Archive for category Uncategorized
Well that lasted. I want to blame the belated post this week on the newest addition to the household. Everybody, meet Geoffery. A new dog meant that my free time suddenly went *poof*. So, here we are.
A strata is a savory breakfast bread pudding made with alternating layers (or “strata”… get it?) of cubed bread, filling and egg. Because this kind of recipe needs to rest in order to set fully, it is best to make it night before. That means that, of course, I almost never get around to making one because, lets face it, who wants to do breakfast dishes right after finishing cleaning up from dinner? I first came across this dish at my first trip up to visit Will’s parents and it quickly rocketed to the top of my preferred breakfast food list.
Despite the pre-planing required to make a good strata, it can easily give two people a week’s worth of breakfasts or (made ahead, of course) can be easily re-heated to feed a crowd
Spinach and Mushroom Strata:
(makes 12 servings)
- 1 Loaf Crusty Bread (such as a baguette), cut into 1″ cubes
- 12 Large Eggs
- 2 Cups Soy Milk or Lactaid(or regular milk if you are not lactose-impaired)
- 3/4 Cup freshly grated Parmesean or Pecorino Cheese
- 1 8 oz package Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
- 1 10 oz package Fresh Spinach
- 1 clove Garlic, crushed
- Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
Saute mushrooms (in batches, if needed) in 1 tsp oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pan until well browned and almost cooked through. Add spinach and garlic along with a bit of salt and pepper (~1/8 tsp each) and lower the heat to medium-low. Continue cooking until mushrooms are finished and spinach is fully wilted. Set aside
Beat together eggs and milk in a large bowl until fully combined. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper (~1/4 tsp each)
In a greased baking pan, layer 1/2 of the vegetable mixture over 1/2 of the bread and pour over that 1/2 of the egg mixture. Repeat. Refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 F and bake for 45 minutes or until strata is fully set and the top is well browned.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure to set the strata out at room temperature while the oven is heating. The temperature shock of moving directly from the fridge to the hot oven ( a difference of ~315 F or 157 C) could cause crack propagation in your Pyrex. This means a gross mess all over your oven and a distinct lack of yummy breakfast. Don’t lose your breakfast. Let the glass warm up a bit.
Oof. One week in and classes are already in full swing (and with four grad level classes, full swing means homework due Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights). Nevertheless, I am back in the kitchen almost every night, even if it does mean that I don’t start cooking until 9:15 most nights of the week. Of course, those nights when I don’t quite make it into the kitchen are usually filled with pizza and beer, so I need to be especially careful to eat healthy the other six nights. And, as everyone knows, pizza always tastes better if you have been subsiding on soups and salads).
With that in mind, I made a delightfully light (and totally filling) arugula salad for dinner the other night. White beans and wild rice provide enough protein that it doesn’t feel like rabbit food, while a light Dijon vinaigrette gives it an elegant flavor.
Arugula Salad with White Beans and Wild Rice
- One box baby Arugula (5oz)
- ½ cup dried or one can Cannelloni Beans
- ½ cup Wild Rice
- 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Olive Oil
- ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
- ¼ tsp. each Dried Basil and Garlic Powder
- Salt and Pepper to taste
If using dried cannelloni beans, soak for 8-12 hours and then cook for ~45 minutes in simmering water (enough to cover the beans by one inch) or until a bean can be easily smooshed between your fingers without feeling grainy. Drain and allow to cool completely. Add salt about 40 minutes add a pinch of salt to the water. If using canned beans, they do not need to be cooked, just drained and rinsed.
Simmer the wild rice for 45 minutes in a tightly sealed pot or until rice is tender. Use a 2:1 water to rice ratio. Allow to cool completely before use.
