Wednesday, August 09, 2006

An All-American Palate

Hullo friends!

I've been having a good week so far and I hope the same goes for you too! Anywayz, my culinary adventure this past seven days has been limited to the confines of my apartment, which is fine by me coz I love to cook. Originally, I had planned on visiting the beautiful Chicago Botanical Garden in the far north suburb but my companion got sick *boohoo* and we had to cancel. What was even more disappointing is that we were planning to get lunch at an Ethiopian place before we make our way to the garden. Sigh~ Such is the story of my life.

As for my homely culinary feats, they have been mostly very all-American. The best meal I made recently consisted of meatloaf with a tangy pineapple/ketchup/brown sugar glaze, garlicky green beans and the blue box mac'n'cheese. I don't know if a meal can get any more American. So here's a picture of dinner prior to assembly:
Meatloaf, green beanz and mac'n'cheez

And here's my pathetic attempt at haute cuisine plating:
Pathetic attempt at Haute Cuisine

Here's a more standard plating style:
A more standard plating

While mulling around at home with not much to do (which is one of my favorite ways to spend a day), I was inspired to bake a batch of raisin oatmeal cookies. I haven't baked cookies recently because I'm trying to lose weight (so I can eat more in Indonesia later this month *harhar*) and be fit. Hmmm... note the prioritizing... Anyway, I baked a batch of cookies with the Quaker oats recipe that they always give on the jar cap inside. I haven't been able to bake the kind of cookies that bakeries make, i.e. large, thin cookies with crisp outsides and chewy/soft insides. I thought that this might be achieved by underbaking the cookies slightly. which I did (I baked them for 9 minutes, the recommended baking time is 10-12 minutes, big difference, I know). Right out of the oven, the cookies were delicious and crisp while maintaining the softness inside. However, the next day, they became totally soft and chewy. Sigh~ Maybe the bakery cookies are always that way because they're always fresh? I dunno.

I sure have a big mouth!
Cookie Monster atack!!! Man, that bite sure is big!

Oatmeal raisin cookie in the twilight zone! Argh!Oatmeal raisin cookies in the TWILIGHT ZOOONE!!! Doodoodooodoodoodoodoodoo *Twilight Zone theme song* ... What a geek.

We've been eating relatively mild stuff the past few days due to J's cold/cough. Lotsa chicken and chicken soup, other soups, salads and (drum rolls) grilled cheese! Yep, good ol' Americana! Anywayz, for the grilled cheese, I've been using this block of Mousehouse Jack that J bought from Wisconsin. By itself the Jack cheese is super creamy and smooth. In the grilled cheese sandwich, it's even better. The warm, ooey-gooey, melted cheese is perfectly sandwiched by two buttered, grilled white bread.

The most beautiful grilled cheese ever!
Now tell me that's not the most beautiful grilled cheese sandwich ever!?!?

Okie dokie, that's all for now. I'm being dragged to Indianapolis tonight for a long weekend. Yep, gaming convention. Don't look at me that way! It's J's brilliant idea! Of course, I'm going to try scouting out good restaurants around Indie! Have a great weekend and eat well!