Category Archives: veggies

Galumpkis, Low Carb – High flavor

Tomorrow starts round two of my hubz and my diet which means no carbs. i.e. no sugar, no fruit, no pasta, no potatoes, no rice, breads, doughnuts, etc. So while today I eat all of the carbs as a sort of last hurrah (seriously, I made yeast doughnuts-glazed-and chocolate), I remembered this recipe I made a while back.

the mixin’s for galumpkis–not the cheese or wine, that was another thing.

Sometimes I get these urges to eat comfort food from other cultures. I love Korean or Vietnamese noodle dishes, Chinese hot pot, Samosas, just about anything caribbean or wrapped in a tortilla,  poatoe-y british and irish food, italian pasta-heavy dishes. Who doesn’t love anything warm and soothing? Its like not thinking puppies or kittens are cute.  Anyway, I have this plan to spend a day each weekend (when we have children and they are old enough to remember) to learn about and prepare a meal from a different culture. Just about every culture  has a comfort food, and I want to try each one. The challenge arises when you try to make those comforting foods healthy.

There happens to be a very amazing eastern european restaurant a block from my house and I have to keep myself from going once a week to get pierogis and german potato salad. A few months ago, I went for dinner and strayed from my normal choice to get cabbage rolls- or galumpkis (spelling changes depending on who you talk to). They blew my mind. I almost could not keep the conversation going they were so warm and delicious-  and even in the middle of August, they were a welcome warm treat. A few weeks ago I was salivating over the memory of them and decided I can make my own, but healthier and without all of the carbs, so the hubz can eat it. This switches out the heavier ground pork or beef for ground turkey, white rice switches out for riced cauliflower, and breadcrumbs are switched for a mix of soy flour and almond meal. They were almost as good and definitely as satisfying. You can only eat about 2 of these for a meal. 3 if you are starving. 4 and I think your belly explodes- Monty Python style.

The making of these is a little time consuming, so make sure sure you have a few hours to devote to this. However, you will have lunch/ dinner for the week or its good for a dinner party/pot luck. You will need: head of cauliflower, a head of cabbage (mine was the size of a baby), ground turkey, unsweetened evaporated milk-low fat or light if possible or you can sub milk I guess, a 32 oz can of tomato sauce, and the rest you should probably have in your pantry or fridge.

Lets get to it!

First, put on a large stock pot filled about 2/3 the way with water to boil. Core your cabbage, remove the outer leaves if they are damaged or icky. While you are waiting for the water to boil, rice the cauliflower by chopping it fine or grating it in your food processor. Pour half of the can of evaporated milk along with salt and pepper to taste over about 2 cups of the riced cauliflower, then chicken stock to just cover the cauliflower. Microwave on high for 7-10 minutes, until the cauliflower is just cooked.

By now the water in your stock pot should be boiling or just about as hot as you need to work on some cabbage leaves. Carefully, dunk the cabbage into the water and after about a minute, the outer two leaves can be carefully peeled off and soft enough to fold without cracking. The leaves should become slightly translucent when they are done. Once you have about 15-18 leaves, you can save the rest of the cabbage for another project, and then begin to mix the filling.

Saute about half an onion chopped with 2-3 minced cloves of garlic. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, mix one pound of lean ground turkey with the sauteed onion and garlic, one egg, a tablespoon of parsley. Drain the liquid from the cauliflower and add it to the mix with about a tsp of salt and pepper to taste. Then add 1/2 c of soy flour or almond meal (or a mix of both), until it forms a tacky mixture.

Lay out one cabbage leaf, put in about 1/2 cup of the mixture in the center and roll up like a burrito. Repeat until all of the mixture is used.

1. Put filling on the cabbage leaf

2. Fold over the top

3. fold in sides and begin to roll

4. Roll tightly to meet the edge of the leaf. Trim excess as needed

Line a roasting pan with cabbage leaves and spread about 1/2 c of tomato sauce in the bottom.

