Sunday, August 3, 2008

a little bit of random

Well... I didn't really cook anything yesterday because... I kinda got drunk again. So my dinner ended up being a roll of crackers with hummus. That's not really picture worthy. Therefore, I'm going to take this opportunity to post some pictures (and maybe recipes if I'm up for it) of past dinners I've taken photos of that seem pretty good. Here goes!

Spinach Curry with Veggies and Cashews

This one's pretty self explanatory. Michael wanted some curried spinach. I wanted veggies, and cashews for some protein. I just popped some rice into my rice cooker (love this), then defrosted a couple packages of frozen chopped spinach. If I remember correctly, the veggies are onions, garlic, broccoli, carrots, and peas. So I just sauteed the onions, garlic, and carrots in a little EVOO, then added the spinach (after squeezing out the water). At this point, I did my spicing. Garam masala, curry powder, coriander, turmeric, cayenne... In whatever quantities you like. I didn't realize garam masala had a bunch of cinnamon and cloves in it, so ours was a little...clovey tasting. Oh well. I just added a bunch of curry powder to make up for it. Then I dumped in maybe 3/4 cup of plain soy yogurt, plus some soymilk. Stir it all up, put your broccoli and peas on top to steam, then cover and simmer on low for about 15 minutes. Yum.


This is some tabouli I made last weekend. Michael's mother came to visit the night after I made it and had some. She liked it so much that apparently I'm making some for his sister's wedding next month! Cool. It's also incredibly easy. Here, I'll even do it up recipe style for you:

1 cup dry bulgher wheat, cooked according to package instructions
2 big tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 large cucumber, seeded and diced
2-3 scallions, sliced thinly
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 bunch of parsley, chopped finely
1 bunch of mint, chopped finely (about 1/4 cup - 1/3 cup of each of these)
2-3 Tbs dill, chopped finely (optional, but it's good, believe me)
2-3 Tbs olive oil (I just kind of poured some in...this is an estimation)
About 3 Tbs lemon juice, or 2 lemons, juiced
Salt & pepper to taste

While the bulgher is cooking, chop everything up and put it in a med-large bowl. It's really important that you seed the tomatoes and cucumbers, so that things don't get too wet in the salad. Soggy is bad. But seeding is actually kind of fun, once you get the hang of it. Just prepare to get your hands dirty, is all. Also, it's very important that the herbs you use are FRESH. Anyway, after the bulgher is done, put it on top of the veggies, add your olive oil and lemon juice, and give it a good stir. Salt and pepper to taste here. It's really good right at this moment, but try to refrain from eating it all because if you cover and refrigerate for a few hours (2-3), then the flavors marry and it's heavenly. Eat with fresh tortillas, or just by itself. Most delicious.

Burritos (enchiladas?) 3 Ways

So I know everyone knows about burritos (but I baked them, so are they enchiladas?) But I'm proud of these. Because I made them from scratch (literally) when we had nothing to eat in the house before a payday. There are 3 fillings, spinach/garlic, spiced potatoes, and taco seasoned kidney beans. Then I made a nooch (nutritional yeast) sauce, texmex style with lots of cumin and some diced tomatoes mixed in. But the best part... is that I made my OWN TORTILLAS! This was a first. Well actually, we tried to make our own tortillas the day of the tabouli, but they turned out crappy because they were too salty, too oily, and too thick. But these were awesome. Ridiculously easy recipe to follow in a minute.

bean and spinach fillings

potato filling, and a misshapen tortilla

homemade whole wheat tortillas

So here's how you make tortillas:

Dump a bunch of flour in a big bowl (I used whole wheat, but you can use regular, corn, or whatever). Try to imagine how much you need, because I didn't measure. It was maybe 3 cups for 6 tortillas.

Add some salt. Not too much! Just a sprinkle.

Drizzle with oil (seriously small drizzle).

Then mix in water in small amounts until you have a flexible, but not sticky, dough. If it becomes sticky, just mix in some extra flour until it's not anymore. Use your hands to mix. It's strangely satisfying.

Break off little chunks of dough and flatten them out. How you do this is up to you, but I smooshed them and then rolled them out into an impossible thin circle (you will want to flour your rolling surface or they'll stick and make you sad). Like you really want them thinner than you think is necessary.

Then drizzle a little oil on the surface facing up and rub it in. Have your NONSTICK or cast iron skillet hot, but not on high heat. More like medium. Plop that baby facedown (oil side down) onto the skillet. Keep an eye on it, and when it starts to poof up with air bubbles, you'll want to flip it (this 30 seconds to a minute, because they are super thin). If you see nice little brown spots (like tortillas have), you've done good. Cook it on the other side until more spots appear, or it moves around easily in the pan. Repeat until you're out of dough.

