Tuesday, November 22, 2011

sweet potato hash


Belated post about my fancy shmancy breakfast for dinner last week. It's a sweet potato hash with bacon and onions (I've been eating more bacon this semester than I have in possibly my entire life combined...), couscous fritters, and a fried egg. I started out thinking this was going to be a legitimate, healthy dinner, but as you can see, I gave up on that pretty quickly...

The sweet potato hash was d-e-l-i-s-h. I peeled and chopped up a sweet potato* and tossed it in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Popped it in a roughly 375 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile I prepped and cooked the bacon and onion on the stove and added in the sweet potatoes when they were ready. Yummo.

I can't wait for Thanksgiving when I can enter into sweet potato coma.

*Actually, according to the sign at Wegmans, these are yams. I don't fully know what the difference is, but I do know that "sweet potato" sounds a lot nicer than "yam" so I will continue to call these tubers by the incorrect name.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

chickpea stew

Every so often I have days where there's nothing I want more than a big bowl of hearty veggie stew and some nice crusty bread. My sister and I "developed" this recipe last winter. It's incredibly easy to adapt, which is one reason why I really like it. You can substitute ingredients, add more, take some out. Not a fussy dish at all and so delicious and satisfying.

Chickpea Stew

1 can chickpeas or lentils
2-3 medium potatoes - you can use pretty much anything, including sweet potatoes, except maybe baby or fingerlings which are more waxy and less creamy when cooked
Stewed or flash-steamed tomatoes (canned is okay)
Winter vegetables (squash, zucchini, carrots...)
1 large onion (yellow or red will work)
Several garlic cloves
Chicken broth
Parsley or cilantro
Cumin, paprika, fennel seeds (optional), cinnamon stick (optional)
Salt, pepper

Wash and chop all veggies into similar sized chunks. Slice garlic thinly.
Drain and rinse chickpeas.
Heat a pot over medium-high, add olive oil.
Add onions and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add potatoes. Cook for another 5-7 minutes.
Add spices. Cook until they become fragrant.
Add tinned tomahtoes, stir for a minute, then add winter veg and chickpeas.
Add chicken broth; or if you don't have broth, you can use water.
Simmer until potatoes are done, and then you can mash up everything with a fork.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil, plain yogurt, sour cream, Parmesan cheese...
Serve with bread, rice, pasta, couscous, etc.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

pumpkin bread pudding


While surfing this great food blog a few weeks ago, I encountered the masterpiece that is pumpkin bread pudding. Naturally, I forwarded the link immediately to my friend Jo (with whom I also made the butterbeer, carved the pumpkins, and attempted to make ghost cake pops which sort of failed and floundered into sad-looking cake "truffles").

Over the weekend we decided to take on this bread pudding recipe with some minor adjustments. Most notably, we left out the ginger, cloves, and bourbon - only because none of these were on hand at the time. We also used plain white sandwich bread this time around, though a much better option would have been challah. The bread pudding was still delicious, but there are a lot of small ways you could make it even more decadent and special.

Next time you go to a potluck, sign up for dessert and bring this dish. I mean it. Everyone will gush over your incredible cooking skills (while secretly thanking God that it's not another plate of brownies), and you can sit back and twiddle your internal mustache and marvel at how smooth you are.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1-1/2 cups milk (not sure what kind... it was swiped from the dining halls)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar (could easily reduce to 1/3 cup)
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
5 cups bread, cut into 1-inch chunks
3/4 stick unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put the butter in a baking dish and place into oven to melt.
Whisk together milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, eggs, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.
Once butter is melted, remove from oven and toss with bread.
Pour custard mixture over bread, making sure everything is coated well.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until set.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

sweet potato lentil stew

As Ithaca winter approaches and the sky starts getting dark at 5pm, I find that all I really want to do is sleep and eat stew and compliment people on the fit of their pants and listen to songs like Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars on repeat. In fact, that is exactly what I've been doing today. (The perfect black pants were from Paris. Of course.)

I made this sweet potato lentil stew for dinner tonight, loosely basing it off my favorite chickpea stew recipe, which I will post here at some point in the next few days.

I'm too lazy to do a proper recipe right now - plus I don't have real measurements of anything - but I'll give a fairly accurate run through of what I did, for anyone who is interested.

Things you'll need: Garlic, onion, olive oil, a sweet potato, your favorite spices, lentils.

Peel and roughly chop a couple cloves of garlic. Chop up a small onion. Heat a pot on medium heat, add olive oil, and cook the garlic and onion together until the onion turns translucent and the smell of your kitchen makes you think your cooking skills are legit.

Peel and chop your sweet potato into bite size chunks. Add to the pot and top off with a little more olive oil. Cook for a couple minutes, stirring every so often. Add lentils (I used a can of white cannellini beans and some leftover red kidney beans) and spices (cumin, coriander, nutmeg... curry would be another nice option). Add about a cup and a half of water and cook until sweet potatoes soften.

Mash everything up to desired consistency. Serve with pumpkin seeds, feta, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Monday, November 14, 2011

madam rosmerta's butterbeer

Weekend project with some friends. Back in October we made butterbeer using a recipe adapted from the one on the Huffington Post. Homemade butterscotch (butter + brown sugar), seltzer water, and butterscotch whipped cream on top. Seriously perfect for a Harry Potter party.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

healthy pasta


Shell pasta with a chunky tomato-based sauce and the rest of my broccoli rabe, which was flash boiled and then sauteed. I sort of made up the tomato sauce on the spot - 1 heirloom tomato chopped and smashed a bit, 1/4 onion roughly chopped, 1 large clove of garlic roughly chopped, about 1/2 cup of water, about 1/4 cup of red kidney beans, a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and I think some kind of Italian seasoning which the Internet tells me includes: MARJORAM, THYME, ROSEMARY, SAVORY, SAGE, OREGANO, AND BASIL. A sprinkle of feta and a handful of raw almonds to top it all off.

Friday, November 11, 2011

odds and ends


1. Kale sauteed with bacon and chickpeas. 2. Fiori pasta with broccoli rabe cooked in garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. 3. Broccoli rabe, thinly sliced yams, mozzarella cheese on a spinach wrap (total structural failure...). 4. Lovely November heirloom tomatoes.

Monday, November 7, 2011

more muesli for breakfast

Muesli with pepita seeds, walnuts, almonds, golden raisins, and blueberries. Now if only I had a nice big cup of coffee.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

lentil veggie stew


Lentil veggie stew with dandelion greens, served with couscous and some mozzarella cheese. This was seasoned with all of my favorite spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric, nutmeg... note to self: next time add a cinnamon stick!) and aside from the bitter dandelion greens - which I will not be bringing home again anytime soon - it was soso tasty.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

rainbow pizza monster


Just playing with different flavor combinations. Used a yellow heirloom tomato for the sauce this time, which gives off the lovely peachy orange color that sadly is not very evident in this picture. Toppings: thinly sliced caramelized onions, red bell peppers, mozzarella, and loads of arugula (a little too much, actually... I had to take off some leaves and stems for the photo, woops). Super colorful, and vegetarian this time.

I'd like to use this space to complain that most of the dishes I make take half as much time to eat as they do to prep and cook. Based on this, I can only assume that I should (a) be more efficient in the kitchen or (b) learn how to eat more slowly, like the French. Option B sounds good. I should go to France and have them teach me firsthand. (And now you know the real reason why French culinary schools are trรจs chic.)