Close encounters of the Leek-kind

I think Salem might finally be getting out of its RIDICULOUSLY cold weather funk, hooray! I’ve scraped ice off my car before class for the last three days, but it’s lookin’ like a squeegee (that is such a great word) might suffice today. Thankfully. I mean, as much as I like treating ice scraping as a bonus early-morning workout, I’d really rather pass, thanks. Because ice in the uggs is no fun. And because when I’m trying to listen to the radio on  my way to class and the antenna is trapped in its little frozen antenna house, due to sub-artic conditions of 29 degrees, I am not a very happy camper. Although it did make me giggle, I have to say, when I heard this weird noise and turned around to see the antenna trying to fight its way up to the light and majorly struggling. We got there in the end, thankfully… Toots and I ventured out into the freezing fog, and my heater kicked in just as I was pulling into the parking lot at school. Psh. Fail.

Whatever. All this cold weather makes me want to stay inside and cook tasty things (not like I really need an excuse for this, do I?! I think I cook more than I do homework) (But a girl has to eat, RIGHT?! At least I’m doing something productive). When Kira and I were at Trader Joe’s on Sunday, we encountered LEEKS! Which is awesome. Leek is such a funny name for a veggie. I just like the way the word looks, leek leek leek leeeeeek! It’s just fun. Call me crazy, but whatever. Besides, they’re really a hilariously awkward looking veggie. I’ve never dealt with a leek up close and personal, but I’ve eaten them in soup. Which is delicious. But since we had soup at the end of last week, I wasn’t feeling super soupy… AND there was an abundance of quinoa lurking in the cabinet, clamoring to be eaten.

Close encounters of the leek-kind

So now, I can cross dealing with leeks off my to-do list (because you know it was on there, right?!)… thanks to these quinoa-leek cakes! Kira and I had them with salad for din din last night, and they were leekily delicious.

Quinoa Cakes with Leeks and Corn

Loosely adapted from Annie’s Eats, kind of. Makes 13 small cakes, about 3″ in diameter. Or you could make enormous patties…

Procure:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked
  • 1 leek! Cleaned, with the green bit removed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread, made into crumbs
  • Frozen corn (or fresh, if you’re lucky)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic hunk (equal to one clove, I use the frozen ones from TJ’s, because they’re mess free and awesome)
  • pepper to taste

To start… Cook the quinoa! Combine 1 cup of quinoa and and 2 cups of water, bring to a boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, clean the leeks! Cut off the root end and the really green bits (those are bitter and woody, you don’t want them), and then slice and dice the leeks into little bitty pieces. Put them in a bowl full of water and swish them around, to get all the grime out (this is also why you buy organic!), then drain them through a collander. Kira and I sauteed them in a bit of olive oil, and the garlic clove. Set aside until cool.

When quinoa and leeks are cool: In a large bowl, combine quinoa, leeks, eggs (lightly beaten), parmesan, corn, salt, pepper, and the crumbled slice of whole wheat bread. Form into patties, and cook until they are browned and hold together, about 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with extra parmesan, and with a side salad :)

***Note: We both found these to be a bit on the bland side. Next time I make them (and believe me, there WILL be a next time, they were super tasty), I think I might experiment with adding some spice of some sort, like cumin (pairs well with parmesan), or something of that sort. At least more salt needs to happen, but I also think they could use a bit more flavor. We also did half our batch with corn, and loved it—next time corn is going in the whole shebang. Kira and I were also postulating that the addition of chicken sausage would be good—it would provide the saltiness/flavor that these lacked.

Quinoa up close and personal
this is what happens when you're hungry and your food is hot. steamy lens!

Umpteen zillion ripe pears, and what to do about it.

Before I start, I just want to share this:

sad.

There is a disturbing lack of food in here… particularly veggies. Except the emptiness kind of makes me giggle… and makes me proud! No wasted food over the vacation to be found here. This, however, has been semi-rectified, and the Nerdaerie fridge looks a tad happier now. By the way, Nerdaerie is Kira’s and my nickname for our apartment… get it? We’re nerdy. We live on the second floor, like an nest or aerie of smarty eagles. Because eagles are smart. And we’re smart. And nerdy. And awesome :)

Whilst I was home, I of course had to do something besides bake pumpkin biscuits. Besides, what else was I going to do with umpteen fifty-zillion over-ripeish pears, and a new convection oven?! How can you resist? Answer: you can’t. I had to break the oven in somehow, right? Right. And the holidays = baking. Well, really anytime = baking, but that’s just a small technicality I’m willing to overlook.

mmmm, umpteen ripe pears!

