Saturday, March 28, 2009

Latkes and applesauce

From the backlog: Tuesday 3/24

The night before, I was hungry for some potatoy goodness, then discovered that the potatoes I had in my pantry had sprouted and gone soft. So I planned to make this potato pancake recipe from Smitten Kitchen, the next night. Inspired by her zucchini latke recipe, but not actually wanting to make it (what am I going to do with the rest of the box of matzo meal after I use 1/2 cup?), I added some shredded zucchini as well. I don't think it turned out quite as crisp as it was supposed to, but what do I know?

Also - homemade applesauce. Yum. There's some lemon juice and lemon peel, which you don't taste except for the brightness. I even bought a potato masher in order to finish this off, but the apples had already broken down so much that all I had to do was stir.

Eggs over Easy

From the backlog: Monday 3/23

I didn't pack a dinner to eat at class, so I was hungry for something quick when I got home. Two eggs-over-not-too-hard on a bed of sauteed garlicky spinach, served with toast. The yolks got a bit more cooked than I would prefer - there's a big difference between counting to 30, as I thought the recipe said, and counting to 10, as the recipe actually said. Oops.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Globalization soup

From the backlog: Sunday, 3/22

After a weekend full of socializing and tons of food, I wanted something simple yet tasty. I threw together this soup, and while I'm not quite sure what it is, but it turned out pretty well.

Saute 1 clove sliced garlic and a bit of diced ginger in olive oil. Add a little sesame oil. Add 2 cups water, 1 scant tsp chicken broth concentrate, and a bit of soy sauce; bring to a boil. Add 1/4 cup acini di pepe pasta, and cook per package instructions. At end of cooking time, stir in chopped spinach, sliced scallion, and cilantro.

For a thrown-together Asian-Italian concoction, it was quite satisfying!

Pasta with Tuna, Arugula, and Hot Pepper

From the backlog: Thursday, 3/19

I made Pasta with Tuna, Arugula, and Hot Pepper from Simply Recipes. It's amazingly simple - basically saute garlic in olive oil, add the tuna and flake it, sprinkle in some hot pepper flakes, then mix the tuna/garlic with the pasta, a bit of reserved pasta water, and the arugula to let the greens wilt. Ta da!

French Toast Redux

From the backlog: Thursday 3/19

I had some challah left over and decided to whip up some more French toast for a quick breakfast before work. You'll have to trust me that this isn't just another photo from the last time I made French toast. But since I am also my readership, that shouldn't be too hard.

Broccoli stir-fry

From the backlog: Wednesday 3/18

This meal used the Broccoli Stir Fry with Ginger and Sesame recipe from Simply Recipes as the foundation. I used a mix of broccoli, red pepper, and mushroom since I didn't have enough broccoli and I wanted some variety since I was adapting the recipe as a main course. I roughly halved the amount of vegetables, but kept the sauce ingredients so it wouldn't all boil away. I also added some scallions at the end. Served over brown rice for a one-dish meal.

Pan-Fried Chickpea Salad

From the backlog: Sunday 3/15

I tried this Pan-Fried Chickpea Salad from 101 Cookbooks, with a curry-yogurt dressing. It turned out pretty well, but when I ate the second helping that I had saved for the next day, the red onion and leek flavors had intensified a bit too much. Next time I might try soaking the red onion in water to reduce the pungency, and use a bit less onion. I think I would make it again, though.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

French Toast

The secret to great French toast is easy: start with good bread. Despite growing up with French toast made from regular sliced wheat loaves, I now decline to make the dish if I don't have good bakery bread on hand. Challah is best, French/Italian loaves work well too, just nothing too crusty.

Slice your bread and preheat the pan. Then just make the dipping mixture from eggs, a little milk, a dash of nutmeg, and a splash of vanilla extract. The staler the bread, the more mixture you need. Dip briefly (don't soak!), then plop in the pan and sprinkle the top with a little cinnamon sugar. Flip when the bottom is golden brown, and serve when the second side is done. Maple syrup, pecans, and raspberries work particularly well as toppings.

Optionally, you can spread peanut butter between two slices of bread and French toastify the whole sandwich. Childhood nostalgia aside, I don't recommend it. (Sorry, Dad!)

