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No-Chicken Noodle Soup

28 Dec

I started this blog with the idea that it can be really simple and even fun to cook some delicious and possibly healthy food. Unfortunately, I have been backsliding on this belief pretty hard in the last couple of weeks. Sometimes I get stressed out and end up eating a spoonful of peanut butter and a multi-vitamin for dinner. Or a beer and a cupcake, whatever. The other night, I went to the store to buy a year’s supply of tampons and a chocolate eclair for dinner and I saw this really cute boy. I smiled at him, he smiled at me, then he looked in my shopping basket and threw up in his mouth. I mean, it’s totally his problem. If anything, he should have been impressed because I was clearly getting a really good deal on my feminine hygiene supplies, but that is neither here nor there.

What is both here and there is the fact that sometimes we all get stressed and we want to eat something that gives us a hug on the inside. No-Chicken Noodle Soup (inspired by a recipe from the lovely and talented Beatrix Dynamite) is a simple, comforting and healthful way to eat your feelings.

ingredients

1 onion, chopped

4 stalks of celery, chopped

A grip of carrots, chopped

1 extra firm tofu brick, cubed

4 cups vegetable broth

a couple handfuls of egg noodles

First things first, whip out your cauldron and put it on medium heat. Saute the onion in a little bit of olive oil. When the onion slices start getting soft and translucent, add in the tofu. Stir often and cook tofu and onions together for about 5 minutes or until bored. Next, add in the celery and carrots. To get the right amount of veggies, I cut up the celery and put it in a bowl (the bowl should be about half full). Then, I cut carrots until the bowl was full. Some recipes will tell you a weight or something to measure out your vegetables. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a scale just chilling in my kitchen. Probably because I’m not a drug dealer.

Okay, next step is to add 4 cups of vegetable broth. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Add egg noodles to your little heart’s content and continue to cook for about 8 to 12 minutes or until the noodles are soft. Voila! No-Chicken Noodle Soup! Put on your favorite record and eat it in bed.

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Christmas Salad

12 Dec

A wise man once said, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” I couldn’t agree with him more! Just ask my neighbors.

I adapted the recipe for this festive looking salad from a recipe in Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food. Her recipe called for a shallot and white or red wine vinegar. I substituted balsamic vinegar and garlic and added a squeeze of lemon because I happened to have it on hand. It’s a good little salad to bring to a holiday potluck. It’s good for your conscience to eat one serving of vegetables before filling up on dessert, food pyramid, duh. This is the vegan version, but you can also add the crumbly cheese of your choice (feta, bleu, gorgonzola, goat).

the Goods

about 1/2 a grocery bag of green beans

1 little box of cherry tomatoes

1 clove of garlic

1/4 lemon

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

drizzle of olive oil

salt and pepper

Wash and snap the green beans. I’m a born green bean snapper. This is the best part. Enjoy it. Next, lightly steam the green beans for 3 minutes tops. You don’t want them to lose much crispiness.

Okay, put the green beans in a bowl. Take a deep breath. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and put them in the bowl. You might need to take a break, it’s okay. When you’re ready, mix the juice of 1/4 lemon, balsamic vinegar and 1 crushed clove of garlic. Pour it over the salad. Let it sit covered for 15 minutes. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle salt and pepper. Put it in the fridge and you’ll be ready to go!

Speaking of holiday entertaining, my lovely friend Charley shared a great and crafty party idea on her blog The Charley Girl. Another fun idea: play spin the bottle but instead of kissing the person the bottle lands on, air your grievances with them. It’s a Festivus classic! Finally, whether you’re serving sparkling apple cider or Miller High Life, everything looks better in a champagne flute. Cheers!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

10 Dec

Being cold makes me really angry sometimes on a primal level. This last weekend, I was about to cut a grown man open and sleep inside of him like Luke does to that snow beast on Hoth, and all because he made me stand outside of a bar for like an extra 30 seconds. Luckily for the men of San Diego, I got a space heater. I guess you guys are safe… for now….

I know there are much colder places to live, but let’s face some facts. I don’t care if you’re in Maui or Antarctica; the temperature in your apartment should not be hovering in the high forties. Especially if you are like me and you don’t actually generate body heat. Once I get cold, I am going to stay that way until an outside force acts upon me. I’m pretty sure that’s one of Newton’s Laws of Whatever. Look it up, it’s in a book!

I bought this stupid squash because I remember my mom baking it full of hot butter and sweet maple syrup and in a fit of hungriness and shivers I threw them in my shopping basket. They are also super delicious if you bake them full of butter, garlic, goat cheese and walnuts. Hey, that was my idea! Czech it out:

Preheat your oven to 325. Cut the squash in half and scoop its guts out. If you prefer to use every part of the beast, hiding squash guts in your cheeks is probably a great way to simulate vomit. Totally optional.

Next, rub a nice pat of butter over each half of the squash and leave the remaining dollop inside the squash. Imagine you will be cooking two sweet little bowls of butter. Peel and quarter a few cloves of garlic. Put your garlic in the butter bowls and throw the whole mess in the oven.

Now you have thirty minutes to huddle around your stove with your cat and make deals with your God. If you will make it warmer, I will stop using your name in vain on Sundays. If you make it warmer, I won’t show my collar bones or my ankles or wrists in public ever again. Just give me a sign, what do you want???

Okay, after thirty minutes, fill each squash with crumbled goat cheese and crushed walnuts. Add a little more butter if you’re so inclined. Cook for another fifteen minutes and serve piping hot with a spring salad, a glass of two buck chuck and the Christmas movie of your choice.

