Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Poor Man’s Saag Masoor

In my pantry today:

  • 3/4 c cooked lentils
  • 1 14.5 oz can kale greens
  • 1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin

saagmasoorOk, so if you’ve read even 10% of my posts then you already know the fundamental aspects of how this dish was made… and I’m feeling especially lazy today so we’re all gonna trust each other. Important asides to note? Don’t drain your cans. Put the coriander/cumin in with your hot ghee/oil/onions/garlic and mix until pasty before adding the other stuff. This is a good way both to get your nutrients and to get rid of at least one can from the back of your cupboard. Cheap, easy and still 4 spoons!

 

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Processing Leftovers

In my pantry:

cauliflowerleftoversoupEasier than easy! Ask the food processor to deal with yesterday’s leftovers. Scrape it all into a pot, add broth, heat, serve sprinkled with Parmesan… this, paired with the swift brevity of convenience will escalate leftover soup to a 5 spoon dinner.

Stuffed Cauliflower

In my pantry today:

  • 1 lg head cauliflower
  • 1 c quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 c finely shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, in thin spears
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

stuffedcauliflowerSo this one is a doozy of a dish that I both went into suspecting and came out knowing with which I can do better. I will master this. It might not have helped that I decided to go my own way with the stuffing (as opposed to the scant every recipe online). I don’t blame myself, of course, I blame my cupboards. Regardless, the fundamentals won’t change. Start out by getting the bottom greenery off of and core out of your cauliflower, then wash it before submerging it for 15m or so in a large pot of boiling water laced with all of the above slated turmeric. Take it out and let it cool for another 10 or however long it takes you to complete the following:

Mix together 3/4 c quinoa with all the cheese and above-listed seasonings then set it aside. There will be time, too, to make the sauce to top it before baking.

  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 c half and half
  • 2/3 c vegetable broth
  • 2/3 c tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Chunk up your onion and garlic and let cook in ghee over ML heat for 5-10 minutes. Puree like hell in the food processor. In the pan from which they came, heat the olive oil and pour the pureed contents back in. Cook over ML (erring on the side of M), scraping off the bottom as you go and adding in the coriander and cumin. Make it into a cohesive paste and begin adding your liquids while heating, now, to full M. Add the cayenne last then let sit until the big white head gets  turned upside down then stuffed gently and lovingly with the mixture from a couple paragraphs back. This is a little more difficult than it sounds like it might be — you see from the picture up there that a full stuff will take some training. Put in glass baking dish right-side up, cover with sauce and remaining quinoa and bake at 425° for 1 hour. 4 spoons for taste and aesthetics — when I figure out how to better stuff this thing, we’ll see about making it 5.

Broccoli and Violence (ft. Sesame Quinoa)

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c broccoli florets 
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlicBro
  • 1 packet gravy mix
  • 2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp butter chicken spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 c quinoa
  • 2 drops sesame oil

broccoliandviolenceLife has been a little more dramatic than usual lately and I am not cooking nearly as much as I’d like. Last night I made a loaf of banana bread just to feel alive (in the kitchen, that is), but as I’ve already recently written about banana bread it’d be pretty boring to write about it again so soon (although this time I used caramel extract and added glazed almonds). Instead I’m going to go with the easy thrown together mess tonight offers. So start out that thinly sliced onion and garlic heating in ghee/oil in a pan warming to ML. Mix in the turmeric to color everything orange, let cook for 5m or so.

Turn the burner up to M, throw in the broccoli until bright green. Reduce heat and add in (already mixed with one another) the almond milk, gravy packet and spice mix. Mix everything then cover and continue to cook on ML for 10-50m, or until broccoli reaches your desired level of crunch. Serve over quinoa cooked with two drops of sesame oil in the water, then pull 4 spoons out of the silverware drawer.

8394572713_00a56d19de_kIn terms of proof of my recent drama, how about this: my car window was shot out while the wife and I were driving through a neighborhood that didn’t look bad enough for it. This had certainly never happened to me before but now I can… check it off my bucket list? Now I can praise Jesus, Buddha, Allah and Xenu that the window stopped it before it came through at full force; I narrowly avoided this shot whose perpetrator probably won’t be found.

And on Friday I start a new DMD (“Disease Modifying Drug”) that requires my first dose be monitored for six hours in a doctor’s office because it might dangerously slow my heart rate. discovery_medicine_no_64_volker_brinkmann_figure_4If I clear that hurdle, however, I get to take a pill for MS instead of having to give myself nasty injections. I’ve been trying to clear off the bulk of my client(s) work in case of a worst-case scenario here, but it occurred to me that I also need to cook  in case I am unable to feed us properly once getting home. If I weren’t so busy right now I might have time to be a little more scared than I am; as it is, I’ve got to stop spending selfish time here and get back into Photoshop. Wish me all kinds of luck getting to the weekend!

Black Bean Soft Tacos with Broccoli Salsa Tapenade

In my pantry today:

  • black beans
  • 1/2 c minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c broccoli salsa tapenade (below)

broccolitapenadeI want to cook with the new white corn tortillas I found at Aldi which are exactly like the ones my favorite (and really, the only I eat) soft tacos at our favorite Mexican restaurant here. There are black beans in the cupboard and in the fridge a few leftover broccoli florets that I just don’t want to see die. But black beans and tortillas, ok. I see that. But fitting broccoli into the equation?