Nestle rolls in cabbage lined pan

Lay the cabbage rolls in the pan until they are snug as a bug in a rug. Cover with the remaining tomato sauce and bake for 45 min to an hour at 350 degrees or until the filling has firmed and the outer cabbage is tender. Serve warm while you are wrapped in a blanket.

Presentation was not everything, sorry, I actually added the left over stock and evaporated milk mixture used to steam the cauliflower into the tomato sauce in an attempt to make something creamy and tomato-ey but obviously, that didn’t work out. so don’t do that. let the tomatoes do the saucing. I learned that the hard way. It still tasted awesome!

These rolls are so filling and delicious the carbs are not even necessary here. Try it. love it. I bet you will.
I’ll be posting more low-carb recipes as the diet progresses, but I promise that I wont post anything that the average carb-eater wouldn’t like. Pinkie swear.

-Stine

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Cannin’ Carrots

Big ol’ bowl of carrots.

So say Crafstine sees you coming home from work and says, “Uh. Hey. I have a lot of carrots? Do you want some to pickle? I ran out of quart jars….” you say HELL YES. Have you ever had spicy pickled carrots? NOW YOU WILL.

This recipe made 6 quarts of carrots and we used Sherri’s recipe from Put ‘Em Up! Another blogger used Sherri’s recipe with a larger volume since she was also doing quarts, which helped us out a lot. Here’s the blog post!  Let’s Go!!!!

 

10 cups Distilled white vinegar
3 cups Sugar
7 Tablespoons Salt
4 Jalapenos, sliced (or cherry peppers…or both? or any other spicy delicious pepper)
8 – 10 Garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes

 

We didn’t end up using red pepper flakes because we had some seriously spicy peppers. To start out, prepare your jars. My stove is ANCIENT and takes A LONG TIME so this is all about time management for me. I start the jars before I do anything with the produce that I’m processing. Once you get your jars going in the hot water bath to sterilize them, prepare your jar fixin’s.

 

Peppers and garlic. WASH YOUR HANDS IMMEDIATELY/DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES.

 

Start your brine! Put the water, vinegar, and salt into a pot and bring up to a boil. Once it’s boiling, you can either simmer it until the jars are done, or if you timed it juuuusttt riiiight you can just pour it right into the jars!

Once your jars are good to go, about ten minutes in the bath, take them out and start packin’. I’m not sure how many pounds of carrots we used, since Crafstine had THE BIGGEST BOWL EVER, but we didn’t even use the entire bowl that was shown -we probably used 3/4 of the bowl. Put the peppers and garlic in, the carrots can be packed in as much as you can fit, and then pour the brine over the carrots. Headspace should probably be around 1/2 an inch, because as the carrots move around and release their own fluids, the liquid covers enough. Heat up some lids in some hot water to activate the seal and sterilize the rings, and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

 

 

Enjoy these with sandwiches! Burgers! On hot dogs! Straight out of the jar! I hope you enjoy these, as these are probably my favorite pickle.

 

Stay cool while canning! With the stove on for hours it gets brutal in the kitchen.

Until next time!

-megz

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Veggie Burgers…with Bacon.

So, maybe your boyfriend (or girlfriend) is really good at making burgers. I mean REALLY good at making burgers. And maybe that significant other gets kind of upset when you suggest that you want to make homemade veggie burgers.

 

WHYYYYYY?? ISN’T THAT SOMETHING YOU CAN DO WITH CRAFSTINE?????”


Well, I didn’t do it with Crafstine because she’s busy working on her final grad paper (I should be too, but instead I’m making veggie burgers….hahahahahaa….wahhh….) but the boyf is gone for the weekend, so I had the opportunity to make them without him whining every second about how I’ll never want to eat one of his burgers again (I do!!!!).

I got this recipe from 101 Cookbooks. I made a few changes, however. I left out the sprouts and the lemon zest (because I didn’t have them) and added a piiiinch of cayenne. I’ll add more next time, because I didn’t really get a kick. Those were the only changes I made, and I followed the cooking procedure to a T.

