Life has been unexpectedly hectic this week, with a lively meeting schedule, L's tummy bug, and D's newly-developed knee problem. Times like these I can't imagine not having a menu plan; getting off the highway at 5:30, getting home and having to decide then and there what to make for dinner would result in a much higher percentage of our food budget going to takeout food.
But this week I do have a plan, and I was even able to fit in a few minutes over the weekend to look through the latest issues of my cooking magazines and find a new recipe to try. Cooking Light's latest rendition of Chicken Biryani is my first four-star recipe of the year (I'm going to start putting star ratings in the labels so I can find them again later - not sure why I never thought of that!). It's almost no work at all, and though the result might not be quite what you'd get at a restaurant, it's surely good enough to make a standard at home.
I didn't have a jalapeno, but I upped the ginger, and the result was pleasantly warm without being overly spicy. It took just about the thirty minutes called for, making it quite doable on a weeknight--especially since only the first fifteen of that is "active time." I often have problems when making dishes where the rice cooks along with other ingredients, but it was perfectly done. It made for a very satisfying, warming meal on a cold night.
In other news, I've really been sort of hyperfocused on food lately. I think it's the cold weather, or the passage of the holidays, but all I want to do is burrow into a warm place full of good things to eat. I want to make bread and soups and braise things, I want to have warmth. It's not that I mind the weather, per se; I used to say that I hated winter, but now it seems to present an opportunity of sorts. I sit at my desk drinking tea all day, writing online help and dreaming of muffins, chocolate, stews. Unfortunately I can't spend all day cooking even on the weekends, so I've been doing a certain amount of vicarious living through the written word. I am thoroughly out of temper with Bon Appetit after their recent redesign of the magazine, so when my subscription there runs out I will not renew it. But I might replace it with Fine Cooking.