  • 1/2 c broccoli crowns
  • 4 tbsp salsa
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp taco seasoning packet
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lime wedge

Invite the food processor and that big bag of frozen lime wedges you still don’t entirely know what to do with, and get going on this easy little addition that will turn out to be better than anticipated. Pulse the broccoli and garlic paste until the broccoli is more finely minced than your human hands could possibly muster (yet not completely pureed). Remove to a small bowl and add seasonings, salsa and finish off with the lime. Set aside — you can obviously eat this immediately, but a couple of hours sitting never hurt no seasoning blend.

limesTo make the beans, start out minced garlic and onions in olive oil on ML for a few minutes, then do a half-ass drain/rinse on your can of black beans (a little of the gook in there will be helpful) and put in the pan. Add most of the vegetable broth, saving a little for additions later. Stir everything together, then place two (frozen here) lime wedges on top, cover and let cook for 20m or so. Remove limes, stir and add rest of broth then let simmer until taco time. Heat your tortillas between wet paper towels in the microwave for 30s — layer on beans, broccoli and cheese — I give this 5 spoons for both taste and creative use of leftover broccoli.

Le Polpette Più Straordinaria (Or, “Meatballs!”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c crock pot marinara from freezer
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 2 Italian sausages
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 c plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
Meatballs ft. Steam of Deliciousness

Meatballs ft. Steam of Deliciousness

It’s a new year and the freezer is full of meat. Well, not full but still housing a little more than I’d like to have on hand and I would really like to free up space in both my freezer and capillaries so tonight’s dinner was meatballs. Using the freezer marinara also helped — plus, who wants to make homemade meatballs and use anyone else’s sauce in which to bathe them? I mean, that would just be wrong… right? So start this journey by ensuring everything is thawed and at the ready: your sausages have been removed from their casings, your garlic is minced and your oven is preheated to 350°.

meatballs1Heat the marinara over ML heat until it is hot but don’t let it get to boil; it can just sit patiently. All of the other ingredients can go into a mixing bowl and have your hands either lovingly or angrily (how was your day?) mash everything into a thick paste. Roll into balls 1-1.5″ in diameter and space them on a baking pan with raised sides to catch any runoff. What I had in the freezer was 93% fat free ground chuck so there was little in the way of grease, so I can sate my guilty conscience there. Cook in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then pick each hot little ball off the pan and plop it into your sauce. Cook on L until dinnertime. I love little nuggets of garlic in my meatballs, knowing they are shrouded in Parmesan and coated with meat then again smothered with homemade marinara… 5 spoons.

 

 

Tomorrow’s Lentils Get Corny

In my pantry today:

freezerlentilsOk, so it was still just a thaw-and-eat meal (and one made with love!) and would’ve been perfectly fine without any additions. But we were hungry. And it was cold. So this happened and it was good. 5 spoons!

 

Ramen Salad Soup ft. Hunnộy Chicken

ramensaladsoup

In my pantry today:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • marinade (below)
  • soup (below)
  • 1 handful of ramen noodles
  • 1 c kale
  • 1/3 c shredded cabbage
  • 1/3 c shredded carrot
  • 3 drops sesame oil
  • 2 spritzes olive oil cooking spray
  • some water

Hunnộy Marinade:

  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/3 c red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp red hot chili powder
ramen

I am mindful that this recipe mixes some ingredients and methodologies common to very separate Asian countries.

Marinate your uncut (other than extraneous fat trimming — go to town with that part while remaining true to your own taste for extraneous fat) breasts in the above mixture in a sealed plastic bag or tupperware container and let it soak overnight, or all day or any arbitrary set of several consecutive hours you like. It’ll help things along tomorrow (or later) if you go ahead and prep the other stuff, too. Nearly mince your kale and massage a drop or two of sesame oil into it; let that sit untouched for no less than fifteen minutes, and no more than a couple days (kale is hearty). Slice a thin round or two from a split cabbage* and grate some carrots; put in a baggie and into the fridge. And, really, making the broth would cut down the chicken/noodle timing issue so go ahead and do that (at least a little in) advance of the other stuff.

Soup:

  • 3 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 drops sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp red hot chili powder

I mean, you don’t have to do all of this the day before (although the meat would most benefit). Whenever you do make the soup, season but don’t bring it to a full boil until it’s time to boil the noodles.

When it’s time to cook the chicken, preheat a pan to M/MH. When hot, spray with olive oil cooking spray and slide a shaken wedge of animal into the pan. Spoon a little of the marinade over each. Let cook (slide it around so it doesn’t stick) on that side for 2-5 minutes or until chicken shows a white-to-pink gradient when viewed from the side, flip and let the other side cook in the same fashion. Add little drops of water/marinade respectively to keep caramelization or sticking to happen. After gradient shows same range on this side, drop 1/4 c water into the pan, cover it and reduce heat to ML for 10 minutes. Now is the time to start your noodles: bring the soup to a low boil then split the ramen in half before throwing into the pot so that they fit into said pot; stir. Return to chicken (assuming the right amount of time has passed) and slice each breast as thinly as possible. Put slices back into pan and coat with the thick marinade leavings. When noodles are done, don’t drain but divide the pot contents between two large bowls. Layer on kale, cabbage, chicken and carrots. While this did end up being a little more work than for which I’ve trained myself, it delivered spicy cold weather deliciousness at 5 spoons.

 

 

cabbagepeas*All that cabbage I made the other day was divided in half, and respectively: frozen and with peas over Basmati rice at 4 spoons (that cabbage is GOOD after sitting in the fridge a day). The rest of this same head cabbage is chilling in freezer purgatory, and a smidge bit of it still lives in a tiny plastic home in the fridge. Cabbage: one if the cheapest vegetables may also be its heartiest.