Showing posts with label vegetables. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegetables. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ramen Noodle Soup with Vegetables

I was really hoping to make it out of this cold and flu season without falling ill, but it just wasn't to be this year. I started feeling a bit off early last week. You know how it does, slight tickle in the throat, headache, drippy nose... I was hoping to fend off any bugs with some orange juice and extra sleep. Sadly my little cold turned into a full blown cold by Thursday - the day of my big presentation.

I flew off to Santa Monica, California last Wednesday morning for a conference. Thursday I had several meetings, an afternoon presentation and half a speaking voice. Not so fantastic. Luckily it was a short presentation and I was able to beg off of dinner for the night.

Room service soup and HBO for the evening was just what the doctor ordered. This soup would have been perfection, but unfortunately the leftovers were in New Jersey.

If the end of winter has caught you in its grips and you are feeling unwell, print off this recipe and give it to someone close by. The recipe is super simple and even the worst cook can whip up a batch of soup for you!

One Year Ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes
Two Years Ago: Cherry Kuchen Bars
Three Years Ago: Cherry Coconut Bagels
Four Years Ago: S'mores Cupcakes

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Frying all the Potatoes

I may have mentioned a few weeks ago that the boyfriend got me a deep fryer for Christmas. This was both a great gift for me and a self-serving gift for himself. I think he really just wanted some french fries!

I have always been nervous about deep frying. Heating a giant vat of oil to over 300 degrees just seemed like a dangerous proposition. My new deep fryer takes away all the fear and I've been having a great time frying everything! Chicken tenders, chicken wings, donuts and of course, french fries.

I have finally been able to put my French Fries cookbook to good use. I've tried a few methods to get the perfect golden crunch on my fries, the frying method from this cookbook delivers the most delicious and consistent results. I'm thinking of making my way through this cookbook, cover to cover.

I may put on twenty pounds this year...

In other news, I'm putting my gym membership to good use!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

CTB 2014 - The Little Paris Kitchen

I can't believe that we are already in the final days of July! Where has this summer gone? Last summer was so different from this one. I was unemployed, enjoying a summer of job hunting and severance checks. Each day was long and filled with 6-mile runs, trips to Manhattan and working on my blogs.

This summer I'm working at a new company, traveling constantly and rarely getting into the kitchen. I'm so far behind on my 2014 challenge, I'll have to make something from two cookbooks each day just to make it by the end of the year!

In an effort to make a little headway on my Cook the Books challenge, I made dinner from three different cookbooks last week.  Today, we start off with the side dish - Asperges a la Parisienne from Rachel Khoo.

I first saw Rachel Khoo, on The Cooking Channel, years ago. Her simple and elegant way in the kitchen made me want to pick up, move to Paris, and cook in a tiny kitchen too. When I saw that she had a cookbook out, I knew I just had to have it.  The pages are filled with very simple and beautiful French recipes and some of the most pretty pictures around. She has a new cookbook out - "Sweet and Savory Pates." I'm tempted to pick it up, since this first book has been so perfect. Though I'm not sure how much pate I need in my life!

If you are looking for a simple and semi-light side dish for your dinner this week, pick up some asparagus and heavy cream. You probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chicken Francais & Honey-Roasted Root Vegetables

I just finished our shutterfly scrapbook from our trip to Thailand.  That means only one thing, it's time for another vacation!  This is how it usually works out, although not all the time.  We went to Saint Kitts in 2009 and I still haven't finished putting the photos in the album.  I blame myself.  I should have done one of those fancy shutterfly bound books, but I got prints.  I was somehow thinking I had lots of time on my hands and I could scrapbook.  Those photos are still sitting, unbound, inside of the book I plan on putting them into.

Generally, boyfriend and I are pretty terrible at pre-planning our vacations.  We booked out flight to Thailand, exactly one month before we left.  Last year, we planned out cross-Europe adventure a mere ten days before heading to England.  I've been on several "surprise" vacations that I had the evening to pack for.  Our trip to Costa Rica was so close, I did one of the worst jobs packing in my entire life. 

This time is different, I took charge and booked our spring vacation two whole months ahead of time.  In the weeks since, I've bought a new bathing suit, stocked up on sunscreen and looked at excursions.  At the end of April, we're heading to Puerto Rico and setting sail on a week long cruise!  The only problem now, it's so far away!  I have to wait six more weeks before going on vacation?  There is something to be said about last minute planning!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thai Sweet Potato Stew

I am completely wiped out after this weekend.  Boyfriend and I spent the weekend moving into a new apartment.  That might not sound unusual or especially tiring, except for the fact that we moved from the second floor of our building up to the fourth floor.  We did this move over the course of three days.

