Monday, January 17, 2011

The First Post

I don't usually make New Year resolutions. For the most part, I think people are tempted to treat resolutions like wishes and they end up saying ridiculous things like "I'm going to make a million dollars this year!" or "I'm going to marry that guy I've been stalking!". Not that those things aren't possible, but they're almost always unlikely. So for many years I haven't bothered.

This year, though, I found myself in the position of wanting to make changes in my life and routines that are small enough to actually do. Two things, especially: wear makeup more often, and cook something new every week. This blog is going to be about that second project (because despite some really nice new cosmetics purchases, I've pretty much already failed on resolution one).

I'm the main cook in my house. It's just me and Mr. Pants right now, and he works long hours so I end up cooking most weeknights. I'm fine with this. Actually, I'm more than fine with this because I find cooking to be both fun and strangely empowering. Like, "Look! What I made! With my hands and some pots and pans and some heat! I made this and it is yummy. Amen." The problem is, I just don't know how to make too many things.

My culinary repetoire:
Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken Parmesan
Baked Ziti (with sausage)
Macaroni & Cheese (homemade, of course)
Marsala Chicken
Black Bean Chicken Stew

Do you see the problem here? Almost everything above is yummy, but after a little while all of that gets kind of tired. And there's just not a lot of variety. Sure, we supplement with frozen or premade meals, but that's just about the worst thing we could do for ourselves besides order pizza all the time (and trust me, we do that, too).

So that's how I got here. To promising to make a new (to me) recipe every week. With the help of my vast library of cookbooks and , I'm not only going to do this project, but I have a feeling I'm going to have a lot of fun along the way.

A few things you should know before we jump in here;
- You'll never see fish on this blog. Ever. I don't eat anything that came out of the ocean. Sorry.

- It's not my intention to make my own recipes. I'm not at that stage yet. I will always link back where applicable and/or credit any books, authors, etc. I will say that I almost always make changes to any recipes I use, so most likely what I do will be anywhere from slightly to wildly different from what the original recipe might say.

- I make up words. I do this often. Feel free to use any Panda-made word you like whenever you wish. I don't mind.

- While I'm certainly trying to keep the Pants family health in mind in my kitchen, this is not a health-food blog. Or even a healthY-food blog. I think, for the most part, cooking at home is almost always healthier than a lot of alternatives, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to use cream, butter and/or frying methods when those are required.

So I think that's it. That's me and that's what I'm trying to do here. I'm happy to have you along for this adventure, whether you're looking to do a similar thing or you're just a fan of recipes. And with that... let's get cooking!


  1. Dopest. Chicken. Ever.


    * 1 (3 1/2 pound) free range chicken
    * 2 tablespoons olive oil
    * 1 tablespoon salt
    * 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    * 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary (reserve stems)
    * 1/3 cup roast garlic puree, recipe follows


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    Rinse the chicken well inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Rub chicken all over with olive oil, and season, inside and out, with salt and pepper. Sprinkle rosemary all over chicken (place stems inside cavity) and roast in the oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until chicken is almost cooked through. Remove chicken from the oven and schmear roast garlic puree all over outside of chicken and return to the oven for 15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
    Roast Garlic Puree:

    * 10 heads garlic (about 1 1/2 pounds)
    * 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Cut the top quarter from each garlic head and place, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the oil over the garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the garlic cut side down, and roast until the cloves are soft and golden brown, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

    Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Squeeze a head of garlic, gently pressing with your fingers to expel the cloves into a bowl. Repeat with the remaining garlic. Stir the garlic with a rubber spatula to blend thoroughly. Use as needed, or store refrigerated in an airtight container.

    Yield: 1 cup

    Note: Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Mix with olive oil to extend the life of the puree.

  2. Equally Dope Green Beans with Lemon

    I don't have an actual recipe anymore so I will just tell you what's in them. I made them for an Irish guy that I dated in college and he called them "brilliant" and didn't die, and that is all I can ever hope for.

    A bunch of fresh green beans cooked for a minute in boiling water. Drain. Add some good freaking olive oil, salt (pinch), cracker pepper, teaspoon or so of lemon juice (fresh) and lemon zest. Mix and eat. Can be served cold for picnics in the sunshine. MMMMMMMM.

  3. Just saying "Hi" :) Can't wait to see what you cook up.