Monday, July 28, 2008

On Vacation

In case you didn't know already. The last few days have been awesome and full of great food. Of course, my camera decided to be ticky and not work half the time. I'm sure I'll have a few to share when I get back. Also, Fort Collins has a Whole Foods and I'm living it up to the fullest extent. Meaning expect product reviews soon. I'll be officially back early August, but I figured checking in now would be nice. Especially since this town is wireless friendly and I'm sitting in a coffee shop enjoying a delicious latte and chocolate dipped pretzel. I hope you're all enjoying your time as much. We'll talk soon.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Watermelon Agua Fresca

You will all be proud to know that I am in fact using up my perishables. I say I'll do this every time I leave the house for a few days, but this is the first time I'm actually making the concerted effort to do so. I think I'm a reincarnation of a great depression era person shoved into a modern body that has learned how to be lazy. The thought of throwing away food and not using every scrap turns my stomach, but it happens to often. Maybe this is the start of being less wasteful? Let's hope so. Not only have I made another bout of macaroni and cheese from this recipe to use up some cheese, but I've used half my watermelon making agua fresca. This is a beverage made popular in Mexico that has come to my attention within the last year or so. It also made an appearance in one of my recent magazines and hey! Watermelon!

Now I must say that I was very critical of the recipe I chose. One tablespoon of lime juice? Are you kidding? Now, I don't know about you, but I am the lime-lovingest person I know. If it doesn't kick me in the teeth, there's not enough lime. So I ended up using about a 1/4 cup (the rest of my bottle) because I didn't have fresh limes. I'm still not enough either. Overall though, this is a decent way to use up watermelon if you have it. I'm just not sure I'm sold enough to make it again. Plus, it's a bit unsettling to go back to the frige a few hours later and find it looking like this.

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Eggplant with Pomegranate Molasses

My best friend, the Bringer of Produce, has again gifted me with fresh food. Which means that I've had it staring at me to cook it for too long now. And seeing as how I'm about to leave for Colorado again, I should probably cook it. You know, before it glares at me with its rotten eyes. This is also the perfect opportunity to try a cookbook that I've had on my shelves. It's called Arabesque. Beautiful book, but not one you may have ingredients handy for. Unless you're me and you pick up things like pomegranate molasses on a whim. I had no idea what I'd use it for. Now that I've got two eggplants, I've got a plan for adventure.

If you've never had pomegranate molasses, here's the scoop. It's a syrup obviously deriving it's flavor from the fruit juice itself. While not quite as thick as traditional molasses, it has a clingy consistency but is still easy to pour. The flavor is sharp and tangy like the fruit, and can easily be sweetened up for dessert or used in a savory dish like this.

I'm not sure where I first encountered eggplant or why I remember liking it even though I've made several recipes with it that turned bad. I am reminded again though while roasting them because they smell like heaven. Not something I'd usually associate with this particular vegetable, but my whole apartment smells like green, fresh, satisfying food. I've really missed that.

I think my eggplants were too ripe when I cooked them, so instead of cubes of mushy vegetable, I got something more like eggplant hummus.

The only cure for this, of course, is to toast a bit of bread. I used less olive oil and probably less lemon juice than was called for but it still tastes tangy and... eggplanty. It's nothing spectacular, but it's one of those things that you eat like this: "Well, it's not really that great. I'll just take one more bite. Nom nom nom nom. Hey... where'd it all go?"

Oh yeah. And the recipe calls for fresh, flat-leafed parsley.

Ahem. Moving on.

Eggplant with Pomegranate Molasses
Serves 4 to 6

2 to 3 eggplants (weighing about 2 pounds)
juice of 1 lemon
1 T pomegranate molasses
1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed
salt and black pepper
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
seeds of 1/2 pomegranate (optional)

Prick the eggplants in a few places with a pointed knife to prevent them from exploding. Place them on a sheet of foil on an oven tray and roast them in an oven preheated to 475F for 45 to 55 minutes, until the skins are wrinkled and they are very soft.

When cool enough to handle, peel and drop them in a colander or strainer with small holes. Press them very gently to allow their juices to run out. Then, on a serving plate, cut them into large pieces and dress them quickly so that the flesh does not have time to discolor.

Mix them lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil, pour over the eggplants, and turn them to coat them all over with the dressing. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley and, if you like, pomegranate seeds.

Friday, July 11, 2008

What's Eating

Well, a visit from my mother prompted me to spiff up the dinner menu.


Okay, fine.

But I did make roast chicken, garlic bread, and soggy roast pototoes the second night. Promise! I just didn't take a picture. Well, if it makes anyone feel better, I've got cakes to bake coming up soon. Of course, if it works like planned, Photobucket won't let you see it either. Let's see how this all works out.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Puppy Chow has landed!

I don't know about you, but for the last week or so I've been craving Puppy Chow like a goddamn crack hoe! It's been nearly debilitating. Really. So, to remedy this, I've finally broken down and made it. I followed the Chex recipe from their site (Muddy Buddies?). However, the next time I make it, I'll let the mix cool for a bit before adding the powedered sugar and perhaps add more of it. Mine didn't get a very good coating.

Anyone up for a diabetic coma?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

My Life With Noodles

If you haven't noticed, I love them. Like, crazy love.

However, if you ever make organic round udon noodles, compare them to tapeworms as you cook them. Think about the unnatural whiteness of them and how they writhe in the pot of boiling water. Think of this right up to when you slurp the slick little buggers up into your mouth and feel them settle uneasily in your stomach. Trust me, makes it super tasty. Also, you may not want to cook with me.

With cheese

With soy sauce and dressing

The last of them also with more soy sauce

See? At least I ate them all.

Also, had no food in the house and it was raining. What's a girl to do? Well, if you're lucky, you'll have some hard cheese still left in the refrigerator with a miraculously long life that will weave its way into macaroni and cheese. I tend to use the baked mac recipe from the New York Times, but found this one as I was searching the Simply Recipes blog. SR never lets me down. Apparently, she made this for kids to "broaden their Mac-Cheese horizons". Just an FYI, if you ever want to broaden my Mac-Cheese horizons I will be your slave for the rest of the day. You know, just for extra incentive. And here it is on the same plate I grated the cheese on.

I was hungry.

Friday, July 4, 2008

UnRamen Noodles

Alright. Again, I've been remiss in posting. In my defense, I wasn't cooking, followed by lots of cleaning, followed by a last minute vacation. Since I've been back- a few days- I haven't made anything to be proud of. In fact, I've tried everything in my power to not cook. Why? Because I don't wanna! I am also aggressively stamping my foot. However, I'm slowly starting to accept the fact that it's not so bad and that I've missed it lately.

Once I got home, I ate nothing but fast food, frozen pizza, and ramen noodles. Until yesterday. Oh yes. Actually, I surfed the Kraft food website. I hate even admitting that because it feels like cheating. I don't consider combining a box of this and a bag of that cooking. Of course, I am a snob that can't live up to my own standards. Oh well. I made a close approximation of this recipe and added steamed broccoli and a small can of water chestnuts. I am not impressed with the recipe. But OH MY GOD. Have you tried the salad dressing? I bought the pre-made and it is heaven. It's almost exactly the dressing they used on the mandarin chicken salads at Wendy's. I may end up buying a lettuce farm just for this dressing.

But this counts right? This is cooking? What with the boiling of noodles and steaming of broccoli? Please say it is. I mean, it's not doctored Ramen...

but it'll do.