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Prompt: The house we live in…
Time: 10 minutes

There is a light in the kitchen by the back door that I look for at night as I pull into the parking lot. It signals warmth, coziness, presence. There is a large, brown couch in the living room, in the shape of an “L,” only each side is equally long. It’s the kind of couch you plop down on at the end of a long day. Or burrow in on days when you feel as rainy as it is outside. The one corner, by the lamp, has a permanent dip where I sit all the time. It’s pronounced, so I make sure that when our guests spend the night that they sleep at the other end. My purple blanket—I like to call it mine—often sits in the corner, folded up. In the kitchen, there is soup on the stove. The hole in the window lets in a small, welcome breeze—we stuff a dish towel in it usually—and the cookbook lays open on the long, but not wide, breakfast-bar-type counter. On it also sits a pin that reads “la cocina que canta”—the kitchen that sings. My apron hangs on a hook by the door; you are using yours. I’ve already made up the table—placemats, spoons for the soup and the yogurt, napkins that usually live in the basket in the corner. I sit, curled up on the couch, reading, breathing in the smells—onions, chicken, carrots, and yes, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. And that song plays in my head for a few minutes until I come up against the part where I lose the melody and am thrust back into the aromas.

Last night I had a big cooking adventure. And when I say big, I am overstating in the minds of most. I roasted a chicken and some root vegetables—but it was my first time on my own. I’m trying to get back into cooking good meals for myself and trying to expand my horizons a bit. Been eating out too much and not well too much lately. In preparation for the little big adventure, I knew I needed some spices for flavor enhancement, and realized I had no idea what herbs and spices are packed away in my cupboard. So I took an inventory. Now, I know fresh herbs are better, but cooking for one and only limitedly within the herb-and-spice realm lends itself to the dried variety.

Spices and Herbs—out from the cupboard and into life

Spices and Herbs—out from the cupboard and into life

Here’s what I found:
ground turmeric
garlic powder
ground cumin
stick cinnamon
ground cinnamon
vanilla powder
whole cloves
whole allspice
paprika
chili powder
garam masala
ground coriander seed
ground nutmeg

Highly reflective of the chickpea masala I’ve made a couple times and a mulled cider recipe I tried out once.

Which left me to buy at the Co-op yesterday:
parsley
sage
rosemary
thyme

Yes, yes, I know. The song. Cheesy. But a great reminder of herbs that are good for chicken (especially soup, which shall be a future adventure). I’ll spare all my vegetarian readers a photo of the cooked chicken. But let me say that it was all very good (and will be for the next couple days as I savor the leftovers). Any recipe suggestions involving any of the spices above most welcome!

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