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Goal for this weekend... Lavender Bread

February 9th, 2006 (02:50 pm)

I want to cook with lavender. I want to bake bread. I have never done either. It's an adventure!

I had a lavender bread when I went here with my dad. It was one of the best meals I've ever had, and the lavender bread was the best part of it. I could have eaten an entire loaf. I made a pretty valiant effort, actually.

This recipe was found using the power of the Interweb and is from Gourmet magazine. I only hope that dried lavender will substitute well for fresh. I will use slightly less. Perhaps I should reconstitute the buds first? I will ask food_porn. They know all.

Romantic Lavender or Rosemary BreadCollapse )

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(no subject)

February 8th, 2006 (09:29 am)

So last night, before I went out to the Vid with psychopeg, zenmasterzeno, tuanda13, et al., I stuck some pinto beans and ham hocks in the (terrifying, thirty-year-old, avocado green) crock pot that Mom gave me. Please note that the pork products are largely for seasoning. My mother looked at me like I was playing "Dueling Banjos" with my feet, in overalls with no shirt, when I asked her where she thought they might be in the grocery store. Say what you will. Those things make stuff taste good.

The beans also got some chili powder, cumin, and seasoned salt. I somehow forgot to add onions, but I always eat around them anyway. I gave it a stir, left it on "High," reminded myself that I really need renter's insurance, and returned three or four hours later, still a wee tipsy and singing Prince to myself, to find that all was as it should be: my apartment smelled salty and hammy and delicious, the beans were just done.

A side note: I am far from a chronic worrier or an insomniac, but I like to know what I'm having for lunch tomorrow. I don't always make lunches the night before, but I make sure that I'm going to have something to bring. I don't like missing meals, and I don't like paying for lunch when I could have had something better at home.

And lo, there was only one logical thing to do at one a.m. on a Wednesday: make cornbread to go with the beans for lunch tomorrow. I used the box Jiffy mix, which makes perfectly cromulent corn muffins, and sprinkled the top with freshly grated parmesan and some more seasoned salt. I also seriously considered staying up to watch last week's episode of the Gilmore Girls, but it was not to be. I did dishes while the muffins baked, then ate one before falling into bed and creating a submission for 2tired2finish, because I am cool.

The beans and cornbread got packed today with a salad and a pear. Yum. O.

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Black Rice Salad, Chopski, and Tabbouleh

February 7th, 2006 (04:17 pm)

Three salads... because I miss summer.

OneCollapse )

TwoCollapse )

ThreeCollapse )

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February 7th, 2006 (03:05 pm)

From pontiuspilates.

3 cups rolled oats (not instant!)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup coconut
2 cups nuts
1/4 cup molasses, honey, or maple syrup
1/4 cup oil
dash of vanilla
3/4 tsp. salt
nutmeg, cinnamon to taste
1 cup raisins or dried fruits

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Mix oats, brown sugar, coconut, spices, and nuts in a large bowl. Mix oil, molasses, vanilla, and salt in smaller bowl. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Spread on ungreased baking sheets and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes with a fork so that the mixture browns evenly. Remove from oven, mix in dried fruits. Cool. Store unrefrigerated in airtight container, remains good for at least a week or two.

This recipe works really well for me because you've got the nuts for fat and protein, the oats are complex carbs (and also really high in fiber and therefore filling), and the dried fruits give you just enough of a sugar boost.

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For breakfast tomorrow?

February 7th, 2006 (12:57 pm)

from lizzymommy

I've done it with steel-cut oats, I've omitted the butter, I've omitted the brown sugar, I've sub'd apricots for the apples or the raisins, I usually leave out the walnuts, as that's more calories than I need in the morning, and I've sub'd part water for some of the milk, or just flat out added water.

Very versatile. :)

Crockpot Fruited Oatmeal
4 servings

2 cups milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup chopped apples
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Grease the inside of the crockpot. I use a quick spray of pam.
Put all ingredients and mix with a whisk.
Just before going to bed, turn the crockpot on low.
The cereal will be ready in the morning.

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Taking Lunch

February 7th, 2006 (09:27 am)
Tags: , , ,

I've been taking a lot of pleasure lately in planning and packing my lunches for work. Today's lunch is:

-a pear
-Strained yogurt with honey
-leftover mixed greens salad with carrots and sliced mushrooms (forgot the dressing, though, so I might save this for dinner)
-Kashi TLC crackers

Beat that, Wendy's. Peanut butter sandwiches, tangerines, oatmeal with honey, hummus and pita, bruschetta, leftover soup, leftovers from dinner the night before, black beans, milk, and cheese and crackers with blackberry jam all make frequent appearances in my lunch box.

