Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Keeeeeesh

So wow...I suck at the blog thing right? It's been an abhorrently long time since I posted anything.  A heartfelt apology goes out to the miniscule readership that I may have left. I'll try not to suck so hard in the future. Wow.

So...just because I haven't been posting, doesn't mean I haven't been cooking. Because not cooking would lead to not eating, and that's just unacceptable.  So anytime I made something blog-worthy I would snap some pixelated photos and upload them onto my laptop in the hopes that the writing bug would bite me hard in the ass and motivate me to return to the blogosphere. Note: I HATE the word blogosphere because it makes me sound like a tool...but I continue to use it because it's funny and douchey...I'm obviously very conflicted.

Well in the interest of returning to the subject at hand...I cooked a bunch, and took a crapload of photos and there are many backed up blogs coming your way.  This being the first, as it was the most inspirational at the time.

So I was sitting in my kitchen watching a boot-legged copy of The Blind Side and I decided it was time to feed.  In the fridge: eggs, milk, a random assortment of veggies, some leftover ends of cheese....sounds like the fixins' for a ragin' omelet.  But how blogworthy is that? I mean omelets are great and all, but I can't write an entire post about one lousy omelet...plus I hate meals that don't include leftovers, and leftover omelet has healthcode violation written all over it.  So with that in mind I searched for some sort of starch to bring everything together. I was out of options when I perfunctorily swung open the freezer door expecting little more than a wash of cold air and frozen peas, and then I saw it...pie crust. Pie is awesome...it's comforting, can be reheated, is hearty without weighing you down.  Egg pie though? That sounds kind of gross and weird....but quiche...quiche sounds like a fluffy, cheesy, egg-y, french delight that would be the perfect pair for a glass of wine and an illegally downloaded movie.  (My life is very full...I know)

The thing about quiche is that it sounds WAYYYY fancier than it is. It's really just a big omelet with more milk than usual baked in a pie crust in the oven.  It's pretty fool proof actually, and I just kind of threw together whatever and hoped it would turn out.

Now if the thought of pie crust alarms you, well don't get your panties in a wad...I don't think there is anything particularly hard about making pie crust from scratch. I have done it plenty of times with varying results, all of which were delicious, some of which looked a little like a five year old's after school art project. However...I don't always have time for that, and I don't see anything wrong with buying store bought pie crust, especially the kind already pressed into the pan for you. 

So with shortcuts and fancy french snobbery on my side, I made a delicious quiche to go along with Sandra Bullock's award winning portrayal of some obnoxious southern woman obsessed with adopting big black men and making them play football. I enjoyed the movie, but I continued to the enjoy the quiche for the next two days.  So here is...

Let's Pretend We Are French and Have Outrageous Accents and Universal Health Care Two Cheese Broccoli, and Roasted Red Pepper Quiche

Stuff to get French:

1 frozen pie crust
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 cp chopped broccoli
1 small onion diced
1 garlic clove minced
4 large eggs
1 cp whole mil
1/2 cp grated parmesan cheese (tip: grate these in the blender or a food processor...much faster)
1/2 cp grated gruyere cheese
1/4 cp greek style yogurt
2 T chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
1 roasted red pepper chopped
salt and pepper

First preheat your oven to 325 degrees...go

Heat the oil and butter over medium high heat in a large skillet and saute the onion, broccoli, and garlic for about 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper

In a bowl, beat the eggs until frothy, add the milk, cheese, yogurt, parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Add the broccoli mixture to the pie shell and spread evenly without packing it down.  Use a measuring cup or ladle to slowly pour the egg mixture over the broccoli mixture giving it time to settle in with the vegetables.  You may have some egg leftover, depending on how deep your pie shell is. Transfer the quiche onto a baking sheet to catch any overflow and sprinkle the roasted red pepper over the top evenly. 


Bake for 50 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a knife into the middle of quiche. If it comes out clean the quiche is done. If it's still liquidy in the center, put it back in the oven for another ten minutes.  Keep a close eye on it during the last ten minutes or so though, because overcooked quiche sounds about as gross as egg pie.



Sorry for the lack of blogs in the past month...hopefully June will be a better month for the blogosphere. ha.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I am day drinking whilst I write this. Happy Mexico kicked France's ass day!

Remember that one time that I had a blog and I totally forgot about it? Yeah. right. this one. right here. Sorry bout that. Anyway, I'm back now, and better than ever...or at least still just ok...I have however, moved into a new kitchen in Brooklyn and couldn't be happier. More counter space + bigger fridge + actual cabinet space to call my own = happy blogging.

So in case anyone hasn't gotten the memo by way of beautiful flowers, or chirping birdies or debilitating pollen allergies here is the official announcement. Spring has SPRUNG!

I'm not the hugest fan of this season. It's beautiful but deadly.  What I can say to its virtue however, is that spring makes for some delicious and really easy eats.  Spring's bounty is especially apparent in the lovely vegetation that begins in spring and proceeds through the summer months.  But what do you do with all of it? I mean I like vegetables, I really do, but I can't just sit around and munch on carrots all day.  If you can, then you are A. not happy and B. skinnier than I am, so screw you. 

