I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dorm Life

I visited all of the places that I lived while I was in Iowa City. The main address was Stanley Hall Room #334.

Our room was on the 3rd floor, 2nd from the left. You can see it there in the photo. Since we have moved out they bought new air conditioners. Ours was on the lower left of the windows. We had 2 air conditioners during our 4 years in the room. The first one used to freeze up all the time and we would have to turn it off for a couple hours. The second one was used but it worked a lot better even so. We kept it on 24 hours a day from the moment we stepped into the room until we left the next summer. Yes it was on during the winter. I remember because there was a wire that was the thermostat for the air conditioner. In order to get it to turn on in the winter I would take a lighter and hold it to the wire. My room-mate still prefers his room cold as ice at night. I do too, but I haven't been able to afford that level of refrigeration since about 1996. We keep the house/apartment at 78 in the summer, just enough to control the humidity. In winter is when I really sleep well. We used to keep it at 58, but recently we have kept it at a toasty 62.

Hamburg Inn

One of the places I have been lately is Iowa City. I went to the Iowa vs. Ohio State game. I did some stomping around Iowa City.

One of the places I used to go a lot was the Hamburg Inn.

They serve great omlets, shakes and hamburgers. I used to get breakfast there on the weekend and quite often a blueberry shake, which my room-mate always called 'bird poop shakes.'

A really nice thing about that part of Iowa City is the brick streets.

Squash Weather

Its getting to be my favorite time of year again. Its time to make squash and enjoy the leaves. I have been ridiculously busy lately with all sorts of things so I need to do some updates. Here is something tasty - Chicken Cacciatore and Acorn Squash.

Chicken Cacciatore

4 chicken breasts
1 32-36 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed with a potato masher (I got a can of La Belle San Marzano from the Italian grocer but you could use just about anything)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 onion, diced
mushrooms, sliced
1 can chicken broth (14 oz or thereabouts)
1 cup white wine (serve the rest with dinner)
a few dashes dried oregano leaves
a few dashes of dried basil
a few cloves of garlic, minced

Heat some olive oil (or whatever if you can't get olive oil) in a skillet to very hot. Brown each of the chicken breasts on both sides and remove to a plate. Saute the onions, green pepper, red pepper, and garlic. When they begin to soften add the wine,mushrooms, tomatoes, broth and spices. Return the chicken to the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about a half hour to 45 minutes until the sauce thickens up to a stew consistancy.

The Method
Well here is my method for making acorn squash. My recipe is for 1 squash, which should serve 2 people. I split the squash down the middle and scoop out the seeds. Then I put both halves face down in a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Then I poke a few holes in the plastic wrap and put it in the microwave for 15 minutes. Your microwave may cook faster or it may cook slower depending on how strong it is. A good guide is 10 to 20 minutes. You'll know that it is done when it is soft enough to eat. I know some people might consider microwaving food to be a travesty, but it is tough to beat the microwave for cooking acorn squash. It literally steams in its own juices.

Next I preheat the broiler in the oven. While the oven is heating I take 3 tablespoons of butter and put it in a bowl. Add to the bowl 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Then microwave the bowl until the butter is melted. Take that mixture and put some of it into each squash. Then put the squashes face up (you need them to hold the goodies) and put it under the broiler. It will only take a few minutes and you will know it is done when the edges of the squash start to brown a little bit and the brown sugar/butter that has splashed up on top of the squash lip starts to carmelize. Take it out of the oven and serve, but warn people that it will be piping hot. Nothing sucks more than burning the taste off of your tongue.