After an arduous journey across treacherous terrain, I found myself at my destination: the mountains of madness…and cauliflower.
This week on Literary Cooking Adventures, we’re celebrating H.P. Lovecraft. Watch as I take on what should have been a simple recipe for a cauliflower casserole, negotiating challenging obstacles and insanity in the forms of unbreakable plastic wrap, never-ending water drainage, and the most dangerous of all: the monstrous kitty Cthulhu!
I snagged the original recipe from the Food Network website. Although mine looked nothing like the photo they put up, it still tasted great and I’d definitely make it again.
Want to make this delicious recipe for yourself? Check out the ingredients and directions below!
COOKING ADVENTURE #92: Blackened Salmon with Mango Avacado Salsa
Let’s be clear: this winter didn’t want to end. It was/is clinging to Maine like a bug clings to the outside of a speeding car, air rushing against it. That’s how much we wanted winter to go. It’s like it was trying against all odds to stay and make us miserable. Now that I’ve made my point, I’ll also make the point that because of this weather, my diet has consisted primarily of delicious comfort food…lots of pizza, pasta, and of course, chocolate. And that has made several pair of my pants feel just a tad too tight for comfort. So, I decided that I was going to try and get back on a healthy track and start preparing some food that was better for me overall. On the list of foods that are fabulous for you: salmon, avacado, and mango. And wouldn’t you know it, I came across a recipe that utilizes all three. I was delighted. And admittedly, a little nervous. I hadn’t cooked fish in a long time. I hadn’t eaten salmon in practically five years. I wasn’t sure I was going to like this even if it turned out brilliantly. I like being surprised in a good way. Love it in fact.
This recipe. Oh my freaking word. It has taken me a week longer than usual to just have the right time to sit down and knock this recipe out. Between working crazily on Book 3, working on yet another writing project, work, presentations, birthday parties, and other what not, I wasn’t able to finally complete this one until last night. And, my dear folks, as I’m sure you’re more than likely aware, it didn’t quite come out like it should have due to three cardinal reasons: A.) Laziness, B.) Missing ingredients, and the all popular C.) Time constraints. I really tried my hardest to have everything assembled and to do it correctly. But let’s face it; when you’ve just gotten home after a long day at work, the last thing most of you want to do is slave over a kitchen stove, trying to assemble something that’s going to take another two hours before its done. I didn’t eat last night until close to 10. I basically looked like this. On the upside, I have a bunch of leftovers for the rest of the week. Pluses and minuses, folks. Pluses and minuses.
COOKING ADVENTURES #70: Rice Krispie Treats and Personal Chocolate Chip Cookie
Finally after nearly a month of no Cooking Adventures, I have returned with a necessary reboot. Most of you know the whole spiel: I went on a crazy hike, got nominated for an award, and have been working crazy hours in between whilst trying to finish a manuscript. All of that is done and over with. Now I’ve got some time to get back into the swing of things with some new recipes. And while this weeks didn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to create, I did have some trouble with another recipe that I’ve made several times without incident. I intend to share both experiences with you. And you’re going to love the one I messed up on. It was none other than a single chocolate chip cookie. “How? How utterly incompetent must you be to screw up making a chocolate chip cookie?” you may ask. Apparently, just incompetent enough.
Well, that settles it, I guess. I really am a moron when it comes to following directions. I always think I’m doing something the right way until I try to get creative (or I become bored) and I switch them up… and then everything goes to hell. Now, mind you, I have made Fettuccine Alfredo before. Technically, I cheated by using the little packets at the grocery store for the sauce but it was still edible. And I’ve made it numerous times with chicken and shrimp. But I failed here… badly. It pains me because this comes just after last week’s mega success of the bread pudding which I’ve pretty much adopted as the only dish that I can make well. I made it again for Father’s Day. And I had another victory there. My nephew and niece absolutely loved it! And both of them are picky eaters! Sadly, I know if they’d taken even one look at my fettuccine alfredo, they’d have run a city block to get away from it.
My interactions with Japanese cuisine has been rather limited. I’ve had sushi once in my life. I’m not sure it really even counts as sushi. I made it with my class in 8th grade. And even then, I didn’t really do much, other than watch other people strip seaweed pieces from wax paper and wrap up rice, fake crabmeat, and fish eggs in them. I don’t even remember how it tasted. Since I started my Cooking Adventures, I’ve done something Greek (Pastitsio), Georgian (Shashlyk), Cajun (Crabcakes, Cajun Chicken Pasta), Spanish (Empanadas), Mediterranean (Lemon Almond Cake), and Chinese (Egg Drop Soup). I figured it was time to attempt another Far Eastern dish. Gyoza, a traditional recipe of wontons stuffed with cooked ground meat and vegetables, seemed like the perfect thing to start out with. This dish is also responsible for allowing me to prepare a couple different food items that I’ve had no experience cooking with before. It had an exciting… and daunting task ahead of me.
And I thought that the Midnight Frittata Train was going to be the nastiest cooking adventure for April… Boy was I wrong! I suppose it really pays to make sure that you write down absolutely every requirement for all of the recipe’s ingredients when you go shopping. For instance, write down 15 oz of crushed tomatoes in a can so that when you get to the canned vegetable aisle and browse the tomatoes, you don’t have a seizure when you see how many freaking kinds there are to pick from. Also, especially with meat people, write down “boneless, skinless chicken thighs” because when you get to the chicken section of the grocery store and you don’t know what to get, you might as well just lay down and give in. They’ve got absolutely every single part of the chicken for sale there with your choice of boneless, skinless, tasteless… Well, it all comes down to this, folks. I wasn’t specific enough in my chicken selection. And it cost me…
COOKING ADVENTURE # 15: Shashlyk With Pomegranate Molasses
Yeah, so I’m just going to put it out there for everyone. This cooking adventure really frustrated me. I mean, it REALLY, REALLY frustrated me. Everything turned out alright in the end, but the instructions and the ingredients for this thing were absolutely wrong or not specific enough. I mean, I expected this traditional Georgian recipe of the Caucasus Mountain region to be a bit difficult. And it certainly would have been easier if I’d actually been in possession of some skewers… because that’s the whole idea of Shashlyk. It’s like a shishkabob. But I didn’t have those. What was the closest thing that I could find? Chopsticks. Oh, just wait. There’s more.
My decision to carefully back away from baking may have been the right one this week. After my pineapple upside-down cake disaster, I knew that a change of style was needed. At the end of last week’s blog post, I’d hurriedly searched the web for an easy chicken recipe. When Cajun chicken pasta popped up, I jumped on the idea of making a spicy recipe that might just be simple enough even for me. Then, after committing to it in my blog post, I read the recipe. My eyes zeroed in on one fatal ingredient: heavy cream. I knew this would probably be my undoing.