Sunday, January 31, 2010

faux roast chicken and veggies

subtitle: sunday supper in a pinch

sometimes you just need some comfort food. comfort food on a sunday? that's sunday supper! i honestly can't believe i haven't done this before because it's so darn easy and delicious. seriously, it really is AND it even gives lunch leftovers for the week (something i try to plan). so what is this wonder dinner? faux roast chicken. i'm only calling this faux because there isn't the need to roast an entire chicken. however, there's nothing actually faux about the results. simple concept really: choose some vegetables and grab some chicken parts (whole breasts in my case but you could use thighs or drumsticks as well) and basically throw it all in the oven. my veggies of choice were sweet potatoes, leeks and whole garlic cloves as well as a few mushrooms and a little bit of onion since i had it in the fridge. i washed, peeled and chopped my veggies, placed them in the bottom of a baking dish, splashed on some olive oil, salt and pepper and tossed around to coat. then i seasoned the chicken with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and paprika (all completely based on what i had on hand) and put it right on top of the veggies. i stuck the whole dish in the oven at 450 degrees until the chicken was done and the veggies were nice and roasted. this took about an hour but will totally depend on the chicken you use. if you use smaller chicken pieces, you might want to give the veggies a head start before adding the chicken. you could also use any combination of vegetables that you want (potatoes, turnips, parsnips, carrots, the list goes on and on).

literally within minutes of this entering the oven my roommates were ooing and aahing about the wonderful smell that had filled our apartment. and then i got to eat the results. 5 days in a row. sweet.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

coconut pancakes

we talked about crazy gluten-free low carb flours before with the almond meal microwave cookie adventure. now another gluten-free flour, brought to you by The Baker: coconut flour. now, if you're like me, you're probably saying, now how the hell does a coconut turn into flour? there's nothing dry about the stuff. my second reaction was, how the hell is coconut flour healthy? i know that coconut is a good cooking alternative, however, because of the fat, it isn't exactly the obvious healthy choice. well, apparently, all of the fat is extracted in order to make the flour. so what results is something that's gluten-free, high protein, high fiber, low carb and low fat. another one of those wonder foods, if you will.

what to make with this wonder flour? coconut pancakes, of course. now it just so happened that when i was making these (the only time i've made them for myself and didn't have The Baker make them for me), i was also making them for someone on a super restricted diet (low fat, low calorie, low sodium, low everything). so if these turned out well with those modifications, then you know the original ones are splendid.

coconut flour pancakes
  • 4 eggs (i used egg beaters)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk (i used low fat)
  • mix ingredients and let them sit for five minutes.
  • oil or grease a pan and heat over medium heat.
  • pour about a 1/4 cup of batter for each crepe, allowing each side to brown before flipping it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

project: bourbon ginger floats

here's a fun one. the essence of the celebration or cheering up moment escapes me. hell, i think it was just another tuesday. no, wait, it WASN'T just another tuesday because this one involved bourbon floats. let me repeat that for those of you in the back row. bourbon-mother-effing-floats. it's no secret that i have a fondness in my heart for bourbon. (see exhibit a, boozy peaches. exhibit b, my mom tells me to drink hot toddies when i'm sick, to come.) but this one really took it to new heights for me.

my lovely dinner guests showed up with a pint of
ginger ice cream, among other things. the ice cream (reed's) was a mild vanilla with bits of crystallized ginger throughout. the details of how this master plan came together escape me. it was all probably part of their incredible foresight but all i can remember is how we effortlessy combined the ice cream, some bourbon and gingerale for a delciously yummy beverage and dessert. just be careful about throwing them back too quickly...

