Friday, November 6, 2009
There are reasons for the title of my blog. And don't worry, I'm recommending to not use the year and a half past its expiration mayonnaise despite the website saying it's safe to eat.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Luckily for both you and me, this ended up being a very delicious dinner that pulled double duty, creating a full fledged 2 meals for 4-5 people. Oh snap. On top of it all, the original dinner was vegetarian (and easily made to be vegan) and the second version, actually vegan.
I've probably lost you and you're likely wondering what it is I'm blathering on about. Well, if you'll recall, Michelle over at Thursday Night Smackdown hosts Hobo/Tight Ass Tuesday the first Tuesday of every month. And every month has themes. This month, we were charged with creating a fusion dish all while keeping it to $5 for 2 or $4 for 10. Fusion cuisine: Why bastardize one culture when you can shame as many as possible at once? For a while I was stumped. I was baffled. What could I possibly do?
Not wanting to be "that guy" and throw fallafel in a taco shell, I devised the following. It occurred to me that Italian and Thai cooking share a number of ingredients, concepts and even cooking methods. With this realization, I started formulating something of a curry tomato cream sauce.
Thai Red Curry, Tomato and Coconut Milk Sauce with Ravioli
2 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbs thai red curry
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
zest of 1 lime
1 tsp sugar
7 oz lite coconut milk
salt and pepper
1 60 pieces ravioli
Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add garlic and onion. Cook until onion starts to become translucent. Add curry and mix well. When the curry becomes fragrant, after about a minute or two, add tomatoes, lime and sugar. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes. Blend thoroughly. (I love my immersion blender) Add the coconut milk and let simmer for at least another 20 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the water for and cook the pasta. Season the sauce to taste, plate and serve!
You will only need about half the sauce for 5 servings of ravioli.
Pan Fried Potato Crisps
4 medium white potatoes
Wash potatoes well and slice 1/3" thick. Heat 12" sauce pan or skillet. Coat well with cooking spray. Place potatoes in a single layer in the pan. You will probably need to do this in two batches. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes, flip and do the same on the other side. Remove from heat, sprinkle with salt on both sides. Enjoy.
Cost Break Down
olive oil - pantry
garlic - pantry
onion - FREE!
tomatoes - $0.50
sugar - pantry
curry - pantry
lime zest - (what the hell is the zest worth? let's say...) $0.25
coconut milk - $0.50
frozen ravioli - $2.67
potatoes - FREE!
cooking spray - pantry
Total: $3.92 for 5 servings or $0.784 each.
So, first, the free potatoes and onions came with a coupon. We walked into the grocery store last weekend and were handed a coupon. Free 5lb bag of potatoes, 2lb bag of onions and 2lb bag of carrots if you bought of roast of 3lbs or more. So obviously we did. The roast made a lovely meal and leftovers of hot open faced sandwiches. I'm still working my way through some of the root vegetables. Obviously. Also helping with the price is truly that only half the sauce is needed. Don't worry, that was used and has all been eaten as well. So has the poor zested lime in my new favorite addiction.
For the other portion of sauce... Peel 4 white potatoes. Cut into about 1/2" cubes. Boil for 15-20 minutes until soft. Drain. Combine sauce, potatoes and about 3/4 bag thawed frozen peas. Heat through, serve over rice.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
So, according to Home Goods, I'm Glamorous Eclectic - and here's what that means:
You are a Glamorous Eclectic
You have wide-ranging interests and influences and so appreciate a mix of whatever you deem fantastic. You would be bored to tears using a matching suite of furniture or could never stand a home that seemed cookie-cutter. You fearlessly embrace luxury, beauty and fun. Velvet, silver, graphic patterns, even wallpaper; you understand the old-Hollywood, movie star sense of theatrical extravagance. You do not understand the minimalist idea of less is more. For you, more is more, so long as it is chic and exciting.
You value comfort. Your home is a warm and open friendly place, and you feel happiest when everyone is cared for and relaxed in your space. Elements like pillows, throws, overstuffed furniture, and good lighting set the mood. You may also enjoy layering different fabrics or mixing patterns to create a cozy effect.
Weirdly, it's mostly sort of true. My taste is all over the place, fortunately, theoretically, I have professional training and experience to help me hone it and keep it in check. What's your home style?
Friday, September 4, 2009
Also, I have a confession to make. I'm a real hobo. Well, of sorts anyway. I'm not homeless by any stretch of the imagination. But I am camera-less. In the flurry of moving, it seems to have up and disappeared. This could be my subconscious forcing me to buy a new one. (ahem! what should I buy???) In true hobo form, I've been mooching off of boy and using his camera. Which is in his G1 phone. That's right, camera phone pictures. As bad as my pictures were before, I can firmly say that that is why the quality of photos has really dropped off as of late. Granted, for a phone, they're really good pictures.
