Monday, June 30, 2008

Making Our Own Granola.

Today the boys and I made our own granola. This involved amassing lots of uninspiring-looking dry ingredients, most of which we scored from the bulk bins at Whole Foods: unprocessed sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, slivered almonds, and various dried fruits and nuts. The notion that items you buy in bulk from bins are cheap is, I am learning the hard way, often illusory. Red lentils - cheap. Dried blueberries - are sold at Whole Foods, I think, with a semiprecious gemstone embedded in each one. Homemade granola looked like disgusting slop before cooking but came out all goldeny brown and tasty-looking and might actually be good for us. The kids had a fascinating science lesson when we combined the water, oil and honey in a clear measuring cup and each ingredient settled into its own level, like a very, very disgusting pousse-cafe. There is probably some sort of grocery-cost algorithm, too depressing to calculate, that would reveal to me that homemade granola is comparable, per pound, to something like Alaskan crab legs.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

July Is The Time for Pot Roast

Tonight we are having pot roast. Why, aside from tastiness? Those four awesome words: Sale. On. Chuck. Roast. Our family has a storied tradition of slow-cooking meat during the hottest, muggiest, I-am-in-a-Tennessee-Williams-playiest times of year. For a while, my sister Julia worked at a natural foods co-op and provided me with organic meats from the "free box" provided to employees. Those meats happened to be (a) expired (not by much! And they were frozen!) and (b) whatever cuts were not flying off the shelves. One August we had five briskets.
Boneless chuck roast is a fine and versatile cut of meat. Every other recipe I encounter, it seems, requires it, but for some reason this particular cut of cow did not arrive in the fridge simultanously with an interesting recipe falling into my lap. So we are cooking the bejesus out of it with some broth and veg and pretending that the little specks swarming outside the window are snowflakes, not mosquitos.

Starting my Blog

Hello as-yet-nonexistent blog readers and welcome to my first-ever post. I've been thinking about blogging for a while as a way to do some low-pressure writing but thought I lacked a topic to serve as the driving force - something that might be interesting to people who don't know me personally. It finally occurred to me that I spend most of my conversational real estate obsessing over food, and in particular, the warring culinary influences in my household. My own desire to cook ambitiously and internationally, my husband's frugality and lack of self-control with respect to baked goods, and my kids' desire to subsist on boxed macaroni and cheese and Fluffernutters. I have two young boys aged 5 and 6 who have recently become fascinated with cooking shows despite their reluctance to consume the end result of the recipes involved, so my longtime fantasy of involving the two dudes in my kitchen life is at last becoming real. So what I'm going to try to do with this blog is provide a hopefully-entertaining narrative of what goes on in a kitchen when a psychotic and compulsive mom and her two dudes try to cook various things. Digressions into other topics (pop cultural obsessions, etc) are promised. Also funnier posts. And pictures, as my competency increases. The pic here is me and the dudes, natch. We are going grocery shopping today; tonight's meal is a very un-seasonal pot roast with root vegetables, which we are cooking for my sister, brother-in-law and their four kids. Did I mention that our dishwasher is currently broken, and serving as an under-counter drying rack?