Sunday, February 28, 2010

good square meal

I realized yesterday was actually the first day I hadn’t posted in awhile! We’ve had this weird big bright warm thing in the sky (I think people not from the DC area have mentioned it… the “sun”? I think is the word?) and I was out doing nice things. But back home for Sunday dinner!

Sunday dinner is such a nice tradition. A big, well-rounded platter of yummy, comforting food. What the traditional sort might call a “square meal”, except, as might not be the case in some gut-busting traditional meals, this one was ludicrously healthful too! Nice to get the week started with a nice nourishing meal.

It was also rawther gorgeous:


I’ve been doing this crazy thing lately where I actually follow recipes from cookbooks.

A bit of back story: when I was a wee ‘un, my dad used to be food editor of our hometown paper (Spokane, Washington, represent!). It meant fun trips out to eat, him making recipes (although that column, “The Reluctant Chef”, mostly entailed recipes that involved onion soup mix), and most of all AN ABUNDANCE OF COOKBOOKS. Even after the divorce, my mom’s house still has a tonnnnn! Heh. Tonight’s inspiration:


Cod with sun dried tomato sauce. It being copyrighted and all, I can’t give you the exact deets, but basically you rehydrate some sundried tomatoes (dry packed, not in oil), then make a sauce with sauteed onions and garlic, canned whole tomatoes, and a splash of balsamic at the end.

The sauce was INSANELY DELICIOUS! And went really nicely with the firm, assertive cod.


With baked red potatoes (which I ended up also dousing in the sauce, mm!) and steamed bok choy. Lately I’ve been trying to use cooking methods that maximize nutrients in food (aka not boiling vegetables!). I made the potatoes by wrapping them in foil and baking them at 350 (in my handy dandy countertop oven!) for like 45 mins? Still soft and tender, no vitamins lost to the boiling water!


Something new that I love:


A new find. Usually “relaxation” teas contain chamomile, which I think tastes like grass clippings. But this one is mostly fennel (with spicy hints of ginger etc.) and is way delish. Highly recommend!

Friday, February 26, 2010

puffy and pillowy

Lookit my perfect pockety pita!


I am seriously into this whole wheat pita bread with flax recipe. It’s pretty idiot proof (though I added an extra 10 minutes of resting time after rolling it out for maximum pocketage) and they just kept poofing bigger and bigger! I have so much fun staring into my oven it’s kind of pathetic.


When I think pita I think “falafel”. At my church there are lots of people from Lebanon and they have this annual falafel sale that is… INTENSELY DELICIOUS. Lacking the skills and ingredients to make the authentic thing (and knowing, honestly, that with the amount of deep fat frying involved it’s probably appropriate that it’s a once a year treat) I took the lazy (but healthy!) shortcut:


Do people know if this brand makes other stuff? I dig it!

I didn’t particularly care for either of their suggested cooking methods (frying due to the health and hassle factors, broiling due to the fact that I did that last time I used this mix and they were petrifyingly dry) so I got out my beloved griddle, made my falafel balls, brushed the griddle and the balls with olive oil, and kinda made them pancake style?


Then I (rather BRILLIANTLY) repurposed the leftover baked tofu topper (which had consisted of miso, green onion, tahini, and water) and added lotsa lemon juice and a bit more water et voila- falafel sauce!


It is rather difficult to photograph the inside of a falafel pita. I did my best:


With lettuce and the sauce (man I wish we had pickles, that would’ve made it perfect). But I have to say… the hot pita and falafel, the crisp lettuce, the wonderful creamy yet tangy sauce… it was goooooooooooood.

I accompanied with some Darling Clementines:


In other news, Kath is a genius.

I decided I hadn’t had a roasting marathon in far too long (seriously, there’s a point in the autumn when the farmer’s market is at its peak where I just roast everything- stray squirrels beware!). So I had me one. The star of which were “low and slow” sweet potatoes, as described by Kath.

One mammoth sweet tater (8 oz+), thickly sliced, tossed with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and roasted first for 30 minutes at 350* then for 20 at 400* resulted in the pillowiest, most tender, sweet, sap-y sweet potato goodness I have ever had the pleasure to eat. She used the word “pillowy”, which I really liked!


