Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Frozen Peas

I am, unfortunately, not at all surprised by my lack of updates on this blog. This inevitably happens with just about every project I start. Take my diary from grade 2. Or grade 3. Yeah, 3. After recounting the fascinating tale of Sesso, the spider plant, which I had acquired from a neighbour (a plant which I also later abandoned. I think my mother adopted it. Or it died.) and several incidents at Pony School (with real ponies, okay, I'm not making this shit up) and then some angry angst from grade 7, it was discarded in earnest. I think I wrote six entries in total, covering that entire period. Even taking into account the brief period of inspiration I had after reading Harriet the Spy, it was pretty much guaranteed to fail from the start.

I even tried starting other diaries in this period - the classic red and black hardcover notebook lost its charm against the fuzzy, lockable diary I bought (I think it was from a book sale - yes, a book sale). It was so awesome I HAD to write in it. Right? Maybe if I tried poetry it would catch on. Like that time I wrote about winter when I was six or seven and my parents just about jizzed themselves reading it to my grandmother over the phone. I was totally talented - gifted, even. The fuzzy diary was my route to famous authorhood. Years after my death, fans would discover my childhood diary. My fuzzy, yellow with mulit-coloured spots, cheap, junk shit diary that came with keys. They'd find it, be amazed by my child prodigy-ness, and sell it on ebay. Total pwn.

Or not. I can't remember what happened to that thing. I probably threw it out or shoved it in the closet or the basement during one of my cleaning frenzies.

And then there was that time I made a livejournal account. Which I definitely updated almost never. But for a while I even had friends. We meme'd. We commented on each others' posts. It was like AA only without alcohol or debilitating addictions. But posting took time. Suffice to say, as you can no doubt see from the lack of posts in that journal (I definitely deleted them all, like a boss) that journal also failed.

And so here I am. I thought if I made it about food it would stick. It would continue; I would inspire people. Maybe somebody would make a movie about it. Or not.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Day of Cookies

I have this habit of writing blog posts in my head, always with the intention that somehow, I'll write them down in the real world, but as the last few weeks can attest to, that rarely happens.

So I must confess, these cookies were baked almost two weeks ago, and I'm sorry for waiting this long to share them with you. Because these are damn good cookies. Damn good in the classic cookie sense. No finicky ingredients, no 24-hour egg white resting periods or fillings to worry about, just good ole' wholesome cookies that will put a smile on anyone's face. Which is why two weeks ago, I spent my day-off baking these cookies for my "little cousin" (who has somehow put a foot between my head an his in the last two years) for his high school graduation, just because I'm nice like that. And may also enjoy snacking on cookie dough. All day. (And then eat celery in a vain attempt to make the sugar hurting go away. And then contemplate going on a diet of cucumber. Contemplate being the key verb.) But thankfully, after baking up almost 100 cookies, they were packed up and driven a convenient six hours away to feed my cousins (who are boys, who are always hungry), thus putting a safe distance between them and me.

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Morning Gruel

Being back home for the summer, I naturally tend to do a lot less cooking for myself, having two parents to do it for me. However, I still manage to spend a ridiculous amount of time in the kitchen. Only I'm rarely cooking anything that has nutritious value or is meant to fuel me through the day. No.

Instead, I can usually be found in the kitchen (often after midnight) baking up a batch of cookies, realizing that peanut butter and butterscotch would taste like heaven sandwiched between bittersweet chocolate wafer cookies, and not to mention an incident I had with peanut butter crispy bars. (Which I like to call squares de la petite mort for self-explanatory reasons. For which reasons you should never make them. Ever. Because you'll find yourself inexplicably drawn to them at four in the morning, and when you finally do wake up from your sugar coma with diabetes, you'll have more for breakfast, and then you'll keel over, and die. Don't do it.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Vegetables with Lentils

So when I should be studiously writing essays with the blessing of time that is Reading Week (never has a "holiday" been so literal for me) I'm posting recipes instead. Go figure.

A little bit about this recipe first though - like most stuff I post on here, it is by no means set in stone. You can throw in all sorts of vegetables in addition to the ones listed here, or switch them up completely. You can leave out the lentils or add whatever legumes you have on hand or prefer - navy beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, etc. However, I sincerely recommend that you include the sweet potatoes. Oh dear lord, sweet potatoes, how I love thee. This is one versatile omnomable veggie, let me tell you. You can roast it, mash it, make bread with it, hell, you can do just about anything with it (including icing! FOR CAKE. Clearly this vegetable = win).

