Monday, May 4, 2009

Closing Out

Well, it seems my experiment with food blogging has gone awry. The good news is that I have a few other food blogs to share in my final post.

First is my favourite food blog, 101 Cookbooks. This blog is by Heidi Swanson, a photographer and vegetarian cook. Check out her beautiful and delicious blog. I've made several dishes that were inspired by recipes on her site, and I think you'll enjoy it.

Next is my friend the Fabric Engineer. Her blog is called Eating for $3.70 a Day and she has great ideas for simple, healthy meals to cook, focusing on cooking for one person, too.

Finally, this is a blog I only recently started reading. It's called Vegan Yum Yum. I am not a vegan; but I find many of the recipes interesting all the same.

Let me close with a few pictures I took a while ago with the intention to post. One is a brussels sprouts dish with sesame seeds, and another is toasty tempeh in the pan.

Enjoy, and keep an eye out for my next blog venture, which I think is going to be something more near and dear to my heart even than food.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chilaquiles Verdes

This is a recipe that I got from my friend Valerie, who had modified it from a recipe she saw on television. I added a couple of my own touches, and so here it is - a recipe for chilaquiles verdes.

1 jar (16 oz.) tomatillo salsa or salsa verde
11 oz. or about 1 1/3c broth (I used vegetable; but you can use chicken, too.)
2/3 cup cooked and flavoured kidney beans (again - you can also add a meat here if you'd prefer)
1/2 bag sturdy corn tortilla chips

sour cream, jalapenos, onions, tomatoes, or any other topping you'd like.

Put salsa, broth, and whatever protein you're using into a dutch oven-sized pot or very large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add in tortilla chips, stir to coat everything, then put a lid on the pan and remove from heat. Let the mixture sit for about 4-5 minutes and then when the lid is removed - it's dinner! I spoon out an individual serving and garnish with sour cream, jalapenos, cilantro, whatever tastes suits you. This recipe makes around 4 large servings and leftovers keep well in the fridge for a couple of days.

I also made my own beans for this recipe, though I didn't make up my own bean recipe, I just followed this one - with the bay leaf option - and I also added a tablespoon of cumin and "glug" of olive oil to the water. One word of warning - make sure you really simmer them on high for a while. Kidney beans need to cook thoroughly to destroy their toxin they have when raw. Here is a photo just for fun!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Comforting Vegetable Soup

This is a basic recipe - a soup for when you're sick, or the weather's chilly, or you just plain want soup. I was inspired to make the soup this week; because a co-worker was under the weather, and one of the things I miss most about living alone is having someone for whom I can cook. So the soup was good for both of us in its own way!

Optional: home made vegetable stock. One of the things I do is save vegetable scraps, like stumps from a bunch of celery, the centres of heads of cabbage, the hard ends of asparagus, onion bits, carrot ends, etc. I keep them in a plastic bag in the freezer, and when it gets full I either make soup and start another, or I simply discard them. What I do is put my scraps into my large pot and cover them with water (this is why I haven't written any amounts here. It will depend on what you have on hand or care to use.) I also like to add a bay leaf and a clove or two of garlic as well as a splash of olive oil. I then boil for at least 10 minutes, and as long as 20. Then I strain the pieces and throw them out, leaving myself with a stock to which I add water and salt to taste. Here's what it may look like, depending on what vegetables you've used:

At this point I add the vegetables and protein that I want to have in the soup. For this recipe I used:

4c stock, salted to taste
1 1/2c roughly chopped carrots
1 1/2c roughly chopped celery
2 slabs of Marjon Grilled Tofu, cubed

I know I've plugged this product before. I am not sure if it's available everywhere; but you may be able to find something like it if not. Here's a photo for those visual types:

Finally, I simmer the soup for a little while until the carrots are to the level of tenderness I like. This takes around 7-10 minutes. I prefer my vegetables to be on the firm side, so adjust this to as desired. This will be from 3 large servings to 5 or 6 small ones.

That's it. If you used a store-bought or bouillon for your broth, this can be ready with very little mess or work; but even if you make your own broth, it isn't so hard. Here's a picture of the soup still in the pan. (I got camera-happy this recipe.)

The main thing to remember about this recipe - as with most of my others - is that you can adjust them to your own taste. You could make this with chicken for example, and you can add rice or pasta if desired. I am not fond of how mushy the pasta gets when I leave it in over night; but I did make one serving of macaroni when I had this for dinner, and it worked well.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cracked-pepper Fettuccine with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella

It has been a while. Unfortunately living alone isn't as conducive to nice meals as I'd like; but I try to capture them when I have them. I also try to keep it fairly simple on this blog, appropriate for a person living alone to use for dinner and lunch the following day. After all, bringing lunch to work is a lot healthier and more economical than buying it every day!

