Easter soup

April 12, 2009

Um. So. Yeah. Let’s just call last week my spring break from blogging. Because, honestly, I can’t remember if I cooked anything. There was the whole Carolina winning the national championship thing, and that called for pizza, and then I had a really stressful week, which triggered my fatigue, which called for going out to eat a few times, and then we had to do laundry, and we went to see Adventureland, and then yesterday was Saturday and so I obviously had to lie around and read and eat pizza.

Enough excuses. The good news is that I actually cooked tonight, and I even made up the recipe.

curried vegetable and lentil soup

curried vegetable and lentil soup

I came up with this in a state of semi-consciousness as I was waking up from a nap. I had a ton of vegetables to use up, and some curry paste in the cupboard, so I came up with this.

Indgredients:

  • Glug of olive or other vegetable oi
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 T mild curry paste
  • 2 1/2 cups water, separated
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 head worth of cauliflower florets (thumbnail-sized)
  • 1 cup frozen green beans
  • 4 oz frozen cut spinach

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Toss in onion and carrot. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add 1 1/2 T mild curry paste (I used Patak’s) and 2 cups of water, broth, and can of tomatoes. Heat through, about 2 minutes
  4. Rinse lentils and add to the pot. Crank up the heat to medium-high until the whole thing comes to a low boil. Cover and reduce heat to a hard simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Uncover and add 1/2 cup water, green beans, and spinach. Let the pot get back to a simmer and then stir in cauliflower. Cover and cook over medium-low for about 10 minutes.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more curry paste if needed.

I think it probably made 6 or 7 small bowls worth of soup. I had 2. They were delicious.

I also found this picture in the camera, proving that I did cook at one point last week.

barley salad with roasted cauliflower and asparagus

barley salad with roasted cauliflower and asparagus

I threw this together after the gym on Friday night. I just roasted the veggies at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, shaking once. While the veggies were roasting, I cooked some quick barley, and then when everything was done, I made a red wine vinaigrette, and then tossed everything together. I liked it, but I guess it was a little bland for Matt’s taste. I think what he said was, “Maybe there’s so much flavor, that my brain is registering it as no flavor.” Shaky logic, there.

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Bulgurrito bol

February 26, 2009

You knew it was coming.

I don’t eat at Chipotle anymore because I once got violently ill after eating there and I can never go back. Not a huge loss for me, as I rarely ate there, but I did enjoy a burrio bol every now and again.

I accidentally worked later than I meant to, so it was a perfect night for something fast. Matt requested bulgurritos and dinner was decided. But on the way home, I was thinking about the cake I had as an afternoon snack and realized it might be a good night to lighten things up and get a few extra servings of veggies in, so I decided to deconstruct my bulgurrito and have the filling over some spring mix that was on its last legs. Good call, really, because I could justify eating more cheese this way.

allow me to introduce... the bulgurrito bol

allow me to introduce... the bulgurrito bol

You can’t really see the filling, but it was super simple: I sauteed about 2 cups of broccoli florets until they brightened up a little bit, then added 2 cups of cooked bulgur, a little less than a cup of frozen corn, a can of “chili beans” (pinto beans plus stuff) with the liquid drained, and cooked over medium until heated through. Then I served it over some spring mix and dumped some cheese on top. Done in fifteen minutes.

And now I’m just trying to motivate myself to get up off the couch to pack my lunch for tomorrow but I’m just so tired and disappointed with the results of Top Chef, which I just watched. So I really don’t see that happening.


Black and white and red all over

February 19, 2009

Did you miss me?

I know you did, because I got so many comments about my absence.

OH WAIT. No I didn’t.

But that’s okay, I had a busy week, too.

This morning was cold, the coldest it’s been in a few weeks, and I felt like my feet were actually frozen by the time I made it from my car to work, so I started thinking about chili at about 8:25am. Which is early even for me.

Also, according to my very careful records (this blog), we haven’t had chili since December 21, and that’s kind of remarkable in this household.

triple bean and toasted barley chili

triple bean and toasted barley chili

Say that three times fast.