Today, I request the pictures of Sunday evening's meal for posting and submission purposes. And I am, apologetically, told that when he reformatted his phone earlier this week, the pictures were lost. Beggars can't be choosers, I suppose. So sorry. This hobo lost her pictures. (I really fucking need a camera. And I actually got a good shot of a dish that was basically just a bunch of mush. Cilantro sprig and all. For shame.)
But, tale of woe aside, there was still food. Cheap food. That tasted really good. I might be a hobo, but a girl's got to eat.
Spicy Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Cilantro
2 small to medium eggplants halved lengthwise
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 Santa Fe Grande Chili, seeds and ribs removed, coarsely chopped
1/8 - 1/4 c canola oil
3 tbs finely chopped, peeled ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 c chopped, fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 350. Oil or coat with cooking spray a rimmed baking sheet. Place eggplant halves flesh side down on the baking sheet. Roast eggplant until the flesh is soft, about 1 hour. After letting it cool slightly, scoop out the pulp with a spoon into a bowl and mash it up. Or, you can do what I did, use your hands and smoosh it right into the mixture when it's ready for the eggplant.
Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until soft to golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add ginger and stir for about 1 minute. Add garlic and stir for another minute (those two steps probably could have been combined). Add the tomatoes, cumin, paprika, coriander and cayenne. Saute for 5 minutes to let the flavors combine. Next, add the eggplant (this is eggplant smooshing time for all you hands on cooks out there), and stir until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
Spiced Potatoes and Green Beans
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbs canola oil
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 c finely chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp minced, peeled fresh ginger
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 c water
3/4 tsp salt
1 handful of fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into approx 1" pieces
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard to pan, saute 30 seconds or until it becomes fragrant. Add the onion, saute for 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in chili powder, garlic, cumin, coriander, ginger and turmeric. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the potatoes and cook for another two minutes. Add water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered for about 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add beans, cover and cook 5 minutes or until beans are wonderfully tender, but still have that nice crunch. Or, you know. Until you finish cooking your na-an which took way longer than you thought. Add the cilantro and serve.
Na-an from a box - follow the directions there while I hang my head in shame. To further cut costs and shame, serve with rice, a pantry staple.
So the cost break down (I'll count my farm share stuff as I have, unlike *cough* some people)-
Farm share eggplant - $1.00
Onions - $1.80
Chili - $0.40
Canola oil - pantry staple
Garlic - pantry staple
Ginger - $0.20
Farm share tomatoes - $1.00
Cumin - pantry
Paprika - pantry
Coriander - pantry
Farm share cilantro - $1.00
Farm share potatoes - $1.00
Farm share green beans - $0.50
Chili powder - pantry
Mustard powder - pantry
Turmeric - pantry
Water - faucet
Salt - really?
Boxed na-an - $1.80 (makes twice what you need for this meal)
Total - $8.70 for 5 servings or $1.74 each.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
I was away all last week so intended to make it for dinner Saturday or Sunday evening. But Saturday was a beach day followed by picking up our newest roommate, Bailey, getting her acclimated and stoop night with the new neighbors. Sunday brought key cutting, gift purchasing and shower attending followed by grocery shopping. We we stuffed and it was late. So the dish was made last night. But will not be consumed until lunch today.
It all smelled super wonderful. Bailey kept coming over to sniff for anything that might have made it to the floor. There weren't any figs in the grocery, so I made a plum gravy.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Not wanting to spend much time in the kitchen, not wanting to turn on the oven and in a flurry of unpacking, I kept this week's choice exceptionally simple. Don't worry, I was sure to not skimp on the scrumptious factor.
This is, apparently, the Best Tzatziki Sauce Ever. Well, maybe I added the ever, but that would be my guess. I'm so lazy, I'm not even going to post up the recipe itself. But, what you want to know is...
Was it good?
Yes. I may never buy store bought again.
Was it easy to make?
Again, yes. Simple, straight forward directions. It's hard to mess up, even for me. Admittedly, it would have been easier had I had a food processor.
Will you make it again?
I most certainly will. I can't vow off the store bought stuff and not replace it.
Friday, August 7, 2009
So instead of dazzling us with her julienne skills or presenting something so mouthwatering I could hardly stand it, she presented a contest. Submit your most comfortable comfort food.
I love comfort food. It's almost entirely the only thing I cook. And I love winning. And I'm really indecisive. Which is where the conundrum comes in. What to submit?? We're really only supposed to offer one. (Unless you link in your blog, which I did. We'll see if I want to cheat.) To muddy the waters up even more, I can submit something from someone else's blog!