Not shown: breadcrumbs, eggs, and toppings. I added guacamole, tomato, and bacon. 

I was also hungry so I made the patties much bigger. I got  8 patties out of the mixture, since I made them bigger. And I didn’t have bread either! So I used two patties as bread and put the “toppings” in the middle. ….I’m a fatty? I was hungry!!!

tadaaaaa!

I highly recommend Heidi’s recipe for these burgers. They were delicious, although a bit messy, but isn’t that the fun of eating? You know, like chicken wings.

 

-megz

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Just Beet It

I volunteered, like the sucker I am, to bake dessert for a charity dinner for Youth Organics. Here was my thought process, ” The program grows vegetables,  some people like vegetables, people like desserts more, MAKE A DESSERT WITH VEGETABLES!!!” Originally I had planned to make either tiny carrot souffles with a golden raisin honey glaze, OR use JTB’s (joy the baker’s) recipe for chocolate beet cake. That turned out to be a great idea because the beets were free.  You can find her cake recipe here which I followed, but had to double because of all of the people coming.

The only thing I would recommend is to cook the beets a day before. Cook them, peel them, then chop them in the food processor and let them cool in the fridge. My beets ranged in size from two giants to tiny baby beets. You need about two-three medium beets for a cake, With my two giants and maybe one or two tiny guys, I had more than enough.

Beet Fun Fact: Beets have a greater sugar content than any other root vegetable. You’re welcome.

The frosting is where I used my voodoo. I thought, hey, what goes well with chocolate? EVERYTHING? Yes, that’s true. But what fruity, vegetably, thing goes awesome with it? Hmmmm, Raspberries? Yes. That’s happening. So a package of frozen raspberries later, and we are in business.

First for the raspberry syrup, (oh and you’re going to want to leave out the cream cheese and butter at this point so it can all soften up)

12 oz package of raspberries, frozen

½ c sugar

½ c water

Maybe a ¼ tsp of citrus zest, if you want a little freshness. Lemon zest would be great, Lime, even better for a cosmo-type flavor. Orange is also good. Get crazy and throw some pumelo zest in there, who cares, its your world.

Put all of these into a saucepan and let simmer, stirring, for about 5 or so minutes, until the raspberries break down and you have a seedy berry slurry. This step you can do now, or wait till the end, but I guarantee you will be happy you did it now. Turn off the heat on the sauce and strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove all of the seeds and other bits. Since the sauce is runny, it will pass through easier when it is thinner. Smush (technical term) all of the syrup you can out of the seed part and return it to the saucepan. Add the zest here. Turn this on medium to low, medium if you are watching it and stirring regularly, low if you want to pull a set it and forget it situation. Now once it has thickened and reduced in volume, turn off the heat, let it cool to room temp and continue with these steps.

For the frosting: (again I doubled this for the event, so with the excess raspberry syrup, you might have a more intense flavor and color. If you want it lighter and less punch-in-the-face-berry flavor, use the syrup to taste)

1 brick of cream cheese- 8oz

1 stick of butter- 4oz

Raspberry syrup, from above

Lots of powdered sugar.. lets say 4 cups at least

1tsp vanilla extract, if you want, not necessary especially if you got zesty earlier

Cream the cream cheese in your bowl, until it is smooth, add the butter, cream those together. Add the syrup, let that get incorporated, then begin to add the sugar, in ½ cup increments until smooth and the consistency you want in your frosting. Add more powdered sugar if needed, you want it to stand up in the center layers. I also refrigerated mine while I was baking the cakes.

After the cakes are baked and cooled, slap that frosting on, and refrigerate if needed. Then slice and serve

Dwight Shrute would be so proud.
Until next time, beets, bears, and battlestar galactica

-stine

Salmon Night!

HELLO EVERYONE. The other night I made this dish that I got from my Epicurious app that was originally from Self magazine? I don’t know. It had a lot of extra steps that were completely unnecessary. After realizing that the recipe called for me to use SO MANY PANS and not combining anything until the plating, I decided to change the recipe to make it simpler. Let’s go!

