Pass the fork, please.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

This is my next little kitchen project. I haven't yet decided what silverware I'm getting to get and where I'll find it, but I'm in love with this simple and quirky wall piece. Definitely expect to see this design hanging on my kitchen wall in blue and yellow.

And expect to see a post about a fun and saucey event I attended last weekend.

Making your Kitchen work for you

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I thought it might be fun to do an occasional post on how I keep my kitchen organized. I'm not sure how big, or small it is, but I've definitely had to get creative with the space.
The space isn't THAT small, but I came from a mansion- cabinets as far as the eye can see, a granite island and so many appliances, pots, pans, dishes and baking trays that I felt like I was walking into Williams-Sonoma.
With some improvising, creativity and a knack for turning nothing into something, I've made my kitchen work for me. I forced myself into the mindset that I HAD to put things in places that made sense. I knew I wouldn't use them if they are too difficult to get or too much work to put away- I am just that lazy.
I'm sure this kitchen would be more than enough space for someone who only eats mac and cheese out of a box, but I had to find space for my Calphalon pots, crock pot, food processor and pretty new bowls from Anthropologie (!)
Over the next few weeks, I'll highlight a specific part of my kitchen. I'm quite proud of how it turned out- maybe it will give you some ideas on how to save space in your own kitchen.
As they say, "The kitchen is the heart of the home". Everyone gathers there, it's where our sense of taste, smell and sight come alive and let's be honest, there is never enough space for everything.

This is exactly what my kitchen looks like in the middle of a cooking adventure- a tornado scene, still waiting got FEMA to come in and survey the damage.
And yes, that is a basketball there in the middle.

That pretty blue thing in the middle of my kitchen is my pride and joy- my island from Ikea. My sister's bf painted it blue for me and I attached some yellow knobs to the side to hang things like kitchen towels. This piece is still morphing and I'll keep you updated on what I do to it. I'm hoping to add a piece of salvage granite to the top and screw in a wine rack under the top for things like paper towels, foil, etc.

The Kitchen Sink Cous Couse Salad

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cooking for a man, aka someone who will eat anything, and cooking for only two people, allows me to be creative and practical. For example, in this cous cous salad, I threw in some extra red potatoes I had from this night. They were a great addition, but the star of this salad was definitely the halved grapes. I have friends, okay I have MADDIE, who hates fruit in her salads. Thankfully I don't cook for her because there is no way I would have left these little purple guys out of this side dish. I ate this three times- first for dinner with mushroom stuffed pitas,

then twice for lunch. On the times I had it for lunch, I used the pita to scoop up the pearled cous cous and all it's little sidekicks. And did I mention this pearled cous cous was an accident? I have never bought the pearled cous cous, always too scared of its texture and opting for it's smaller yet mighty brother. But, I'm glad the accident happened- the texture is great and it stood up nicely to all the other additions.

The Kitchen Sink Cous Cous Salad
As the name indicates, throw whatever you want in here, but this is a good starting point
1 box olive oil and garlic flavored pearled cous cous
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups spinach
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 red potatoes, cubed and boiled
2 stalks celery, chopped- leafy tops included!
1 cup grapes, halved
1/3 cup chopped and toasted pecans

Cook cous cous according to package instructions. Remove from heat, add to a large bowl and throw in spinach- let them wilt. At this point, you can put the bowl in the fridge, or serve the salad hot- either way is fine.
Add garlic, onion, potatoes, celery, grapes and nuts. Toss. Add lemon zest and juice. Toss again.
Serve warm or cold.

Pita bread

Monday, September 12, 2011

I've made pita bread before and for some reason I forget how truly spectacular homemade pita is AND how truly unspectacular store bought pita is.
Seriously, have you bought any lately?
It's atrocious.
It's like cardboard with a slit in the middle for paper shreds and loose staples, er I mean for veggies and chicken.
Homemade pita bread can't even compare to the store bought stuff. It takes a while- mostly inactive time, which means you can run errands, watch Legally Blonde and take a nap while it does its thing. And what a thing it is.
It's truly fabulous straight from the oven and with the garlic salt and oil I brush on the top. Oh yeah.