Monday, January 18, 2010

baked eggs with kale (december csa)

i had promised my csa pickup partner (you try carrying 15-20 pounds of goods by yourself in the freezing cold, it ain't fun) brunch as a thanks for helping out. as i was searching for a dish that would celebrate the fresh bounty, i came across baked eggs.

one of my favorite csa items that i get are eggs. although the eggs from my farm aren't not currently certified organic, they are pastured and from free-range chickens that are grass-fed without hormones or antibiotics. once you try them, you won't go back to your standard supermarket fare, i promise. however, if you are trying to buy a better quality egg at the store instead of a local farmer's market, there are a variety of label factors and some really don't quite matter. i could go on and on about this as it really gets rather complicated but this article sums up some key differences nicely. and if anyone has some information to shed here, please, fire away.

we sauteed some kale with olive oil and garlic until it got soft, then placed it in the bottom of a ramekin, topped it with an egg, parmesean cheese, salt and pepper and baked in the oven at 375 degrees until white of the egg set. the part that got me was making sure the whites of the eggs were cooked without overcooking the yolks. with these amazing farm fresh guys, the last thing you want is rubbery, overcooked eggs. you can really throw anything in here with the guarantee that it will be delicious!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

dried goodies from the golden state

i gotta say, there is one big thing i miss about living in southern california: produce come winter time. now, the csa has really brought up my produce standards and made me generally a much happier veggie and fruit munching person but here we are again: january.

when i was in santa monica the other week, i made it to the wednesday farmer's market (really, it's not to be missed). i say wednesday because there are multiple farmer's markets in santa monica all week long but this one is really la
crème de la crème. lucky for me, i was there during peak persimmon season. although i didn't bring fresh ones back with me to ny, thanks to a gift from a lovely friend and my mom's willingness to give up said lovely gift, i found myself with some amazing freshly dried persimmons to bring home, as well as some other dried goodies. we're talking seriously high-quality (aka seriously expensive) items here. in addition to the remarkably sweet and flavorful dried persimmons, i had dried heirloom tomatoes and dried strawberries. dried whole, without any added sugar, the strawberries were like a sweet summer explosion in your mouth. the truth is that all of these things were so delicious, it was hard to imagine not snacking on them plain. however, it was the tomatoes that were really hounding me. i'm not usually one for dried tomatoes but i really wanted to incorporate these into something. it was hard to believe that their sweet concentrated flavor wouldn't benefit whatever they were cooked/mixed into.

while at the market, in between her fights with people that "no, they could not taste a dried perssimon, they cost $3 a piece!" i talked to the "fruit lady" about what one actually does with these amazingly precious tomatoes. after all, i didn't want to ruin the things by cooking them if i shouldn't. she explained a simple recipe: slice zucchini very thin and let it sit with some salt and lemon juice. the squash will sort of "cook" itself while marinating. then top the squash with the tomatoes, basil, olive oil and some garlic.

i went with yellow squash (the store was out of zucchini), parsley (i had some from the csa at home in the freezer) and couldn't help topping the mix with some parmesan cheese. i also let the garlic slowly saute in some olive oil on the stove, then briefly added the squash to the pan to warm it through, before mixing everything together. i placed the mixture on top of a bed of quinoa. yum yum yum. it doesn't get better (not to mention healthier) than this!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

butternut squash with frozen yogurt (december csa)

i had a butternut squash i had promised to cook. it was one of those situations where i just needed to get it done to have the thing on hand and ready to eat. however, given that the baking time for these things is about an hour, i wasn't planning on consuming the thing for dinner right after i finished cooking it. after getting home from work and having a somewhat unsatisfying makeshift dinner while the squash was in the oven (i have no clue what it was), i decided it would be a shame not to enjoy some of my freshly baked treat. i was also feeling eager since it was the first time i had ever actually cooked a butternut squash but since i had already technically eaten, my thoughts were on dessert. 9 times out of 10 this means frozen yogurt. why not? so i finished off some of the baking time by topping the squash off with brown sugar. then i sliced some of it over plain frozen yogurt and drizzled with some maple syrup. and it sure worked. think of a more mild, less sweet version of a pumpkin based dessert. it really isn't all that unusual. i'm not sure how using a sweet frozen yogurt would work here, the tartness of the plain one i used really let the sweetness of the squash and maple syrup come through.

baked butternut squash
  • cut squash in half, place in baking dish flesh side down with a small amount of water and cook for about 60 minutes, or until soft. if you like, you can flip the squash when you have 15 minutes left and season as desired (in my case this was olive oil, salt and pepper on half and brown sugar on the other).