In a cup, combine oil, vinegar, mustard, basil and garlic in a small bowl (I used a measuring cup, fill the balsamic to the ¼ cup mark, then use the oil to fill to the ⅓ cup mark) and whisk with a fork (or whisk if that floats your boat) until all ingredients are well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
Combine dressing, drained beans, rice and arugula in a large bowl and toss to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Hey all. As you may have noticed I have flown under the radar this past semester. Apparently, when you are directing a greatly abridged version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream
while acting in a mainstage production of Murdered to Death (not, of course, to be confused with the hit movie Murder by Death with Peter Sellers)
and taking a full credit load all during the same semester, you have very little time to cook, much less to create new and exciting recipes for you all to enjoy. But after a holiday break of friends and family loudly wondering when I was going to blog once more, I made myself a new year’s resolution. Now, as I sit here on this lazy Sunday evening, with a pot of French onion soup simmering away, baguettes baking in the oven and a glass of cheap white wine in my hand, I am finally ready to act. From next week on, I will supply you with at least one exciting recipe a week. Who knows? I may even get around to finishing Legume Week. The world is a crazy place.
Whelp…it looks like I chose the exact wrong week to experiment with beans. My wonderful boyfriend just graduated from college which means I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off the last couple days. So, sorry about that and Legume Week will start up again on Sunday.
So, I’m at the supermarket, lamenting the lack of good brussels sprouts when I get a text from my awesome boyfriend: “Ugh, feeling sick…”
For many that would have been a call to sympathy but to me it was a call to action. I needed to make him chicken soup! I quickly dropped my forlorn tomatoes and scurried around the store in a newly energized frenzy! Four hours later, the end result was quite tasty.
For Chicken Soup:
- 1 lb Bone in Chicken Parts (I use just legs, but you can use any cut you want)
- 2 Carrots (Trimmed, peeled, halved and sliced)
- 4 Celery Stalks (Rinsed, trimmed and sliced)
- 8 oz (1/2 box) Sliced Mushrooms
- 1 med Onion, halved and quartared
- 1 med Zuccini (Rinsed, trimmed and sliced)
- The green part of 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
- 1 sprig Parsle
- Leaves from 1 sprig Rosemary
- 4-5 Basil leaves
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 2 tbs Salt (I thought it ended up being too salty, but Will loved it so YMMV)
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 1 box Bow Tie Pasta (not used until way later)
Now here comes the part that requires finesse. Put everything EXCEPT the pasta in a 4 quart pot and add in 3 quarts of water. Put it on high heat and allow to simmer for about an hour.
After an hour, fish out the chicken (tongs are useful here) and put it on a cutting board. Once it is cool enough to be handled (but not more than 5 minutes or so to avoid it cooling too much) pull the meat off the bones (should be easy) and gently shred. (Vegans may want to skip over the next picture.
(A note to vegans and vegetarians, this soup would be equally delicious sans chicken).
Cook for as long as you have, but at least for another hour. About 30 minutes before serving, put on water to boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta according to box instructions and ladle soup and broth over the top. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer until they become freezer burned.
Who doesn’t love cookies? Me, after my remarkably brief stint with Group-Free Weight-Watchers. The amount of calories involved was mortifying. Add to that my natural distaste for butter and you have a good recipe for me looking for alternates. That is, until I found this Oatmeal Chocolate Chip recipe over at All Recipes.
Some more extensive research and some wild guesses lead me to the most delicious cookie I have ever tasted:
They may not be much to look at but by replacing the butter with equal parts applesauce and peanut butter, I took a pretty good cookie and turned it into (with all due modesty, of course) a masterpiece.
First thing’s first, a quick glance at my mise en place. The seasoned baker will notice that I have no white sugar out. There is a very simple explanation for this: I ran out of white sugar. I am also never going back, just try and make me. Besides it is one less white powder to worry about keeping straight (And as someone who has accidentally substituted salt for sugar the fewer similar looking ingredients, the better).
For those unfamiliar with the term, a mise en place is simply a laying out of all of the materials that will be needed as well as prepping all necessary equipment (ie, getting mixing bowls out and ready, preheating the oven, etc). When you are setting this up it will feel like a massive waste of time (Why can’t I just get the flour out when I need it?) but once you get started, it will make your life a million times easier. Doing it for a cookie recipe is like showing your work in third grade math. Yes, the teacher knows how you got there but you really need to be able to do it well once you get to differential equations. Think of it as practice for Boeuf Bourguignon.
Anyway, back to cookies!