What should I make?
Things already posted on the blog that I think could work include:
Challah French Toast
Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese (though she did say there's only so much mac and cheese she can eat)
Name TBD (suggestions?) Chicken with Crispy Chicken Skins
Things I make not on the blog (yet):
Aunt Eve's Beef Brisket
Pumpkin Curry Soup (this I even have pictures of)
Tuna Melts w/ sweet potato fries (I also have pictures of this)
Matzoh Ball Soup
Chicken Rice and Veggies Soup
Pasta and Meat Sauce
Greek Penne Pasta
Things that I have made but aren't mine:
Chicken with a-crap-ton of Garlic
...I just realized I needed to stop. Okay. Suggestion time! (Last time I did this, nobody offered advice.That makes me a sad panda.)
Monday, August 3, 2009
And with that, I decided to create my hobo submission this evening. I hope that Michelle and the other hobos can forgive me. Especially if I mention that on top of moving, there has been a bit of neck shitting in my neck of the woods lately.
To note, Whip It Up's spicy challenge fell on the same week as August's Hobo Challenge, the theme of which is also spicy food.
So I'm really not sure what to call this.
8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs, skins removed and reserved
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tbs chipotle chili pepper
1 tbs paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
sprinkle of basil
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in pan. When glossy, add the onion and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes, 1/2 can worth of water and spices. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover for about 40 minutes.
Turn off the heat, and remove chicken from pot. In a large bowl, shred the chicken away from the bones. Reserve bones for stock to be made in the future.
Return the shredded chicken to the tomato and spice mixture, bring heat back up to a simmer. Add the peppers, salt, pepper and add spices to taste. I ended up adding a decent amount more of all the spices - mostly because I've really been enjoying hot food lately. Serve when the peppers are cooked through, but still crisp.
Serve over brown rice.
And remember those chicken skins? Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and the spices of your heart's desire. Lay flat on a baking sheet, place in an oven heated to 400 degrees until desired doneness. I like mine nice and crispy - I think it took about 20 minutes.
The cost breakdown:
3.81 lbs chicken thighs - $3.77 (on sale)
crushed tomatoes - $1.00
green pepper - $0.78
red pepper - $1.80
farm share onion - $0.50 (again, I don't really know what it's worth)
all the rest - pantry staples.
Cost per serving: $1.57
A serving included...the spicy chicken stuff, brown rice and crispy chicken skin
Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post. They're locked away in my camera until I can find the associated cord. Silly me didn't have my memory card in the camera whilst taking them and I was hoping to find the cord while packing. This didn't happen.
The second apology is for missing the deadline. All that packing I was doing was so that I could move. This past weekend. I was smart enough to have the foresight to make this dish on Monday this past week, but that's where my non-moving-dedicated energy stopped. Do I still get credit? I hope so!
In terms of this week's theme, I really like spicy food. These days, the spicier the better. When I was little, I didn't much care for spicy food at all. But the past few years I've enjoyed it. The past few months, I crave it from time to time. I've also recently been introduced to the jalapeno popper. The kind they have at pizza places with the dubious yellow "cheese" doesn't even come close to the creamy-amazingness of the cream cheese kind that they served at a local establishment. Yes. Served. When I found out this particular app was being taken off the menu, I knew I would need to figure out an alternative.
So a few months ago, I set about looking for a baked (because I don't much care for frying at home, but more because I wanted it to be a healthier option) jalapeno popper with cream cheese recipe. As a part of my search, I found, made and fell in love with this recipe. Yes, I know. It's Emeril. But you know that I didn't buy his Essence. I mixed my own.
And one night, not long before Whip It Up, while making these poppers, I had a thought. Why not take the greatness that are these jalapeno poppers and combine them with another of the greatest recipes of all time. And that's when the idea for this week's submission was conceived.
The day I made this, I wanted to look online and see if this was a truly original idea, or if it'd been tried before. This was the first link I found (and the only real recipe I saw in the small amount of time I spent looking). I almost didn't make it because she had made it. But then I remembered how I was thinking of making it, and it sounded a thousand times better than her recipe. I'm glad I didn't back out.
Jalapeno Popper Baked Macaroni and Cheese
1 lb pasta (I used medium shells)
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 10 3/4 oz can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup
3/4 soup can 1% milk
1 tbs cayenne pepper
1 tbs cumin
6 jalapeno popper, seeds and ribs removed. cut in half the long way then sliced
1 28 oz can diced or petite diced tomatoes
3 oz shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
Bread Crumb Topping
1/2 c plain bread crumbs
2 1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried leaf oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
Preheat oven to 350.
Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. When the water is boiling, add pasta and cook until a minute or two under al dente. The medium shells took 10 minutes. Drain the pasta well, and rinse immediately with cold water to stop from cooking any further.
