Sunday, February 23, 2014

kitchen revelations

Surprise! I'm blogging twice in one month!

Last time Aaron and I took a trip to Penzey's we made a new discovery: smoked paprika. Normal paprika is beautiful but also kind of bland, but smoked paprika. SO WONDERFUL. I want to put it on everything. We did a jazzed up version of our chicken tikka masala (which has almost entirely diverged from what chicken tikka masala is supposed to taste like as we found out when we ordered it at India Palace on our anniversary) with smoked paprika and bell peppers and mmmmm it was fantastic. Chili + smoked paprika? Anything Mexican with smoked paprika? Macaroni and cheese with smoked paprika? Tried them all, they're all glorious.

I finally got around to making sweet potato burritos with red onion, peppers, black beans, cilantro, lime, and smoked paprika of course, and it was so good. I would eat that sweet potato burrito over a chicken or beef burrito any day. Not that that's saying much since I sort of hate cooking meat anyway, but...still, delicious burritos.

Another cooking-related thing I wanted to share: a magical way of storing cilantro. I'd seen this tip online forever ago, but like most online tips I see (mountain dew + peroxide = fluorescent? NO.), I ignored it. Anyway, you wrap your cilantro in a damp paper towel and store it in an open ziplock. I may have just had a freakishly healthy bunch of cilantro, but it stayed fresh for over a week. Normally my cilantro lasts maybe 4 days. A miracle! I'm going to have to repeat this experiment to make sure the results are reproducible, but I was pretty happy not having to throw away half a bunch of wilted nasty cilantro for once in my life.

LAST THING. I finally made crème brûlée using the broiler. It's a chocolate version and it was divine. Amen.

You have any kitchen discoveries you want to share? Or any recipes I should be making? I need something to get me through the last bit of this awful, awful winter, and there's only so much crème brûlée I should be eating.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

so this is the new year

Oh hey, it's February, and I'm just now finishing off discussing Christmas break. Oh well!

After Christmas we headed to a warmer clime to stay with Aaron's family for New Year's. We had a blast hanging out with everyone and playing with our nieces. We listened/watched on Youtube "Let it Go" from Frozen about eight times a day because of them (and you know what, I still really like that song. I listen to it in the lab when no one's around, ha.).

While we were there, we went to a really good Japanese restaurant. I tried sushi for the first time in my life. It did not go especially well. Sushi is a food I really wish I liked, because it would make me feel cultured, but I mentally can't get over the raw fish thing. The thought of raw fish and the texture of raw fish gross me out too much. Side note related to Asian food: before we moved to the East Coast I didn't realize that eating with chopsticks was a normal skill most people have. Or at least everyone in grad school seems to have, regardless of nationality. I've been practicing so I don't look like an idiot every time the lab goes out for Chinese.

On New Year's Eve we went on a short hike doing the Emerald Pools in Zion. They were all partially frozen over, which looked awesome. Then we went home and had a wild party where we worked on a 2,000 piece puzzle. WOO! (That was not even sarcastic, we really do like doing puzzles.)

Every time we fly home I expect it to be easier to come back to Philly, but you know what, it never is. I don't know that I will ever get used to living across the country from all of our immediate family. I guess in a way it's a good thing because it means they must be pretty awesome people.

Maybe someday we'll end up west of the Mississippi, right Aaron....?

Hope you all enjoyed your winter vacations!