Saturday, October 30, 2010

Apple Crisp!

Easy Apple Crisp:

3 honeycrisp apples, thinly sliced
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup butter

Evenly spread the apple slices in a 9 x 9 baking pan, and preheat oven to 375.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Cut in the stick of butter, until mixture is crumbly.  Pour over the apples.

Bake forty minutes.

Eat.  All of it.  In one sitting.  Maybe with vanilla ice cream.

Also, for all those who ever wondered what the inside of a nutmeg looks like:

Breakfast for Lunch

There's a med student in my clase de espanol who went to Duke, and chatting with him about Marketplace brunch has made me seriously crave those heaping plates of eggs, bowls of grits dripping with cheddar and butter, biscuits smothered in gravy...

Ohhh, the freshman forty pounds I put on thanks to Marketplace brunch...

In any event, to satisfy that craving in a whole foods, healthier approach, I present: breakfast for lunch.

I know, you wouldn't think, to look at this box, that the enclosed zucchini pancakes are EITHER tasty or made of whole ingredients.  But you would be so wrong, on both counts.

With a little butter in the pan, they fry up crispy and golden-brown. They're thick and have a satisfying hearty bite to them.

Throw the grits in boiling water, and they cook in just five minutes.  I like to add salt, butter, and a little shredded cheddar or parmesan for richness.

I topped it all with a quick fried egg, a sprinkle of shaved parmesan, and a squirt of ketchup for the zucchini cakes.

Okay, so there weren't any biscuits or gravy, and neither was there an ENTIRE WALL of breakfast cereals... but it did the trick for now.  Craving abated.

(... Do we get to go to the Marketplace during Reunion Weekend?)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Project: Freezing Burritos

You may have noticed that posting is down on this blog, and if I had to blame anything, it would be how HOLY BUCKETS INCREDIBLY BUSY 3L year has turned out to be.  I've been eating right on a day to day basis, but it's been mostly repeat recipes, peanut butter sandwiches, or black beans and cheese.  There hasn't been anything particularly photo-worthy.

So last weekend, in an effort to combine interesting cooking with time efficiency, I took an old recommendation from Lauren and spent a couple hours putting together burritos to freeze and eat throughout the week.

I started with a simple tortilla recipe, combining white and whole wheat flour with a little canola oil and water, rolling out the dough and cooking them one by one.

Once the tortillas were cooked, I chopped and fried an onion and some garlic, then mixed in a can of black beans and a can of refried beans, and seasoned with salt, cayenne, chili, garlic powder, and cumin until it was spicy and flavorful.  A couple ounces of shredded sharp cheddar added tang and richness.

I ladled a half cup of the bean mix into the center of each tortilla, folding the top and bottom in and rolling to close them.  Then I wrapped each in foil and threw them in the freezer, to pull out and microwave throughout the week.

These have been such a lifesaver the past week: the tortilla is rich and thick, the inside spicy, tangy, and rich ... and they heat up in just three minutes.  Thanks for the idea, Lauren!

(Recipe here)

Raspberry Milkshakes

Organic raspberries, whole milk, and five-ingredient vanilla bean ice cream.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dim Summers

(Couldn't resist.)

I have (shall we say) a weakness for greasy Chinese food.  I've spent far too many cheat-meals this year on feasts of crab rangoon and fried rice, inhaling that pungent bouquet of fry oil and MSG.  So I figured it was high time I learned to cook a whole foods approximation.  

And, as I imagine happens with so many strokes of genius in the world, this particular masterpiece came into life on an otherwise perfectly ordinary Saturday night.

That's pot stickers with a sweet chili dipping sauce, and a huge pile of zucchini lo mein.

I discovered the pot sticker recipe idly watching Guy's Big Bite instead of reading for Federal Jurisdiction.  If you don't mind a couple steps, they really are remarkable simple, and taste just like the best dim sum you ever had. 

For the stuffing: chop two green onions and two cloves of garlic.  Mix with a pound of ground pork, a pinch of salt, a splash each of soy sauce, sesame oil, and red chili sauce.  Note: if you're trying to do this whole foods style, it may take some searching to find a soy sauce that doesn't contain things like caramel color #4.  Interestingly, though, the little packets that come with your take-out only contain soy oil and water.   

After mixing the stuffing, beat one egg with a splash of milk to make an egg wash.  Take a pre-made won ton wrapper (with a little searching, I found some at Whole Foods that didn't have any strange ingredients), and coat one side of the wrapper with the wash.  This will keep the pot stickers from unfolding themselves and spewing out stuffing as they cook.  

Put a pinch of stuffing on the egg-washed side of the potsticker, then crimp the edges to fold it shut. 

Stage one of the cooking process is a boiling water bath.  Throw the pot stickers in for just one minute.

You can eat them after boiling alone -- they're fully cooked -- but to put the amazing crisp edges on them, you're going to need to go on to step two: the fry pan. 

You don't need much oil in the pan, but what's in there should be sizzling.  Let the pot stickers fry, flipping them occasionally, until they're golden and a little crisp on each side.  

I made an incredibly easy sweet chili dipping sauce to go with them from a combination of soy sauce, chili sauce, and honey to taste.  And I know that sounds like a lot of steps for these little guys, and I guess it was, but oh, sweet heaven, they came out absolutely amazing.  

We paired them with an easy lo mein recipe using the same ingredients in different proportions.  I match-sticked a zucchini and boiled it with some soba noodles I found at whole foods -- the whole thing cooks in less than five minutes.  I cooled it with a cold water rinse, then tossed with the sesame oil, soy sauce, and chili sauce.  

People, the greatest thing about this whole foods regimen have been these unexpected, restaurant-quality ethnic masterpieces.  If I'd never set out on this journey, I would have continued ordering greasy take-out my entire life ... 


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I follow Pollan on Twitter, and he recently posted the following photo essay, from New York photographer Sally Davies:

When you think about it, that kind of preservation is a really remarkable scientific feat ... But it's completely and utterly creepy, as you flip through the photos, watching the days and weeks go by as the burger remains unchanged.

Remember back in the 90s, when there was that urban legend about Twinkies being one molecule different from pantyhose?  I don't think that is actually true (and Snopes seems to agree), but this photo project suggests something similar about the Happy Meal.  We put so much non-food in our food, it may as well actually be the plastic versions that kids play with in their EZBake Ovens.  It certainly seems to last as long.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Marathons and Whole Foods

... don't mix. 

In the last twenty four hours, I've eaten only coffee, pizza, water, and beer.  And I feel completely justified in this. I may keep it up for another day or two.  Or five.