So before I wax on about sweet potatoes for another eon, here's the recipe:

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Vegetables with Lentils
1 Sweet Potato (medium size)
1 Small Onion (or half a larger one)
1 Red Pepper
Olive Oil
Chili Powder, Cinnamon, Cumin, Pepper and Sea Salt
1/3 cup Lentils (Optional - you can substitute it with another legume, or leave it out if you want to make a lighter side dish)

Serves 1.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Wash sweet potato and red pepper and cut into medium sized chunks. Mince the onion (coarsely, it doesn't have to be fine) and add to the chopped vegetables in a glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, just enough to coat the vegetables. Add the spices (about 1/4 tsp each, but adjust to your tastes), toss the vegetables to coat them evenly, and put in the oven for about 20 - 25 minutes, stirring them about half-way through.

3. Roughly five minutes before the vegetables are done roasting, mix in the lentils, and put back in the oven for the remaining time.

4. After about 20 or 25 minutes (when the potatoes are soft), remove from oven, transfer to a bowl and eat it while it's hot!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Red Pepper Sauce with Chickpeas and Pasta

I didn't realize until I made this that it absolutely, undeniably DNA positively needed cheese, and hence have listed it in the recipe. You will regret it if you don't do the same.

Red Pepper Sauce with Chickpeas and Pasta
1 Red Pepper
2 - 4 Garlic Cloves
Olive Oil
1/4 cup Tomato Paste
1/4 cup Water or Milk
2 Carrots
1/3 cup Whole Grain Pasta
1/2 cup Chickpeas
1/4 cup Mozzarella Cheese (grated)
Salt, Pepper & Seasonings to Taste

Serves 1.

1. Preheat oven to 450 Degrees.

2. Cut bell pepper in half, remove the seeds and pith and wash. Skin the garlic cloves. Lightly coat pepper and garlic with olive oil and place in a glass baking dish, with pepper halves skin up. If you choose, you can grind a bit of pepper over top.

3. Roast pepper and garlic in the oven for 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, peel and grate the carrots, grate the cheese, and set aside. Boil a pot of water for the pasta and cook your choice of pasta according to its instructions. Once cooked, drain and rinse, set aside.

5. Once the pepper and garlic is out of the oven, cut the pepper into medium - small sized cubes (the pepper will be extremely soft, so all you'll need is a fork to cut it). Transfer the pepper and garlic to a small pot and add the tomato paste and milk. Using a hand-blender, blend the ingredients to a smooth consistency (you can also do this in an actual blender if you have one). Add your choice of spices - I used salt, ground pepper, garlic powder and a bit of chili powder, but you can use whatever works for you. Cook the sauce over low - medium heat until it starts to bubble, stirring occassionally.

6. In the meantime, combine the pasta, grated carrot and chickpeas. Once the sauce is finished, pour over top and then add the cheese. Enjoy! (Although if you find the dish is not hot enough, you may want to nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds.)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Moroccan Spiced Tomato Soup

This soup is for those days when time and effort just aren't with you. Seriously, a gorilla could make this soup. So if you're one of those people who claim they "can't cook", just remember, it's gorilla-friendly.

Moroccan Spiced Tomato Soup
1 Tomato (Roma, Hothouse, your choice)
1 tsp Olive Oil
1/3 cup Tomato Paste
1 - 2 tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
2 1/2 cups Water
1/3 cup Chickpeas
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
Salt & Pepper to taste

Serves 1.

1. Wash and dice your tomato. Heat up a small pot over low-medium heat, add the olive oil and then the tomato.

2. Add the tomato paste and the peanut butter. (I swear it doesn't taste weird or freaky, trust me!) Stir until the peanut butter is melted and incorporated.

3. Add the water, the chickpeas and the spices. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil, stirring occasionally.

4. Serve and adjust the flavouring if necessary. Enjoy! (You can also add some whole grain pasta or other cooked whole grain to get a complete protein.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mushroom, Spinach and Lentil Stir Fry

Mushrooms tend to be either loved or loathed, in my experience, and as you've probably guessed, I fall into the loving crowd. Serious love, potentially borderline fangirl screaming sleeps with pictures of it under her pillow kind of love. Or not. I never was into screaming fan devotion anyway (I was once told by a girl who'd been to a 30 Seconds to Mars concert that the lead singer's spit - HIS MUCUS - had landed IN HER MOUTH and it was "one of the best moments of her life." I'm sure she'll go places in life.)

Anyways, nobody cares about spitting celebrities, but people (like me) do care about mushrooms -- A LOT. I eat them raw, by themselves, with dip, and, particularly, fried. Fried mushrooms. One of the most delicious, ridiculously awesome tasting things that can ever be cooked, and if you don't like mushrooms, SHAME ON YOU, because clearly you haven't had fried mushrooms, which will change your life. (And they're full of selenium which does things like fight cancer and raise super sperm -- so if you're a male looking to procreate, eat some mushrooms!)