Day One: Wait, before I get into the details of the moving process I should tell you this - I packed almost nothing prior to our move-in date of February 4th.  The morning of day one, we were scheduled to get the keys to our new "penthouse" apartment at 10 o'clock.  Not wanting to move on an empty stomach, we did what every moving day person does, we went to Dunkin' Donuts.  We filled up on egg and cheese sandwiches and hot beverages.  Movers need protein!

Upon receiving the keys, we signed our new lease and went up to our new place.  We knew we were moving into an apartment with a slightly different bed/bath layout, but we weren't quite ready for what we saw when we entered the room.  The main living area was the exact reverse of our apartment downstairs.  This is going to hurt my brain for weeks.

Moving day one was fine, with the exception of our harrowing journey with the couch into the elevator, everything went smoothly.  We moved our clothes from the old closet to the new, smaller closet.  The bedroom set went from our old, weirdly shaped bedroom to our new, normally laid out one.  The couch and TV did make it upstairs without being broken or leaving too many marks on the walls.  It was a good move.

We did not have that soup for dinner.  Oh no, no.  We had Chinese food from the take-out place down the street.  The Thai sweet potato soup that you see above was made last week and enjoyed by one and only one person in the apartment, me.  Someone doesn't like sweet potatoes.  Someone is a weirdo.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Creamy Vegetable Soup

I have been trying to decide what to share with you today, then I realized that all of the recipes that I made this weekend either consisted of soup or pretzels.  And since pretzels are delegated for Thursdays post, I am giving you some more delicious soup!  I have been quickly going through my stock of stocks (hah!) because of one person.  Boyfriend.

Boyfriend has come down with some sort of fever-raising, cough-inducing sickness, brought on by the below-human temperatures that exist in his office.  I think that many people deal with the same thing at this time of year, especially if you work in an office and most definitely if you work in a lab.  These two environments are not good at regulating temperatures.  Office buildings are broken up into little rooms and it is unlikely that there will be a heat register in each office.  This means that some offices are a million degrees and some offices are freezing cold.

The same hot/cold situation exists in most lab spaces as well, but for a completely different reason.  Chemists work inside of hoods, which are basically like your oven hood, except our hoods are completely enclosed and have doors that raise and lower like a garage door.  These hoods pull air in from the lab space and send it out through the filters on the roof.  The rate of air being pulled out of the lab isn't always matched by the amount of air replaced by the heaters.  Hence, the labs and offices get pretty chilly.

Look how thick and delicious!!!
I have the ability to throw on an additional sweater under my labcoat, where boyfriend has to look like a business guy and not wear layers of jackets around the office.  Therefore he gets chilly and lowers his defenses to the cold and flu viruses floating about in the office.  Then he gets sick and I feed him lots of vegetables and vitamins!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why Bother??? 2012 - Stocks

Welcome to the first post of the Why Bother??? 2012 challenge!  Have you had a look at the schedule of events for this year?  Do you have a post that you are already looking forward to?  I'm excited about this years challenge and I'm very happy that all of you were instrumental in creating it.  All of the challenges for this year were thought up and posted by you guys, whether it be here on the blog, on Facebook or through Twitter. 

While the challenges were set out by all of you, I took the liberty to choose when to complete each of these tasks.  Condiments and buns wound up in the weeks prior to Memorial day weekend so that you could make some for your own summer parties.  Jams are set to be prepared in the midst of the summer fruit season, when I can get the best produce from our local farmers market.  Stock was set for the first post of the year because we are in the midst of soup season, with months of winter left ahead of us.  Unfortunately, my friends in the southern hemisphere are on the opposite schedule as I am...  Maybe we can meet up in the middle, spring and fall?

Boyfriend and I spent this weekend at home in New Jersey.  We decided to relax at home and enjoy the nice weather in our town.  I spent much of last week reading my many cookbooks, researching stocks in all of their incarnations.  There are many options when it comes to making your own stock.  First you must choose what flavor you would like, chicken, beef, fish, vegetable?  Then you have to decide what your background notes will be, veggies, herbs, spices?

