A Rainbow of Cookbooks

In my new home, I’m trying to put a lot of thought into the decor and styling. Much of it is going to have to wait, as I can’t spend too much money until we sell our other house. But I’m still trying to have fun with little touches and things I already have.

I bought some new shelves for my collection of cookbooks and decided to organize them by color. I had fun putting my shelves together, so thought I would share.

I love things that are bright and colorful. I had fun finding the right pictures, artwork, knick-knacks, etc. to place on each shelf.

I also attempted to make a kind of paper mobile to hang between the two shelves. It was a bit of a disaster with the circles and strings getting all tangled together, so I cut off the bottom. There were previously more greens and some blue circles too.

The rest of the room is still a mess, but I know the brightness of my cookbook shelves will bring me joy for years to come.

Mediterranean Cooking

It’s been awhile since my last blog post. Life gets busy, and I don’t always feel like I have anything interesting to say. But I also have to remember that I said I was doing this blog for me and not for the approval for others. I especially need to remind myself of that when I check how many people have clicked on my blog to read it.

I used to collect cookbooks. I loved buying new cookbooks and trying out recipes. But again, life gets busy, and I stopped doing that also. Recently, I bought the Complete Mediterranean Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. I’m not big on dieting, but when I do pay attention to what I eat, I try to follow a Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to have many health benefits.

So a couple weeks ago, I decided that I would start cooking lots of recipes from this book and take pictures and then write a blog post about it. I’m already feeling a little burnt out by it though. I remember why I stopped cooking so often. Time is valuable on the weekdays after work, and sometimes I just want to sit around and be lazy. Cooking from a recipe involves not only chopping, prepping, and time in the kitchen, but then it involves a pile of dishes. I also have the tendency to buy ingredients for recipes and then not use the leftovers before they go bad, which makes me feel bad about food waste. So for the past week, I’ve had several dinners of grilled cheese or bagels.

I am no food photographer, but here are some pictures of the recipes I’ve made over the past couple of weeks. First, I made some garlic and rosemary white bean dip which was tasty and easy.  I also made two batches of pita chips. The first olive oil-sea salt pita chips were flavorful, but toasted too much.  I cooked the second batch for less time and they came out better. Those were rosemary parmesan pita chips.

Next, I made some baba ghanoush. These took more effort than the other dip due to roasting the eggplants.  It had good flavor though. I dipped pita in it.

My next picture is a whole meal. It includes more of the baba ghanoush.  along with some roasted winter squash with tahini and feta.  It was very flavorful and included pistachios and mint.  I also made a lemon tahini salad dressing for a side salad. The dressing recipe made enough to have several salads.

For my next couple recipes, I bought some pistachios for cooking. I love pistachios, but it is work to open them all up to use for cooking.  I made some roasted chicken thighs with Moroccan pistachio sauce. It was delicious, but I did have the whole house smoking with my cooking.  Oops. I also made couscous with dates and pistachios. I make boxed couscous but added a bunch of stuff to it. I roasted some tomatoes for another side.  I also made a dessert of roasted pears with dried apricots and pistachios. I cooked these far less than the stated time because they were burning.

The last recipe I made were some prosciutto wrapped stuffed dates. It’s not a great picture, because I did not take the care to assemble them perfectly. The flavors tasted good together – walnuts, parsley, orange zest, olive oil, dates, and prosciutto, but they weren’t really presentation worthy.

We’ll see how long it takes for me to get back in the kitchen, but it is fun to test out some new things now and again.

Soufflé

I have a collection of cookbooks, and I used to love trying out new recipes. Every time I make a recipe, I give it a rating, so that I remember what I thought about it. Recently though, I have stopped cooking as much. The time spent in the kitchen, piles of dishes, and cost of ingredients just doesn’t seem worth it most of the time, especially on busy work days. I love good food, but often fall back on easy and quick dinner options or eating out. I haven’t bought a new cookbook in a long time, because I’ve made a conscious decision to stop cooking to save time and money.

I have been home for the past couple weeks, however, recovering from surgery. I am finally starting to feel a little better, but I am still on a soft food diet. So I decided to pull out one of my cookbooks and try to make something. Today I made a Gruyère and Parmesan soufflé from a Bon Appetit cookbook. It was tasty, although the Gruyère tasted even better just shaved right off the block.

It’s not terribly interesting or creative, but here is my cheesy soufflé. The consistency and rise came out perfectly, which are unusual for me.