Find the recipe here and get my oil topping nirvana thing below.
Oh and one more thing, treat yeast like you would your 97 year old grandmother. It can be temperamental if you don't do exactly what it tells you. Buy a thermometer so you can monitor the temp of the liquid you use with it. Like the cane your grandma uses for walking, it makes all the difference.

Garlic salt and oil
with a mortar and pestle, mash one clove of garlic with 1 tsp salt. Add to a small bowl and whisk in about one T of olive oil. Add some dried rosemary. Brush mixture onto warm pita.

Weekend snaps

Saturday, September 10, 2011

No recipe today, just a quick moment to say hello.
I love the weekends. I love being busy, but not too busy. I love having to carve out time for cleaning and homework and work-outs, but not so much time that I can't sit on the couch, watch a Gilmore Girls, and like tonight, watch a little college football with the man (not my first, or second, or third choice, but still...)
Most of all, I love the freedom of the weekend. I don't have to be up by 6, or worry about make-up, outfits, meetings, emails (do they ever end?!), commuting, screaming babies, parking at school, or the annoying feeling that as soon as you get home, you have a million things to do before getting up and starting the whole, hectic cycle over again.
Instead, I get to do things like this.

And share effortless laughs provided to me by faces like this.

Those cups are filled with things called Razzles, btw. That's basically a Blizzard, but with frozen yogurt. Erin, stop drooling on your computer.

Happy weekend.

Oven roasted potatoes

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's still summer weather in California. Fellow food bloggers began talking about fall weather and fall food a couple weeks ago, but I just can't get on bored with pumpkin spice lattes, butternut squash soup, and months of no garden fresh tomatoes. I may cry come October.
What I can get on board with is an easy cool weather side dish that tastes better than the main dish I serve with it. I made turkey meatloaf the other day- I think Barefoot Contessa has a great recipe- and served it up with some leftover biscuits from one of our favorite restaurants and these potatoes.

They don't look like much, but they stole the show.
You can use whatever potatoes you like, but I bought a mixed bag (red, yellow and purple!) from my local farmer's market. I think these would be really exceptional with some roasted asparagus and roasted chicken. I may not be totally ready for Fall, but I'm getting there.

Easy Roasted Potatoes
Serves 3-4
2 lbs. baby potatoes
2-3 T good olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 teaspoons salt, divided
2 teaspoons pepper, divided
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut up potatoes into chunks, leave skin on. The smaller the pieces, the faster they cook- shoot for bite size pieces. Lay them on a cookie sheet and toss with 2-3 T olive oil, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon rosemary. Make sure the potatoes do not overlap and place in oven. Let them cook until golden brown and slightly crispy- this should take 20-30 minutes.
When done, add remaining salt, pepper and rosemary. Serve hot.

Tuesday Treat: Vegan Coconut Cupcakes

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

After one week, I have officially decided/been deemed the treat bringer to my Wednesday counseling class. What a rough life I lead!
This week, it's my professor's birthday, and as the classic teacher's pet that I am, I decided to bake vegan cupcakes for my prof, as she follows a vegan diet.

I took a basic vanilla cupcake recipe and enhanced it, just a smidge. Please ignore how awesome their pics are compared to mine. I have photo envy. I'm working on it.

I start seeing clients tomorrow- eeek! I am slightly excited...and these will be perfect to enjoy after all the listening I will be doing tomorrow morning.

1 1/2 cup coconut milk (vanilla or sweetened preferred)- this is not coconut in a can. This is an alternative milk like soy- look for it next to that.
1 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, optional
1/2 cup shredded coconut, more if desired

For the ganache:
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3-1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
extra coconut for garnish

Bake the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners. Spray lightly with cooking spray.

Whisk the milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled. SOunds freaky, but it's AWESOME. Say it with me- milk + vinegar= AWESOME

Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix.

Beat together the milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla extract and vanilla bean in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until no large lumps remain. Add coconut and stir slightly.

Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

In the meantime, prepare the ganache.

In a small sauce pan, bring the milk to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and add the chocolate and syrup. Mix with a rubber spatula for about 30 seconds. Turn heat off, continue stirring until the chocolate is fully melted and the icing is smooth. You might want to add up to 1/2 choc chips if the ganache seems thin, as mine did.

To assemble:
Let ganache cool for about 10 minutes. Dip the top of the cupcake in the ganache and then set them on a cooling rack. Spoon the remainder of the ganache over cupcakes. Sprinkle with coconut. Let set in a cool room for an hour or so, or place in the fridge to set.

