British Cookbooks

Over the weekend we decided we needed some more cook books. I know I am incredibly lucky that Jono LOVES cooking (and is actually really good at it). However, we have been making up dishes such as:

Jono sauce(as it is now known)
This is pretty much just his home-made tomato based pasta sauce, but with lots of onions and some other ingredients that I’m not privvy to, as I mostly just stay out of his way in the kitchen. Once he puts his iPod on with some podcast or audio book, I’ve lost my chance.

Our other favorites include:

Parmesan Italian Chicken:

1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 envelope Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing & Recipe Mix
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved (about 2 pounds)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Mix cheese and salad dressing mix. Moisten chicken with water; coat with cheese mixture. Place in shallow baking dish. Bake 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Balsamic Pork Chops

4 cloves of Garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
4 Tbsp. veg. oil
6 Tbsp. butter, cut into tablespoons
8 center-cut, loin pork chops, 1 inch thick
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Make a paste of the  garlic, salt, rosemary, and pepper.
Mix in 2 Tbsp. of the oil and rub the chops with this.
In a large heavy skillet heat a Tbsp. of the oil and a Tbsp. of the butter until it sizzles.
Add 4 of the chops & cook until browned on the bottom, 1 minute.
Turn & brown on the other side, 1 minute.
Reduce the heat and cook until moist but not pink, 8 minutes.
Transfer to a plate to rest, cover and keep warm.
Remove burnt grease and bits from the pan.
Add another Tbsp. of oil & a Tbsp. of butter to the pan and repeat with the other chops.
To make the sauce, remove old grease and loose solids from the pan.
Add the vinegar to the pan and let it boil to reduce it and stir to loosen cooked particles that stuck to the pan (this is deglazing).
Add any meat juices that came out of the chops onto the plate while they were resting.
Turn off the heat and add the remaining 4 Tbsp. of butter 1 Tbsp. at a time stirring it in.
I always double the ingredients for the sauce since we like it so much.  Don’t worry about strictly measuring the 1st 4 ingredients, it’s only seasoning.

AMAZING. This has been modified as of late, by adding onions which I can’t say that I LOVE. They add a sweet flavor that seems to contradict the balsamic taste that I love.

I won’t bore you with more recipes, but the point was that we only have a few stand by options for dinners. So much so that Jono barely even makes a grocery list anymore, just buys the same things every week. I’m getting bored! We were in Borders this weekend to look for cook books and on one of the bargain racks for $5 each they had a TON of cook books — JACK POT. Of course I loaded up on a bunch and came home with more than enough meal ideas. Everything from 30-min meals to meals with only 3 or 4 ingredients. That night I sat down with them and my most beautiful post-it flags to mark the ones I want to try. Just to find out that they are all published in the UK which means the primary means of giving measurements are in grams, Celsius and ounces! UGH! I swear, I bought cook books for living in the UK…ALL OF THEM. I couldn’t believe it but Jono got a good laugh. Luckily they put in parenthesis the correct cup measure and oven temps in Fahrenheit. Though no teaspoons or tablespoons…

Speaking of wrong measurements…Jono made me a roast with gravy and roasted potatoes for Valentine’s day and it was great! Much better than last year when he attempted the same dish and got too confused with oven temps from C to F and nothing came out well at all. Bravo.

The snow luckily has stopped for now, but it sure hasn’t gone away! We ended up having a week off from work, there was so much. I think the final count was more than 50inches in the DC area! CRAZY. The federal government was closed for 4.5 days with multiple delayed starts after that.  The storm lent itself to names such as:

Snowgasm
Snowpocalypse
SnowOMG
Snowoverload

and many more. You get the idea. There were twitter co-ordinated snowball fights in large areas of DC, snow balls thrown at Police officers, along with many power outages. My parents house has been out of cable (TV and internet) since early last week. Comcast (the provider) has given my mom such poor service, that she is switching to Verizon Fios who claims they can install next day! For comcast to not restore service after more than a week and to then tell her that they don’t even know when they can repair her line, is enough to drive anyone to a new company. The snow everywhere now is just piled more than 10feet high at curbs and in parking lots by tractors etc because there is no where else to put it. On some high ways they are even closing lanes to fill up trucks with the extra snow and take it away!

Here are a few ice pictures from around the office:


We have icicles all over our house. Mostly they seem to have covered the entire  chimney  which is on the front of the house,  with some death weaponry looking icicles hanging off all of the gutters. I can’t wait until it melts.

In other news…

We’ve been engagement ring shopping! Crazy! But some how not.  There is only one more place we want to look but I think we have it narrowed down to a ring that will look similar to this:

With all the visa rules, paper work and general timing of all things, we are looking at getting married this fall!! There is a lot to figure out with immigration services and visa guidelines, so we’ll keep everyone posted. I am so excited. I know that this is what’s right for me, and for us. We’ve taken our time, considered all angles (and continue to) and have been keeping everything open communication, which has been the best thing we could ever do.

I’m headed to NYC a week from Saturday to represent my company at the New York Times Travel Show.  I get to go alone and man our company’s booth, telling show attendees about our consumer Web site, www.travelsense.org (which has GREAT travel tips) and showing them how to find a travel agent. I’m really excited!

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Posted on February 17, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I thought that was OUR special recipe, L! The parmesan chicken one! I’m a little jealous – I’m not going to lie.

    The ring you’ve picked out is B-E-A-UUUUUTIFUL!! I LOVE it! I can’t wait to start planning a WEDDING!! EEK!

    SO happy some of the snow is finally melting. Let’s get together soon, ok?

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