Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chunky Vegan Vodka Sauce

This is exciting. You should make this and eat it.   You should not tell people (non-vegan people) that it's vegan until after they're wow-ing about it.  

I was apprehensive about trying to do a non-dairy cream sauce.  I'm trying to expand my repertoire of vegan recipes, not because I'll ever go cheese-free, but because you never know who you're going to end up cooking for.  Actually, I do know, one of the friends I cook for (used to cook more for, got lazy, I suck) is vegetarian and dairy free, and frankly, eggs aren't exciting enough to me to call her anything but vegan.  So I like to try different things and see if we can get by without milk.  But this dish isn't about getting by, this dish rocks and I don't see a reason to make dairy cream sauce again.  

Anyhow, back to my apprehension.  1.  I like cheese and stuff and 2.  I tried to use the cashew cream a couple of days ago and it's was disgusting.  I mean like, spit-it-out-and-try-to-forget-it-ever-happened disgusting.  But maybe that's because I tried to use it raw in a cold sauce, in lieu of sour cream, because this time, again, fantastic. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thyme and Onion Wheat Crackers

Crackers have been a hot topic at my house lately.  My favorite whole wheat cracker seems to have been discontinued, and I've seen a variety of recipes in the past few months, but I barely bake, and I certainly don't make crackers - right?  Well, it turns out they're fairly easy to make.

I like a cracker that is robust enough to be eaten independently, but not so much that it might clash with my hummus or the ridiculous feta-spinach spread I've been into lately, or whatever other application I might want to use it for.  This cracker does that.   I also want a cracker to be made of real food - this cracker does that too.

It's based on a number of recipes that have floated by lately, plus enough savory flavor to stand on its own, with some extra wholesome mixed in.    

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Black Bean and Chicken Egg Rolls

This is, apparently, the only pose I can imagine for the egg rolls -I used it last week too. 
A week ago I made Red Cabbage Egg Rolls, and I had about half* the wrappers left over, so here's what happened with that. These are much like some Southwestern Egg Rolls we've had in chain restaurants, but made of food and baked.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spaghetti Squash with Prosciutto, Sundried Tomatoes, Feta and Peas

I had this peas and prosciutto thing stuck in my head, and I had this spaghetti squash, and I was like, damnit, I have to go and buy prosciutto.

That's weird because I've never bought prosciutto and because until recently I wouldn't have eaten it.  I've discussed before my very important theory that bacon is not meat, but a seasoning.  That in mind, knowing that bacon doesn't count, I don't eat much pork.  I'll try a piece of it, maybe, if that's what you're eating and you say it's awesome, but it's not my thing.   I half-believe it's because I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood, but I have no issues with shrimp* or cheeseburgers, so that's no excuse.   I used prosciutto at the one cooking class Sous Chef Brian and I attended six months ago, and had it with figs on a pizza about three months ago, and that's the comprehensive history of me and prosciutto.   So I don't know what drove me out to get it, but it felt important.

So that's how this dish happened.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Housekeeping - let's have a conversation.

The word "housekeeping" reminds me of school.  High school, college, grad school... I feel like there was always a point when the instructor told us it was time for some "housekeeping" and then we'd hear either where the bathrooms were, or that there was a change to the syllabus or that the talking in the back row had to stop.  Sorry, that was me.

Thursdays are days of housekeeping for me, usually.  Sous Chef Brian isn't around and dinner is going to be super-late (not regular-late) and maybe, early in the week I cooked a lot and the dishes got out of hand and it's time to face it.   Remember that thick, sweet, black sauce from the Asian Stewsion?  It's stuck to everything I own.  So I finish up the dishes and scrub what needs scrubbed and clean out the fridge and restock and take stock.  What needs to be eaten?  What do I need to buy this weekend?  What scraps will I pull together for tonight's (eventual) meal?  I'm big on saving leftovers for lunches, but not big on defrosting them for dinner.  I'll make something. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sundried Tomato, Pesto and Mozzarella Panini

Yeah sometimes dinner is a sandwich, but if it's an awesome one, I'll still post it.  Besides, this totally qualifies as home cooking because that's the bread I made on Sunday for the Spaghetti and Meatballs.  I suggested grilled cheese (I will always, always, suggest grilled cheese) and Sous Chef Brian was like "what if we add sundried tomatoes, and basil, and use mozzarella," so this is totally his recipe.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Red Cabbage Egg Rolls

These are the egg rolls you could almost see in the Asian Stewsion post.  

I like to keep egg rolls in the freezer.  That way when I don't feel like cooking anything special and I just do up a quick stir fry, I can heat up a couple of egg rolls and we feel fancy.   I will say from the get-go that yes, I see that these egg rolls look like blueberry blintzes, but in fact, they're egg rolls.  What you see is red cabbage.  You can use green too.  You can use both.  You can use whatever you want.  I had red.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Asian Stewsion

This meal happened very accidentally.  I put out a call on the Twitter to find a name for it, and @OnBlank came through within minutes.   Clever lady!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

South Philly Food Co-op

I didn't cook tonight.  Instead, I ate leftover spaghetti and headed over to the South Philly Food Co-op's Spring Community Forum.  

