Monday, September 27, 2010

A weekend wrapup

The Perfect Housewife isn't moving too quickly today after pulling a muscle in my back on Friday, but I've managed to get a lot done!

I was finally able to try out my asiago and mushroom en croute on Friday. The original recipe called for puff pastry, but the grocery store didn't have any so I bought phyllo dough instead. I am a huge fan of phyllo, especially when filled with spinach and cheese to make a Greek spanokopita (something else I plan to try to make at some point), so I figured it would work out pretty well. Now, I'm normally the type of person who follows the recipe to the letter on my first try, but in this case I wasn't going to visit every grocery store in the Lower Mainland trying to find frozen puff pastry. It obviously exists somewhere, but I have no idea where at this point.

Anyway, it did turn out well. When I make it again, I would add more vegetables to the filling, since I found it to be a bit thin. Also, a single large pie plate was too small for two servings, at least without something else to go with it. I think if we had some side dishes as well it would have been fine. Either way, it was delicious.

Along with the pastry, I decided to tackle two cookie recipes I found on Martha Stewart's website. The first one was called Outrageous Chocolate Cookies. Chocolate is a one of my weaknesses, and I'm always looking for new cookie recipes. They were indeed delicious, but a bit small. They were a hit the next day when my in-laws moved house though.

My second attempt at baking were Peanut Butter Surprises. They were much larger than the Outrageous Chocolate Cookies, but I found them to be a lot more work to make. The dough was extremely sticky and therefore hard to form, and it was tough to really hide the peanut butter as you're supposed to do. Nevertheless, they turned out amazingly, and were also devoured over the weekend.

My last contribution to the perfect household was vacuuming every room, and putting away the mountain of laundry that had taken up residence in our bedroom. Mr. V told me I had to make sure to post that I had even put away his laundry, including folding his t-shirts. I'm not quite sure how folding his shirts makes me the Perfect Housewife, but apparently it does.

Unfortunately my work schedule will keep me away from my apartment tomorrow night, so The Perfect Housewife will return on Wednesday.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The curse of the puff pastry

The Perfect Housewife needs to learn to read directions. I had all these grandiose plans to make Asiago Cheese and Mushrooms En Croute, which involves frozen puff pastry (because I haven't learned how to make it myself yet), with a cheese, onion and mushroom filling. On Monday, I was very proud of myself and went to the grocery store to buy a packet of frozen pastry. Excellent, yes?

Well, it's excellent when you actually read the box. Mr. V pulled the box of pastry out last night so he could help me roll it out onto a pie plate, and discovered that you have to thaw it for five hours before you can use it. Having no desire to eat dinner at 11 p.m., we ended up eating Subway sandwiches instead of a hopefully delicious pastry.

The puff pastry is now thawing, so I will try again tonight.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trying something new

I have accomplished one of my goals! Well, sort of.

Yesterday Mr. V decided that he wanted toast and scrambled eggs for dinner. Now, toast I can do with my eyes closed thanks to the magic of the toaster. However, as I've mentioned before, I have no idea how to cook an egg, since I've never eaten one. So, that was my task for the evening. Surprisingly, it actually worked! Granted those are the easiest type of eggs to make, but at least it made a dent in my plan to learn how to cook eggs.

Today was my first foray into making something I've never made before. I'm a big carbohydrate fan, so anything noodle-related is good with me. As a new reader of Food and Wine Magazine, I decided their website was a good place to start looking for new recipes. Today, I decided to make Vegetarian Red Curry Noodles, which was basically dried Chinese noodles in a spicy sauce made with coconut milk, brown sugar, Hoisin sauce, chili peppers and vegetables. The original recipe called for fish sauce, which isn't vegetarian, so I substituted Hoisin instead.

