Rules of Cooking by PeggyLu

  1. Play some music really loudly, preferably something you kind of like to dance to.  Cooking is hella boring, so you’ll want something to take your mind off of how dull you feel.
  2. There’s probably no such thing as too much garlic.
  3. Always use broth or stock.  It makes people think you know what the hell you’re doing.
  4. Using wine when you cook also makes people think you know what you’re doing.  Bonus, you get to drink the wine while you cook.  Julia Child taught me that.
  5. In every bag of potatoes, there’s always that one that is pretty messed up.  Don’t waste your time trying to cut off the bad parts of that one.  Just throw it away.
  6. Use every dish.
  7. Try not to cook meat or dairy.  There’s less chance that you’ll give everyone food poisoning that way.
  8. Things you just have to leave on the stove or oven for an extended period of time are the best dishes.  It gives you time to do something else while you wait, like straighten your hair or remember where you left your keys.
  9. When it comes to vegetables, don’t peel them.  Not only are all the nutrients and vitamins on the skin, but it saves you a lot of time.  Also, potato peelers are pretty much just knuckle skin shavers.
  10. Impersonating the Swedish Chef from The Muppets is required.
  11. Doing the running man in the kitchen is acceptable.
  12. No one is going to know or even care if you mash the potatoes by hand.  Use a mixer.  Trust me.
  13. In the case of potlucks, don’t be afraid to buy something and put it in a dish.  No one has to know that you didn’t cook it.
  14. Cut every corner you can.
  15. Have fun

I hope you found this helpful.  Good luck getting through the holidays.

Just sayin’.

For Science!

I have been cooking a lot lately.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed.   It’s actually for science.   

I’m trying to save money.  Stay tuned for the big reveal about what I’m saving for.    So, I’m trying to see if the theory that I will save so much money if I make my own food is true.   I sort of think that maybe that might not work out, since buying for one is a lot more difficult than shopping for a family.   It’s hard to buy just enough, without it going bad, and I can’t buy in bulk.

Also, I’m trying to see if I lose any weight if I eat less “restaurant food”.  I have been about 5-10 pounds heavier than I would like to be, which isn’t that big of a deal, but I’d like to get that back down.   So, we’ll see how this goes.  

It’s hard to say how much money I am or am not saving, however I can say that I’ve lost a couple of pounds already.   

Of course, for other reasons, I also haven’t had any beer in the last week, so that might be responsible, too.

Anyway, with that said, here’s some pictures of a quiche I just made.

Of course, that’s for tomorrow.  I’ll let you know how it tastes.

Atrocities of a Vegetarian Nature

There are certain dishes that I should not be able to make vegetarian versions of.   In some cases, even I must admit that it just seems wrong.   And yet, it is possible, and so I do it.   And I am not ashamed of myself in the least.   Regardless of how I have spit in the face of the lords of meat dishes, I cannot be anything other than fully satisfied with myself.

(Is the Jane Austen voiced narrator in my head showing?)

Anyway, all of this is brought on by the fact that as I am typing this, my room is being filled with the scent of vegetarian shepherd’s pie.   Yeah . . .I know.   A thousand Englishmen just screamed out in abject terror.  

It’s a layer of vegan meatballs.  (I know, right!)  Peas, carrots, and green beans.    Vegetarian brown gravy.  (Eeeeh, gads)  Topped with garlic, cheesy mashed potatoes.

And what’s worse, all those things either came frozen, powdered, or boxed in some manner.  

Go ahead!   Verbally flog me!     

But I probably won’t be able to hear you over the sound of my own chewing.

Just sayin’.

What’s that Smell?

It’s the enchanting scent of three days until payday and I’ve overshot my budget. A.K.A. a big slow cooker full of beans simmering in the kitchenette. It’s simple economics. If I eat at home for a few nights, and don’t buy any lunch, then it’ll really help me out going into this next weekend. Also, it’s probably better for me, too; it’s vegan and not really full of fat and empty carbs.  It’s not chili, more like a stew with beans.

I went to TJ, and I put a lot of my big Washington road trip on my credit card, so, you know, I’m not destitute, but I could stand to cut a few corners.

So, here’s my recipe for 3 Bean Broke Ass Stew –

  • Saute 2 diced medium yellow onions, 4-6 cloves of garlic minced, and a handful of chopped fresh cilantro in about a table spoon of olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper.
  • While that is going, dice up 2 red bell peppers and 5 Roma tomatoes into the slow cooker.
  • When your onions and garlic are about halfway done, add in a few cups of sliced crimini mushrooms. I used a whole package that I got at Trader Joe’s. Continue to saute until the mushrooms are softened, then add to the slow cooker.
  • Add 1 can each of garbanzo, kidney, and black beans alone with 1/2 of a package of frozen corn.
  • Finally, add a few cups of vegetable stock
  • Then just let the slow cooker do it’s thing.