It was a great event and an awesome crowd.  I felt inspired just looking out over a room of people who are truly concerned about where their food comes from, and who want to work with their neighbors to improve what's available.   And as they pointed out tonight, there is much more to it than a place to buy produce and grains.  The Co-op is (will be) about coming together as a neighborhood (or as several neighborhoods) and sharing ideas and educating each other, and so much more. 

I was involved in the Co-op's earliest days, but life got in the way... it's really amazing to look back after being out of the loop for six months and seeing all that they've accomplished, most clearly, the enthusiasm in the room.  

I can't wait for the doors to open, but we're still a while away from that.   I hope to get a bit more involved than I have been (I've absolutely not been involved) in the coming months.  You should check out their website and see what they've been up to.  Here's their Facebook. They're a great group of people with an important goal. 

Email me if you're a member of a food co-op or otherwise want to discuss. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spaghetti and Bison Meatballs and Italian Bread

Spaghetti and meatballs.   Something about it sounds so just thrown together.  Like a weeknight meal you wouldn't make for company.   But it was Sunday, and we had a dinner guest.   Oh, I should tell you - I asked her, "Hey, since I reference you in all my Sunday posts, is it cool if I use your name on the Interwebs?"  And she's all, "Yeah, I mean, that's fine and all, but it'd be more fun if you kept me a mystery."  So we had our mysterious dinner guest on Sunday, and made spaghetti and meatballs.   It was time intensive, making sauce, meatballs, bread, and totally worth it, even if in the end, it was just spaghetti and meatballs. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Banana Flax Pancakes


Brian is a pancake fan.  I've mentioned that I'm not much of a baker, and I consider pancakes to be part of baking.  My pancakes were a running joke for a while.  I couldn't even do it with Bisquick.  When we were young we live in a house with a million people and I remember weekend after weekend trying to prove I could do this and failing.  In front of a crowd.  

I swear, once we bought our own house, I learned how to measure and mix.  Not that I like it, of course I prefer to add a dash of this and a bit of that and see what happens, but once there's baking powder involved, I'm not qualified to mess around with the ingredients.  So now, occasionally, I make pancakes.

Friday, March 18, 2011

How to defrost peas

Let's say you're making pasta, and adding frozen veg.   Like maybe your sundried tomatoes turn out to be the unchemically processed kind, and you discover they should have been in the fridge, not the cabinet, and you're out of fresh veg, because it's the end of the week, and you're like, "Well then, peas it is."

Here's my hot tip on defrosting.

Make pasta.   Add frozen peas to colander.  

Drain pasta over peas.  Voila!  Defrosted peas.

This translates to corn as well.  Less so to broccoli and leafy greens and not at all to meat.

Dinner:  garlic, wine, stock, chicken, red pepper flake, pasta, peas, parmesan.

Email me with your own hot tip, or a suggestion, or complaint, or whatever.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Butternut Squash, Chard and Sage Lasagna Rolls

I committed to doing some cooking in advance this weekend.  Cooking for lunches during the week, cooking for the freezer for some night when I feel less like cooking, cooking for the sake of cooking.  There's just two of us, and so making up a pot of/pan of anything means there are going to be leftovers, and I'm not one to eat the same thing more than a few times in a week.   So when I make something that takes more than a weeknight's worth of effort, I cook up a full pan of whatever it is, reserve two servings and freeze the rest.  Then our lunches this week can be something we haven't eaten in several weeks, rather than whatever we ate last night.  

This is a particularly effective policy for something rich, like a butternut squash lasagna enrobed in buttery sauce. 

This is one of few things I do with butternut squash.  I generally don't like sweet entrees.  I refuse to put brown sugar on sweet potatoes.  Carrots are an ingredient, not a dish on their own.  You get it.  So the squash gets balanced out by the cheese and the sage and the chard and it doesn't overpower the dish with sweet.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dal Makhani, sort of, and rice

Let me preface with this, I have no effing clue what I'm doing.  I had to Google half the words in this recipe to even start.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tortilla Soup with Kale and Chicken

I don't really make soups.  I'm not good at viewing a soup as "dinner."  Put a grilled cheese sandwich next to it, and I'm all set, but just soup sounds like a beverage.   But this is different.  This is borderline stewlike.  This has stuff it it, and if you want to put different stuff in it, that's ok too.  Like pizza, pretty much, you can clean out your fridge into tortilla soup.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Delicious Toast

I worked late again last night, and asked Brian to make dinner. He's on spring break and has the time.  Also, I told him I wanted cheese.

So I feel like I'm posting a recipe off the back of a box here, but this is a trick we'll employ again, because it worked.  Naan, garlic naan more specifically, is pizza waiting to happen.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Collards and Beans and Rice and Such

A warning for those of you who need it - bacon ahead.