Accompanying I made rockin’ roasted chickpeas (1 cup chickpeas+ 1/2 T olive oil+ salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, and a hint of cinnamon at 400 for 25 minutes)


And cauliflower (1/2 a gigantic head+ 1/2 T olive oil+ salt, pepper, garam masala at 400 for 25 minutes then 500 for 10 minutes).


Thursday, February 25, 2010

porridgey love

Continuing to experiment with overnight oats!


Last night:

1/2 c oats
1 tsp currants
1/3 c milk
2 T yogurt (I used Light n Fit pineapple coconut mmm!)

This morning:

1 small banana
1/2 oz almonds


For aesthetic purposes, I blend in some of the toppings and put the rest on top, hahaha. Funny how your eating style changes when you get a blog.

It was yummy! I like the addition of the banana. And since I only make my beloved peanut butter and banana stovetop oats when the banana is SUPER RIPE, this is a good breakfast that uses the firm bananas.

And now for something completely different:


When at HMart, I sometimes like to just browse the shelf looking for fun ethnic eats. This caught my eye- apologies for it being too dark to read- Rice Porridge with Chestnut and Red Bean.

Ingredients: glutinous rice, sweet red bean, chestnut, salt, water

Stats: 300 calories, 6 g sugar, 0 g fiber (eesh!), 7 g protein, 570 mg sodium (EESH!).

So kind of a mixed bag. Refreshingly short and natural ingredient list, decent on the protein, but ultimately not an everyday breakfast.

I lifted off the lid to reveal this:


Adorable spoon, and directions which I’m sure were very helpful, if I could read Korean… but alas, I cannot. So safety first, I transferred it into a bowl I KNEW was microwave safe and heated it up. Here’s what it looked like, with gorgey chunks of chestnut and red bean:


The verdict? Yummy! Definitely on the sweet side, but not cloyingly so like, for example, American instant oatmeal. I really cannot get enough of sweet bean dishes, they are so fun!

Due to the ABSENCE of fiber, in stark contrast to my usual oat breakfasts, I had some apple slices on the side.


And it actually kept me full! Usually I’m all about the carbs, but clearly the extra protein gave it some extra oomph.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

blank canvas

Tofu is great because you can do anything with it. It just soaks up the flavors of whatever it’s prepared with. Like this crazy thing!


I love the IDEA of egg salad, but it’s just too… eggy?

I know that sounds insane, but there’s just something about the yolks and the gloppy mayonnaise and the sliminess that is just… ick. But I love the idea of a cool, crisp, slightly creamy, protein-rich, salad with dill and paprika and onion, so I set about making it with TOFU!


And it was awesome. Tofu, minced green onion, minced celery, capers and their juices, mustard, yogurt as my binder (regular readers know how I feel about mayonnaise blecccch), salt and pepper, paprika, and dill. SO YUMMY!

Another component of this lunch I kinda just ad libbed and it was so great. Chopped apple+ chopped pecan+ cinnamon+ glob of plain yogurt on top for garnish.


I thought about heating up the fruit but since this was right after a workout I, as usual, only wanted cold food. And I liked both angles so you get two pictures!


Pecans are so naturally sweet. How do they do it?!

Along with snow peas (yum! I eat ‘em raw!) my delicious lunch.


SO well rounded, too! Got allllll my food groups! This is how I like to eat- well rounded nutritious meals with lots of flavors and textures that take a nice long time to eat. The thing with the insane amounts of noshing that has been going on since I got home is ENDING!

On another tofu note, baked tofu always appeals to me in other peoples’ blog but since I always wing it when I make it, it’s never been totally satisfactory. So, wild and crazy, this time I actually followed a recipe! I consulted those experts in vegetarianism at Moosewood, specifically my copy of Sundays at Moosewood and made myself a tofu topper consisting of miso, green onion, and tahini (!) thinned with a bit of water.