Saturday, January 9, 2010

kogi inspired tacos (december csa)

what's a person to do with an entire savoy cabbage? make a spicy cabbage slaw, i say! but before we get ahead of ourselves here, let me back up a few steps.

i finally made it to the famed kogi taco truck on a recent la visit. and it was good. but you'll notice that it didn't quite make it on the blog. it's not because i didn't deem it blog-worthy, it's just that i was much more motivated by the kogi inspired recipe from serious eats. i had filed it away after first reading it, with plans to attempt it when the time was right. yes, you guessed it. december csa, 1 cabbage, and 1 serious eats recipe calling for said cabbage. so i made it. and it was deeeelicious. and even more delicious because i made it myself and EVEN MORE delicious because i got to enjoy leftovers for lunch all week long. i cook in big batches, ok?

kogi-inpsired almost bulgogi tacos with spicy slaw
adapted from serious eats (originally publishes by lillian cho, chile pepper magazine july 2009)

for the meat or meat-substitute
  • 2 tblspns soy sauce
  • 2 tspns sesame oil
  • 2 tspns crushed garlic
  • 1 tblspn brown sugar
  • 1 tblspn mirin
  • 1/2 tspn black pepper
  • 1 pound meat of choice (original recipe calls for ground beef, i used chicken breast cutlets instead but imagine this would also be delicious with tofu or portobello mushrooms)
  • 1 thinly sliced onion
  • 2 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
for the slaw
  • 1 pound chinese, red or napa cabbage, thinly sliced (i used my savoy cabbage)
  • 1 tblspn salt
  • 2 tblspns fish sauce
  • 2 tblspns white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tspns korean chile flakes or hot red pepper flakes (i used way less and it still came out significantly spicy)
  • 1 tspn crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tspn crushed ginger
  • 1 tspn sugar
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tspn sesame seeds
  • tortillas, for serving
  • sprinkle the salt on the cabbage and toss. let stand for 20 minutes.
  • in a large mixing bowl, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, brown sugar, mirin and black pepper, and whisk. add the meat (or meat-substitute), onions and scallions then mix gently until the sauce is incorporated into the meat.
  • for the slaw, mix the fish sauce, vinegar, chili flakes, garlic, ginger, sugar, scallions and sesame seeds in a bowl.
  • bring a pan to medium-high heat, and cook the meat until done and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • rinse the cabbage under cold water, then squeeze the excess water out. in a bowl, toss the cabbage with the fish sauce mixture until well-coated.
  • to assemble, spoon the meat down the center of each tortilla, and top with slaw.

Monday, January 4, 2010

winter csa: december

winter csa, everyone! once a month pickups of veggies and eggs. the first pickup (january) consisted of the following:

1. the bounty
  • 1 bunch bok choy
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1 head savoy cabbage
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 7 pounds potatoes
  • 1 daikon radish
  • 1 lb broccoli shoots
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 large butternut squash
2. cost analysis (comparison costs courtesy of freshdirect except where otherwise indicated):

  • bok choy: $2.50 (csa estimate)
  • arugula: $2.50 (csa estimate)
  • savoy cabbage: $4 (organic)
  • broccoli: $4 (organic)
  • kale: $3 (organic)
  • cilantro: $2.50 (organic)
  • potatoes: $14 (organic)
  • daikon: $2.50 (organic not available)
  • broccoli shoots: $3 (csa estimate)
  • garlic: $2 (csa estimate)
  • eggs: $5 (farm price)
  • butternut squash: $7 (organic)
= $52.00
actual csa cost per week = $45

with 7 pounds of potatoes, how could i not come out ahead? (and they were all made into latkes, in case you were wondering)