Sunday, December 30, 2012

Food in pictures

If any of you actually read my blog with regularity, you haven't had much to read in the past...well...six months or so.  There are no excuses.  I just got busy. 

But I was still taking pictures of my food.  So here are some of the highlights.

Oven roasted veggies - zucchini, peppers, asparagus, and onions with Italian dressing.

A comfort breakfast - whole wheat toast, almond butter, honey, and banana slices.

Trout with carmelized onions and peppers.

Health bars: almond butter on the bottom, oats, craisins, pumpkin seeds,
sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, pecans, dried apricots, and honey.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Quick post: Bellini in memoriam

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend.  And while we honor those who have given their lives for this country and our freedoms, I choose to celebrate my freedom with, well, a frozen bellini.

I don't like white wine.  Never have.  Don't know why.  But, I do like champagne.  In fact, I like her, in my opinion, tastier cousins, cava (from Spain) and prosecco (from Italy) a lot.

I'm sure you know this, but champagne actually has to come from the champagne region in France.  The French regulate their booze much like they do their language - strictly (is that a word?).  So, if there is a sparkling white wine out there that calls itself "champagne" but is made out on Long Island, NY, it's breaking French law.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to break French law.  I'd be afraid they'd remove all of my access to soft cheeses.  Oh, the manatee (as my fiance says)!

But in a drink like this, it doesn't really matter whether you're using a non-country-specific sparkling white wine, Cava, Prosecco, or even the real deal, Champagne.  You're whirring it up with frozen fruit, so let's be clear, the subtleties will be lost.  Don't spend a lot on whatever sparkling white wine you're going to put in this drink.

While we were shopping last night (yes, we lead a very exciting life, doing our grocery shopping on Saturday night), I decided a frozen bellini would be my drink of choice.  So, I bought a massive bag of frozen peaches.  I figured that if I don't use all of it for bellinis, I'd still be able to eat them thawed and with the Fage 0% greek yogurt that I frequently have for breakfast.  No product loss predicted.

I filled about 2/3 of my blender with frozen peaches and poured in about a cup of sparkling wine.  The blender didn't do much.  I poured in about another cup.  It started whirring around.  I tried different speeds, and I'm sure it's different for different blenders.  But the basics rule is that you need enough liquid to get things going. 

Once I got things going, I continued to pour in a little bit from time to time and stopped periodically to stir it around. At first it seemed a little heterogeneous in that there were the occasional chunk of frozen peach.  I liked it, but I felt like it needed a bit more whirring.  Sadly, I lost the chunks with my zealous blending, but the result was a lovely silky frozen drink as if made at a restaurant.

I poured it into a red wine glass and added a small shot of sparkling wine on top. Add straw.

I'm through glass #1.  I'm on to #2.  Tast-i-licious!

Friday, March 09, 2012

My Food Shelf...Installment #2...

Only a few years later, I'm following up on the "My Food Shelf...Installment #1..." post by adding installment #2.  What do they say?  Better late than never?

I have a confession.  My food shelf has been growing.  And it's not accurate to call it a shelf.  In truth, as I mentioned in the previous installment, it's a food section.  Some recent additions are:

Chicken A La King & The Buffalo Wing, Steven Gilbar
This isn't a cookbook.  If you can't read it, the subtitle is Food Names and the People and Places That Inspired Them.  Organized by the meals of the day (dinner, breakfast, and lunch) then type of dish (appetizers, entrees, beverages, etc.), it's a book of fun little stories that discuss the history of various iconic (and, in my opinion, sometimes random) dishes.  And while it's not technically what I would consider a cookbook, the back section includes recipe cards for selected items discussed within the book.

Some of the entries are more interesting than others (as, I'm sure, are the foods themselves).  But it's pretty easy to find a great little nugget of interest.  For instance, here's the entry for carpaccio:
Comprised of paper-thin slices of raw beef, served with salt, pepper, and olive oil, the dish was created in 1950 by Giuseppe Cipriani, the owner of the famous Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy, and named for the painter Vittore Carpaccio (1455-1526), supposedly because the red of the meat reminded Cipriani of the color often used by the artist.  The dish was inspired by the Contessa Amalia Nani Mocenigo, a frequent patron of the bar, whose doctor had placed her on a diet that forbade cooked meat. 

Bean by Bean; a cookbook, Crescent Dragonwagon
First off, what's up with that name??  Really??  And it sounds like she(?) hangs out with others of similar names.  In the Acknowledgements she thanks "Chou-Chou Yearsley" and calls her(?) a "strang of purls."  But I digress....

The chapters are equally kooky.  "Hummus, Where the Heart Is: Leguminous Starters" and "Beans and Grains: Earthy Soul Mates" as chapter titles don't exactly make me want to dive in, but the content is better than the names indicate.  I'm trying to eat foods to lower my triglycerides (all my other cholesterol numbers are fine), so beans with their high fiber and good protein are definitely on the list. 

I look forward to making some lentil soups and finding some good black eye pea recipes to perfect before next January (yes, I know I have time). :-)

Friday, March 02, 2012

This week's CSA box....a full fridge, indeed

I get a bi-weekly CSA box from Farmhouse Delivery.  In addition to the produce that are in their typical bushes, you have the ability to add on other products from local vendors.  I have asked to always have a chicken added to my order, so every other week, I get a locally raised chicken...just begging to be roasted. 

So, below is a list of what arrived in my CSA box this afternoon (in addition to my chicken).  The fridge is bursting at the seams because the boyfriend and I also each went to the grocery store (I had forgotten this was my week to get the delivery....oops).   Next step?  Organize ourselves to understand what we're going to make for the upcoming week.  Quite an least I know there will be kale chips this week.  Oh....and the latest issue of Edible Austin...hazah!

Spring onions

Oranges (3) and brussel sprouts





Rainbow chard


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dressing up Annie's

I like Annie’s Mac and Cheese.  I like that it’s typically somewhat healthier than the competitor’s boxed mac and cheese.  But today, I dressed her up.  Even better than the original. 

I had a bunch of vine-ripened tomatoes left over from something a week or so ago.  I also had a half a large yellow onion, some fresh basil, and some garlic.  I thought, if nothing else, I need to make a sauce, put it away in a jar and figure out something to do with it at some point in the future.  

I started by heating up some olive oil in a large sauce pan.  Once it got nice and shimmery, I put in the half onion that I had roughly diced.  I let that sweat a bit until it was translucent and then added a couple cloves of finely diced garlic.  The beginning of just about anything tasty had begun.

While that was getting all yummy, I took these vine-ripened tomatoes (bigger than cherry tomatoes, but not ovoid like Roma tomatoes) and cut them in 8ths.  I added all of those (probably close to 3-4 cups) including their seeds and juices.  As that was cooking down, I took the fresh basil that I had and I cut it up somewhat fine…sort of a backwoods julienne, if you will. 

I let that simmer on the stove top for a while.  It started smelling pretty good.  I added a bit of kosher salt, some dried oregano, just a touch of dried basil (to support the fresh), and a few dashes of red pepper flakes for some heat. 

Stir.  Simmer.  Stir.  Simmer.

Then I got to thinking, it’s about lunch time.  I’m hungry, but I don’t want to cook an entire thing of pasta (some spinach fettuccine that I’m saving for another dish) just to use this sauce.  And then it hit me – I’ve got some Amy’s!

So, I made the Amy’s pasta per directions. Drained it and added it to the sauce.  Then I added the cheese powder to the sauce as well.  Stir stir stir.  Lastly, I grated just a little bit of this cheddar-like cheese I had left in my fridge over the top.