Abstract Cooking with Zucchini?

Also known as, Cooking Zucchini without a Recipe.

Sauteing zucchini, shallots and garlic
Sauteing zucchini, shallots and garlic

A lot of people enjoy cooking. I'm not one of them. But every now and then I get inspired, and I whip something up. And maybe for my other kindred spirit non-cooks, this side of cooked zucchini will give you something to try.

Today I decided to call my method "Abstract Cooking". But really, it's just the old-fashioned way of opening up the frig or pantry, and throw a couple of things together. But I think Abstract Cooking sounds fancier.

I had this epiphany after a chat with my awesome cooking cousin Alanna (whose own oven timer went "beeeep" near the end of our call, baking some yummy sounding baked bean dish). I looked at the fresh zucchini on the counter and the leftover bacon bits/grease in a pan, and I thought -- hmmm, sautéed zucchini in bacon fat, how bad could it be?

I also tend to cook by smell. If I think certain smells will go together, then my logic is the taste of all those smells should also go well together. No doubt there are plenty of instances where that theory could be proved wrong, but so far, I've been ok with it when freestyling without a recipe. Like today—zucchini, bacon, shallot, and garlic smells definitely go together!

Today was zucchini.

  • Warmed up the bacon bits and a bit of the grease after I had dobbed most of it out of the pan. (About medium to medium low heat.)
  • Cut up some shallots - toss in to saute a bit.
  • Throw in some minced garlic.
  • Thinly slice up the zucchini and add. Flip and stir around so it cooks somewhat evenly to whatever degree of firmness you prefer.
  • The bacon grease has all the salt most people will need. I recommend trying your dish first before adding additional seasoning.
  • I warmed up some leftover spaghetti, added a little olive oil and Pampered Chef Italian Seasoning and a little parm/romano/Asiago grated cheese.
  • And then I ate it all. :) Well, not all. There was some leftover zucchini for another day.

By the way, I love this pot I bought from Pampered Chef, called the Rockcrok. It cost a fair amount of money, especially for a non-cook, so I had to really think "would I use this?" Well I actually do! Probably not as often as someone who cooks all the time, but I do use it more often than a traditional skillet or saucepan. It holds the heat like crazy after you turn it off, so whatever is in it doesn't cool off immediately. Perfect for that second helping and not having to reheat it in the microwave. ;) (Another bonus - you can throw the lid and crock in the dishwasher.)

~Barb Kellogg, photographer, tea drinker, and dark chocolate lover hello@barbkelloggphotography.com

Cookies Aren't Monsters

You Can Never Get Enough Cookies

I recently posted these images on my personal blog, but I had such awesome feedback (like—you made me hungry!) that I wanted to share these with you, too. Looking at these photos again are making ME hungry!

I know it sometimes feels like cookies are monsters. Something about them makes me eat too many. Then I feel bad. So I just decide to endulge every now and then. If it means I just ate four chocolate chip cookies while watching NCIS, then so be it.

How do I defeat the cookie monster?

What I try to do now is only buy a few. Even if it means the per cookie cost is more. That way I can save me from myself. I won't buy a dozen at a grocery store; I'll ask the bakery to break it into four or six. They might look at me funny, but they do it. Why do they never have the really yummy cookies available individually?

And I do have a huge weakness for chocolate chip cookies. And some are better than others. Like these. A high school classmate has a bakery and catering business in Aurora, Minnesota called From the Farm. Her chocolate chip cookies hit all the right buttons for me—a good chocolate chip to dough ratio (meaning at least 50/50), soft, and almost tastes like raw cookie dough, but with a cooked texture. OH MY!! I am so glad I don’t live nearby. I would eat way way WAY too many. Yvette makes breads, desserts, meal type foods like lasagna, meatloaf, etc., and she caters, too. If you're in the Aurora area, she's well worth checking out!

What food is your achilles heel? Your downfall? I want to hear what your tricks are so you don't eat too much? You can comment below.