Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Eve

The scene: Christmas Eve, Sun Valley, Idaho: single-digit temperatures and feet and feet of snow. Some might call it a winter wonderland. So, it was clearly meant for Mexican food, right? We had my world-famous vegetarian chili (you can feed it to carnivorous men; I swear they won't know the difference, and I'm from Texas, so believe me when I say I know my chili and the men in my life do, too), guacamole, green-chile cornbread, pomegranate margaritas, and Mexican train dominoes. It's a fiesta!!!

First off, the margaritas. Ay carumba, they were good!! We made them by the pitcher, but you could do 'em by the glass as well:

1 part silver tequila
1 part fresh-squeezed lime juice (and I think we squeezed about 15 of them)
1 part orange-infused simple syrup*
1/2 part 100% pomegranate juice

Wipe a lime wedge around a rocks glass and dip in flaked kosher salt. Fill with ice and pour it up! Garnish with lime wedge.

*To make the orange-infused simple syrup, bring one cup sugar and one cup water plus a couple of heaping tablespoons of freshly grated orange zest to a boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, let cool on the stove and pour through a fine-mesh strainer.

These margaritas pack a wallop of tart, so you can cut them with a splash or two of club soda or 7-Up to give them some bubbles if you like.

Next up- guacamole. I go simple and traditional (no tomatoes). Dice up 2-3 ripe avocados (I halve them, cut a grid right in the skin, and scoop out the cubes with a spoon), add 1/4-1/2 C minced red onion, a VERY generous handful of fresh chopped cilantro, 1 large garlic clove, finely minced, then mashed with salt into a paste, and the juice of one lime. Mash with the fork and for Pete's sake, please don't puree it. It's better chunky. Serve with your personal chip preference (mine is restaurant style white corn tortilla chips).

Now for the chili. It's wicked easy, and you can do it in a stock pot or a slow-cooker. I happen to think it tastes better the longer it cooks, so if you have the time, go for the slow cooker.

In a large skillet (or your stock pot) on the stove, sweat a large onion, chopped, in a bit of oil. Once it starts giving up its liquid, I go ahead and add my spices: chili powder, cumin, coriander, celery seed, paprika, cayenne, and hot pepper flakes. My personal preference is about 4 T of chili powder and 1-2 t of the others- but certainly you can use your own blend (or even buy a packet if that's easier for you). Move this mixture to the slow-cooker, or just keep going if you're cooking it stovetop. Then add 3 15 oz. cans of beans- I use 1 each of dark red kidney, light red kidney, and pinto- 1 large can (28 oz.) of crushed tomatoes, 1 small can of tomato pastes, and 1 regular can of tomato sauce, and 1 package of TVP (soy crumbles). Seriously, don't be scared- the texture is perfect and no one will know. (If you have to use meat, just cook a pound of ground carcass in a separate skillet before adding it to the chili.) Cook on high until bubbly, then reduce to low for 5-6 hours (stovetop method: bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until all your flavors are melded). Serve over fritos, topped with chopped white onion, fresh cilantro, and grated cheese.

Finally, the cornbread. I got this trick from Paula Deen, I think, and it's simply scrumptious. Make your own cornbread recipe, or use a box (not going to lie- I usually go Jiffy), but when it's time to pour it into its baking dish, only pour in half. Then spread a layer of grated cheese and a small can of drained mild green chilies, THEN add in the rest of the cornbread. Cook like normal but you get an ooey, gooey, tangy surpise in the middle of each bite.

Then play Mexican train dominoes- all 13 hands, and it just gets more fun with each passing margarita. :) Feliz navidad, mis amigos.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas is coming, the (tofu) is getting fat....

I cannot believe it is already December 16th. I am leaving for Christmas vacation in 3 days and tonight, far more important than laundry or Christmas cards or packing ski clothes, is getting together my recipes. I am headed to Sun Valley, Idaho for 8 nights with free reign of the Cooke family kitchen- including Christmas dinner. I am told there is a vegetarian uncle that is absolutely ecstatic that I am in charge of The Meal.

