Vegetarian Korma and life updates

Wow…I’ve been silent. But for good reason! C and I are officially homeowners! We closed on our house on March 4th and have been busy since then moving stuff in and getting settled. C is basically there and I am moving in at the end of April – the weekend before the wedding will be my last weekend in my apartment. I am slowly moving my stuff over. Today was four drawers from one of my two dressers with my PJ pants, hiking clothes, and t-shirts. Tomorrow – who knows. We’re getting a storm tomorrow. Nothing like snow on the first day of spring, huh? Welcome to Maine people.

We’re also at 47 days until the wedding. We actually got our marriage license the day we closed so technically, we could get married now.

Food wise…not a lot of cooking happening. Just a lot of packing. I did however make vegetarian korma tonight. And it was mighty yummy. We both like our Indian food hot (C more so than me). I should have made more of a sauce like you would get if you were at an Indian restaurant. It had a great flavor though and while maybe not truly authentic, was pretty much like something you could get in a restaurant (we’re also moving further from our favorite Brit-Indi place in Portland…sad face). Definitely a make again.

I also made seared scallops atop wilted spinach and parmesan risotto as our first meal in the house that wasn’t take out (moving week for C was a lot of sandwiches, grocery store sushi, and pizza). And it was also mighty yummy. I kinda freaked C out when I stopped by the house with groceries in the middle of the day (he works from home). While I was putting groceries away, he poked his head upstairs from our basement and said “I was 99.9% sure it was you…I wanted to be sure”. Since then, if I am stopping by during the day, I have let him know that I am. For us, you never can go wrong with risotto and scallops. Together, they’re fantastic.

Oh and we’ve started honeymoon planning…France, here we come!

Baked chipotle, sweet potato and black bean quinoa cakes

I started to post the recipe for this the other day but got distracted. Oops :-) These cakes were delicious! And the avocado sauce? Out of this freaking world. The whole no meat for Lent has been interesting. We each had a meatball on Sunday at our marriage prep class but have otherwise been sticking to our observance. The cakes had a good taste to them – C kept remarking that they tasted like falafel and the avocado sauce tasted like taziki sauce. I didn’t notice but whatever. They were still good and a definite do again. I need to find another use for this sauce as well. It was that good. I forgot to purchase lime but I don’t think it lost anything. It will be interesting to see hope it tastes with lime though. And maybe leaving a couple seeds from the jalapeño pepper to add a little kick :-)

Wedding front, we’re two and a half months away. We had our planning meeting tonight with our coordinator at the hotel where our reception is and are working on the finishing touches. I can’t believe it has been almost a year since C has proposed. We actually started dating four years ago next month – four years to almost the day that we move him into the house (we’re being traditional and I am not going to live with him until after the wedding – I will live there the week before with my parents and C will be elsewhere). It’s exciting and nervewracking. It has come so quickly and while I cannot wait for the wedding, I also cannot wait to start my life with this wonderful man.

Speaking of house – 12 days until we close! We have our final walk through on March 3 to make sure everything is okay. We’re also in the process of purchasing a washer and dryer (the current owners took theirs). Oh and purging and packing. I managed to purge a bunch of shoes and filled six 15 gallon garbage bags with junk from my apartment that I didn’t want to keep anymore. Go me.

Santa Fe Beans and Rice

This recipe takes me back to my Jesuit Volunteer Corps days when we ate a lot of beans and rice.  It was a pretty common staple in our apartment because it was cheap, it was healthy, and it was simple – which was part of the point of JVC (to live simply).  We did try to get a little fancy every once in a while, but it was very rare.  That reminds me – I have a very good vegan bean taco filling that I should probably make sometime over the next few weeks.  That was another staple that I made a lot when I was in JVC.  We each took a night too cook (there were five of us) so except for weekends, we were covered.  It was great.  It was my first real foray into cooking.  Even though I had an apartment my last two years of college, I didn’t cook that often.  I still had a meal plan and actually ate most dinners in my dining hall or in the a la cart dining hall.  Occasionally, I would eat the simple dinner in my apartment but it was very rare.  I also cooked a lot when I lived with roommates after finishing JVC because both of my roommates were pretty picky eaters and they were also teachers so they had a very different schedule than I did.  Living with roommates forced me to cook – I didn’t have a choice when I was in JVC because we all agreed to cook for another and after, it was a matter of survival.  Now, it is a fact that I plain like cooking.  C and I both like cooking and it is fun to cook for one another because we’re both adventurous eaters.  We’ve both dated picky eaters, which really isn’t all that much fun.  The fact that the only thing he doesn’t really eat is raw onions and peppers and I won’t touch asparagus, we’re doing pretty well.

There is nothing more comforting than beans and rice.  I think that Rotel is becoming my new favorite diced tomatoes.  I’m starting to sort of see what the fuss is about.  They’re ordinary, but it seems that there is something special about them that I can’t put my finger on.  I probably would have used less rice next time.  I used how much the recipe called for, but it seemed to be too much rice in proportion to everything else.  I probably would have also used hot salsa.  It’s kind of like when you make con queso with Velvetta.  You use hot salsa because medium just doesn’t cut it enough.  And I am not a huge fan of super spicy stuff.

