The first is that I should really give these posts more interesting names. It's been cool to track the number of week that I've been meeting my goal of doing a lot of cooking and cooking new things, but "Episode 17" is not especially compelling as a title.
The second realization is that I'm probably going to start having a lot of repeat dishes. Looking back on this series, I'm pretty proud of myself for the variety I've had, a mixture of old favorites of mine (but new to the blog) and new things I've tried for the first time. And while I intend to keep trying new things, items from the past few months are going to cycle back in, and while I might have something new to say, I also might not.
So, going forward I think I will limit myself to posting about things that are new, either to me or the blog, or that are at least new experiences (including new experiences with old dishes). Maybe this will inspire me to actually write more tutorials, rather than just listing what I've done. However it goes, my third realization was that I've done a good job of showing myself that I can in fact fit a good deal of cooking into my regular routine, and it's a solid part of my routine now, which was the ultimate point.
All that said:
Episode 17, October 4-October 10
An old favorite. I remember asking my then-fiancé, "Do you like beets?" And he didn't know, so I made risotto with beets and it was declared a success. While it is certainly tasty, the best part about this dish is probably that the beets dye the rice a brilliant magenta. It's fun with spinach or beet greens tossed in as well.
Chicken-apple-fontina puff pastry
This was a dinner-for-one, using up a bunch of leftovers: leftover puff pastry and apples from last week's tarts; leftover shredded chicken from the tikka masala; leftover fontina cheese from mac n cheese a couple weeks ago. I added some grated nutmeg for a little zest. This was tasty, but would have been better if the apples were sweeter and juicier.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Actually 20-25 cloves of garlic in this case, since I made a halfish batch. Another favorite of mine, this recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen. You brown skin-on, bone-in chicken, then add whole garlic cloves, wine, and chicken stock (I used my homemade stock) and braise the chicken and garlic until the chicken is cooked through. Unfortunately, this attempt at this dish did not turn out as well as previous attempts; as you can see the garlic got a little burned, as opposed to caramelized. Still, it results in really juicy chicken.
Curried chicken salad
Another meal to use up leftovers: the rest of the shredded chicken, plus almonds and dried cranberries that were just lying around, and some diced apple went into this salad. The dressing is mayonnaise + plain yogurt + curry powder. Unfortunately, I ran out of curry powder before I had added as much as I would have liked.
Four-ingredient flourless chocolate cake
The Stone Soup is to thank for this recipe, an amazingly simple dessert that takes relatively little work. The little bit of work you need to do is whip an egg white, and if you're willing to get your mixer dirty (I wasn't at the time) then even that isn't really a chore. My cakes did not turn out as prettily as Jules', but they were very tasty, especially thanks to the 82% cacao chocolate bar I used.
Corn chowder with chilies
Fresh corn is still showing up at the farmers' market, and it's getting cheaper and cheaper, so I was excited to try this Pioneer Woman recipe for corn chowder. The special ingredient is canned chilies, a combination of hatch green and chilpotle in adobo. A word of warning: the chilpotles are pretty potent; I only put in two and that was plenty of spice for my slightly-spice-averse husband (luckily he enjoyed the chowder enough to work through the heat!). The other awesome ingredient: bacon. I made a full batch of this chowder and look forward to working my way through the leftovers.
Partly to counter the heat in the chowder, and partly because I couldn't get it out of my head after seeing the recipe, I decided to make orange julius to go with dinner (also, the colors coordinate so well!). I actually would have liked it to have a little stronger orange flavor, but even so it was delicious.