Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Reasonably Healthy Comfort Food

Today, I felt like throwing feminine hygiene products at every guy who looked at me funny on the metro. I'm not going to frost dog sh*t and call it cake by saying this is a rare occurrence these days. Much more rare than me being in a surly mood is me indulging in good, new-fashioned, comfort food. Back when I ate the SAD, my favorite sad food was mac n' cheese. Homemade, fresh baked, or out of a blue box. I loved that stuff. Maybe it's because my grandma used to make it for me every time I visited because she knew how much I loved it. Today, I made up a gluten free, goat cheese based version that I love with four ingredients. It's about as clean as mac n' cheese can get. (And along side my mac n' cheese is a creamy, vegan chocolate peanut butter cake from Sticky Fingers --clearly this was a bad day).

Three Ingredient Mac n' Cheese

1 cup dry quinoa/corn macaroni
3 oz raw goat cheddar, grated
1 Tblsp of butter
Touch of Nutmeg

Cook the macaroni. Drain it. Melt the butter in the pan. Put the macaroni back in. Stir in the cheese. Gobble immediately.

Monday, July 25, 2011

On Being Vulnerable and Kitchen Failures

I generally think too much. Mostly, I think of what it takes to live a happy, full life. Specifically, I think about what I'm not doing correctly in that respect. Today though, I realized that I do a lot of things right, even when I think I'm doing it all wrong. One thing that I think I do particularly well is being vulnerable and embracing the inevitable pain that comes with seeking sweet and wonderful experiences. In the kitchen, this translates to enjoying experimenting even when experiments go bad. For instance, this evening, I tried to make a mock carbonara with soba noodles and spinach. And no cheese. With a soupcon of too much garlic. It didn't turn out well. Then I realized that I handle a lot of things in the same way. Romantic disappointments seem to pile up around me like unread magazines, and yet I still keep trying. (Despite vowing that every time is the last time). Calmness in the face of a very sick pet, not trying to make things certain and refusing to deny pain and discomfort are things that make me stubborn, elusive and messy. But they are also the things that make me beautiful. (And next time I'll taste as I go and make it with quinoa noodles).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

TED Talk I love: Thandie Newton on "Otherness"

I think it's time for a non-food related post. I adore TED talks. They are informative, inspiring and usually prompt me to think of things in an entirely new way. Helen Fisher and Brene Brown gave two of my favorites, and I watched/listened to the one below by Thandie Newton earlier today. I'm posting it here because Ms. Newton puts to words what I so often felt as the only racially mixed person growing up in a very white place, one of the few progressives in a sea of conservative Catholics in college and someone from modest roots in a place of great privilege during law school. Like Newton, I lost my "self" in dancing in performing while growing up and found that my "otherness" gave me a great deal of empathy for other misfits. Like Newton, I suffered from disordered eating and struggled with wanting to disappear as the "other" that stuck out like a sore thumb. I now prize the fact that I don't belong in any one group because it leaves me free to surround myself with people who feel right rather than people with the same skin tone (which is biologically meaningless). I could go on about how much this talk spoke to me, but instead, I'll let Newton say it all much more eloquently.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Coconut Orange Scones

I decided to have a very lazy Sunday. From time to time, I need to not do anything but read something trashy, watch some movies, catch up on Jersey Shore and lay like broccoli. I also like to take some time and make myself a snack I wouldn't have time for during the week. Trashy romance novel? Check! Movie? Check!

The only thing I needed was some scone goodness. I started from a recipe in The Art of Simple Food, and riffed a vegan recipe from there, using coconut in lieu of cream, coconut oil in lieu of butter and adding orange zest to up the flavor quotient. After the scones came out of the oven, I paired them with some orange creme dream Talbot tea and had a civilized tea (in my jammies).

Orange Coconut Scones

Makes 4 coffee shop sized scones

2 cups flour (I used unbleached all-purpose, but white spelt or white whole wheat would be even better)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1 1/3 cup coconut milk (I just used the kind from the can)
1 orange zest
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoon evaporated cane juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Measure and mix together the dry ingredients. Stir in the coconut milk and orange zest. Mix until the dough just starts to come together. It will be sticky. Turn it out onto a flour surface and knead briefly until it comes together. Pat into an 8-in circle. Brush with the melted coconut oil. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice. Cut into four wedges and put on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 17 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy! They are great with a touch of butter or earth balance, and I would imagine they would be lovely with some jam.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mediterranean Red Pepper Spread/Dressing

I have the day off of work today, and I've spent the morning doing "GGTL" (gym, groceries, tidying up and laundry). All that running around built up an appetite. I have been meaning to try my hand at a Muhammara for a long time now. It's a traditional Middle Eastern spread that I miraculously have never encountered in a restaurant. It's spicy and tart, so I have been dying to put some in my face, but hadn't gotten around to it. In the past few weeks, though, the Universe has been nudging me towards this goodness. I first read about it in Supernatural Cooking, by Heidi Swanson. I opened up the book to that page about a month ago and kept looking back at it. Then, a few weeks ago, my friend Gena made a raw version. So, last night, I looked up an old Gourmet (R.I.P.) recipe and melded that with Gena's and my own special twists. This is what I came up with and it's extremely delicious if I do say so myself. With the walnuts and bread crumbs, it makes for a hearty spread on top of homemade (vegan) spelt flour soda bread (recipe forthcoming). I mixed about a tablespoon of the spread with some olive oil and additional lemon juice to make a dressing for my salad (just green and carrots to keep it simple). The "authentic" version has pomegranate molasses, but I couldn't find it at my Whole Foods. I wouldn't know, but I don't think the spread suffers.

Muhammara (makes enough for several lunches/snacks)

1/3 c. spelt bread crumbs (or Ezekiel) --this should be about half a slice of bread
1 c. raw walnuts
3 roasted red peppers (I used jarred 365 brand in water)
4 sun-dried tomatoes, quickly immersed in warm water to soften
juice of one lemon
1 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp red pepper flakes
1-4 cloves of garlic (I uncharacteristically forgot this, but I will be adding it next time)
2 T. olive oil (as desired for blending)

Put the bread in the food processor and blend until crumbs. Add the other ingredients. Blend until kind of smooth. Try not to eat it all standing at the counter. Dip in veggies. Spread on bread. Throw in a sandwich.