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients of the bread crumb topping and set aside.
Meanwhile, blend together cream cheese, and cheese soup. When combined, add the milk and spices. In a 9x13 casserole dish, combine the cheese mixture and pasta. Next, add the tomatoes, jalapenos and shredded cheddar cheese. When well combined and distributed evenly in the dish, sprinkle with the bread crumb topping.
Place in the oven and back for 45-55 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and topping brown and crispy. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Was it good?
Oh my goodness yes. I was somehow able to restrain myself from eating the entire dish in one sitting. It made it all the way to three meals, or six servings.
Was the recipe easy to follow?
I was sort of making it up as I went along - but this is a merge of my grandmother's baked macaroni and cheese, which is fantastic and easy and those poppers, which is the same.
Will I make it again?
You bet your butt I will. And if you're lucky, maybe I'll share.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
But when I saw her post for a Best Birthday Cake, I thought it was the cutest thing ever and wanted to try it. Except that (any day now) I'm a whole year away from a first birthday party. And really, I bet the mom is going to want to bake the cake, not have me do it. You can imagine my excitement when two days after I saw the cake, a friend sent an email for a first birthday bbq. (for her puppy)
So, in honor of Maddie, I
Funny thing, when you wake up somewhere around 3 ro 3:30 in the morning, can't get back to sleep and decide, at 5:15am decide to get up, and bake a cake instead of continuing to just lie there.
Well, blame it on the hour, the tiredness or whatever you want... but I didn't precisely follow some of the directions. And I forgot to hit the pan for the second layer, so there were a few bubbles on the bottom! (and I doubted this myth, silly person that I am) And then the top layer wasn't fully cool when I placed it on the second to continue icing, so the top layer started sliding and wouldn't stop until I put the finished product in the fridge. And then upon eating... it's a little denser than it probably should have been. But I blame that solely on my direction following ability.
Ah well. I'm still really proud of my first ever cake from scratch AND layered cake effort. I may be a baker yet. maybe.
Tom Yum is one of my favorite soups of all time. It's absolutely part of how I judge and remember a Thai food restaurant. Part of what I loved was the crisp, sweet spiciness of the cauliflower in the dish. The green beans weren't too shabby either.
So when I got both cauliflower and green beans in my farm share last week - I needed to try to emulate the wonderful, wonderful result that is vegetables in Tom Yum soup. You know, without the soup because I tried that once and am far from perfecting it.
This was a little over cooked due to multi-tasking. And a little too spice due to underestimating the chilies I was working with. But I'm determined to figure this shiz out.
Tom Yum Inspired Vegetables
1 medium head cauliflower
1 handful fresh green beans
(or whatever vegetables tickle your fancy)
2-4 shakes cayenne pepper
1/2 to 1 c chicken broth
2 dried ancho chilies (I wanted 1 birds eye chili)
Add chicken broth and chilies to sauce pan and bring to a simmer.
In the mean time, break down cauliflower into bite sized florets . Remove the ends from the green beans and cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch lengths. Sprinkle with paprika and cayenne pepper (Can you tell I didn't trust the chilies to be spicy? I'm bright.). Add vegetables to simmering broth. Stir to coat vegetables and work spices into broth. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Drain broth and return vegetables to pan. Saute for another 2 minutes.
(I modified the written cooking times from what I did because, obviously, what I did wasn't quite right.)
(See that picture next to it? That's what it was "supposed" to look like.)
This week's challenge is a healthy option. I (generally) try to eat well on a day to day basis. And because of this, I know that the (not so) occasional craving hits for something that is (far, far) less than healthy. So, why not take this week's challenge and embrace those cravings - just in a version that wouldn't derail a day's (or week's) efforts?
To keep the health factor rolling, I served it with simmered/sauteed green beans and cauliflower and mashed potatoes made with chicken broth, Parmesan, Garlic Garlic, Onion Onion, and a touch of shredded reduced fat mozzarella. Delicioso!
Courtesy of Cooking Light... (originall recipe found here)
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt, divided
6 bone-in chicken drumsticks, skin removed
1/4 c canola oil
Combine flour, ginger, paprika, nutmeg cinnamon and 1/2 tsp salt in a large zip-lock bag. Rub chicken with the other 1/2 tsp salt. Place chicken pieces in zip lock bag one by one. Seal the bag and shake. (Shake and bake! and I helped!)
Once well coated, remove from bag and place on a plate, platter, whatever you have (a rack over a plate is probably best) and put it in the fridge for an hour to an hour and a half to let the flour mixture settle on the chicken. Discard extra flour mixture.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan and reduce heat to medium-low. The trick is finding the right temp - too high and the outer coating will brown well before the chicken is done cooking, too low and the chicken will absorb too much oil. Cook for 25-30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.