A great way to showcase fresh vegetables in a super easy way is a pasta salad. But here's the thing...I don't really like pasta salad. The cold pasta never absorbs enough of the dressing leaving it bland, and if it does it makes the pasta limp, lifeless and mushy.  So if pasta is out, then that leaves us with grains or potatoes to stand in as a filler.  I choose grains, and more specifically I choose brown rice.

1. Because brown rice has a slightly nutty flavor all on its own and that's just tasty.
2. Potatoes are best left for fried preparations with fancy sauce for dipping
3. There are lots of grains that I might use for this (farro, quinoa, couscous) but I happen to have a bunch of boil in the bag brown rice leftover from the parent care package debacle, so that is what I'm using. I'm not a millionaire, if you are then you buy me some exotic grains to cook with...and a car.

So brown rice in hand, I pulled the spring bounty out of my fridge and this delicious salad came together faster than a fat kid to an all you can eat fried chicken buffet.  The marrying ingredient for the starch and the veg is a killer vinaigrette. Now I know we've discussed vinaigrettes before, but this one is a little different. Same basic idea, but the proportions have changed. Normally I would use 1 part acid to 2 parts fat, but when you're making something with a heavy grain in it, and you don't want that grain to end up tasting like cardboard, you need to up the ante on the flavor.  So I cut down on the fat and upped the acid quite a bit for this recipe.  It ends up being about 1 part acid to 1/2 part fat, but it makes for a zingy and tasty little dressing for your salad.

Another thing to keep in mind is that I used the veggies that I had at my easy disposal. You can use literally whatever you want as long as it can be eaten raw...so broccoli, carrots, onions, defrosted corn or peas, peppers...all good.  Potatoes, eggplant, or mushrooms (even though I know you CAN eat them raw) probably shouldn't make it into the bowl.  

So here is...

Pasta Salad Can Suck It Brown Rice and Vegetable Salad

Things:

2 cups (or one sad bag) of cooked brown rice (it's best if the rice is slightly warm -- it absorbs the dressing better this way)
1 small cucumber seeded and diced (just cut it in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out with a spoon)
1 small yellow onion diced
1 large tomato seeded and diced (cut it in half and squeeze the seeds and juice out)
1 garlic clove minced
2 medium carrots diced
1 avocado cubed (cut and add your avocado last because if you let it sit out it will get brown and nasty. Once it's in the salad though it should be fine, because the acid in the vinaigrette will stop the browning)
1/3 block of feta cheese cubed (or a 1/4 cp of the crumbled business)
1/4 cp red wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 T mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 T sweet chili sauce (if you don't have this just use a little ketchup and a little honey with some red chili flakes)
1 T soy sauce
2 1/2 T olive oil


Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, chili sauce and soy sauce and whisk to combine. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream while whisking constantly to combine.  If you don't want to do this, and I don't know why you would, you can just put it all in a rubbermaid container and shake it to within an inch of its life.

Put all of the other ingredients in a rubbermaid container and pour the dressing over it.  It seems like a lot of dressing, but the rice will soak it up.  Toss to combine, making sure not to break up the avocado too much.  Chill for an hour and serve.



It gets better as it sits, is great on its own, and makes a pretty amazing side dish to most meals.  It's also super cheap to make.

So there is my triumphant return to the blogosphere. Oh also it's Cinco De Mayo. So here is a picture of me celebrating.

Comment, Follow, Subscribe, and Cook. See you soon!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No name blog. I also didn't proof this one...I'm fussy. Read on.

I'm moving into a new kitchen in seven glorious days.  It's still New York, so it'll still be a skinny kitchen, but not high fashion, runway skinny, more commercial, toothpaste ad skinny. With this impending move, I have vowed not to buy any new groceries and therefore have had to get a little creative with meal making as of late. Today I was craving something hearty but not too heavy.  I had one roast chicken breast left, two stalks of broccoli, a few yellow onions, leftover marinara sauce, and whole wheat pasta. I could have just chucked it all together and had a pretty tasty, albeit a little boring, pasta meal, but that would 1.Not be blog worthy, and 2.There isn't a really a number 2, but the list seems incomplete without it.  Then I thought of a delicious pasta meal that I made with my friend Emily last week. I went to her place, and used her food so it was free, and free always makes food taste better. Also, she provided me with a meal to blog about, so she is appearing on the blog. If you do the same, you can be a skinny kitchen fatty blog celeb too.  So Emily and a bottle of wine had a little argument the night before, and she was craving something hearty and dairy laden in which to drown her hungover and dehydrated sorrows.  This is akin to eating your feelings, but you have to have something fried or chocolate or all you can eat to really fall into that category. I fall into it a lot.

So cream sauces get a bad rap a lot of the time.  I think it has to do with one of three possible reasons.

1. Cream sauces are calorie laden and bad for you therefore they are the devil. 

Wah wah wah! I'm not asking you to eat cream sauce by the cupful every day that ends in 'Y' (which is all of them for any of you who started listing mentally in your head past Tuesday - foolish).  Firstly, I use cream sauce in flavorful applications so that I can use less of it and therefore feel less like I need someone to staple my stomach shut at the end of the day.  Secondly, my cream sauce isn't really cream based (unless I'm feeling particularly jaunty, or there is a really good reason for full fat dairy -- like a breakup, or a bat mitzfah).  My "cream" sauce is really a "milk" sauce cleverly disguised and taking advantage of young women from here to somewhere in central Virginia. 

