One of the things that is happening to me as I read these wonderful, wonderful blogs (besides feeling like a complete boob in the kitchen) is that I want to try new things. Reading about new ingredients and cooking techniques has reawakened my desire to get into the kitchen and cook. These blogs list recipes and have beautiful pictures of step-by-step instructions; it kinda makes me want to dump my blog in the trash when I compare mine to them, especially since I seriously doubt that anyone will want to tune into my blog to watch step by step photographs of me opening and nuking a Smart Ones frozen entree or ordering pizza online. But it also wants me to be more creative with my writing and documenting stuff on my blog. So, I am going to try to do just that.
I was reading one of them yesterday - inomthings.com. Ila was writing about these cool things called "roux blocks"; they look like blocks of chocolate and you just chop some or all of it up and simmer it with the rest of your ingredients for yummy sauces. How cool is that?? She has a post about making Hayashi rice and you can buy a hayashi roux block to make the sauce. Well, she can where she lives - this is Billings, Montana. If you can't buy it at Costco, Wal Mart, or Albertson's, you are pretty much SOL as that is all we have out here. And considering that most food markets use the local gastronomic leanings to govern what they purchase for their shelves, the shelves here pretty much lean towards beef and white bread; we aren't very diverse out here. But, inspired by the recipe, I went to the only store in Billings that I thought just might carry something like a roux block - Cost Plus World Market. I luuurve this store, but I have to stay far, far away from the dinner ware, bake ware and candy aisles as it is very easy to spend all of my rent money on stuff for the only room in the house I don't really use - the kitchen/dining room. I was also excited to go out shopping last night because we have finally gotten some warm weather (this means above 32F) and all of the parking lots are finally starting to de-ice. So I went trucking back to the food aisles, determined to find something neat and yummy to try. No roux blocks; in fact, their Asian food aisle was more like a shelf and a half of rice and assorted noodle-y things, a few bottles of teriyaki sauce, and a few pre-packaged fortune cookies. Dang. But, as you can see from the photo below, I did find a few treasures.
The Haribo fruit salad candy is one of my all time favs; the Napolitanke cookies are lemon orange flavored (yum!) and actually fit in really well with the lower carb/low sugar style of eating I am trying really hard to adopt; the two sodas are not such a great fit with that plan (and neither is the fruit salad candy, I know - leave me alone), but I am a sucker for interesting and unusual fizzy drinks - these are an old fashioned black cherry soda and a Key Lime cream soda; and the last item is a jar of Korma Curry sauce - a coconut flavored sauce with Indian spices. The directions say that all I have to do is saute some cubed chicken in a little oil until cooked through, dump in the jar of sauce and let simmer for 20 minutes. I think that I can handle that, even with my severely stunted cooking skills. I think I will add some onions and mushrooms to it as well, and perhaps try my hand at making some couscous to have with it.
Now all I need is a clean skillet.