I decided to make the two stocks that I am always buying at the store, chicken and vegetable.  Once I completed all of my reading, I discovered that it is a very easy task to make stock.  Simply choose your flavors, cook them up in a big pot of water and strain to collect your stock.  Do you own an 8-quart pot?  Do you have some paper towels?  Can you purchase food at the grocery store?  If you said yes to those three questions, you can make stock.

The vegetable stock was beyond simple to make.  I chose a variety of vegetables and some of my favorite herbs to make a flavorful stock.  Fennel is used as the major flavor in this stock, with celery, onion and carrot as the milder flavors.  The house smelled of herbs and anise while this stock was simmering.  Boyfriend asked if I had spilled a jar of pepper on the floor.  After simmering for two hours, filtering of the stock gave a golden colored stock with a pleasant aroma.  I used this stock as the base for my cheese potato soup.

For the chicken stock, I decided to stick with classic flavors - celery, carrots, onions and parsely.  My only concern was simmering the stock long enough to cook the chicken and impart the right amount of flavor into the stock.  After averaging the times in each recipe, I decided that between 90 minutes and two hours was the right amount of time to cook the chicken and make good stock.  This stock needs to sit overnight to allow you to skim off the chicken fat, so make it one day ahead of time.  You'll see this stock in use this weekend in a tasty Thai-style soup.

Would I make stock at home again?  I definitely would, the flavor varieties offered by making your own stock has made me a convert.  However, I don't really need to make or buy more stock for a while.  Each pot of simmering ingredients gave me about ten cups of stock.  My freezer in now well stocked...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thai Cooking

Hello everyone!  I'm back from vacation and starting to feel like a normal person again.  Unlike the previous few days where I've been a half-asleep, crazy person, going through the motions of regular life.  I think that I've finally recuperated from our 28 hour return journey and I'm ready to share some of the fun of Thailand with you all.

Over the next few days I'll be posting some of my favorite pictures from our trip, after I sort through the thousands of images that we took.  Boyfriend and I spent four crazy days in Bangkok, Thailand, followed by four relaxing days in Phuket.  I say that our days in Bangkok were crazy because there was so much to see and do, we tried to see a lot and do even more.  One of the things that I really wanted to do was take a Thai cooking class and that's just what we did on our third day in the country.

After looking around a little online, I discovered the Bangkok Thai Cooking Academy.  There were some very positive reviews and they held classes just about every day.  Bangkok cooking academy offers twelve different classes, all teaching you how to cook five Thai dishes.  I chose the Monday morning class because I really wanted to learn how to make my favorite dish, Panang curry. 

Monday morning, boyfriend and I headed out of our hotel at the reasonable hour of 8:30am and set out to the meet up location.  After riding the Bangkok SkyTrain (BTS) a short three stops, we wound up at Asoke and met our group at the Dunkin' Donuts kiosk (no joke).  We met a man with a "Bangkok Thai Cooking Academy" tag around his neck, who introduced himself as Ron, or Mr. Ron, as boyfriend and I took to calling him.  We also met our classmates, a funny couple from Sydney, Australia and a quiet guy from Singapore.

The cooking class started out with a tour through one of the small markets located throughout Bangkok.  Mr. Ron introduced us to all sorts of interesting Thai fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices.  As we learned more and more about the items in the market, I quickly realized what exactly I had been eating all week.  Ohh, so those are tiny eggplants, not weird, bitter peas.  Ahhh, the orange juice I've been drinking isn't orange, it's tangerine.  It was very enlightening.  After our tour, we caught a cab for the cooking school.

The cooking school is located in a small, unassuming building, with a simple sign outside the door.  Inside the entryway was an open area with five cooktops set up.  We took off our shoes and headed inside the, luckily, air-conditioned home.  Spread out the in main room was a large mat, covered in all sorts of fruits and vegetables, knives, cutting blocks and two enourmous mortal and pestles.  We enjoyed some water and met our instructor, Nat. 

All six of us sat down at our stations and began preparing our dishes.  Something we learned during the course of our class, Thai cooking is all about the preparation.  Twenty minutes on the chopping block, followed by five minutes on the fire. 

Boyfriend and I wielded our knives and chopped everything up. 

We poured the ingredients into the mortar and pestle and ground out a delicious curry paste.

Nat took us through the secrets of Thai cooking, including using ketchup as our main ingredient in a sauce.

Finally, once we had prepped all four of our dishes, it was time to hit the fire. 

