Monthly Archives: November 2008

Tea time

I’m wondering about any thoughts or ideas anyone has about tea. What should tea do for you, how should it make you feel? what makes a good tea pot? what should your tea pot look like? do you have a personal ceremony for drinking tea? did tea give you your first kiss when you were 12? anything. seriously. I need to design and make a tea pot before the semester is out and it should have meaning! (right?) So, let me know, help a girl out, thanks!

Dana

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Let’s hear it for edible flowers

So, when you’re little and you grow up in California they teach you all about the yucca plant (aka the indian* supermarket). You can make anything out this plant.. soap, rope, needles, weapons, bunk beds, etc.  and you can eat the flowers. They have this sorta sweet crunchy lettuce-like thing going on and taste awesome with vanilla cupcakes covered in rosewater*. Here is a cool site about edible flowers and what to eat them with: http://www.herbs-teas.com/edibleflowers.html.

*the 90s weren’t really politically “correct”

**you can find rosewater at most supermarkets

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Shabbat Shabooty

Vegetarian Eggrolls

1 package of 15 eggroll wrappers |||| 1 1/2 cup sweet cabbage, chopped |||| 3/4 cup celery, finely chopped |||| 1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped |||| 1 can of water chestnuts, finely chopped |||| 1/3 cup carrots, finely chopped |||| 1/3 cup sprouts, finely chopped |||| 2 teaspoons garlic |||| 1 teaspoon  chili powder |||| 2 teaspoons sugar |||| 1/3 cup soy sauce |||| 1 teaspoon salt |||| 2 teaspoons pepper |||| 1 egg |||| 2 cups olive oil

1. Saute cabbage, celery, garlic, green onions in a large skillet with some olive oil. When tender, add the water chestnuts, carrots, sprouts, sugar, spices, and soy sauce. Cook everything together for 4-5 minutes.

2. Allow the cabbage mixture to cool. Then assemble the eggrolls. Use an egg, mixed with a little water, to seal the eggrolls. (I just followed the rolling directions on the back of the package. If your package doesn’t  have directions/pictures, use the opportunity to get creative.)

3. Heat oil in a large skillet with high sides. Fry the eggrolls in small batches, turning so that all sides get brown and crispy.

 

Amy, Jamie, and Alyssa had the whole gang over for Shabbat dinner last Friday. They made stir-fry, salmon, salad, baba ganoush, rice, cookies, and challah. Jordana and I brought the eggrolls and wine. Not the most traditional Shabbat dinner, but hey, I’m not even Jewish…If there is a potluck, religious or not, I am there. Needless to say, I was stuffed at the end of this smorgasbord. Everything was delicious. My friends really know how to cook!

On account of responsibility and the need of funds to uphold our decadent lifestyle, Kathryn had to work Friday night. She missed Shabbat and the eggrolls. Luckily, I bought two packages of the eggroll wraps, so we made eggrolls again on Saturday night. Cooking with friends was followed by: going to Jes’s art show, playing a rousing game of Pictionary, and then going to a excellent party. A seriously solid weekend indeed.

Also, recently I’ve had an unquenchable craving for soy sauce. Everything I put it on tastes better. I think that if I ever go preggo, I’ll probably need professional help to deal with my soy sauce cravings.

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Filed under chinese, side dish, vegetarian

on the radar

homejarI’ve been thinking about this lately: Crunchy Nutella. Imagine improving on the practically perfect food spread with chunks of hazelnuts. It would be like the chocolate version of crunchy peanut butter. First question, gross or God’s gift to humankind?Discuss. Second question, Why haven’t those Italian Nutella maker people come up with this already? Maybe they tried making crunchy Nutella and there was a horrific food lab disaster…maybe crunchy Nutella already exists in Italy and secret trade barriers are prohibiting imports to the United States…maybe, just maybe, no one has bothered to come up with such an ingenious idea for changing an already scrumptious product. We may never know, but I am seriously considering an at home DIY test run sometime this weekend.

padmaintro1The TOP CHEF Season 5 premiere was this week. Biggest downside of not having cable: missing out on Bravo’s reality series. Luckily, Bravo is hip to itand posts new episodes online the day after they premiere on TV. Now there is no excuse not to watch. I watched the first episode of season 5 last night. Looks like its going to be a good season. Although I am kind of disappointed that the rookie got booted on the first challenge.

condiment-gun

Check this out! Its a squirt gun made for squirting condiments. Now I am not the biggest condiment fan, but this is pretty fricking cool. I would consider putting some mustard on the top of my next hotdog, if the mustard shot out of a plastic toy gun. Even the staunchest condiment haters will be converts. Every site seems to be sold out of these guys, so you’re gonna have to win one on ebay if you really just can’t live without a ketchup revolver for one day longer.

waitress5b15dI just started a new job working at a diner this week. The reason why I was hired is because two weeks ago a group of waitresses went on strike, claiming they weren’t receiving the accurate amount of tips. You see, at this particular diner the policy is that the waitresses combine their tips and the manger distributes them equally at the end of the shift. I don’t know all the details, but this group of waitresses thought they were getting cheated out of money, didn’t show up for work, and got fired. I don’t like this policy (I want to keep managers/clowns/the man/governmnet’s hands off my money), but at this point I really, really need a job. Here is the only thing I have to say about this whole tipping waitress strike scandal: I would be willing to bet all of my tips from this week on that fact that this group of waitress, who went on strike over a redistributive policy, all voted Democrat.