I put this together on the fly, but I think it went something like this:

  1. Heat ~1t olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add 1/2 cup quick cooking barley and toast, stirring frequently, for two minutes.
  3. Add 1 diced green pepper and 1 diced onion, along with cumin, chili powder, and cayenne to taste. I actually had a cumin accident at this point and I’m sure there’s at least 1/4 cup in this dish. Cook, stirring often, until peppers and onions begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and bring to a fairly serious boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes. The barley should be tender and the whole thing should look really thick. Or “dank,” as Matt would say.
  5. Add 2 more cups of broth, 1 cup of water, more spices, and 1 can of each of the following beans: dark red kidney, black, and garbanzo. Or any firm beans. Whatever.
  6. Stir and bring back to a quick boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  7. Uncover and continue to simmer until it thickens up a bit.

This makes at least 5 or 6 meals, and it tasted great. I didn’t use any tomatoes, so it had more of a white chili feel.

Many days ago, we also had this pizza, which is notable because of Matt’s inspired addition:

how do you like them apples?

how do you like them apples?

That’s right, he chopped up some gala apples to put on it, along with the mushrooms, red peppers, and broccoli that I selected (most of the broccoli fell off, sadly). I was skeptical at first, but I have to admit that he was right: the apples were awesome.

I’m cooking at least our next three dinners, so I should be back soon. I’m committing in this public forum, so I kind of have to, right?


Bulgurritos are back

December 2, 2008

I think we may have used the last of the turkey in tonight’s turkey bulgurritos. I also think that I perfected my bulgurrito recipe, so it was kind of a win win situation

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My bulgurrito, pre-wrap

This was an awesome 15 minute meal, which I needed because I am so tired these days. In case you can’t see what’s in there, I’ll break it down for you: spinach, turkey bulgurrito filling (see below), cheese, salsa.

To make the filling:

  1. Bring 1 part bulgur and 2 parts water or broth to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of frozen corn, cumin, and about 2 tbsp lime juice. Continue to simmer for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add 1 can of drained, rinsed beans. I always use black beans because I spent about 22 years believing I hated them and then I realized I was wrong. So now I try to make up for it by eating them several times a week.
  4. Add turkey. Or chicken. Or nothing. This step is optional.
  5. Mix it all up and cook over low until heated through. Add more cumin to taste. It should look like this:
mmmm.

mmmm.

So there you go. My secret bulgurrito recipe. It feels so good to pass it on

While I’m glad that we have finally finished the turkey, potatoes, and pie, it’s sad to say my final goodbyes to T-Day 2k8. It makes me want to plan some kind of Christmas meal that will also last for days and days. Because we’ve really saved some money by not having to grocery shop this week.

Which reminds me: we are not grocery shopping this week. Putting all of our food in mouse-proof boxes has made me realize that we have a ton of things we need to use up before we have room for more. Between that and the Thanksgiving cornucopia and the fact that we have a couple of meals out planned, we decided to skip a week of grocery shopping. Which has already failed slightly, because I had to have Matt buy me some tortillas for my lunches. So let’s say we decided to spend less than ten dollars on groceries this week. Let’s see how that goes.


More leftovers

November 30, 2008

When I was in grad school, my friend Dayna introduced me to white chili. Before she shared this wisdom with me, I believed that all chili was based on the recipe I had used for years: ground turkey or Morningstar veggie crumbles, 2 cans of red kidney beans, 1 can of tomato sauce, 2 cups of water, and a big dash of chili powder. She opened my eyes to a whole new world of chili. And I’m sure Matt’s grateful that she did, because I think he was getting tired of eating my “traditional” chili all winter long.

Since we literally have pounds and pounds of turkey breast from our big T-Day meal, I adapted Dayna’s excellent chili recipe and came up with this:

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Another easy one:

  1. Heat a diced onion, some minced garlic, and a green pepper in a little olive oil over medium. We also have some celery and carrots on their way out, so Matt had the good idea to toss those in as well. He’s smart.
  2. After five or so minutes, add 4 cups of broth and 1 cup of water (you can use less than this, just eyeball it. We needed a lot to handle all of those veggies). Then, add diced turkey/chicken/neither if you’re a vegetarian, about 1/2 cup of corn, and a can of white beans (drained and rinsed). If you’re going meatless, I’d add another can of beans.
  3. Add cumin to taste. I literally dump it in.
  4. Stir, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Live on it for days and days.

The only good thing that I can identify about this whole mouse situation is that our kitchen is probably the cleanest it has ever been, even before we moved in. We’re also being incredibly vigilant about washing dishes immediately and putting them away. I have more prep space than I’ve had in months.

Can you see how I am working on a positive outlook?