It’s originally called coconut spinach snapper. I used salmon instead.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

2 salmon…steaks?

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1/2 cup diced onion

1 can light coconut milk

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tsp soy sauce

1 splash of hot sauce (I used Franks)

4 plum tomatoes, diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 bag of spinach, washed but not dried

1 cup of basmati rice, cooked (I used brown basmati rice)

lime juice, to taste

salt and pepper

 

So! In a large skillet, heat the oil. Season the fish with salt and pepper and place the fish with the skin side up in the pan once it’s hot. The fish will go back into the pan after we cook the other stuff, so give the fish probably 2 minutes (in a really hot skillet) per side. I’m not even sure if you’re supposed to put the skin side down when cooking salmon, but I did and it was fine.

Once you have pre-cooked the salmon, remove from the pan and add your aromatics. These guys are the onions, garlic, and the ginger. Let those guys soften and then add the peppers, tomatoes, and lime juice to taste (I just used half a lime). Once these soften a bit, then you can add the coconut milk, hot sauce, and soy sauce.

I also added the cilantro at this time, because I have cilantro frozen into cubes in the freezer (so the water would have to melt). Bring that to a boil, add the salmon, and then reduce to a simmer. Then add the spinach. 

Once the spinach wilts, and the salmon is flakey, you can take it out. I served this on top of brown rice, which I made throughout the process of making this dish. It was super easy and relatively quick! Most importantly, it was DELICIOUS.

 

Until next time!

–megz

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PIZZAPIZZAPIZZA

Hey guys,

It’s been kind of quiet around here! I know school has kicked back in, and that’s my main reason for not posting as frequently as I would like. Lately, my life has looked like this:

 So yeah. That’s my internship computer, filled with PDFs and highlighted text about….instant messaging. What is my life?

Anyway, so yeah, lately I’ve been eating things that I would totally be into blogging about, but realize mid-bite that I didn’t take ANY pictures and am too tired to blog. School be damned!

Here’s my pizza dough recipe. I wrote in my response to the survey that my favorite thing to make (or was it eat?) was pizza. HOLY CRAP I love pizza. This is based on joy the baker’s recipe (you guys also love her, right??), but I add more herbs and do more with the yeast.

1 teaspoon of rapid rise yeast

1 cup of warm water

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (I’ve tried using more, but then the dough gets REALLY dense)

1 1/2 cups of AP flour

Honey

Olive Oil

Herbs! Crushed red pepper flakes! CURRY POWDER?

Put the teaspoon of yeast in the warm water and let sit while you put the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. You could totally do this by hand, which is so bad-ass, but I have no idea how to do it without a mixer, so good luck.

I also, with the flours, add herbs. My boyfriend REALLY likes oregano, so I put a lot of that in there (probably 2 tablespoons), and then about a tablespoon of basil and two teaspoons of thyme. This is where you can get creative! Last week, I made a thai chicken pizza, so I put curry powder. I will often times put crushed red pepper flakes in, but it depends on what’s going to be on top.

I then add a squeeze full of honey. This is probably around a tablespoon, but it depends on how sweet of a crust you want.

I then add olive oil. I make sure to pour the olive oil (around 2 tablespoons) onto the dough hook so it doesn’t get stick.

Then, I add the water, and turn that baby on! The mixer that is, although the yeasty water should be nice and foamy. I let the mixer knead the dough until it forms a ball at the bottom of the bowl like this:

Then, I don’t bother kneading it again. I do touch it to make sure that it’s not too sticky. It should be sticky, but if it gets stuck to your hands, keep kneading it and you’ll have to add more flour. I usually add it by the 1/4 cup full, but it varies depending upon how much olive oil was used/how humid it is.

After it’s ready to go, not too sticky, etc, take out the hook and cover it/keep it in a nice warm spot for at least an hour. 

I keep mine on the stove because it’s an old school gas stove that always has an open flame. And will eventually explode from a gas leak or something. Yeeeeahhh…it’s the perfect place for the dough, since it’s nice and toasty!

