Saturday, June 29, 2013

More Lovin'

Immediately after our watermelon salad we indulged in a delicious pasta salad. This was loosely based off of Martha Stewart's Orzo Pasta Salad.

Pasta Salad with Fried Zucchini and Corn

2 corn on the cob, kernels cut off
3 small zucchini (I could have probably used a more)
Cooked, refrigerated pasta (I used a gluten-free corn pasta [no - I am not going gluten free])
1/2 Thinly sliced onion
S & P

Heat a pan with EVOO and add zucchini and onion and cook on high heat until soft. Add corn and cook until heated. Add to cold pasta with additional EVOO and stick in fridge until cold. After cold, eat.

Summer Lovin'

Yes! Binging on fruit this summer has been much too pleasurable. I'm trying to stuff my face as much as I can to really take advantage of the bounty. This might actually be the first summer I am doing this. I didn't use to fully appreciate or understand that there was a season for produce unless it was asparagus or fresh peas because I'm pretty sure you can't buy that shit out of season. Stores are stocked all year long with what I want so why only buy during certain months, right?

But now, now I am tasting a huge difference in when I buy produce. It's kinda sad it took me so long. But I'm catching on to what I feel like most people already know.

This post is one that has been floating around on the internets in some version or another. I actually based this recipe off of Plenty - the book I mentioned in a previous post. The only thing I would change about how I did it would be to let the onions soak in some kind of marinade before hand to take the bite out. They were a tad strong. Also, the original recipe called for feta but I am trying to limit my dairy and it tasted awesome without it. Again since this is my own recipe - use the portions appropriate for the amount of people you are serving.

Balsamic Vinegar (I used two kinds)

Cut up the onion and let sit in olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper for about an hour to soften. Cut up watermelon and chop basil. Mix with onion dressing. Eat. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Shrooms, garlic sourdough, and fried egg

I'm pretty much addicted to the library these days. Books. For Free. FREE. Plus music, movies, and the internets too!

That should really be the end of my post because that is awesome stuff right there. The Seattle Public Library System is also extremely vast. I like to support it by turning in my books late and paying fines. Is that tax deductible? 

My new favorite thing to do is to look at highly rated and popular books and put them on hold. I always come across things I wouldn't typically seek out on my own, or pay for. I recently got the book Plenty which is a vegetarian cookbook written by a carnivore. My kind of book right there. He happily mentions which dishes are good with meat and is liberal with his use of cream, egg, and cheeses. I know - I feel like I just posted about limiting dairy in my diet. I am. No more milk. Very little cheese. But eggs - I am totally down for eggs. Hardboiled, softboiled, fried, poached, scrambled. It's all good.

I've been craving them lately. Literally thinking about them during the day. So I made this phenomenal mushroom ragout liberally adapted from Plenty. The original recipe called for a poached duck egg, so if you can find duck egg and you can poach it - go for it!

Sorry - this will be a vague recipe. Just measure the ingredients based on what you like. 

Mushrooms (I used oyster, portabella, and shitake) 
Diced onion
Truffle oil
Sour cream
Garlic, minced 
Olive Oil
Sour dough bread
White wine

Cut up the sourdough into cubes and mix with garlic, oil, and salt. Bake in oven at 400 until brown & crispy. 

Soften onions in a large pan with the truffle oil. Add 1/4 cup(ish) of white wine. Let the wine cook off. While it is cooking off fry your egg. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. I cut the mushrooms up in different sizes to get different textures. Add parsley and sour cream. (I used yogurt instead but it broke on me so I recommend using sour cream as the original recipe calls for). 

On a plate put the sourdough on the bottom, cover with ragout, top with fried egg. Add a little more parsley and cracked pepper to make it look pretty. 

If you like mushroom this will rock your world. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pumpkin Bars

Frankly, I'm not even sure what to call these. Cake? Cookies? Bars? Brownies? Awesome!? All of the above might be best. One Sunday I decided to bake red velvet brownies (didn't turn out) and these guys. Good thing one of my recipes turned out okay. I definitely did a lot of adapting from the recipe I found, mostly because I could not find all of the ingredients so I just did my own thing. You can find the original recipe here.

Basically - I didn't do the filling and instead just folded in white chocolate and semi-sweet milk chocolate chips. And it worked out perfect for me.

What to do with the leftover pumpkin puree? Freeze it in your ice cube tray to make delicious protein shakes.

Two eggs + One banana

My last post contained four ingredients. This post will have even less! Two! Well..kinda. I might be cheating. The toppings will make it five. We don't need to dwell on that.

I found this on Pinterest (aka my new addiction):
  • One large over-ripe banana 
  • Two eggs
I am specific about the banana because I had a small slightly-less-ripe one and it tasted a little too eggy for my taste.

For the "extras" you can add vanilla extract, syrup, and powdered sugar. I wouldn't normally add powdered sugar but it makes the pictures look so pretty! :) It didn't cook very evenly for me so I folded it over to make it an omelet and I loved it. This breakfast is perfect.