I’m not sure if you know this, but tomorrow is December 1. I know, I was surprised, too. It’s been a little disorienting spending 99% of the last four days in our apartment. But December 1 means three and a half weeks until vacation! I’m sure my family is getting all jazzed for my visit as I type this.

Okay, time to celebrate the end of November with – you guessed it – pie.


Thanksgiving soup

November 29, 2008

The best part about Thanksgiving is the leftovers. Wait, the best part is the pie. The second best part is the leftovers.

Since we managed to keep it fairly light on T-Day, we have a ton of food left. I’ve got plans for several different leftover experiments in the next few days, but yesterday was gray and gross and all I wanted was soup. So we threw together a minestrone and managed to use up some leftovers while we were at it.

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It was really easy. Here’s the recipe:

  1. Heat a small diced onion and two peeled, chopped carrots in some olive oil over medium heat. I used a big soup pot and that was a good call because the volume ended up getting a little out of hand.
  2. After 5 minutes or so, add whatever other veggies you feel like including. We used: 5 chopped celery stalks, leftover green beans, a small chopped zucchini, a can of white beans, drained and rinsed. Since we had this as a main course, the beans were pretty much a requirement.
  3. Heat everything through for about 2-3 minutes. Add a can of diced tomatoes with their juices (or fresh, but we didn’t have that on hand), 5 cups of broth/water (or a combo), and some salt and pepper. We didn’t add anything else for flavor, because the green beans were sauteed with thyme.
  4. Bring it all to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes, until all veggies are soft.
  5. Add maybe 1/3 of a cup of some kind of small pasta. We used ancini de pepe, which takes 4-6 minutes to cook and is very cute. You could also use orzo, broken pieces of spaghetti, whatever. Bring the heat back up when you add your pasta, and then cook for the amount of time recommended on the pasta package.
  6. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Parm.
  7. Get out a really gigantic glass container for your insane leftovers.

It was really good. I just had more for lunch. But now we have leftovers leftovers. I don’t think it’s supposed to work that way. But hey, it’s cold and rainy and there’s a chance of snow, so we might be living on minestrone all weekend.

Now I’m going to take one for the team and eat more pie. Next time I need to plan better so that I can give some away. Especially now that I know it’s not embarrassing.

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Soup time

November 18, 2008

I’ve got some kind of sickness of an unidentifiable nature, and it’s been really dragging me down for the past two days. I worked from home for part of the day yesterday to keep my germs sequestered, but today I mostly had muscle aches and some wheezing, so I made it in to work and powered through most of my day. Because I am a trooper, people.

We had corn chowder last night, because it sounded like the best option when my throat was still hurting. I used my own recipe, although clearly no one reads these things because I didn’t get any comments when I made it the first time about how I forgot to mention one important ingredient in my corn chowder: corn. So go ahead and mentally add that to the recipe somewhere. It really doesn’t matter where. Near the beginning would be my recommendation.

Tonight was a perfect chili night, as it was fairly cold today and I am still sort of sickly. I have Arielle to thank for tonight’s dinner, because I never would have thought of adding refried beans to chili but I was intrigued by her recipe and had to try it. I may never go back.

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I know that it kind of looks like every other bean-based soup/chili I’ve ever made, but it was so much better. Don’t let all the cheese fool you.

I made chili like I usually do, but added refried beans. Here’s the deal:

  1. Saute a diced green pepper and a small diced white onion in a little olive oil over medium with 2 cloves of garlic (minced) for about 5 minutes
  2. Add about 1 cup of your favorite broth, cook for about 3 minutes
  3. Add two cans of whatever kind of beans you want, but when I do a red chili like this, I usually use firmer beans like kidney and black beans, which I used tonight
  4. Add two cans of no-salt added diced tomatoes and stir
  5. Add a can of refried beans and stir slowly until it’s smooth
  6. Add a bunch of cumin and chili powder to taste
  7. Add more broth if desired
  8. Simmer for about 15 minutes

This makes a ton of chili, which is good, because we need a quick dinner to reheat before the basketball game tomorrow night.

Obviously I had some cheese on mine. Ellie Krieger is always saying that, when it comes to cheese, a little goes a long way. I always say that, when it comes to cheese, a lot also goes a long way. We also had rolls, the only ones Matt could find in the bakery section without HFCS.

Okay, Carolina is about to be playing basketball on my television, so I need to go. I leave you with the encouraging messages that greeted me when I got back from the 5k (click for more awesome detail):

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