So. I ended up using the remaining bits of flour (just enough, but I was SO NOT going to brave the madness that is Whole Foods at any time during the holidays. No cart roller derby for me, thanks… I really don’t prefer having to throw an elbow just to get to the broccoli) to make a cake! With pears. And chocolate. And things we already had lying around the house. Because THEN, Mutti, Vati and I could sit around and eat cake and watch the Civil War (Are YOU Duck enough?!). Because, as Vati so rightly said, all bets are off on game-day. One slice of cake per quarter? Done. And oops. We ate half the cake in one sitting. Whoopsie! Good thing it has fruit and is therefore good for me.

This cake is delicious. It’s not too sweet, with just the right balance of chocolate, fruit, and lightly sweet batter. Oh yeah. It goes perfectly with that leftover Fra Angelico spiked whipped cream you have sitting in the fridge. Because everyone knows that pear and hazelnut are a match made in heaven. Add in chocolate, and you can forget about eating anything else the rest of the day. Unless of course you’re Vati, in which case apparently beer is a nice accompaniment. But you’ll have to ask him about that one…Maybe I should have made him some beer spiked cream! Ew. No. We’re not even going to try to go there!

ANYwayyy, back to the cake!

Pear Cake with Dark and Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Adapted from The Pastry Affair, here!

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tbsp (half a stick) of unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 c turbinado sugar
  • 4 or 5 smallish pears, diced, skin on
  • 3/4 chocolate pieces (I used about 1/2 semisweet choc chippies and 1/2 70% dark chocolate bar, chopped)

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9″ or 10″ springform pan (mine was 10″).

Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.

Begin by browning your butter. Over low heat, melt the butter until it begins to foam up. Scrape the little bits off the bottom of the pan as you go. Watch it closely, since it burns quickly. When it’s finished, pour into a separate bowl to keep it from cooking.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs using an electric mixer. Beat until light, foamy and thick, about 8 minutes. Add sugar, and keep beating for a few minutes. Turn the mixer to low, and add about a third of the dry ingredients. Then add half the butter, then another third flour, then the rest of the butter. Add the last third of flour, and then the applesauce. Continue beating until incorporated, but avoid overworking the eggs, and stop when things are just mixed.

Pour batter into the pan, and top with diced pears and chocolate. The batter will creep up as it bakes. Bake for 40-50 minutes (mine was perfectly done at 40, but it was also thinner in a larger pan), or until a tester comes out clean.

Scarf, whilst watching the ducks do a dance on the beavers. buahahhha. Live green, yell o! (and yes, I do go to Willamette, but Oregon will always be my adopted school)

oops. Half of it mysteriously disappeared somewhere...

 

Ludicrously cookie picky.

Cookiehenge?!

Really?!

I just realized I have never posted a cookie recipe on this blog! This blog, in whose title COOKIES plays an extremely large part. Mind blown.  This is on the scale of severe cookie deprivation. Cookies are… my favorite things.

EVER. But I’m really particular. No, let me rephrase that. Ludicrously picky. Just ask anyone who has ever come with me to buy one in a bakery or somesuch. I’m that kid. The one who points to a cookie waaaay back in the back under about five other cookies and will not walk away until that specific cookie is in my possession. Yep. That kid. And chocolate chip is my ultimate favorite. Except only the ones that are chewy/slightly crunchy on the edges, and chewy/soft in the middle. See? I’m not picky, or anything… To date, the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve eaten is from a bakery at home—I get one every time I fly up to Oregon, and have been known to buy one a day in advance, if I’m flying out too early to get one the day of. Whatever, at least I have my priorities straight!

But the funny part is… I am fundamentally unsatisfied with the chocolate chip cookies that I make. Weird, I know. But I way prefer to get them from a bakery (a good one, mind you…no cookie schlock for me). However. This does SO not apply to other cookies I make… these, for instance. I LOOOOVE pumpkin, as we know. So it goes without saying that I LOOOOVE pumpkin chocolate chip cookies even more. Besides, opening a can of pumpkin but not using it all gives me an excuse to eat my favorite pumpkin-y breakfasts. And having cookies around makes my days sooo much better.

See that top one trying to escape? It found a nice home in my tummy...

