Culinary experimentation

photo-289I’m still spending more weekend time cooped up in the house than I want. So in the spirit of at-home anchor events, I did some culinary experimentation this past weekend.

First up, on Saturday afternoon: almond butter chocolate chip cookies. This was a random recipe I found in Martha Stewart Living (yes, I read and try recipes from Martha Stewart Living!). It has 5 ingredients — 1 c almond butter, 2 eggs, 1/2 c brown sugar, 1 c chocolate chips and a bit of salt — and since I had almond butter on hand, I decided to give it a whirl.

I have to say, I was not optimistic at first. Straight out of the oven, they didn’t taste like normal chocolate chip cookies. They weren’t that sweet, since they’re missing white sugar. They’re also missing the butter and flour. But oh my, once they cooled… They were awesome. I love chewy chocolate chip cookies, but most recipes never wind up quite chewy enough, except for a recipe I found from Cook’s Illustrated years ago that was quite complicated. These were simple and soft. They lasted all of 24 hours, and while I wish I could blame my kids for that, I can’t (except the nursing one).

Then, for a late night Saturday date night, I made chicken tikka masala from scratch. I’d found a recipe in another magazine (Shape?) My husband and I like Indian food, and we figured this might be healthier. While the result wasn’t bad, somehow it didn’t taste quite like take-out. I’m not sure if this was because it was healthier (big puddles of grease do taste good!), or if I did something wrong, or if the recipe was off. I’m now in possession of a giant vat of garam masala, and Colman’s mustard powder, so I guess I’ll have to try again. If anyone else has experience in this area, I welcome advice.

Sunday’s dinner turned out much better. I tried the recipe for pork chops with apple cream sauce from the Food Network magazine. There was hard cider, cream, Granny Smith apples, pitted prunes, and shallots. Served with green beans, this was incredibly tasty, and only took about 30 minutes. I think it may be my new favorite way to serve pork. The kids all tried the pitted prunes because I called them “giant raisins.” I’ll consider that a victory.

Other weekend highlights: When I was home with the baby and 3-year-old all Saturday, I got them both to sleep simultaneously. So I took a nap too. This was awesome.

My little brother came to visit and went skiing with the older boys. I stayed up until midnight talking with him on Friday (after we were at a wine tasting — also nice!)

I took my 3-year-old swimming at the Y on Sunday. She is utterly fearless. At one point she wanted to show me her “new move,” which consisted of jumping backwards off the edge of the pool. She hadn’t even checked if I was in a position to catch her.

Photo: The pork recipe

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