Monday, September 28, 2009

Pasta two ways

I feel so fancy and chef-y(which is totally a real word, by the way)saying "pasta 2 ways". It's just like top chef! Anyway, here's our pasta two ways:
1) Pasta with Trader Joe's marinara sauce, peas, and Tofurky Italian Sausage (photo above)
This was my first time having any Tofurky product, and the sausage was good. It didn't really have the texture of meat, but it was well spiced and very flavorful. The cooking is self-explanatory from the name, except that we did add a sauteed garlic clove.
Then, to cancel out the vegan-ness and healthiness of that meal...
2)Cheese and butter! aka Pasta with spinich, peas, and alfredo sauce.

Here's how you make the alfredo sauce (1 serving): melt 1/2 t butter in a small pan. Add 1/4 C whole milk & 1/8 C grated parmesan.Swirl it around until it gets creamy and alfredo-y(also definitely a real word), then add salt a and pepper to taste.
I tossed the sauce with 3/4 C pasta, peas, a handful of walnuts, and some spinach which I'd cooked for a few seconds in olive oil. It turned out good, although if I made it again I think I'd double the amount of sauce, because the pasta wasn't supper saucy. I like my pasta to have a lot of sauce, especially if said sauce consists solely of butter, whole milk, and cheese.

Friday, September 25, 2009

new taco express

this is an addendum to my last entry, about mexican food, because i have found a good mexican restaurant, although it is not at all "real mexican". apologies if my last entry was a little complain-y (is there a word for that? there probably is a really obvious one that i'm just completely unable to think of right now)-i did worry about it because i didn't want to be too mean.
anyhoo, i do remain loyal to my california mexican, but that doesn't stop me from trying new places in new york, which is a good thing because it led me to discover my new favorite restaurant. it is tiny, run entirely by asians, and not at all authentic, and i am in love with it. like all my favorite restaurants, ambiance is completely lacking, and the food is cheap--95% of the menu is under $5. the decor consists of those weird backlit photos that make the food in them look as unappetizing as possible and 1 sombrero hung on the wall. and for $3.99, you can get a delicious (albeit small) quesadilla with broccoli slaw, yummy cheese, and mild hot sauce.
New Taco Express
130 East 28th street (between Lexington and Park), New York

Thursday, September 24, 2009

quesadillas with guacamole and pico de gallo

As amazing as New York is for finding food from any part of the world, it's considerably harder to find good Mexican food here than it is back in California. I can't imagine how anyone could grow up without the taquerias of the mission, or the even better ones of so-cal.
I have a friend from Texas who has banned us all from ever going out for Mexican food in New York because its "not real". Unfortunately, she is also seriously misguided, because being from Texas, she thinks queso dip is "real Mexican" (actually we all kind of hate her for this and other reasons, and I would one day love to point out to her that queso dip is barely even real food, let alone real Mexican-sorry for being a bit of a snob there, but i have never understood the appeal of velveeta-but that's another story). Anyway, point is, she is at least correct in her assessment of New York's lack of good Mexican.
So we made our own quesadillas (and did not invite said Texan). As Rita said, they were "melty and cheesy and delicious".

what we did(for 1 quesadilla) : saute 1/4 of an onion, sliced, in oil until burnt, about 20 minutes. spread 1 tortilla (we used flour) with guacamole and pico de gallo (we used a product from trader joe's which had one layer of guacamole and one layer of pico de gallo together in one container. of course, you can also buy them separately or make your own), add half your burnt onion pieces, add a big handful of shredded cheese (we used the "mexican blend"), and add the rest of the onion. top with another tortilla. heat up a teaspoon or two of oil in a frying pan. add your quesadilla and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until all cheese is melted.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Udon with veggies and fish

In a radical change from the usual soba, we decided to make udon tonight. The recipe is pretty simple, but the udon turned out delicious and flavorful. It would also be great with some yams and ginger, if you have those.