We had spent two hours chopping, grinding and mixing and spent literally thirty minutes cooking all four dishes.  It was fast, working over the fire, and someone didn't have the attention span for his stovetop.  Boyfriend spent more time taking pictures and less time stirring his pot, which meant that his curry, soup and chicken wound up unusually salty.  I am proud to say that my meal turned out pretty delicious.

The class turned out to be one of the best parts of our stay in Bangkok, fun, informative and full of great food.  While I don't think that I'll be opening up a Thai restaurant anytime soon, I now have the confidence to try my hand at more Thai dishes at home.  I'm sure my neighbors will be thrilled.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vegetable Risotto

Growing up in Western New York, I got used to driving everywhere for everything.  My parents home is in the middle of no where (i.e. two miles from the grocery store and five miles from the mall).  I would have to ask for a ride to go anywhere, even school was a really long walk.  I took the walk only a few times, on the last day of school.  I love to walk, bike and occasionally rollerblade places.  (I was a much better rollerblader in my high school days).  Hometown, western New York is not a walkable place.

When I moved to New Haven last year, I was so excited that I could walk to work.  My apartment was right downtown and just under a mile from my lab, I could make the walk in just under twenty minutes.  It was rare that I would drive to work, I even walked in when there was a quarter-inch of ice on the ground.  I soon realized that it had been a few weeks since I had driven my car.

My beautiful, gold, Toyota Matrix.  It was the first car that I bought all on my own.  Granted I had just gotten it two years earlier, but it was a big deal (and an awesome car).  I was sad that I had been neglecting my pretty little Goldie, but you save so much money on gas when you don't drive your car!  When it came time to transfer my insurance over to Connecticut I decided it was time to give Goldie away/return her to the dealership.  On March 18th I dropped Goldie off with a nice man at Toyota, he said he would wash her (something I only ever did once) and find her a new family.

I'm now a commuter, or professional train rider, as I like to call myself.  I miss my little Goldie car, but now I can walk everywhere that I want to go.  And I'm saving major dollars a month, insurance in the Northeast is expensive!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chorizo and Vegetable soup

This is what it looked like when I stared out my apartment window this Sunday.

Yup. Grey, dark and stormy. It was one of those days where you just want to curl up on the couch and watch a bunch of terrible movies. Sadly for me, I don’t own a couch. It just wouldn’t fit in my palatial, 325 square foot apartment. It was either a bed or a couch and I decided I could probably use a place to sleep.

The second problem I faced was the work I had to do in the lab. Why did I set up chemistry that needed attention Sunday morning? Because I’m a crazy person, apparently. So, I had to trek into work and pay some attention to my chemicals. Now, I only live a mile away from work and I had driven into work the past two days. These two factors combined led me to decide that it was a good day to walk to work. Oh boy, what a mistake.

The walk into work wasn’t particularly bad, just windy. It got to be a problem when I wanted to leave work. Bands of rain came and went over the hours I was in the lab. From calm to downpour and back again in just minutes. How was I supposed to get home? Like I said, bad day to walk to work. Finally, during a break in the weather, I decided to head out.

Halfway home, whoosh! Downpour! Umbrella in hand, fighting the wind, I battled my way home. My poor little umbrella, it was working so hard. I think I managed to keep my head dry. When I got back to my apartment my coat was soaked through. After shedding my soaked coat and rubber boots, I had to laugh. I was completely dry, except for my jeans. From where my coat ends at my mid-thigh, to where my boots begin below my knee, was completely soaked. Wet knees. Time to change into some sweatpants and make soup.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 - Sage Oven Fries

Okay, I’ve said it before. Potatoes at Thanksgiving time should be mashed. However, this year, for our healthy goals, we are having them baked. I know, I know. Sacrilege. When I read this recipe I just knew that it would fit in so well with our health conscious goals, plus these potatoes are so pretty! Roasted potatoes with crispy sage leaves, yum. Enjoy.

Sage Oven Fries

This recipe is said to serve four people (three slices a piece).  If you are having more people simply scale!  The sage leaves get all crispy and the potatos get this amazing crust on the edges.  You won't miss mashed potatos one bit!  Okay, maybe a little.  If you want to splurge then feel free to use this recipe!

2 baking potatoes
Olive oil
Kosher salt
12 sage leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Wash your potatoes and slice each potato into 6 slices. Place in a bowl and coat with olive oil and a dash of salt. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes.

