Okay, I’m embarrassed because everyone else is writing all sorts of good stuff and I’m stuck in the middle of defining Becca’s character (K.M. Weiland‘s Character Interview is really helpful here!) and trying to write a short story. I have nothing to share. Except —
I pride myself in being able to throw a decent (I have fairly low standards) meal together in less than 30 minutes. And I do tend to go heavy on the hot. So here’s an email I sent this morning to a friend, whose husband’s taste buds seem to be on strike this week. She asked for it — I know you guys didn’t, but it’s all I’ve got today. Sorry.
I don’t use recipes much, especially for non-baked goods. But I use pepper. Lots of it. I put it in/on everything. Fresh-ground black pepper is my secret cookie/baked goods ingredient. I use lots of it and I also have a whole shitload of pepper sauces. Cholula chipotle is currently one of my favorites. I bought a bottle of Al-T’s green sauce at Al-T’s restaurant when we were in Texas. I also really like that Vietnamese hot chili sauce that you can now finally buy in regular grocery stores. If I use salt when I’m cooking, I use big-grained coarse sea salt. I happen to have a big can of La Baleine, but I read in a ‘taste test’ somewhere that there were 5 or 6 others that testers thought were better. If I ever use up this can, I’ll try one of those.
I slap some balsamic vinegar in a lot of veggie things and that ends up making them more intense. Harris Teeter makes a balsamic glaze that’s pretty yummy, though a tad sweet, that’s good to slather on salmon in particular. I really like roasted veggies — onions, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms. Oh my. Toss them with some olive oil, rosemary, pepper and coarse salt and then bake them for about an hour.
And garlic, of course. I use my garlic press to squeeze a bunch of cloves for fresh or use chopped up roasted (the roasted bit is important) garlic from the little jar.
Lots of cumin and oregano. Oh, yeah, and that spicy mustard. Slapping some of that mixed with a little olive oil and lemon juice on chicken before cooking it (skinless chicken breasts, of course, which don’t have all that greasy skin-related stuff on them) jazzes it up for a low calorie count. I put Old Bay seasoning on tilapia and pan saute it for fish tacos.
You’re in Texas. Throw a vat of salsa in that veggie soup.
How about Indian food? I’ve noticed in the last year or two that even Food Lion has a bunch of Indian sauces and curries and stuff. When they say ‘hot’ they mean it so some of those are worth a try. If he can’t taste anything spicy in a vindaloo, it means he’s dead. I’m sorry.