4th of July Cooking Adventure

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I shouldn’t be allowed in the kitchen I’m such a bad cook.  I get all of these fantastical ideas but when I actually put everything together it’s just gross.  Even when I follow a recipe it just never turns out like it should.  The sad thing is that I really want to be able to cook! I love the idea of being able to cook a big meal for friends and family but I don’t ever do it because, well- I don’t want to be the reason anyone I love vomits.

Knowing this, imagine me trying to cook in a ghetto kitchen built in the early 1900s.  Yeah it’s the definition of disaster.  Nevertheless I keep trying.  For the 4th I decided to cook a pescatarian feast and blog about it to show people that you can still have all of the flavors you love but not go so crazy on the unhealthiness.  Much too ambitious, Beth… Much. Too. Ambitious.  I did cook the meal but parts of it weren’t all that great in the flavor department.  Plus I was cooking by what little sunlight comes in my kitchen because the bulbs in there burned out that morning and I’m too short to change them.  I’m still going to tell you about it though because I’ve confirmed that this would have in fact been a good meal had anyone but me been cooking it in a much more modern kitchen.  So here goes-

Roasted veggies (squash, zucchini, carrots and sweet potato)
Warm Black Bean Salad
Vitamin water with Pom-Cherry Juice Ice Cubes

Let me start by describing to you the space I had to cook in.  My galley style kitchen is about 50 sq. ft. from wall to wall.  There is literally one area for prep that is barely big enough to fit a regular size cookie sheet.  And since this is the first legit meal I’ve tried cooking since I moved, I learned that I don’t have most of the supplies that I needed for this undertaking.  No cutting board, alright- a folded piece of foil will do.  No sharp knives, okay- I’ll take 20 minutes slicing these veggies with a plastic to-go knife from Chuys.  No oven mitts, easy- dish towels. Looks like I’m going to Target soon.  Also, you have to move the trash can every time you open the oven door.

I decided to cook the veggies first because they’ll take longer to cook and since I don’t have a microwave (no space) maybe they’ll be warm still by the time the fish gets cooked!  Sweet potato and carrots take longer to cook than the squash and zucchini so I cut them up into smaller half inch slices.  I also peeled them (I did have a peeler somehow) beforehand to help them cook quicker.  The squash and zucchini I sliced into inch and a half or so pieces.  Then I tossed them all in olive oil, sprinkled them with Slap Ya Mama and fresh chopped garlic, and put them in the oven at 450 for 30 minutes.  I wanted them to be kinda crispy on the outside so I used a higher temp at less time.  Because my oven is SO old it took about 65 minutes and not a single piece of veggie was cooked the same way.  The guys on the edge of the pan were burned and the ones on the inside of the tray were mushy.  So annoyed but I was hungry so whatever.  Normally 30 minutes with one flip would have been perfect!

Next, I move on to the Salmon.  I linked to the recipe that I used as a guide above!  My fave BBQ sauce is Masterpiece so that's what I used this time.  The salmon was delish and I’m going to start making this at least once a week!!  If yours has the skin left on the underside be sure to peel it off before you eat it.  Someone who shall not be named left the skin on the first time she tried Salmon and didn’t know why it was so gross. 

Warm Black Bean Salad is my go-to when I want something quick, cheap and yummy so I thought it should be a no brainer.  It’s just 2 cans black beans (drained), 1 jalapeño, 2 tomatoes on the vine, 1 red bell pepper and sometimes a can of corn (drained).  I wasn’t feeling the corn this weekend though for some reason.  Chop up the veggies however you want and remember if you don’t want it super spicy, de-seed the jalapeño when you chop it.  I like hot stuff though so I put all those seeds in there PLUS some Slap Ya Mama.  Mmmmmm  Then you just toss everything together and heat it in a pot on the stove top.  I got to that point in like 15 minutes so I was pumped because by this time I was famished.  Then I realized that my burners have to be lit with a match.  WHAT?! This is ridiculous! What decade is this clunker from? Of course I don’t have matches and my neighbor isn’t home so I just put the pot in the oven that was still heated to 500.  It took about 10 minutes with me stirring periodically but my improv worked.  By the time the Black Beans were done the sun had gone down and it was too dark to get pictures.  I always make it though so I’ll get one the next time for y’all.

Overall, given the hurdles my kitchen presents, I’d say it was successful.  I mean everything was edible.  I’m just disappointed with my roasted veggies.  It really was a lot of food though.  I finished up the leftovers yesterday so that’s like 5 meals from 1 cooking episode.  So worth it.

Oh yeah, the Vitamin water with pom-cherry cubes!  So, I love Vitamin water.  The lemonade one is my absolute favorite and that’s what I used for this drink.  I use my juicer to squeeze the goodness out of a bag of fresh cherries and 1 pomegranate.  When this is done I add about a fourth of a cup of water (depending on how much juice is made) to thin the mixture out a bit and pour it into an ice tray.  My ice cubes are usually pretty potent so I only use 1 or 2 at a time, otherwise it’s overpowering and if I wanted overpowering flavor I’d have just made Crystal Light.  I love these cubes though because you get all of the nutrients from the fresh fruit juice!
The picture is smoky bc apparently my oven door doesn't shut all the way. Sigh.


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