2. Cream sauces are complicated and you don't have time to make them because you have a busy life with lots of great friends and an important job and a beautiful significant other to make sweet sweet gorilla love to.

Well lucky for you, I am bereft and indifferent to the desires of the human heart in tandem with being unemployed, so I can tell you with certainty that making my "cream" sauce is not so hard, or time consuming.  It can make you feel even more accomplished than you obviously already are, and will totally earn you brownie points with the bedfellow of your choice - man, woman or primate.

3. You are lactose intolerant...

So am I, deal with it.

*Note: In the spirit of full frontal discretion, I have to say that this cream sauce I speak of is mostly referrred to as a bechamel sauce.  Bechamel is a thick and creamy sauce which is usually milk based, and amongst the culinary set, is considered one of the five mother sauces, from which all other sauces are derived.  

So back to the recipe at hand. I had some good ingredients, but I wanted something a little more indulgent.  So I did what any broke actress would do. I used the delusional and artistic part of my brain, which I have been honing for the past eight years, to convince myself that I could elevate these simple ingredients into something fancier and more unctuous than just a bowl of pasta....and you know what? It worked out pretty well.

So here are the fruits of my labor.

If It Was An Acceptable Practice To Bathe In Cream Sauce...Well You Can Just Use Your Imagination Rotini With Roast Chicken and Carmelized Onions in a Creamy Pink Sauce.

The Goods:

4 T Olive Oil
3 medium yellow onions sliced thin (1/8 inch)
1 tsp sugar
2 cps cooked chicken cut into bite sized pieces
2 stalks broccoli chopped small (1/2 inch)
2 T flour
1 cp milk (Any kind is fine. I used skim. Don't use chocolate)
1 1/2 cps marinara sauce
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 lb dried rotini (you can use a different kind of pasta, just make sure it's small shape and not a long noodle)
1/2 cp grated parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper

First...Put a large pot of water on to boil on a back burner (I'm not talking about a small pot. I mean a big mama pot...think the kind with two handles on each side, not something you make rice in)

Then put a large saute pan over medium low heat.  Add 1 T of oil and then the onions.  Season with salt and pepper and add the sugar.  Stir well to combine and keep stirring every 3 or 4 minutes for a total of about 35 minutes.  The onions will shrink in size drastically and become brown, sweet and delicious. (Innuendos everywhere I know). When the onions are done remove them to a plate and set aside.

In the same saute pan heat another tablespoon of oil over medium high heat and add the broccoli. Salt and pepper and saute for about 10 minutes or until they start to brown a little on the edges, but still remain crisp.  Remove to the plate with the onions.

Add the pasta to the boiling water, making sure to liberally salt the water just before adding the pasta and stir to keep the pasta from sticking for at the first 30 seconds.

Turn the heat on your saute pan down to medium and add the remaining two tablespoons of oil.  Then add the flour and whisk to combine. It will form a paste (just like when we made gravy...mmm gravy).  Just keep stirring the paste (which is called a roux btw) making sure the oil and flour are fully integrated for about 4 minutes.

Add the milk to the roux and whisk to combine thoroughly making sure to whisk out any lumps.  When the mixture comes to a boil it will begin to thicken (you basically want it to coat the back of a spoon without dribbling off).  Salt and pepper to taste, but be light with the seasoning, there are still a lot of ingredients to come.

Add the marinara sauce, broccoli, chicken and onions and stir to combine. Check for seasoning and make any additional adjustments now, remembering that the cheese will add some more salt to the dish, so don't overdo it now. 

When the pasta is done reserve 1/2 cp of the cooking liquid and drain the rest.  Toss the pasta in with the sauce and add the reserved pasta water and lemon juice

Simmer for 5 minutes, sprinkle with the cheese and serve.



Now you have the fanciest hangover food on the block! Time to draw some pictures.


Please subscribe by adding your email address to the little box in the upper right corner. Tell a friend, but not a friend who doesn't eat or read. Only tell your eating, reading friends, or anyone who has a ton of other friends who eat and read and also have a big mouth.  Also if you have any food related questions feel free to send them to skinnykitchenfattyblog@gmail.com and I'll happily answer them, and possibly draw you a little picture all your own.


See ya soon!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

The patriotic blog...aka Two and a Half Men is a waste of programming space...aka Don't do drugs

The other day I indulged in just about everything.  It was pretty great, but now I'm definitely feeling it. So I decided it would be a good idea to eat something nutritious for a change. Many of my friends are suffering from that spring to summer transition head cold/sinus infection due to allergies, so it seems like a little home remedy might be in order. I would totally recommend Percocet in this situation, but I'm broke and sadly have no chronic injuries to maintain a crippling addiction to pain killers*. So soup it is.

I mean soup cures everything right? cold, cough, crippling addiction to pain killers? and it's tasty!
So I had some leftover roast chicken, because when do I not, but other than that, the soup pantry was lookin' leaner than Mary-Kate, and I needed sustenance.  So I went to the store and picked up some simple soup ingredients.  I love making soup. It's generally pretty cheap, you always have leftovers, and people like soup. Who doesn't like soup? Stupid people, that's who.