Udon with veggies and fish
serves 2
*10 mushrooms, sliced
*2 cloves garlic, diced
*1 cup bokchoy, chopped
*1/2 lb flounder (or any other firm white fish), chopped
*2 T soy sauce
*2 T curry powder
*2 packs udon, the kind that comes with seasoning packets
*handful of peanuts
1)Cook the udon according to package directions, but without the seasoning packets. Drain, then toss with 1 T soy sauce and the seasoning packets.
2) Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Once it's hot, add the garlic and mushrooms, and saute about 5 minutes or until mushrooms start to get soft.
3) Add the fish, plus 1 T soy sauce and the curry powder. Saute until fish is opaque and flaky, about 10 min. If you like you can leave the fish in one piece and just put it on top of everything else at the very end.
4) add the bokchoy and saute a few seconds, until it starts to wilt, then remove from heat.
5) toss everything you've just cooked with the udon. Add more soy sauce to taste, then sprinkle with the peanuts and enjoy.

PS-chocolate covered katie is having a giveaway of granola bars, "superfoods" and I think some other stuff too. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tofu with eggplant and zucchini

I normally try to avoid chain restaurants, especially if they serve some kind of ethnic food. I guess I'm kind of a snob about it, but I refuse to eat at Taco Bell when La Gallinta or El Buen Sabor is just down the street (or even all the way across town). But I admit I do love Panda Express. For one thing, their logo is a panda, which is adorable. Also, I love their eggplant tofu. I have had eggplant tofu other places and liked it just as much, but Panda Express is the first one I tried, so I'll always have a soft spot for it.

Anyway, when Lola called me frantically at 6 pm, saying she was hungry and all we had in the dorm was tofu, I rushed to the Union Square farmer's market to get some eggplant. Around 6 pm is the best time to get to the farmer's market because everything is on sale. When I got there,I saw a bag of zucchini for only $1, so I decided to get that too. And thus Tofu with eggplant and zucchini was born.

We used 2 small eggplants, 1 small zucchini, and a small block of medium firm tofu, all cubed and sauteed in olive oil with about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and about 1 teaspoon of five spice powder. We also threw in a small handful of chickpeas, which we had leftover. I recommend you put the zucchini in first so it can cook the longest. we didn't and it consequently ended up a bit too crunchy.
We served it over some whole wheat couscous and it made a good, satisfying meal.
p.s. from lola--the eggplants were in honor of the best character on tv (and rita's future husband?) chuck bass. because he wears so much purple.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

stuffed cuttlefish + herbed biscuits

our first week of classes is done and all is well so far. i'm particularly excited about my irish (as in gaelic language) class. because who wouldn't love to learn a language where "bhfuil" is pronounced "well"? (another favorite-"mhargadh" is said like "wada". also, i hope my approximations of how to say these are correct. if you speak irish, fell free to correct me). anyway, on to some food!

another meal from way back in the day. these are from the book Savoring Provence and for my dad's birthday meal. dessert was poached pears, but the picture wasn't particularly interesting (imagine a peeled pear in a bowl. that's what it was pretty much. not to say that it wasn't delicious).
so we have some biscuits, which are basically frozen pastry shells brushed with butter and some herbs before being baked, and a cuttlefish stuffed with ground meat and some veggies. everything was great. if only we could cook like this in our dorm!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