So, no pressure, but I am collecting my recipes, fine-tuning my menu for Christmas dinner, and deciding what else I want to cook while I am there- that is, between my skiing, snow-shoeing, antique-shopping, sledding, sleighing, and all-purpose lounging by the fire reading a book in my long-johns.

So, here goes, Jamie's 1st Annual Vegetarian Christmas Event (you will see some repeats from Thanksgiving, but, with different diners, only my 3 readers will know)

baked brie with cranberries, pecans, and honey
stuffed mushrooms

fresh mushroom bisque

wild rice with sweet potatoes, leeks, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds, which I think I will serve in a hollowed-out acorn squash "bowl"
creamed corn
roasted brussels sprouts with shallots
twice-baked potatoes with chives
mushroom gravy in a red-wine reduction
homemade cranberry-orange relish

apple-onion stuffin' muffins

a lovely apple-pear-ginger crumble

extra goodies:
white chocolate peppermint bark
my Christmas-colored oatmeal-cranberry-pistachio cookies

What is everyone else serving/baking/stewing/mixing? I love the holidays-- but am going on a diet come Jan 1 like everyone else in America. I have gained about 100 lbs.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

best comfort food ever

I have a confession to make. I don't like butternut squash. I'm sorry; I've tried. I just don't. I don't like sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows, I don't like honey-glazed ham, and I don't like vegetable soup that tastes like dessert (and looks like baby food, but that's neither here nor there). I made some last week as a trial run for Christmas dinner, and it was beautiful- a soft, autumnal color with onion, a slip of apple, and a smattering of cumin, coriander, and chili powder- hoping in vain that the savory spicing would surprise me into loving the butternut squash- and topped with homemade garlic & parsley croƻtons. It was a huge hit- everyone loved it and everyone had seconds. Everyone except me. It's just.... blah. No thank you. I am closing the book on my relationship with butternut squash.

I'll probably still make it for Christmas because it's so festive and well-liked (and will be served in a hollowed-out acorn squash, fancy!), but not to be daunted by my self-imposed failure, I decided to try my hand at a tomato soup the next day. Now there was a winner!! Plus, there's pretty much no meal I would rather have on a dreary winter day than a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich (fried in butter, natch).

Tomato-Tarragon Soup

1 large onion, or 2 small ones- yellow or white, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 yukon potato, peeled and chopped
2 hefty 28-oz. cans of fire-roasted tomatoes
generous splash of a crisp white wine
1 carton of vegetable broth (or chicken, if you're not vegetarian)
a generous amount of dried tarragon (a big palm full or a couple of tablespoons, you could use basil here for a more classic flavor)
salt and pepper

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat a couple of swirls of olive oil to medium high heat. Chop and drop your onions and carrots and sautee past translucent- until they start browning. Take your time- this flavor will really add to your soup. Add a splash of wine to deglaze the pot, and make sure you scrape up any bits that cooked to the bottom. Then add tomatoes (undrained), the potato, the spices, and about 3 C of broth. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until the potatoes are very soft (about 25-35 minutes).

Once the vegetables are all soft, blend with an immersion blender (alternatively, let cool and blend in your blender or food processor, then return to pot). Re-season to taste and serve hot with your grilled cheese (mine was a combination of smoke white cheddar and gruyere) and dill pickles.

This makes about 6 servings, and trust me, it's better the next day, so feel free to make it ahead of time and re-heat.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

oh, that creamed corn!

OK, like I said before, I'm almost embarrassed to post this, because it's not even cooking. But it is the best creamed corn you will ever have, the kind that people who don't necessarily care for creamed corn rave about. I just ate the last bit of leftovers for lunch (with an apple-onion stuffin' muffin) and I'm not gonna lie, I was sad to see it go- although I'm sure my arteries will thank me.

Hardware: dust off that crock-pot or other slow-cooker!

Software: 2 bags of frozen corn, 1/2 stick butter, 1 block cream cheese, 1 C milk, s/p, and dried dill

Seriously. This is it: Put the corn, butter, and cream cheese in the slow-cooker. Turn it on high. After an hour, turn it to low and add the milk. Cook for about 5 more hours, stirring occasionally. Add salt, pepper, and dill to taste.

