Tag Archives: cayenne pepper

Thai Me Up! (Or, “An On-Hand Attempt at Recreating a Proper Peanut Sauce”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c rice noodles
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 3/4 c lite coconut milk
  • Juice of 1/4 lime
  • 1 c cabbage, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp carrot sticks, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp gyoza sauce
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

P1110492Ok, this is in stages. But completely worthwhile stages. In fact, to simplify this otherwise daunting-sounding rip off of an otherwise respectable Thai dish:

1. Put sliced garlic and onions in 2 tsp olive / 1/2 tsp sesame oil warming to ML. Let cook until garlic begins edge-goldening. Prep anything else while this goes on.

2. In separate pan, put remaining oil in on M. Lay cabbage and carrots in oil and toss delicately with 1 tsp soy sauce. Cover the pan and turn off the burner. Let sit until mealtime.

3. Spoon peanut butter into garlic pan and let melt. Turn up to M and throw in remaining seasonings along with gyoza sauce, coconut milk, lime juice and remaining soy sauce. Stir until the first boilin’ bubble appears, then turn burner to L.

4. Boil noodles according to package directions. Drain and, while hot, mix into the peanut sauce. Serve topped with cabbage and carrots. Garnish with a

5. Spoons! 

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Alfredioliflower Bake (Or, “Cheese is the New Meat”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package mini cheese ravioli
  • 1-1.5c cauliflower florets
  • 2 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 c unsweeteened almond milk
  • 2/3 c shredded mozzarella
  • 1 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

alfredibakeMince your garlic and onion, then put in ghee on ML for as long as it takes for them to look apologetically droopy. Add 1.5 c milk and cornstarch and increase heat to MH until a boil barely begins to yawn, then reduce the temperature back to ML. Start stirrin in them cheeses. Well, 1/3c of the mozzarella and 3/4c of the Parm (the rest will go on top). Stir in the salt, other cup of milk and intermittently between said stirrings get your ravioli boiling to almost al dente. Drain and put in a baking pan. Break up any cauliflower florets that are obnoxiously large and tuck them into the pasta. Then drench it all with the cheesy sauce, then top said sauce with the remainder of your cheeses and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Bake in a 350* oven for 20-30m (or until hot).

 

Some Kind of Alfredo (or, “In Very Few Ways Actually a True Alfredo”)

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c cooked ziti
  • 1 c chana dal
  • 1 c kale, stems removed
  • 1/2 leek
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/3 c pine nuts, mostly toasted
  • 1/2 can your favorite “cream of” soup
  • 2/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  •  1 Swanson® Flavor Boost packet (vegetable)
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 tsp olive oil

I made 1/2 this dish yesterday as the base for something I had not yet fully recognized. What I made was exquisite, and I did not know where the end of it’s journey would lie. Here’s how it all started:

  • 1 c chana dal
  • 1 c kale, stems removed
  • 1/2 leek
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/3 c pine nuts, mostly toasted
  •  1 Swanson® Flavor Boost packet (vegetable)
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Start the thinly-sliced leeks and minced garlic in olive oil warming to ML, and let them rest for about 5 more minutes before you re-address their situation. Meanwhile, flash-blanch your kale, drain it in a colander then transfer to a cutting board to mince well. Stir pine nuts into pan and let sit another minute or three before adding the kale and dal. Stir everything together along with the Flavor Boost and let rest on L. Then turn off the stove. Then put it in the fridge when you don’t have time to keep cooking.

Fast-forward to the next afternoon. I’ll let you do the math up there on which ingredients haven’t yet been utilized; the only meat, then, involved in this recipe is: BRAINMEATS! Slice a little zucchini and pan sear it in 1 tsp of olive oil on MH until the edges brown. Set aside. Add a can of “Cream Of” soup in your choice of conciliatory flavor, some almond milk, Parmesan and cayenne pepper. Bring to a slow boil then reduce heat to L and let set while you boil that pasta. Drain it then put it back in its now-waterless pot. Add pan of deliciousness; stir and let set for a few minutes on L. Serve topped with zucchini and Parmesan. 5 spoons!

Daliciousness

In my pantry today:

  • 1.25 c moong dal
  • 3 medium-large red potatoes
  • 2 leaves of kale, minced
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 14.5 oz cans vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1.5 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp asafoetida

What’s a great animal-free meat substitute when there’s no tofu and no beans have been soaked? Dal! Moong dal can be cooked in 10m at a boil, so when the mood for a comfort-style meal hits too late to arrange a primary protein, these little orange beads can wink their collective eye. Or maybe not, because if they could wink then they would be coming from some kind of animal and I’m really trying here, guys.

