Is this thing on?

February 19, 2010

Uhhhhh. Okay, I have a prepared statement about my absence that includes overwrought phrasing like “settling into the rhythms of my new life” and has lots of excuses about my health and my fatigue and why I basically stopped cooking. But it boils down to: “we moved and I am lazy.”

I’ve been cooking off and on, really simple things fit for our wee new kitchen.

like this sweet and sour red chard with soba

It was my first attempt at sweet and sour sauce, and it was way more sweet than sour, but it tasted great and held me over for about 2.5 seconds before I cracked into a family sized bag of Kettle Chips.

and this bowl of mush

Which is actually curried red lentils with spinach. The timing of this particular meal is important, as I made it soon after passing out over the credit card bill. So this $1.50 dish was actually priceless – a triumph of willpower when it would have been so easy to call out for another eggplant sub.

And with that, I have shared all of the meals I’ve cooked since early January. The shame! I fully expect someone to come any day now to take my apron, my food processor, my brand new bright green spatula, and my home cook’s badge.

Until next month…


Try, try again.

June 12, 2009

We caved. Again. We went out to eat last night, too. June is really sticking it to us.

I worked from home this afternoon, which has many advantages, one of which is that I had time to do some really quick prep work for dinner on my lunch break. Another bonus? No 1/8 mile round trip to the bathroom. That can really start to wear on you if, like me, you drink approximately a gallon of water every hour or two. At home, I think I’d have to take a few laps around the outside of the house to get in 1/8 mile. And that would require getting off the couch.

Anyway, during lunch, I mixed up a quick marinade (1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, a little olive oil, garlic) for some sliced portobello mushrooms and put them in the refrigerator for a few hours. When it was time for dinner, I just seared them in a hot pan with a little more olive oil, and served them with quinoa and some double garlic swiss chard. Now I have room for more large-stemmed green vegetables, which is great because I saw some serious looking bok choy at the farmer’s market last Saturday, and I fully intend to get in on that action tomorrow.

this looks disturbingly like steak to me

this looks disturbingly like steak to me

the breakdown

.37 lbs portobello mushrooms @ $4.99/lb = $1.85
2/3 bunch swiss chard = $1.34
3/4 cup quinoa @ $4.43/lb = $1.66
and some pantry staples (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic)

grand total = $4.85

At 3 servings, this comes out at $1.62. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Do you ragout?

January 19, 2009

And the hit titles just keep on coming.

Can you believe I’m posting two days in a row? I doubt it will become a habit again, as 2009 is shaping up to be a fairly busy year, what with my new productivity systemâ„¢ (read: a notebook I use for my to do lists at work that involves a complicated system of two different colors of ink) and my lofty goal to read 100 books in 2009. Obviously my work life has little to do with this blog, but the reading thing does get in the way. If you’ve ever worked, lived, or spent any significant amount of time with me, you know that I’m highly goal-oriented, so setting a number on my reading goal for the year is kind of a blessing and a curse. In order to get on track for the year, I’ve been reading for pleasure at a pace unprecedented in my adult life. At any rate, blogging keeps getting inadvertently moved to the back burner (get it?? Back burner! Because this is a cooking blog!). Personal enrichment comes at such a high cost.

Okay, I know, this is about food. But, actually, I’m reading a book about food right now, so… it’s all kind of related.

Today was kind of mellow, just physical therapy and reading and some yoga, so I went for one of the more complicated dinners on our meal plan for the week.

red chard, potato, and white bean ragout

red chard, potato, and white bean ragout

The recipe that inspired it can be found here. My modifications included: using canned cannellini beans instead of dried, using dried thyme instead of fresh, using vegetable broth as the liquid base, and leaving out the step where you saute the chopped chard stems (“That does not sound good.” -Matt). This was a winner, and the next time I have two hours to prepare a meal, I’ll be making it again. It’s actually a very simple dish, but anything with chard takes a good bit of prep time for me.

I think you could make other substitutions in this dish, like subbing in another hearty green (kale, even collard greens). I think spinach would be too flimsy all around, but it might work if you just threw it in for a few minutes instead of the 15 they call for. I was actually planning to do kale, but our supermarket miraculously had really pretty bunches of organic red chard, so it worked out perfectly.

And now I’m off to get some sleep so that I can return to work (and my system) feeling refreshed. Also on tomorrow’s agenda: my first 5:30 gym appearance in… probably months. We’ll see how that works out.

Predictable is my middle name.