So, it’s going in the kitchen. I think I’m going to leave it on low over night. Then I’ll have dinner and some lunches for the next few days. By the way, all the ingredients are from Trader Joe’s, too.

I’m gonna get some sleep now, or try.

Eating Out vs. Eating In

The other day, J4 and I had brunch with a couple he used to live with. One of them is a sous chef, and was telling us about working in the restaurant. J4 used to cook at a few different restaurants and I have years of experience, so this is all something we can relate to, but as I’ve never been in fine dining, I didn’t know what a sous chef did exactly.

J4 explained the hierarchy of a fine dining kitchen.   Apparently there’s a person called an Executive Chef.  She’s the ideas woman.  She dreams up the menus and recipes.    However, she doesn’t really cook anything.    And she’s probably not even in the restaurant when you’re there.    Her name is probably on the website for the restaurant.

Then there’s one or two Sous Chefs.   They’re the grunts who are actually at the restaurant 14 per day.  She’s the one who actually cooks the food that you order.     The Executive Chef may have dreamed up the Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa, but she’s the one who didn’t burn it, and made sure it looked good on the plate.   She’s the unsung hero of the kitchen.   Her name is probably not on the restaurant’s website.

So, as J4 was describing this to me, I realized something.   J4 is my sous chef.   Frequently I think up some idea of something I want for dinner, i.e. poached eggs over tomato on English muffin, and I make J4 cook it for me.   I don’t really like to cook that much, except for when I do.     I would much rather just sit down and have somebody hand me food to eat.  That’s why I like eating out so much.

Having a sous chef is awesome.   If you have the means, I highly recommend it.

Just sayin’.

Playlist: Alton Ellis
Be True To Yourself – Anthology 1965-1973 

Butternut Squash Risotto Night


A couple of weeks ago, M and I were talking about how we both love fall and winter food, especially butternut squash. I thought to myself, “self, I wonder if I can find a good recipe for butternut squash risotto.” So, I Googled it, and found a recipe I liked on CDKitchen, and I asked M if she wanted to plan a night to get together and make the risotto. We decided to set a date for a few weeks out, and from then on referred to it as “Butternut Squash Risotto Night.”

This last Saturday was the night.I picked up a good sized squash at the Farmers’ Market at Grand Lake. We went together to the grocery store to pick up the remaining ingredients, and then headed back to M’s house. That was when we realized that we were missing an ingredient. This all added to the fun. We got back, and it was time to get to business.

I decided that I wanted to take on the squash. It was a big’un, and it took quite a bit of heft to get it cut in half. I’m sure M thought I was going to lose a limb. Once I had it halved and the seeds removed, I had to figure out how to get the peel off. I tried the big scary butcher’s knife, which just slid across the skin. M tried a cheese slicer, but that was just as ineffective. Finally I was able to get through the tough and slick skin with a serrated steak knife.While I skinned and chopped the squash, M worked on onions, garlic, cheese, and lemon zest. We did quite a bit of talking, so of course it took us a while. I don’t even know what time it was when we started.

Finally, with all the prep work done, we actually began cooking. M got the butter, oil, onions, and garlic going, then we added rice and started adding squash. This is where the, “are we doing this right?”s began. At first we were afraid that the squash wouldn’t cook. That maybe we were supposed to pre-cook the squash or the rice. Though the instructions didn’t say that. It became clear. though, that continual stirring was necessary.

As we began adding in the wine and started adding stock, we weren’t really sure what to expect, I don’t think. I stirred, and M added additional stock. The mixture became thicker and fuller with each half cup. Soon it was beginning to resemble something edible. But yet, the squash still seemed to be under-cooked. I stirred and stirred. We yammered on and on, as we do.

Finally, just as the pot seemed to be getting to small, we both realized that both the rice and the squash seemed to be just done. We added in the cheese and final seasoning. Then we dished it up with chives and basil on top.


Of course there was enough for M’s husband to have some, too. We all three sat around the Tivo with our bowls of risotto and a glass of wine. M’s kittens were very intrigued by the risotto, too.

It was awesome. It was some yummy, cheesy, and good. We all decided that it was the perfect fall and winter cozy, comfort food. Making it together was a lot of fun. I am looking forward to making the dish again, and I highly recommend the recipe. I also am looking forward to getting together with M or any of my friends to make something new.