A Nerd Girl's Perspective

My Thoughts on News, Politics, Food, Crafting, Geek Culture, Sociology, and Much More —— Courtney C Horne

Tag: cooking

Build Your Own… Greens

I know for a lot of people kitchen improvisation is intimidating. A friend of mine had an experience during which she tried to improvise cooking carrots. She massively over-seasoned and then started adding all sorts of weird stuff in a desperate bid to salvage them. The result was evidently disgusting but she had cooked all her carrots in the process so she ended up eating them anyways.

The lesson she learned (hopefully) is taste often and you can always add more but you can’t unsalt. But even with that valuable lesson, making things up in the kitchen is something she is terrified of attempting.

I, on the other hand, am a bit of a kitchen maverick. I use recipes on occasion but a lot of what I do is altered or just plain made up. But I can understand why that is not something most people are willing to do. It requires a foundation of understanding the principles of cooking as well as what flavor profiles go together.

Step one to learning to improvise in the kitchen? Watch every episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats. My entire foundation in the kitchen came from watching him. Of course, that would take a long time so here is something you can do while you get started.

There are a lot of basic dishes that you can build upon to experiment with different options. One of my favorite basics is greens. And it is a special one for me to give you my basic formula for because I was scared to cook them for years after a disastrous thanksgiving pot of greens.

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Cooking Past Midnight

Around 6 pm I put some pork, seasoning, apple juice, garlic,  worcestershire, pickle juice, and ketchup in the slow cooker before I went out to an open mic night.

*note to white libertarian suburban boys trying to rap- you don’t sound cooler when you say¬†misogynistic¬†shit*

Around 1 am I pulled the pork out of the slow cooker, and used the liquid to start my sauce.

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Pork with Pear Chutney

On Tuesdays, I am teaching a friend (who is also named Courtney) to cook. We just had our second session. At our first session we made a quiche with broccoli, sharp cheddar, and ham as well as a salad with mixed baby greens, black pepper goat cheese, strawberries, walnuts, hearts of palm, and a homemade herb cane vinegar dressing. It was a pretty quick meal. We did use a pre-made pie crust- which helped it come together without too much fuss.

Tonight we made a more time consuming meal. We started prep work just after 5 and didn’t eat until 8. There was downtime in there but it was quite the project.

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Tea Time

I made delicious orange flavored sweet tea for the fridge. Details follow after the cut.
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The Making of a Chinese-ish Lunch

This post details in pictures what I did in order to make Tony’s lunch for August 3rd. Because its so picture intensive I will cut it after the picture of the completed lunch.

finished lunch

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Crochet, Bento, and Soap


I worked on flowers some more today. Thanks to inspiration based on Josh linking me to a list of free crochet flower patterns, in addition to three flowers resembling those I have already made, I made my very first rose. The pattern includes leaves but I just made the rose part. It also calls for a F hook and I used a G. And goodness knows I didn’t check the yarn size or gauge. It came out great regardless. Here it is along with the other three much simpler flowers I made.

Four Flowers


I made tony a bento style lunch as is my usual routine. Today his lunch included stuff for a roast beef sandwich with tomato and lettuce, a plum, yogurt, and stir fried veggies. I also packed him a snack with dried mango, granola, and a peach cup. The neatest thing about the lunch today is the sauce I made for the veggies. I was inspired by my past efforts to make bourbon chicken. The key to bourbon chicken’s amazing sauce is ketchup! I coated his mixed veggie stir fry in soy, onion powder (which is my favorite pantry stable, I use it and on almost everything), sriracha (which I also use pretty constantly), dark sesame oil, ketchup, and just a touch of brown sugar. The sauce was delicious. I just hope the veggies didn’t get overcooked. I have to go a little al dente since he reheats them later on. Here is the lunch in all its glory:


I took a great bath using the last of my lush bath bomb. I am completely in love with both their products and the amazing patchouli soap I bought at whole foods. I really want to try the basil cinnamon soap from whole foods as well. I also want to try some more of the bath enhancers lush sells. All the fancy soaps have inspired me and I would like to venture into soap making. Buy some bulk soap at hobby lobby and add my own herbs from my garden. I really like the idea of a cilantro soap and all the ones I could find online where cilantro plus something else like pineapple, cucumber, or avocado.

I read this really interesting article. It’s about guy’s opinions of what makes for immodesty based on a survey on a Christianity oriented website. It’s an interesting sociological piece and credit for my awareness to it goes to Josh.