PS- this is a cute little pineapple cutting board that the Meachim family gave me as part of a housewarming present. How perf is that in my blue and yellow kitchen?!

Blogging and Blueberry Muffins

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

WOW. What have I been doing?!
Not blogging, but you knew that.
I have been...
not cooking (until about 2 weeks ago)
starting school
having fun
trying to ignore stress
watching Sex and the City. I'm addicted. Someone help me. Actually don't- I like it too well.

Tomorrow I go to school and begin one of the most humbling adventures I will ever embark on as a student and possibly, as a person. I get to begin counseling people. REAL people.
To celebrate getting the opportunity to listen to peoples problems, and tell them not to jump off the Empire State Building, I've made these muffins for fellow classmates.

A couple days ago I was in Raley's and found a really fancy chocolate bar on sale. The kind of chocolate bar that makes me think I am chicer than I am, aka, not the person wearing gym shorts, running shoes, a shirt adorned with yogurt, snot and ketchup, and the the painter of that shirt (a 2 yr old) in my shopping cart.
This chocolate bar was dark chocolate, infused with blueberries and lavender. I know, chic. Then, as if the fates knew what I was planning to do, I found a simply chic blueberry muffin recipe on one of my favorite blogs (In Praise of Leftovers). I modified the recipe slightly and added a bit of the chocolate bar to the muffins. Simply chic x2.

Now that I'm in my new kitchen, and cooking for 2 instead of 12, I hope to add some new life into my posts, and share what it's like to set up a kitchen when you have just 6 cabinets. Ah, the life.

Simply Chic Blueberry Chocolate Muffins (adapted from IP of L)

For batter:
4 Tb. unsalted butter
1/2 c. whole or low fat milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 pint blueberries
1/2 bar Dagoba Blueberry Chocolate bar (break into small pieces by cutting with a large knife)

Preheat oven to 375 and butter a 12-cup muffin pan.

Melt butter in a microwavable bowl. In a measuring cup, whisk milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla until well combined. Add to melted butter.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk mixture and stir until just combined. Gently but thoroughly fold in blueberries. Add chocolate. Divide batter among muffin cups and spread evenly.

Bake until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Cool in pan for at least 5 minutes (10 would be better), then run a knife around edges of muffin tops and carefully remove from cups. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Healthy Lunch

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm trying to do TWO good things for myself: run and eat some healthy lunches, as to not discount all my good running.

It's actually been pretty easy- I haven't had any ice cream, fudge cake, french fry, pizza cravings. There is nothing worse than having to submit to those when you're working hard.

I try to pick one thing to eat for lunch all week long- it saves money and makes it easy on me to have something prepared at the beginning of the week.

This week I decided I needed more kale in my life. What is wrong with me?! I have a love hate, er, hate hate relationship with kale. Nevertheless, I've seen it all over the place lately and everyone is buzzing about how amazing a food it is. Great. I still don't love it, but when I ate it yesterday, the normally obnoxious chewy yet sharp like knife texture, was good enough that I ate it again today and probably again tomorrow (good idea since the weekends are always a hotbed of horrible food that screw up the weekdays of hard work), What kept the kale from making me want to be violently ill or abnormally dramatic? (too late on that last one)
chickpea salad.

This is technically a mock tuna salad, but I understand the frustration that comes when some long haired hippie vegan tells an omnivore that "the soy steak really does taste just like a ribeye!"
This may not taste just like tuna, but boy does it look like it! And the flavor is relatively similar. The texture is slightly different, but relatively the same (that wasn't ambiguous at all) and you don't wind up with fish smell leaking from your pores all day long. Give it a try. And if chickpea salad is already crazy enough for you by itself, skip the kale and put it on some worthy wheat bread.

Chickpea Sandwich Salad
Adapted from Happy Herbivore
1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained
2 stalks celery, with the leafy tops, chopped
8-10 bread and butter pickles, chopped (you could use dill, but only if you are crazy)
1 T nutritional yeast (sounds crazy, but don't skip it. I find it on the baking aisle, but ask if you can't find it)
1 t onion powder
1 T low sodium soy sauce
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 1/2 T light vegan mayo, or sour cream
1/2 T dijon mustard
a dash or so of hot sauce

In a bowl, mash up the chickpeas with a potato masher. Alternatively, mash them in a blender, but do not let them get pureed- this is not hummus! You want most to all of the beans to no longer be whole. Combine with all other ingredients. Keep in the fridge until it's gone (lasts a few days) Spread on bread, wrap in a tortilla, or serve it on a bed of lettuce.

