Hello weekends, I LOVE you

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I still can’t get over this whole weekends off thing. I’ve had one whole weekend to do whatever I pleased and I wasn’t on vacation and no one was covering my shifts and I almost didn’t know what to do with myself for a hot second.

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But only a hot second. Because I realized that I could a) go to jazzercise, b) go to yoga, c) go to yoga AGAIN, d) go out to dinner to eat Moroccan food in the outer Richmond and cookies from the Castro with my boyfriend and parentals (yay!), e) hang out with a bestie, and f) make all kinds of delicious food, and g) do ALL OF THOSE THINGS ALL IN ONE WEEKEND!!! It was amazing. Really. And now I’m writing this. And eating delicious things. Ooohoooh and I got to read my novel too!! Secret nerd?! Nope. Not even. Mostly just nerd.

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omg egg.

But anyway. In the midst of being super excited for having two weekend days off in a row for reals and forever (for now), I made shashuka! Essentially eggs poached in marinara sauce, served over something grainy or whatever and sprinkled with a fine grating of cheese. Which is delicious and exciting since I’d never made it before… and also kind of sounds like a type of dance?? Don’t you think? Do the shashuka? Right? Okay. No. Just eat it, you won’t regret it for a second. I think this is going on my regular rotation of things to make since it’s relatively fast, I generally have everything on hand, and it’s comforting and saucy and delicious.

melting. cheese.
melting. cheese.

Also, I never want my dessert to end. I made banana bread with caramelized bananas and no refined sugar and stuff and then I cut a piece in half and smeared chocolate peanut butter and salted caramel ice cream and chocolate malt ice cream [sorry I’m not sorry, it’s the weekend] all over the inside and now I don’t want it to stop. I would try to slow down eating it but it’s just SO GOOD. Can’t stop won’t stop. After all that shashuka… mmm. Food. And weekends. Doesn’t get much better than that.

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And now my eyes are droopy and tired and I might actually go to bed. At 8. Because I can. Muahahaha!

shashuka in the sun!!
shashuka in the sun!!

Shashuka

Most likely serves 3-4, though you could use as many eggs as you want. I made a full serving of sauce but only enough eggs for me so that I could make fresh eggs when I want leftovers. Gluten free! Please excuse the sometimes rather vague measurements, I never measure when I make marinara. The recipe is my own! Shahuka obvs isn’t my idea, but besides poaching eggs in tomato sauce, I get credit for the flavors!

  • a hefty glug of olive oil
  • 2 hunks of frozen basil (or else a good handful of fresh)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • a few sprigs of fresh marjoram
  • medium sized glug of red wine
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • double handful of button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • three good handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce [strictly tomato, not marinara sauce that’s prepared]
  • 2 good spoonfuls of tomato paste, until your sauce is as thick as you like
  • 1/2 tsp coconut sugar
  • salt+pepper to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • grated parmesan, to serve

In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in basil, garlic, and marjoram. Once the oil has heated a bit, add diced onions. Let them cook for a minute or two, then add wine. Let that cook over low while you chop up the rest of the veggies. Add in mushrooms and let them brown for about 4-5 minutes, then toss in grated zucchini and spinach. Let it all cook down for maybe 5 minutes, until the spinach is wilted. Add in tomato sauce and paste, and let the sauce simmer for at least 20 minutes. Season to taste as it’s cooking with salt and pepper, as well as the 1/2 tsp of coconut sugar (add more to taste if things are a little bitter up in these parts). Turn heat to medium low, and make three wells in the sauce with the back of a spoon. Crack an egg into each well, cover the pan, and cook for 5 ish minutes until the whites are cooked though (the idea is to have runny yolks—if that freaks you out then let them go a bit longer). Serve over a grain of choice, with grated parmesan sprinkled over the top.

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Sassy savories and other unphotogenic food items

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carpet picnic!

Woah woah woah.

Two savory posts in a row? Is she sick?

..

Nahh. Just inspired! You see… I do make savory food hugely often. Like, my mother says it’s impossible to keep me in vegetables. As in… I eat. Them. ALL. Alllll the time! (And applesauce, that too). Except that usually by dinner time, I have no interest in photographing my food because a) I’m hungry and b) by the time I’m finished photographing it’ll be cold and c) I’m lazy and d) … okay never mind there was no d. Whatever, suffice it to say this is the main list of reasons why I never get around to photographing savory dinners. Also because savory stuff can be kind of uncooperative on the photography front sometimes…. like it’s delicious but it’s freaking ugly. Or it sasses me and gets all unphotogenic when I think it’s going to cooperate. I hate when that happens! No one wants to look at ugly food, right?!

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Anyway… but this time things cooperated! Ish. And I’ve been keeping myself fully stocked in cookies, just so you know (I wouldn’t want you to get concerned, or anything). Besides, I need snacks for after my bodyrock and lifting sessions, durrrr. Sore and shaky definitely qualifies for a snack of a healthy cookie and kombucha…

This dish was a bit of an experiment, which happily turned out well. Gotta love that. It’s easy and comes together in a snap with pantry staples, which is also excellent. ANNDD I invented it! So you should doubly love it and go running to your kitchen, obviously.

