What our kitchen has been up to lately

First of all, Jack put together an awesome sour cream coffee cake for breakfast this morning, using the Joy of Cooking recipe. Best coffee cake EVER. He's been great about learning to cook different things, since I'm often nursing when we get hungry. I realized today that there's a definite jargon when it comes to cooking and baking that newcomers might not understand; for instance, "sift together" does not mean to sift each ingredient individually into a bowl, as Jack learned after he remarked that the sugar was easy to sift. After giggling, I explained that it's better to put everything into the sifter, then sift it all together. Funny. It reminds me of those projects from middle and high school where you have to explain something step-by-step to an alien who doesn't understand slang or can't interpolate, etc. So Jack learns.

I've had a lot of fun lately making my own pasta sauce every weekend or two, then putting it in jars in the fridge to pull out for pizza or spaghetti. I've been making my own sauce sporadically for a few years, but I finally feel that I've perfected my technique, so we're happy eating my sauce all the time. I decided it would be much better to make it ahead, rather than waiting until the days when we want pasta or pizza and I have my hands full in the afternoon, and it's worked out really well. Plus, it's lovely to have a pot of tomato sauce simmering away on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. What a great smell. FYI, my "perfect" technique involves adding wine and about a teaspoon of sugar. I used to forget the sugar sometimes, and it wasn't nearly as good.

I also bought my first steak ever at the grocery store a few weeks ago and cooked it with surprising skill. I got one of those little bacon-wrapped filet mignons, seared it in a pan with some olive oil, then finished it in the toaster oven. I've seen the Food Network people pan-sear meat so often that I could have done it with my eyes closed. It turned out so juicy and good. I used to eat about one steak a year, if even that, but since I started breastfeeding, I've been craving heavy proteins like crazy — steak, bacon, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, pepperoni — I suppose in an attempt to give my growing boy the protein he needs. I hope my arteries can catch up after he's weaned.

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I'm giggling at the "sift together" story--I had a slight inner ear infection earlier this week, so John took it upon himself to make some sides for our pork loin leftovers. He says he's going to make Stove Top--easy enough, right? When he brought me the plate of food, the stuffing looked fine but tasted like the ocean! Turns out we only had unsalted butter so he figured that adding extra salt would compensate. We had a good laugh over that one!
Hi Erica,
I laughed at sifting together too. I gave a recipe for pumpklin bread to my chiroprator for his wife cause they liked it so much. Awhile later he said hers was so different. Very crunchy and I had the hardest time trying to figure out why it was crunchy. She is not a real baker and it said half a teaspoon of cloves. And you guessed it, in went whole cloves. I couldnt' believe she did that!!! Had a good laugh about it months later after she got over being embarassed
Tomato sauce is a staple in this house hold. Would you care to divulge your recipe?
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