law is pretty cool. He also said that although my ex was a horse’s patootie (as my father would say), I can’t blame other guys for that. My brother-in-law, in addition to being pretty cool, is also pretty smart.

And I KNOW all this stuff. Really, I do. Which is the most frustrating part, actually, because if I know it in my head, why am I having so much trouble knowing it in my heart?

Why, yes, it has been a long week, how’d you know?

* * *

For Shabbat lunch, I’m letting guests provide: green vegetable or salad, salatim (hummus, guacamole, etc), wine, fruit, and dessert. (It’s the first time I’ve “outsourced” dessert in AGES.) I am making:

* Chicken marinated in the same (store-bought) wasabi teryaki sauce that was so awesome on tofu last month.

* Stuffed peppers

Ingredients:
Cooking spray
8 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow — all taste better than green to me — just make sure they can stand up)
1 box Near East Mediterranean Curry couscous mix
1 onion, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
oregano
salt
tomato-mushroom sauce [made last week (with some cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms, garlic, and various spices) to go with spaghetti squash]
1/3 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained [canned would work fine]

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray a baking dish big enough to hold 8 peppers. Cut tops off peppers, scoop out membranes and seeds. Put in baking dish and roast for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and cool until filling is ready — which in my case was the same time they were ready to come out of the oven.

Meanwhile:

Prepare couscous according to package directions.

Spray a large non-stick skillet with spray. Add onion, zucchini, oregano, and salt, and stir over medium heat about 5 minutes until most of their liquid has been released and evaporated, and veggies are soft. Remove from heat; stir in tomato sauce and chickpeas until well-mixed. Stir in couscous until well-mixed.

Carefully spoon mixture into peppers. Bake 15 minutes. (I had enough stuffing left over that I could have filled another couple of peppers, but the yellow ones were small and the orange ones were big but misshapen, leading to deceptively small cavities.)

If it weren’t a meat meal, I would have stirred some feta into the stuffing, or topped the peppers with grated parmesean.

* Spicy sweet potato “fries” — Slice a few sweet potatoes into wedges or fry-like shapes. Put in ziploc bag with a couple Tbsps olive oil, a few shakes each of salt, freshly ground pepper, cayenne pepper, and curry powder. Shake until all fries are coated evenly. Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with a bit more spray just to be safe. Dump fries onto sheet in a single layer if possible. Maybe season a bit more if you think you should. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, then turn all fries over, and bake another 10 minutes. Serve with ketchup.

* Pumpkin bread to supplement the challah my Mom brought me Labor Day weekend

1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1 cup sugar/Splenda mix
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup applesauce
2 eggs, beaten (1/2 cup Eggbeaters)
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
(or, replace the previous 3 with 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a loaf pan (9x5x3, maybe?) and set aside.

Mix flours, sugar/Splenda, and baking soda in large bowl.

Mix the pumpkin, applesauce, eggs, water, and spices together with a wooden spoon.

Make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Mix with wooden spoon, but don’t over-mix.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean (took 52 minutes here). Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack. Wrap in foil until serving.


Rosh HaShanah meals

11 September 2007

I’m hosting erev Rosh HaShanah dinner and second-day lunch. I’m also making desserts for the other four meals (1st day lunch, erev 2nd day dinner, Shabbat dinner, and Shabbat lunch).

Dinner Menu:

Butternut squash soup (from a box, plus frozen pureed squash, plus lots of curry powder)
Pastrami-wrapped dates [done]
Apricot chicken and apricot tofu (coat chicken with mixture of apricot preserves and mustard and bake 45 min at 350; garnish with aprioct halves) [done]
Brown rice with roasted pecan and garlic
Zucchini with cranberries and almonds (couldn’t find currants) [done]
Green salad
Carrot ring (my mother’s recipe, see below) [done]
Flourless chocolate torte [done]

Lunch Menu:

Sangria
Crudites [done, i.e. bought]
Stuffed artichokes (based on this, but quadrupled and slightly modified, including using canned artichoke bottoms) [done]
Chicken satay (based on the initial recipe here) [done]
Red onion and orange salad [done]
Rosemary potatoes
Green beans amandine
Chocolate mousse (see bottom of this post; of course I skipped the whpped cream since it’s a meat meal) [done]

Desserts for other meals:
Amaretto cake (this recipe minus 1/2 cup rum, plus 1/3 cup amaretto) [done]
Apple pie [done]
Strawberry angel trifle
Pavlova [done]


Mom’s Carrot Ring

3 cups shredded carrots
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup margarine
dash lemon [juice, I presume]
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix all ingredients and pour into a well greased tube or bundt pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

I’m tired. Surprising, eh?


