Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday in the Kitchen

It was cold and snowy here today in Massachusetts.  The bitter cold temperatures we've been experiencing disappeared to make way for about 5 inches of snow, give or take.  It was a day to spend in the house.  So we did - my husband working on the baby's room, me puttering around the house.

Sundays like this call for cooking, and with a baby on the way in oh, 6 weeks or so - give or take, I'm trying to spend as much of my time preparing meals for the freezer as I can.  I'd rather not live on take out once baby MoneyPenny arrives, even though I know there will be some of that.

This Sunday, it was potstickers - aka Peking Ravioli, but of a far better variety than your average Chinese take-out joint.  My recipe comes from the cookbook Dim Sum, by Ellen Leong Blonder.  Its' the first asian cookbook that I have come across that I found really easy to use (I do have a bunch of them), because it was clear on all the details.  Having found myself in a Chinese grocery store in Boston's Chinatown more than once trying to figure out if the Black Bean Paste that the recipe calls for is the same as Fermented Black Bean Paste on the shelf (it was), or which rice wine, white or dark is appropriate for the recipe, and not finding anyone who speaks english - at least willingly - well enough to help, I found this cookbook to be one of the best for trying to make the asian delicacies I love so much.

So I made about 75 potstickers, and froze a bunch of them on cookie sheets (bag them up in freezer bags once they are frozen) for later meals.  If you don't have a Chinatown near you, and have a love for authentic asian food, I recommend this cookbook highly.  

Then I started bread.  My sourdough starter died when I was traveling and working long hours in November, and I haven't had a chance to mooch more from my friend yet, so I've reverted to another great recipe here. 

It's quick and easy to prep, and aside from needing a night to rise, is minimal effort.
And the best part?  It tastes like bakery bread, the kind that can cost $4 or more a loaf.  I make mine with 2 cups of white flour, 1/4 cup of bran flour, and 3/4 cup of wheat flour, but the nice thing is that you can make all sorts of variations.  

Tomorrow is a holiday, and although I have some work to do in the morning, I'll be finishing up the last item on this week's cooking list: squash soup, a recipe I published here back in November.   We'll have it for dinner tomorrow, and then again later in the week.  Over the next few weeks I'll make it again to have some for the freezer.  

Overall I spent less than 2 hours in the kitchen - if I had more energy earlier, I would probably add another freezer recipe, but the downside - or maybe the upside - of late pregnancy is that I cave to the need to nap on the weekends.  

We still end up eating quick pasta dinners a fair amount of the time, more than either of us would like, but on days like today, when the snow is falling and there's no where to go, spending time in the kitchen is my favorite thing to do.


uncanny said...

You know how I love having food in the freezer. I actually look forward to the meals I've prepped ahead. :)

EJW said...

When my son was born (two years ago) I so regretted not stocking the freezer better. He did come three weeks early, which threw a lot of our plans, though.

I'm newly pregnant with #2 and my goal is to make one freezer meal or pot of soup every week. I figure that will cover us for the first three months, mixed in with easy stuff like pasta, and of course, the occasional takeout!

Tomorrow I'm off for the holiday, so I'm making an extra batch of our dinner enchiladas, as well as Senate navy bean soup. I'd love to get your recipe for potstickers, as they're a big favorite for us.