Friday, November 13, 2009

Variety is the "Spice" of Life!

With Thanksgiving right around the bend, cooking and food, glorious food is on the brain! As you all may know, I adore to cook it up in the kitchen. It is my stress relief, my comfort, my hobby, my art. Although it is tough to commit to a home-cooked meal every night here at the Thornton Manor, I do vow to whip up anywhere from three to four blue plate specials a week. With that being said, grocery excursions occur about once every ten days or so for us, depending on our schedule. As the trips to the local supermarket came and went, I found my self repeatedly reaching for the same spice, continually combing through the same produce and frequently finding my "buggy" filled with the SAME, expected groceries week after week. How could this be? Was I stuck in the monotony of mundane meal times? Were our taste buds secretly yearning for more? Had we lost our appetites and carnal desires for...FOOD?! If I wanted to save our dinner, I knew drastic measures had to be taken- it was time to "spice" things up! They have always said "variety is the spice of life" so what about bringing another ingredient into the kitchen?! Sounded risky, but alas- this spawned my "featured food of the week" program!

From then on, I vowed to pick up one unusual, but still practical ingredient to include in our meal time regime for the next ten days, or until the next shopping trip. The program's maiden voyage was launched with my favorite herb, Cilantro! This citrusy, bright and bold plant made its dinner debut several times during the week. First, it starred in an easy Asian-inspired salad with pineapple chunks, grilled chicken, whole almonds, diced tomatoes, chow mein noodles and ginger, topped with chopped cilantro, sesame seeds and Kraft's Light Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing. For a side dish to burritos on "Fiesta Friday", (please tell me everyone has at least one food themed night a week at their house- you know you do!) we boiled up some rice, substituting one cup of water for chicken stock and threw in the chopped cilantro. At lunch, this award-winning herb emerged yet again among shrimp, butter, chili powder, garlic salt and lime, lightly sauteed and served hot on left-over mashed potatoes! Now those were some good eats!

The program has gained popularity at our home and has allowed us to experience tastes beyond our wildest imaginations! Starting this Sunday, my feature ingredient will be "bourbon" and I got news for ya, it's not just for drinking any more! Let's just hope it makes it into the food...

Have a "featured food of the week" idea and want to share? Let us know!
Be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!