It’s getting cold in here.

October 10, 2009

You know what’s awesome? Waking up in a 50 degree room on a 30 degree morning with a 20-something degree wind chill.

In early October.

I’ve got major respect for the farmers who were still out there in the freezing cold at 8am to sell their produce. And I’m not even going to think about what two hard freezes in a row might mean for the rest of the farmer’s market season. But, once again, the weather didn’t ask me for permission to get ridiculous.

Anyway, there were some heat issues in our apartment. Namely, that the heat wasn’t on. We don’t control our own heat, so there are always a lot of really good times when it gets cold. While that was being dealt with, I took my mom’s advice and made a lot of use of the oven.

Tonight’s dinner was pretty awesome, and, as a bonus, heated up the kitchen pretty nicely.

lentil burgers with roasted purple fingerling potatoes and green beans

lentil burgers with roasted purple fingerling potatoes and green beans

I made these burgers with some leftover lentils and brown rice from earlier this week, along with some cumin, salt, pepper, and an egg. I based it on Bittman’s recipe (bean burgers are at the bottom), but with no oats because I had plenty of rice. I’ll definitely use some dry oats next time, though, for body and to absorb some of the moisture. Still, solid and super easy bean burger recipe. Crazy cheap, too. I’m intrigued by the nut-based burger recipe in that post, too.

I really love homemade veggie burgers, and these turned out way better than last time I tried a similar Bittman recipe. I’m still trying to replicate the elusive and delicious veggie burger at Local Burger in Lawrence.

On the side, I roasted purple fingerling potatoes and green beans at 400* for about 20 minutes. Before roasting (I let the oven preheat for a good long time), I tossed them with a few good swigs of olive oil, 3 cloves worth of minced garlic, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. This was my first experience with fingerling potatoes and I pretty much want to go out and buy some more right now. For one thing, they were bright purple. For another, they had the perfect skin to meat ratio.

To heat the kitchen up earlier today, I made some cookies from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan.

fig jam-print cookies

fig jam-print cookies

These have barley flour, oat flour, other good stuff, and the jam of your choice. I went for fig jam for that homemade fig newton effect.

I never thought I’d say this, but I think I’m going to go clean up the kitchen. For warmth.


At least I’m on vacation

July 3, 2009

I think “uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” is the best word to describe the way I’m feeling right now. The week before vacation always leaves me a little frazzled, probably something about the way I leave myself 261 “loose ends” that I could have tied up, I don’t know, ANY OTHER TIME. This is all exacerbated by the fact that my body has pretty much decided to shut down its sleeping function, leaving me with a combined total of about six and a half hours over the past two nights. But hey, who needs to sleep when you can use the time you’re not sleeping to tie up loose ends??

I don’t know if it’s related to any of that, but I’ve only been interested in side dishes lately, save for the monster-sized order of vegetarian fajitas I got at La Fiesta the other night, the remains of which landed on the floor tonight while I was cooking dinner and completely interrupted my culinary flow. Landlords, take heed: fajitas are reason # 17894 that “oatmeal” kitchen carpeting is not a good idea. If for no other reason than that Martha Stewart does not have a section devoted to fajita stain removal on her website.

Dinner was okay anyway, just a repeat of potato/chickpea salad with some different kind of potatoes from the farmer’s market this time. Plus, cheesy polenta (bring some water to a boil [4x the amount of polenta you want to use], stir in polenta, stir stir stir, add cheese, salt, pepper, oregano [or whatever], stir stir stir; serve).

a bowl full o' starch

a bowl full o' starch

Those carbs really comforted me in my time of kitchen carpet stress.

I also tried my hand at braising a few days back, after a stellar experience with braised spinach during my birthday dinner last weekend.

brown rice, braised green beans and summer vegetables, tomato/avocado salad

braised green beans with summer vegetables (and some other stuff)

When the braised vegetables (delicious) were done, I realized I hadn’t made any plans for what else we would eat, as I was heavily involved in making a fruit salad for a barbecue. So I grabbed the rice from the refrigerator and chopped up some tomato and avocado for a “salad.” I’m lucky I hadn’t already made my simple syrup for the fruit salad dressing, because I might have panicked and added that in there, too.