Yeah, it takes a minute. But it's so worth it. By the way, I learned how to do this by watching Victory Garden on PBS. Watch PBS, you might learn something!

So anyway, then i just wrapped my fillings up in the tortillas, put them in a casserole dish, poured on the nooch sauce, and baked them at 350 for about 20 minutes, until the sauce was brownish and bubbly. Top with lettuce and salsa (and guacomole, if you've got some avocados), and enjoy!

Spicy Ginger-Coconut Rice

The only things I did differently were that I subbed some of the onion with leeks (LOVE LEEKS), only added 1 red pepper, and instead of frying the tofu, I marinated it in about a cup of coconut milk w/some ginger. It was insanely good.

Vcon Chickpea Cutlets w/Baked Herbed Rice and Maple Dijon Brussels Sprouts

My cutlets didn't turn out very pretty... But I think maybe we didn't add enough gluten. Or maybe smooshed the chickpeas into a mush. Not sure, but worth trying again, because the flavor was yummy. The brussels sprouts were really good, except for one thing. I didn't have the recipe on hand and just kind of...remembered seeing it, so decided to experiment. I ended up putting some balsamic vinegar in them. DON'T DO THAT! They would have been perfect, besides. The baked herbed rice was fricking delicious. I used wild rice instead of brown and just chopped up half a regular onion (which I sauteed instead of baking it...that seemed unnecessary). Seriously try this. It was amazing. Oh, that sauce up there is a creation of Michael's that is heartstoppingly good. He just makes a roux (rue? I can't spell it right now) from margarine and flour (equal amounts of each), then adds soymilk and whatever spices he feels like. I think this one had scallions and parsley and salt. That's all. But it's so thick and ...gravy-like that....mmm....well, it's just sexy.

Mac n Cheese that ended up eerily like hamburger helper

The nooch sauce that I am in love with comes from this recipe. It's so versatile that you can do ANYthing with it. I browned some Morningstar Meal Starter Crumblers with a few scallions, which I added to the pasta (some whole wheat squiggly stuff). Then I poured on the sauce and mixed in a can of fire roasted tomatoes. Bake it for awhile (however long the recipe says). Then try not to have a seizure over how awesome it is.


This paella was based off of many recipes. I have to say... It didn't knock my socks off. However, Michael was in love with it. I don't think I like saffron, and since it's unnaturally expensive, I most likely won't be buying more any time soon. I got a vial of it with like half a teaspoon of threads and it was $5. What! Anyway, this has a bunch of crap in it, and I think if I had left out the TVP chunks (protein?) it would have been fine. Arborio rice is rad. Creamy. Yessss.... Anyway, find a paella recipe and try it out, if you're interested. There's like a thousand of them online. Just not here right now.

peachy yummy salad

Last but not least, a salad I made awhile back that DID knock my socks off. I still can't find one of them. Anyway, this is chunks of peaches, scallions, bacos, chopped almonds, and tomatoes on lettuce (out of my mom's garden) with a poppyseed dressing. It would have been even better with avocado (isn't everything?). Lately, Michael and I have been intrigued by the idea of lettuce-less salads. This isn't one of them, but it was inspired by one, with very little lettuc and big chunks of stuffs. I think we did one with peaches, tomatoes, cucumbers, and scallions the day before this. Anyway, go add some peaches to your salad. And find a sweet poppyseed dressing. I've only found one I've liked. I think it's Bryanna brand? I dunno, it's in the fridge and I'm not right now, so it will remain a mystery.

Well. That's it. For now. It's a pretty day outside and I'm sitting on the couch. Travesty! So off I go.


jessy said...

wow! look at all the yummies you've created! that's a bounty of gloriousness, fo 'sho! hooooooray for making your own tortillas! dan & i make our own, too (when we're not being lazy) - i just love 'em so much more than the store bought ones. i also love that they're so freak'n easy to make, too! w00t!

i've never made nor had paella before. i think you've inspired me to try one sometime soon. and that peachy salad looks rock'n. mmmmmmm! so does the curry! damn - all your foods are making me huuuuuungry!

allularpunk said...

haha... that's my goal! i usually sit around in the afternoon at work and read other people's food blogs and it makes me so so hungry.

try the paella, but do not for any reason use TVP in it. it doesn't work.