As an aside, it's very frustrating when recipes call for fish and seafood-based ingredients in a vegetarian recipe. Vegetarians don't eat fish or seafood (those who do are called pescetarians), but it's a common misconception. I can't even count the number of times people have told me I'd be fine eating something, because it didn't have meat in it. When I questioned further, they'd often tell me it has fish stock or some such in it. *Sigh* Not quite vegetarian then.

Anyway, the noodles were quite good. I found them to be a bit too sweet however, so next time I make the recipe I will probably omit the brown sugar and see if that helps. I'd also add some more veggies, because it was a little lower on them than I'd prefer.

Tomorrow, I plan to make grilled portobello mushroom sandwiches with spinach and goat cheese. Delish!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


After over a week of plague in the V household, which unfortunately coincided with the beginning of The Perfect Housewife Project, I have finally done something other than cleaning the house (which, I must say, is very clean right now with the exception of the office.)

Last night, I decided that I was in need of something warm and comforting. It's been bucketing rain for three days, and it's rapidly becoming depressing. So, what did I make? Tomato, chickpea and wild mushroom soup with spinach!

It was delicious. I've made other variations of it before, but this was the first time I used wild mushrooms, which we purchased dried from a local grocery store. It gave a bit of a nuttier flavour than the regular button mushrooms that I usually use. I used some sage to flavour the broth, plus some garlic, onion and a bit of rotini pasta. All in all, I say it was a roaring success, and I was quite happy to have another bowl of it for lunch today.

Tomorrow will probably be leftovers, since I haven't done a good grocery shop since last week. However, I plan to return to cooking something delicious on Tuesday, though I'm not quite sure what it will be yet. I still haven't learned to cook an egg yet, so I'm hoping I can accomplish that next weekend.

My next Perfect Housewife task will be to learn to quickly chop an onion. My chef idol is Gordon Ramsay, and recently on MasterChef he taught the contestants how to perfectly dice an onion. My efforts last night while making the soup were sadly lacking, so I have set myself the task of chopping an onion like Gordon Ramsay as my newest mini-project. I'm sure we'll be up to our ears in my practice onions, but at least I can always put them to good use in spaghetti sauce, stir frys or veggie wraps.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The plague of death

Well, the plague of death has hit The Perfect Housewife. Sadly, this has curtailed my plans, though unlike Mr. V I don't plan on surviving on neon yellow chicken noodle soup until it goes away. Time to mainline Cold FX, vitamin C and orange juice until the virus exits my system.

In good housewife news, I have plenty of time to look up wonderful recipes and make plans for next week when my throat stops hurting and my back and head stops aching. I still plan to learn how to cook eggs, so we'll see how this weekend plays out.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cooking again

Finally, I cooked a real meal for Mr. V and myself that didn't include soup. It was kind of exciting. Granted he's still snorking up a lung, but at least he's able to eat my cooking again.

So, today I made vegetable yaki udon. I don't eat sushi (vegetarianism and all that), so that's been what I eat when we go out for sushi. It's basically stir fried vegetables with soy sauce and black bean sauce, mixed with udon noodles that we picked up at the local Asian supermarket (a plus of living in Vancouver, with its large Asian population.)

Mr. V has made it several times, but today I made him teach me as well. This whole project is about expanding my repetoire beyond vegetable soup and spaghetti, thus I'm going to pump everyone's brain about what they like to make. And of course, who better to start with than my own husband?

A slight issue that I have discovered en route to my Perfect Housewife designation is that I, like many people, am fairly careful about what I eat. I am unfortunately not blessed with a fast metabolism that allows me to eat whatever I want and never gain weight. However, a lot of the delicious food I have been perusing recipes for are not exactly low fat or low calorie. So, a new twist on my Perfect Housewife project will be to not only cook delicious food and keep the perfect household, but also to attempt to find lower calorie alternatives that don't lack the amazing taste that wonderful chefs are able to create every day.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Another small step

I've decided that a good first step to being a Perfect Housewife would be learning to cook an egg. I don't eat eggs (I use them in baking, but that's about it), so it's never something that I learned how to do. However, watching my husband make scrambled eggs yesterday morning, and after seeing Gordon Ramsay make contestants on MasterChef make him an egg dish as the first challenge, I figure it may be something worth knowing. I'm not sure what type to start with, but I'm thinking scrambled would be the best. Thus, this coming weekend I will force Mr. V to teach me to make scrambled eggs, and then I will force him to eat them as my guinea pig.