As a note: I had some dill-haters (*gasp*) at Thanksgiving this year, so I omitted the dill and it was just as good. I am a huge fan of black pepper, and it's so good with the rich, creamy sweetness of the corn.

I'm not going to post my apple-onion stuffin' muffins until after Christmas dinner, because I haven't yet perfected them (although they are very close).

Friday, November 23, 2007

the morning after

This morning I woke up out of my food coma to this:

I'm pretty sure that Socrates (the gnome on the windowsill) was mocking me. I don't have a dishwasher, you know (unless you count my two hands) so I was wary of this undertaking. However, it actually didn't take me that long, and since I tackled the dishes before my roommate got up, I was completely justified in telling her I left the floor to her. Which was my sneaky plan, because there is nothing in the household arena that I loathe more than mopping.

So, after the dishes, I treated myself to these:

I know I promised you more Thanksgiving recipes, but I had to tell you about these before you ate all your leftover mashed potatoes because they are unbelievable. Thanks for the tip, Giada.

2 C leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg
1/4 C flour, plus more for dusting

Mix in a bowl. Make patties. Dust with flour. Pan-fry in oil or butter of your choice.

How easy was that?? I mixed in the leftover chives as well, and enjoyed with fried eggs, leftover gravy, and a dollop of leftover cranberry sauce.

Now, I'm back in my food coma, so I think I'll sit back and watch the Food Network all day. Probably with leftover wine.

Fall Casserole (Vegan)

Wow- I did it!!!!!

Thanksgiving was wonderful. Really, a lovely day. I am fat, happy, and exhausted. And seriously, who needs turkey?

First recipe, my own Wild Rice Casserole with Sweet Potatoes, Leeks, Cranberries, & Pumpkin Seeds: (very loosely adapted from a brown rice with pumpkin recipe in last month's Vegetarian Times)

Coarsely chop a couple of sweet potatoes and a bunch of leeks (white and light green parts only-- save the dark greens for a soup later in the week). Arrange them in a oiled casserole pan and roast at 350 for about 30 minutes or so, stirring once or twice. The sweet potatoes should be just less than done because it will go back in the oven later. Look, doesn't it just look like fall??

In a soup pot or dutch oven, heat a couple of swirls of olive oil, and gently sautee a small white onion and 2-3 carrot stalks (chopped) with 2 bay leaves, 2 t of ground sage, 2 t of ground rosemary, and salt & pepper to taste. When the onions start to get translucent, throw in a cup and a half of wild rice and 4 C of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the rice is done and all the liquid is absorbed, about an hour.

When the sweet potatoes and leeks are done roasting, pull the casserole dish from the oven and add in a cup of dried cranberries. The heat from the vegetables will plump them up a little. Once the rice is done, pour it into the dish, folding it in with the sweet potatoes and leeks until it's uniformly mixed. Top with 1/4 of toasted pumpkin seeds and put back in a warm oven to serving temperature.

It's the solid, earthy sweet potatoes meld just perfectly with the delicate leeks and the tangy cranberries. The sage and pumpkin seeds hint it toward Thanksgiving and the rosemary gives it a wild, almost forest-like essence, like you could be eating outside under a fir tree. Heavenly!

Coming soon on Food, Glorious Food, apple-onion stuffin' muffins (adapted from Rachel Ray), vegan make-ahead (up to 4 days ahead!) gravy, the best cranberry sauce you will ever eat, and the "so easy I shouldn't even call it cooking but so good it's the last thing people talk about on their way out the door" creamed corn.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

15 minutes to Thanksgiving--

Monday I made homemade mushroom stock. I used shitakes. Not to be daunted by fools that say things like "discard the mushrooms" I promptly sliced 'em up, added some sesame seeds and edamame and served them with soba noodles and a dash of soy sauce. Discard them, indeed!! I gotta say- it was really, really good. But totally not worth NOT buying the stock in the paper boxes, which is cheaper, faster, more convenient, and just as good. But still, it was my first time to make my own stock and I was quite pleased with the results.

