March 31, 2009

What is with my inability to write consistently? I blame the weather. Last week was bookended by a tornado watch and several hail storms on Monday and a few inches of snow on Saturday. I also got a one inch wide bolt stuck in my tire. But that wasn’t weather-related. Just bad luck.

So, I think the best thing to do is to pretend that last week didn’t happen at all. You’re only missing pasta, anyway.

Last night, I threw this together and it turned out to be excellent:

bulgur/couscous/chickpea/artichoke heart/feta bowl

bulgur/couscous/chickpea/artichoke heart/feta bowl

Say that five times fast. I could have added more, but then the snappy title would’ve gotten too long.

Here’s how to make this one:

  1. Cook 1/2 cup bulgur in about 1 cup of water for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium. Add a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas (or 2 cups cooked). Cook until heated through, stirring often.
  3. Add a few shakes of ground cumin, some crushed red pepper, and a clove of minced garlic.
  4. Drain a 15 ounce can of artichoke hearts. Add them to the skillet. Stir everything together. Stir until heated through.
  5. Add 1 cup of boiling water to 1/2 cup of whole wheat couscous and cover for five minutes.
  6. Put everything together. Add some salt, black pepper, more cumin, 1/2 a lemon worth of lemon juice, a glug of olive oil, and stir. A lot.
  7. Add feta. Lots of it.

Tonight I made a veggie pasta sauce and then did a Dave Farmar yoga podcast. I think I might actually be getting stronger for the first time ever because I didn’t feel like I was going to die quite as early in the class.

Anyway, while I was doing yoga, Matt cooked up some noodles and by the time I got done, dinner was waiting for me.



Here’s the recipe:

  1. Saute a bunch of chopped veggies in olive oil (I used an onion, two carrots, a small zucchini, and about a cup of frozen spinach).
  2. Add some spices and a can of crushed tomatoes. Usually I also like to add some tomato paste, but I didn’t have any. Simmer the whole deal for however long you want.
  3. Cook pasta.
  4. Eat pasta with sauce.

I like to make curry.

March 22, 2009

In Seattle, it seemed like half of the restaurants I went to had some kind of vegetable curry on the menu. Something else always won out when it came time to order, but I’ve been thinking about curry since then.

After a very glamorous day of doing things like grocery shopping and taxes and not cleaning the bathroom, I decided to make my curry dream a reality. I turned to my favorite recipe source – Heidi Swanson. I had almost everything for this curry, so I went for it.

cashew-less cashew curry

cashew-less cashew curry with brown basmati rice

The only cashews I have on hand have been in the refrigerator for over a year and apparently nuts go bad so I wasn’t willing to take that risk. I just subbed in a bunch of extra tofu, cauliflower, and green beans.

This was so easy, and while I thought it lacked some depth, Matt said it had good flavor and good heat, so who am I to judge? Although, to be fair, he’s under the influence of cold medicine and this movie, so I’m not sure he’s to be trusted.

On that note, I think it’s time for me to hit publish and exit the living room. Sun Ra is really starting to freak me out.

Spring cleaning

March 21, 2009

Since it’s officially spring now, and since I’m still trying to clean up my act a bit, food-wise,* I really wanted something green and light for dinner that would still be satisfying. This salad fit the bill nicely:

tuna, asparagus, and new potato salad

tuna, asparagus, and new potato salad

This was adapted liberally from a recipe in the April issue of  Bon Appetit. I kept the spirit of the tuna/asparagus/potato part, but I didn’t have radishes or eggs, or the ingredients for the chive vinaigrette, and I hate capers. So I just made a simple red wine vinaigrette and tossed that with some steamed asparagus, red potatoes that I chopped and boiled until tender, and some chunk white tuna. Delicious. This issue of BA was one of my better airport purchases. It’s got gratuitous pictures of a really awesome kitchen and a recipe for matzo balls that I want to try.

*It’s not really working. In the absence of cupcakes I’m eating anything and everything that looks like it was made with sugar.

A detox is in order

March 20, 2009

Y’all. Don’t fret. I am back in the land of the blogging.

Seattle was awesome. I mean, rain and snow and hills and whatever, that place can still rock your face off. The conference was really good, we got to stay with an old friend, and I caught up with lots of my far-flung librarian posse. Good times were had by all. Especially by me, when Matt brought back a dozen cupcakes from Cupcake Royale after an outing in Ballard (Dayna, it was awesome to get your comment since we had totally eaten those and can confirm the rumors you’ve heard about how good they are). Since we were only there until Monday morning, there was a lot of creative cupcake consumption on my part, including cupcake oatmeal. It just felt right.

We also ate all kinds of other amazing non-cupcake food, like sushi from the place we loved last time we visited the city (with an entire television devoted to sumo wrestling), sandwiches from Pike Place Market, fancy crepes, and about four tons of fish. Each. Oh, and I tried Ethiopian for the first time. I’ve always avoided it because I thought it was heavy on the meat, but I split a vegetarian combo with a bunch of other people, and it was pretty much just lentils and vegetables. Oh, and bread. I could eat that every day. In fact, I basically do.

We got back home at 1 on Tuesday morning, and the rest of the week has been a blur. Oh, except that there were more cupcakes. My boss made chocolate stout cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day and I may have brought half a dozen of them home. So worth it.

Anyway, I walked a lot in Seattle, but I haven’t formally worked out in almost two weeks, and, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’ve been eating a lot of cupcakes. So, I’ve been feeling kind of run down and I decided to remedy it by cleaning up my eating a little.

