Cooking and Composition

adventures in discourse and dinner

October is Coming — September 29, 2013

October is Coming

october is coming

I’m having a hard time dealing with tomorrow being the last day of September. It seems like this year has completely flown by. Seriously. Wasn’t it just May? And I was gearing up for my thesis defense?

No?

But here we are. I am generally very excited about October. This year is no different. I am thrilled to see the leaves changing colors, to smell the air crisping up, to feel the cool breeze each morning. But this October brings something special.

This October, I turn 25.

Now. I know that 25 is not so bad. I am excited about my birthday and all the lovely things that come with it, from the Covered Bridge Festival to hot apple cider to crunching leaves with every step in the out-of-doors.

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The leaves are already starting to change, making walking across campus and driving across Indiana much more exciting. Of course, the changing of the leaves means that eventually everything will be grey, grey, grey. But until then, I will relish the changing of the seasons.

I’m not so much struggling with turning 25; I’m more struggling with being in a temporary teaching position and being unsure with what I want to do with my future. There are definitely things that I love about teaching at a university, especially my junior-level course where I’m getting to teach with discourse community and Writing-about-Writing theories. However, there is little job security, especially without a PhD, and I’m not sure that I’m ready to make the PhD commitment anytime soon–even if so many other people feel confident that I should.

So as 25 creeps closer (only 16 more days!), I find myself thinking less about the last 25 years (which have certainly seen their share of excitement) and thinking more about the next 25, what I will be doing, and how I will get there. And somehow, I haven’t even thought about how I will celebrate this milestone.

Pork Chops and Feta Green Beans — September 26, 2013

Pork Chops and Feta Green Beans

Lately, I haven’t been doing much cooking, but last night I decided to treat my family to a rare delicious dinner relieve some of the stress I’ve been feeling through cooking. It was not really a strenuous dinner to cook–I just shook some seasonings onto the pork chops and stuck them in the oven. But the real star, I’m proud to say, was my decision to add feta cheese to some sauted green beans and mushrooms.
Pork Chop Dinner

Pork chops waiting to go in the oven. There may only be five of us, but we usually cook for an army.

Pork Chop Dinner

Apparently, pork chops are also my brother’s girlfriend’s favorite dinner. She suggested mashed potatoes. These came out perfectly.

Pork Chop Dinner

Perfect pork chop dinner. PERFECT.

Although a few of the mushrooms started to char a bit, I really think the Feta Green Beans with Mushrooms stole the show. And all I did was saute some mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil. When most of the water was cooked out, I added in the green beans. Since not everyone loves feta as much as me, I served it on the side so the family could take as a little (or as much) as they wanted.

Next time you are hungry for a hearty, fall meal that is also very easy, just turn on the oven, pop in some seasoned pork chops, and saute up some mushrooms and green beans. And think of me when you pour on some feta cheese. YUM!

Good Food and Good Friends — September 21, 2013

Good Food and Good Friends

On Friday, I co-hosted a charming dinner party with The Boyfriend and his roommate. When I lived in Oxford, we always talked about having dinner parties but never really got around to it. Now that I’m living at home again, I don’t really do much cooking. I was super excited to cook for a crowd. In reality, The Fiction Guy (The Boyfriend’s roommate) did the most intensive work on this meal.

On Thursday, we decided to make basil lime chicken, a great dish from Goodeness Gracious that I found on Pinterest. On Friday, The Boyfriend and The Fiction Guy did some shopping and started on the first marinade so dinner would be ready at a reasonable hour. Trying to explain what the zest of a lime was over text message is not the easiest thing I have ever done.

With the boys in charge of the main course, I was able to focus on making a delicious dessert. I’ve been wanting to bake a pie for a long time, but I always seem to talk myself out of it. I also talk myself out of making cheesecake, mainly because the concept of a springform pan and a water bath is fairly intimidating to me. So when I found Kitchen Meets Girl’s recipe for a blueberry cheesecake galette, I knew pretty immediately I needed to make it. That was probably about two months ago, though, and Friday was the time I finally got around to making it (side note: apparently this recipe wasn’t even posted until September 1, so I guess it didn’t take me that long to actually make it. Time is sure flying lately).

Having never been a huge fan of blueberries (they are almost always too tart for me), I decided instead to make a raspberry cheesecake galette. Let me say, this was easily one of the easiest desserts I have made, even if it seemed a little complicated for me. I mainly dislike when I have steps that just require waiting or letting things sit for a specific amount of time. I also never seem to have the room in the refrigerator to chill whatever it is. Luckily, things worked out this time, even if I had to take a second trip to Kroger in the rain just to buy cornstarch.

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The Fiction Guy’s take on Basil Lime Chicken, ready to be served with some veggie pasta.

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And one delicious Raspberry Cheesecake Galette!

I think we will definitely be making these recipes again!

Polka Dot Cakes and Tea Parties — September 8, 2013

Polka Dot Cakes and Tea Parties

Long, long ago in July, before I accepted a new job and moved back “home” and started teaching for the semester, a couple of my friends hosted a Tea Party. I was very excited to dress up, drink tea, and enjoy a variety of refreshments made by friends who, frankly, have more baking and cooking talent in their pinkies than I do overall. Nicolyn and I made a polka dot cake that turned out wonderfully! I don’t have a recipe to share–Nicolyn is like a baking wiz so I didn’t actually do much beyond mixing and filling pans and shaping polka dots–but I thought these pictures were definitely share-worthy!

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We adapted the directions from Once Upon a Pedestal, who used a cake pop pan to make the polka dots. You can find those instructions here.