Tuesday I made my cranberry sauce and my gravy-- another recipe asking me to discard the mushrooms- three kinds of them this time (porcini, white button, and baby bellas) that had been simmering for an hour in onions, shallots, red wine, rosemary, and tomato paste, so I melded those has-beens with a dash of half-and-half and served them over toast. Hello, gratin! Please, who are these people that can afford to throw perfectly good food in the trash? And even if they could, why would they? OK, so after the sauce and the gravy, I made cornbread and buttermilk biscuits (from scratch), let them cool, and shredded them for my stuffing. I also managed to clog the kitchen sink and set off the smoke alarm in the building. Good times.

Today I made pies and pies. They made my apartment smell just heavenly. I tried to talk my roommie into letting me crack into the pecan pie for dinner but I got shot down.

Tomorrow is the brie, the creamed corn, the green bean casserole (my roommate), the mashed potatoes (my boy), the wild rice dish, and the mulled cider. And then? Then we eat.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

roasted garlic cream-of-potato soup

So, yesterday was a solid 54 degrees and 100% humidity. You know that legendary fog in San Francisco? The fog that comes in on little cat feet? Yeah, I'm from Texas, where it burns off by 8am. This fog? This fog STICKS. The city is eerily quiet.

So, in light of the sticky grey that was sticking around, I needed a warm, sticky soup. There were several potato soup recipes in my new Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons, but I wanted more traditional, baked potato soup, the kind you put sour cream, cheddar cheese, and chives on top (or crumbled bacon, for my carnivores). Then I remembered this roasted garlic and potato soup I had once at a hotel in on a cold, lonely night in Denver.... and bam! My roasted garlic cream-of-potato soup was born.

(I took photos but my camera is on the fritz.... trust me, it looks exactly like the creamy, melty, ooey-gooey bowl of deliciousness that is was.)

The Ingredients:
2 large head of garlic, + 6-7 smashed cloves (I KNOW!)
olive oil
about a cup chopped white or yellow onion
7-8 medium Yukon potatoes, peeled if you want (I did not) and chopped (note: Yukons are ideal for creamy soups as they are a little less "stiff" than a traditional russet or red-skinned potato- they are more starchy and tend to fall apart in a soup, so they do part of your work for you!)
1 red apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 C dry-ish white wine (I used pinot grigio because that's what I had but sauvignon blanc probably would have been a little better)
1 to 1 1/2 C milk of your choosing (I used 2%)
about a cup of grated cheddar cheese (if I had had smoked cheddar I would have used that)
salt and pepper

to garnish: sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, thinly sliced green onions, crumbled bacon (optional)

The directions:
First, roast your garlic, and make your house smell like heaven. Slice the tops off 2 large heads of garlic, and nestle them in a cozy little aluminum foil house. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, & pepper, and add a little water at the bottom so they don't dry out. Seal tightly and bake at 400 for 50 minutes to an hour. Set aside (wrapped).

In a large soup pot, heat a swirl or two of olive oil. (If you are cooking bacon for the garnish then do it right in your soup pot, forgo the olive oil, and use the bacon grease.) Add the 6-7 smashed garlic cloves and chopped onion, and sautee for a couple of minutes. Add the potatoes, apple, wine, and just enough water to cover, plus a little salt, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until potatoes are very soft- about 35 minutes.

Take the soup off the heat and use your immersion blender to puree. (If you don't have an immersion blender: let cool, transfer to your food processor, and then move back to your soup pot.)

Next, add the roasted garlic. Squeeze every last sweet, savory, roasty bit into your soup pot, taking care to not let any skins drop in. (Use this opportunity to lick your fingers when you're done. Then wash your hands.) Season liberally with salt and pepper now, so you can adjust during the last few steps. I tend to be an over-seasoner (I considered adding rosemary) but to me, nothing pairs so well with a starchy, hardy potato like good old-fashioned black pepper. Add about a cup of milk and bring back to a low heat, stirring occasionally until all the starch from the potatoes is released into the milk and the soup has a thick, cream-of-wheat-like consistency. (Add more milk if needed to reach your desired soupiness.) Then, fold in your cheddar cheese, a little at a time, stirring until it's completely melted.