Yes, I will admit that some soup recipes (especially those that reckon back to your grandma's soup pot) are generally a little time consuming, and often involve making a lot of things from scratch. Maybe that's why people don't make a lot of soup at home.  Maybe we should remember that we're Americans and we can make anything, or anyone for that matter, work for us and soup shall not be the exception to this rule. So be patriotic and make soup? sure.

On occasion, I have totally turned soup making into a day long process with some damn good results, but....I don't normally have all day to putter around like a geisha and make soup, so normally my soup takes about 45 minutes top to bottom.  It's really pretty easy to get something tasty in that amount of time, if you start with good, fresh ingredients.  You just have to remember that the flavors you pick for a 45 minute soup should be bold and flavorful all on their own.  This is because you are making a sacrifice by not letting your soup simmer away for the entire afternoon. There is something to be said for the flavors that develop with long, slow cooking. But if you don't have the time, put something in the pot that doesn't need to sit and develop to be tasty and interesting.

Making soup could not be done without some sort of broth. I am not OK with the bouillon cube (pretty much just sodium and questionable freeze dried business). I also don't always have time to make my own stock from scratch (it's not hard, it's just another step that I'm not always willing to take when I want soup in my belly NOW). But one thing I will always turn to are those stocks that come in cardboard boxes.  They're actually pretty good, and I always have at least two boxes on hand.  Of course that's so I can make soup any time I want, because soup is good food, but boxed stock is totally a multi-tasker.  I use it instead of water when I make rice, or add it to sauces or vinaigrettes for a boost of flavor, or use it in my sausage gravy for a good old hangover brunch meal. It also comes in a variety of flavors which is nice for the home cook. I usually stick to chicken because it's just easier and goes with everything, but I normally try to pick up the lower sodium variety if I can, because I'd like to control how much salt goes into my food because I am a control freak.

So if you're feeling down and out, or sick and tired, or bored and hungry and you've got 45 minutes, you can totally turn your whole day around, with soup...not painkillers. don't do drugs.


It Won't Change Your Life Because For That You Will Need The Help Of A Licensed Therapist, But You Can Still Make Soup In About 45 Minutes Chicken and Kale Soup with Ginger and Lemon.

Stuff:
1 T Olive oil
1 medium yellow onion roughly chopped
1 large carrot roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 T fresh ginger minced
1 small bunch of parsley roughly chopped (about 3 T worth)
1/2 small bunch of kale (about 4 stalks), washed and roughly chopped
1 tsp salt free seasoning blend of your choice
1 16 oz box of low sodium chicken stock
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 T soy sauce
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded into large bite-sized pieces
2 chicken sausages (or any kind of sausage for that matter) cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat
Add the sausage and cook until done, about 5 or 6 minutes. Remove and set aside
To the same pan, Add the onion, carrot, garlic and ginger. Add a little salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes
Add the seasoning blend, half the parsley and the kale to the pot and saute for another 5 minutes
Salt and pepper again
Add the chicken stock, soy sauce, and lemon juice and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer on low uncovered for 25 minutes.
Add the chicken and sausage to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes or just until the chicken is heated through.  Check for seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.
Add remaining parsley and lemon zest, stir to combine and serve. 



You can also add pasta to the soup for a heartier meal, but just make sure to cook the pasta separately and then add it to the individual soup bowls, instead of cooking it in the pot with the soup because the pasta will sit there and get soggy and absorb all the broth. 

So eat your feelings, but feel good about doing it, because this is healthy, delicious, cheap and easy. See you soon, and make sure to tell a friend about the blog!

Also feel free to leave comments or questions here, or if you want you can email me at skinnykitchenfattyblog@gmail.com and ask a food question, or you can ask how I got to be so smart and funny, but please don't ask why that crappy show Two and Half Men is always on TBS when I want to watch TV...because I do not know the answer to that.


*I do not have a crippling addiction to pain killers. Sorry for any confusion parents, just jokin'!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My favorite part of the blog are the drawings...agreed? Content be damned!

So here is what is going on in my world. Plants are attacking me. Today I can't breathe through my left nostril, yesterday it was the right, tomorrow maybe they'll double team me and I'll walk around all day breathing through my mouth like a creepy guy on the subway.  Either way, it's been hard to function for the past few days unless of course you count the countless hours of Benadryl induced coma.  But I have a duty to at least three people to blog about something delicious/cost cutting/homemade and easy.  The one thing that comes to mind that fits all three of these categories? Marinara sauce. (I think I can hear Meghan cheering all the way from Maryland).  When I was younger, especially in the later years of the highschool, I fostered a growing obsession for good spaghetti marinara at most local Italian eateries. It was just the perfect ratio of delicate pasta, to robust and flavorful sauce. The infuriating thing was that even though it was seemingly so simple -- pasta + sauce = eternal bliss right? -- I couldn't reproduce it simply by pouring the contents of some jar over spaghetti at home. There was just that restaurant magic quality that I just couldn't seem to wrap my head around.