Back in the Saddle again

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hello there, my long lost cyber space friends. A funny thing happens when you go on vacation.
You never want to return to real life.
This is why the only things I did last week were
1. mourn over being back from UT
2. run 4 miles
3. not cook a darn thing
4. Repeat steps 1-3 as needed

I've woken from that dream land (leaving only step 2 in this week's repetoire) and celebrated coming back to cooking with these

I'm not sure if they are truly a flatbread- I made them on a FLAT. BREAD. But, that is what I called them. I loved them both and the hungry masses were ewually divided between which they preferred.
These are seriously easy and I served with a simple green salad, drizzled with homemade raspberry vinegratte.

Flatbread, two ways

2 balls/batches pizza dough (I bought mine at Whole Foods- $1.29, baby!)
2 T olive oil
4 medium sweet or yellow onions
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4-/2 cup vegetable broth
1 LARGE or 2 medium heirloom tomatoes
1 package, or 1 cup pesto
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375.
On two baking sheets, roll out both pizza doughs into rectangles. Prick a bunch of times with a fork (this will keep the dough from creating unwanted bubbles)
You want the crusts to be basically done- slightly under golden brown, approx. 10-12 minutes

In the meantime...

Caramelized onion flatbread

Get the oil in a large skillet or pot, turn on medium high heat. Thinly slice the onions and place in hot oil. Add the thyme and a dash of salt and pepper. Let these cook a looong time. They need to get golden, aka caramelize. This takes awhile- probably 15-20 minutes, stir occasionally and be patient!

While the onions cook...
keep an eye on your crusts and prepare the Heirloom tomato and pesto flatbread

Thinly slice the tomatoes, pat dry with a towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
When the crust is cooked, spread the pesto all over the bread. Then, lay the tomatoes in one layer, on top of the pesto. Optional: sprinkle with a bit of parmasaen cheese

After the onions have caramelized, add some broth, 2 tablespoons at a time, until it is reduced and thickens the onions. When you've used up at least 1/4 cup of broth, and no more than 1/2 cup, place onions on the other bread. Optional: drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Place both breads back in the oven for 4-5 minutes.

Megan Monday take 3: Easy Peasy Weeknight Dinner

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This post and is quick and simple.

Kind of like this meal.

What do you make when...
-It's 12.3 million degrees in your house and the outside feels like the middle of the sun's core?
-You're tired from dealing with screaming babies or snotty teenagers or rude co-workers or idiots who can't drive?
-Your hubby says "what's for dinner?" and you immediately want to answer with "Idk, what are you cooking?"

Chicken Caesar Salad, of course!

1. Grill up some chicken breasts (1-2) If you're organized, cook some of these up at the beginning of the week, and store them in the fridge- you'll have easy weeknight meals in a only a few minutes.
2. Throw some romaine lettuce in a bowl.
3. Make delicious croutons, or buy some bagged ones
4. Add sliced chicken and croutons to the lettuce
5. Throw 1/3 of dressing in thr bowl and mix well (add more if you don't liek to see your lettuce under all the tangy, delicious dressing)
6. If you're feeling Barefoot Contessa-ish, slice a lemon and grill the slices (2 minutes, each side)

7. Serve with hunks of bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic You might as well serve up a glass of white wine...why not?!

Megan Monday take 2: Side dish spotlight

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I swear this isn't Groundhog day...I'm just sticking to my promise- a Megan Monday post all this week.

This recipe is a great side dish. When you're bored of salad and need a vegetable to spice up your side dish repertoire, make these. You can make this in the oven, but it really is the best on a grill.

I know it seems like I use balsamic vinegar a lot. Okay, okay, I do. But it has a ton of flavor; tangy and slightly sweet, plus it is like negative 97 calories. who doesn't love that?

Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar
1 bunch asparagus
Large bowl of ice water
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Throw a big handful of salt in the water (This gives your food flavor from the inside out). Trim the ends off the asparagus and throw the green buddies in the water. Let boil about 3 minutes.
While it cooks, get a LARGE bowl of ICE water ready. When the asparagus is done, take them out of the hot water and put them in the ice bath. This is called BLANCHING. It keeps the vitamins and colors in your asparagus (you can do this to other green veggies- liek kale or green beans)
Heat up your outdoor grill.
Dry off the asparagus.
Pour olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the asparagus and toss with hands.
Grill until the asparagus gets those dark brown grill/char marks- turning every few minutes. This process takes about 7-10 minutes.
Place on a platter and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Megan Monday: Wedding week

Monday, June 20, 2011

Megan's wedding is a week from Friday. I cannot believe that this time next week, I will be only hours away from visiting Utah and my dear friend.

In honor of the wedding, I am going to try to post a Megan Monday...ALL WEEK. I cannot promise that I will do one every day, but I will have at least a few, in honor of her upcoming nuptials.

Let's start a countdown with a delightful appetizer, shall we?

This bruschetta recipe is a no fail appetizer for you and the hubby, or a large group of friends. In addition, Megan, keep your eyes peeled for this delicious recipe- it will pop up in some other way in the near future...ahhh, the mystery.

You can easily adapt this recipe for a small or large number of people. Slice the bread and store it until you're ready to use, and make up the tomato mix a day ahead of time, if you wish- easy peasy.
Tomato and Basil Bruschetta
1 loaf crusty bread
6-7 roma tomatoes
10-12 basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
3 T olive oil
1-2T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven or grill to 450.
Slice baguette and then cut slices into halves. If you're lucky, you can find a skinny baguette at the store- if you do, use that!
Drizzle bread with olive oil and place in oven or on grill. Cook until golden brown. You want the slices slightly soft in the center. This takes about 5-6 minutes.

Chop tomatoes and throw in a bowl. Roll basil and slice gently. (This is called chiffonade. If you need a tutorial on this, check here.) Mix with tomatoes. Add olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

When bread is cooked and cool enough to touch, rub each bread slice with a garlic clove. This makes the bread exceptionally good!
Arrange bread on a plate and place bowl in the middle. Let guests spoon tomato mix on the bread and enjoy...

Growing up

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sometimes I feel like I will never be a real grown-up. I live with my parents, I will be in school until I die, I still get overly excited about things like birthdays; I ride a bike about as well as a 10 yr old, and my tastebuds just aren't that fancy. I've moved beyond cut up hot dogs and mac and cheese (I don't think I ever liked that culinary masterpiece) but I will never be fancy enough to like goat cheese, brandy or foie gras.
But, I guess I am growing up a little...
Last week Erin and I went to a tapas place in Roseville, called Source. I know! Can you believe there is a tapas place in Roseville?! I was beyond excited- that little girl, it's time to open Christmas stockings, excited- see? not a grown-up.
I felt very fancy as I drank my wine, ate prosciutto wrapped figs and especially when I paid a pretty penny for the deliciously tiny morsels we ate while talking about not that grown-up stuff.
If you would like to see what else we ate, head over to Erin's blog for another fancy taste. Here is just some of what we had.

Wine with olives

Crab tater tots- I almost died. Crab in a tater tot? God bless these people.

Fish sliders with sweet potato fries and olive aioli. I love that aioli makes anything sound more adult-ish. And sweet potato fries, if these make me an adult, I am set.

While tapas was a spendy evening. sometimes there is nothing better than casual conversation, good food, and a beautiful view. Dining with girlfriends is so different than dining with family, co-workers or a significant other If you haven't done it in awhile, call up a bff and make a date. You'll feel fancy fun and fulfilled- even if you just go to taco bell.

I scream, You scream...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

you should scream, because June weather has finally arrived. No life long Cali girl anticipates or handles June rain without some sort of dramatic moments.
The first summer I stayed in Portland, my Pac Northwest friends constantly warned me, "June is weird here. It's not like Cali. Don't expect sun." I only half listened to what they said, assuming their rainy blood easily misunderstand the definition of summer.
June gloom got it's name in Portland. While July brings about lots of sunshine and even air conditioned worthy days, June does not, so for the past couple weeks, I've felt that I am living in Portland, sans the great coffee shops, 21st century hippies, NW 23rd street and Sauvie Island.
Alas, I am living in California again, which is reason to celebrate...
how about with some S'mores ice cream?
This is straight out of my new-ish Cuisine Art ice cream maker, so I won't post the recipe, but it was truly fab. I'm discovering just how worthy homemade ice cream is. I do not yet feel comfortable enough to experiment with my own recipes, but I will definitely beg, borrow and steal from others.