The "simple" things

I thought it was an interesting comment on our food system when Haagen-Dazs launched their Haagen-Dazs 5 ice cream line. I never realized most ice cream had more than five ingredients. Turns out it usually doesn't. Haagen-Dazs didn't change their ingredients at all, they just starting marketing it differently. Consumers are going back to the basics and buying a "simple, pure, and authentic" product is super appealing. There is nothing simple and pure about a cow being hooked up to a machine for 10-12 hours a day. Authentic? Sure.

 The abuse that goes on in dairy farms is gross and disgusting. This is coming from a carnivore who is still trying to cut out dairy from her diet, by the way. I'm not standing on my soap box talking about something I cannot relate to. Having taken a few classes on media literacy and critical thinking I can only summarize by saying that the image their commercials present of glorious mountains, tiny wild raspberries, and hand wrapped vanilla is blown insanely out of proportion. So ridiculous.

On the lighter side of things I made sorbet! AND it has just four ingredients. Recipe found here.

1 c. Water
1 c. Sugar
4 cups frozen raspberries raspberries
1/4 c. Thyme

Make simple syrup with water, sugar and thyme. Let cool. In blender, mix 1/2 c. simple syrup and raspberries. Put in bowl. Stick in freezer. Serve when frozen.

If you make it right it will look pretty. If you don't, like I did, it won't look so good. I added all of the simple syrup to my recipe and it hardened...too well. So...that's why it looks funny. But still good!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dear food: we're breaking up

I am continually obsessed and fascinated with the relationship people have with food. Mostly, because I am obsessed with my own relationship with food. Mostly because I am obsessed with food. I am constantly thinking about what I have eaten, what I am eating and what I will be eating. I mock the quote: "Don't live to eat, eat to live". I do. I love being food/eating centric. It brings me a lot of joy. It challenges me. I broadens me. Food is unique because you need it to survive, and because it can give you so much pleasure.

I am constantly surprised and confused when people go on these radical diets. I am the first person to admit I do not know everything. But, the evidence seems to indicate that yo-yo dieting is bad news all around. It's like, people cut out an entire food group, lose weight, add back the food group and expect to keep it off. I'm no nutritionist but even I know that's not the way it works. It is so seductive to feel that way, though. Even I succumbed to it after initiating a 6-pack food and work-out plan. I vowed to add more meat back into my diet for a time because animal protein is more easily assimilated in the body. I had read about actors needing to create some serious muscle for movies (wolverine) and body builders eating nothing but chicken before the big event. After achieving my desired results,  I would back off meat and simply maintain the body I had so painstakingly cultivated.

Yeah...that's not the way it works.

Dieting and fitness is a lifestyle. It's something you have to do week by week and day by day. There is no grapefruit-cayenne beverage that will melt fat and give you the physique of your dreams. It takes time, it takes effort. Whatever body you want - make sure to eat the food that you will like for a lifetime.

Prosciutto and cantaloupe

Pairing flavors such as bitter cappuccinos and sweet cupcakes are my come-to-jesus moments. Prosciutto (one of the few meats in my diet) is a particular weakness of mine. It really doesn't compare to the thick cuts I was exposed to in Switzerland but it certainly satisfies my cravings. One of my local delis sells cheap "prosciutto ends" that are mostly fat but have just enough meat to bite into. Combining prosciutto and cantaloupe is my new favorite post-work out snack.  Sweet, salty, and juicy!

[Affordable] food is awesome

And so it is! I've never considered myself a baker but the truth is, baking is sharable! Cakes, pies, cookies, and candies are easily transported and served. They don't need to be reheated and sugar makes everyone happy. The fabulousness of baking is that once you have the essential items, you can make most anything without having to go to the store. Flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, butter, eggs and vanilla extract and you can make a dozen recipes right there! These ingredients are also cheap and that makes it truly magical. Mix, whip, beat, pour; add some heat and you can feed a dozen!

In the past couple months I have discovered pinterest. It's like foodgawker on crack. I can't seem to stay away from it. I have discovered a well of untapped inspiration in addition to bananas-awesome food bloggers & vloggers. Heather from SprinkleBakes is a bitchin' awesome blogger with an equally bitchin' cookbook. I am sadly intimidated by baking so I tend to go for the easy pickings (for now!).

I decided to try her yema candy recipe. Her pictures are definitely cuter than mine in her book but these kinda do justice...There is only supposed to be yellow sanding sugar but I ran out and had to use the orange and the red too. They are a nice, creamy, nutty, buttery candy. I did like them a lot - maybe even ate most of them before my coworkers could. If you get a chance, definitely get this book. It has super cool nerdy information about baking for all levels, cute pictures and fabulous recipes.

Yema Candy
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes *

1 Tb. butter
1 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
5 egg yolks
1/2 c. pistachios
Sanding sugar (it should be yellow but I ran out)

1. Melt butter in a medium pan
2. Add sweetened condensed milk and heat for a minute.
3. Add egg yolks, stir.
4. Keep stirring until it forms a thick paste and pulls away from sides of pan (this did not happen for me, so .... I may have over cooked it.)
5. Remove from heat and let cool completely
6. Once cooled, shape into 1 inch balls and cover in sanding sugar.
7. Serve and enjoy!

*This recipe is not on her website but is in her book (which is awesome)