Also, we survived our frugal June and now it’s July and I fully intend to splurge on stuff like peaches from now on. I have some math that’s strategically designed to show how awesome we are, but I’ve been up since 3:30am and people have been setting off fireworks outside for the last 5 hours and I just don’t have it in me. But rest assured, I’ve sent off for my very own bindle. I earned it.

Maybe dreaming of it will lull me to sleep. Tomorrow we might attempt to tackle the interstate again to go celebrate Matt’s birthday, and I’m going to need all the energy I can rustle up just to yell over the roar of the car.

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.

Christmastime is here

December 25, 2008

I’ve been so lame about posting lately. I even made something new earlier this week. Behold, Lemony Chickpea Lentil Soup from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan:


Like everything from that cookbook, it was delicious. And there are about forty six servings left. We could have had some last night, but I had to work until two, so we decided to start a new Christmas Eve tradition of pizza. Luckily, we caught the last place that was open for deliveries about 20 minutes before they closed.

In my family, we always did most of our celebrating on Christmas Eve, but since I had to work, Matt and I saved the main event for today. We got an early start after being awakened by more scratching in our bedroom wall. Santa!

After some coffee, we opened presents. Matt got me some awesome gifts, including these:


Cookbooks and chocolate! What could be better?

Right after our gift exchange, Matt made pancakes for brunch. I had mine with some berries:


I watched a movie, cleaned a little, started packing for my trip, tied a new apron on, and got started on our Christmas menu:


We started with a spinach salad with chopped apples, craisins, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette:


For the main course, we had chicken, roasted lemon-rosemary squash rings, and a riff on green bean casserole- green beans with portobellas and feta.


We had a couple of kitchen episodes that involved a few run-ins with the smoke detector, so we decided to nix the stuffing. It was a good call in the long run, as I had plenty of room for dessert, which was apple crumble.


With soy cream. And an awesome little appetizer spoon from Crate and Barrel that makes dessert last longer. Going back for seconds also makes dessert last longer. So does going back for thirds. I love Christmas.

Okay, I’m off to finish getting ready for my trip. My flight leaves at the ungodly hour of 5:55am, so I plan to get to bed early so that I can endear myself to the neighbors by blow-drying my hair at 4 in the morning.

I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to post while on vacation, but rest assured that I’ll be eating lots of delicious food.

Happy new year!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2008

We haven’t prepared a meal at home in almost a week, so a huge undertaking like Thanksgiving dinner was fraught with tension. I actually got started cooking about four hours later than planned due to a bout of crippling mouse-related anxiety on my part that ended with Matt disinfecting our counters for the tenth time. I am thankful for Matt.

So, after all of that, we ended up eating Thanksgiving “lunch” at 4:45, making it more of a linner. But it was really good, so I think it was worth the wait. I was going to take a picture of our lovely Thanksgiving table, but, sadly, we don’t have room for a table under normal circumstances, and in all of the frantic sanitizing, I forgot to go to the storage unit to get it for today. So what I’ll do is share pictures of the different things on my Thanksgiving plate. Which I ate on a tray. Which is almost a table.

Sorry there’s no “all together now” picture, but the ones I tried to take looked bad, so I stuck with sharing each component. So you’re seeing (in no particular order) green beans, which I sauteed with some olive oil and thyme; good organic stuffing from a bag, selected and prepared by Matt; a variation on Heidi Swanson’s kale and olive oil mashed potatoes (I couldn’t get any kale so I subbed in spinach); and a slice of really simple roasted turkey breast, and pie. Oh, and Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without beer. We’ve been going to this liquor store that lets you make your own six pack, so we’ve been sampling the seasonals. This was a particularly good one. I think I’ll be enjoying a pumpkin one later, with my pumpkin pie:


My first homemade pie, I’m pretty sure. I used a version of this recipe, which was modified from a recipe I found in my favorite cooking mag, Clean Eating. It looked a little thin at first, so I was nervous, but it seems to have set up nicely. I’ll let you know.