Into the oven:


And out:


Okay I know this will sound crazy, but the topping when it gets all crisp and brown tastes like CHEESE! It’s like the edgy bits of a lasagna, mmm.

The first time I had it (all aloney, while my mom was still on her trip) I had it with a salad of greens, shrooms, celery, and the salad dressing with which I’m currently having a love affair, Annie’s Gingerly:


Mm, crispy goodness!


Since I had this following the injera-fest at the Ethiopian restaurant, I wasn’t feeling a grain-y side dish, so I just had it with a delicious orange and ginger tea.


Someone asked how I made tea with fresh ginger:

I keep a knob of fresh ginger in my freezer (it NEVER goes bad!). When I want ginger tea, I peel back just enough of the skin to cut off 2 or 3 nickel-sized slices of ginger. Then I pour boiling water over them and let them steep 5 minutes or so. (Confidential to the ladies- ginger is a natural anti inflammatory and I drink oodles of this stuff that time of the month!)

When my mama returned, I used the copious amounts of leftover topping (despite the fact that I had made 1/4 the recipe!) to make it again, this time accompanied by some bok choy. My bestest friend, Noodles (well, some weird people call her “Lydia”) makes really really great bok choy and I asked her to send me her technique and she TOOK HER SWEET TIME but I was distracted with other veggies.

Anyway, copied word for word:

chop up tons of ginger and cook it in spray oil for a couple of minutes (real oil would get it too crispy.. though that's really good with carrots..), then add the chopped bok choi with soy sauce and let that steam. then the sesame seeds.

The result:


It’s GOOD.

This time I sliced the tofu thinner and also put it in triangles to maximize crispening possibilities.


For dessert, we dug into a fun souvenier that my stepmother got whilst on her layover in Japan: MOCHI!


Due to my unfortunate lack of knowledge of Japanese, I have no clue what the flavors are. I tried the pink one (the only one I can fairly confidently state is probably strawberry), the one I’ll call “green”


And the “darker green with powdery stuff”, which had red bean in it.


Love love love Asia’s fondness of bean desserts. I did not eat a savory bean dish the whole time I was in Taiwan or Bangkok, but I ate so many fun bean sweets!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

so eggcellent!

Best lunch in recent memory!

I opened the latest issue of Eating Well (my entire family  has airline miles expiring and it has meant an ABUNDANCE of new magazines!) and saw the recipe for Hilary's Heavenly Eggs and went YES.


Oh. Yes.

Step one on my journey to egg awesomeness was these guys:


I am lucky enough to be a member of Foodbuzz’s Tastemaker Program, and as a result got a sweet coupon for a free carton of these. They are INTENSELY DELICIOUS and apparently healthier? Love when those two things occur simultaneously.

Anyway, I dumbed down the recipe a bit and just poached my egg in some jarred tomato basil sauce.





And rather than putting it on silly low-fiber baguette, I OBVIOUSLY instead put it on a slice of my ridiculously delicious brown Irish soda bread.


Oh. Em. Gee. The combination of flavors was un. friggin. believable. The richness of the egg, the savory tomato goodness, the hearty wheaty base of the bread, all hot and combined on my fork… PERFECT! I cannot wait to make this again.


I have waited semi-patiently for this stupid thing to ripen, but it finally did! Papaya, baby! Also courtesy of Hmart (last week’s trip!). Just look at the beautiful star of seeds!


While not quite as good as the fresh papaya in Thailand (obviously) it was still nice to have on this fairly gloomy day. Along with, of course, I restocked, yogurt!


It has kind of occured to me that I’ve been posting small meals lately, thus causing people to think I eat way less than I do. But the truth is, due to currently being home and not working yet, I have been NOSHING LIKE IT’S MY JOB (cause um it is?).

Exhibit A:


Despite the fact that I am 21, my mom continues to bring me goodies after she goes on business trips. This is a big (BIG) bag of Swedish fish, those awesome gummi blackberries and raspberries, and cinnamon gummi bears. Suffice it to say that when she got here on Sunday, there was more than a pound of candy in that bag (that’s why she got the complimentary creepy rubber duck with bunny ears). Between the diligent efforts of the two of us, there is now a single Swedish fish left (and I only left it cause it’s orange and that’s my least favorite flavor).