Fast forward to present day. (I imagine there would be a high pitched fast forward sound effect here followed by some ethereal music with a slow fade into my grand triplex apartment in the West Village with me laying on a chaise being waited on hand and foot and...oh no? I live in a shoebox in the village on an air mattress? Oh yeah, moving on...). Present day - I'm older and wiser and definitely prettier because I've discovered bronzer and the lipgloss with the bee venom in it, and on top of that, I've figured out the magic.  It's simple really...restaurants (good restaurants) make everything from scratch, with love, and fat.  I searched high and low for a jarred pasta sauce that would meet my standards and one day I gave up.  If restaurants could do it, so could I. So I did some research and tried some recipes and tweaked them to my liking and ended up with something that I'm proud to say meets all of my red saucing needs.

The great thing about marinara is that you can put it on everything -- meatball subs, pizza, chicken parm, lasagna, penne with vodka sauce, you can even stir some into your chicken soup for an extra boost of flavor.  Yes, you can still buy the stuff in the jar, and no it's not a bad product (I'll get it in a pinch every once in a while too), but you can make twice as much at home for about half the price and that's just good solid math, and if you won't take math tips from an Asian...well that is a dark world you live in my friend. dark.

So I am officially extolling the virtues of home sauce making, but I will say that there are a few tips to ensure success.

1. There aren't very many ingredients, so don't use crappy ones, or you will have a pot full of crappy sauce.
2. Each ingredient adds a distinct flavor to the mix, and if you understand why you're putting something in, then it can help you learn to improvise as you cook and make the sauce your own.  For instance, I put carrot in mine because it adds a little sweetness which combats the acidity of the tomatoes.  I also add sugar for the same reason. I put in soy sauce because it's salty but it also adds body, and I use lemon juice at the end because it helps freshen up all the flavors which can get a little dull as they cook. The main thing is to keep tasting as you go and adjust as necessary.
3. Although this is a simple procedure, try not to do this on a day where you have crazy meetings, ten minutes to shovel some food in your mouth and an insurmountable pile of laundry to attack. It will make it a negative experience, and then you'll never want to do it again, and that would be foolish.
4. Don't feel bound to one way of doing something. You might like your sauce thicker or thinner than mine, or less spicy or more spicy. Making marinara is like teaching a kid how to mix colors, show them that red and blue make purple and then watch them freak out and produce poop brown.  The ease of improvisation comes with time and experimentation, so don't be afraid because if you screw up, you can throw it in the trash and lie about it to all your friends. But I doubt you'll screw up, because this is pretty easy and delicious stuff.

So here is...
Yeah I Could Just Buy It, But I'd Rather Spend The Five Bucks I Saved On Ice Cream Because I Have Solid Priorities Basic Marinara Sauce.

Stuff you need to get saucy (I'm funny, just sayin')

1 T olive oil
1 medium yellow onion chopped fine
1 medium carrot chopped fine
2 cloves garlic minced
3 T fresh parsley chopped
1 tsp dried italian seasoning (this is the easy way out because i'm lazy.  If you want you can do any combination of dried basil, thyme, rosemary or oregano, but be careful with too much of the rosemary because it's strong. You can also use fresh (yay!) but use twice as much)
1/4 tsp chili flake (optional)
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes (you can get the chopped kind if you want, but they're usually pricier and I have my eye on a trip to lego land and a new circle scarf so...)
1/2 cp water (or wine, or chicken broth if you have it, I just had water so that's what I used)
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice (You can also use red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar instead)
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium low heat
Add the garlic and chili flake and cook for 30 seconds
Add the onion and carrot and continue to cook for 5 minutes (The vegetables should be sizzling, but not browning -- this is called sweating)
Salt and pepper the veggies and add the italian seasoning and half the parsley
Add the tomatoes and break up them up with a spoon
Add the water, soy sauce, sugar and 1 tsp of the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil and then bring heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (about every 5 minutes)
Taste to check for seasoning, you might need to add more salt or pepper at this point
Add the remaining parsley and lemon juice, simmer for five more minutes.

At this point you will have a delicious chunky sauce. I like to let it cool down for about 15 minutes and then blend 2/3rds of it and combine it with the unblended portion. You can blend the whole thing if you'd like and then you have tasty pizza sauce.

Marinara is the gravy of Italy, so use it as such. I like mine on sausage and pepper heroes, or heated over leftover chicken and rice, or on several pieces of cheesy garlic bread...cold...out of the fridge...at 3 am. Don't judge me.

Enjoy and expect another blog very soon. Don't forget to subscribe, tell a friend to subscribe and comment below! 
K bye.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Three things about this post...1. Racial content within 2. My Dad should not be offended, but please take it as a lesson Pops and 3. I lied...

I lied about blogging yesterday. Instead I went to bikram yoga and then found myself incapacitated for the rest of the day.  The lesson here? Exercise is the devil. I also lied about what I was going to make. Sorry you two, but the marinara sauce will have to wait for another day. I just had too many vegetables in the fridge just dying to be used...or rather, if I didn't cook them now, they would go in the trash, and then I would have wasted money that I could have used to buy socks with LED lights on the toes (fancy).  I am very sorry for betraying your trust, but I am only human, and I can guarantee it will happen again because I'm generally untrustworthy and an all 'round sac o' lies. With that being said...I did make something delicious tonight, and I will be posting about it...now.