Cookbook Club: The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook

2 Dec

Sometimes a great cookbook is actually equal parts science fiction, fantasy and romance. That is sort of how I feel when I am reading the recipes of Alice B. Toklas. If you like anecdotes about hanging out with Gertrude Stein in France and being served seven courses of butter and cream on exquisite china and crystal, look no further. I can’t say I’m about to attempt any of these recipes tonight, mainly because most of them involve 7 sticks of butter and/or a leg of mutton. Real talk guys, I’m not even entirely sure what mutton is. I know I could just google it, but I have a feeling I don’t even want to know. Isn’t mutton like hot dog meat strapped to a bone? I don’t know, it sounds terrible.

Other highlights of this ¬†book include a description of Picasso’s dietary restrictions and a recipe for a fish painted like a tiger that apparently Picasso was super into one time. Now you know what to make next time old Pabs comes over! Also, there is a recipe for Brownies con Marijuana that the liar who wrote the forward in 1984 claims never to have tried, but she has “heard” from “people” they have a slightly bitter taste. Stop lying lady! I know you were alive and grown in the 60’s! I would respect you more if you told the truth.

There are several recipes for olde timey ice cream that make my mouth water and I shall perhaps attempt one for a Christmas time treat. In particular, one called Singapore Ice Cream, featuring vanilla bean with chunks of ginger and pistachios, is kind of haunting my dreams a little bit. I may need to borrow somebody else’s kitchen to even attempt such an endeavor, but I will certainly let you know, dear reader, how that goes.

However, I should stress that the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook is not all fun and decadence. The book also carries memories of the second World War and the lean times Alice and Gertrude shared while living in occupied France. During the war, rations were slim and Alice had to be pretty creative to get the most out of everything they had. I can relate to the philosophy, but I’m not about to go out and butcher a couple of pigs, salt them and live off of them for an entire winter and into the Spring. But wouldn’t it be romantic if I did?

The Sandwich Files: Hummus and Roasted Vegetables

29 Nov

I’m about to make it rain first world problems on all of y’all, so get out your rain boots and your flood pants. Ready?

Sometimes I feel like a huge jerk because I don’t want to talk to anyone after yoga. Everybody’s always so relaxed and happy and chatting about nice things and I just can’t hang. Normally I would love to have some mellow small talk with some good hearted people, but come on you guys. I just spent over an hour getting into a really good nonverbal headspace and you want to take that away from me by talking about how “crazy” it is that it’s like 80 in November? Um, that’s why we live in San Diego stupid. I don’t want to sit around in my sweaty leggings and pillow talk for 20 minutes. I have to go home and make a sandwich. NOW.

the Goods

1 red or yellow bellpepper

1/2 head of cauliflower

hummus

goat cheese

spring mix

radishes

multi-grain bread

the Sandwich

Preheat your oven to 350. Chop the cauliflower and bell pepper and put them in a glass baking dish with a little bit of olive oil, a sprinkling of curry powder (optional) and a dash of salt (not optional). Roast the veggies at 350 for about 30 minutes or until you see them browning at the edges. Stave off post-yoga hunger rage by mindlessly grazing in your fridge. Have some ice cream. You’re a grown up.

I like to lay out my bread and put a thin layer hummus on both pieces. Then I build my sandwich thusly: radish slices first, roasted veggies next, add goat cheese and spring mix and then it’s a sandwich. Duh.

The really magical thing about this sandwich is the way the flavors interact. The hot, roasted veggies melt the goat cheese. The radishes balance the melty, creamy goodness of the cheese with a cool crunch and the multi-grain bread makes you feel like your mom needs to stop worrying about you. You’re doing just fine.

On Breakfast for Dinner

26 Nov

Do you hate breakfast but love breakfast food? Probably, because that is how I feel and I assume we are in total agreement all the time always. Having to eat breakfast tends to be a giant bummer. I wish I could just wake up in the morning, pour coffee through a funnel into my innards and rev up like a semi-truck, but unfortunately until science catches up with my dreams I have to sit still for like 10 minutes and eat something. This is a huge problem for me, because it means I have to get out of bed like 10 minutes earlier. THE HORROR.

This is where breakfast for dinner comes into play. Breakfast for dinner is one of the greatest meals known to man. I judge a restaurant based on when they stop serving breakfast. If the answer is never, I will be a proud patron for life. Even if I don’t want breakfast food at the moment, just knowing it is there comforts me greatly.

Tonight I’m having what my mom calls “Igloo Eggs”. I won’t insult your intelligence by calling this a recipe. Igloo eggs are just hot hardboiled eggs cut in half and arranged on the plate to look like igloos. Add butter and salt to taste and maybe use fruit, bread products and even bacon if you’re so inclined to give your plate the appearance of a smiling face. You can also make your plate frown at you in consternation if you’re feeling consternated. But why would you do that? You ruin everything. You’re such a jerk.

Other fun facts about breakfast for dinner: If you are cooking for a boy (THE HORROR) I recommend making breakfast for dinner. It gives you an excellent excuse not to make breakfast in the morning. I’m not a pancake machine bro. Breakfast for dinner is also a great thing to make if you happen to be wrangling children for some reason. Kids love anarchy and no meal is more punk than breakfast for dinner. Also, it is great for those nights when even though it is Saturday in real life, it is the Wednesday of your workweek and all you want to do is listen to M83 while tricking your cat into giving you back rubs (Real talk guys, my cat rules at this. He also throws up in his litter box just like humans do in the toilet. He is reading Kant in his spare time. He saved a baby from a burning building. Just real talk). Finally, for some reason breakfast for dinner seems like the easiest thing to make for myself at night although it’s excruciatingly difficult for me in the morning.