Today's meal was inspired by my trip to the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market, now being held in Progress Energy Park next to Al Lang Field. This past Saturday was its first one of the season, and the day couldn't have been more glorious, with lovely breezes coming in from the bay. I got many things, including sun-dried tomatoes, a beautiful bunch of radishes, a couple kinds of cheese, some fresh mini-loaves of bread, some cracked-pepper pasta, a breakfast empanada, some mildly sweet café con leche, and some dog treats.

That night at home I surveyed my treasures and put together the meal you see above: cracked-pepper pasta with a bit of butter and olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, and some chunks of fresh mozzarella added at the end. It was quite simple to put together, and promised delicious leftovers.

1/2 lb fettuccine (in this case, mine was the specialty type mentioned above.)
just under 1/4 c roughly-chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 large fresh mozzarella ball, or a 1 1/4 c of the mini-ovolines.
1/2 TB butter
1/2 TB olive oil (or more if it seems too dry.)
salt to taste
black pepper to taste (if you have plain pasta.)

I set salted water to boil for the pasta, and while I waited for that, I chopped my sun-dried tomatoes. Mine came whole; but many kinds are already chopped. I set those aside, and by then my water was boiling so I put the pasta in and while that got started, I cut the mozzarella into bite-size chunks. I set those aside, too, and then attended to stirring my fettuccine a few more times before it was finished al dente - around 8 minutes.

While I drained the fettuccine, I melted the butter in the same pan, and added the olive oil, and sun-dried tomatoes. I gave those a few stirs to heat through. Then I added the pasta back into the pan and tossed it all together. After that I put it in a bowl and put some of the mozzarella on top so that it didn't melt; but retained its fresh, milky coolness.

This makes two to four servings and keeps well overnight in the refrigerator. The only suggestion is to keep the mozzarella separate until you're ready to use it so it doesn't melt.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Garlicky Greens with Tofu

Today I made one of my favourite simple meals: tofu, greens, and rice. It is basic, healthy, flavourful, and balanced. The way I like to make my greens is with a lot of garlic and black pepper, and only cooked lightly. This works best with softer greens like mustard or spinach; but as with most of what I make, anything you enjoy will work in this recipe.

Also, if using fresh tofu (i.e. not previously grilled or smoked,) you may wish to marinate it first. Either way, before beginning make sure the outsides are as dry as possible so that it browns well. Today I used a pre-packaged grilled tofu by a local company called Marjon.

2 c roughly cut greens
1/2 block of tofu (or one slab of the Marjon variety.)
1.5 c water
1/2 c long grain rice (I like basmati)
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Start the rice in a saucepan with 1 tsp olive oil, 1/4 grinds of black pepper, and 1/4 tsp of salt. Simmer until water is absorbed, then let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the tofu. If it's fresh, it should be cooked in a dry non-stick pan on high heat until well-browned, and if it's already cooked, then it simply needs to be heated. Either way, when finished, slice into matchsticks and set aside.

Since the greens for this recipe are softer, they cook quickly. Into this pan I put 1 tsp of olive oil, then the greens, then the rest of the seasonings: 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Cover and turn to medium-high just a couple of minutes, until you can start to hear sounds out of the pan. Then remove the lid, stir well to combine seasonings and oil. Re-lid the pan and let it cook another couple of minutes then remove from heat, tossing in the tofu to re-heat. Let that rest while you check your rice.

Once completed, simply plate as desired. I usually combine into one bowl, as pictured above.

This recipe makes two medium servings, or one very large one.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Deep Fried Mars Bar Experiment Link

You should go see my friend Pam's deep fried Mars bar experiment.

Let this link be evidence that just because this blog focuses on healthy food, that it doesn't mean there won't still be occasional forays into the decadent!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Favourite Muesli

There is a muesli recipe I enjoy that was given to me by a dear friend. Muesli usually has nuts in it; but this recipe reflects my preference to exclude nuts. Luckily this is the kind of recipe that one can easily adjust to fit preference by adding or subtracting ingredients at will. Finally, this is what might be called a "fresh muesli" since it's wet and thrown together as opposed to dried for storage.

3/4 c fat-free, plain yogurt
1/2 c dry, uncooked quick oats
1/2 c berries or cut fruit.

This recipe's quite simple to prepare: combine yogurt and oatmeal, then put the fruit on top. Often I just combine all the ingredients at the same time and mix. It is fine to eat it right away; but some people make it ahead of time to soften the oats a little more. One could also add nuts or use dried fruit instead of fresh. A flavoured yogurt might be used instead of plain, and even the fat level of the yogurt can be adjusted to taste.

Usually this is a breakfast food; but sometimes I make it ahead for a light, nutritious lunch at work. This recipe has two small servings, or one large one.