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Salmon Primavera with Polenta

Recipe from.. me! The polenta is my favorite recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook. The rest was inspired by the can of salmon lurking in the pantry. Serves 3, with a teeny bit of leftovers (though this does make enough polenta for another serving, there isn’t as much topping left).

  • 1.5  c polenta
  • 5 c water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 can of salmon, flaked and deboned (if necessary)
  • 1 zucchini, grated*
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 box of mushrooms (7-8ish), sliced
  • 3/4 c frozen peas, thawed
  • a good handful of fresh spinach
  • marjoram, basil, salt and pepper to taste**
  • grated parmesan, to garnish

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*I used whatever veggies we had, but any would be good. I like the sweetness of peas with salmon though, so try to have those at least (unless you hate them, of course)

**we grow fresh marjoram, so I used a few sprigs, and 2 frozen basil cubes. I salted the salmon a bit before use and then tossed in a bit later, and as for pepper, don’t use my family as an example as we’re pepper-nuts (read: we use an excessive amount on everything). Do what suits you!

In a saucepan, heat 4 cups of water to a a boil. Combine the polenta and salt with the other cup of water, stirring slightly (this prevents lumps). Once the water boils, toss in polenta and whisk constantly until the polenta thickens (for me, 11-12 minutes as I use a quicker cooking, not instant, polenta). Once thick (and you’ll know, as your arm will be about to fall off), remove from heat and stir in about a tablespoon of olive oil.

In a saute pan, heat a good glug of olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add marjoram and basil, followed by grated zucchini, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Saute until veggies are fork tender and the mushrooms have released some juices. Toss in spinach, peas, and flaked salmon and saute a few minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve over hot polenta with plenty of cheese (obvs)!

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I’ll take quiche over slush, thanks.

an Imperial cruiser? Or a slice of quiche...?

I apologize for the lack of recipes lately! What with returning to Salem and starting classes again, I’ve been rather busy. And lazy, haha. BUT. Fear not, hopefully things will start returning to normal! This semester is brimming with potential recipes to be tried and eaten (I just have to figure out what they are, haha). I fully intend to eat extremely well this semester, and graduate with full gastronomic satisfaction.

The weather in Salem has been rather ridiculous… we’ve had snow and some nasty slush that makes walking around a tad wet. I believe the weather gods have temporarily decided on rain, but you never know around here. Today on my way to class, it decided to snow heavily, except not stick. So it turned into nasty slush which got me and my feet soaked. Which I’m normally okay with, except that by the time I’d dried out, it was time to walk back from class. Mrrrggg. I’d be quite happy with snow, as long as it was somewhere I could ski on it! Are you listening, weather gods?! Send the snow to the mountains, and some rain to California. It’s a bit dry there at the moment… mmk? Good. I’m glad you’re listening.

Anyway. Quiche seems like a good way to combat the cold and ridiculousness of this weather… it’s warm, quick, and comforting. I tried this recipe out at home, and loved it, so as soon as I got back, Kira and I made our own version. It’s made excellent leftovers for the last few days as well. This recipe is great, as it’s very flexible, and is good for you :) Lots of veggies and good eggy protein. It comes together quickly as well, which is a perk when you’ve spent the last hour grocery shopping in snow/sleet/slush/rain/cold (would that be sneet? Or slain? or just ridiculous). Yum.

mmmm apple crunch. you see the bite out of it? hehe.

Pesto-Veggie Quiche with an Oatmeal Crust

Adapted from (Neverhome)Maker, here! Makes one 9″ quiche.

*Update from Feb. 20th: I made this the other day with no onion, lots of baby broccoli and spinach + bell pepper, and 1/3 c parmesan + 1/3 c goat cheese. It is AMAZING. I like this combo possibly better than the one posted below, but really where I’m going with this is that this quiche is incredibly adaptable to whatever is in your fridge!

Preheat the oven to 400, and lightly grease a 9″ pie pan.

For the crust:

  • 3/4 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp Earth Balance
  • 3 tbsp of your milk of preference (I’ve done it once with soy and once with 1% milk, and both worked fine)

For the quiche:

  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 heaping tbsp grainy mustard
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp milk of choice
  • 2 tbsp basil pesto (I like Trader Joe’s!)
  • 1/2 a large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 a good-sized red pepper (or a whole, depending on your preference)
  • a handful of mushrooms, sliced
  • a handful of fresh spinach
  • 2/3 c Parmesan, grated
it looks like a mountain. I only wish it was!!

In a food processor, pulse oats, salt, and flour until combined. Pulse in butter, until it gets crumbly, then add milk. The dough should form into a rough ball. Take the dough out, and roll it out between two sheets of wax paper. It should be relatively thin. Press it into the pie dish, evening out the edges and making a nice top edge. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, and then set aside. Lower the oven temperature to 350.