When the outer coating is brown and chicken cooked, remove from the pan and place on a platter with paper towels (really, the brown bags on a rack is better, but I don't have those). Let rest for 5-10 minutes, turn half way through.
Because this is the healthy options week, here's the health information (Probably a little different because of my ahem modifications)
- Calories: 245 Fat: 10.1g (sat 2g,mono 4.1g,poly 3g) Protein: 28.2g Carbohydrate: 9g Fiber: 0.8g Cholesterol: 87mg Iron: 1.8mg Sodium: 240mg Calcium: 17mg
Was it easy?
Yes! I forgot to get the peanut oil, but the canola worked well. I also didn't' read some of the directions so well - so my spice ratio is different than the original.
Was it good?
Yes! ...but still not quite the fried chicken real deal.
Would you make it again?
To be honest, I think I prefer grilled chicken to this method...put perhaps.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
But then when I went to make it tonight, I figured out I had only the orzo and shallots. And so using it as an inspiration, that is where our two recipes part ways. Whew.
Orzo with Green and Fava Beans
1 1/2 c. dry orzo pasta
1 shallot diced
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs capers
1/4 - 1/2 c. shelled fava beans, white casing removed
1 c. green beans, cut to 1" lengths
1 glug white wine (about 1/4 cup)
1 tbs dijon mustard
6 - 7 slices turkey bacon
2 tbs fresh diced parsley
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 415
Fill a medium pot with water, salt lightly and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente according to directions on the box. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.
Place turkey bacon on a baking sheet and place in oven until crispy. About 15 minutes. No need to flip. Remove from oven until cool. Dice/crumble.
Add olive oil to pot. When heated, add shallots and capers until shallots are translucent. Add white wine, dijon mustard. Combine well. Stir in cooked orzo and bacon. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and add parsley.
After plating, top with parmesan shavings.
Personally, next time, I wouldn't add the capers. That's it. I would have liked more fava beans as well, but I used all I had. The contrasting crunch of the green beans was very nice.
I direly need a new camera. The one I have is only a few years old. However, it takes forever to turn on, does not have a micro-zoom (or whatever the take pictures of things, like food, close up feature is called), somehow it needs to be really bright or the picture comes out fuzzy, even with the flash a lot of the time.
Just generally, it's no longer cutting it.
I want a small one that I can put in my pocket. I can't tell you how much I loved being able to keep my camera in my side pocket while hiking the Inka Trail. Easy access = key, even for a camera.
It has to be easy to use. I've been known to threaten physical violence against electronics, and mean it.
Ideally, it would be able to take pictures of the beautiful vistas from hikes and ocean visits, antics of friends and glamor shots of my kitchen adventures (food porn) all
And probably some other features I want but am forgetting.
So I ask, what do you use? What should I look for? Do you know the perfect camera for me?
Monday, July 13, 2009
...I'm such a dork.
But this totally made my night. The fantastic dinner of black bean burgers and healthy potato skins definitely helped. But when I sat down at the computer to do some work, at midnight, I wasn't looking forward to the next hour. And then I saw Thursday Night Smack Down's post.
This, of course, means I need to play again next month. And need to step it up. Hopefully it'll be a long time before she realizes I don't eat pork. I think it'll lower my standing in her eyes.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I'm also not much of a chain restaurant person. I like eating local, supporting local business and seeing what the best chefs in town are capable of creating for my own gastronomic pleasure. And then there's the one food dish that I crave far more often than anyone should crave something from a national chain.
PF Chang's Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps (this version on Recipeezaar)
1 tbsp hoison sauce
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry (I used an open bottle of red table wine)
2 tbsp oyster sauce (omitted because I could not find vegetarian oyster sauce)
2 tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp corn starch
2 tsp dry sherry (same as above)
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp Chinese chili sauce (I use Sambal Olek)
2 tsp water
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 c baked tofu (recipe used below), diced
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 green onions, minced
1/4 large red onion, small diced
4 oz bamboo shoots, diced
4 oz water chestnuts, diced
1 8oz package cellophane noodls (could. not. find. Help!!)
1 head ice burg lettuce (or your wrapping lettuce of choice)
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp dry mustard (Coleman's)
1 tbsp water
1 tsp Chinese chili sauce
While the tofu is baking...
Mix cooking sauce in bowl and set aside.
For the spicy sauce, mix the dry mustard and water until well combined and smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and set aside. I ended up adding about another tablespoon of soy sauce.