Last night, I did this by making an on-the-fly lentil and couscous dish.

looks pretty clean, right?

looks pretty clean, right?

This is the entire dish, not just my portion. If I had eaten this much, I wouldn’t be typing right now. I’d be in the hospital, in the exploded persons unit. There’s not really a recipe, but it goes like this. Cook some green lentils, make some whole wheat couscous, and throw in some chopped red pepper, white wine vinegar, olive oil, and black pepper. When I dished it up, I also added a generous serving of feta. The cleanest of cheeses.

Tonight, I made this Cajun Red Beans and Rice recipe, which I got from one of the four cooking magazines I bought to read on the plane. I made a few changes, most notably skipping the sausage. I made up for it a little extra mirepoix. And by eating more. I also realized while cooking that, not only do I not have any cajun spice mix, I actually have no idea what that means. So I just threw in a bunch of things that I know are spicy (crushed red pepper, a few generous shakes of chili powder, and a pinch of cayenne pepper) and it seemed to work out okay.

more like red beans and spice

more like red beans and spice

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to March Madness.


March 14, 2009

Well, obviously I lied. There was no cooking before I left for the conference. Why do I set myself up for these failures?

At any rate, I’m in Seattle for the conference, enjoying all kinds of wonderful food.

See you in a few days!

We’re keen on quinoa

March 8, 2009

I bet I’ve used this title before, but I’m too lazy to check.

I got an email from my ten year old niece the other day, expressing concern about my eating habits. Specifically, she wanted to let me know that I eat too much quinoa and couscous. She’s had quinoa and isn’t much of a fan, but I keep telling her she just hasn’t had it in the right dish yet. Maybe if I made her these quinoa-stuffed peppers, she’d be a convert.

who could resist that?

who could resist that?

Hahahaha. NO. She’d hate them. They include no fewer than six foods she doesn’t like, but maybe someday. After all, I only liked vegetables in the form of canned Green Giant Kitchen-Sliced Green Beans for about, oh, I don’t know, twenty years?

And look at me now! I like all kinds of food, including (but not limited to): peppers, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, black beans, onions, cheese, and quinoa, all of which are in this dish. These were from the February issue of Vegetarian Times, and while they turned out stellar, I had some beef with the recipe (get it? BEEF! With a vegetarian recipe!). For one thing, I didn’t read it carefully and somehow missed the fact that the cooking time for the whole thing adds up to almost two hours. I guess that one is technically my fault. For another, they tell you to use a saucepan to make the filling without mentioning that you need the world’s largest “saucepan” because somehow you will need to fit a diced onion, two cans of diced tomatoes, a can of black beans, a ten ounce bag of frozen spinach, some other vegetables, 3/4 cup of quinoa, and two cups of water in it. Seriously. I didn’t even use the celery and carrots they called for and the pot came dangerously close to overflowing. So, if you make it, please do yourself a favor and use a dutch oven.

all's well that ends well

all's well that ends well

Also not a good idea? Accidentally making an incredibly time-intensive meal like this one on a Friday night when you are exhausted and your RA is flaring up and you’ve been up since 4:50am.

I learned that lesson for you, okay?

Late winter is a bad time for me, fatigue-wise, as my body doesn’t do the best job adjusting to weather changes, especially now that I live in a place with really drastic swings from cold to warm and back again. So, what better time to… spring forward!

I tried to make up for some of that lost hour by subbing in a regular old pasta dinner for the baked pasta I promised Matt I’d make.

lemony pasta and asparagus

lemony pasta with asparagus

I used up some random handfuls of pasta (macaroni and some penne) in this. I just cooked ~3 cups of pasta, adding asparagus near the end (woody stems removed, chopped into 1 inch pieces), draining, and making an impromptu lemony sauce with 1/2 T unsalted butter, a big handful of parm, 2 T lemon juice, and a few generous shakes of pepper. The pasta was still hot, so I added the butter, parm, lemon juice, and pepper, and stirred and stirred and stirred until it was all coated with cheesy, lemony goodness. This is probably about 4 servings, give or take.

And now, unfairly, it’s almost 9:30. Even though it’s only been dark for two hours.

I’m leaving for a conference on Wednesday, and Matt’s coming with me, so the next couple of nights should be really exciting, food-wise, as I try to figure out what we have to use so it doesn’t go bad while we’re gone.

Stay tuned!

I’m too tired to think of a title

March 4, 2009

This may be the best dinner I’ve ever made in under ten minutes.

spaghetti with sun-dried tomatoes and chickpeas

spaghetti with sun-dried tomatoes and chickpeas

Here’s the recipe:

  1. Bring 3 cups of broth and 3 cups of water to boil in a large pot with some salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper
  2. While it’s heating, roughly chop a dozen or so dried tomatoes
  3. Add the tomatoes to the boiling water/broth
  4. After another minute or so, add 12ish ounces of spaghetti (most of a box)
  5. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes
  6. Add 2 cups (or a can, rinsed and drained) of cooked chickpeas
  7. Stir and reduce heat
  8. After everything is heated through, serve
  9. With cheese

It tasted good but did nothing to help with my mid-week fatigue. I’ll be back with equally exciting fare tomorrow. Or sometime. Maybe not tomorrow. It’s supposed to be in the 70s here and I’m sure I’ll want to be out in it. Or sleep through it. Whichever.