Thursday, February 28, 2008

Southwestern Three-Bean Salad

And now... what you actually came here for:

1 cup cooked black beans*
1 cup cooked navy beans
1 cup cooked small red beans
1 8.75-ounce can corn, drained
1 jalepeno, deseeded and diced
1 stalk diced celery
4 tablespoons sliced scallion

Mix together, add dressing, stir well and eat.

Dressing:

.5 cup chopped cilantro
5 drop tabasco
4 drops Worcestershire sauce
.5 teaspoon each: ground coriander seed, paprika, chili powder, dry mustard, salt
.25 cup lime juice
.5 cup vegetable oil

Whisk together.

*I don't ever buy canned beans, and I cooked my black beans (only the black; I just cooked the others normally) with a splash of rose water and a bay leaf. Feel free to buy canned and use those instead.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rice Pudding

1.5 cup whole milk
.34 cup sugar
1 tablespoon rose water
3 cardamom pods
pinch fresh nutmeg
1 allspice berry
.25 teaspoon vanilla
1.75 cups cooked, long-grain rice
.25 cup each: chopped dates, raisins

Heat milk, sugar, rose water, cadamom, nutmeg, allspice and vanilla until sugar is dissolved. Add rice and simmer until thick, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 5 minutes before it's done, remove the cardamom and allspice. Stir frequently once raisins are added. Top w/ freshly grated nutmeg.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Roasted Vegetables on Lentils

Lentils:
3 cups water
1 2"-piece cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf

.75 cup red lentils
.25 cup split green peas

salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
sumac to taste (optional)


Add cinnamon, bay leaf and water to a pot. Bring to a boil. Add lentils and peas, stir well. Lower heat, cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until tender, uncovering occasionally to stir. If any water remains, leave covered for a few minutes and it will soak in. Add salt, pepper, lime, cilantro and sumac. Put on a plate and top with roasted vegetables. Serves 4.

Roasted Vegetables:
4 red potatoes, quartered
4 baby beets, peeled and quartered
6 large brussel sprouts, halved
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon onion or shallot powder
salt and pepper to taste
.5 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon dried lemon peel

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine all ingredients in a casserole dish or baking sheet. Bake 30-45 minutes or until beets and potatoes are fork tender.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Peeps!

It's no secret I love Peeps. I have no illusions about their "food" status (not food). But I love them, regardless. Some junk foods are just... good.

I have seen a Peep car, Peep-killing websites, all sorts of Peep things.

This takes the cake. I want this book.

Quinoa Salad

.5 cup red quinoa
.5 cup white quinoa

.25 minced red onion
.5 cup diced marinated artichoke crowns or hearts
.5 cup minced palm hearts
.25 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1 cup diced fresh broccoli
2 tablespoons roasted garlic
1 – 6 ounce can black Spanish olives, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
.5 teaspoon cumin
.25 teaspoon celery seed
.25 cup lemon juice
.125 cup red wine vinegar
.5 cup hemp seed oil (or olive oil)
1 tablespoon honey

Cook quinoa according to package directions and cool. When cooled, add onion, artichoke, palm hear, tomato, broccoli, garlic and olives. Set aside.

Whisk together remaining ingredients. Toss into salad. Serves 8.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lazy Day Lunches (Salade Nicoise)

I got home from class today, and didn't really feel like making anything (or sifting through left-overs). And then I remembered I'd planned to make a salade nicoise at some point in the next week or so. Today sounded like a good day. For those who don't know what a salade nicoise is here's quick description (unfortunately, there was very little left by the time I remembered I have a camera):

Salad greens, hard boiled egg, nicoise olives, tuna, anchovies (I forgot P likes anchovies too, so I left them out), raw vegetables, olive oil. Most restaurants also include steamed or blanched green beans. Mine was also a variance from the traditional, but no less tasty.

In short, it's a protein-rich salad that can be tossed together in just a few moments if you'd like, or you can spend time cooking the tuna and making it fancier. This to me is really a pantry meal, since I tend to have a lot of pickled and jarred foods laying around for lazy days. You use what's in your pantry, and modify it to suit your tastes.