Start the big deep-bottomed frying pan out on cold M with ghee, and when at full M (with the ghee having dissolved into tears at the hellfire below it) toss in the chunks of onion. Stir for just a moment, then add your thinly-sliced chunks of potato. Put in the garlic paste and stir until everything is coated. Add the almond milk, stir then sprinkle kale on top and cover. Let it come to a boil for about 5m, then return to add seasonings and grieve for that blisteringly gorgeous green on the kale that won’t last until chewing. Stir, then add the vegetable broth. Cover and let return to a boil on MH. Go take a load off.

It’s important to note that I cooked my moong dal beforehand, but they could probably be put in the big pan at this point. Oh well. I just added them after the potatoes were soft, and no flavor factors seemed tested. In fact, the ultimate judging of this dish was no test a-tall: 4 spoons.

Taters and Lentils and Spinach, Oh My!

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c dry lentils
  • 4 medium red potatoes in .25″ cubes
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 2 c fresh spinach
  • 1 carrot
  • 1.5 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 14.5 oz cans vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 tsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper

Chop your onion into medium-smallish chunks and finely dice your garlic; add it to a large-n-deep saucepan that’s heating to M with a welcoming layer of melting ghee. Let that cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10m then add potato and toss to coat. After 5-8 more minutes, add your chunky slices of carrot and continue tossing for 2 or 3 more minutes. Add lentils (which you have soaked and drained) and vegetable broth, stir. Add spices, stir. Bring it all to a boil and let it continue to do so, covered, on M for 10M. Uncover and fold in spinach, then once everything can properly rejoice in moisture cover and reduce heat to L. Walk away for at least an hour, then after that it’s all up to you how thick and/or mushy your comfort level is.


Garleeky Black Beans

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c cooked black beans
  • 1 leek
  • 2/3 head fresh garlic
  • 1/3 c safflower oil
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 c water
  • 1 packet of Vegetable Broth concentrate (or a bullion cube)
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Basmati rice

First, thinly slice the bulb off your leek and crush/mince your garlic. Add to safflower oil and turn heat to M. Let them cook together in a deep frying pan for 10m. Add your tomatoes in fist-fulls, squeezing each fist ‘o ‘maters ever so gently over their bowl to weed out extraneous tomato snot. Fold the tomatoes into the garleek mixture, pressing them down with a spatula after they’re completely coated with oil. The stove should remain on M so that everything in the pan is in a constant state of agitation.

Add your spices — put in the turmeric first just to enjoy the bright and cheery color change your dish will have for just a moment. Then add your packet of omavegetable bullion and c of water. Stir with emphasis on flattening your tomatoes, for when the beans come into the picture there will be no more fruit-smashing. And when you feel you have smashed enough, fold in the beans and stir. Let it all boil down together into a slightly less watery nonsense, then reduce heat to L with a lid and let it ruminate for an hour. Serve serve over rice.

Hot Oinking Limas with Kale

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c soaked extra large lima beans
  • 2 c raw kale
  • 2 tbsp reserved sausage grease
  • 1 c dry basmati rice
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced clumsily
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 c water
  • 4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Rinse your overnight-soaked lima beans and start them to boiling. Start out on H and reduce heat, upon rolling boil, to M to let them simmer until done. Start your rice to soakin while you’re at it, then clumsily dice up an onion. In a large stockpot (I like using these whenever multiple ingredients are involved for I am irrepressibly graceless — please feel free to use a deep saucepan if you want to be, y’know, cheffy about it), get your sausage globs from the fridge melting. Add onion and mustard seeds, cook on M for a few minutes then reduce heat to L and add garlic and 2 tsp cayenne. Mix well then let mingle while you de-stem your kale.

Put oregano, turmeric, asafoetida, salt and 2 tsp cayenne in a measuring cup then fill with water to the 1/2 c line, stir and set aside.

Now it should be about time to cook the rice, so do that. When the lima beans aren’t shameful to your mouth, drain and set aside. Turn heat back up to MH on the stock pot. When it’s sizzlin real good, toss in the kale, sear it, then add the lima beans and toss. Pour in the 1/2 c seasoned water, then cover the pot and reduce to L. Let it all sit on L for at least 5m. Serve over Basmati rice.

toFurst Time, Be Gentle

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package/block of extra firm tofu
  • 2/3 package whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 2 half-jars of spaghetti sauce from the fridge
  • 1/4 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 c Parmasean cheese
  • 1/2 c mixed shredded cheese
  • 1 tsp jar pesto mix
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper

First, pray. You have never before cooked with tofu and things might get crazy.

Carefully extract your block o’fu and place between two clean/paper towels for squeezing out the extra water. My plan going into this whole shebang was to simply make fried tofu. That is what the internet primarily suggests for extra firm. Maybe this block didn’t read its own label. This alleged “Extra Firm” crumbled into little bits and I was so not in the mood to make a simple scramble. This was my first time and I wanted it to be special.

And what’s more special than an Italian girl making lasagna, too, for the first time? Yes, I am ashamed to admit that. It’s very “40 Year Old Virgin” of me to have never, not once in my life made lasagna. That’s bad and I should feel bad.

