Tag Archives: food

Giada’s Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops with Bobby’s Greek Potatoes (and pie!)

Giada’s Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops with Bobby’s Greek Potatoes (and pie!)

This afternoon, I tried to drink a slimfast. The three year old slowly came towards me, licking his lips: “Is that called chocolate milk, Jenn?” He whimpered and crept closer.  I took a drink. He eyeballed me. The six year old corrected him: “No! It has protein. It makes Jenn strong.”

I just sat there and wondered if it would be ok to lock myself in my bedroom for the rest of the day.

Instead of running away for the rest of the afternoon, we took the kids to the park to play.  We amassed a snail army, ate blackberries we found, and took turns down the fireman’s pole.  and when we got home, I made Parmesan crusted pork chops, Greek potatoes, green beans, and a fairy pie (also known as a raspberry lemon refrigerator pie).


The kids wolfed it down. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Recipes are linked above. Changes I made were minimal. I added frozen raspberries to the pie to make it pink and that was about it.




Experimenting with Veggie Burgers


I was considering doing a full post on these veggie burgers I am making, but I’m really just throwing stuff together and I’m not quite sure if they will turn out. But in case they do–in case they are delicious, here is the game plan:

  • Roasting: zucchini, two tomatoes, half an onion, half of an orange bell pepper. They are salted, peppered, and olive oiled. When they are done, I will let them cool and chop finely. Most recipes say to use a food processor, but I don’t have one.
  • A couple cups of black beans I cooked earlier in the week, seasoned with cumin, Mexican oregano, etc.I mashed ’em up good.
  • 1 cup barley cooked with 1/3 cup red lentils.
  • Bound together with an egg and toasted cornbread.

Inspiration: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt over at Serious Eats did an amazing vegan burger about a month ago. Check it out.

I haven’t been blogging lately, I know. Lots going on over here. Bought a new car, trying to sell old car, busy with work…and in a short while, I’ll be moving. As things settle down, I will be blogging more. Hope you are all having a great spring! It’s beautiful in Eugene today! 🙂

Sunday Menu Planning Session




Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,
then night with his notorious perfumes,
his many-pointed stars?
This is the best—
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espresso—
maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitamins—
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,
dictionary and atlas open on the rug,
the typewriter waiting for the key of the head,
a cello on the radio,
and, if necessary, the windows—
trees fifty, a hundred years old
out there,
heavy clouds on the way
and the lawn steaming like a horse
in the early morning.


My husband and I are ending this Saturday in the same way we usually start them: in our bed, with coffee, in our underwear, with our laptops, books, and cat.  He’s (the husband, not the cat) reading From Max Weber:  Essays in Sociology. It’s homework, and he’s not enjoying it.  I’m reading Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain.  I’ve decided in the past few days that I want to be a food writer when I grow up.  I’m 24 now, and I’m not quite sure when “growing up” happens.  I have a full time, professional job.

Did I miss the boat?

Anyway, the husband and I are ending the day as we usually start it, which makes me quite disoriented.  Our normal routines have been thrown off as we’ve had a guest for a couple days.  But we love our Saturday morning rituals, so here we are, starting our weekend.

I asked the husband what he wanted to cook this weekend and he said he wants to make a Thai curry.  I’m tired and I have a stomachache right now, so I didn’t enthusiastically receive that request.  But I didn’t dismiss it outright.  I found an interesting recipe, Thai-style coconut butternut squash, which looks really good.  I’m not necessarily keen on making this tomorrow, but squash does sound good.

I roasted two acorn squash a couple nights ago with brown sugar and chili powder.  I really didn’t have a plan or a menu to incorporate them into–I just wanted to eat a bowl of squash.  So, I did.

Here’s another recipe, from that same website (Closet Cooking):  Roasted Butternut Squash with Carmelized Onions, Gorgonzola, and Crispy Fried Sage. That recipe is just asking to be made into lasagna.  Hmm.  Or soup.

(Tentative) Menu Plan:

1.  Thai Curry of Some Sort

2.  Squash Dish of Some Sort

Sorry for the lack of enthusiasm in this post.  I tried to keep my stomachache-mood from coming through. I don’t think this coffee I am drinking is helping much.

Mexican Red Lentil Soup (Vegan)


Mexican Red Lentil Soup


Sunday Menu Planning Session


This has been a ridiculous week.  Stress at work; stress in my personal life.  As I often jokingly say, I’m about ready to run off and join the circus.  And then I realize that my life is a circus. And I have no place to go.

Except to the kitchen to cook.

I haven’t come across very many recipes this week that I’d like to try this weekend.  I didn’t do much grocery shopping last weekend, and I didn’t cook much, so this week was full of Chinese take-out from Kowloons, sandwiches from Quiznos, and pizza from Papa John’s. And cheap wine from the gas station down the street (Don’t judge me. I said it was a rough week).

A few recipe notes:

I love gravy.  Gravy is one of the first things my mom actually lovingly taught me how to make.  Most of my cooking skills were born of necessity, so gravy has always meant love and comfort to me because my mom took the time to teach me how to make it.  Never one to say I love you–or to even show love, pride, appreciation, or anything like that, my mom was always proud of my gravy making abilities.  Never a lump.  Never the chalkiness of raw flour.  Perfectly seasoned.  I had that shit down.

But, now I’m a vegetarian. Or, rather, a vegetarian who has recently succumbed to the siren’s call of a cheeseburger (or two).  Stress eating meat.  But, I digress.  That’s definitely a topic for a different post.

Where was I? Oh, yes.  Can vegetarians make good gravy?  Gravy that rivals the richness and umami that meat drippings impart?  I’ve made a lot of vegetarian gravy over the past year.  The key to good vegetarian gravy is patience, care, and caramelized onions and mushrooms.

Many recipes call for nutritional yeast (called nooch by many vegetarians), soy sauce, or wine.

I don’t use those things because I want the gravy to taste like the gravy of my childhood and never, in a million years, would my hillbilly family ever consider putting white wine or soy sauce in gravy–and I’m certain that they have no idea what nutritional yeast even is.

So, I do what I was taught to do.  Be patient and kind to the gravy.  The onions and mushrooms become the backbone to the gravy–if cooked correctly, you don’t miss the meat drippings.

Caramelize.  Cook the roux just so.  Alternate carefully: a pour of liquid, vigourous stirring until the liquid incorporates into the roux, another pour of liquid, back and forth–back and forth until gravy emerges from the dance of roux, milk, onions, and mushrooms in your pan.

Some recipes say add all of your liquid to the roux at once and stir vigourously.  In order for that to work and to keep your gravy lump-free, your pan needs to be pretty hot.  And if it’s not…or if you stop stirring, your gravy is ruined.  It’s hard to de-lump gravy.

Slowly adding the liquid until it completely incorporates into the roux before adding more gives you an insurance policy against lumpy gravy.


Hmm.  I need to hunt down some recipes for my cooking marathon this weekend.  All this talk of perfect gravy isn’t going to cut it.  Woman cannot live on gravy alone.