While the crust is baking, heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Saute the onion, until translucent, then add mushrooms and pepper. Cook until slightly soft, about 10 minutes total.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, ground pepper, mustard, pesto, and milk of choice. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan over the bottom of the prebaked crust, and then dump in veggies and onion. Pour the egg mixture over the top of all this. Pop into your preheated oven, and bake for 35 minutes, or until lightly browned and set!

This is particularly good with toasted apple-crunch bread, courtesy of the local bakery and your nice apartment management’s Christmas gift. As Kira said, “It’s like they know us, or something!” (Breadaholics. At least we embrace it!)

ommnommm BREAD!

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!

I am the Queen of Orange!

it's hiding... can you tell what it is?!

Yet another orange dish.

Who’s surprised?

Yeah. Didn’t think so. That’s okay though, you’ll thank me later,  just wait.

Besides, it’s fall! What do you expect?! I’m trying to be more of a seasonal eater. And by this I mean I want my insides to resemble the fall color which has exploded all over trees in Salem, and caused them all to look like they’re on fire… Then I really would be a seasonal eater, so there! Instead of having technicolored insides on account of sprinkles, I can have autumn-inspired innards! Teehee. I am the Queen of ORANGE!

Actually, when I say Queen of Orange, I’m rather reminded of William of Orange, and England’s Glorious Revolution in 1688. And no, I did not look any of those facts up… I am in fact a history nerd to the max, and those fab factoids were actually pulled out of AP European history brain from waaaay back when in sophomore year of high school. Yeeeahh. That’s right. I could also list you quite a bit of British royal genealogy… but I’ll save you the boredom ;) You’ll just have to trust me. Anywayyy. Back to the food, which is why you’re here, right?!

This is how much I love squash:

Like, A LOT. Fat, roundy orange squash. Or alternatively, butternut and acorn are good too… Which are not exactly roundy and fat, more like tan and elongated, or green and oddly lumpy, respectively. Whatever, to each his or her own squashiness, right?!

Because Kira and I realllyyyy love squash, we decided to make a new dish tonight… risotto! BUT. Because I’m a health nut, we made a healthy one. Hooraayyy!! But SO delicious, don’t get me wrong. Mmmmm. This risotto is actually made with barley, not rice. (Would that make it  barley-otto? Or barlotto?) Which is quite a bit more nutrient dense than rice, for the win! In fact, barley is realllyyy good for you: lots of soluble and insoluble fiber, which is handy for a number of things (including lowering blood cholesterol!), as well as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It also has eight amino acids and has is low on the Glycemic index, which is good for blood sugar. Wheeee, whole grains!

Barley seems to be another of those foods that I apparently imprinted on as a small child (hmm… tofu and barley. can you say hippie-granola?! Jeez, no wonder I wear Birkenstocks all the time). Barley cereal was my FAVORITE when I was pretty little— I distinctly remember my mom going to a specific store, where she knew an employee who would get me my special barley cereal. Apparently we could only get it there… I do remember him being awfully nice, hehe. And my mutti was wonderful to go get the cereal for me!  I guess I never really grew out of the barley phase, as I LOVED this dish.

Like I said, you’ll thank me for the orangeness later :)

Butternut Squash and Barley Risotto (or Barlotto)

Serves… a lot? We made half and still have lots of leftovers. I’ll provide the measures we used. Adapted from here!

Acquire this business:

  • 1 butternut squash, cubed and roasted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 thingy of garlic (I prefer the handy frozen squares from Trader Joe’s! It eliminates silly mincing and squishing)
  • 3/4 cups whole grain barley (I bought mine in bulk from Whole Foods)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/8 cups grated Parmesan
  • awkward baggie of frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • a judicious sprinkle of nutmeg

How to procure tastiness and gastronomical delight:

Firstly.

Roastify your b-nut squash! Preheat your oven to 450. Peel the squashling, and deseed it with a spoooon. Cubify it. Toss the cublets with a good glug of olive oil, salt, and peppahhh. Roastify the cublets for about 30 minutes, stirring onceish. When removing them from the oven, try not to get blasted with a huge puff of ridiculously hot steam. Seriously oven, I do NOT need that extreme of a facial. Set aside until needed.

Secondly.

In a smallish pan of some sort, bring the broth and water to a simmer, then lower heat just enough to keep it toasty. In a saute pan, saute the onion in olive oil. Cover and cook on medium until onion is softening, about 8-10 minutes. Add in garlic. Add barley, and let it toast for about 4 minutes over medium heat. Stir in wine, and continue stirring until it has been absorbed.

Now prepare to stir for the rest of your life.

At least you’ll have tasty risotto!

Add about a third of the broth/water, and half of your squashlets. Stir/simmer until absorbed, about 20 minutes. Continue to add liquid, stir, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed. This probably took Kira and I about a half hour, to have all the broth be absorbed and the barley to be cooked through.

Off the heat, stir in the remaining squash (assuming you left some out, not a big deal if you don’t want to), peas (another babyhood fave… what can I say, I was a gastronomically advanced child), parmesan, sage, and nutmeg. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh basil (of course).

Enjoy the gastronomically delightful orangeness!