Archive for the ‘Not My Kitchen Cooking’ Category

Not My Kitchen Cooking: Steak and Snow Peas with Soy Lime Pan Sauce

The fact that I haven’t added anything new is mostly because I haven’t been cooking. I’m a little off my game when there are so many restaurants to try out.

Last night, however, was a prime example of making something out of nothing in terms of sauces. During Kate’s recent jaunt across the pond, she brought me back a few gifts: gummy things, stroopwaffles and 4 tiny jars of jam and honey. I already have the t-shirt. For this recipe, I used the honey. Also, I had sushi last week with my dear pal Kindo. I kept the soy sauce packets at her advice… which I also used here.


1 soy sauce packet
1/2 mini jar of honey (probably 1-2 tsp)
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 lime, juiced
ginger powder (still using the same ration from an earlier recipe)
big fat top round London broil steak
snow peas (are in season at last!)
Pierre Poivre pepper blend (from Lisa’s hamantashen)


Season the hell out of that steak with salt and Pierre McPepperton. Sear on both sides until it’s as bloody, or not so bloody as you like it. Meanwhile, saute snow peas with half of the garlic and season. While the steak is resting aside, make a quick pan sauce of the honey, lime juice, remaining garlic, soy sauce and ginger. Serve over steak. MMmmmmmm.


Spice Girl

How this could happen, I just don’t know. With all of the excitement about my kick ass care package, I missed one of the all time most important kick ass presents. I saw what I assumed to be a roll of fancy cookies – given the mass of gummy bears and sweets, my mind could go nowhere else – and set them aside for a moment of weakness. I figured I’d open them when I could commit to eating all of them, or at least after Kate came back to help.

Well, how could I have not known? How did I not see the signs?! What was not in fact a roll of fancy cookies, was instead a collection of the fanciest, most delicious spice blends a girl without her kitchen could ask for!

Lisa and her dear, sweet hamantashen Lior sent a trio of his La Boîte à Epice spices:

Bombay: A blend of turmeric, clove and fenugreek for my stews, fish or really anything.

Pierre Poivre: A seven pepper blend that has “steak” written all over it.

Cataluna: A mix of pimenton and smoked cinnamon that I’m probably most excited about. I might wear it to work.

Anyway, I’m super excited about this little dose of happy. A girl without her spices is a sad thing. Thanks friends.

P.S. Can you see how excited Kojak is about this too?


Purim Hamantashen and Bingo

Purim showed up in my inbox this year. I was reminded via FW that the holiday was upon us. Now, Purim isn’t Shabbat… it’s not Hanukkah nor Rosh Hashannah. It doesn’t get the attention of its holiday all-star brethren. It’s like being a middle child. Once in a while, someone throws you a bone. As if the creation of Purim’s signature cookie, the hamantashen, was creating by its PR department. “Here, we’ll make you a cookie and people will love you.” Whatever the reason, this year it got my attention.

Kate was off running the world in London, so I invited one of my most fantastic characters for a little visit. Evan came in from Seattle for the day and when I told him it was Purim, he was all over it. When I said “Let’s make hamantashen” he was already picking out filling flavors. After a day of wandering the city, shoe shopping, eating bento boxes and such we made our list of Purim to-dos based on said FW email.

1) we must give charity to two people
2) we must bring food to someone
3) we must make hamantashen (ok that wasn’t a must for the holiday, but a definite for us)

So, we put two dollars each in our pockets – the first two people to ask us for money would get it. Charity. We would make hamantashen. Hamantashen. And we would eat them. Food brought to each other. Check.

Thanks to Whole Food’s bulk aisle, I didn’t have to fully break my Not My Kitchen Cooking rule on flour and such. For fillings, our search for Nutella ended with a dark chocolate almond spread. Holy hamantashen, Batman! And apricot jam, my old school all time fav. We planned to spend our evening making the cookies, but quickly found out the dough needed to rest for 2 hours! So, how can we waste time… oh, there’s free drag bingo tonight. Obviously we’ll just go there while the dough rises. Obviously. After an interesting night of losing at bingo, we returned to finish our cookies and eat as many as humanly possible. So good. Mom would be proud.

Purim success. Yes, most definitely we did Esther proud.

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In closing, the fact that WordPress keeps giving me spell check warnings on my holidays is insulting. It’s been thousands of years, people. Get with the program.

