Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Ambitious (with pictures)

Now, I know that ambitious is not usuallly a word used to describe housewives. We are generally thought have few goals aside from raising our children right. If you ask me, that's being kind of ambitious, but I guess if it doesn't involve a career...

Today, though, I believe that most people would agree with me when I say that this particular housewife is very ambitious. I've decided to tackle cleaning and organizing the refrigerator. Our fridge is huge. It's what the French call an "American Refrigerator". That pretty much just means a side-by-side, but this one is particularly bulky. Or, at least is seems so when sat next to the normal French fridge. Somehow, though, even with all that space, it seems there's never room in there. I've long known it's because of the sauces.

Cooking exotic meals from places far away from here means you have to have the right ingredients. So, we've got quite a few little jars and bottles of sauces from far-off lands. This means that there's little space for things like veggies and other necessities. Today, I decided to remedy that. Of course, how does one do such a thing without just throwing them all out? Well, I stole some plastic bins from elsewhere in the house and was able to stack the smaller bottles on top of each other instead of having a million of them in a single layer. The other plus to all this is that now there's a bin for things to be spread on bread (mostly jellies) and another for Asian sauces. This will make it easier to find things when I need them. Right now I'm taking a little break for my back. Too much standing and bending gives me psiatic nerve pain these days. One of the perks of pregnancy. But, I am about 3/4 finished, and the part that's left is a couple of drawers I already cleaned a couple of weeks ago. Yay for me!

Also, because you asked for it (well, Liz did), I've got photos of my recent cooking experiments. The cherry pie turned out to be delicious. It even helped me learn a little something about the hubbie. I've long known that he doesn't like artificially-flavored cherry stuff. You don't really think about the huge quantities of American over-the-counter drugs have that flavors till you kiss someone who doesn't like them. He can't even stand the smell of that stuff. Apparently, this dislike for cherries carries over slightly into cooked cherries (though he likes the fresh ones). So, his opinion of the pie was that the crust was good and the filling was nice and thick, but he'd have prefered another flavor. I, on the other hand, felt it was the tastiest cherry pie I've ever had (this may not be saying much since those I've tasted had always been made from cherry pie filling from a can). Good stuff. And, because a picture was requested, here's a little slice for Liz.

I also mentioned that I had been cooking a lot of Chinese food lately. Well, this is all thanks to the fact that my mother doesn't really like cookbooks without pictures. She likes to see in advance what she's going to be eating. Makes sense, since eating is a very visual activity for many people. Anyway, so, long, long ago, she and my dad bought an electric wok (like in the 70's or 80's, I assume). As far back as I can remember, I've never seen them use it for a Chinese stir-fry (that's not to say it doesn't get used, but not for Chinese food). With it, came a cookbook written by an older Chinese woman who really seemed to know her way around the kitchen. When I moved out of the house, this cookbook became mine, and I must say that lately I've gotten quite a bit of use out of it.

Almost every time I go out for Chinese food, I have difficulty resisting the Lo Mein dish on the menu. Every Chinese restaurant seems to have one, and I almost always get it. Well, today, even though I was somewhat short on the ingredients for the recipe, I threw together my own Lo Mein (mein means noodles in Chinese). One very important ingredient that I was missing was the noodles themselves. Not good when you're making a noodle dish. So, I got online (where else would I go?) to search for a recipe to make my own from scratch. I found one on a food blog. It was actually a recipe for Japanese Udon noodles, and I modified it slightly by adding whole wheat flour along with the white flour (2/3 white to 1/3 wheat, plus a little extra water), but it really served my purposes well. So, I'm throwing in a little picture of that one too, along with a shot of my little helper who came in while I was rolling out the dough.

Lambchop #2 came in and asked me what I was doing. I said, "making pasta". He got all excited and said "veut making pasta". Veut means "want" in French, and even though the grammar is way off, you get his point, right? He loves to "help out" in the kitchen, and since rolling out the dough didn't seem to harmful, I let him give it a go. He couldn't really put his weight into it the way you need to, but he sure had fun trying. He didn't really want to give up that rolling pin, though.