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Monday, February 28, 2011

Snacky Sunday

Everybody knows the best part of the Oscars is the snacks.

At least that's the way I was raised.

On Saturday night, I accidentally/on purpose made this bread again.

It was beautiful, again.

If it wasn't so easy I'd be much more self absorbed about it.

A much more snacky dinner was in order, but I had to use this bread.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

15 oz chickpeas, drained
2 tbsp tahini
1 roasted red pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, quartered
1 splash hot sauce

First thing on the docket was a trip to Whole Foods to grab some tahini, and try to spend less than 50 dollars.

We were successful on both accounts.

We headed home to roast some red peppers.

Hummus couldn't be easier.  Toss it in the food processor.

Bam! Hummus!

Kale also snuck its way back into my grocery cart and our apartment, and I had to make the dubious Matthew try kale chips.

He looked scared.

Kale Chips

1/2 bunch kale
Sprays of olive oil from MISTO can
1 tsp salt
Pinch of chipotle pepper

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Luckily Matthew hated them.  I ate them all.

I also whipped together a salad dressing with these ingredients.

And tossed it over some spinach and craisins.

Here is our snack-tastic feast.

Now if only the hosts had been better...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fantastic Friday

Occasionally I get so excited about Friday that even my students now know that Friday night is "Pizza Night".

When I become famous and write book/star in my own movie.  The first line will be: "It all started with this pizza dough recipe."

Apple Gorgonzola Pizza

1 recipe pizza dough (click above)
5 sprays olive oil (Misto can)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 granny smith apples, sliced thin
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Matthew prepared the pizza dough for me (it has to rise), and while he was out getting some other ingredients I preheated the oven to 500 and got the dough ready.

Awhile back, when I turned 25, my Grandma got me this fancy garlic roller thing.

Because Matthew was taking his sweet time getting back from the store, I decided to record my first ever video! for my blog.

I was clearly very bored.

You simply roll the thing back and forth and your garlic is minced!

As Ina would say, "how easy is that?"

I sprayed the crust with olive oil and sprinkled on the garlic, seasonings, and almonds.

When Matthew FINALLY got home (it wasn't really that long, I'm just impatient), I sprinkled on the sliced apples, spinach and cheeses.  Multiple cheeses is always a good thing.

This sucker baked at 500 for 12 minutes.

Boy howdy did it taste good.

My favorite things: cheese, apples, spinach, and garlic (wait...did I just say that?), on a pizza.

What's not to love?

That Was Filling! Thursday

I came home on Thursday to...brace yourselves....dinner on the table!

After a busy day of teaching sassy adolescents, there was nothing sweeter than coming home to dinner.

I concocted a recipe, and Matthew executed it.

Bulgur Lentil Salad (AKA, fill you up salad)

1 cup bulgur wheat
1/2 cup lentils
1 sweet potato, cubed
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Garlic Salt

I'll give you a brief rundown on the execution.

But I wasn't home, so I had no say in how it happened.

My husband says I'm bossy.

1)  Simmer lentils and bulgur in a covered pot for 20 minutes.

2) In the meantime, cook sweet potato in rice cooker.

3) Toss all ingredients in a bowl.

4) Cool in fridge.

5) My only regret is that I had to wolf this down so fast and couldn't truly enjoy it!

Thanks Matthew!

Oh, and yes, that is a Diet A&W Cream Soda I drank with my meal.  I'm not ashamed.

Tofu Take Two Tuesday

I'm sure you remember every detail of my previous battle with tofu.

If you've learned anything about me through this tiny little outlet, you've learned that I don't take my battles with unknown food lightly.  And, occasionally the food wins.

i.e.  Garlic

The verdict is still out on the onion.

Tuesday night we had a fellow vegetarian over for dinner (yes, we've had a lot of company lately).  This seemed like the perfect opportunity to try my hand at tofu again.