Overdue recipe post

24 March 2007

So I hosted Shabbat dinner over a week ago, and promised to post recipes. Let’s see what I can remember…

Appetizers:
*Stuffed mushrooms. I looked at some recipes and ultimately came up with my own. (See below.)
*Hummus.
*Giardiniera (store-bought)

Main Course:
*Roasted tomato salad. (Notes: I skipped the first step of peeling the tomatoes; skipped the garnish; and used dried basil rather than fresh.)
*Mashed potatoes (instant, ’cause I’m wimpy like that).
*Green salad.
*Ribeye steak with the best marinade ever. (Notes: I used ordinary brown sugar, and simply broiled the steaks for about 5 minutes per side, since I don’t have a grill.)

Dessert:
*Chocolate amaretto cake, which started from a recipe I found online but was adapted somewhat. (See below.)

Oh, and on Thursday night, as part of my effort to use up some things before Pesach, I baked a loaf of “Spice Bread.” It started with this recipe, which I basically destroyed. My version is below.

Stuffed Mushrooms
3 pints white mushrooms (I would have preferred bigger mushrooms – mini-portabellas or something – but couldn’t find them)
1/2 c chicken or vegetable broth
1 shallot, minced
1 to 2 T. minced garlic
1 to 2 t. fat-free mayo
1 c. cooked and cooled long-grain rice (I used half of a Near East rice box)
dried basil
saffron (the original recipe called for tarragon, which I didn’t have, but I did have some leftover saffron)
2 t. olive oil
paprika

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop the stems finely. In a nonstick frying pan over high heat, bring the broth to a boil. And the shallot, garlic, and mushroom stems. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine everything from the frying pan, rice, mayo, and saffron.
  4. Wipe out the frying pan with a paper towel. Add the olive oil and mushroom caps; saute 20-30 seconds. [Note: next time I’d skip this step entirely, and just spray the baking sheet with olive oil spray.]
  5. Arrange caps, open end up, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Mound rice mixture into each cap. Bake until mushrooms are tender but still hold their shape, about 10 minutes.
  6. To serve, dust each cap lightly with paprika. (Or, forget this step until the mushrooms have been devoured, as I did.)

Serves 8.

Chocolate Amaretto Cake
1/2 c margerine
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
2 eggs (or 1/2 c eggbeaters), well-beaten
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c flour
1/4 c amaretto liqueur

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Grease an 8×8 pan or a 9-inch round pan (or an 8×11 pan, like I did, and end up wiht cake that’s about 1 cm thick!).
  3. Melt margerine and chocolate in microwave for 45 seconds; stir until completely melted; set aside to cool.
  4. Stir eggs into cooled chocolate mixture. Add sugar and flour, mix well.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake 35 minutes. Cake will still be soft. Cool cake.
  6. Poke holes all over surface of cake with a fork; pour amaretto over top of cake. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Since my cake was so flat, I cut into individual servings, plated it, and served each with a scoop of pareve chocolate Rice Dream (non-dairy “ice cream”).

Bastardized Spice Bread
2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp Italian seasonings
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c eggbeaters
1 c honey
1 c skim milk

Standard quick bread instructions:
Mix dry together in large bowl; mix wet together in small bowl; mix wet into dry. Stir until completely blended.

My batter was way too liquid-y, so I added another cup of flour. It was still pretty goopy, but I was afraid to add any more flour.

Put into non-stick or sprayed (small) loaf pan and bake at 375 F for 50 min…or until the middle bounces back when lightly pressed down.

Mine is good, but a bit runny (under-cooked?) in the middle.