For Delicious Cookies:
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
- 1/2 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
- 1 1/2 (or 3/2 if you don’t mind improper fractions) cups Packed Brown Sugar (Or 1 cup Packed Brown and 1/2 cup White)
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 tbs Vanilla
- 1 3/4 (7/4) cups Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 3 cups Instant Oats
- 1 cup Chopped Walnuts
- 1 cup Dark Chocolate Morsels
Take two bowls: a big one and a small one. Put the flour, salt and baking soda in the small one and gently mix them a little bit. I don’t have a picture of this because it looks remarkably like a large bowl of cocaine and I do not need to go through that again. Besides, its less interesting than the other bowl, which gets the applesauce, peanut butter and brown sugar (and white sugar if you insist).
Thoroughly mix the three together and add the two eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Then mix in the vanilla extract.
A bit at a time (because, believe me, the last thing you want is for the cops to barge in on you when you have what you swear is flour all down your front) add the dry mix, making sure that all of the flour is combined before moving on to the next bit.
Fold in the nuts, chocolate and oats.
Drop that into vaguely cookie like shapes and cook for 10-12 minutes or until just browned. And suddenly,
What substitutions have worked for you? Have any not worked? Let me know in that pretty comment section!
When I first moved into my apartment (and out of dorms!) my sophmore year, I was thrilled to finally have a kitchen. So, of course, I started looking for recipes. The first thing that I ever learned to make by heart was Salsified Chicken, which I affectionately dubbed my “White Trash Casserole” because, well, if you make it you’ll see why. (When you take off the lid you are confronted with a sheet of lumpy melted cheese. Less than appetizing…)
It was cheap, tasty and I was even able to trick myself into thinking that it was not horrible for me. There was only one problem. From the flavor to the texture, the entire thing was completely homogenous. Every bite tasted the same. Don’t get me wrong, the taste was quite good, but it was boring. The reason? Everything gets cooked together in eachothers juices. There is no room for individual flavors (or any texture other than “mushy”) to develop. Paula Dean would be proud.
I decided to challenge that. Using the same basic ingredients (chicken, rice, beans, tomato, cheese and onion-yes, I know that the beans aren’t in the origonal recipe. A girl’s not allowed to be creative?) but cooking them seperately and combining them at the end resulted in an interesting, multi flavored, multi textured culinary experience. Since I didn’t want to completely lose the gastronomical tie between the flavors, I decided to insert lemon as a unifying ingredient.
For White Trash Casserole:
- 1lb Chicken Breast cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 container Chicken Broth
- A Splash of Orange Juice
- One small container Salsa
- 2 Cups of Instant Rice
- 1/2 Bag of Shredded Cheese
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
Cook the chicken in a pan. Add Broth, Juice and Salsa. Bring to a boil. Mix in Rice, salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Sprinkle Cheese over top. Let sit until rice is cooked and cheese is melted.
You can see why it was easy to memorize…
For Something a Little Tastier:
- 1 Cup uncooked long grain white rice
- 1 Cup dry black beans
- 1 Lemon
- Lemon Juice
- Lemon Pepper
- 1 lb Chicken Breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Feta Cheese as desired
- 4 Tomatoes
- 1 Med. Onion
Combine chicken, rice, beans and sauce (recipes below) in a pot. Sprinkle Feta on top and serve.
Soak beans overnight or bring to a boil in two cups of water for three minutes and let soak for 1 hour. Rinse beans thoroughly. Cover with water and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cook until beans are tender (about one hour) then add lemon juice to taste.
Place chicken in a shallow bowl and just cover with lemon juice. Let marinate for 1/2 hour to overnight. Thoroughly dry the chicken with a paper towel and dry rub with salt and pepper. Cook in a dry pan until just browned. Set aside.
Combine rice with two cups of water and 1tbs zest from the lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring water to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 20 minutes and remove from heat until all water is absorbed.
Roughly chop tomatoes and onion. Place in food processor with lemon-pepper. Process until blended. Pour mixture into sauce pot and bring to a simmer. let cook until onion begins to turn sweet, about 15 minutes.
Go ahead and try both. What did you think? What kind of technique changes have you made to enhance your food?
