Thursday, March 09, 2006

A nice day

The wind died down a little bit today. We had nice temperatures in the Rio Grande Valley. The kids and I hung out at home. I made a simple breakfast. I helped my daughter with a school project. My son and I went on a rafting adventure and I read him a couple of his books. For a while, I even made some time to clean the apartment a little. Since I'm not working, we don't use the air conditioner. This brings our electric bill to about $40/month. The bad side to this is that we get a lot of dust all over the apartment. It's not the fine dust that floats around and gently lands somewhere every time you move. It's a brown, gritty dust. It just layers over every horizontal surface. I had time to wash dishes, make the beds, and generally make myself useful around the house.

I made the kids some alphabet sopa with vegetables for lunch. I got the boy to take a nap in the afternoon. I put the girl to work on her project. They both will watch TV all day if I let them, which I didn't. After my wife came home, she brought some groceries so I could cook dinner. I wanted to make ravioli, but we had no spaghetti sauce, which she brought.

The cool thing about having worked at a Chinese restaurant and visited Jason, the boss, at home when he cooked, is that I learned a couple things about cooking. When you buy frozen ravioli, the destructions say that you should boil them for about three minutes. You can make ravioli taste better if you don't boil them.

So first, I sprayed the pan with some cooking spray and added some coursely chopped onions to the pan to caramalize them a little. After they browned a bit, I added some olive oil and chopped mushrooms to the pan and sauteed the mix until the mushrooms browned nicely. For a distinctive taste, you can add a little sliced ginger with the mushrooms. While they browned, I defrosted the ravioli in the microwave for about 5 minutes. I then poured the ravioli into the pan to brown with the shrooms and onions on a medium heat. Browning stuff before adding the sauce gives an extra flavor that you miss if you simply boil the ravioli and add sauce. After the ravioli was nicely browned, I added the spaghetti sauce and simmered for 3 minutes.

Served with a nice side salad and beverage, you have a delicious and filling meal. I thought I would be able to eat more than I did. We all did. So, we have leftovers tonight. The cool thing about this meal, the first time we've had it, is that it didn't cost much and was quick to make. I can usually imagine how something will taste if I know how it was made. In cooking, I imagine forward to how I want it to taste and what I need to do to get there.

There is a shrimp with tortellini in alfredo sauce that I make, which my family loves. But it costs about $30 or more to make. That's just the main dish not including sides and maybe a little wine. It doesn't stick totally with the italian cooking style. I use ginger and a little soy sauce in the preparation. That's where I started browning the stuffed pasta before adding the sauce. Later, I'll toy with the recipe and maybe use dumplings or something wrapped in wonton skins. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

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