March 24, 2011 at 12:19 pm , by Amelia Harnish
I’m a cheater. I went vegetarian in January to see what it was like, and I haven’t eaten meat in almost three whole months. Well, I should say hadn’t. My newfound love for Indian food and chickpeas aside, I just couldn’t say no to Rachael Ray’s sirloin tips and arugula rice pilaf from LHJ‘s March issue. When I signed up to try this recipe for “Dishing It,” I thought it’d be easy to hand over the sirloin tips to my roommate, but after cutting and trimming and spicing and cooking, how could I resist? I deserved a feast, I thought. And a feast it was… at least for me. I hadn’t eaten meat in three months (except for that pepperoni pizza incident–an accident, I swear!) Anyway, this recipe really could not be easier. If I, a just-out-of-college, clueless-in-the-kitchen, cheating vegetarian, can handle it, then I’m pretty sure anyone can.
My biggest issue when cooking is that I’m impatient. I also never read the recipe through, and I always, always end up doing things out of order or cooking things too long because I’m googling a cooking term I don’t understand. For example, deglaze. What the heck does deglaze mean? Zest? What exactly is zest? This time, probably because I knew I was going to have to share this experience with all of you, I pre-googled and was ready.
I set up my ingredients, and got to work. I did make a few substitutions–instead of chicken broth, I used veggie broth. At this point I was still operating under the assumption that I wasn’t going to eat steak. Instead of grated Parmesan cheese, I used the powdered stuff because it’s what I had. Same goes for dried parsley, instead of fresh. I’m sure it would’ve been that much better with those two, so if you have the time to get them, I highly recommend it. I also used whole grain brown rice because I’m healthy like that!
As per the directions, I started by toasting the orzo and then adding the rice and broth. While my pilaf was simmering, I turned my attention to the steak. I trimmed and cut, salt and peppered, and then cooked. Easy! After adding the parsley, garlic and zest, it was then I knew I was going to cheat. The temptation was unbearable. It smelled delicious, and as easy as it was, I made it myself. It would’ve been wrong not to indulge, am I right? Once my rice was done, I mixed in the arugula and my powdered-Parmesan. Man, I wish I had gone with grated, I thought. But hey, it still works.
April 22, 2010 at 10:55 pm , by Louise Sloan
“The kitchen is where I learned all my lessons,” writes New York Times food writer Kim Severson in her memoir, Spoon Fed, which came out last week. In the book, which has hit the bestseller list already, Kim, a friend of mine—that’s her in the picture—writes about wisdom she’s gathered from celebrity chefs she’s come to know, like Rachael Ray and Alice Waters. Cooking, for Kim, is a way of connecting with those famous women, with her Italian-American midwestern mom, Anne Marie, and ultimately, with herself.
I can so relate. But for me, cooking isn’t so much about connecting with my mom, who cooks out of necessity and hates it—she’d rather be out raking the yard. It’s my way of knowing and connecting to my dad, who died when I was not quite two years old. And now, as a single mom, it’s my way of connecting my three-year-old son to his grandfather, to his male roots, and to all the food-loving southern relatives on that side of the family whom he may never get to know. For Scott and for me, cooking is a daily visit with the father and grandfather we never knew; a hands-on untangling of the mystery of our genes. Do you have a story of how cooking has helped you find your identity? After the jump, here’s mine. Read more