In a medium bowl, make the marinade and set aside. Prep all of your ginger, garlic, green and red onion, bamboo and water chestnuts. When the tofu is done baking (if not done ahead) dice and add to the marinade. Stir until coated well and let sit for 15 minutes.
Heat a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and stir fry the tofu for 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the ginger, garlic and green and red onion; stir-fry for about a minute. Add the bamboo and water chestnuts; stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Return tofu to the wok, add the cooking sauce. Cook until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Place cellophane noodles on a platter and pour the tofu mixture over the noodles. Serve with lettuce and spicy sauce.
Baked Tofu (recipe found here)
1 lb extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 c vegetable broth (I used chicken. the ppk vegan would be mad)
1/4 c white wine (I didn't have any. replaced with broth)
Preheat oven to 400
Add the dry ingredients of the marinade to a small goal. Mash a bit to release the flavors better. Add wet ingredients, combine well.
Cut tofu into 8ths. I did this by cutting the long way. I might do it differently next time for slightly thicker pieces of tofu. Pour some of the marinade into a 9x15 baking pan. (or the cookie sheet with a rim that I used) Dredge tofu in the marinade and place in pan in a single layer. Pour remaining marinade over the tofu slices. Make sure some garlic and lemon zest sit on top of each slice. Cover.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove tin foil, flip the tofu and continue baking for another 20 minutes. Remove from over and cool a little before serving (or you know, dicing and putting in the marinade)
Was it easy? Surprisingly so. There are a lot of ingredients, but most are already pantry staples for me. Seriously people, if chili sauce and soy sauce are not a part of your pantry, they should be.
Was it good? Yes, it was good. However, though close... it wasn't quite PF Chang's. So I will keep looking for recipes, playing tweaking and trying. And until I get it right. Mr Feinstein (or whatever supremely Jewish name that the F stands for) will continue to get my money.
As for the baked tofu. I tried some out of the recipe. It was okay. I couldn't really taste anything. Next time, if I use the same recipe, I'll try it with the wine. And add salt and pepper. I was surprised it didn't call for any, but figured I'd never made baked tofu, so what the hell did I know. Apparently, something.
Would you make it again? See above. If I didn't want the PF Chang's version this would be very good and certainly made again. And I will try again, just maybe not this exact version.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Seriously. You should check out Thursday Night Smackdown. (Unless there are little eyes about, she doesn't censor)
So on my first visit there, I saw a tab labeled Hobo Guidelines. Obviously I had to see what this is about. The first (now) Tuesday of each month, you have to create and blog about a meal. But not just any meal. It has to be able to feed 2 people for $5 or 4 people for $10. This is no small task. As an added
3/4 c. dry quinoa
1 1/2 c. water
1 c. diced carrot
1/2 c. diced red pepper
2 sliced green onions
1/4 c. minced parsley (dried is okay)
1-2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 1/2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (I usually add more upon tasting)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp chili paste
Rinse quinoa in a strainer and drain well. Place in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and toast until you smell a nutty aroma. Add water to the pot. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed and quinoa tender. Usually about 20-30 min. Let cool thoroughly.
To make the dressing, whisk together lemon or lime juice, soy sauce, garlic and chili paste.
Mix together the cool quinoa, carrot, red pepper, green onion and parsley. After well combined, add dressing and mix well. Add more soy sauce or chili paste to taste if desired.
As you can see, it travels very well. Quinoa is so very more than healthy. It's a grain, it's a seed, it's a protein. Delicious and filling. And you even sneak some vegetables in. Not to mention, it looks pretty.
Cost Break Down
Quinoa - $2 ($6 for a box, about 3 recipes worth per box)
Carrots from farm share - $0.20
Red Pepper - $0.89
Green onion - $0.22
Parsley - $0.05
Lemon Juice - Pantry Staple
Soy Sacue - Pantry Staple
Chili Paste - Pantry Staple
Garlic - Pantry Staple
Total - $3.36
Servings - 2-4 (seriously, just depends on what you count as a serving)
Also possible to subract $0.05 off the total if you use dried parsley, which, for me, is a pantry staple. Also also, I'm not really sure what the carrots are worth. I just know I paid in the winter to get a wonderful bounty all summer. To be honest, I guessed high, they could be less.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
So here it is, the last day to post on what I made for Whip It Up. Way to wait to the last minute, right? Well, would it make you feel any better if you knew that I started it last Saturday? No, I guess not. I could tell you about how I'm tired or have been busy, or spent yesterday baking in the sun next to the river. But you're probably here for the cake.
This week's theme of "holiday" favorites had me thinking. I make almost everything for Thanksgiving, save for one recipe I don't yet know and will likely never share. I've hosted Rosh Hashanah dinners and Passover Sedars. Basically, if it's a holiday favorite, I've probably made it. Well crap. So I started looking up "holidays." You know the kind. Holidays such as "Stupid Guy Thing Day (June 23)" and "Let it Go Day (June 24)." Yes, those two follow each other.
