Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions (by me)

Is it bad luck to eat your hurricane evacuation provisions before hurricane season is technically over?

If your tomatoes just start growing in November are you actually going to get to eat any?

Why have I not thought of making muffins based on my favorite green smoothies before? I will be experimenting with my own version of these soon.

Would you rather have wheels for legs or a go go gadget arm?

Have you ever tried making bibimbap? The first time I had this was in Hawaii. A chemistry professor of mine took a bunch of students out to dinner at a vegetarian Korean restaurant and my mind was blown. Truely a case of the whole being much bigger than the parts. I (very) loosely based mine off of this recipe.
Clockwise starting at the top: Sautéed carrots, purple cabbage, mushrooms, zucchini & mirlton, and quick cucumber & radish pickles. All over rice with an egg in the middle.

What did I have for lunch this week? Whole wheat cous cous with tomatoes and fresh basil. Shelled edamame with a sprinkle of salt. Homemade granola bar. Greek yogurt with frozen mixed berries and a
drizzle of agave.

Do I need a lunchbox? Clearly. I've been thinking about this one, but I fear it won't be large enough. Any suggestions? My one requirement is that it be stainless steal - plastic tuperware starts to freak me out after you use if for awhile - you can never get it quite clean enough.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Inside My Lunchbox Part 2

Or how I finally learned to banish Hungor from my work day and just pack a million snacks.

As anyone who has spent much time with me will tell you I have a tiny stomach that pretty much needs to be constantly refilled. Much like a rabbit, I spend my day grazing and nibbling, having 8-10 small snacks. As such I like to pack a few snacks I can nibble after my ride to work and before my ride home. The sweet potato kugel was the main attraction in this lunch. I warmed it up in the microwave and ate it on a bed of kale. The granola bar (homemade!) I had as a quick snack after I got off my bike. The persimmon I ate out of hand before I headed home.

Speaking of the kugel, it was a very fall appropriate recipe and a great meal to make ahead and portion out for the week. I made this recipe, only I omitted the cheese and doubled the amount of sweet potatoes instead of using squash. I made it in an 8 x 8 square pan and have been chipping away at it all week. Bonus: your house will smell great when you cook the onions and garlic.

I'm so happy I live someplace I can bike to work on November 7th in shorts and a tank top.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"I literally made the most pesto ever," said in my best Chris Traeger voice

Last weekend my mission was to use up all my basil before the fall frost ruined it.

For me fresh basil=pesto. I love pesto...and by love I mean looooovveeee. One of the reasons
that I married my husband is because he had the secret pesto recipe from an unnamed pasta restaurant that he worked at in E'burg (I kid, I kid, but I do have the recipe now).

Things I learned during the pesto process:
Pesto stains everything it touches.
Basil reacts with oxygen somehow(O-chemers any comments?) and turns your skin black.
The old trick about rubbing your hands with a stainless steel spoon to get rid of garlic smell actually works.
Meat tenderizers make for excellent garlic smashers.

The first step to making a giant bowl of pesto is to gather all your ingredients. Aside from basil, I ran out of pretty much everything and had to start making substitutions.

You will need:
lots of basil
lots of garlic cloves
lots of olive oil (ran out of regular EVOO so I used a garlic infus
ed olive oil to make up the difference)
lots of Parmesan cheese
a cup or so of walnuts
2 1/2 cups of sunflower seeds (roasted but unsalted) (the recipe called for pine nuts...which are delish but too rich for my blood)

First, peel the basil leaves from the stems. I totally underestimated how long this would take, so I enlisted my sous chef. I had to promise him a batch of whatever kids of cookies he wanted, but it was worth it.

I put all the leaves into the sink filled with water in order to wash them and pick out the less desirable leaves. Then I drained the water out and patted dry the leaves. At that moment I
realized that a salad spinner may have been a good kitchen tool to have.

Then I just started mixing everything together. The restaurant recipe called for a "bag" of nuts and a "container" of cheese, etc. Since I didn't know what the quantity of said "bag" was, I just started tasting and guessing.

First I tried using the blender. Alas, a magic bullet my blender is not and nothing mixed together except for the EVOO and basil. So into my mini chopper everything went and although it worked, the chopper is so small that it took many batches to finish. After each batch I poured the mixture into a large bowl and then mixed everything together with a spoon again at the end to make sure that the inconsistencies in my proportions were minimized.

Lastly, I put a "dinner party" amount in a plastic bag and then portioned individual pesto disks and froze everything. Now I can just pull out a disk and have pesto all through the winter (30 portions total). WIN! Even though it made the a giant mess, the most dishes ever and my breath smelled like garlic for a week (I was eating spoonfuls of the leftovers) I had tons of fun making this.