Wednesday, October 20, 2010

recently in my kitchen

i've finally been able to get into my kitchen and try some new things. it's been great.

last week i went grocery shopping for the first time in a long while. i'm not sure why i have had such a hard time getting to the grocery store lately. luckily, most of the things i needed were on sale, including eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini.. when i got home, it was go time in the kitchen!

first i made eggplant pasta.

i went low maintenance with the sauce and just smashed it all up in the pan instead of using my food processor. the chunky sauce fit the rigatoni just right.

this was the first time i've ever cooked with eggplant and possibly the second time i've ever eaten it (is that weird??). i was intimidated at first but eggplant is fairly easy to work with, especially in this recipe. all in all, this was a good meal. perfect for this time of year. i would really like to try this again with slow roasted tomatoes. i used fresh cherry tomatoes since i didn't have time to roast any. i would have preferred a deeper tomato flavor to go along with the eggplant. final verdict = success!

later in the week i made couscous and feta stuffed peppers. holy smokes, these were good. full of lovely vegetables. and the colors! so many pretty colors. color is important, people. but beware: this recipe makes a lot of food. i ate stuffed peppers for four meals. i'm kinda peppered out. next time i'll make sure there's a crowd to devour these puppies. final verdict = success!

i also bought a whole chicken during my excursion to the grocery. i tell ya, when i go grocery shopping, i go GROCERY shopping! i had no idea what i was going to do with this chicken. i have never even bought a whole chicken before. i thought about putting it in the crock pot and letting it sit for a few hours with some random spices. that's easy, right? i finally decided to take mark bittman's lead and roast the thing.

honestly, i wasn't expecting much. i was afraid i would under-cook it or over-cook it or it wouldn't have any flavor. i'm not sure if roasting a chicken is just easier than i thought or if i'm some kind of culinary genius (i doubt it), but when i took the finished chicken out of the oven, man, i don't really have words for it. actually, i can think of one: delicious. for reals. i just used butter, garlic, some italian spices, salt and pepper, but they all blended together wonderfully. i had a difficult time carving the thing but on the whole, the roasting process was fairly painless.

as my mom told me while i called her to rant and rave about my fabulous roasted chicken, "if you can roast a chicken, you can roast a turkey... so you're hosting thanksgiving this year, right??"

we shall see, mother. final verdict = success!

and lastly, friends, i made this for breakfast a few saturdays ago.

i started with nigel slater's basic instructions for a fritata. i then added some spinach and shallots. simple. quick. satisfying.

in other news, the jewel-osco on southport reopens tomorrow. i am ecstatic. now that i once again have a grocery store less than half a mile from my apartment, i doubt i will ever be lacking groceries.

cheers to that!

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