After 45 minutes, I pre-heat my pizza stone. I throw it in the oven and put it up to 400 degrees. It’s super important to let your pizza stone come to temperature in the oven at a gradual pace so it doesn’t crack (which is my worst nightmare!). After 15 minutes, take the stone out, put some flour on it so the dough doesn’t stick, and punch down your dough (which is SO satisfying). I typically can stretch it out just using my hands, but sometimes I need to use a rolling pin. No big deal. Once it’s stretched onto the stone, top it with whatever you fancy! Tonight’s was sausage and pepper….mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Oh yeah. That’s nice! 

So that’s that. ❤ PIZZA ❤

–megz

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Pad Thai..for the carb conscious

The cravings for carbs continue, and I have had a hankering for pad thai. I mean the kind you get from that sort of shady place, but it is so spicy and peanutty it is just amazing. Plus Ms. Nyssa sent me a recipe swap email that got my hunger for peanutty thai food goin’. Last night I was STARVING, and had vowed earlier to make a psudeo pad thai, and some-how some-way I came up with my own little twist like every single day…that I ate aggressively as soon as it was cool. Who am I kidding, I burnt my mouth. So on our way home, we visited this beyond sketchy Korean grocery store in Latham, right after the traffic circle, to get fish sauce because I was fresh out. Lo and behold, I found a beautiful replacement for noodles that was wonderful. I didn’t even miss the carbs!

This stuff above, was ridiculous! And I don’t even like tofu! Also the package says it has 3g carbs per serving, nah son, that’s with 2g of fiber, so 1g net carb B!!!! And at $1.59 per package..so worth it.

Anyway, I kind of vaguely followed a pad thai recipe but I made it up as I went along.
First make the peanutty sauce, this is the final thing to add but the longer it sits and the flavors come together, the better.

The sauce:
2 tbsp peanut butter- teddie brand is my new favorite, but its pricey
1 tbsp almond butter, I had it on hand and it was crunchy so you can just add more peanut butter if you dont have it
1 tbsp chopped peanuts
1 packet of Splenda/stevia/cancer sugar/ or if you must follow a recipe, it calls for 1 tbsp tamarind paste (it is mad carby so I figured some kind of sweetness is needed here)
1 tsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp Sriracha chili sauce
2 tsp lime juice, some zest if you are feeling zesty
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp of garlic juice- the stuff you get from the minced garlic jars, no biggie if you have to leave this out though
1/4 c soy sauce
1.5 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes
maybe a shake or two of ground coriander

whisk it all together and let it sit, your patience will be rewarded (shut it, Alton)

Then I marinated the shrimp, about a one pound package of uncooked, frozen, EZpeels makes more than enough for 3-4 people. These were 16-20 counts so they were plump little buggers. Also I just added stuff till it tasted right so these are rough estimates

Shrimp Marinade:
1 tsp honey- you can take it out if you dont want the extra carbs
2 tbsp Lime juice
1 tsp coriander
1 tbsp Sriracha Chili sauce
1.5 tbsp Fish sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp sesame oil
3tbsp soy sauce
few shakes of rice wine vinegar

Let those sit in the marinade for at least 15 min, longer is better.

In the meantime I browned some mushrooms and onions (1 c mushrooms and 1/2 c onions I think) in the pan with some vegetable oil and a drop or two of sesame oil, then added a cup or so (two handfuls) of shredded napa cabbage and a whole package of mung bean sprouts (save some for crunchies and garnish if you are fancy!). originally I was going to use these as a replacement for the noodles, once they were cooked and in the sauce I couldn’t tell what was sprout and what was noodle anyway.

Once the sprouts and cabbage are semi-cooked- they look more translucent than they were- add the noodles to the pan and sautee only until they are heated. The noodles are pre-cooked so they don’t need much time at all, just need to warm up. in the last few minutes, crack an egg or two in there, and scramble it up. Take all of these things out of the pan and set aside in a bowl.