Any favorite ice creams? Requests for ones I should make and post here? Scream 'em out.

Hollandaise Sauce

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Megan Monday posts went by the wayside the past couped of weeks. Maybe it was my lazy attitude at the end of the semester or maybe I was harboring some internal fear of making hollandaise sauce, something I've never done.
When I posted all the delicious food I ate in Portland, I asked Megan to pick one item from the pics she would like me to recreate. She chose eggs benedict. I was super excited, as I had never made it, and rarely find good enough reasons to make recipes that call for egg yolks and butter. But hey, when I see opportunity, I jump on it like the Barefoot Contessa jumps on gay guys. Okay, she doesn't really jump on them, but seriously, she is friends with every gay guy in the Hamptons. They flock to her.

Today is just hollandaise sauce. Since I've never made Eggs Benny, and neither has Megan, I wanted to take this step by step. Next week, I will make poached eggs, and probably put the whole thing together after that.
This post is 100% unhealthy, but when I assemble the E.B., I will have a couple ways to make the whole meal a little better, well at least that's the justification you can give yourself when you're chowing down.

Hollandaise sauce has very few ingredients. Make sure they are quality because you'll be able to taste everything.

2 egg YOLKS, 1/4 t of lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar if you're the idiot who forgot to buy a lemon), cayenne/tabasco/or red pepper flakeds, a pinch of salt, good unsalted butter

This is a half size recipe. It will probably feed 2-3 servings of Eggs Benny.

Why did I put YOLKS in caps? Well, when I started making this I threw in 2 eggs. I whisked the heck out of them and realized, um, I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to use the whites. Be a better person than I am.

Step 1: In a metal bowl, crack egg YOLKS in the bowl. (Put the egg whites in the fridge and save them for breakfast!)
Pictured: my trusty whisk. I love him. We go way back. He will be your bff, so make sure to treat him well.
Also pictured: my thumb. Megs, that's the nail polish I plan to wear for your wed. Unless you tell me to get a life and pick something else.

Step 2: Add 1/4 t of lemon juice

Step 3: Whisk the CRAP out of this mixture. You want the eggs to get a bit paler, a little thicker and double in size. This took me a good 4-5 minutes. This is an excellent exercise to get you one toned arm for your wedding. I have no ideas for your left arm. Sorry.

Step 4: Place a medium size pot of about 2 inches of water on the stove. Keep on medium- you want it really hot, but not really boiling.

Step 5: Melt 5 tablespoons butter in the microwave.
Step 6: Die of a heart attack.

Step 7: Place your metal bowl over the pot- this is like a make shift double broiler. If you are super cool and fancy, you could also use a real double broiler.

Step 8: Whisk, whisk, whisk those eggs! You don't want those suckers to scramble.
Step 9: Drizzle in the melted butter- slowly. Also, you probably want to put the butter in a seperate bowl than you microwaved it in- my bowl was so hot, I almost burnt my digits. This also proved comical while trying to photograph the process.
Step 10: Whisk, whisk whisk, until thick and twice the size.

Step 11: Remove from heat and add salt and hot pepper. Taste and decide if you need more seasoning, or if you would like to eat the entire bowl and die a slow death.
Step 12: Store in fridge, or keep warm until ready to serve over Eggs Benedict.

Hollandaise sauce is versatile. You can make it in a blender, or serve it over asparagus

Panscake with Blueberry Compote

Saturday, June 4, 2011

So, you're probably thinking "panscake" is a silly typo. It is definitely not a typo. It is definitely silly.

In an episode of Gilmore Girls, Rory tells Lorelei that the plural of cul de sac is culs de sac. Lorelei cannot believe the English language would allow such a silly plural to exist. (Why not? The English language is insane, I say.) Nevertheless, she proceeds to drive Rory crazy, saying, if that's a plural than is the plural of menu actually mensu and the plural for pancake MUST be panscake. I tried to find the clip, but alas, youtube was less than helpful. Whenever I make pancakes, my sis and I always say, don't you mean we're having panscake?
We're crazy.