soba with five spice tofu and acorn squash

i know what you're thinking. "soba again? and another not so good picture? boring." but i promise you, this post contains both excitement AND thrills (not to mention fun and games). see:
(coney island, which has been revived and is worth the hour and a half subway ride from manhattan).
anyway, we decided we needed some vegetables in our lives, so i picked up an acorn squash (for just 90 cents!) at the union square farmers' market and we made some soba.
soba with five spice tofu and acorn squash serves 2
*120 grams soba
*about 6 ounces tofu (our package said "medium firm" and "regular")
*1 small to medium acorn squash
*half a yellow onion, chopped
*soy sauce, to taste
*about 1 1/2 TBSP five spice powder
1. pierce skin of squash several times with a fork. put in the oven in a baking pan at 350 degrees F. cook for 1-2 hours, until it yields to a gentle touch (ours took an hour and 15 minutes).
2. cook soba according to package directions.
3. cut tofu into bite sized squares. saute with onion, five spice powder and 2 TBSP soy sauce. saute, stirring for about 3 minutes.
4. cut squash in half and scoop out seeds and pulp (you can save the seeds and toast them for a tasty snack). chop squash into bite-sized, but on the large side, pieces.
5. mix all ingredients. add more soy sauce, if desired, to coat noodles. add sriracha to taste (we don't have any yet, and this deficiency needs to be fixed immediately. sriracha would definitely be great with this recipe).

Monday, September 7, 2009

the empanada that ate san francisco

when i saw this recipe in the new spanish table, there was no picture, so although the title was "empanada with tuna and melting onions", i thought i was making empanadas, as in multiple small pastries. of course, we had to make it-tuna, lots of delicious veggies, and "melting onions" (what a delectable way to describe it! they were carmelized) all baked inside a warm, golden brown crust.

obviously, this was at home, over last winter break, and not in a dorm room on a hot summer day. anyway, turns out, it was one giant empanada, as i'm sure you've concluded based on the photographic evidence. so we sliced it like a pie, and enough leftovers for the next day (i think it made 6 or 7 meals total. 5 if you're really hungry). yum!

Friday, September 4, 2009

eggs in a basket + butternut and apple saute

i have some instructions for you. first, if you live in Manhattan,go to dean and deluca on broadway. not to buy anything of course, but for the best free samples ever. we each got a square of foccacia, a chocolate caramel truffle, one fourth of a macaroon, and a cracker with white truffle butter. oh yeah, it's classy.
second, make eggs in toast. you've probably had these or made them before, but we never had. i predict they will become a staple of my diet, at least this year. there is something so therapeutic about making a dish for the first time and having it turn out exactly as you always imagined it. so simple, so pretty, and it really hit the spot.

we also made a side dish of sauteed squash, apple, onion, and cinnamon.
"egg in the basket" makes 1
1.heat up 1 tsp of oil or butter (we used olive oil) in a nonstick pan. meanwhile, use a glass/cup to stamp out the center of a slice of bread (we used whole wheat. also, we made pop art-see first photo-but that is not a necessary step).
2.add bread to pan and let cook for a minute or two.
3.crack egg in the center of bread. cook until egg white is opaque white, about 3-5 minutes.
butternut and apple sauteserves 2-3 (this recipe isn't perfected yet, but we like the idea of it)
*1 and 1/2 cups chopped butternut squash (we used frozen from whole foods)
*1 granny smith apple, diced
*1/2 a yellow onion, chopped or sliced
*cinnamon, salt, and pepper, to taste
*1 tsp-1 tbsp olive oil
heat oil in pan. add squash and saute until soft, adding onion about halfway through. when squash and onion are both cooked, add apple and saute for 2 more minutes. add spices to taste.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

couscous couscous

conversation i just had with rita: me-"can i call this post couscous couscous since we both had couscous?" rita-"YES." We crack ourselves up.
Anyhoo, sorry for the bad picture. we'll try to figure out better lighting and/or photoshop.
This was my first excursion into dorm cooking even though we've now been here 3 days. Previous eating was cereal, eating out, or going to dinner at a friend's place (he also made couscous actually).
What I learned today: canned veggies and beans=a great deal. We got black beans, chickpeas, and corn.
I made couscous (whole wheat) + trader joe's chipotle salsa + corn + black beans (on the left in the pic). It was really filling and tasty. Rita made couscous + trader joe's punjab spinach sauce + chickpeas + corn. I asked her what she wanted to say about it and she said "I don't know." But she wolfed it down, so apparently it was good.