Sunday, November 18, 2012

Inside My Lunchbox Again

One of the things I miss most about Boston is Clover. They have many, many delicious options, but my favorite will always be the chickpea fritter. This is my attempt to recreate that brilliant wrap.

I made "chickpea fritters" or flattened falafels using spices and ground chickpeas with lots of parsley. As I am not a believer in home frying, and in order to keep these on the healthier side I baked the patties. The wrap was made with fresh tortillas, spinach, some plain hummus, and homemade quick pickles (I used the brine from my pickled okra with persian cucumber slices). Served with a side of purple grapes. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Okra Smokra

Did I ever tell you all about that time during Hurricane Isaac when Erik and I got called yuppies by a stranger?
It was probably 2 or 3 days post electricity, and we were on a hunt for ice. After an unsuccessful trip to the grocery store nearest our house we drove a little further to Winn Dixie, where we found a whole glorious mountain of ice. Upon checking out, the cashier asked if we had a store discount card. When we said we did not, she said, "oh, do you guys usually shop at whole foods?"
I was thinking about this as I rode my vintage bike home from the farmer's market last week with my basket full of vegetables. Yes. I am a yuppie.

Anyway. Let's get real. Does anyone really just like plain okra? If you live in the south, no doubt you have a complicated relationship with okra. On one hand, it is an extremely cheap, healthy, plentiful vegetable and the farmer's markets overflow with local crops. On the other hand, it has a mucus-like quality.
I know, I am selling it here.
The slimeyness of okra is due to mucilage which makes okra rich in dietary fiber. The slime only really comes out when you cut okra, so if you keep the pods whole it can be avoided. These pickled okra are best if you use small pods that can be devoured in one or two bites. The pickling brine is adaptable and can be used with other vegetables too.

Quick Pickled Okra
3 cups water
1 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup salt1.5 pints okra
1 tablespoon Sunny Paris spice (optional)

2 jalapenos, sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
In a saucepan heat up water, vinegar, and salt. Take clean glass jar and stuff all of your okra, jalapenos, and garlic inside. If using additional spices pour over top of okra in jar. Take the heated liquid and fill up the jar to the top. Put the lid on and place jar in refrigerator for 3-5 days. I find they get better if you let them sit a little longer.

P.S. these would make an excellent addition to any Thanksgiving relish tray.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Giant Salad Bowl

Maybe it is because I have been eating red beans and rice everyday for lunch, but lately I have been craving a GIANT salad for dinner.

Now I know you don't need me to give you a recipe for a salad. You know how to make a salad. You are smart and savy. Also your hair looks real good today.

However I have made this the past three days in a row, and last night Erik said it was the best salad I have ever made (high praise?). So consider this a salad blueprint.

Giant Perfect Salad
Red leaf lettuce
Cherry tomatoes
Lemon zest
Parmesan cheese
Bread crumbs
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Tear up the lettuce and parsley into a giant bowl. Add halved cherry tomatoes. Use a microplane to zest half a lemon into the bowl. Add just the smallest amount of olive oil and a little bit more balsamic vinegar. Shake some parmesan and bread crumbs into the bowl and toss everything about. 

Sit on the couch in your workout clothes after a run and eat this for dinner while you watch the daily show on hulu.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Coconut Milk Rolls

little poofs of goodness

Hello blog.

It is fall. Time for bread baking and scarf wearing. Only we live in Louisiana so it is not cold enough for scarves yet. But the weather has turned enough to justify making these rolls. These only bake for about 20 minutes - your air conditioning can totally compensate for that.

These rolls turn out so soft and poofy you would swear they are store bought. They have a slightly sweet flavor, but do not taste like coconut, so don't fear feeding these to a picky eater.

I used this recipe from Eating Appalachia. I originally found it while I was searching for a recipe to use up some left over coconut milk. Now I just make these rolls and wind up with the left over coconut milk anyway.

I followed the above recipe with the following modifications:
1. I used 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast rather than a packet
2. I switched 1/4 cup unsalted butter for the earth balance
3. In place of the 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour I used 1 1/2 cups AP flour and 1 cup of white whole wheat flour

yeast blooming

mixing wet and dry
post kneading
it has risen
rolls formed - now into the oven

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Strawberry Pie

Strawberries are coming out the wazoo in Louisiana. This pie is a delightful way to enjoy them.

Part 1: Crust
I followed Martha Stewart's Press-In Shortbread Pie Crust recipe to a T. This is super easy. If you are intimidated by the idea of making a traditional roll out pie crust you can do this! No rolling or measuring of thickness is involved. Martha wouldn't lead you astray.

Once baked allow the crust to cool and moved on to the filling.

Wash and trim about 2 pints of strawberries and dice them up.

In a large bowl combine 10 oz softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, a dash of nutmeg and half of your strawberries.

Time to make whipped cream. I do this in my magic bullet. 1 cup heavy whipping cream plus 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Whirl it around for 30 seconds and like magic whipped cream pops out.

Fold the whipped cream into your cream mixture along with the rest of the berries. Pink worm, pink ice cream. This must be a silly dream.

Pour your mixture into your cooled pie shell and beautify. A little garnish really AMPLIFIES the class.

Chill a few hours or overnight before cutting in.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Inside my lunchbox

Roasted sweet potato and broccoli. A little bit of black pepper.

Spinach salad with purple cabbage, red pepper, green apple, feta. Balsamic.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A meal for one when it is late

Asparagus Mimosa is the first recipe I had the courage to try out of Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty.
He suggests topping with chopped tarragon and using high quality asparagus - freshly picked from a farm of course. I think I saw mimosa and bookmarked it thinking it was a delicious cocktail recipe that somehow incorporated vegetables. (Having had a beet martini I know there must be other vocktails out there...)