Serve hot, garnished like your favorite baked potato.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Jamie's 1st Thanksgiving Feast

OK, sure, I've helped before. But this year I am running the show, y'all, and it is going to be a vegetarian-friendly event. I'll be sure and take photos and post recipes later, but just to tantalize your taste buds, here is my menu:

le appetizer: baked brie with cranberries, apples, raisins, and honey

le drink: wine, and lots of it

le main course: green bean casserole, creamed corn with dill, sour cream and scallion mashed potatoes, wild rice with sweet potatoes, leeks, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds, mushroom gravy in a red wine reduction, and cranberry-orange sauce

le bread: apple-onion stuffin' muffins

le dessert: chess pie & pecan pie with homemade vanilla-laced whipped cream and hot apple cider with amaretto

(Have no fear, meat-lovers, there will be also be a turkey and turkey dressing courtesy of my roommate.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

books? good. food? goooood.

I went to the bookstore today to pick up Skinny Bitch, ("a no-nonsense, tough-love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous!"). Yes, I suppose it's pretty silly, but a friend was reading it and I thought it looked cute. They're a bit overboard - I will never give up my alcohol or cheese, dammit! - but they adopt a relatively realistic eat-crap-look-like-crap-feel-like-crap vs. eat-well-get-thin-and-feel-better attitude. It's a fast read; I finished it this afternoon. They have a cookbook coming out in December (Skinny Bitch in the Kitch).

I also picked up Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons as I've been desperate to use my birthday immersion blender. There's over 120 recipes broken down by season, so you always use produce that is fresh and loaded with vitamins and flavor. I can't wait to make Moroccan Peanut & Lentil Stew and I know when spring hits I will be itching to blend up a batch of Puree of Spring Greens. YUMMM!! She also has an entire section of breads to go with the soups, including such wonders as Olive Tomato Bread and Chili-Corn Muffins.

Wait , wait, there's two more! One is The United States of Arugula, The Sun-Dried, Cold-Pressed, Dark-Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution, about our nation's relatively sudden obsession with gourmet, ethnic, and organic food. The second is The Omnivore's Dilemma, A Natural History of Four Meals, and discusses our political and consumer-driven national eating disorder.

Because what's the next best thing to eating, talking about eating, or blogging about eating? Reading about eating.

Edited to add: I also got the Thanksgiving issue of Vegetarian Times as I am hosting said meal in less than 2 weeks. Methinks a subscription is in order. You know what's not in order? Listening to Christmas music on November 10th. Shut up, Borders.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

the french part of Cajun country

I'm in New Orleans, or N'Awlins, as the locals call it. It's my first post-Katrina trip, and I honestly can't tell much difference except that it's a little cleaner and a little quieter. I don't like Cajun food - too many bell peppers, ick! - but I love French food, and N'Awlins has French to spare.

My first meal was at Lilette, on Magazine Street in the Lower Garden District. I started with a drink they call The Alberto- a mojito-like concoction of vodka, fresh mint, and a splash of champagne. My soup course was a sweet corn broth with coriander oil, chives, avocado, and lump crab meat, and then for my entree I opted for 2 small plates: a tower of eggplant crisps- thin, crispy medallions fried like green tomatoes, layered with a thick hummus-y skordalia, oven dried roma tomatoes, basil, and oil cured olives, and savory, perfectly mushy potato gnocchi with sage brown butter and parmigiano cream. Mon dieu! I got the special for dessert, which was an almond-lemon pound cake served with lemon anglaise and huckleberry compote- and an amaretto on the rocks, bien entende.
Good thing I don't come here very often, since for lunch I had fried shrimp and french fries, and that was the least fattening thing on the menu. *raises eyebrow*

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Quick n' Easy Comfort Soup (Tomato & Pasta)

This soup is modified from a recipe of Giada's and is vegetarian, although it could easily be vegan if you used vegan pasta and didn't add cheese. But honestly, why would you do that?

