Sunday, September 26, 2010

pancake sunday

is there any better way to start a sunday morning than with chocolate chip pancakes and a bon jovi dance party in your pajamas? with yogurt, strawberries, and syrup
i think not.


Friday, September 24, 2010

penne with mushrooms, cheese, and carmelized onions

you guys, we need to talk about caramelized onions. the idea that with the right technique and a little bit of time, two totally ordinary ingredients-an onion and some oil-can become something completely different and amazingly delicious is one of those magical things that made me fall in love with cooking, but i had never actually made caramelized onions until now. i'd tried, but always ended up with onions that were too burnt and crispy. luckily for me, i'm taking a cooking class this semester and i finally know the secret to perfect caramelized onions.
first, you have to slice your onions into half moon shapes. cut the onion in half, then place the flat side on your cutting board and make thin slices downward. separate your slices so you have a bunch of pieces that look like parentheses.

next, sweat the onion. heat just enough canola oil to cover the bottom of a saucepan, then add your onions and stir over low heat for a few minutes, being careful not to brown the onions. cover your pot, and continue to stir every few minutes. if the onions are looking like they're starting to brown, add a little water. it should take about 10 minutes for the onions to get soft and translucent. at this point, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a frying/saute pan and transfer your onions into that pan. continue stirring every 5 minutes or so until onions are brown and soft, like the above photo. if there's brown stuff stuck to your pan, you want that in your onions, so deglaze the pan with a bit of water or broth, then stir until the liquid is incorporated into the onions.

now you're done with your onions! i know this is getting long, but bear with me. i just read a 50 page chapter in my textbook about vegetables. you can read this.

so, caramelized onions are delicious on their own, but maybe you want to incorporate them into a balanced meal. perhaps pasta?
or more specifically, penne pasta with mushrooms, romano cheese, and caramelized onions.

here's the recipe (well, not really. as usual, no exact quantities. but its close to a recipe):
*penne pasta (we used whole wheat)
*onions (i used half an onion for 2 servings)
*canola oil
*olive oil (i used extra virgin)
*mushrooms (i used a medium handful for 2 servings)
*romano cheese, thinly sliced or shaved (used about 1/2 cup of shaved pieces for 2 servings)

slice and caramelize your onions, according to directions above. this should take about half an hour to 45 minutes total. meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. slice mushrooms, and cook in canola oil (just enough to cover the bottom of your pan), stirring frequently, until they turn a nice rich brown. toss mushrooms, onions, pasta, and cheese together. top with a drizzle of olive oil.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

pasta with chickpeas and parmesan cheese

I made this back when we were at home, but it was so easy and cheap it would make great dorm food. I wanted to try Trader Joe's lemon papardelle pasta and since the pasta itself is already lemon flavored, I went without sauce and just tossed it in a little olive oil and cooked garlic. Then I added chickpeas, shaved paremesan, and a little salt and pepper. It was delicious, and the perfect light lunch for a hot day.


Friday, September 17, 2010

easy tuna melt

tuna mixed with artichoke hearts (in oil) and dijon mustard. on wheat bread with tomato slices, then topped with irish cheddar cheese and microwaved until cheese is melted.
thats all i have time to write right now! bye!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

fashion's night out

happy fall everybody! well, i don't know if its officially fall on the calendar, but i wore boots yesterday (admittedly, it was about 10 degrees too hot for boots. i just couldn't wait to wear them) and have been eating sweet potatoes, so its officially fall for me.

the lovely emily was nice enough to respond to a post and tell us she'd like to hear some stories of new york life. so, here goes my attempt at that:

most new york events involve either standing around in large crowds of people or waiting in long lines of people. as a 5 foot 3 girl, i have failed to see anything except the backs of random new yorkers at many exciting events, such as the VMAs red carpet, the rockefeller center christmas tree lighting, and the macy's thanksgiving day parade. last friday was no exception, as i headed to fashion's night out with my friend A., A.'s roommate, and Rita.

i worked until 4, then chilled at home a bit before walking over to A.'s dorm. I only mention this because i had a celebrity siting on the way home from work: Ice-T and his wife CoCo. and their dog. because i am a cool, jaded new yorker, and also because i have no idea what i could say to Ice-T, i walked by casually (sidenote: my first celebrity siting since moving to nyc was Chris Noth. I was walking with my mom, who failed to see him, so I wanted to point him out to her. however, in my excitement, i forgot his name and shouted "mom! look! celebrity!" Chris Noth then gave me a funny look and kept walking).