These cookies are my favorite kind of pumpkin cookies: cakey and soft. I know there is some debate in the cookie camp over whether a cakey cookie is acceptable, and I would certainly agree that cakey cookies are WORTHLESS when I want a good chocolate chip (refer to above statement regarding acceptable cookies). However. Pumpkin cookies are designed for cakey factor. Pumpkin somehow makes cakey acceptable. I enjoy these based on their cakeyness.

However. If you try to trick me with a cakey chocolate chip cookie, I don’t think we can be friends.

Just kidding! We can be friends. I just won’t eat your cookies… and you’ll owe me an acceptably chewy one ;)

So. Without further ado, here are the cookiesss!

of course I don't play with my food...

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Adapted from here!

I made half the recipe, as per usual, which gave me 11 good-sized cookies (good sized, as in you don’t feel cheated with one, or guilty with two. Not you should ever feel guilty about eating cookies, I mean really. They’re COOKIES!) I’ll post the halved recipe here.

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • heaping 1/8 c rolled oats (ish… I didn’t measure, so just use your judgement)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (Apparently I forgot this in my recipe, but my cookies turned out fab anyway)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 egg
  • very scant 1/2 c sugar (I used brown with a smattering of turbinado)
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • a judiciously large handful of chocolate chips (it never pays off to stint on choc chippie)

Preheat the oven to 325. Grease (hoooray, coconut oil!) your cookie sheet. These cookies don’t spread, so I was able to get the whole bunch on one cookie sheet. Also why I love half recipes—it’s as close to instant gratification as I can get when making my own cookies!

In a mediumish bowl, whisk dry ingredients together (flour, salt, soda (If you remember it, ha), powder, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg). Toss in oats and stir to combine.

In a largeish bowl, beat egg and sugar with an electric mixer until light colored and foamy. This doesn’t take very long, hooray! Add in oil, pumpkin, and vanilla, with the mixer on a lower speed. Add in flour, attempting to NOT spray it all over your kitchen (NO, I did not do this…this time, anyway. It’s definitely been known to happen). Fold in choc chippies once the flour is all incorporated.

Make cookies!! This is easy. Drop by enormous spoonfuls onto the greased cookie sheet, and pat into a cute roundy shape. Or not, your call. Alternatively, you can be weird and make more normal sized cookies. To which I say, pssshhhhhh. Big cookies are the way to go. I particularly love when they’re palm sized… or the size of my face. Even better. Anyway, mine were decently sized, perfect for snacking :)

Bake until the cookies feel firm to the touch on top, and a tester comes out clean. Mine were done at exactly 16 minutes, and I left them on the cookie sheet for a bit before taking them off. A metal spatula works best for getting them to the cooling rack.

Eat, ideally with a glass of milk, in your sweatpants, while the weather does crazy things outside your window. Silly Salem, this weather makes me want to bake instead of thesis. And eat copious amounts of cookies. Ah well, I shan’t fight the urge ;)

 

Holiday Trolls and Mispronunciation

Look at that cornbread. yeah. You know you want some!

I’m in full holiday-mode now.

Well, kind of.

I’ve put myself on Christmas music lockdown. I have a really irrational urge to listen to it, but I’m resisting. December 1st is the acceptable time to start listening. Tell that to Pandora. Trying to sabotage my lockdown, yeeesh… But really, the Nutcracker is obviously not JUST Christmas music, teeheehee!

Anyway. Besides settling into holidayish time, I can feel myself going into hibernation mode. Not my fault, since Salem has decided that night will fall around 4:30 pm. Or maybe 4:10 today, as I look out the window… Winter weather makes me want to curl up and eat. All this cold weather and dark starts turning me into a bear. Wait. Do bears do yoga and pilates? Okay. Maybe not a bear.  A troll? Yeah. Probably. Do trolls hibernate? Maybe they style their really cool hair during the winter months?

This is getting ridiculous. Apparently my brain has gone on holiday without notifying  me. I’d be the last to know, I’m sure. I think all that theories studying has gone to my head… but at least the midterm is done and the paper is nearly there (assisted by copious amounts of the bread that this post features).  Besides turning into a bear/troll in the winter, I start wanting things like soup. And baked goods. Ha. As if. In what season do I NOT want baked goods?! NONE. How silly life would be without tasty baked treats. Booooring. Besides, the gremlins would get antsy!

SO!

Let’s get on with the purpose of this post. Sorry for the long hiatus between posts… The eating last week wasn’t cooperating on photogenic levels.