Coat sage leaves with a little olive oil. Take baking sheet out of the oven. Place one sage leaf on top of each potato slice, then flip over. Cook for 10 more minutes. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 - Nutty Green Beans

Let’s keep this one simple! What else do you need for thanksgiving dinner? Sides! A friend of mine posted, just today, how she hates thanksgiving food. Can you believe it? But some things I have to agree with her about. Green bean casserole? I have never had this side dish in all my years of celebrating thanksgiving. And thanksgiving was well celebrated when I was little.

All of my aunts and uncles (my dad’s siblings to be exact), and all of my cousins, would gather in the tiny house with my tiny gram and eat lots of food. Everyone would bring something to share. My Aunt Nancy would bring squash, grown from her own garden. My mom and I would spend the morning making a very fancy jell-o dessert (it’s awesome, I’ll share some day). My Uncle Mike would bring a big pasta dish, full of cheese and deliciousness. Tiny Gram and Aunt Aileen would spend the day roasting the turkey. And some lamb. Gram didn’t like turkey.

Yet no one thought to bring a green bean casserole. I’ve seen the French’s commercials around this time of year but I had to google it to find out exactly what it entailed. And Jolene, I have to agree. Cream of mushroom soup with green beans and cheddar French fried onions? I cannot think of anything else you could do to lovely green beans to make them less healthy! Maybe mix in some cheese? So toss the fried onions and condensed soup. Get ready for some real flavor and all for only 45 calories a serving!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

Okay, it’s offical. I am addicted to squash. It started with a question on facebook, “What should I make this week?” Being the beginning of fall, everyone seemed to be in the mood for squash. Acorn squash and pumpkin and butternut squash. So many suggestions, all involving those weird looking vegetables! Or are they fruits? Anyways… I have to break it to you, before last week I had never eaten a squash. I was so concerned about cooking with these wacky ingredients.

I mean come on, acorn squash looks totally strange! It was the first bit of produce that I took on, making acorn squash ravioli. I’m looking over a dozen recipes for squash ravioli and thinking “Nutmeg? Who puts nutmeg in pasta?” Apparently I do, because this ravioli was amazing. Although perhaps it was the browned butter.

Next up was pumpkin. I have never been a pumpkin pie fan. Maybe this is because I’ve never had a good pumpkin pie? Since I have a problem with pancakes, in that I eat way too many of them, I decided to start there. Do you know if there is such a thing as Pancakeaholics anonymous? I think that I need to join that group. Thankfully the pancakes turned out heavenly, and so did the cookies, and so did the cupcakes (stay tuned!).

My final hurdle was this odd looking butternut squash. I kept putting it off, which was okay, because squash is hearty. It sat on my counter, staring at me, mocking me. Can squashes laugh? Because I think this one was laughing at me too. No more laughing at me squash! I’m going to take a vegetable peeler to you! Ha! Who’s laughing now squash? You’re naked! Okay, time to make soup.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper, Leek and Potato Soup

I forgot how dark and rainy fall in the northeast can be. It makes me want to hide under the covers and watch Sell This House all day long. Something about watching other people work makes me warm and happy. Maybe this is why I like teaching Bodystep classes so much? Nonetheless, fall can be so different, depending on where you live.

Fall in my hometown is cold, gray and wet. Ahh, the pleasures of living near Lake Erie. Fall in the Midwest is crisp and sunny, perfect for getting up early and drinking hot apple cider. Fall in the Rockies is fantastic with warm, sunny days and cool, dry nights. Great for hiking during the days and sleeping under heavy blankets at night.

Fall in the Northeast is a little more temperamental. We have swayed from cool, cloudy days to warm, sunny ones. I like to think of this season as a manic depressive one for the region. Maybe fall just needs some lithium. I have some in the lab, I should offer it up to the season. Here fall, would you like some lithium wire? I’ll clean the mineral oil off of it for you! Be careful though, it’s kinda flammable…

Perhaps offering the season some lithium metal is a bad idea. Maybe it just wants some soup. Soup should make it all better. This soup should make it great. Sunny days and cool nights are in my future! Not only is this soup delicious, but it is fun to make. I might just be saying that because it meant I got to use my immersion blender for the first time. You can make this soup with a simple pot and blender, altough I was more than happy to pull out my new toy. This soup has a fabulous texture, great flavor and most importantly, it’s so pretty!
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