So as I mentioned before, I had a good amount of vegetation chillin' in the big white box that desperately needed to be cooked before it met its doom.  This paired with the fact that my father sent me the weirdest care package (albeit the first one of my life) the other day gave me some ideas.

I'm moving out of my apartment in two weeks, so I probably shouldn't go around buying groceries willy nilly like a nun all hopped up on jujubees.  So I will have to make do with what I have for the time being.  This is what my dad sent me (food wise).  I received two boxes of boil in a bag brown rice, one can of crushed pineapple and a box of unflavored instant oatmeal.  Now I love my father, but wow...I can just imagine him standing in the pantry right now mumbling to himself..."what can I give my daughter that I clearly don't want or intend to use unless of course there is a nuclear fallout? Ah yes..." as he then chucks the contents into a freshly labeled fedex box and two days later I receive a package of fatherly love, sprinkled with some inevitable payback for all the crap I pulled in highschool. Glorious. 

But I'm an optimist god damnit and I will make lemonade out of brown rice and crushed pineapple! or something.

If you didn't know...I'm Asian. It's something I try to hide most of the time (ie: the horrendous addiction to heavy eye liner -- I'm trying to make my eyes bigger and rounder and more caucasian...no really, that's not a joke). I'm not particularly in tune with my heritage because I'm adopted and grew up in a pretty country club white bread version of suburbia, but there are times when I can't deny myself.  Like for instance, every time I look in the mirror.  Some unspoken truths about us slanty eyed folk?

1. We have slanty eyes (it sucks in pictures)
2. We have great hair
3. We are comfortable in very small spaces
4. We love rice

I, being of the Asian persuasion, love rice -- especially fried rice. What a great way to take all the shit you'd never eat on its own and make a delicious and filling dish that gets better as it sits and reheats well to boot.  Even better? If you make it at home, I guarantee you it will be 20 times better for you than if you go down to China Wok and order the double order fried rice combo with extra MSG.  It will also be cheaper.

So although it seems wildly stereotypical, I bet you'd benefit from this recipe/method of cooking. So here is...

I Have Slanty Eyes and My Dad Can't Seem To Put Together a Worthwhile Care Package But I Can Still Make Great Rice Spicy Pineapple Fried Rice

guess what...you don't need to preheat a damn thing...nice right?

Things you need to get to the orient...
4 T light cooking oil (like canola or vegetable)
3 cps cooked brown rice
*Note: I am normally not a fan of any sort of boil in a bag or instant product...because it generally lacks flavor and texture due to crazy amounts of processing and refining, and because I like to be all snotty and elitist about it, but I will say that the boil in a bag brown rice my Dad sent me...not bad. Feel free to use any kind you like.
1 cp broccoli florets (from about two small stalks)
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 medium yellow onion chopped
2 carrots sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 can crushed pineapple (thoroughly drained)
1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes
salt
black pepper
4 T low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 T sweet chili sauce (optional)


Put a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add one tablespoon of the oil and heat until it coats the bottom of the pan thoroughly. Add the eggs.  Scramble them quickly and then remove them from the pan and set aside.  


In the same pan add the pineapple and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.  The pineapple should take on a little light brown color, and lose a lot of its liquid.  Set aside with eggs.


Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and return to heat.  Add 1 more tablespoon of oil and heat like before. Add the chili flake, ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  

Add all the vegetables and stir to combine.  If the vegetables aren't audibly sizzling, turn the heat up a little bit.  Constantly stir and turn the veggies to evenly cook them.  They should take on a little brown color, but still have bite to them.  Salt and pepper the veggies, but make sure to taste them, and keep them slightly under seasoned (they're getting a lot of salt from the addition of the soy sauce later).  When the vegetables are cooked (about 10 minutes) set them aside on a plate.  

Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining two tablespoons of oil. Turn the heat up to high and add the rice.  Flatten the rice out like a pancake and wait 30 seconds.  Then start to flip the rice with a spatula so the uncooked portion gets some time on the bottom of the pan. Flatten again and repeat.  
*Note: this part is important...as long you hear sizzling, you're not burning the rice.  You need to cook enough excess water out of it, so it doesn't turn mushy, so just keep flipping and flattening for about 5 minutes. Some rice might stick to the bottom of the pan...don't panic, just scrape it up and flip it over. 

Add the soy sauce (holding back one tablespoon), lemon juice and sweet chili sauce and stir to coat the rice.  Keep flipping and flattening the rice for another 5 minutes, or until it seems to have absorbed the liquid. 

Add the vegetables, pineapple and remaining soy sauce and stir to combine.  Lower the heat to medium and let it saute for 5 more minutes stirring occasionally.

Chop up the scrambled eggs and add them to the rice last, and stir gently to combine.

Taste to check for seasonings. You might need to add more salt or pepper at this point.    

Serve to your best asian friend (that's me btw) 



So things we've learned
1. I lie sometimes...I bet you do too
2. I have great hair, and a slight problem accepting my ethnicity 
3. When you were a kid and were trying to make the perfect shade of purple in art class, you always ended up with poop brown. great.
4. I make bitchin' fried rice
5. Now YOU can make bitchin' fried rice too!

So go do it, and then subscribe to the blog and then tell a friend...actually...reverse that.  Tell a friend, Subscribe and then go make bitchin' fried rice. 