And then I remembered one recipe from Passovers past that I have never, ever attempted.
Angel Food Cake. Added bonus? This recipe requires a lot (a LOT) of whipping. So there you have it. One cake, two holidays: Passover and Whip It Up's Inaugural Week, 2009.
(See all the whipping?)
I'm giving you the recipe as I made it... but hop over to Baking Bites for the real thing. I didn't have any almond extract, like theirs call for. However, I will write the instructions correctly. Not adding the vanilla after adding one addition of the flour mixture. I blame this for the deflation of my batter and resulting denser cake. It still tasted great.
Angel Food Cake (Courtesy of Baking Bites and The Best Recipe)
1 1/2 c. egg whites (about 10-12 large eggs) room temp
1 1/2 c. super fine sugar, divided
1 c. sifted cake flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325F.
In a small bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar and the cake flour. Set aside.
Beat egg whites until frothy, the add cream of tartar and salt. Beat until fully incorporated then begin to add the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar 1-2 tablespoons at a time. When sugar has been added, beat egg whites to soft peaks. You will know when you have soft peaks because the egg whites will look like soft waves and when you lift the beaters, the peaks will droop back down into the batter. If your batter is falling in ribbons, it is not quite done. Don’t be afraid to slow down the mixer and check a few times as you get close. Do not beat all the way to stiff peaks. Once you have soft peaks, add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat for a few seconds to evenly distribute. (highlighted because I missed this)
Sift the flour/sugar mixture over the egg whites in 6-8 additions and gently fold it in after each addition.
Spoon batter into an ungreased 9 inch tube pan with a removeable bottom. Smooth the top with a spatula and tap the pan on the counter once or twice to ensure that there are no large bubbles lurking beneath the surface.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly pressed. Mine took 55 minutes.
Allow to cool completely or overnight.
Gently run a thin knife around the sides, then around the bottom, of the pan to release the cake when you are ready to serve it.
I served ths with both fresh and stewed strawberries. This was easy. All you need is 1/4 - 1/2 c sliced strawberries, a sprinkle of brown and white sugar and a splash of lemon juice.
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Let sit for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until juices form. Place over medium heat and let simmer for 10-20 minutes until strawberries are soft, cooked through, syrup forms and both strawberries and syrup are a beautiful bright red.
So, to recap:
Was it good? Yes. Very.
Was it easy? Not exactly. Maintaining the appropriate level of whipped-ness proved to be elusive. But then, maybe it would have been easier if I'd actually followed the instructions.
Would I make it again? Probably, but I'm not a huge baker.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
...I didn't get this from it, but do you remember when SNL had Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy? Or when it was funny?
Friday, June 19, 2009
So, I've no pictures of my own to share, the one above is courtesy of epicurious dot com (one of my favorite sites ever). But I made this last night. Well, a version of it. And let me tell you, this was surprisingly phenomenal.
The tofu is made very simply.
Drain one package of firm tofu. I pressed it with paper towels before slicing.
Then slice the long way into 8 pieces.
Let rest on and covered by a paper towel for about 10 minutes.
Spread both sides of each slice with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup total of whole grain dijion mustard. (I did not use nearly so much as is shown in the picture) Let rest for a while - as you prepare the other parts of the meal.
To actually cook the tofu, I used a sauce pan I had just finished making crispy shallots for this recipe (sans bacon drippings). Bring the burner to medium heat and let the pan heat a bit. Then lay the slices in the pan in a single layer, cover. Cook like this for about 2 minutes per side, so the tofu browns a bit and is heated through.
Enjoy!! I know I did. Seriously. I could not get over how good tofu quasi-marinated in mustard and seared tasted. This will definitely have to be worked into the regular rotation. Possibly with some mustard-roasted potatoes I saw over at my fav food blog (but have yet to make).
Since I obviously followed a different recipe for the greens but still wanted the sweet potatoes - I basically replaced shallots (since they were in the greens) with the onion, halved the amount of onion, ginger and lime juice. The sweet potatoes caramelized a bit on the outside.
All the flavors from the two? three? dishes still blended so well. A little brown rice on the side topped with a few shallots, some gastrique and a splash of soy sauce rounded out our plates.
Can you tell I'm loving my farm share? Can you tell I'm excited for Whip It Up?? Remember this?
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Adventure 1: Whip It Up! 2009
The gauntlet has been laid down and challenge accepted. Some of you might have even noticed a little icon on the right side of your window.
