Writing Prompt #3

Due to life events, I didn’t get my weekly writing prompt done and posted last week. Here is my response to writing prompt #2. If the internet disappeared today, how would you continue to share your love of cooking or what ever you blog about?

One theme that comes up over and over when I talk about my blog, A Solitary Feast, is how it isn’t worth cooking or baking for one or two. When I hear someone say that, I always think about how I would like to show them how wrong they are. If I couldn’t continue to blog, I would find a way to teach my skills to others, either personally, in a class room setting or maybe a combination of the two.

My class would consist of teaching people how to cook homemade versions of common prepackaged foods.  I would like to show people how you can cook homemade foods without spending hours in the kitchen.  I would also share my knowledge of how to stock the kitchen and cook for one or two.

Writing Prompt #3 How spontaneous are you?

BBQ Dry Rub

John Lennon said “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.” Last week was  a perfect example of that.  I planned a series of posts for the week as I always do but a glitchy computer, a very ill rat, and several nights with about three hours of sleep a night kind of put an end to that.

I felt about bad not posting last week.  I cooked every day but it was just everyday comfort food. Not food that was not at all blog worthy or had already been put posted on the blog.  The only new, remotely interesting thing I tried  was  a new dry rub.

I was skeptical this rub would work with the large amount of salt and sugar but it is a very pleasant rub. The recipe has a large quantity left over. This is because I have decided to make this my general, all purpose rub.

BBQ Dry Rub

7 TBS kosher salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 TBS onion powder
1 TBS garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3/4 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients together, mix well. Store in an airtight container
In a cool, dark place.

Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix — A Review

What a good cookbook should do is make you run right into the kitchen and begin to cook. It should be full of recipes so wonderful that your family will be thrilled and you will be inspired to keep on cooking. It should introduce you to new cuisines and innovative techniques or make you rethink old ones. It should inspire you to share the recipes you love and to tell stories about the fabulous meals you made from it.

If I have any cooking skills at all it is because of Mark Bittman and his cook books, How to Cook Everything, How to Cook Every Vegetarian, and How to Cook Everything, the 10th anniversary edition. These aren’t the kind of cookbooks where I try one or two recipes then put the book on the shelf slowly to be forgotten. These cookbooks are the food spattered, pages stuck together work horses of my kitchen. I not only turn to these cookbooks for recipes, I turn to these cookbooks for information on how to fix recipes that have gone astray due to cook’s error or to other cookbooks poorly written recipes. So I am always excited when Mark Bittman comes out with a new cookbook.

On Saturday I finally picked up a copy of his most recent cookbook, A Kitchen Matrix. As I thumbed through it I noticed a few things. First of all, you can’t help but notice the absolutely mouth watering food photography. It makes you want to lick the pages. It’s a nice change from the black and white line drawings in his How To books. Secondly, there is a nice mixture of meat and meatless recipes, although it is a little heavy on the seafood recipes for my taste. However, there are enough non seafood recipes to get me itching to get into the kitchen to cook and bake. But then that isn’t surprising, Mark Bittman has inspired me in the kitchen for almost as long as I have been cooking for myself.

The only thing I didn’t like about this cookbook was that the recipes aren’t written in the traditional ingredients, directions, variations format. It might be confusing to inexperienced cooks or cooks not familiar with Mr. Bittman’s recipe style. However, that is a small price to pay for truly excellent recipes.

Writing Prompt #2

So here is my response to last week’s writing prompt, list 25 things you would never do. I thought it would be an easy prompt to do but it wasn’t hence the 22 instead of 25 things I would never do. The list started really general, i think we can all agree we would never commit murder or do drugs, but it got pretty personal by the end.

22 Things I Would Never Do
1. I will never commit murder.
2. I will never do drugs.
3. I will never lie to my best friend.
4. I will never let my friends go hungry.
5. I will never eat Rocky Mountain oysters.
6. I will never euthanize a pet because the become costly or inconvenient.
7. I will never steal from my job.
8. I will never steal from my friends.
9. I will never steal from my family.
10. I will never judge someone because of their past.
11. I will never judge someone because their religious or political views are different then mine.
12. I will never judge someone because they are “different”.
13. I will never marry someone who doesn’t respect my animals.
14. I will never be like everyone else.
15. I will never diet because someone says I am fat.
16. I will never give up hope that someday things will be right between me and my dad.
17. I will never turn my back on my nieces or nephews.
18. I will never be on anyone’s best dressed list.
19. I will never have children of my own.
20. I will never not have a parrot in my life.
21. I will never be conventional.
22. I will never change my essential self to please someone else.

Writing Prompt #2 If the internet disappeared today, how would you continue to share your love of cooking or what ever you blog about?

Magazine Monday — Butterscotch Pudding

IMG_1832Did you ever have a weekend that was just made for being in the kitchen?  My plans for the weekend were changed due to illness (hope you are feeling better, Audrey). It was cold, like -13 below zero so doing my traditional Sunday brunch at Happy Joe’s pizzeria wasn’t going to happen. Not even The Sons of Anarchy could hold my attention for long. So I decided to get in the kitchen and play with some of the recipes floating around in my to try pile.

I may have gone a little over board with the sweets. In addition to charred corn tilapia and cilantro rice from Christina Lanes, Cooking for Two cookbook. I also made two batches of fudge from her Desserts for Two blog, two batches of short bread cookies from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix cookbook, and my favorite thing I made this weekend, a simple butterscotch pudding.

Pudding used to be one of my favorite treats. However, I gave it up when I started removing processed foods from my diet. I never tried making pudding from scratch because I though it was one of those rare things that just wasn’t worth making from scratch. Which just goes to show you I don’t know everything. It is so worth making pudding from scratch. You won’t believe the boxed stuff is the same as the homemade stuff.

Butterscotch Pudding

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 TBS plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch salt
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp butter
3/4 tsp vanilla
In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add the milk and egg yolk, stir until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Cook 1-2 minutes longer or until the mixture thickens. Remove the saucepan from the heat; stir in the butter and vanilla. Cool to room temperature stirring several times. Pour into 2 dessert dishes and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for two hours before eating.