September 2, 2008

No, I’m kidding. That would mean three middle names and I’m barely managing with two.

I’ve made this a few times before, but it’s fast and takes advantage of local produce, and I like it. So here we have pasta with white beans and chard.

We’re stretching our dollars as we save for our honeymoon, so I’ve planned several nights of meatless meals this week. Meat, if you don’t know, costs a lot more than beans or tofu.

My gym was doing some kind of fancy “come talk to personal trainers and try out new equipment” night tonight, which really interfered with my plans to actually go and exercise. Instead, I ate a cookie.

Now, it’s time for some thank you cards and trying to wait to watch 90210 until tomorrow.

Sunday. Again.

July 20, 2008

I was more or less productive today, so I only have 21 things left on my list. Not bad!

In other good news, it was a lovely day, with temperatures ranging from ten to twenty zillion degrees. Approximately.

Okay, not really, but when I drove back from the gym at 7:00pm, I passed one bank sign that said it was 100, and one that said it was 106. Mmm. Steamy. I thought I was hallucinating when I passed the first one, as I had just spent 90 minutes in a big gym with an air conditioner malfunction, doing yoga with four other clearly deranged women. I just kept telling myself that people pay big money to do yoga in 108 degree rooms, so really, I was getting a great deal. This powered me through the eight times I almost passed out.

So, I came home and made a tasty dinner to lift my spirits and get my energy back. I got a huge bunch of chard at the farmers market yesterday, and I was planning to make this recipe again, but I decided to get fancy and do my own variation.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients (measures are approximate):

  • humongous bunch of swiss chard
  • garlic
  • 10 ounces whole wheat pasta (I used linguine)
  • 2 cups (or 1 can) of cannellini beans (rinsed well if canned)
  • 1 can of stewed Italian style tomatoes
  • 1 cup of tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes, but you could use whatever), roasted
  • 1/4 cup of white wine (dry works best)
  • 1/8 cup of chicken or veggie broth
  • 1/8 cup of water
  • Tsp olive oil

How to cook them:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-low. Add chard, white wine, garlic and cover. Let chard wilt, about three or four minutes. Stir a few times.
  3. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, water, and more garlic to taste. Cook through, about six minutes.
  4. Stir into pasta, heating over low heat for a few minutes until sauce thickens.

It makes about six servings. Plenty for dinner and leftovers for Matt’s lunches.

I added some parmesan to mine. And I had a salad, too. Baby spinach, roasted red pepper vinaigrette, and parmesan. Hey, it was out.

While cooking, I enjoyed my new favorite beer, Old Cherry from New Belgium Brewing Company. Brewed with the juice of real cherries. Cherries and beer? How could it go wrong?

Okay, an hour before bed. Let’s see if I can knock anything else off my list.

Oh! I almost forgot. In the midst of my productivity, I took a break and actually wrote things about me on my About Me page. It’s like See Food: The E! True Hollywood Story.

I am losing my mind.

June 25, 2008

In the five hours between now and bedtime, I need to: go to the gym and do cardio AND weights, hit the ATM, go to the drugstore to get a travel bottle of contact solution, sort through the piles of clothing I’ve been avoiding for weeks, decide which ones I’m wearing for my conference, iron them, try them on to make sure they look okay, iron them again because they’ll be wrinkled, decide whether or not I’ll feel comfortable taking a bathing suit, pack everything, run around frantically to gather handouts for my presentation, and also eat some cake.

And did I mention that I woke up at 2 this morning? This is why I hate to travel.

I’m blogging to keep from crying.

On the bright side, Matt made a delicious dinner for me so that I would have one less thing to worry about. It’s pasta with white beans and chard, from a book called Vegan Express. I added my signature vegan ingredient – cheese:

That’s one of our marriage bowls. And a plastic fork because the real ones are all dirty. Oops.

This was a really good dinner. Thanks, Matt!

I’m not taking the camera to Anaheim because 1) I’d probably lose it and 2) it’s not actually mine. Also, I don’t know that I’ll be eating anything interesting because I understand that food is so expensive there that you really can’t. So I’m packing a lot of Larabars, basically. And some Kashi bars thrown in for good measure. And instant oatmeal. So, I may actually come back part grain.

Sadly, I will have to celebrate my 25th birthday at the conference. Oh well, at least I’ll get to spend it with friends I don’t usually see. I’m sure they’ll be ready to throw down. You know how librarians are.

Or maybe you don’t. But rest assured, they really do like to throw down.