I've been invited to join a weekly cook-off. From what I understand, the only hard rule is that it has to be a new-to-me recipe. I also believe that each week we'll be given a style or foodstuff to work with to aid in narrowing down the vast world of culinary possibilities. Whilst cooking, I take pictures. After cooking, I put up the recipe, pictures and thoughts about the recipe. Oh yeah, and something about was it actually any good? was it easy? and would I ever put myself through it again?
Sound fun? Want to join in the merriment? Check out the link here. All you would ever hope to know about it... or at least who to ask if it's not posted. Seriously, you should sign up.
The fun begins on June 28th. And hey, added bonus.... I'll actually be posting weekly!
Adventure 2: Produce!!!!!!
Back in January, a friend and I signed up to be part of a farm share this summer. What this means in someone other than me works really hard all spring, summer and fall to seed, grow, nurter and harvest lots and lots of fresh produce, all for
Tonight I pick up my first share! I cannot wait. I don't get any say in the goodies I get, so the adventure part is no meal planning.... and probably lots of entirely new produce. That means new recipes, new ideas, new flavors, new new new. To be honest, I sort of love that Whip It Up! has corresponded (almost) with the beginning of this adventure in produce.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Percocet in tow (yes, I'm still on that over a week later), I joined some friends in helping out at a local school. They're getting some floors redone over the February break and needed two classrooms worth of furniture cleared. The task went quickly, aided by the musical genius of one Ms Spears. With floors cleared and time to kill before the lovely gents who are to do the actual work on the floors arrived, we hung out. We discussed things like former teachers, grade school traumas and lack of funds. There was also a bit of horse play and sword fighting to take advantage of the clear floor, but the children don't need to know about that.
The next portion of the day was to be spent celebrating womanhood, bringing awareness to oppression of past and present, taking back Valentine's Day and making it VDay. We moved on to a public room, rented with only a small donation to read from Eve Ensler's best known creation. We didn't limit ourselves to any one year's play. There was no producer to pick and choose for us. The world was our proverbial oyster. We discussed Alanis Morissett's Reclaiming Cunt... And then we talked for an hour. Actually, really, talked. We shared stories that aren't often told. Letting go of what's considered right or brunch talk. We were as too people are too rarely these days, completely honest. Then two readings. And then another hour of talking. Instead of reading crafted words and other people's stories, we told our own. It was refreshing, it was cleansing, it was empowering. Although we didn't put on a performance of the Monologues or even really read them as was originally intended, without purpose or intent, we captured the spirit of the Monologues.
When I got to my apartment, I was instructed not to look in the kitchen, my surprise wasn't ready yet. So I retreated to my room to continue my reading from the T. (A book by a woman very different than Eve and of a different perspective than the previous part of my day seemed to capture) The surprise ended up being half a dozen roses accompanied by cheese fondue and bread with crusts easily removed. Because I could eat it and it was low key. It was perfect.
I was reassured that in years past, my distaste for flowery, showy Valentine's celebrations was not purely the bitter, jealous heart of the chronically single. Not that I think the day should go entirely ignored. I guess I think it's the daily little things or random, surprise, big shows of affection that mean more. I'd be pretty sad if my one hope for romance each year was marked (and marketed) by red hearts and paper cupids adorned, well, everywhere. Even when in the coupled off side of this holiday (and we all know there's sides), I didn't want giant stuffed animals or hearts filled with chocolate or enough flowers to confuse my apartment with a greenhouse. I was reassured because, at least on this front, I'm probably not a hypocrite.
And yes, a piece of me did miss sitting in a dive bar, drinking probably a little too much and dedicating Fat Bottom Girl to a fellow patron with one of my best.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Since my last post:
- My cousin got married in NC
- That was pretty awesome, despite typical family crap.
- Matt said it was like a sitcom. It really was.
- It's 2009. I'm hoping for a good year for everyone. A lot of my friends could use it.
- I've been doing a lot of yoga lately. I had a class card to use up before it expires on Feb 12 and didn't want it to go to waste. There's only 1 class left.
- I'm getting my wisdom teeth out tomorrow.
- It's really effing cold.
- I'm still cooking, but somehow not taking pictures. I think this is in part because I'm unsure where the cord has gone to upload pictures to my computer.
- Matt downloaded Sim City 2000.
I may write more about those things later. But mostly, I wanted to share this:
It's an article about the "25 Things" meme that's been going around on Facebook. The author of this article is enraged by the amount of her time, and general work time, wasted on the writing and reading of this meme. Not only that, but she's upset she's been tagged so often by people who she does not care to know 25 things about. She doesn't feel they're interesting, insightful or funny. Apparently, she doesn't like her friends. She then goes on to post 25 of the 25 Random Things others have sent to her.
She's truly a vissionary.