So crumble that tofu with a fork and reserve a cup (for recipe below) before seasoning. Take your two ass-jars of sauce from the fridge and combine them, adding cayenne and black pepper. Then go to town on your tofu: add in the rest of your seasonings and feta/Prmasean. Fork it all, gently, to hell. Pour a little sauce into the bottom of a 6×6″ pan. Put in a layer of uncooked noodles and top it with a hearty portion of your tofu mixture. Do another sauce/tofu/noodles series and top with more sauce, a few extra crumbles of tofu and some shredded cheese. Cover and put in a 375° oven for an hour. Let it sit for a few minutes upon taking it out, then take that first bite and have a moment to remember that will stay with you the rest of your life. Go ahead, you deserve it. In fact, if you could shake your own hand while still holding that fork, you would.

Also in my pantry:

  • 1 c crumbled extra firm tofu
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 squares Ghirardelli 100% cacao baking chocolate
  • 1 c white chocolate chips

Put the tofu and sweetened condensed milk together in the food processor and allow them to make sweet, smooth love until silky. Pour into small pot, add broken chocolate pieces and stir over MH. When all is brown, pour into greased 1″ glass pan, sprinkle chips and press into the stuff then let set in fridge for a few hours. Then regret not putting it either into a pie shell or little serving cups as you take an otherwise-delightful spoon. This ended up tasting like dark-chocolate brownie batter and should have gotten put out to set in a proper pasture.

Ultimately, that lasagna was good enough to make it not goddamn matter about this dessert attempt anyway.

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day, or “But her nuts!”

In my pantry today:

  • 2  c butternut squash in 1/4″ cubes
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cashew butter
  • 1 16oz can chicken broth
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp+ cayenne pepper
  • 2 c cooked Basmati rice

Cook onion slivers in olive oil on M until they begin to become translucent; mix a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper in. Add squash and garlic. Cook pan contents for about a minute, then add 2 tbsp broth and cover the pan. In about another two minutes, remove pan contents from heat and set aside in a bowl. In hot-n-empty pan, begin sliding your hunk of cashew butter around. As it melts, slowly add broth and continue stirring patiently until there’s a rich gravy. Once the cashew butter is entirely dissolved into a delicious sauce, add back the butternut squash and rest of your cayenne pepper. Stir. Cover and let continue cooking on L until the squash is tooth-tender. Serve over rice and enjoy the hearty, spicy goodness while contemplating the beauty of that forecast thunderstorm.

Middle Easternish White Beans and SCIENCE!

In my pantry today:

  • About 2c. soaked-n-cooked white beans
  • 1 medium-large-ish yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
  • Jar of roasted red peppers
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

So I did a little kitchen reconnaissance on Google concerning What The Hell To Do With White Beans. This recipe sounded good, and I figured I could whip something akin to it up. Because plain baked beans are boring. And too sweet. And I don’t have bacon or brown sugar in the pantry. But I have a lot of beans and a lot of rice. Nothing is impossible, and whereas I don’t care for the flavor journey of traditional baked beans I do still firmly believe that beans and rice don’t have to be boring.

Cook the onion in the ghee on M for about 10m. Add diced red peppers (to taste/I used a generous 1/4 c) and ginger-garlic paste. Transfer the whole mess to your food processor and make it a delicately chunky puree. Put tomato paste in the hot pot (turn heat down a little during this) to let it melt, then add the puree back. Mix it well and bring it back to a low boil. While it’s spit-bubbling, add the remainder of the spices and mix for a minute or so while low-boiling. Add your beans. Bring back to a low boil and turn off the pot. I am serving this tonight over, of course, Basmati rice.

Do you have a chronic illness? I watched this video last night and imagine hope the recipes on this blog get to adjust to a diet just like the one described therein. I took notes, people. Right now I am four months into a SNAP card not-really-a-battle-because-it’s-DSS-and-they-can’t-help-the-confusion; once I receive the ability to cook with a little extra help (that also validates my poverty!) I hope to switch more completely to a “Hunter-Gatherer” style diet. I once loved to cook because I loved to eat (and I’m Italian!). I want to cook now for my body. I have a friend with MS who is following a Paleo diet and seeing the positive results; when I watched the above-linked video I cried quietly while furiously scribbling words like “polyphenols.” I’ve recently learned how important what you put in your body can be (16lbs to go before I’ve lost 100!) and the clinical affirmation you’ll see therein is enough to stand me up like a soldier. I want to make myself better. I want to be able to sit in repose like everyone else. I want to make my “eyeball seizures” stop. I want my memory back. I want to be able to intelligently communicate with other people face-to-face again. My lucidity remains between my brain and fingertips, but it seems to wander off during real-time interactions. As per this video, the human brain literally shrinks in conditions like mine. I am not surprised; in fact, I am grateful for the explanation. Not knowing is worse, always. Be good to yourselves.