Salade Nicoise (per serving)

Handful or two salad greens
4-5 pieces each: julienned orange and red bell pepper
Few pieces of chopped palm heart
1 stalk of rough chopped celery
1 tablespoon sliced scallion
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed
small handful cherry tomatoes
1 dolma (this does not fit in the slightest, but I wanted it anyway)
1 hard-boiled egg, peeled and sliced in half
Half a jar tuna (I remember spending a lot less on this tuna; you can sear your own too)
5-6 slices cucumber
2 tablespoons nicoise olives
1-2 tablespoons vinaigrette of choice

Put the greens on the center of the plate. Top with tuna, olives, capers and scallions. Arrange remaining ingredients in piles around the plate so that it looks pretty. Top with dressing; eat.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi

1 tablespoon salt
7 cloves garlic, finely minced

4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup white wine

½ pound shelled, deveined shrimp

Sprinkle half of salt on a cutting board. Top with garlic. Sprinkle remaining salt on top of salt. Press garlic with the flat part of knife repeatedly until it's paste.

Heat a small skillet. Add butter, lemon, wine, garlic and salt to skillet. Bring to a boil. When boiling, add shrimp. Allow sauce to reduce (approximately 8 minutes). Serves 2.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew

12 ounces chicken breast, cut into chunks
1 – 2 pound butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
¾ cup frozen corn
1 cup quartered artichoke hearts
2 whole cloves garlic
1 large tomato, chopped
3 large shallots, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
1/8 cup pine nuts
2 cups chicken broth
1/8 cup sun-dried tomatoes
3 large basil leaves, chopped

Heat a medium saucepan. Add oil and heat. Saute shallots in salt and pepper. Add nuts and toast. Add vegetables and broth; reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes. Add chicken and basil, then cook another 30-40 minutes on low heat. Serves 4.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lamb-Stuffed Eggplant

Stuffed Eggplant

2 large eggplants

1 can sliced potatoes
1/8 cup lemon juice
½ c dried cranberries
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon each: freshly ground black pepper, dried lemon peel, garlic powder, ground coriander and poppy seeds
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil
1½ pounds lamb meat

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/8 cup [red] zinfandel
1 – 15 oz can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut top end off eggplants. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise, drizzle with lemon juice and set aside. Using a spoon, scoop out the majority of the insides of the eggplants. Reserve the innards of one eggplant and chop. In a bowl, combine chopped eggplant, potatoes, lemon juice, cranberries, salt, pepper, lemon peel, garlic powder, coriander, poppy seeds and vinegar.

Cut lamb into thumbnail sized bits. Heat a large skillet and add olive oil. When heated, fry lamb. Add lamb to potato mixture and stir well. Add rosemary and wine to lamb drippings. Reduce by half then add tomato sauce. Cook at medium heat for 5 minutes.

Spoon the potato and lamb mixture into the hollowed eggplants. Pour tomato sauce over eggplants and bake for 90 minutes. Serves 8.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Chicken Soft Tacos

6 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced
2 ounces onion, sliced thinly
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon comino
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tortillas

Heat small skillet, then add oil. When oil is heated, add onions and chicken to skillet. Sprinkle seasonings over the chicken and onions. Sauté until chicken is cooked through and onions are translucent. Wrap in tortillas.

Serves 1-2.

Braised Flank

Let's pretend it's still yesterday.

Braised Flank Steak

1¼ pound flank steak
1 tablespoon chinkaing vinegar*
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon dill seed
¼ teaspoon fennel seed
8 juniper berries
1 tablespoon Jamaican lager (recommend: Red Stripe)
Juice of 1 tangerine

1 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Season both sides of the flank steak with salt and pepper. In a mortar and pestle, grind fennel, dill and juniper berries into a fine powder. Season the steak with the ground fennel, dill and juniper. Place the steak in a large piece of aluminum foil and drizzle the beer, vinegar, oil and tangerine juice over the steak.

Wrap the steak in foil and place in a baking dish. Roast for 1 hour. Remove steak from foil and set aside to rest. Drain the drippings into a small saucepan and add wine to them. Bring to a boil and reduce to ¼ cup volume.

Slice the steak against the grain (not on a bias) and top with sauce. Serves 2-3.

*Use what you have. I have a lot of weird vinegars a reasonable person might not have.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pineapple Cranberry Pie

Pineapple and Cranberry Pie

5 cups fresh pineapple, cored and cut into chunks
2 cups frozen cranberries, thawed and cut up
7/8 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons black currant or orange juice
Crust for double-crust pie

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix together pineapple, cranberries, sugar, cornstarch and currant juice. Line a pie plate with one layer of crust. Fill plate with pineapple mixture. Top with second pie crust. Cut slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Bake 40-50 minutes.