This soup is immensely satisfying on a hibernating troll level. Or on anyone’s level, really… It’s creamy and thick–rich without being terrifyingly bad for you. It also pairs well with cornbread (what doesn’t?!). I’m sure it would also be deeeelicious with a baguette, were you to have one lurking around. The soup is fairly basic, and uses things typically found in your (ok, my) pantry. It has a pretty short ingredient list, which is a plus when you desperately want soup!

I also decided it was time for the world to see my “It’s Willamette, Damn it!” bowl… You see, people have  penchant for mispronouncing the name of my school. In fact, it’s the most mispronounced in the contiguous United States. And it rhymes with damn it. So see? It’s an easy way to remember, for those of you who like to say “Will-uh-met”. NO. It’s Willamette, damn it!

See? I've even puffy-painted it, so that people can get it right!

Coconut Sweet Potato Soup (Bisque?)

Adapted from here! Serves… 3 girls. With leftovers.

Peruse your pantry, and acquire:

  • 2 monster sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups of water, plus 1.5 tbsp
  • 1 can of unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • a hefty sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
  • 1.5 tbsp cornstarch
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, also to taste (spicy soup=cleared sinuses, hoorayy!)

Bring the water in a soooop pot to a boil. Add your sliced sweet potatoes, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, making sure the water doesn’t boil away. Mash the sweet potatoes in the pot (with that potato masher that you insisted that you didn’t need, but have subsequently used about 3 times. Thank you, mutti! And your mutti-skills, that decree that you are ALWAYS right), and add the can of coconut milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon/nutmeg/ginger. Simmer for about another 15 minutes, until it begins to thicken. In a small bowl, add cornstarch and remaining water, and stir into a thick paste. Add the cornstarch and red pepper flakes to the soup, and cook for another five-ish minutes. (I may have added a bit more cornstarch to get it to thicken faster… the soup was still delicious, and I was HUNGRY). Use a blender (or an immersion blender, if you’re one of THOSE lucky ducks), and puree the soup in batches. Return the soup to the pot, and season to taste with salt, pepper, or more spice or red pepper if desired. I’m sure it would be lovely with shredded coconut on top, but I wasn’t on the ball enough for that…

Eat with this!!

Sandy’s Cornbread!

Given to me by an awesome lady who I used to work with (and who is now fully enjoying retirement!), this is a very tasty yogurt-based cornbread. I adapted it a bit from the original recipe, mostly to include whole wheat flour (as we know… I don’t have all-purpose!). I made a half batch of this for Abby, Kira, and I, but I’ll include the full recipe here.

  • 8 oz lowfat plain yogurt (1 cup)
  • 1/4 c olive or canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • scant 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly grease an 8″ or 9″ pan.

Whisk together yogurt, egg, and oil. Combine dry ingredients, add wet to dry, and  mix well. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for about 20 minutes.

If you halve the recipe, the batter fits into a 6.5″ pan, and is done a bit past 15 minutes. I occasionally have trouble with the center of cornbread being done all the way through in the small pans—check it to be sure.

I think the cornbread is about to take a dive off the handle...

 

 

 

Long ago, somewhere deep in the jungle…

Ridiculously cold weather calls for ridiculously tasty meals. Especially dinners, when you don’t have to go anywhere and you can just curl up and eat peacefully, whilst watching the the emperor get his groove thrown off with your roomie. The entirety of which the two of you could basically quote, between the two of you. But that’s another story entirely. So. Since I am not currently residing in some steamy Mesoamerican jungle, like SOME lucky llamas, I am currently experiencing Salem’s tribute to November, which seems to be freezing fog and coooold weather. Don’t get me wrong, I do love snappy, cold fall days. I do not love wearing  my north face in class because the room is cold… although, that’s probably preferable to going to sleep in a too-warm room… hmm. Anyway. Let’s move ahead! (“Umm.. what’s with the chimp and the bug?!”)

Like I said in the last post, Kira and I have had a run of immensely satisfying dinners. This one unfortunately didn’t yield any leftovers to daydream about… *sigh*. oh well, Kira and I might have had to fight over them (they were that good!). And simple! Not only is this recipe simple to prepare, it’s also economical. Which is excellent, as we’re on a college budget over here. It’s simple, but immensely satisfying. Oh. AND it’s healthy! Pshhh, would I make anything else?! (well. yes. I would. But this is not it!) Like crab, but waaaaay better. Salmon is incredibly good for you—omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for cholesterol (and pretty skin and hair!). Besides, canned salmon is BOMB. It’s like fresh… but cheaper! And just as nutritious. Hooray!! Served with a salad and some crusty bread, this is a meal that is light on the stomach, yet incredibly satisfying. As Kuzko would say… “BOOM BAM, BABY! Let’s get to the grub! I am one huuungry king of the world!”

