Monday, July 22, 2013

Guest Post - Sunday's with Charlotte

Today my go-to-food friend Charlotte wrote a post for the blog! She explains why and gives you a peek into her Sundays and the treats she decided to make. Why she didn't share any of the actual food with me is another story... 

Hope you guys enjoy! Charlotte will be back every now and again. 
- B  

Do you ever think… "Hey I should start writing a blog!" 
then immediately think, " No that is a terrible idea and you should do that never."

Well, I have about a zillion times. And in all truthfulness, 90% of the time I just forget that I want to do it. The other 13% is the terrible idea thought. Soon this will become a reality. If Julie (of the Julie/Julia Project) and Jenny (indomitable blogger, can do it, fuck it, so can I! My life is way too weird to only be shared with the blessed few who know me. 

So I'm Charlotte. I'm a friend and fellow insane foodie to my man, Brittany. Insane in personality and about food, in case you were wondering. I love literally almost all food, except boxed mac & cheese and liver. I keep trying but no cigar. Oh well. So today is Sunday and I use Sunday as my relax-and-get-your-shit-together day. All my slow cooking and bulk cooking is done on Sunday. I tend to putter (the best word for it) around the house and clean dishes, cook in the Crock Pot, laundry, take the pup on long walks, make dirty dishes, and generally wander around.  

TODAY I'm awesome because I was inspired by the magnificent, mind-blowing Mark Bittman and his TEDtalk about being a vegetarian and food sustainability in America. I've loved him since I started reading the NY Times Dining section. He has this passion about food that makes you what to go out and change the world with an extraordinary baguette. I also was feeling inspired (read: overwhelmed) by the amount of stuff in my fridge. My significant other/partner forever/pain-in-my-ass Cory and I went major grocery shopping last week because we were a bit on the broke-face side for the last month or two. Nothing does wonders for your grocery shopping drive than HAVING to eat Cup-o-Noodle. 

Today I have made: Cauliflower Buffalo Wings and Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip, Asian Vegetable Pancake with a Fried Egg, Roasted Rutabagas and Sweet Potatoes. I have NOT made: kale chips even though I've been planning/needing to do it with my bushels of kale. I feel super put together and have done a ton of crap, however as I write it it sounds less impressive. But instead, I made bacon! Sorry, Mark Bittman. I tried to be veggie today but the bacon wins again. I'm such a disappointment. On the the other hand I did use some kale in the roasted rutabaga and sweet potato taco. Soooo…. win/win. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Buffalo Wings
  • 1 head Cauliflower
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 3/4 cups Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder (or whatever seasoning you like)
  • pinch of salt & pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 3/4 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
Super easy. Pull apart the cauliflower in to florets. Mix the milk, flour, and seasoning and throw all the cauliflower into the batter. Pull each floret out and shake off the excess batter and place it on a lightly greased cookie sheet. stick in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. until cauliflower is done. It won't be golden brown. in a large bowl heat up the butter and Frank's Red Hot then throw the cauliflower in. and toss to coat. If you like, here is my inspiration and step by step pictures at  

Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip
  • 1 1/2 small containers of plain greek yogurt
  • 1 package dried ranch spices
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
Mix everything and chill for an hour. (Super hard.)

Asian Vegetable Pancake with a Fried Egg
  • leftover batter from Cauliflower Wings (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage
  • little bits of cauliflower and broccoli that fall off (about 1/2 cup)
  • Sriracha to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 green onion, cut on the bias

 Mix all ingredients except the eggs. Lightly grease a non stick skillet and pour in batter. Flip over when the bubbles on the top, just like a regular pancake. Put it on a plate and re-grease the skillet. Fry both eggs on the same pan(yay less dishes!) then put on top of the pancake. Top with more chopped scallions and Sriiracha. (Sorry there's no pic. I was hungry.)

