December 31, 2011

Best of 2011

I neglected my poor little food blog big time this year. I only posted 28 times all year...quite different from the 192 posts I published in 2008. But, I hereby vow to do better in 2012.

This past year was a rough one for me. My (new) marriage started falling apart last spring & by the fall, I was broken-hearted and divorced (again). Instead of cooking, I spent most of my time drowning in work, eating junk (aka comfort) food, crying, sleeping, or generally wallowing in self-pity. I just didn't have the physical, mental, or emotional energy to do much else, especially cook...and cooking an elaborate dinner for one just made me more depressed.

BUT...I'm moving forward now, looking ahead to better years, instead of dwelling on all my past mistakes and heartaches. To help the new year be a happier one, I've set a few goals:

1.  Cook one new thing each week - That was my inspiration when I started this food blog back in 2007. Cooking was my therapy then. I need to get back to that.

2.  Complain less - To help me focus on the positive things in my life, I'm going to keep a memories jar. I'll write down the good things that happen throughout the year and put them in the jar. At the end of the year, I'll read all my notes to remind myself how good my life really is.

3. Stop procrastinating - Recently, I was up until 2:30 am grading papers because I put them off too long. I will be better about getting work done in a timely matter this semester.

4.  Love bigger - I am lucky to have some wonderful people in my life (Corey! Stephanie! Sarah! Janice! Etc!). I will show my friends how much I appreciate them more this year and just be good to people in general.

* * * 

Despite my lack of cooking this year, I did make a few good dishes. Here are my favorites:

Best of 2011

December 29, 2011

Stovetop Shrimp Boil

I made a small, simple dinner for Christmas Eve.

 To begin, I boiled some tiny red potatoes in water seasoned with a Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil packet. Beware: it's strong. It made me cough. A lot.

After the water came to a boil, I added chopped andouille sausage & corn on the cob.

After a few minutes, when the potatoes were tender & the corn was cooked, I added skin-on shrimp, turned off the heat & covered the pot for about 5 minutes, until the shrimp were cooked through.

I scooped everything into a serving dish & set it on the table with some lemon-garlic butter for dipping & big glasses of red wine.

It was a perfectly indulgent yet simply-prepared holiday meal.

December 27, 2011

Cereal Milk Panna Cotta

I recently bought myself the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook and just had to make something right away. I chose this recipe to serve at my new stove christening dinner party, after making osso buco and polenta with my friend Stephanie.

The milk tastes just like the cereal you steep it with. I chose two of my favorite childhood cereals, Golden Grahams & Cap'n Crunch. In the cookbook, pastry chef Christina Tosi recommends toasted cornflakes or Fruity Pebbles. I think Apple Jacks would be good, too.

The flavored milk can also be used in coffee or to make ice cream (Tosi's recipe calls for gelatin instead of eggs in the ice cream, so as not to mask the flavor of the milk). I chose the panna cotta recipe because it was pretty simple.

Cereal Milk Panna Cotta