So there you have it: my very first attempt at preparing Thanksgiving. I had every intention of buying a cake or cupcakes (baby steps with the baking – I’ll bake a cake next time) to celebrate something else today, but things got in the way, so I’ll let the pie also serve as my celebratory dessert for that. After consulting my mom a few weeks ago, I confirmed that today, November 27, 2008, marks ten years since I was diagnosed with RA. My tenth arthritiversary, if you will. Having it fall on Thanksgiving has made me think a lot about having a chronic illness, and how, even as frustrating as it is, I can still be thankful that I have been able to manage it relatively well for the past few years. And if I could go back and talk to my tired, pain-ridden, sad, and overwhelmed 15-year old self in 1998, I would tell her to never give up; that it would be okay, and even better than okay. And knowing how far I’ve come since then is definitely something to be thankful for.

Other things to be thankful for? There are more than I can list, but here are a few: my awesome, amazing, and inexplicably understanding husband, who barely blinks when I ask him to bleach the kitchen again to kill mouse germs that probably don’t even exist; my family, old and new, for whom I am especially thankful now that I am so far away; my friends, all of them, everywhere; the fact that there are a handful of people who actually read this blog; going home in a month to see my family; college basketball; really good books; all five seasons of The Wire; the first three Die Hard movies, which I’ll watch this weekend to make me feel all Christmasy; seasonal beer; fair trade coffee; living somewhere with lots of local produce;
and the new mittens I got yesterday.

So now, I’m off to be thankful. And eat pie.

Edited to add!

The pie was awesome. That lemon peel really gives it something. The best part is the ginger snap crust – thanks to Matt for pounding a bag of ginger snaps with a hammer to make it all possible. I know what I’m having for breakfast.

Packet up

October 18, 2008

We love things cooked in packets here in the See Food household. Fish cooked in packets, sweet potatoes cooked in packets, chicken cooked in packets. If you could bake cakes in packets, I’d do that, too. But you can’t, and that’s why I don’t bake cakes.

Anyway, tonight we had chicken packets with whole wheat couscous and green beans from the farmer’s market.

For these particular chicken packets, I used a recipe I’ve tried a few times before – they have salt, black pepper, garlic, crushed red pepper, and orange slices.

I slept for 11 hours last night and I’m still feeling wrecked. Last week was pretty stressful, and next week is looking a little intense, too. So, I think I’ll take it easy tonight, especially since I did approximately zero things today, which means I’ll have to do lots of things tomorrow.

I really wish I hadn’t started talking about cake, because now I want some. And I don’t have any. I might be able to dig up some decaf creme brulee coffee, and if I close my eyes, maybe I can pretend it’s the real thing.

Get ‘er done

July 23, 2008

I was a busy little bee today. I basically didn’t have time to be in a mood again, so at least there’s that, but I was slammed at work. This doesn’t happen that much in the summer, because my teaching load is lighter and I’m usually working on projects with more fluid deadlines, but today was back to back to back. To back. And back again. And I’m still not done – I have a few more things to wrap up at home tonight. The good news is that it’s Wednesday, which means two more days and then it’s smooth sailing into a weekend of… cleaning.

Anyway, on to the food. I was all excited to make this saffron lemon chicken salad thing from Ellie Krieger’s cookbook, and then I went to the store to buy saffron and I definitely came home without it. It was in the spice area with all the other normal spices, but instead of being, you know, 4.99 or whatever, it was 19.99. And there were about 6 strands of saffron in there. What kind of jackass business is that? Those strands of saffron probably cost more than my outfit that day. So what we had was lemon chicken salad. Sans saffron.

That chicken salad was awesome. I chose it specifically because I had a pound of green beans from the farmer’s market that needed to be used, and this recipe called for a pound of green beans. Lucky me. I was also intrigued because it involved cooking a lemon, scooping out the the insides and chopping up the peel for the salad. Zesting would’ve been easier, but this had really good flavor. So it was green beans, marinated grilled chicken breast, lemon peel, and a nice lemon-honey vinaigrette. With some bulgur on the side. Oh, bulgur. How I’ve missed you.

Okay, time to work and get myself psyched for a 5:30am gym trip.