Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Zucchini and Carrots Oh my!!!

Soooo back to cooking!  Yesterday was a bad day for me ('cause I wrote this). I didn't even cook, instead we went out to eat which is rare for me/us. One reason is I do love to cook and sometimes to my step-kids' dismay. I'll cook pretty much anything that looks healthy.  Not very much comes out of a box in this house, not that I abhor Rice-A-Roni or the like, there are some very good boxed meals out there and I would love to buy a box of the fried rice and just throw in some cooked chicken and frozen veggies (as I did a great deal when I was a single mom, working full-time and going to school part-time). Alas, my hubby is right about the amount of sodium in said boxed meals (bad for my blood pressure) and I do find great comfort in cooking.  The second reason I cook most of our meals is simply cost.  Going out to eat is pretty much out of the question because I'm not currently working, maybe once a month for something cheap and simple or a little more up-scale for special days.  Other than that, a cooking I will go!

My husband likes to cook too. Poor guy, I tend to beat him to the kitchen though.  Lately, he's been pushing the whole barbecue idea, probably so he can have a chance to cook too, besides that the weather has been beautiful as it usually is in Arizona.  I have to say, we are very lucky here. The summers may be as hot as hades sometimes, but its year-round barbecue season! Tonight was one of those nights he won out.  We ended up having barbecued pork spareribs, homemade barbecue sauce and Zucchini and Carrot pancakes. Trust me that was quite enough!  Since my step-kids are at their mom's this week, it was just me, my hubby and little miss J.

That girl can be the PICKIEST eater! Meat? If its not bacon, she won't touch it, even if its breaded (she picks the breading off and eats that!).  Potatoes? For sure, if its french fries, other than that only when she's in the mood.  Veggies are hit and miss as well as fruit, though I can get apple slices in her and sometimes bananas.  The only guaranteed items are peanut butter and flavored yogurt. There are times that I am so tempted to slather either one of those things on her food just for the chance to get something else in her.  There are cereals, crackers and nuts that she'll eat too, but one can not live on that alone. I know she's two and this is normal (I've read all about it). We supplement with some gummy vitamins and she's growing, so I know she's not under nourished, mommy's just paranoid and digressing.....

So back to the food!   The pork spareribs were simple, seasoned with one of those spice rubs (Montreal Steak Seasoning) and slapped on the grill.  My hubby smoked them a little bit too, because when had some pecan wood floating around and he likes using his smoker (its so cute).  I was whipping up a batch of Ina Garten's Zucchini Pancakes which are very good on their own, but I still have a bunch of carrots to use up before they go all limp and icky.  The recipe calls for two zucchini and since I only had one, in went some shredded carrots! I also tweaked the amount of grated onion, 'cause a whole onion is a little much for me and I only had yellow onions on hand.  I also added in some chopped fresh sage, rosemary (just a little), oregano and parmesan cheese - just cause I happened to have some! YUMMMM!!!!!

I also made Homemade Barbecue Sauce...ok I admit we were out, so why not whip some up?   This is one of those "a little of this and a little of that" types of recipes - if you can even call it a recipe! There are no actual measurements as I just threw in what I had that sounded good at the moment and it worked! Hooray! This is most certainly something to adjust to your own tastes....

Homemade Barbecue Sauce:

In a small saucepan add:
- a couple of good long squirts of ketchup (sorry no homemade - maybe in a month when our tomatoes grow)
- a dollop of prepared cocktail sauce (I like the kind with horseradish)
- a couple of glugs of Worcestershire sauce
- a small spoonful of horseradish (not the sauce kind - just straight horseradish)
- a spoonful of hoisin sauce
- a dash or two of onion powder
- a dash or two of garlic powder
- a squirt of honey
- a dash or two of chili powder
- some malt vinegar (maybe a tablespoon)
- some balsamic vinegar (again maybe a tablespoon)
- a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce
- a couple of tablespoons of teriyaki  sauce

heat through and stir to combine, salt and pepper to taste and serve! (as my youngest says: Tada!)
Again this is completely changeable to suit your taste, start with a little of each and add more of whatever you want. It turned out a little sweet, a little vinegary and had a little kick from the horseradish.  If and when I make this again, I'll try to actually measure the ingredients and make the adjustments.

To top off my cooking adventure this evening, I made a batch of Farmgirl Fare's lovely Carrot and Herb Rolls.  Sadly, I still have about 8 carrots left to use up!

Thank you, Ina and Susan for helping me make a lovely dinner!

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