Wednesday, November 30, 2011

impulse buys

Sometimes, while driving home from work, you just need a detour. Sometimes that detour finds you at Chicken House, the completely irresistably aroma’d Peruvian chicken joint more or less on my path home from work.

And then a “side order” of fried yucca is just so cheap that you impulsively ask for one along with your horchata.

The horchata disappeared in about ten seconds, but I managed to hold off on the yucca til I got home (though not gonna lie, it smelled so amazing in my confined Toyota that I definitely had a nibble at a red light).

I sat on the deck in the sun and ate a ton of this.


Ahh, fried food among the foliage.

It was totally spectacular. And as my mother and I discussed as she looked over my shoulder as I wrote this post, the sauces are at least as good as the yucca itself. The green one is super zingy, probably a mix of fresh cilantro and chiles; and the yellowish one is like a remoulade. Mmm mm. And the yucca, of course, is carby, fatty comfort food at the max.


Sheila also enjoyed lounging on the deck. She knew how good she looked with the fall foliage and the blue sky.


Another impulse- I took (and passed!) a math placement test at my community college because I needed to be at least at precalculus level to take Chemistry. To apply to grad school programs. To do a dietetics program. Followed by a dietetics internship. To someday in a zillion years be a dietician.

Unbeknownst to me to place into this chem that’s the mean to the ends, rather than a quick trig test, you had to complete algebra, geo, trig AND precalc. It took like two hours. Mon dieu.

In advance, I’d told myself that if I passed (on the gloomy, dreary day I took the test) I’d reward myself with something I’d been fantasizing about when I saw it on the menu board at my favorite Korean bakery:

sweet.potato. latte.

I know, right?!


You know what this was? A cup of hot milk with some mashed sweet potato (the Korean kind; they’re a bit less brightly colored, more of a soft yellow, and milder in flavor) whipped up together.

As such, it’d be wildly inappropriate for me ever to pay money for it again, as I have a perfectly good blender and a constant supply of sweet potatoes.


I rounded out my plate with healthier things (though honestly I was weirdly un-hungry. Despite eating lunch at like 3:30 in the afternoon. Test taking’ll do that to ya.)

I’d made some roasted cauliflower over the weekend- just high heat, olive oil, salt and pepper.


Fun fact: we send out a newsletter to all the sites our department at the food bank sends food to. I doubt they ever read it. BUT this past month I got to write the recipes for it :D And included one for roasted cauliflower!

I enjoyed this serving of roasted cauliflower in my ice cream bowl :D


Something restaurants will charge you like $8 for as an appetizer: edamame and soy sauce. Attractively presented in dishes I got in Asia :D  Even organic, cause that’s the only kind of soybeans my Safeway sells (which is nice since I hate supporting Monsanto in any way).


This lunch was so… warm!


Another POWERFUL impulse: also sweet potato related. So many of my impulses when it’s cold out involve sweet potato.

I had part of a baked sweet potato left over and suddenly all my heart craved was biscuits. BISCUITS! Carbs and butter. Basically, I constantly crave those two ingredients, but this particular night the biscuits were really calling to me.

Fortunately, this was an impulse that I could (and should!) gratify by cooking at home. Not gonna lie, any chance I got during my childhood I’d snarf down a Popeye’s biscuit. But, yknow… trans fat. General unhealthiness.

So I got my bake on and got not just one, but a plateful. It’s nice having high quantities of a starchy food around when Steve is coming for dinner, since that’s how he attains any level of fullness :D

Love love love crumbling together flour and butter by hand. It’s so soothing. Got the required wet-sand look.


Then added wet stuff and sweet tater.


It took awhile for that stuff to combine and I didn’t want crappy-textured biscuits, so I did drop biscuits rather than roll them out and cut them (that’s also a lot EASIER, which is nice for me, isn’t it?)


Sweet Potato Biscuits

1 T milk mixed with ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup plus 2 T spelt flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
heaping 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp. stevia baking mix (or sugar, obviously)
2 T chilled sweet butter, cut into small cubes
1 t. canola oil
3/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 tsp. baking powder

In a wee bowl, combine milk and vinegar and let sit til curdled.

Sift together dry ingredients. Work in butter, oil, and milk mixture with fingers until just combined and sandy. Knead in sweet potato.

Drop in golf-ball-sized pieces or roll out and cut with cookie cutter.

Bake on parchment paper at 425 15-20 min or until golden.

Made me 10 biscuits and 1 baby biscuit! Aww.


Guys, these were SO GOOD. You’d never guess that they were actually good for you. So buttery!

Steve and I had a very deep philosophical talk about how with most biscuits one part is going to be better- either the wonderful flaky slightly crisped outside or the soft tender interior.

But these both aspects were equally good. You just wanted to keep eating them!


That was rounded out with an awesome salad I found on Epicurious and sort of adapted, as always when researching recipes, by wanting things to be healthier and refusing to leave my house to buy more quantities of ingredients.

I have grown very fond of that site- their selection is just really BIG, cause they pull from so many magazines/cookbooks, and they have some more ethnic/creative recipes than you’d see in Cooking Light. Sure, they’re a little less attuned to the saturated fat grams, but even the more indulgent recipes are adaptable.

And in general, I love living in an era where you can buy something at the farmer’s market, go “Hmm… I feel like doing something new with that” and five minutes later you’re making shredded kale and brussels sprouts salad with toasted almonds. Mmm.


Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad (adapted from Epicurious)

2 T plus 1 t olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 small garlic clove ground into a paste with ¼ tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch kale, shredded
10 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, put through the grater attachment on a food processor
1/2 tsp. olive oil
3 T almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
1 ounce Parmesan, shaved

With a fork, combine 2 T olive oil through pepper. Let sit.

Toast almonds in the 1 tsp. olive oil.

Toss dressing with kale and Brussels sprouts. Sprinkle with cheese


My adapted recipe is good, but the UNadapted recipe was served at my work potluck that was Thanksgiving leftovers themed (love. my. job.) and it was… splendid.

So make mine if you’re watching the oil or are serving a smaller group, but make the real deal for culinary bliss.

1/2 a cup of olive oil real deal salad found here.

And finally, for protein’s sake (honestly I’d eat biscuits and salad for dinner but the hungry man was over) I threw together a frittata. I’m super into frittata lately. I made and failed to photograph one with kale, potatoes, and caramelized onions that was delightful!

I made this one with sauteed leeks and sun dried tomatoes. My frittatas generally follow a theme called “Clean out the fridge/pantry”.



AllThingsYummy said...

I've never had fried yucca. I wonder if I can find that here. I'll have to check. Love horchata. yum!

MelindaRD said...

When on earth did I miss that you wanted to apply to nutrition programs and then do an internship to become an RD. I am so so so very excited to hear this. Let me know if you have any questions.

MelindaRD said...

Oh and congrats on passing the math test.

marie said...

I love your blog and your eats. Sweet potatoes in a drink sounds great to me. So does your version of the Kale salad.

My sister just became an R.D. If you click on October her post is labeled 'Jeannette'. She went about it the hard way. I hope you go about it in a much more timely manner.

Shannon ~ My Place In The Race said...

The food looks amazing! As always :) I love yucca! I had it for the first time a couple months ago.

Kim @ Spoonful of Sass said...

Eating in the fresh air is the best. And with a beautiful kitty, even better! :)

Lena @Fit on the Rocks said...

I love that you specifically like the Korean sweet potatoes. My friends always tell me that they're the same, but I beg to differ! I grew up with those babies, so I know what's up :P