Miss Spider, Part Two

Ok, so I realised I did also call the spider "Miss Spider." Last night, I gave her a lecture ('cause yeah... she can understand me... or something).

She leaves a lot of messes that's true. I remember when she was born, and when her mom moved across the garage (I sometimes visit her to see what she's eaten - usually another species of spider as of late), I watch her molt, and I watch her feeding patterns. I'm a lot more attached to this spider than I realised until yesterday (when I was complaining to P about her not doing her job as he looked at me in the same way one might look at any crazy person). All in all, she's a pretty cool spider and she keeps the garage largely pest free. Plus, she sits where I sit and she's never bitten me.
So last night I walk over to our part of the garage, and she's just chillin' while a large silverfish (~2 years old) is walking right by. Now, I realise she just ate, but spiders have a built in food preservation system. She should've wrapped it up for later. And that's what I told her after I killed the silverfish. She just went further into her burrow and ignored me (well, what else was she gonna do? Yell back?) But I felt better telling her her job is to kill all the bugs that walk by her.

And here she is. She's very pretty. If anyone knows what kind of spider she is, feel free to tell me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Even though I don't really celebrate this holiday, here're two holiday appropriate recipes. You can make them soon and still have them ready in time for later tonight.

Chocolate Dipped Raspberries

2 dozen long-stemmed raspberries
3 oz. german chocolate
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 oz. white chocolate

Melt white chocolate over double boiler, stirring constantly.

Dip as many of the raspberries as you can in these (10-12) and lay on a cookie sheet that's been covered in wax paper.

Melt german and bittersweet chocolate together over a double boiler while stirring constantly. Dip remaining raspberries in it and lay on wax paper.

Refrigerate until chocolate has hardened. If you are interested in doing so, you can dip the hardened white chocolate raspberries into the remainder of the german/bittersweet chocolate mixture, or melt a couple ounces of plain bittersweet to re-dip the white chocolate ones.

Store in an airtight container.

and...

Chocolate Covered Pine Nuts

3 oz. russian dark chocolate
5 oz. pine nuts

Melt chocolate. Toss with pine nuts. Dry on wax paper.

Both of these are really easy to make, and tasty.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Spicy Melted Cheese

This is basically a spicier version of fondue. I mixed together some of my favourite cheeses for this, since I sometimes have trouble deciding what it is I really want.

5 ounces shredded cheddar
8 ounces shredded muenster
8 ounces shredded swiss cheese
4 ounces shredded mozzarella
4 ounces chevre with herbs
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup cream
1 minced shallot
3 minced cloves garlic
1 minced serrano
1 minced jalepeno
1 teaspoon cognac vinegar (substitute: red wine vinegar)
.5 cup sake
.25 teaspoon cumin
.5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
.25 teaspoon marjoram
5 grams chopped white truffle (optional)

Melt in a double boiler. Transfer to a fondue pot and dip chips, bread and/or vegetables in it. Serves 6.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Easy-Peasy Lasagna

6 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles
8 ounces ricotta
3 cups meat sauce
8 ounces mozzarella
1 ounce parmesan
non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375F. In a 9x6 pan , spray non-stick cooking spray. Place two pasta sheets in the pan, then 1 cup of sauce. Put half the ricotta on top of the sauce, then one third of the mozzarella. Repeat. After you have made 2 layers, top with the remaining sauce and the remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle parmesan on top. Tent loosely with foil, bake one hour. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is browned. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Serves 2.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Roasted Anise and Leek

We had sausage for dinner tonight, but one of the sides was this roasted dish:

1 leek, cut in half, then sliced (green and white parts)
1 anise (fennel) bulb, halved then sliced
.5 teaspoon orange peel (or bergamot, if you have it)
1 tablespoon each: balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, orange juice
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F. Mix together on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 250F and roast for another 20-30 minutes. Serves 4.