And no, this dish does not involve essence of llama in any form, thank goodness. My shoulder angels would be against that, I’m sure.

Salmon Cakes

Adapted from Self magazine (I think that’s where I got it!) Serves two. We were hungry.

Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet (or two, if you’re hungry and want to get this show on the road). While the oil is heating, combine:

  • 1 can of salmon (Alaskan wild, pleeeease!), drained, de-boned, de-gunked, and flaked
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 piece of whole wheat bread, torn into smallish breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Stir to combine all of this together, and then form into patties. We got about 6, probably about 1/4 cup salmon each. Plop into the hot skillet, and saute for about 5 to 6 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked though. Serve hot, with a side salad and some insanely good Moroccan olive crusty bread. Our salad tonight consisted of spinach, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, dried cranberries, and some chopped goat’s milk gouda (aka BEST CHEESE EVER). Props to Kira for always making super tasty salads! [Salatenmeisterinen?!] Mmmmmm. There’s a recipe to warm up with. See? I told you it was super simple. Eat. Gloat because you’re getting omgea-3s for cheap! Quote movie. Be happy :]

” A LLAMA?! He’s supposed to be DEAD!”… “Yeah… weird.”

Super Squash Strikes Again!

No, that is NOT ranch dressing. Just in case you were wondering.

That’s right.

You can’t escape my obsession with squash for long.

I’m not orangey yet, believe it or not. I’m sure we’re getting there, between the amount of pumpkin, squash and pumpkin derivatives I’ve been consuming (not to mention carrots and bell peppers. oops.) Whatever, I like my beta carotene and Vitamin A.

Lucky for you, (and me), squash is SUPER SQUASH. As in, SUPER good for you! It basically deserves a cape and some spandex for full-on superfood status. Full of phytonutrients AND antioxidants AND vitamins, it is probably one of the best winter foods out there. Besides, it’s versatile and delicious, so why WOULDN’T you eat it?! Especially when I’ve discovered tasty recipes for you. I sort of like to imagine a butternut squash chunk with a cape on flying around antioxidizing the crap out of free radicals, providing anti-inflammatory support, and blocking the formation of cholesterol in cells, all while providing thorough gastronomical enjoyment to the being consuming it (Ideally me). Talk about a super squash.

Incidentally, I read that b-nut super squash contains THREE HUNDRED and FORTY FIVE percent of your daily Vitamin A requirements, per cup. Yup, you read that right. No wonder I have fighter-pilot vision, it must be all that Vitamin A and retinol.

Whoaaaa. I just reread the last two paragraphs. Yeeesh. I am SUCH a nerd. But I am totally ok with that, it’s part of my charm, right? Hehe.

So, onto the recipe! This is something a bit different—Kira and I both agreed that it was very unlike anything either of us had ever made (in terms of its flavor profile). It was also delicious (because I would never share with you something that wasn’t, of course!). It also steams the squash, which, fun fact, helps it retain its nutrient density (so that you get all 345% of that Vitamin A).

Middle Eastern Egg Noodles with Squash, Yogurt, and Cashews

Adapted from Delicious Living, which I picked up from Whole Foods at some point and clipped the recipe.

Supposedly this serves 6, but we made half the recipe and had waaay more than what would feed 3 people. I’ll list our measurements :)

Food type items:

  • 3/8 c plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 1 clove of garlic (or frozen chunk, if you like the Trader Joe’s version, like me)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint (or mint tea, if you can’t find regular mint…)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • a good shake of cinnamon
  • a few grindings of pepper
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed into 1″ pieces (ish) (I am so NOT that exact)
  • 1/2 c water
  • egg noodles, to feed your crowd
  • 1/3 c coarsely chopped cashews (or more, if you’re me and you’re nuts for nuts, haaaa) (or just NUTS)

Firstly: Combine yogurt, garlic, and salt in a bowl. Crush mint between your fingers and add to yogurt. Whisk until smooth, then cover and let it chillax in the fridge.

Secondly: Heat oil in a skillet (or straight sided saute pan) on medium. Add onion, and cook until onion browns, about 6 minutes or however long it takes your particular onion. Stir in coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and pepper. Add tomatoes, squash, and water. Cover and simmer over medium heat about 15 minutes (according to the recipe—ours was probably closer to 20 or 22 minutes), until the squash is tender.