Tofu Tacos

1 block tofu (I got extra firm this time)
2 tbsp taco sauce or salsa
1 tsp jerk seasoning

Taco Fixin's

Basically I used my MISTO can to oil up the pan, and then fried up chunks of the tofu, adding in the taco sauce and seasoning.

Here it is.

The verdict?  Well, I'm still not so sure.  It kind of had a scrambled egg consistency.  Clearly my challenge with tofu is not over.


Besides recipes what addition would you love to see on my blog?  Restaurant reviews? A cupcake section?  Home organization tips (haha)?  I have too many ideas on how to expand this and would love your tips!

Mash it up! Monday

I've been severely delinquent in my blogging, but don't worry, we're not starving here.  Be prepared for some serious blog catch-up activity in the next few days.

Monday, our friend Logan came over and once again graciously agreed to eat one of my creations.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

2 sweet potatoes, cooked
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

3 tbsp butter
1 tsp sage
1/2 cup sliced almonds

1) Bake potatoes in the microwave, just do it the easy way.

2) Attempt to mash the potatoes in your fancy food mill

3) If you can't figure it out (like me), mash them with a fork.

4) Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

5) Roll dough out into snakes...

6) Cut your snakes into little pillows.

7) Cook gnocchi until they float to the top of the pot.

8) Brown butter in a pan.

9) Add in sage and almonds

10) Drizzle over pasta...mmmmm....butter

11) Get so distracted by smell of sage that you forget to take a picture.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Snowy Sunday

ANOTHER epic weekend blizzard found us happily cooped up at home yesterday.  We watched the snow fall and listened to the thunder (thundersnow!), and were way to lazy for our own good.

In honor of my shiny new birthday present,

I made this no-knead bread recipe again, but this time I didn't substitute or change anything.

Best decision I ever made?

I think yes.  If you own a dutch oven, make this bread.  In fact, you should have made it yesterday.  It will change your life.  As soon as I can make it work whole-wheat, I will let you know.

But truly, what good is bread if you can't sop something up with it?

I give you...

Soupy Ratatouille (not to be confused with the Disney Film)

2 tsp olive oil, or some sprays from your MISTO can
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 eggplant, cubed
1 zucchini, sliced
1  red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce

First, I had to chop an onion.  It wasn't quite the disaster it was the first time, but close.

Ooof, I don't know if I'll ever get used to this.

Sautée the onion and garlic in the olive oil with some thyme and rosemary.  Add in the rest of the vegetables progressively, being careful not to burn.

Oh, and you'll also have to chop and seed those tomatoes, here's a good way.

"X" the tomatoes at the bottom and blanch them.

AKA- plop them in boiling water for 1 minute, and then run them under cold water.  The skin will peel right off.

Once you have added the tomatoes and tomato sauce, season and cover.

Let it simmer until the vegetables are tender.

We ate ours with some whole wheat spaghetti.

And of course some of that fabulous bread...

Let it snow!

Scientific Saturday

Since this blog began, I've been brainstorming ideas to expand it, and daydreaming of making a business out of it.

Fear not, fellow teachers, I don't see this happening anytime soon, but it's fun to plan.  Luckily, I can spend my day happily in the kitchen, and my husband will (happily) taste-test my creations.

Saturday was an experiment in gourmet cupcakes, which is so 2008, but I don't really care.  I'm open to business suggestions.

Orange Almond Cupcake

6 tbsp butter, softened
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest

1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp orange zest
Slivered almonds

1) Cream butter and sugar together,  which is a process I will never get sick of when using this lovely mixer.

2) Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until combined.

3) Add in the flour, salt, and baking powder, mix until  combined.

4) Add in milk, orange juice, and zest, until your kitchen smells of oranges and heaven.

5) Bake in a lined muffin pan at 350 for about 15 minutes.

Make frosting...

1) Combine all ingredients and beat until combined.

2) Place in a ziploc bag and put in refrigerator.


4) When cupcakes are truly cooled, cut tip off of ziploc bag and pipe frosting fancily, so that you will feel truly talented.

5) Top with slivered almonds.