Put shrimp in the pan, and sautee until just undercooked than add everyone back into the pan, let them all come up to temperature then, the most fun part, dump the sauce over it! toss it around and make sure everything gets coated with the nutty goodness. Then plate it! Garnish with plenty of chopped scallions, cilantro and some of those bean sprouts if you managed to save them.

Voila, craving complete, and without all the carb’ers-remorse. There weren’t any pics of this, but that is because it was thrown in a bowl when it was done (for hunger situation, see above) and I didn’t have the patience to take a pretty picture. Trust, it was good.

-Stine

thekitchn’s braised greens with chick peas

So last night, I mentioned that I would be making/reviewing thekitchn’s braised greens with chick peas, and BOY OH BOY, I am so glad I did. I changed a few things (surprise) and it was amaaaaazing! Here’s the original recipe: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-braised-coconut-spinach-chickpeas-with-lemon-164551

All the ingredients! Not shown: onion and wine.

My ingredient list:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 small onion

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

A splash! of white wine (probably a tablespoon)

3 shakes/dashes of red pepper flakes

1 15 ounce can of chick peas, drained and rinsed

1 can of coconut milk (I used light)

1 teaspoon ground ginger (I just used fresh again at the end to brighten up everything)

salt and pepper to taste

Whole, roasted sweet potatoes (depending on how many you are serving/if you want to prepare leftovers)

Okay, there’s all the ingredients. Before I began chopping and everything, I scrubbed some sweet potatoes and threw them in the oven at 400 degrees while I prepared the rest.

I sautéed the chopped onion in oil, as per the directions state. Then added THREE shakes of red pepper flakes, and the four garlic cloves (Don’t anyone bust my chops about the garlic press. I can hear Anthony Bourdain cursing me out already, but anytime I touch garlic, my hands smell like it for DAYS).

I added the tomatoes after the onions softened and grated fresh ginger (totaling 1 TBSP). At this point, everyone was getting pretty sticky in the pot. I sort of panicked? And added a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan, but also create the needed acidic notes that I knew the dish should have. Since I added the wine, I didn’t add lemon juice. At the point, I also added the chick peas, after I drained/rinsed them.

WHERE DID ALL OF THE TOMATOES AND CHICK PEAS GO?

Anyway, I also used kale instead of spinach, so I added that earlier in the cooking process so it could cook down. I didn’t use my entire bag of kale (which was a pound), because kale is precious to me and I need to make more smoothies. I used almost the entire bag though, about 4 huge handfuls. I then added the can of coconut milk (mine was only 13.5 ounces?) and more freshly grated ginger. I lowered the temperature, but put the lid on the pot so the kale could soften/steam? faster.

As you can see, the kale cooked down quite a bit. Once the kale softened and cooked down, the sweet potatoes were ready to come out.

WHERE DID THE SWEET POTATO GO?

Oh, the sweet potato is in there. I loaded everything on top of it and proceeded to eat. I didn’t garnish it with toasted coconut or anything like the original recipe suggested, but it was incredible. Since I bought a 3lb bag of sweet potatoes at BJ’s, and a pound of washed/cut kale is $1.99 there, I can see me making this for us about once every two weeks…if not more frequently. I was going to have these leftovers over leftover couscous, but I “accidentally forgot” that we had the leftovers…(really, I just love any potato product and would rather eat potatoes than anything else, including couscous which I also love).

I know that the dish is supposed to be bright and tangy, and I think the wine accomplished that, because there was a slight tang to it (from the sun-dried tomatoes also). Next time, I will be sure to have a lemon to complete the dish with the zest and juice.

–megz

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101 Cookbooks Gougères Recipe

Hey guys! Do you like cheesey, beery, poofy bread things? Then I suggest you head over to http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/gougares-recipe.html to get the recipe. I literally followed it to a T, so I feel like it would be silly to re-write the entire thing. I did, however, make some small changes (okayokayokay, I didn’t follow it to a T, but VERY close).