Hope this post was racially offensive enough for you.

Enjoy and see you tomorrow! 


 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Things I would like. aka This post is short but graphic. aka I love microsoft paint

Things I would like...

I would like to not be so poor all the time
I would like to brush my teeth with gravy and have that be ok
I would like Broadway to come a callin'
I would like you to subscribe to my blog by entering your email address in the upper right hand corner. I am not going to spam you. When would I have time to do that shit anyway? Plus, then you get the blog posts in emails and you can pretend you're working when really you're reading my blog. I am a deceptive minx.
and most importantly...
I would like...no I would LOVE to eat cheese and have it not attack me and my insides.  

Here are some illustrations of my desires. 
*Note: there will be a new blog tomorrow and I promise it will have something to do with food and/or cooking. I think I am going to make marinara sauce, so Meghan should be excited. 

 





















































Enjoy! See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Can you put gravy on that? No? Send it back. I don't want it.

Ok loyal readers numbers one and two -- I was about to become a negligent blogger, but I thought of both of you, waiting with 'bated breath for another sad drawing and a new way to make a meal with only a dollar and a prayer, and I rolled over and began to type.

I make a roast chicken probably once a week, except for the year I was vegan and honestly that was just a little silly.  This week is no different. I live on a budget, and a roast chicken will meet my protein needs quite nicely while still affording me a little variety in my day to day diet.  I can have chicken salad, chicken in pasta, chicken over rice, chicken stir fry...you get it...a chicken extravaganza fit for a poultry mongering king!!!


Ok...but see the other day I needed chicken like a junkie needs a quick fix and I didn't have two hours to let it hang out in the oven and get all delicious and roasty.  So I took a great shortcut which

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles! or...I am cheap part 3

So...as an ongoing theme...I am poor. You will probably never hear the end of this, unless of course for some reason lots of people start reading this blog and someone in publishing approaches me to write a book/star in my own cooking show on the Food Network. I'm not counting on that. Some months are tougher than others, but you know what? I get by. Sure making my own salad dressing, marinara sauce, pizza dough and other things help me save those dollars, but a tried and true way to save some cash? Mooching off of your friends. I will say that this is something that I normally hate to do, because none of my friends are rolling in it either, so it's really like the poor taking from the poor and that's not very Robin Hood. But every once in a while an opportunity will present itself that is either A) too hard to turn down because I really do want that cupcake, and I really don't want to pay for it, or B) I don't feel bad about taking because there is a surplus of something that might otherwise be wasted.

Today such an opportunity presented itself to me and I seized it like a free trip to Six Flags Great Adventure...I use this comparison because these two things bring me about the same amount of joy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Guess what...WE STILL IN A RECESSION!

Firstly...Thank you all for the overwhelming support and votes of confidence for the blog. Your great comments and awesome suggestions are so appreciated (and to anyone who happened to stumble upon this blog and is thinking "What comments? I don't see comments. This bitch is crazy!" well then I guess we aren't facebook friends and therefore you probably don't exist in my world). Keep em coming. I like to feel popular...it's new.

Secondly. I am more excited than is healthy to get started on blog topics and recipes that have been suggested to me over the last few days. They might take a little time to orchestrate, because I'd like to actually make the things I blog about, but they will definitely be highlighted in upcoming blog posts (to be accompanied with picture links to the people who came up with the ideas -- get pumped).

Thirdly. I like cheese

Muster up your best big black woman voice please..."WE IN A RECESSION!"

So...I spent too much money today. I know it, Erica knows it, and the DSW at Union Square certainly knows it. Well as I was walking home this evening I was totally beating myself up over buying a pair of shoes (that I needed) and a couple of cheap things that I didn't, but that also in the long run won't break the bank.  I know money is tight for pretty much everyone right now, and for those of you reading this who are in the wealthy minority...FECK you. I'm sorry, I'm sure you're in that position because you didn't spend frivolously throughout your early twenties, and instead invested and saved your hard earned dollars...yeah right...I'm sure that's the case.

For the remaining readers who I have not yet alienated...I sympathize with your starving wallets. I'm always looking to decrease how much I spend on things that I need, so I can later increase the amount I spend on crap I actually want (you know like anniversary edition Yahtzee with the gold plated dice)  I've realized that a big way to cut out of the middle man is to do exactly that. Why buy stuff like marinara sauce and salad dressing for three or four bucks a bottle, when you can make twice that much for half the price?  To quote my friend Leah -- "foolish".

Thursday, April 8, 2010

There are 12 steps to recovery...I hope one of them is pizza.

So today I cooked absolutely nothing. I picked off other peoples' plates and took full advantage of my friends' generosity of spirit and dollars.  I also had two bowls of cheerios somewhere in there. I came home, watched the second to last episode of Ugly Betty *sniffle*, and retired to bed.  No cooking = no blog post right?

WRONGO BITCHES!

I was thinking about people who read my blog, and the two of you really got me thinking about disasters in the kitchen.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Clever Title For Broccoli Blog

***Note: My pictures have mysteriously disappeared and I am fussy about it. I have substituted crappy drawings of broccoli for the real thing. It does not look appetizing. I apologize. Please don't let this deter you from reading the blog in the future. I promise all other crappy drawings I provide from now on will depict painful childhood memories, or situations that are too awkward for real life.