These panscake rocked. They are somewhat of an adaptation of the spectacular blog, Two Peas and Their Pod, but more than anything, I used that as a skeleton and created the actual "pancake being" out of my own knowledge, guessing, and ideas.

The blueberry compote, or sauce, if you want to call it, is also from that blog.

Fruit compotes can be tricky if you mess with the cornstartch- it can be clumpy and unappealing, creating white chunks is your beautiful, shiny sauce- no gracias.
The trick: whisk the cornstartch with your liquid, prior to placing it in the pot. In this case, I combined blueberries, honey, cornstarch, water and fresh squeezed orange. So, I put the water, orange juice and cornstartch in a bowl, and whisked it together, before I stuck it in the pot- no big deal.

On this RAINY, JUNE day (I'm still in shock) these were warm and comforting.

Fluffy Whole Wheat Panscake (adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)
I highly recommend using half cake flour/half whole wheat flour- the cake flour just gives them an airiness, which combats the heavy, but healthful texture of the WW flour.

Makes 10-12

1 cup WW flour
1 cup Cake flour
1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder- trust me!
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cup soy, non fat or low fat milk mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
zest of 1 orange (don't use it all!)
1/2 orange, squeezed
2 eggs

*Heat a non-stick skillet or a cast iron skillet. Grease with butter or oil*

Combine all dry ingredients, set aside

Combine all wet ingredients, except zest.

Add wet ingredients to dry. DO NOT overmix! Add almost all zest, but reserve about 1/4 of it for the compote.

When skillet is HOT, add slightly less than 1/4 cup of batter to pan. When bubbling, flip. Cook until golden brown. Unless you have a pan the size of Texas, just do these one at a time. Keep warm in a 250 degree oven.

While you're cooking your pancakes, make the compote:

Blueberry Compote (adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)

3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (I used fresh)
2 heaping spoonfuls of honey (I prefer orange blossom honey for this)
left over orange zest
juice of 1/2 orange
1/4 cup water
3 teaspoons cornstarch

Mix water, juice of orange, and cornstarch in a small bowl. In a medium sauce sauce pan, place all ingredients and turn the stove on high. Let boil, reduce to medium cook until thick. Keep on low. Serve warm over pancakes.

Hello, there.

Friday, June 3, 2011

My poor sad blog, how I’ve neglected you so!
This week I started and finished To Kill a Mockingbird (my every summer read) and am well on my way to finishing The Help. I’m enjoying every word, which the voice in my head reads with a Southern accent (read it and you’ll understand why). Even though I always love reading, sometimes I book grabs me so tight that I have no motivation to do anything but settle on into its 522 pages and never put it down. That’s exactly what happened this week. No blogging, no reading blogs (I may need some psychological examination to explain that one), sporadically checking my emails, few conversations on chat, and ignoring facebook pretty much all together.
Only in the 21st century can one get the feeling of guilt when ignoring the hustle and bustle of the cyberworld. Nevertheless, I felt a bit of that emotion when I realized how absent I’ve been from the internet, but I’m overwhelmed by a sense of freedom at the same time.
Anyway, I’m back. I’ve got a couple of posts coming up- expect some ice cream, breakfast, salad dressing and bbq pizza, over the next few days, for now, I leave you with some food I had no hand in preparing, but plenty of in eating.
Last weekend, the boyf and I planned a hike in Folsom. I spend 40 hours a week in that town during the week, so it was fun to head out there NOT at 6:30 am and NOT to head to work. I love Folsom. When I make more than 3 pennies a day and my student loans don’t add up to the ransom for 12 people, I would consider living there.
The hike was gorgeous- a perfect 70 degree type day; no foreshadowing of the tornado weather we had this Wednesday!
We ran into lots of bicyclists, some runners, birds, too much trash, lots of overgrown foliage and a few menacing bees. Along the way, I was filled with the pure joy that comes from doing something good for yourself AND loving it at the same time. Going to the gym, yoga class, or even for a run, is not the same as simply walking through the terrain put here by God, the cosmos, evolution, or what have you. Not to mention, I loved the feeling of feeling no pain in my knee- walking on “regular earth” is so much better than the asphalt, concrete and cement I usually make my poor body suffer through.