Ooh, that cheese…

When looking at the recipe list and seeing that “ale” is listed, I asked my beer loving/brewing boyfriend, “WHAT IS ALE? DO WE HAVE ANY?” Turns out, his winter warmer (made with raisins!) is an ale, so I used that. I also didn’t put fennel seed in because, ew, licorice.

The finished product....and beer related stuff to be used for bottling his latest brew behind them! Beer things everywhere.

It was quite a process, but totally worth it. So delicious, and made a dozen. I’m currently storing them in a tupperware and plan on re-heating them in the oven. I served them with….

 

Roasted squash, bacon, and kale over spaghetti.

This recipe I got from thekitchn. Here’s the link: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-pasta-wi-1-15183. I changed a few things with this recipe as well and used acorn squash instead of delicata squash. These two things together made quite the evening for me. I roasted the squash while baking the gougères, and while those guys were doing their thing, caramelized the onions/cooked bacon (instead of pancetta), and got the pasta started. In the future, I probably will just cut slices of onion and let them roast with the squash. Before serving, I splashed some more balsamic vinegar on the spaghetti as I was tossing everything around. The pasta gets a little dry, so you may need to freshen up leftovers with some olive oil.

In conclusion, I like my carbs served with my carbs. With more carbs inside of said carbs. Both of these, while extremely time consuming, were awesome. I would highly recommend them. Thekitchn has been killing it lately with recipes that I WANT TO EAT and tomorrow I’ll be making a sautéed kale/chick pea in coconut milk dish that was on their site within this past week. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

 

–megz

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Let’s talk tofu.

Yes. I said tofu. I know, I know. I have had many tofu misadventures. I tried the old press and marinate. I’ve tried to use the little cubes in salad. I swore tofu off as my mortal enemy. My boyfriend’s lovely vegan sister, Meridith, changed my tofu hating ways forever with one delicious stir fry. The secret really is in the press. Since, most of us non-vegans don’t own a tofu press (we bought one for Meridith and she swears it is amazing) there is a tofu brand out there that is seriously superior and delicious, more on that later.

Full disclosure, I am on a diet. Not the best time to start writing for a food blog, I know. I have never been a “dieter” but months of baking and not working out have finally caught up with me. Turns out I can’t get away with things I could when I was 18. Go figure. This diet means no sugar, little oil (basically none), lots of veggies, lots of fruit, lots of protein, and NO. DAIRY. If you knew me, the girl who was spending 20 dollars a week on cheese while paying her way through college, you’d know that this is insane. I love cheese. All kinds of cheese. I would eat cheese for every meal.  I have had some seriously manic moments which include fantasizing about making a quesadilla whilst furiously shoveling alfalfa sprouts into my mouth, and looking at a chocolate cake recipe and realizing I have all the ingredients to make it and could probably eat the whole thing before anyone would know that said cake existed. Despite those few, crazy person moments this dietary change has been pretty easy-going thus far. I don’t miss the dairy like I thought I would. It’s a good thing I love vegetables. I’ve been eating more tofu because I have to eat lean meats and I’m sort of getting sick of chicken. I only eat fish once a week –damn mercury– and I’ve been trying to cut out my precious red meat –mmmm steak– for  a while, naturally tofu was the next step in supplementing protein.

Enough about that, let us look at some food!

Onions, Mushrooms, SPROUTS!, Tofu, Broccoli, Carrots, and watermelon radishes.

This was my lunch today before it met its soy saucey fate in my cast iron skillet. It’s a pretty quick, easy, and delicious meal. I usually choose whatever vegetables I have around that go well together. These are the usual suspects: sweet onions, cremini mushrooms, alfalfa and dill sprouts (added at the end), broccoli, carrots and watermelon radishes. The trick is to put the tofu in first, usually with some oil or soy sauce, to let it get some color and crisp up a bit. I use Soy Boy tofu, it’s SUPER firm and delicious. I like tofu lin the best but their smoked flavor is pretty tasty as well. I cooked the smoked tofu up like bacon once, I mean it didn’t taste like bacon, but it was delicious. ANYWAY, once you let the tofu get some color add the rest of the veggies and soy sauce and let that work over med-med low heat.