1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, sliced into rounds or half-rounds
6 garlic cloves, smashed
2-3 T dried basil
2 T dried oregano
1 T hot red pepper flakes
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
2 cans cannellini beans
2 medium zucchini, cut into half-rounds
1/2 C dried pasta of your choice
your favorite Italian cheese to garnish

Heat a generous swirl of olive oil in your soup pot. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and spices, and saute until tender. Add canned ingredients, pasta, and about a cup of water, and simmer until the pasta is done. Add zucchini toward the end, and once it's done, serve with cheese, a big chunk of crusty bread, and a glass of wine. The result is a warm, gooey, spicy bowl of comfort that freezes really well (add in a couple of tablespoons of water when you reheat).

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Thai Night (Vegan)

My friend Brian came over this evening. It was the first time I've "hosted" since I moved to San Francisco and I had a blast. I made edamame with sea salt, tom yum soup, and Orangette's peanut citrus noodles (a tweaked version, since I can never leave well enough alone). Tom yum soup is one of my favorite soups- equal parts tart and spicy- but it's not a quickly whipped-up meal, so if you don't enjoy chopping, better order take-out. The noodles were PERFECT- really creamy and peanut-y. I never thought about citrus in my peanut sauce, but the lime juice brightened up the flavor just right.

Tom Yum Goong

4 C vegetable broth
1/2 white onion, cut into crescents
4-5 shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (or if you can find them, the adorable little ones that danced around in Fantasia- I'm not sure what they're called but I always see them in Asian restaurants and never in the market)
about 1 C bean sprouts
1 bunch fresh cilantro
about 1 C cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4-5 limes, juiced, + 1 lime cut in wedges
the zest from 1 lime, about 1 T
2" piece of fresh ginger
1 stalk of lemongrass (or 1 T dried lemongrass)
1-2 t coriander
3 cloves garlic, minced
about 1-2 t hot red pepper flakes (or 1 t chili paste, or a whole or sliced red chili-- it really depends on your spice preference)


Cut the lemon grass and the peeled ginger into a few rough pieces. Hit them with a mallet to "bruise" them and release the flavor. You will fish these pieces out when the soup is ready, or you can tie them in a cheese cloth. I used a large tea infuser. Throw the lime zest, garlic, onion, coriander, and chili flakes/paste in the bottom of a soup pot with your lemongrass and garlic bundle and add the vegetable broth. Bring to a low boil and let simmer for 30-40 minutes. You can't really overcook it; it will just get more and more flavorful as you prepare the rest of the soup.

While the broth is cooking, juice the limes. You should have about 1/2 C of fresh lime juice. In the bottom of your soup bowls, nestle the sliced mushrooms, a handful of beans sprouts, a handful of halved grape tomatoes, and lots of fresh cilantro. Once the broth is ready, pull it off the heat and THEN add the lime juice. You don't want the acid of the lime to cook off, so make sure this is the last step. Pour the broth over the raw vegetables and serve garnished with cilantro, lime wedges, and hot chili flakes.

Peanut Citrus Soba Noodles, adapted from Orangette

8 oz. soba noodles
1/2 C natural peanut butter (I used crunchy)
1/2 C freshly squeezed lime juice
2 t dark sesame oil
1 t+ hot red chili flakes (to your spice preference)
2 t soy sauce
1 clove minced garlic
sesame seeds, for garnish
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
3-4 radishes, thinly sliced
2 bunches bok choy, roughly chopped


Earlier in the day, mix your dark sesame oil and hot chili flakes in a ramekin and set aside. The longer you leave it the hotter it will get. I let it sit about 2 hours and if I had thought ahead I would have doubled that time.

Juice your limes first, because this process takes longer than the rest of the dish. In a large serving bowl, mix the lime juice, peanut butter, homemade chili-sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic. I used a fork to mash up the peanut butter chunks and then whisked it to a saucy consistency. Next, boil your soba noodles. They don't take very long, so make sure you don't overcook them. While the water is boiling, slice your veggies. Once the noodles are ready, drain and rinse them, and add them to the peanut sauce. Use tongs to mix well- toss in the raw veggies, garnish with sesame seeds, and serve!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Whole Foods

One of the best things about working in San Francisco is that there's a Whole Foods just down the street and I get to expense my lunch! I've been hitting the soup bar, the salad bar, and the hot food bar all week, but today I went for a sandwich- a food group sorely lacking for most vegetarians, but now that I live up in the land of damn dirty hippies are a lot easier to come by.