Not My Kitchen Cooking: A Pork Chop and then a Salmon

While I don’t intend to publish everything I cook – that would make this a daily newsletter – I will put up the things I thought answered to this challenge:

  1. Is it healthy?
  2. Is it flavorful but not because I buckled and bought sauce or extra seasonings or vinegars or anything?
  3. Would I make it again (read: would Kate eat it again)?

A Two-Dinner-in-One Post:

–RECIPE #1– Pork Chops with Orange Marmalade and Roasted Broccoli
In my delightful care package this week, I received a lone packet of Smucker’s orange marmalade (no doubt from the kitchen drawer at work). It’s the kind of thing you toss into the pantry and forget until you move and then have to toss it out because you have no idea how long it’s been there. But, since I don’t really have a pantry (aside from the mass of gummy bears and chocolate bars from Seattle) I wanted to use it for something… other than toast.

Well, I mean, I roasted it. Ask me if you want the details.

Seasoned, cooked in a pan until just cooked through. Takes about 6-8 minutes depending on the thickness of the cut – mine were an inch.

Orange Sauce
Reduced just under a half cup of orange juice with the marmalade until it was thicker and more syrupy – scrapping up all those yummy bits from the pan. Added chops back in to turn a few times.  And voila! Delicioso. Clever-o. Not jello.

–RECIPE #2– Salmon with Cilantro, Garlic and Lemon with Sautéed Kale

2 salmon fillets
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, torn off the bitter stem
cilantro paste – I usually use fresh, but it’s one of the few things I got for the long haul
Salt & pepper – the only other things I got for the long haul
3-4 slices of lemon
oil & balsamic vinegar

Season the fish and put in a glass oven-safe baking dish with a little olive oil. Rub cilantro and garlic over top. Then, top with lemon slices. Into the oven at about 350 for 20-25 minutes, until fork flakes. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, saute kale with remaining garlic, olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Cover and let cook until wilted. About 10-15 minutes. Boom.

What I love about making greens like this is it requires almost no attention. Just cover and let ‘er go (thanks Kindi for the tip). And the salmon takes care of itself. Easy peasy and delicious.

Sorry, no photo of the chops. Just imagine it. Good? Yum.

Not My Kitchen Cooking: Shrimp & Avocado Salad w/Grapefruit Vinaigrette

I love to cook. For some, it causes anxiety. For me, it is both a creative outlet and somewhat relaxing. It’s also a way to show my love. They say (or should say) the way to a woman’s heart…

I actually enjoy putting thought into the menu for the week and finding creative ways to use the fewest amount of ingredients possible while still making something healthy and delicious.  I like going to the store and looking at all the produce, finding the perfect whatever. I like changing my recipe to accommodate something that just looks amazing and I must buy it.

Being this far away from home, more specifically my kitchen, I’m forced to be even more creative. I don’t have my gadgets, my good knives (these are like trying to use a piece of paper to cut anything), my sauces, spices, collections of oils and vinegars, even my larger cutting boards and decent pots and pans. I mean, they didn’t leave us with nothing, it’s just the way anyone feels about not having their stuff. At home I know how long it takes to heat my oven, what temperature it actually is, and I like my gas range over this electric thing. Takes FOREVER to heat up.

But, I’m getting used to it. And I don’t want our dinners to suffer because of my less-than-optimal kitchen situation. So, I’ve decided to take on this challenge. I’m going to find ways to make healthy, money-conscience, balanced meals without my stuff and without buying any sauces – we can’t stock up in a temporary situation. I’m going to try to post some of my better successes (per Erin and Kate’s requests). Of course, I’ve already missed a few things. But I’ll recap at some point.

Last night’s success:

Shrimp and Avocado Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette – Under $10

1 grapefruit
1/2 lime (leftover from another meal)
1/2 lb. shrimp (it was cheaper to buy them steamed)
2 avocados
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach
handful crushed almonds (sent as part of my care package yesterday)
olive oil, salt, pepper
ginger powder (Kate discovered that our grocery lets you measure out and buy as much seasonings as you want – I spent only a few cents and got more than enough for a few meals)


I segmented the grapefruit over a bowl and squeezed the piths and whatever fruit clung to them into the bowl. Added maybe half as much in oil. Seasoned with salt, pepper, and ginger to taste. Done.

Cut up avocados into slices, added to bowl with grapefruit segments, spinach and shrimp. Topped with almonds and lime juice.

Voila! Delicious, nutritious, ambitious?, few dishes? knishes.

p.s. I resent that “knishes” comes up in spell check.

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