We've discussed my disinterest in recipes - spoiler alert - no recipe today.  How long do I simmer it?  Until you're done with that other thing you're doing.  Seriously.  How much onion do I add?  I don't know, how much onion do you have handy?

That's how I cook most things.   As is convenient.  Baking is different and I don't do much of it.   The lack of planning and disdain for mise en place does get in the way sometimes, but I can't imagine I'm the only one who cooks up a half-crappy dinner now and again.   Do I want to stress myself out to do that slightly less often?  Probably not.

So dinner is as it comes together.  Oh, we have some more of that?  Add it in. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

the side of my fridge

Yeah, so yesterday was Fat Tuesday and though I've never been to New Orleans as an adult, I've typically cooked something cajun-themed for each of the last 10 or so years.   But I had to work late.  So asked Sous Chef Brian to either cook up the beans and rice and collards I had planned, or he could order us a pizza.  So, of course, we had Mexican take out.

So no photos of anything I cooked.  Let's look at my fridge instead.

This is my fridge.  Actually, it's just the side of it, but this is where the real business takes place.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Red Pepper Pasta

Pasta Primavera
Kitchen Sink Pasta
Whats in the Fridge? Pasta

This is one of those dinners where you get back from a meeting at 8:30 and you're staring at each other wondering what's for dinner.  This is what's for dinner. Again, not a recipe.  So few things are.  This is more like, look, I put these things together, and I ate it.  And I liked it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pot Roast


I wanted to say that first, so that the people who will not read this because it's meat have a head start and can go back to looking at or whatever.  I'll throw in a cat picture too.   This is Sabrina, aka, Bear, looking at me, telling me she knows there is meat.  

"if you loved me, you'd just cut it up and put it in my dish."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Free Vegetable Stock

I didn't get a photo of all the jars finished, so here's a midway shot.
I've talked about making stock briefly before, and I've talked about using stock a lot.  This is ridiculously easy, and it's absolutely free, except for the cost of a few peppercorns.  

I used to be bullion-cube happy.  I used to use a lot of the heavily-flavored, powdered vegetable flavoring that comes wrapped in foil.  This fixes that.  I still use beef bullion occasionally, since I never have on hand the part of a cow that one might use to make stock, but I don't see any use for chicken stock, since I have veg stock, and that fits my agenda since I'm deathly afraid of chicken.  But a flavorful enough veg stock meets 98% of my stock needs.

Also, I don't compost, so things I might compost instead turn into this, compost soup. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pulled Chicken on Cheddar Biscuits

I'm new to the blogging thing, and along with it, the twittering thing.  Seriously, I feel like somebody's Grandma, new to the internets.   But through the twittering thing, because we both use office supplies in the kitchen, I found On Blank.  I actually just looked at it for real for the first time yesterday, and it's awesome.   It's about food made of food, and about freezing things.  It looks like we have a lot in common, but she's more hardcore than I am - like, she goes on about how it's not a big deal to make your own bread.  (um, it IS a big deal.  Sure we should do it, but it's a thing.  It takes time.  You do it wrong, and you've lost all that time and have no bread.)   But anyhow, her blog looks awesome, and so when looking for dinner ideas today, I came across her herb and cheese biscuits.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts in Mustard with Quinoa

I used to hate Brussels sprouts.  I think a lot of people say that, but I mean like, a year ago.  I mentioned to a friend that I was making them tonight, and she fought me on it.  She told me I didn't like Brussels sprouts, and I said, "Yeah, well, I guess recently..." and she reminded me of the recipe she gave me that one time, and how I made it and was um... unhappy with the results.  Like I couldn't eat them.  I remember.  Then, this one time, I went to the South Philadelphia Tap Room and I was like, yeah, let's give it another shot.  And I loved them.  And I wrote to my friend across the country about it (different friend) and she was like, "I can't believe you just wrote to me about some bar's Brussels sprouts."

So we've learned two things: 1.  I make boring conversation, and 2. I like Brussels sprouts.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pulled Pork Milkshakes and Flexitarianism

About 10 people read this each day, so I thought it was about time to start alienating a few of you.

So Mark Bittman tweeted a link to this article about flexitarianism.  I like Bittman, generally.  But this is bullshit.

Grilled Cheese

two pickles. that's right. also, the diagonal cut is key.
My kitchen's a mess.  What?  But hey, that's homemade bread.

no, i didn't make the roasted red pepper and tomato soup.
This was perfect with a nice Malbec.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Roasted Bok Choy, Hoisin Chicken, Etc

Sunday was one of those days.  A lot of days are those days, but Sunday was much more of one.  I was tired and weird, and I took a nap and woke up from the sort of low-grade anxiety dream that has my heart racing over laundry and shopping and neglect.  So at 3pm on Sunday I stumbled downstairs and said, "Don't we normally have someone over for dinner on Sundays?  I don't have any food.  I'll call her."  And I did and I picked her up and we headed to Whole Foods, me with a lame weekly shopping list and her with a plan for dinner.  "Asian." 

click the thing you want to read about