February 19, 2011

I wasn’t sure what to do with my day until after I stepped outside this morning. Remember yesterday when it was 68 degrees? That was nice. Today it’s a cold and windy trash storm. Laundry and cooking it is.
For Christmas, my mom bought me these strange silicon baking pans from Flexipan. They’re bendy, non-stick and small enough to fit in my sad little convection oven. I decided on Gorgonzola and Fresh Herb muffins for this morning. As you can see from the picture, I wasn’t monitoring them as closely as I should have and the tops browned a little too much (hey! I was getting my laundry.) The original recipe recommends using ramekins, but I wanted something a bit more bitesize. 

Gorgonzola and Fresh Herb Muffins (adapted from Dalmatia Gourmande)1 cup whole milk3.5 oz fresh Gorgonzola cheese2 eggs4 Tbsp. butter1 cup plain flour + extra if needed1 clove garlic, finely grated2 pinches of salt1/2 teaspoon pepper, minced1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, finely minced (I used less)1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  If you’re using ramekins, brush with butter (I made smaller muffins.) In a pot, heat milk and butter until butter has melted.  Add finely chopped gorgonzola and heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add grated garlic, oregano, thyme, crushed pepper, salt & pepper.  Remove from heat (let it cool so that you don’t cook the eggs when you add them.) Stir in eggs and flour, mixing well.  If necessary, add more flour until mixture is slightly thick. 

Fill ramekins or muffin tin and bake for 30-40 mins.  Check the middle with a toothpick.

The silicone pan popped them out super easy. Even with the too-toasted tops, these were delicious and perfect for a lazy weekend brunch.I’m already preparing meal #2 today… sweet potato gnocchi with melted onion & parmasean broth and crispy sage. I’ve never made gnocchi before, so this could be a disaster. In the meantime, here’s some pictures from the last few weeks. 

January 16, 2011

For the last two weeks I’ve been in a bit of a food loop. It started with the creation of homemade tomato sauce that I promptly put on everything, and continued on with the poached egg, which I discovered tastes very nice on top of toast and doused with white truffle oil. This is what I’ve been eating nearly every day.
Speaking of poached eggs, they always remind me of a specfic time in my life where I was living in Dorchester, a slightly seedy neighborhood in Boston (New Kids on the Block grew up there!) My friend Nika used to come down from New Hampshire to spend the weekend and we would always go to Victoria’s Diner down the street from my apartment. For $5 we could get poached eggs, toast, hashbrowns and endless coffee. I miss that place. I do not miss the shootings and domestic violence though, sorry Dorchester. 

Polenta with Homemade Tomato Sauce and Poached Egg
Polenta (makes one cup)
3 cups water1/4 tps sea salt1 cup dry polentaBring water and salt to a boil. Add polenta and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for around 5 minutes and remove from heat. Cover and let stand for a few minutes.
Tomato Sauce 5 large tomatoes1 yellow onion, chopped1 red pepper, choppedgenerous handful of fresh basil, chopped2 cloves garlic, choppedoreganosalt & pepperred pepper flakescumin1 zucchini, chopped (optional) 1/2 cup green olives, chopped (optional)
Bring several cups of water to boil in a large pot. At tomatoes and boil for a few minutes – the skins will break. Remove from water and run under cold water until they’re cool enough to handle. Remove skins and chop the tomatoes. In a pan, saute onion, garlic and red pepper until soft. In a food processor, combine tomatoes and onion, garlic and red pepper. Blend until it’s a smooth consistency. Add basil and spices, tasting frequently. Pour sauce into a large pan and add zucchini and/or green olives. Simmer until zucchini is soft and you’re satisfied with the overall flavor.
Poached Egg
Follow these instructions!
To assemble, spoon a heathy amount of polenta onto a plate, top with a few spoonfuls of sauce and a poached egg. This is a filling dish! Perfect for brunch.
I haven’t taken many photos the last few weeks, so instead, you can see how super adorable my niece Marion Grace is. I think she liked the monkey I got her.

This upcoming week is shaping up to be pretty amazing. Comedy at UCB, portrait class at 3rd Ward, the arrival of Colleen and Patty from Raleigh, Jon Stewart show, birthday parties etc… and today I root for the Seahawks, because that is what fickle Seattle sports fans do. 

May 5, 2010

Despite my desperate mental need to get out-out-out of the house tonight, I’m forcing myself to at least stay in for dinner.  One issue I’ve run into while living alone is how wicked (sup, Boston) fast produce goes bad.  I’ve watched what was once a lovely red bell pepper get sort of wilted and sad in my fridge.  Solution? Roast the sucker! 
I don’t always cook with recipes (I call it free style-cooking,) so this isn’t exact.. Just go with the flow, my humble reader.  Let’s call this one:
Southwestern-Style Stuffed Peppers
Southwestern-Style Stuffed Peppers
1 large red bell pepper3/4 cup of dry polenta1 can of black beans1/2 onion (I used red), chopped1 cup of water (plus extra)1 limecilantro (if it doesn’t taste like soap to you)1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder1/2 tsp cuminsalt & pepper (to taste)olive oil
(Before I begin, I must disclose that I don’t own an oven.  Sad, I know.  Instead I have a pretty brutal convection oven that cooks everything faster.  For recipes I borrow, follow their directions; for recipes I create, you’re on your own!)
Remove seeds/stems from bell pepper and cut into 5-6 pieces lengthwise halves (I changed my mind after making this – cut in half and stuff them, instead of piling everything on top like I did.)
Coat in a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place in a metal baking pan.  Throw it in the oven at about 350 degrees.  As you cook everything else the peppers will start to roast/blacken. This is good.
In a small saute pan, heat 1 tbls of olive oil.  Add chopped onion and a bit of salt.  Saute until they start to brown/caramelize.  Remove from heat.
Rinse black beans of their odd can liquid and throw into a small sauce pan.  Squeeze the entire lime on top and mix in cumin, salt and pepper to taste.  Warm it over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Add in sauteed onion.
In the same pan you used for the onion (no need to rinse), heat water and add chile powder.  Once the water begins to boil, add in polenta in a steady stream, stirring constantly.  (Be aware that polenta is super annoying to cook and you will probably have to add water and then it’ll get a little lumpy, but keep stirring and realize that these things happen)
To assemble, scoop black mixture into one side of a half of bell pepper and the polenta into the other half.  Top with cilantro. Serve immediately!
The result is a nice mixture of sweet and smokey with a bit of heat.  The lime in the beans adds a nice tang.
Question! Are there any foods that you’re scared to eat/cook because they seem intimidating? I know there’s a whole world of exotic vegetarian options that I have yet to explore, and I would like to… for your entertainment.