Chocolate Pudding

Yesterday I held my own personal Comfort Food-a-thon: cinnamon toast for breakfast, mac and cheese for dinner, and this chocolate pudding from Simply Recipes, served with raspberries from an impulse purchase. The best part? I've still got 4 ramekins left of it in the fridge.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mac and Cheese

Tonight's dinner featured Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese from Smitten Kitchen, based on a recipe from the NY Times.

At Deb's suggestion, I did

[s]erve it with a g’normous green salad [and steamed broccoli], in a feeble attempt at caloric balance, and wine, to remind yourself that you’re a grown-up.
There's something fabulously juxtapositional about an adult using the childish-sounding term "grown-up."

Curried Vegetables over Sweet Potatoes

Thursday night I picked up a sweet potato from the store, but wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. I ended up combining a couple recipes and improvising, and it turned out pretty well.

My main recipe inspiration came from the Washington Post, Curried Shrimp on a Sweet Potato. However, I didn't have shrimp and didn't care to run out again for more groceries, so I used the mushrooms I had on hand instead. Not that mushrooms and shrimp are really good substitutes, but in this case I just wanted something to put in the sauce. I also added a green onion that wasn't in the original recipe.

I didn't feel like waiting an hour to bake the sweet potato, so broiled sweet potato slices as instructed in this Broiled Sweet Potato and Turkey Salad recipe.

Some day I hope to be able to just whip up a dish with ingredients I have on hand, but in the meantime it's good to at least feel comfortable mucking about with recipes freely.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

To supplement the leftover lime-soy-cilantro chicken from the other night, I made these Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Ina Garten. They were crispy on the outside, and a little too well-done in the middle. Tasty, though probably the last time I'll be making brussels sprouts for awhile!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Buffalo Burger with Coleslaw

Tonight's dinner featured a slightly over-cooked buffalo burger (with onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and arugula mixed into the meat) topped with goat cheese. The side was a simple coleslaw, based on the non-mayo recipe from Simply Recipes. Basically I just mixed a pre-cut cabbage/carrot mixture with green onions, seasoned rice vinegar, a sprinkle of sugar, salt and pepper, and a spray of olive oil. Super easy.

Chicken with Lime-Soy-Cilantro sauce

Last month I made the Seared Tuna with Avocado recipe from Simply Recipes, and the flavors of the sauce were fantastic even though I had to cook the fish through since I didn't have sushi-grade tuna. This time I experimented with using the sauce as a marinade for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. After marinating, I cooked the chicken on a Foreman grill and boiled the remaining marinade so it was safe to use as a sauce on the chicken, avocado slices, and brown rice. It turned out really well.

I can't figure out what this dish wants as a side, besides the avocado. Lacking a good answer, I served it with a quick saute of zucchini from Smitten Kitchen. It worked, but there was a lot of green on the plate. Maybe a mix of yellow squash and green zucchini some time.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Apple Coffee Cake

Breakfast this morning was an adapted version of this Apple Coffee Cake from Simply Recipes. I made a few changes based on comments on the blog:
- used a smaller pan than the 9-inch square called for, since there were some comments that there wasn't enough cake batter
- used brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and walnuts for the topping (instead of white sugar and cinnamon)
- used half white whole-wheat flour, because I always try to sub some whole grains when I can

Here's a closeup of that luscious orange, direct from Florida. Boy, was it good.

Tortilla Pizza

Quick snack/lunch before heading to a movie Saturday afternoon: pizza on a tortilla. Frozen puttanesca sauce, mushroom, orange sweet pepper, fresh mozzarella, and grated romano cheese. Bake until hot and melty.

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Friday night, after returning home from the airport at about 9pm, I wanted something quick, easy, and carb-filled. Oil-and-garlic pasta to the rescue! To the traditional olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and parsley, I added some toasted pine nuts and grated romano cheese.

Monday, March 2, 2009

This layout brought to you by the letter G and...

... a helpful how-to article from the Blogger Guide, which requested a link.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Swordfish with Tomato Sauce; Brussels Sprouts

The swordfish was baked with a simple tomato sauce and topped with a dollop of crumbled goat cheese, and served on a bed of quinoa. The original recipe called for salmon, which would've gone better, but I had swordfish and not salmon so I tried a swap. Not bad, but the flavors didn't blend as well as they would have with salmon.

Since I purchased a big bag of brussels sprouts (well, big for one person, anyway) I had to attempt a second way of preparing them. Tonight's method was from Simply Recipes, Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon. This version turned out more tender than last night's.