Mushroom, Spinach and Lentil Stir Fry
1/2 Onion (or a small one)
2 Cloves of Garlic (I hate vampires, particularly ones that look like anorexic emo child rapists, so I cook with ridiculous amounts of garlic, so you can use 1 clove if you'd rather)
Tsp Olive Oil
4 - 6 Crimini Mushrooms (which is just a fancy pants name for white or brown mushrooms)
1/3 cup Lentils
1/4 cup Barley (or Rice)
1 - 2 cups Spinach
Pepper, Salt & Soya Sauce to taste

Serves 1.

1. Have your lentils and barley pre-cooked -- they're both exceptionally cheap and easy to cook, hence my love of them. I usually cook up a large batch and store it in an airtight container in the fridge, which lasts me a week and is handy whenever I need either. Lentils don't need to be rinsed, and you can use the liquid for soup - just throw your desired amount of lentils in a pot with three parts water, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20 - 25 minutes. The process is the exact same with barley, only you need to rinse them before and after cooking (make sure to use a fine strainer, as you'll lose half your barley in the sink otherwise).

2. Mince onion and garlic. Heat up your skillet over medium - low heat and pour in the olive oil, then add the onion and garlic.

3. Slice mushrooms and add to the onion and garlic immediately. Grind in some pepper. Cook for about 5 - 10 minutes, until the mushrooms turn a dark brown and start producing liquid.

4. Add the lentils and barley and stir in. Add the spinach and stir in until wilted, add in spices and soya sauce (or other sauce of your choice) to taste, and serve.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Creamy Polenta with Chickpeas and Veggies

If you're thinking, "What the shit is polenta?" you're probably not alone -- I had no idea what it was until I happened upon it while perusing through an Italian cookbook years back (yes, I do this for fun, don't judge me). Polenta is essentially a sort of porridge made from ground cornmeal, which is available at any grocery store near you and (more importantly) is cheap, and will last forever. Interestingly enough, polenta is a staple in parts of Italy, even more so than pasta, which most people tend to associate with the boot country.

Anyways, this recipe is super easy and tasty, fear not the weird name!

Creamy Polenta with Chickpeas and Veggies
1 Small White Onion (or half a regular sized one)
Tsp Olive Oil
1 Tomato (hot house, regular, roma, whatever suits your fancy)
1 Head of Broccoli
1/4 cup Cornmeal
1 cup Water
Tsp Butter or Cream Cheese
1/3 cup Chickpeas
Salt, Pepper & Spices to taste

Serves 1.

1. Mince your onion and sautee it over medium-low heat with olive oil until it begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. While your onion is cooking, chop up your vegetables and set aside.

3. When onion is translucent, add the water and then whisk in the cornmeal. Add the butter or cream cheese and stir until melted. Add the chickpeas and veggies and cook on low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to bubble.

4. Season to taste, serve and enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Soup

(While I acknowledge that the above picture does not look at all appetizing, I assure you that this soup is delicious (and nutritious!). However, if you're not a spinach fan, not to worry, because it is optional.)

Alright, so in the spirit of new year's resolutions, I'm attempting to revitalize this blog and continue sharing my kitchen creations with the world. Here goes!

Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Soup
1 Red Pepper
1 Large Carrot
Olive Oil
2 c. Spinach (optional)
1/3 c. Chickpeas
Pepper, Salt & Seasonings of your choice

1. Preheat the oven to 450 Degrees.

2. Cut the bell pepper in half and remove the seeds and pith. Place it in a pyrex dish or baking pan skin up. Peel the carrot, cut it into large chunks and add it to the dish. Drizzle the pepper and carrot with olive oil, not too much, just enough to lightly coat the veggies and keep them from sticking. Top with a bit of ground pepper.

3. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, stirring the carrots halfway through.

4. When the veggies are done, cut the pepper into chunks (it will be very soft, so all you need is a spoon or a fork to break it up into chunks). Transfer the roasted veggies to a small pot and add about two cups of water. Cover and bring it to a boil over medium heat.

5. After bringing the mixture to a boil, turn the heat down low and used a hand blender to puree the pepper and carrot (be careful, it will splash a little). If you don't have a hand blender, you can also use an actual blender or food processor, it will just involve more dishes).

6. Once the soup is well blended and smooth (it will have a lovely rich colour) add the spinach (which you can skip if you're not a fan) and stir it in until wilted. At this point, you can puree the soup again, or choose to leave the spinach leaves whole (unless you chop them beforehand).

7. Add the chickpeas and add salt and pepper to taste. I'd also recommend adding other spices you have on hand to jack up the flavour, like paprika, garlic and onion powder and even some herbs like thyme and oregano. Enjoy!

Note: To make a more complete meal, add some brown rice, whole grain noodles, quinoa or other whole grain of your choice, or just toast yourself a slice or two of whole grain bread.