In the meantime, cook yo’ noodles. Usually my egg noodles are done after about 7 minutes. Drain. Toss pasta with squash sauce, and then plate. Drizzle with yogurt sauce and liberally sprinkle (or douse) with cashews.

*Alternatively: the recipe orinigally calls for a can of no-sodium added crushed tomatoes, but we didn’t have this. Besides, we decided we’d rather use fresh ingredients if possible! So in went a small carton of cherry tomatoes, hooray! Also, the original specified walnuts, which we also didn’t have. Whatever, I prefer cashews. Either way, whatever you have!

Incidentally, if you’re interested, the recipe includes nutrition facts! I just thought I’d share (though don’t expect this on a regular basis, because a) I’m too lazy, and b) I don’t calorie count!)

Per serving: 358 cals, 11 g fat (3 g monounsaturated, 6 g polyunsaturated, 1 g saturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 12 g proteinm 51 g carbs, 7 g fiber, and 86 mg sodium.

Super squash strikes a blow against free radicals everywhere!

Never enough peanut butter

Double whammy on the blog posts… I’ve been making interesting things lately, I promise! They’ve just been… ugly. I really didn’t want to show you the amoeba-like beet and goat cheese ravioli… Tasty, but… ugly. Luckily, recipes lately have been delicious AND aesthetic, which appeases the art history major bit of me.

Anyway, recipe bonanza for you! Yay.

And no. This one isn’t even orange!

*gasp*

I told you, we’re striving towards variety! Besides, we have enough orange leftovers to last us a bit… I really don’t think we’re lacking in the beta-carotene department over here. Really. I definitely don’t want to venture into oompa loompa territory. Let’s not.

No, this isn’t exactly a recipe, either.

It’s a loose adaptation of a noodles and sauce recipe that Gillian and I discovered last year when we were sorta kinda studying for nutrition (but really having much more fun discussing vegan chocolate cake and baking techniques). However. Even though it’s not a recipe, it’s one of my favorites! Infinitely adaptable to whatever you have on hand (or whatever is lurking in the depths of the vegetable crisper), and ridiculously quick and simple to whip up.

Besides. Peanut butter is A-MAZING. Well. Actually all nut butters are amazing. I’m surprised I don’t resemble a jar of almond butter (perhaps with an orangeish tinge? Ew.)… I may or may not eat about a jar a week. (And I’ve gotten my roomie addicted, muahhahah). Although now I’ve fallen back in love with peanut butter, so I alternate. But still. There is a ridiculously embarrassing amount of nut butter consumed in this apartment weekly. Going with this vein, I really like finding new ways of conveying nut butter into my face, besides the obvious option of some form of bread/pancake/muffin/scone/carrotish thing. Pasta seemed like an excellent choice…. and then you can decorate with veggies! This way all those antioxidants can have a party in your digestive tract, and in the process, annihilate all of the free radicals floating about and trying to cause problems. And all that whole wheat from the pasta can party with the veggies, increasing your fiberous intake and lowering your cholesterol and blood lipids. Everybody wins! (Except those nasty free radicals, but we don’t like them).

Enter: Peanut Noodles with Veggies! Thai inspired, probably… but eventually simplified to be pantry and budget friendly. YAY!

Peanut Noodlies with Veggies!

Semi-created by Hayley and Gillian.

Simple, really. Boil water! Choose your fave pasta (I like whole wheat soba for this, but whole wheat spaghetti works too), and cook it until al dente (eewww, please no soggy pasta). Drain and rinse.

Slice up a block of tofu into smallish cubes, and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine:

  • A decent amount of peanut butter (say, 2 heaping tablespoons)
  • juice of one lime
  • grated fresh ginger
  • a drizzle of honey or agave
  • a squirt (say, 2 tsp) of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or other soy sauce type thing)
  • Sriacha, if you like it spicy!
  • water to thin it out

Keep in mind all these measurements are approximate—I usually taste and fiddle as I go along, and I never measure for this one. Mix everything together until the consistency is as you like it, then let your cubed tofu marinate for a bit.

While the noodlies are cooking, steam or saute veggies of your choice. I like bell peppers, broccoli, snow peas, or carrots—crunchy veggies are always good in this. We topped ours this time with diced cucumber, which was quite tasty. Toss the marinated tofu and sauce with the veggies and noodles, and serve. Eat. Love!