On the days when I don't have time to pack my lunch, or maybe I'm at Ed's and can't find anything edible in his kitchen, I tend to get this cheesy bean and rice burrito thing from Taco Bell with no cheese sauce and extra tomatoes. It's relatively healthy, keeps me full, and, most importantly, is 99 cents.

What do you pack for lunch? When you have to eat out, where do you go and what do you get?

ETA: Since I forgot my salad dressing today, I was digging around the condiment drawer at work and discovered that a packet of honey mixed with a packet of hot sauce makes a perfectly cromulent dressing for spinachy salads! Huzzah!

Also: who wants to buy me one of these?

*starts bento jar*
*puts it next to Bloomingfoods jar*
*and Atlanta jar*

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Taqueria Guacamole

February 6th, 2006 (02:10 pm)

An example of why my relationship with Rachael Ray is so conflicted. She's a little annoying, has no formal chef's training, and seems on the edge of a severe emotional breakdown 80 percent of the time. But she's also completely guileless (she once said, "Let's just sit here and have a cup of coffee while Chef Roy tosses my salad" on $40 a Day without cracking a smile), has great tasting instincts, and presents simple, fresh recipes that just can't go wrong. This is my take on her Taqueria Guacamole, adjusted to my taste. I like to bring the processed ingredients to parties, buy the avocados on the way, borrow a bowl, a knife, and a fork, and make it there, since this is best when it's absolutely fresh. Get a friend to bring the chips.

2 ripe avocados
1 lime
1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 medium fresh jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
Coarse salt

Halve avocados lengthwise around pit. Remove pit with a large spoon, then scoop out flesh into a bowl. Roll the lime on the countertop, slice in half, and squeeze the lime juice into bowl, catching seeds with the opposite hand. Mash avocado and juice to desired consistency, then fold in tomato, onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Season guacamole with salt, to taste.

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Turbo Hummus

February 6th, 2006 (12:26 pm)

This tahini-free hummus recipe from A.B. is great for parties and snacks, but I recommend that you take it easy on both the garlic and the peanut butter, as both can be overpowering, and I tend to use less olive oil (more like 1/4 cup). It took me a few tries to get that the idea is for this to taste like hummus, not like peanut-butter-flavored hummus. I have used dried parsley (a rounded teaspoon crushed in hand) and bottled lemon juice, but as always, it's best to use fresh. It's also delicious if the garlic is roasted.

2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and liquid reserved
2 to 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
A handful fresh parsley leaves
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Pinch kosher salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Chop the garlic finely in a food processor. Add the beans and 1/2 of the reserved liquid and process finely or to desired consistency. Add the peanut butter, parsley, lemon zest and juice, black pepper, and salt. Process until it forms a paste. Drizzle in the olive oil and process until it reaches the consistency of mayonnaise.

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Banana Bread

February 6th, 2006 (11:38 am)

I feel like gaining a (gas!) kitchen of my own and a largish grocery budget more than justify the creation of a journal just for food-related pursuits. I hope to make this page a depository for pictures, recipes, notes for myself and others, and an all-around learning tool. For my first entry, I will discuss... leavening!

The other night, I got a hankering to do some baking. My go-to baked good is usually banana bread, because it is delicious, cheap, easy to adjust for different tastes (spicy! bland! green! soft! vanilla! nuts! raisins! cloves!), and is easily distributed among my friends, so I don't end up eating it all myself. In my newly-stocked kitchen, however, I was missing the baking powder required to prepare my favorite tried recipe. As I always do when I want to make some comfort food, I dusted off one of my many church cookbooks--compilations of favorite recipes from old women who cook on little money for large families--, knowing I would find at least three variations on the tea bread. There were five.

I was hoping to find one leavened with baking soda and salt, and I did, but it also called for sour cream, which was mixed with the soda and allowed to rise. BUH?

I substituted plain, fat-free yogurt (I've found this almost always substitutes beautifully. Does anyone know of any exceptions?) for the sour cream, mixed it with the baking soda, and was surprised to find that in three or four minutes, it almost doubled in volume and took on a light, foamy sweetness, almost like meringue. I fully plan on utilizing this as a snack food with honey and fruit, but for the time being, I folded it into the otherwise-standard banana bread batter, poured the mixture into the buttered-and-floured pan, and popped it in the toaster oven, which took only about ten minutes longer than a conventional oven to bake the bread, replacing the smell of new carpet with the smell of love.

My oven is a gas oven, and I cannot figure out how/where to light the pilot. I feel like a prize idiot, but I am not going to go poking a lit match at my carbon-monoxide-spewing kitchen appliances, so I think I am going to have to swallow my pride and call the landlord. In the meantime, however, the toaster oven is working beautifully!

More later, I think. I want to write about the vegan feast I made on Saturday night for friends.

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