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A+ Fries

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6 red russet potatoes |||| 1 cup flour |||| 1 tablespoon each oregano, salt, and pepper |||| 1 teaspoon chili powder |||| 2 cups olive oil

1. Chop the potatoes into french fry shape. Leave the skins on.

2. Mix flour and spices in a large bowl. 

3. Toss the diced potatoes in 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Then toss in the flour mixture.

4. Heat remaining olive oil in a deep skillet. When oil is hot, add the potatoes in small batches. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until fries are golden and crispy. Remove from oil, sprinkle with salt, and dunk in some ketchup.

 

Last weekend, Angie’s roommate Dave made us some french fries. All week I was thinking about making my own fries and how I would do it differently. Dave’s fries were really good, he put old bay seasoning on them, but honestly these fries are way better. Dave’s fries get an A, but these fries get an A+.

The secret is in the spiced flour breading on the outside. It gives the oil something to stick to and makes the fries extra crispy. You could really kick up the spice mixture and make these more like Cajun fries if you added more chili powder. Or you could add some garlic or onion powder. Oh, and Parmesan cheese would be so so decedent . . . crispy, cheesy fries. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

In terms of cooking these A+ Fries, change the oil after 2 batches of fries. And make sure that the oil is hot before adding the potatoes. Otherwise, the recipe is pretty easy. Well, the clean up kinda sucks and it makes the house smell like a deep fryer. But its a small price to pay for golden, fried goodness.

Dana, Jeff G, and I had these fries with sloppy joes (or untidy Josephs as Dana’s mom calls them). We pretended that the sloppy joe mix was Manwich even though it was just the lame-o Food Club brand.

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get smashed

MASALA SMASHED POTATOES

1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped |||| 1/2 cup green pepper, finely chopped |||| 1 can diced tomatoes |||| 2 tablespoons Shahi Paneer Masala spice mix |||| 4 red potatoes

1. Saute onion and green pepper until tender. Then add the tomatoes and spice mix to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the mixture thickens.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes, diced into large chunks with skins still on. Boil the potatoes until they are soft and tender.

3. Combine the curry mixture into the potatoes and smash them together. Add a little bit of milk or chicken broth to make the potatoes more creamy.

 

Standin around in my kitchen, making expletives out of the letters on the fridge, everyone ate the paneer chunks out of my leftover curry. (Paneer is cheese cubes that function like tofu in many Indian dishes.) This was Indian cuisine at its finest – cold leftovers eaten straight out of the pan with Tostitos chips. I’ll call it college Indian.

Any how, now I have just the leftover tomato/onion/green pep mix. Oh, and this curry was super spicy because I had a ditsy moment and added waaaay too much of the spice mix. In order to dull the intense spiciness I was planning on adding roasted potatoes to the leftovers, but the smashed potatoes ended up being a great last minute call. The recipe posted here is sort of a guess at how to make these mashed potatoes when they aren’t leftovers.

But that’s the thing about Indian, once you get familiar with the spices, its so easy to make. And I think its kind of healthy. Although a lot of dishes contain butter or cream, most are packed with veggies. This recipe is just too easy and delicious to pass up. If you can’t make it out to the Indian store for the masala mix, just substitute with curry powder from the grocery store.

 

ROASTED GARLIC and BACON SMASHED POTATOES

1/2 head of roasted garlic |||| 4 slices of bacon, chopped |||| 5 red potatoes |||| 1/4 cup sour cream |||| 1/4 cup milk |||| 2 tablespoons butter |||| salt and pepper to taste

1. Directions for roasted garlic here.  

2. Boil potatoes.

3. Fry bacon.

4. Smash everything together.

 

Okay, so this isn’t the most creative recipe ever. But damn, these potatoes are fine.

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Filed under indian cuisine, pork, side dish

tastes better when its local

Honey Butter Cornbread – Another local recipe from my friend Amy

2 1/3 cups flour |||| 1 cup cornmeal |||| 1 cup honey |||| 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder |||| 2/3 cup butter, at room temperature |||| 3 eggs |||| 1 teaspoon salt |||| 1 2/3 cups 2% milk

1. Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Add honey, butter, eggs, and milk in a blender. Blend until ingredients are evenly combined.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.

3. Then slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, using a whisk to blend completely.

4. Pour batter evenly into a greased 16×9 glass baking pan. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Amy says: I used honey for this recipe because its the only sugar source produced naturally in Upstate NY. Also, I did not use salt but if your able to get a hold of salt in your local region, I would definitely recommend.

BastaPasta says: I had a taste of this sticky cornbread last Saturday night. It was a crazy night made better by the addition of local cornbread. Mad good son.

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