Roasted Rutabagas and Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 cubed rutabaga
  • 1 cubed sweet potato
  • 1/2 bag of baby carrots
  • 1/2 onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning mix (if it has salt in it take out the salt above)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley 

You can add or substitute any root vegetables you like (potatoes, beets, etc)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients.. Pour into a 13x9 pyrex and cover with foil. Put in the oven for 45 mins to an hour, until the vegetables are tender. Uncover and put under the broiler for 2-3 minutes tip tops are crispy.  Top with parsley.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Crisp n' Spice

I've actually never bought and prepared any type of melon before but I couldn't pass up the opportunity when I saw cantaloupes for 97 cents at my local grocery store. I stood a bit clueless in front of the mounds of melons, trying to remember how to check for ripeness. I felt around, chose one and smelled it after recalling how the smell test is used to check the ripeness of pineapples. I figured I was on the right track. 
According to Albert's Organics, I only had one of the five indicators of ripeness:
  1. Stem
  2. Netting
  3. Color
  4. Touch 
  5. Smell

Once I got home and tried to be productive - my foodie brain and starving tummy took over and I started coming up with ways I could use the cantaloupe. Aguas Frescas, smoothies, salads…. 
Then all of a sudden inspiration hit: Pam's Patio mojito salad. In high school and during my time home from college for the summer I used to work at this small yet delightful mom and pop restaurant in San Antonio called Pam's Patio Kitchen. It's one of those places full of color, art and delicious food with constant regulars dining every weekend. During the summer the head chef and restaurant owner would create a mojito salad with jicama, cantaloupe, pepitas, mint paprika and a sweet lime dressing. Essentially the perfect salad for summer.  

Reflecting on all the delicious food and memories I have from Pam's, I decided to make my own version of the delicious salad.
Crisp n' Spice Cantaloupe Salad 
1/2 Cantaloupe 
1 frozen lemon cube (melted)
Fresh grated ginger (to taste - I put lots)
1/2 tsp of chili powder
Pinch of salt
Handful of pepitas 

I cut up my melon into quarters and then cubes, the cantaloupe turned out to be a little less ripe than I wanted (the 4 indicators I was unaware of are to blame). After chopping the melon I placed it on a bed of of julienned baby kale and topped it with the dressing (lemon juice, ginger, chili powder combined). Finally I sprinkled on a healthy portion of pepitas to seal the deal. The salad was crisp and cool and had a tiny bit of spice from the chili powder. The fact that the cantaloupe wasn't completely ripe actually helped give the salad a little more crunch. It definitely wouldn't have the same appeal if it was slimy and gooey. 

There we go - my first experience with melons. Now what to do with the second half sitting in my fridge? 

Thanks to PPK for all the ridiculous memories. I've got so many stories from that place, although those involve a lot more spice than food. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Beer n' BBQ Veggies

Today was one of those blah days. You know, when you are tired and nothing is really satisfying you. Whether it be the music your tuned into or your stomach growling but not giving any inclination of what it's craving. That was me today - perhaps the change in weather was the cause. I was completely ready to lie on the floor and play with my pup for the rest of the night.

However, after soaking and cooking dried chickpeas all day, I was forced to get up and start prepping some things. The plan was to make a chickpea, edamame salad with asian dressing. Only about a serving or two - enough to last my roommate and I till July 4th festivities. Once I started getting on a roll with prepping that dish my stomach started growling later and somehow my brain started kicking in. We had no plans for dinner so I decided I might as well make something happen. It's amazing how once one small idea pops into your head it can spiral out of control until you come up with something you didn't even intend.

With July 4th right around the corner, I was inspired to use some BBQ sauce. After chopping my veggies, everything started falling into place and I kept thinking of more and more ideas. I grabbed my ingredients, started chopping, mixing and pouring and ended up with a Beer n' BBQ hash. I threw a splash of beer in here, some kale in there and BAM. Deliciousness.

Beer n' BBQ Veggies for two
  • 1/2 red onion 
  • 1 Sweet Potato (cut very thing - like matchsticks)
  • 1 carrot chopped thin
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 Alamo Golden Ale beer
  • 1/2 cup Stubb's BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup of kale
First sautee the onion in some olive oil on medium heat. Throw in the chopped sweet potato and carrots and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in the chickpeas, pour in the beer and turn up the heat to high. Bring the beer to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes or until the liquid absorbs and the sweet potatoes and carrots are tender. Add the BBQ sauce and continue cooking for another few minutes. Add the kale and stir till combined. 

Voila! The whole meal took probably 15 minutes with prepping and all. A great way to end a blah day. 

Chickpea Edamame Salad (no measurements)

  • chickpeas
  • edamame
  • sliced carrots
  • red onion
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • miso paste dissolved in water