1 pound asparagus cleaned and trimmed.
1 egg
1 tsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Blanch asparagus in salted water for 3 minutes.
Soft boil and egg. I recommend 9 minutes exactly. Submerge egg in cold and allow to cool. Peel egg and chop roughly. Combine with asparagus, a drizzle of olive oil and capers if you have a jar in the refrigerator. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In Which I Eat Things I have Grown

Last night for dinner I had a salad. This salad to be exact. It was delicious. I used purple cabbage instead of green because, duh color. And instead of using just kale, I used half chard - WHICH I GREW MYSELF. My mint leave were also hand cultivated but herbs are not as IMPRESSIVE. 

The dressing is pretty magical
You might imagine now that I am put together enough to enjoy freshly harvested roughage straight from my own garden that I dined in a highly CIVILIZED and CULTURED manner. In reality I ate this at 9:30 pm after sitting in my sweaty workout clothes for 2 hours and eating too many dried plums.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lundi, Mardi, Mercredi

Ahh high school french, you have served me well.

My first Carnival season has been sublime. 

When did you last have a 5 hour brunch? Go do it right now. Make sure two of your courses are pancake based. Get rolled out of the restaurant like Templeton rat.

Unabashedly use gratuitous amounts of food color. Don't worry about being fancy. Make banana cupcakes and add dye. Presto!

P.S. Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty has some of the most beautiful food photography ever.

Or leave it to the professionals. Specifically the professionals at Hi Do Bakery. Only $12 and better than any of the other 10 King Cakes I tried! Make sure someone else gets the baby every time. Sneaky.

Learn from my mistakes. Don't think so long and hard about what to do with the single tomato you have harvested that it gets mushy and moldy. February tomatoes? Come on.

Lunch every day last week.
Eat enough salad leading up to the big Mardi that you are composed of approximately 80% spinach. You won't be having many green things for awhile.

After all of that salad you can start the weekend off right with french toast. Or not really french toast because that is best left to restaurant professionals, but easier french toast. 

To serve 2. 
1 cup milk (cow, almond, soy, lizard??)
3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I prefere Penzeys baking spice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until lump free. Dip thick, sturdy slices of bread briefly into mixture and then cook on a griddle/pan coated with cooking spray. 

What should you top your delicious slices with? Oh sure, syrup never hurt anyone. But it is Mardi Gras. Best step up your game.

Coconut syrup
Be clever and place an unopened can of coconut milk in the refrigerator the night before you make this. Make sure it is not a "light" variety.
Carefully open the can and spoon out the thick portion that has separated into the top portion of the can. Along with a few tablespoons of powdered sugar to taste and a splash of vanilla whip this up in your magic bullet. (Or use your mixer if you aren't blessed with the bullet). This will turn into a thick/slightly fluffy syrup with a lovely coconut flavor. Drizzle it generously over your french toast and top with the blackberries you were so smart to get at the market.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 Superlatives

Well, I feel as though my idea for a top whatever was stole right underneath me. But since Elle has been blogging better than I, I will forgive.
Here some memorable events of 2011, cheers!
Best purchase: Zorro (or D'Angelo if you prefer) hands down. I can not tell you how much I love love love waking up to an espresso bar in my house. It has triggered my inner coffee-snob-ness.

Most blog-worthy meal that didn't make it to the blog: Daniel's Thai Pork and Noodle Soup. It was so good, and could be adapted to veggie friendly. If you don't know, I had a New Year's resolution last year to make one new meal a week. As far as New Year's resolutions, I did pretty good (faltered in June, right after school was out). I am lucky enough that I have a wonderful husband who likes to (and is good at) cook. He took up my yoke and continued on with the

Roast Beefyist: Kelly's Roast Beef in Revere (just ride Daniel's favorite blue line train)
Worst overall (in the everything category): My garden which produced such a weak harvest that it seemed that the only thing I could grow this year was albino carrots.

Most likely to take a snakey lick: Atticus salivating over Ellen's breakfast in July.
Best food product that I didn't' know I was missing out on: Fluff

There you have it...that was my year in a nut shell.
And in case you were wondering, I did make a resolution for this year. My goal is to become less wasteful in all aspects of my life, but particularly with food. I already recycle everything that could possibly be recycled, but I noticed that we have a hard time finishing produce, fruit, etc. before it goes bad. So this year I will try to purchase only what I need, and then eat/cook/freeze/dry the leftovers. "Precycle" if you will. Hold me to it Charders.
Anyone else have any superlatives to share? Resolutions?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dr. Change or: How I learned to stop worrying, finished school, moved to NOLA, and grew my first very own tomato

Happy belated everything.

I'm pretty sure there are some blog rules out there that mandate some sort of "BEST" list.  As 2011 fades away and the year in which no one will talk about anything other than the freakin Mayans starts, let us reflect.

Most utilized new meal: Egg tortilla wraps

New Ingredient to cook with I liked most: Tie between collards and eggs

Favorite food party: My birthday. Duh. Don't worry, you can come this year.

"Best" worst thing I made: Burned bread representing everything I overcooked in my %#@*&^ evil oven before I got an oven thermometer (thanks mom!)

Favorite meal out: Brigsen's (thanks to Erik's parents) for classy, India Pavilion in Cambridge after soaking in a japanese hot tub. Pickels in NYC eaten straight from the barrel.

Food things I miss most about Boston: Indian food. Trader Joe's. Friendly Toast. Myers and Chang fried rice. Pho Pasteur. The Otherside (pre rats).

Food things I like most about New Orleans: Affordable and plentiful year round farmer's markets. Surreys. Sweet potato pancakes at Slim Goodies. Happy Hours. Growing veggies outside in December.

To 2012. May the year be full of good food and pretty sunsets.