Anyhoo, we started in an italian restaurant in little italy. it was one of those generic, slightly overpriced, but tasty restaurants that are everywhere there. We split 3 dishes between the four of us: Penne alla vodka, chicken with eggplant and prosciutto, and pizza margherita. yum!

we then hopped on the subway to midtown, where we wandered around in large crowds and looked in store windows. A. wanted to see Gwen Stefani, but we managed to miss her twice. We did see an almost naked male model showering in a store window, and we were offered cheetos approximately 27 times by a random guy yelling at us from a truck. those were pretty much the highlights. after walking around in circles until we got to times square, we were exhausted and decided to head home, so we dragged ourselves back to the subway and were back in our dorm rooms by 10.

so there you have it, a taste of glamorous new york life =) hope you enjoyed!

Monday, September 13, 2010

israeli couscous with quinoa and roasted carrots

one of our staple meals here at chez twin is what i usually refer to as "couscous and stuff" aka couscous with whatever veggies we have thrown in, and some beans for protein. its easy, healthy, and a great way to use up leftovers. this particular incarnation used trader joe's harvest grains blend, which is mostly israeli couscous, with some quinoa and a little bit of orzo and dried garbanzo beans (the yellow things in the picture).
israeli couscous with quinoa and roasted carrots
i'm writing ingredients without amounts because you can adjust every ingredient depending on what you want. its also a great recipe to make a big batch of and save for the rest of the week.
olive oil
curry powder
cayenne pepper
canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
peas, frozen or fresh
trader joe's harvest grains blend, or israeli couscous and quinoa (and orzo if desired)
1. preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. spread carrots on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. toss. there should be enough olive oil to evenly cover the carrots, but not too much excess oil. sprinkle with a medium amount of cinnamon, cumin, and curry powder, and a smaller amount of cayenne. mix so that each carrot has some spices, but is not covered in spices. i think i used about 2 tsp of most of the spices and 1 tsp of cayenne for about 10 carrots. bake for about 45 minutes. carrots should be just starting to blacken on the bottom.
2. when carrots have 10-15 minutes left, cook grains according to package directions. if using different grains, mix them together after cooking. if using frozen peas, cook them with your grains (when your water is boiling, add both grains and peas).
3. stir in carrots and beans (and peas if you haven't yet) with grain mixture. top with sriracha or other hot sauce if desired.

Friday, September 10, 2010

grilled cheese sandwich and spinach salad

what you see here is our first dorm dinner. that grilled cheese sandwich is the only cooking i've done all week, besides the carrots i've got roasting in the oven right now. the salad is spinach, cashews, and trader joe's cranberry pomegranate dried fruit mix. which is good, btw. you should get some. and that's hummus on the carrots, even though it kind of looks like cream cheese.
so our first week here has been crazy, but hopefully we'll cook some real food for y'all (and ourselves) soon. we have big plans for enchiladas and eggplant lasagna. since real cooking will be more sporadic, please let me know if anyone would be interested in non-recipe posts...perhaps daily food journal type posts, what i'm learning in my nutrition classes, random new york adventures, cheap food tips, etc, and we can try to post 2-3 times a week. because we love having you guys around and we know you like reading posts more than once a month =)

Monday, September 6, 2010

spinach salad with mango and candied macadamias

with this hot weather, all i've been craving is salad. more specifically, salad with fruit, nuts, and cheese. its just so refreshing. this is the last part of our "last time cooking at home meal" (which also included the corn soup and the bread pudding). we used a recipe from cooking light, but eliminated the scallops and served it with french bread, goat cheese, and smoked salmon on the side. smoked salmon+goat cheese (or butter, or cream cheese)+baguette=amazing-ness, btw.
spinach salad with mango and candied macadamia nuts
from cooking light. serves 4
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water, divided
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts or pecans
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups diced peeled mango (about 1 large), divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 8 cups packaged spinach
  • 1 cup vertically sliced red onion

[if, like us, you skip the scallops, you don't need the scallops, obviously, or the salt, pepper, or oil. and for any vegans, without the scallops the salad is vegan.]

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in nuts. Spread nut mixture onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Immediately scrape onto a sheet of foil coated with cooking spray. Spread evenly; cool completely. Lightly chop; set aside.

Combine 2 tablespoons water, 1/2 cup mango, juice, ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Stir in poppy seeds; set dressing aside.

Sprinkle scallops with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat oil in a grill pan or medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops; sauté 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan.

Arrange 2 cups spinach on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 3 ounces scallops, 1/4 cup mango, and 1/4 cup onion. Drizzle each serving with 3 tablespoons dressing; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon nut mixture.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

sweet corn soup

we've finally made it to nyc, and are all unpacked and ready to start the school year. get ready for some exciting dorm meals! but first, we have some more food from home to show delicious sweet corn soup.
while we were in seattle, we had the most amazing corn soup at poppy, our splurge restaurant for the trip (well that and pok pok in portland, which is amazing. go there and get the chicken wings. right now!). it was like the freshest, sweetest ear of corn you've ever had, in soup form. when we cooked our final home meal of the summer, i knew we had to include corn soup. we found a good recipe in alice waters' the art of simple food. it was quite tasty, although it looked a little grayish. the recipe was also super simple and fast.