We’re looking forward to experimenting with vegetarian food for Lent, more than just not eating meat on Fridays.  We love fish, so this is a good opportunity to have more, but unfortunately, even though we live in Maine, fish can get expensive.  I’m looking forward to the quinoa cakes tonight and I think we’re having a curry at some point later in the week.  We both ADORE Indian food so that will be great.  Stay tuned to our adventures!

Purging started today.  I am holding off on packing because, well, I hate packing.  I tend to get out on the earlier side on Fridays if I play my cards right so I can always pack stuff then.  Two weeks until we close.  This is all very exciting.

No meat for 40 days

Yup, you read that right. It’s Lent, so as a part of our reflection for this season, C and I decided that we’re going to not eat meat. Well, with a few exceptions. We can eat it on Sundays, which helps because we’re at marriage prep classes for the next seven weeks on Sundays. And we’ll eat it if we’re at someone’s house and they’re serving it. So for the next 40 some odd days, we’re going vegetarian, which is a heck of a lot better than last year when we didn’t drink beer (except for on St. Patrick’s Day, cause not drinking beer on that day just seems wrong).

Friday, we went our separate ways. C had poker with some guy friends and I went bowling with some coworkers for a coworker’s last day. Saturday, I made margarita calzones (http://www.yourhomebasedmom.com/margarita-calzone/). These were super good and pretty basic and there are LOADS of margarita cal zone recipes out there. C made the dough from a Cooks Illustrated recipe. The great thing about these cal zones were that they easily made four servings each so we had lunch for today. We like pizza but calzones are always fun to experiment with. The next few weeks should be interesting. I am making black bean and quinoa cakes tomorrow which should be interesting too.

In other news, we close on the house two weeks from tomorrow. So exciting!!!!! We’ve started cleaning C’s stuff and packing up his stuff and I am starting the purge in my apartment. I have tomorrow off so I will spend time cleaning and organizing.

Big news!

C and I were cleared for closing on the house! We hopefully are closing on March 4th, moving C’s stuff on March 9th and moving my stuff April 27th (I will live in a hotel until after the wedding).

Woohoo!

Penne with Spicy Vodka Tomato Sauce

This penne recipe has to easily be one of my favorite dishes to make, and probably the one that I can do from (almost memory).  It’s pretty basic and easy to throw together, and relatively inexpensive.  C already had heavy cream lying around his apartment, as well as crushed tomatoes (he makes his own pasta sauce), so I just had to get the pasta and sausage.  The sausage is really what makes the meal.  I’m telling you.  It calls for 2 links, but I almost think that more could be used.  The first time I made it, I didn’t remove the casing and instead sliced the sausage and cooked it that way.  I don’t think that the recipe lost anything by being cooked either way, but I do prefer the sausage when it is broken up.  I just would prefer more.  Maybe it would be worth trying a mixture of both sweet Italian sausage and hot Italian sausage.  It’s already a little bit spicy with the red pepper flakes, but the hot Italian sausage will definitely pick it up a notch :-) We’re doing leftovers tonight for dinner.

House front, no new updates.  We chose our insurance company, if you want to call that an update.  Still playing the waiting game.  We close March 4th.

We also have our tasting on Wednesday for the wedding reception and meet with the coordinator the week after that to go over what our menu is going to be and what the evening is going to look like.  That shoulld be fun.  We spent some time this afternoon going over the set list for the band that is playing at the reception to choose what we want to be played and what we don’t want to be played.  We also chose our first song, but that’s a surprise!

Food updates!

What’s this – a blog post about a recipe I cooked?  What the what?

I made this  cheesy taco soup for my lunches on Friday from Iowa Girl Eats.  I really think that she is going to be my new best friend.  Every recipe I make of hers I absolutely LOVE.  I used hot and spicy taco seasoning which gave the soup a really good kick.  I have never used Rotel tomatoes before, but let me tell you, these were good.  I actually grabbed the Mexican Lime and Cilantro diced tomatoes instead of the green chili kind.  I probably would have to use the green chili diced  tomatoes to really tell if there is a difference in taste.  We’ve been having a cold snap in Maine (it was in the single digits last week in Maine and in the negative digits when I woke up to go to work – my car was not happy with me those days) so this was a nice soup to make to warm up with.  We’re having a heat wave (into the 50s) on Wednesday but it’s supposed to get cold again right afterwards.  I’ll  take it :-)

I made croque monsieurs over the weekend for dinner  for C and I, as well as the hearty tomato soup I had made before.  The tomato soup didn’t have that kick that it did the first time I made it, but it still was good nevertheless.  The croque monsieurs were DELICIOUS.  I wouldn’t change a thing about the recipe except for maybe trying to broil the sandwich instead of baking it – hopefully that will make it more toasty and a little bit more structurally supported.  I unfortunately cannot link to this recipe on the blog because, well, Cooks  Illustrated doesn’t have it on their website.  C got me a Cooks Illustrated cook book for simple 30 minute meals for Christmas.  I’ve used it twice (will use it again tonight) and all recipes have been successful.  We’ve had good luck with Cooks Illustrated (except for a raspberry ganache C tried to make one time for Valentine’s Day a couple years ago and a very watery deep dish pizza he made recently) in the past so it was a pretty good investment.  They have another cookbook of 30 minute meals that I may either buy for myself or ask for as a present (hint hint C).  Tonight’s dinner is chicken and broccoli casserole (again from Cooks Illustrated) and leftover soup.