Domestic goddessery otherwise eluded me today, due to being at work, but I have high hopes for tomorrow when I'm in charge of cooking dinner. I'm hoping Mr. V will be over the worst of his cold and will be up for more than his chicken soup and apple sauce.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The plague

You know what? Being the Perfect Housewife is a lot easier when your husband, the recipient of this perfect housewife-ing (it's totally a word) is not hacking out a lung. It's very hard to clean the house when he's snorking, and it's extremely annoying when you've been perusing Food and Wine magazine and Martha Stewart Living for some delicious meals, and all he wants to eat is Campbell's chicken noodle soup. The bright yellow one in the box. This is not helping my goal Mr. V!

*Sigh*, anyway. I have a clean house! Well, that's not true (Perfect Housewives never lie, even on their blogs.) I have a clean living room, den and kitchen! I vacuumed, washed the glass sliding doors and cleaned the coffee and dining room tables! We're not going to discuss the state of our office, currently the home of a pile of wedding stuff that I have to find a home for, including my wedding tiara and possibly my veil. I suggested wearing my veil around the house as a testament to my skills as The Perfect Housewife, but I was overruled. Maybe in a couple more weeks when Mr. V is no longer coughing his lungs out and I can actually cook something other than neon yellow chicken noodle soup for him.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day One

It's probably easier to start The Perfect Housewife Project on a day when you're not working as well, so today was that day! Granted it wasn't the best start, but c'est la vie.

Due to missing my husband's birthday a few weeks ago due to being at work, we went out for a belated birthday dinner at Glowbal in Yaletown. Delicious it was, but perfect housewife-wise, it was not. Somehow I don't think Martha Stewart would be giving me points for taking my husband out for dinner instead of preparing it with my own little hands. However, there's no way I could have made any of what he had, from the prime rib burger to the kobe meatball satay. The dessert on the other hand? Perhaps that is something I could look into. Lemon meringue cheesecake? It's an ambitious thought, but I will give it a shot at some point.

However, I was an excellent cleaning fairy today. Though I didn't bring out the vacuum, I did manage to clean up our living room, den and kitchen, which was a feat in itself. The only thing left is to Windex the coffee table and windows, which I plan to do tomorrow as well as vacuum and wash the linoleum floors.

Day one of my newest project is complete; it's a small step towards domestic goddessery, but as that old saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Today, my single step was tidying up, and that's way better than nothing at all.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In the beginning...

I can't claim to be the type of woman who keeps her house clean with a smile and lays out a beautiful meal for her handsome husband every night as soon as he gets home from work. I can't even claim to have been that little girl obsessed with being the perfect homemaker from a young age, as my mother can certainly attest to.

However, I have discovered a new-found love for domestic perfection. It began when my now-husband and I moved into our first apartment, just over a year ago. Suddenly, a switch flipped in my head and I wanted to show everyone who ever doubted me that indeed, I could have a beautiful house and be the perfect hostess. That love for amazing food, perfect hostessing and a gorgeous home has only gotten stronger since our wedding, just six weeks ago.

That love has manifested itself in my new project, to become the perfect housewife. I am determined to teach myself to cook delicious food, become a great hostess who pulls off dinner parties without breaking (too much of) a sweat, and keeps a beautiful house (or apartment, in this case), all while keeping my job and social life.

While I am not a praying woman, I now put my fate in the hands of the patron saint (or domestic goddess) who deals with these types of things. Perhaps my faith would be better placed in the hands of Martha Stewart?