So when I was a kid I ate broccoli when it was forced upon me. However, like many of my peers, I could not be coerced into this contract lightly. The deal was...broccoli would be consumed if slathered beyond recognition in a cheese sauce of my choosing or drowned in at least double its volume of Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing. Once both parties were agreed on the terms of the contract, I would eat my dairy dipped treats happily and my parents would pat themselves on the back for getting some semblance of nutrition into me, even if it up-ed my daily caloric intake by 500 notches or so.

Now that I am old and wise I realize that my parents got the raw end of that deal.  As we've learned from watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution...a french fry (at least by Huntington, West Virginia's public school system) is considered a vegetable. Now I'm not one to scoff at french fries. I live two doors down from Pommes Frites, or as I like to call it - Heaven.  But I do see this genuine disdain of real vegetables as a problem.

I like pretty much all veggies at this point in my life. But broccoli has always been a harder one to stomach.  It's naturally a little bitter, has an off putting texture when raw, and if overcooked, is pretty much inedible in my opinion, not to mention the odor.  But I have found one way, short of arterial damage due to cheese intake, that I will always eat it;

Monday, April 5, 2010

Christ is Risen and that means Ham!

and deviled eggs and noodle kugel and pasta salad and cheesecake and citrus chocolate ricotta torte...apparently Jesus was resurrected and then everybody gorged themselves.  It was a lovely Easter day.

My friends and I have commented lately that no holiday is worth the moniker "holiday" unless there is some elaborate and extensive feast prominently featured therein.  Obviously you can name a few without even having to think about it...Christmas, Thanksgiving, Passover, Kwanzaa...even the hallmark holidays center around food in some way.  Halloween makes children everywhere squeal with delight at the thought of buckets of free candy (but NEVER EVER the unmarked, unbranded taffy of death that was sure to be poison cleverly disguised as a holiday treat by your sinister next door neighbor).  Valentine's Day brings the promise of hastily bought chocolates by an unwitting gentleman who really just wants the day to be over so he can lie on the couch dreading the next important romantic date that he is sure to forget even though we marked it on your calendar WITH A BIG RED CIRCLE!

But what about arbor day? Where we celebrate earth's precious bounty of trees deciduous and evergreen alike? Or veterans day? Shouldn't we celebrate our vets with a big artery busting meal? I think so.

I implore my readers, of which I have two, to dedicate themselves to adding one food based holiday to their personal calendar in 2010.  Because why not?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I am an adult and I can drink on a Sunday morning. I shall call it Brunch!

As a friend of mine recently remarked -- "Of course you're going to brunch. You're a New Yorker".  My response to that? What's wrong with brunch? I know that Village Voice gossip columnist extraordinaire Michael Musto is famous for his hatred of this "trendy construct that people decided to buy into",  but so what? In my opinion, yes it's entirely unnecessary as a meal, and yes it's not a great way to say cut calories and make the most of your time, but it's like Saturday morning cartoons for adults.  It's a time to relax with friends over a nice leisurely meal of foods that you would ordinarily never make in your home on a Monday morning at 8:15 when you're rushing to apply a coat of mascara, find your left shoe, all the while praying that the uptown 6 train isn't the crowded mess you know it will be.  If someone has built eggs benedict and a bloody into their morning routine, my hats off to them. Seriously.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Kitchen Sucks Hard

So...I'm pretty much a walking stereotype.

I'm an actor, in my mid twenties, wracked with credit card debt, living in an East Village shoebox with a stove not much bigger than a microwave.

I like my life. I've got good friends, free yoga down the street, a good handle on my Pandora quickmix and relatively few strings. BUT...

My kitchen sucks hard.

Along with the aforementioned stove, I have literally one square foot of counter space, knives that suck, and a very sparse cupboard to mirror my very sparse horsey wallet. (yeah it's got horseys on it...what?)

I haven't always been in kitchen poverty though.

Inaugural Post aka Mission Statement aka What's Goin' On

Hi...

That seems like an appropriate way to start. I could have begun with "angsty angst ridden angst" followed by a proverb or possibly a few sullen song lyrics, but that would make very little sense for the purpose of this blog...

What a segue.

Speaking of the purpose of this blog:

Ahem...
At the risk of sounding slightly pretentious, I am one of those people who can cook. I'm not professionally trained, and I don't pretend to be the next Julia Child (nor do I plan to cook my way through her magnum opus), but I can definitely cook, and I don't think it's that big of a deal.

However, over the last few years of meeting new people and entertaining new situations, I have learned that my fearlessness in the kitchen is maybe not the norm.

So this blog is three fold...

1. To archive and test the recipes that have been floating around in my head for the past ten years.
2. To share them with my fellow foodies because as we learned in kindergarten - Sharing is Caring
and...
3. To help all of my less culinarily inclined friends realize that cooking can be more of an art and less of a science, that experimentation is fun and tasty, and that recipes, while important, are not set in stone.

So I guess this is my cooking philosophy written down on "paper" and I'm happy to share it, change it, see it grow, and ultimately enjoy the fruits of its labor.

Have fun!
~Jo