Tag Archives: balsamic vinegar

Tomato-Topped Tortellini (or, “Salad Capricious”)

In my pantry today:

  • Trader Joes® spinach tortellini
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 M sweet onion, minced
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • dash asafoetida
  • dash sea salt
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar

tortellinitomatoHeat the oils to ML and address it with your minced finery. Turn them back to L and let sit for an hour or two; this seems like a huge investment for an otherwise simple meal, but trust me on the flavor quotient. If you don’t have that much time to invest, don’t worry your heart — this will still turn out beyond edible.

Closer to mealtime, boil/drain your tortellini and prep tomato and cheese slices until the slice:cheese ratio works for you. While the love for cheese can connect almost all of is it also comes with a wide gradient of loves; slice for yourself and don’t look back.

Add your oil, garlic, onions and Parmesan to a pot where you’ve replaced the tortellini drained. Toss gently and let sit for 5m before serving topped with slices of tomato/mozzerella. Drizzle the tiniest bit of balsamic vinegar over the whole shebang, close your eyes and dream of Italy. 5 spoons!

Chicken and Buckwheat and Salad, Oh My!

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c Colonel Cat’s Crock Pot Chicken* pulled meat
  • 2 c Colonel Cat’s Crock Pot Chicken* stock
  • 1 c buckwheat Kasha
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 3 c leftover salad mix
  • 1 shaved carrot
  • 2 tbsp fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbsp golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp feta cheese
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Because I am a little overwhelmed with fatigue right now, yesterday my better half set the thawed whole fryer from the fridge to be ready for me to contend with on a level today which far surpasses that of general convenience foods. I separated the broth from the carcass and the meat from the bones. Then I fed the dogs a little of the super soggy crock pot chicken skin before tossing the bones. The chicken came out so tender and fragrant; it was a natural complement to whatever approached to shake its hands.

*Colonel Cat’s Crock Pot Chicken:

  • 1 2lb whole naked fryer
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2. tsp salt
  • 6 c water

Did someone call the colonel?

I picked up a box of Kasha at the store yesterday — I admit to never having heard of it before, though it appeared to be an answer to my consistent “make sure there’s protein without meat” dilemma. I took a chance and was rewarded handsomely. It cooks up like a cross between pearl couscous and steel cut oats, and because I substituted stock for water it came out with a fragrance and flavor that crooked a finger for the chicken to come hither. Toss the pulled meat, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp red hot chili powder with the Kasha. Set aside.

Ring the inside of a large bowl with salad greens and top with raisins, blueberries and carrots. Scoop a dollop of the chicken and Kasha combo into the middle then top the bowl with feta cheese. Seal the deal with a little olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. This was a surprisingly wonderful combination — I did not expect to like buckwheat at all, but that may have been largely due to the fact that I assumed Eddie Murphy would not be as delicious as he may have once been. Now, I know the true face of buckwheat. 5 stars!

Not Yo Mama’s Ramen [5 Spoons!]

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package extra firm, pre-cubed tofu
  • 1 head Napa cabbage
  • 1/3 package Hakubaku ramen
  • 1/4 c dumpling sauce
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 c water
  • 1 cube vegetable boullion
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tsp safflower oil
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp asafoetida

(blurred only by the steam of deliciousness)

This meal requires a full day and night of preparation, so plan accordingly and make sure your Big Girl Britches are on. The early afternoon before, drain your tofu and instead place it to soak in your own marinade overnight. Put your dumpling sauce, vinegar, garlic paste and 1 tbsp of soy sauce together and pour over the tofu and let set in an airtight container until the morrow. Take special care to occasionally rotate the container at intervals to fully soak each cube.

The next day, you can go ahead and slice your cabbage while the mustard seeds warm in ghee on M. Add cabbage when the mustard seeds begin to pop and stir to coat thoroughly. Stir fry the cabbage for about two minutes, adding 2 tsp – 1 tbsp of soy sauce, turmeric and asafoetida. Add .5 c  water, cover and turn the burner to L. Cabbage should be wilted and tender, not sloppy country-kitchen style. Unless you’d really like that or have no teeth.

Start safflower oil out on M, then turn to MH. When hot, add your drained tofu cubes and begin frying with impunity. This took longer to do than I thought it might, so when they’re beginning to show signs of crispy edges, do this:

Mix vegetable boullion and remainder of the tofu marinade with 2 c water and bring to a boil. Put in ramen.

Move back to your tofu pan and keep the spatula twirling. Squirt in about 2 tsp of soy sauce and stir vigorously to coat. When they begin to share the same medium shade of brown, remove from pan and allow to drain on paper towels while you prepare the bowls. Put some ramen and a little broth in the bottom of your bowl. Top with cabbage, then top the cabbage with tofu.

I have never fried tofu — in fact, this is only my second time cooking with tofu at all. I certainly did not quite expect its ensuing deliciousness! This got to be one of those rare dinners where I enjoyed everything on my plate instead of acting my own critic. Plus I was rather proud of myself for ensuring the tofu did not become part of an incongruous meal where animal products were also involved. To be fair to the ‘fu ‘n all. I am very obviously not a vegetarian simply an admirer of its health benefits — as someone who just months ago was nearly bed-bound I absolutely cannot refute the differences it makes to eliminate a lot of those quintessentially American food choices.

Of course, a 5 spoon meal is reason to dancey-dance all its own.


Aubergenius! Or, “How I Lost My Auberginity”

In my pantry today:

  • 4 miniature eggplant, quartered
  • 1 ripe-n-juicy orange
  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s lemon-pepper parpardelle
  • 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • salt

I’ve never cooked eggplant before, and to kick off the nervousness associated with any first-time event… these eggplant are adorable. Because they’re tiny. Suddenly omigod, do these pajama pants make my butt look fat? But seriously, calm down now. Quarter the little fancies and put them in a covered casserole dish. Cut your orange and squeeze so that they are sufficiently soaked. Drizzle with 2tbsp of balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with garlic and salt then refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Put the aubergines in the oven at 350° for 45 minutes. Cook your pasta to package instructions and toss with a tsp or so olive oil. Salt the pasta to taste. Then serve your hot purple nuggets (really, they should be more of a yellowish) straightaway-from-the-oven atop the parpardelle. Drizzle with the remaining orange-balsamic marinade in which the aubergine cooked and top with crumbled feta.

The eggplants were gentle. And, in fact, quite tasty. The sugars in the orange juice and balsamic vinegar caramelized just enough around the peel and into the pulp. Also, I would like to note that I do not like the cut of the jib of the eggplant peel. Sure, it’s edible… but nothing should come out of the ground tasting angrily pickled.