6) Force your husband, father, sister, and everyone you know to eat these cupcakes and say nice things to you.

It will make your Saturday better.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Taco Thursday?

A few weeks ago, Matthew and I went out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner.  I saw vegetarian tacos on the menu, and was expecting lettuce and tomatoes.  But much to my surprise, these tacos had sweet potatoes on them.  Genius!

You know me and orange foods.

I just had to make my own version.

Sweet Potato Tacos

1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small cubes
15 oz black beans, drained
1/2 tsp ground chipotle peppers
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp taco sauce or salsa


Lots and lots and lots of sour cream

1) Steam your sweet potatoes people!  It's so easy!

2) Throw the potatoes, beans, and spices in a bowl.

3) Stir away

4) Put on tortilla

5) Add choice fixin's

6) Eat

A pathetically easy attempt at dinner, but oh so delicious!

Warring Wednesday

On Wednesday, as I battled a cold, I also took on one of my most mortal food enemies.

Something even more despised than garlic:

The onion.

A college friend introduced me to Oh She Glows, and I found this recipe. She's vegan, kind of like Oprah, and I almost made a completely vegan meal.  I decided that if I was going to tackle an onion, I might as well stick it in a loaf where it could be easily disguise.

I give you the Vegan (almost) Lentil Walnut Loaf.

*I omitted the flax seed and water, and just used two real eggs instead.  Shhhh, don't tell.*

If you have a Misto can, use it.  You'll cut back on your oil usage, and the spray pump is really fun!

If you've never chopped an onion before (like me), make sure you're home alone when you do it.  It will save you some humiliation.

Lentils are far more delicious than they look.

Don't skip the apple butter in the glaze, apple butter is yummy.

Lentils taste better than meat loaf.

Tofu Tuesday

Please do not be alarmed by the title of the post, no one was harmed in the making of this meal.

A now for a story, about tofu.

Once upon a time, we had a dinner party, and made curry, and bought tofu.  Then, we forgot to use it.  Since then, said tofu has been looming menacingly in our refrigerator.

The end.

As I was perusing blogs, as I do on a daily basis, I found that one of my blogs called for tofu crusted with almond butter.  Uh...duh...perfect!

Here's the recipe from BonAppetempt.

A photo documentation of this tofu's journey...with a few tips.

Use homemade almond butter, because that makes you superior.

But, go light on the soy sauce, this recipe has plenty of it.

Use a cool garlic roller thing from your Grandma, yet another way I don't have to touch the garlic!

Don't be afraid of soba noodles...they are good.

If the recipe says extra firm tofu, for goodness' sake make it extra firm!

Don't throw it all away if you hate it, because your husband, roommate, family member, or dog might really like it.

Dear Tofu,

I accept your challenge.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Spoiled Saturday

Since the inception of this blog the people in my life have been spoiling me ROTTEN with food/cooking related gifts.

I'm not complaining.  On Thursday, I received many lovely gifts from family and friends, and more importantly lots of special, fun, and sometimes weird birthday wishes!

I received one gift from my lovely husband and father-in-law that I have been selfishly coveting for a LONG time: a Le Creuset french oven.

Behold--in all its glory.

Can you say "puuuuurrrrrdddy...."?

Friday I was itching all day to try it out, so late Friday night Matthew and I decided to prep this amazing bread recipe, specifically intended for the Le Creuset french oven. The recipe is beautiful worded by Mark Bittman, so I won't try and replicate it here.  But I did photograph this bread's journey.

Now homemade bread is great warm, but made even better when you smear something delicious on top. So I decided to do some homemade almond butter too.  It's so easy a child could make it, but probably not, with the sharp blade and all.

Almond Butter

2 cups unsalted, roasted almonds
1/2 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon

Simply process the almonds into submission in a food processor, until creamy.  About 15 minutes.

This delectable creation went straight to the warm bread which went straight into my mouth.

It was also fabulous in my oatmeal this morning.

Thanks to all the people in my life who spoiled me on my birthday or any other day!