YAY!

Today I realized halfway through cooking that I have fresh ginger! DUH! Ginger is another former sworn enemy that I seriously love now. Maybe my taste buds are changing? Anyway I made a quick dice any and threw those guys in there.

Isn't that ceramic knife sexy? I hope it doesn't claim a finger tip someday!

This is also a good look at the label of the tofu I speak of. I swear they aren’t paying me (I’m looking at you Soy Boy). It really is the best tofu I’ve had. So here’s the finished product.

Top with sprouts and you're good to go.

Seriously delicious.

So since this is my first post I should complete the fun little survey the other gals completed. Sound good? Good.

1. My Favorite things to make are: Mostly baked goods and canned goods. I, too, made my own sourdough starter in the Fall of 2010. I like making pasta, sauces, desserts, pastries. Everything really.

2. My go-to recipes are found: I don’t typically follow a recipe to the letter (unless I’m canning or baking). My MO is usually to look at three or four recipes and make some franken-recipe. But my go to sources are usually Joy the Baker, Julia Child, Peter Reinhart, Lidia Bastianich, Alton Brown, Thomas Keller  and Michael Symon.

3. I would never use a recipe from: This is tough, I REALLY want to say Rachel Ray  because most of her recipes are ‘meh’ but I have to tell you her Penne alla Vodka recipe is pretty good. So, hmmmm, OH who’s that semi homemade lady? Sandra Lee? First Girlfriend of New York? Yeah that lady. No, thanks.

4. What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? I love, love, love my south-facing window. It has allowed me to keep fresh herbs through the winter. My oregano finally bit it but my basil and my Italian parsley are still going strong.

Oh hai! It's January and we're still alive!

5. What is your least favorite thing about you kitchen? I hate my oven/stove. It’s electric. Mama wants gas. It’s older than Dan (27). It’s an ugly beige. It’s matches the fridge. I not-so-secretly dream of owning a vintage gas stove. Dan and I were looking at a house ( built in 1900) that’s for sale and there was a GEM, I’m talking 1940s gas range, in the basement next to an old porcelain sink. The old woman who lived there before (RIP) canned in the basement. There is also a root cellar in said basement. I want this house. I digress.

6. What is your proudest moment in your recent culinary history? This is tough. Do I have to pick one? Top three? Okay. Last summer, Peter Reinhart’s Pizza Dough recipe. Do it. Seriously. Go look it up. Now. If I meet Peter Reinhart I will kiss him on the lips. With tongue. SO. GOOD.
Right before Christmas I was trying to think of a vegan friendly Christmas treat to send home with Dan. It hit me, orangettes. AKA chocolate covered candied orange peels. It was time-consuming but SO worth it. They were DELICIOUS.
One word. Gnocchi. The end.

7.  What is the biggest upset in your recent culinary history? Homemade whole wheat bread. I didn’t know you needed vital wheat gluten. Even with the wheat gluten I haven’t quite mastered this yet.

8. What is your favorite item in your kitchen? My wonderful Aunt Gail GAVE me her BRAND NEW Kitchen Aid Pro Series Stand mixer this summer. I almost died. It’s fancy. It’s nice. It makes my life easier and less messy. I also love my Le Cruset silicone balloon whisk (which was my mixer before my kitchen aid–ha ha), my silpat, ceramic knives, and my baking stone.

9. What is the oldest item in your kitchen? Hard to say. If I had to guess I’d say my vintage glass lidded canning jars.

10. What is the newest item in your kitchen? Oh man, Dan got me a set of ceramic knives for Christmas. They are SO, so nice. I’m going to lose a finger though. I know it.
My fantastic mother also bough me a dough knife. Thanks, Ma!

11. What is your favorite thing about cooking? I don’t know. I just LOVE it. I feel good. It feels like alchemy. Creating things feels great. It’s even better when other people enjoy the fruits of my labor. I hate cleaning up after though. Seriously, who can I get to clean up after I cook?

Sorry this is so long! Until next time.

xoxo- Kayla

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