Do you know what’s awesome? Cooking for lots of people. And baking bread, that too (but more on that next time). Do you know what is less awesome? Having a roommate who is gluten intolerant. At least it was until I discovered a recipe for socca.
Socca is a flatbread made from equal parts chickpea flour and water and, because it is made out of chickpeas and not wheat it is lacking in, well, the wheat proteins that make my roommate severely need to lie down.
To accompany this delectable recipe I decided to make a spinach yoghurt dip and to make a go at hummus.
Unfortunately, I am lacking in chickpea flour. Fortunately, I had a bag full of dried chickpeas, which means it was time to whip out the food processor.
Alternating between the food processor and a fine sieve you can end up with a ratio of 3:2 for chickpeas to flour (I had some left over chickpea particles at the end, so your mileage may vary).
Whisk the flour together with equal parts water, one scallion, a crushed clove of garlic a splash of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt.
Pour the batter into a skillet lightly coated with olive oil and flip when it can move freely in the pan until lightly browned on both sides. Congratulations, you have just made a hummus pancake.
For the Socca:
1 ½ cups Dried Chickpeas
1 cup Water
1 Scallion (the green part) sliced
1 Clove Garlic, Crushed
1 tbs Salt
2 tbs Olive Oil, divided
For the Chickpea Flour
Check for bad chickpeas (black or cracked) and throw those ones out. Pulse the chickpeas in a food processor on high for one minute. Sift the resultant powder into a bowl. Replace the large chunks into the processor. Repeat three to four more times, or until you have one cup of flour. If you have extra, you can grind the rest in a spice grinder and freeze it in an air-tight container for up to one month.
For the Batter
Combine flour, water, scallion, garlic, salt and half the olive oil. Whisk gently until flour is incorporated. (Note: my end result was a bit on the fluffy side, so you might want to add more water or less flour)
For the Loaf
Pour the batter into a 10-inch oiled skillet and flip after about 3 minutes, or until it becomes unstuck from the pan.
Spinach and Yogurt Dip:
½ Package Spinach
½ cup Plain Yogurt
1 Clove Garlic
1 Squirt Lemon Juice
1 tbs Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Steam the Spinach in a microwave for 2 minutes. Combine everything in the (cleaned) food processor and process until homogenous.
So… I tried making hummus without tahini. The texture ended up being more like falafel, but it was still freaking delicious, so it shall be included here.
1 cup dried chickpeas
½ cup olive oil
1 dash lemon juice
1 clove garlic
Lemon-Pepper and Salt to taste
For the Chickpeas:
I usually do a quick soak by boiling the chickpeas (or whichever bean) for two minutes in water and then letting them soak for an hour (“quick” refers to not overnight). This will double the volume of the chickpeas.
For the…Compote? Yeah, I’m gonna go with Compote
Combine everything in the (once again cleaned) food processor until it is chunky and delicious.
Hey gang. Clearly I haven’t been posting much of late. This is mostly due to a large variety of work related stress reasons and my complete lack of energy or desire to do anything but watch Family Guy when I get home from work, much less come up with new and exciting recipes to take pictures of and tell you lovely people about.
That is all about to change. You see, something else that I haven’t been doing while not blogging was eating healthily. And so, starting today, I will be doing 8 straight weeks of Weight Watchers points counting.
For those of you who don’t understand how Weight Watchers works, every food (except for most fruits and vegetables) has an assigned point value based upon its calories, fiber, carbs and protein content (ex. a slice of bread is 2 points, a cup of sweet and sour chicken is 12). Every day, I have 29 points to “spend” plus 7 buffer points that add up over the week. The idea is that the only way to not starve on this system is to eat well (and avoiding those 6 point doughnuts).
Naturally, I will be logging my suffering for posterity (and you charming folks).
Have you ever done WW or another dieting system? Got any advice? Encouragement? Validation about how I don’t really need to lose weight? Validation that, yeah, it’s probably a good thing? Comment!
Alright! After three months of despondantly wilting away, Engineer Food is back! And this means new meals, new videos, new (better) pictures and (drumroll please) real engineer style recipes! So stay tuned, its gonna be a wild ride