Multi-grain bread with hummus on one side, gorgonzola spread on the other, with tomatoes, red onions, spinach, cucumbers, grated carrots, avocado, and muenster cheese.

Served with a San Pellegrino Limonata and a bag of Kettle Salt & Cracker Pepper potato chips.

And the sweet, sweet dessert of knowing I get my $8.32 back in my next paycheck.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tag, I'm it.

OK, so it took me a month to see, but Chanelle tagged me to post 4 Recipes I Always Have on Hand. I don't think anyone really reads this, and if they do, they've probably already seen these recipes, lol, but here you are- My Fave Four, as it were.

  1. Olive Tapenade
  2. Vegetable Soup
  3. Puttanesca
  4. aaaand, The Perfect Lemon Drop Martini
I'd like you girls to pop up to Northern California and make me one of the these right now, if you please. I'm lonely and thirsty!!!

oh, ETA: I will tag Gina. I don't think anyone else reads this except Chanelle, the tagger, and Krysten, who was already tagged. *slump*

cuisinart food processor, how do I love thee?

Let me count the ways. One is that I can whip up a dip with leftover stuff from my pantry and about 3 minutes. Aaaaand, I'll post a photo as soon as my camera batteries charge up.

Really Fast Lemony-Artichoke Spread
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
3-4 forkfuls of sundried tomatoes in olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 wedge lemon rind
healthy dash (or three) of hot red pepper flakes
1 T+ capers (if you don't have capers, add a dash of kosher salt)

Blend and serve on crackers with feta and mediterranean mixed olives. YUM.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Parks Farmers Market #1

I just went to Parks Farmers Market #1, which is a scant 2 blocks from my house, and I got:

1 box of organic granola cereal
1 carton soy milk
1 carton vegetable broth
1 big bag organic veggie chips
1 pint half & half
1 lb lowfat cottage cheese
1/2 lb havarti with dill
1 bag grapes
1 bag bok choy
2 sweet potatoes
2 oranges
2 pears
3 lemons
1 onion
1 bag peeled garlic cloves
1 bag baby carrots

all for like $26. Whooop!!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I heart vegetables.

Did I tell you guys I'm a vegetarian (well... pescatarian) now? After Lent I just kept going. I imagine that a few times a year I will probably cave for a steak but I'm just not introducing meat back into my everyday life. And my everyday life is feeling pretty healthy these days, with all the yoga and the good eating. I just bought some size 4 pants for the first time in probably 5 years!

Tonight's dinner:

soba noodles: cooked absorption-style in 1 tsp sesame oil and vegetable broth with 1 C swiss chard, 1 T sesame seeds, soy sauce, and a dash of hot pepper flakes
a small yam roasted with 10 whole garlic cloves, 1 tsp honey, and lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper
half a cob of white corn

Calories: 504, Fat: 9g (1 saturated), Protein: 9g, Fiber: 8g

Sunday, April 15, 2007

a blog of trials, tribulations, and what I ate to get me through the day.

Today has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Honestly. I'm starting to think, at 30, that I don't handle stress very well. I used to be able to compartmentalize better, but now? One part of life stresses me out, and it bleeds into every little detail, which culminated in my bursting into tears at work today, good grief!

I may have told you guys this before, but I have an UNCANNY talent, a true knack, for wandering into a city I have never been in before, and finding a fantastic restaurant. Seriously, it's a gift. I've never steered myself wrong. So, I've decided to start posting about my eating-out as well as my eating-in... if for no other reason than this: last time I was in Denver I forgot to write anything down, and now I can't find those restaurants again.

So, I ate dinner and brunch at the same two restaurants the last two days. Odd... but when you work the hours I work, finding yourself off at brunchtime on a weekend is crazy and might never happen again, so you have to seize the day. Kinda like finding a really good local restaurant that has a no tourists, a great menu, decent prices, and is within walking distance of your hotel.