Okay, I’m done being all emo and existentialist.
After the hike, we walked over to a little Mexican restaurant, Qbole. It’s a little fancier a Mexican place than we usually go too, which means absolutely nothing, considering we went to dinner at a place last night that cost us a whopping $6.50 total. I went to this place once before, when Megan came for a visit, and remembered really enjoying a cheeseless quesadilla (feel free to shoot me). Some big time soccer game was on the big screen this time around and it was fun to join in with the excitement. I continue to amaze myself with how easily I can get roped into things I care absolutely nothing about.
After one of the best baskets of chips and salsa I’ve ever had, burritos the size of Texas, were put in front of us.

Mine veggie, the bf’s chicken.

Now, here is the thing with a veggie burrito- some places serve the most pathetic ones I’ve ever seen. Throwing some shredded lettuce and pico de gallo in a tortilla does not a veggie burrito make, my foodie friends. Eating a no refried bean (because of the lard) and no rice (because of chicken stock) burrito, with only lettuce and tomato, was one of my biggest “hates” when I was vegan (My own fault, I’m aware). Although I’m not one anymore, I often get a veggie burrito and I was pleasantly surprised when this bad boy greeted me at the table. Along with sour cream and guacamole, it was filled with black beans, cilantro rice, carrots, zucchini, onions, mushrooms and peppers. Score.
The thing was covered in enchilada sauce, which I didn’t love, but it wasn’t bad either.
I ate the whole thing.
Only kidding.
I barely ate half, took the rest home, munched on it another day, and found it even better as left overs.

I would definitely go again, especially if the chips and salsa always taste that magical.
Yes, when chips and salsa are your weakness, you’re allowed to call them magical.

"Chorizo" and eggs

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Today is Relay for Life in Lincoln, so most of my Saturday and Sunday is spent at the high school track, walking or running in circles, waving to people, slathering on sunscreen like it's my job, listening to local bands, and watching my sister be team captain for the top fundraising team- whoop!
Between all of that, I come home to shower, relax, do laundry, and post one of my top 5 fav "weekend breakfasts". I put that in "" because you could definitely eat this for any breakfast, but like most people, I define weekend breakfasts as something more than cereal, toast, fruit, a bagel, or sadly enough, America's classic weekday breakfast: nothing.
Weekend breakfasts are some of my favorite meals- they are slow. I'm not in a rush to shove 150 calories of Kashi down my throat. I can spend an hour making blueberry pancakes, or whole wheat waffles, or in this case, soyrizo and eggs.
All Mexicans can kill me now for taking a classic like chorizo and eggs, and making it vegetarian.
I swear it's delish. Our adorable neighbor girl came over last weekend to spend the night, and we chose to make this the next morning. She loved it!
You really only need three things: eggs, soyrizo and corn tortillas. Those are all MUSTS. If you do flour tortillas, the world may end.
You can add: cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, guacamole, or salsa. But why would use mess with perfect simplicity? I love the idea of tasting the actual flavors of a dish, something we rarely do, as there is flavor on top of flavor in most meals.
If you make these (and you should) try one plain and another with an accouterment- see which you like best.

I know, who doesn't love sour cream and guac?

Soyrizo and Eggs
serves 6
1 package corn tortillas (at least 12)
10-12 eggs, depending on size
3 tablespoons water
1 package soyrizo (Trader Joe's makes a great one)
salt, pepper and dried oregano, to taste
optional- sour cream, salsa, avocado

In a large bowl, mix eggs and water. Place into a lightly greased, hot skillet, over medium heat. SLOWLY cook the eggs- they get a creamier texture this way. Stir occasionally, lifting from the pan. When the eggs are still runny, but starting to take shape, add a dash of salt, pepper, and oregano.
Next, remove soyrizo from package and put into eggs- breaking into small bits.

Cook until the eggs are firm, the mixture is hot, and the eggs and soyrizo are fully combined.

Get a paper towel wet, and wrap tortillas in it. Place in microwave for 30-60 seconds, until warm.
Place some of the egg mix into the tortilla and DEVOUR.
Delicious, but optional: serve with fresh pineapple

Also, you should be informed that these are sitting on a totally neato Hercules (Disney movie) plate, I got when I was like 10. I know, I'm cool.