Today I get excited by the smallest culinary moment. This morning I walked into the office at school. On the bench sat a shipping envelop. It was big, obviously holding a large, rectangular object. I rushed over to read the shipping label. Clutching it to my breast I danced around the office. It had arrived!!! What could cause such excitement, you ask? Why the copy of Starting With Ingredients that I ordered from Amazon. It is this enormous tome organized by...you guessed it, ingredients. You purchased some quince when it was on sale at the veggie market and have no idea how to prepare them? No problem, look up the chapter on quince. You get a section that includes information about the ingredient, hints/tips on everything from purchasing to preparing, and about 3-8 recipes. The page count comes in at just over 1050. This sucker is hefty.
You would think that would be enough excitement. Oh no, more was to come. My Kinnikinnick order was delivered! Bread mix, 4 bags of pastry/pie crust mix, and a package of GF bagels. As soon as I arrived home I busted out the bagels. Toasted and slathered in cream cheese...so...darn...good. Perhaps not like the New York bagels they claim to emulate, but these suckers are good. My dietitian recommended the pastry/pie crust mix for making kolachi cookies (a staple in the Mueller family Christmas baking.) Mom and I have a baking date planned.
No all of that excitement is understandable. The average foodie would be thrilled by both deliveries. The two things that tip me over the line into geek territory are thus: 1) I still have the forthcoming excitement of a delivery from Gluten Free Pantry and additional cookbook, and 2) I am having to seriously talk myself out of being a bad friend. I bought a book for one of my friends for Christmas. It is a food related book. I want to read it. I could buy myself a copy or borrow it from the library. OR...I could read the copy I bought him before Christmas. I can be careful with the book. He would never know it had been read. But that would be bad. Not a good friend. Damn. Must exert self control.
One thing that became clear to me is that in the midst of geeking out, finding new recipes, try new techniques, we often forget an important rule: KISS. Keep it Simple Stupid. Fancy is not always better. Of course it is fun, fulfilling, and compelling to challenge ourselves with complex recipes. I think in all that complexity, we forget how amazing the simple seasoning of a basic ingredient can be. Tonight I made pan seared tuna. Sounds fancy, but could not be more simple.
Rub tuna with olive oil. Rub with a coating of salt and Argyle Street Asian Spice Blend from the Spice House. (It is premixed. All you do is sprinkle and rub.) Pour 2 T of olive oil into a hot pan. Place seasoned tuna in the pan and sear until the edge begins to turn opaque. Flip tuna. Sear for another 1-3 minutes (depending on how rare you like you tuna). Move tuna to a plate. Eat. You basically season the fish and fry it up. EASY!
Ok, I made a rice dish that was slightly less simple.
Mandarin Almond Rice
In a medium sauce pan combine:
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup brown rice
2 t. Argyle St. Asian Spice Mix
1 t. salt
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer. When rice is cooked and render mix in:
1 can Mandarin oranges
1/2 cup slivered almonds