First, my dinners. The Dish. It's a scant 3 blocks from my hotel and I ate there both Friday and Saturday nights. Friday: carrot-ginger soup (to die for), edamame, mushroom-gruyere gratin on toast, and asparagus/carrot/green bean/and broccoli tempura with dipping sauces of ginger-soy, garlic aioli, and thai chili. Mmmm. Saturday: carrot-ginger soup again, because it was just that good, mussels steamed with onions and white wine and served with GARLIC BREAD PUDDING, that had whole cloves of garlic in it, *thud* and capers, and frites with truffle oil and parmagiano reggiano. (sigh)

We stumbled upon a local French bistro for brunch yesterday, and it was so good we went back today. Yesterday I had the dungeness crab benedict, which was brioche with tomatoes, avocado, fresh lump crab meat, poached eggs, and hollandaise, served with frites that had fresh herbs, champagne vinegar, and salt, pepper, and sugar sprinkled on top. SOOOOO good. With fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. Today I had a mushroom and gruyere omelet and french press coffee.

Tonight I ate at the hotel... the cocktail: a "Ruby Red"- which is ruby red absolut, campari, and fresh ruby red juice, garnished with a lemon, and the meal: just a roasted-garlic/potato soup that was simply scrumptious. I think it had carrots, cheddar, and I know it had lots of black pepper in it. It was insanely good.

So maybe I have an unhealthy relationship with food... but I am happiest when eating, or cooking, or talking about eating or cooking. I am working with a co-worker this week who grew up in Bermuda, her husband is Japanese but went to culinary school in France, and they used to own an Italian restaurant in Atlanta... where I am going next month and was promised a true fusion meal that would knock my socks off. I can't wait. As George Bernard Shaw said, "there is no love sincerer than the love of food."

Here's to tomorrow being better than today. And that it includes a lovely meal.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

asian slaw

So, you know how Orangette makes those really wonderful salads from like, 3 ingredients? Like that lemony carrot slaw, yum, and that garbanzo bean heaven (which I've also made with cannellini beans and find it simply scrumptious)?

Well, a couple of nights ago, I ordered Thai take-out, and because I am a pig, ordered like, 5 things and have been eating on them all week. Tonight I was cleaning out all the take-out containers in my fridge, and decided to consolidate all the garnishes, because I'm single, and honestly, who wants to mandoline vegetables for one?

I ended up with a 2-C tupperware about 3/4 full of thin carrot ribbons, cucumber matchsticks, purple onion crescents, razor thin cabbage strips, bean sprouts, green onions, and cellophane noodles~ all chopped up in tiny little perfect pieces (by someone other than myself, so... brilliant).

I searched through my condiments and added a dash of fish sauce, a drizzle of dark roasted sesame oil, a splash of bright rice vinegar, a swirl of soy sauce, and a healthy shake of toasted sesame seeds, and shook it up. Voila! A vibrant, tasty, and decidedly asian SLAW that took me about 30 seconds to make (and to be fair, barely that long to devour).

In fact, I ate it so fast I forgot to take a picture. :(

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I KNOW!!! [/Monica]

I know, I know, it's been over 3 months since I last posted about food. Truth be told, I haven't been making anything new lately. Can you believe Nathaniel was here for 6 days and I didn't cook ANYTHING for him? Honestly, how can I be expected to win a man's heart if I don't cook for him? It's my one true talent. The only thing I did while he was here is bake lemon cupcakes for a friend's birthday, and they were terrible!

I did just make a puttanesca that would make you slap your Italian mamma (Krysten and Tom... I don't know who else here has an Italian mamma... oh, Gina!). Olive oil, onions, garlic, basil, oregano, cannalini beans, mushrooms, kalamata olives, a squeeze of tomato paste (not sauce), whole grape tomatoes, and fresh kale- with a dash of hot pepper flakes and freshly grated parmesan- over spaghetti. It was quite tasty, if I do say so myself.

Sorry I've been so boring lately in the food arena.... *sigh*