Exhibit B:


48 ounces of Craisins. Costco is ridic. Anyway, I’ve been totally demolishing them. Mmm.

Monday, February 22, 2010

slim pickins

It’s easier to make tuna salad when you, in fact, have TUNA. Regrettably, when making lunch today, I did not.

Not wanting to lure psycho killers, I hadn’t mentioned until her return that my mother was out of town but she was, Wednesday through Sunday, and I kind of just didn’t feel like buying groceries (in my defense, both my parents turn into frat boys when left to their own devices- my dad’s bare cupboard you’ve seen, and as for my mother; when I got back from Asia there were the carcasses of two rotisserie chickens in the fridge and VERY LITTLE ELSE).

Anyway, I made do with a snack plate.


TJ’s chickenless nuggets (which I later, OBVIOUSLY, doused in hot sauce), a darling clementine, a thawed frozen date nut muffin, and my veggie of choice for the past SEVERAL days, celery, with the AWESOME dipper of Annie’s Gingerly.

I went and saw my grandma this morning and she forced, FORCED me to take some candy when I left (she has a seeeeeerious stash- the sweet tooth apple did not fall far from the tree). So I took a piece. I mean, I respect my elders.

There is something magic about chocolate and crunch. Perfect pre-gym snack.


Supplemented with 10,000 Craisins. My Costco sack of Craisins is serious business.

Anyway, I made not one but two trips to grocery stores today. First to HMart for gorgey produce:


Naners, clems, pineapple, and Fuji apples; peppers, snow peas, and cauli. For the princely sum of $10. I seriously cannot remember life before HMart.

My second trip was to plain old Giant where I mainly bought cleaning supplies, cat food, and yogurts. I am well, WELL on my way to Cat-Lady-hood.

On the bright side, my favorite yogurt of all time was on sale:


YES. Coffee yogurt. It was also a really fabulous post-gym snack. There was that big study about chocolate milk being so effective, and the same building blocks are in this bad boy- lowfat milk providing protein and sugars, a bit of caffeine for pep. And it is SO INSANELY DELICIOUSSSSSSSSSSS.

Dinner was clarsy: 


I’d been eyeing the recipe for Fettuccine with Cashew Cream for awhile, for when I sought something classy. Then I decided to just make it cause it was Monday! Along with an unphotogenic salad.

It is GOOD.


I made it with bucatini instead of fettuccine, but other than that followed the recipe exactly. I have to say, I was expecting a special flavor to come from the cashews, but it ended up tasting EXACTLY like fettuccine alfredo.

I’m sure that is fabulous news for those who love fettuccine alfredo but don’t love saturated fat (this stuff has the good MUFA’s out the wazoo!) but on the other hand, I wanted to taste the cashew!

Now for some ask me anything. First of all, other bloggers have been getting hilariously rude comments, but apparently you all are really polite and nice! A few I’ve received:

are you currently in a relationship?

In case the cat lady comments earlier in this post didn’t already clue you in, I am deeeefinitely not! I anticipate being single for the foreseeable future. I’m a big fan of independence. And honestly not such a big fan of men at the moment (one in particular).

What did you get your degree in? What do you plan to do with it?

Funny that you ask- look what I got in the mail today!

retouched degree

That would be one college degree :D With honors! Thank you, thank you. I also, in my opinion, get a little laude for so skillfully airbrushing my last name!

I majored in Political Science and minored in Anthropology. I am a believer in education for its own sake, so I studied those things because they were what most interested me. However, I ultimately hope to work in some kind of do-gooding profession: maybe for a nonprofit, maybe public health or (!) nutrition. However, I’m starting to realize that a lot of those jobs require Masters’ eeeshhhhhhh.

You can still go to ask me anything. I continue to be touched how many people seem to actually read my blog… like, ON PURPOSE (not just when googling “how do you say i’m hungry for a sandwich in spanish”, which Google Alerts informs me is how some enterprising person found this blog) and I’m genuinely curious to know if people are curious about me.