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

1 – 10 ounce pkg frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed and strained
1 – 13.75 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained
¼ cup parmesan or parano cheese, shredded
¾ cup Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup cream

Combine and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and golden brown. Serve with ciabatta bread or tortilla chips. Serves 4-6.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Salmon Stuffed Artichoke Crowns

1 – 6 ounce can salmon without skins and bones (or, 1 – 6 ounce filet salmon, poached and shredded)
¼ cup yellow bell pepper, finely diced
¼ cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1 radish, finely minced
¼ cup celery, minced
¼ cup dill pickles, minced
1 teaspoon capers, chopped or smashed
½ teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
1½ teaspoon fresh chives, chopped

1 tablespoon natural stone ground mustard (recommend: Plochman’s)
¼ cup mayonnaise
6 drops Tabasco
10 drops Louisiana hot sauce

9 marinated artichoke crowns, drained and blotted

Combine and stir (with a fork) the first group of ingredients. Using the fork, stir in mustard and hot sauces thoroughly. Stir in mayonnaise with the fork. Spoon into artichoke crowns and top with more Louisiana hot sauce if desired.
Serves 9.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Spring Rolls

18 cocktail shrimp, raw
1 lemon
36 bay scallops, raw
Salt

Rice or tapioca strips, uncooked (Asian noodles)

½ radish, shredded
12 thin strips cucumber
4 snow peas, shredded
¼ rib celery, shredded
6 chives
3 leaves each: mint and [thai] basil, chiffonaded*
6 small sprigs cilantro
6 spring roll papers (tapioca sheets)
6 - 12 strips each red and yellow bell pepper
Alfalfa sprouts
3 slices romaine lettuce, ribbed and halved

Slice lemon and add to pot of water. Boil, and then add salt. When water is boiling, add shrimp and scallops. Boil 30 seconds to 1 minute, or just until cooked. Remove from water and submerge in an ice bath. Using same water, boil Asian noodles until just tender, then remove and cool.

Soak tapioca sheets briefly in fresh water (around 10 seconds), then lay flat. Pile in 1/6 of each ingredient and wrap tightly like a burrito.

Serve with peanut sauce.

Serves 6

Peanut Sauce

½ cup peanut butter
1/8 cup rice vinegar
½ cup water
1 tablespoon chili sauce (recommend: Sriracha)
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Whisk together all ingredients except water. Slowly whisk in water until mixture has a sauce-like consistency. Yields 1 cup

Friday, February 08, 2008

Lima Beans and Pasta

1.5 cups cooked large lima beans*
8 ounces cooked pappardell pasta

2 tablespoons each: butter, extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces sliced onion
2 stalks celery, sliced
dash each: ground fenugreek, paprika, garlic powder

large handful sugar snap peas (in pods)
.25 cup chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter

Heat pan to low. Add butter and olive oil; allow butter to melt. Add onion, celery and spices. Cook down over low heat until the onions are transparent. Add peas and parsley, cook until peas are bright. Add in beans and pasta, salt, pepper and the remaining butter. Heat through, then eat.

Serves 2.

*The lima beans I made from dry beans I'd cooked.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Azuma

Azuma.

It's a sushi and Robata bar. They have two locations.

This is some of the most delightful sushi I have ever experienced. The nigiri itself was splendid. The flesh (we had bluefin tuna, sea bass and salmon) of all three fish were firm yet meltable. Their flavours were wonderful; a true indicator that it's not just talk when it's said they fly the fish in daily.

Rolls? Oh, the rolls. There were two that tied for favourite to both P and I.

1) Azuma roll - Spicy, spicy, spicy. But all the heat is in the finish. This roll contains a blend of bluefin and yellowtail. Its wrapped in nori then rewrapped in a thin slab of daikon. There are black sesame seeds and a shake of some sort of chile spice on the top and a slight drizzle of their spicy sauce. Its flavour is delicate, initially - melty almost, and the heat is at the very, very end of the finish so you have the opportunity to melt into the roll before the heat shocks you. It's a gradual heat, sneaking up on you until you finally realise with pleasant surprise that your mouth is on fire. Most importantly, the heat does NOT take away from the flavour. This restaurant created a classic example of how heat can be enjoyed without detracting from the flavour. I am in love with this roll.
2) Sumo roll - I am also in love with this roll. It was the exact opposite from the Azuma roll. Light, delicately balanced avocado slivers, tempura shrimp, crab and asparagus wrapped in bean paper and peppered with black sesame seeds. It tastes like the essence of spring. You eat them, and you feel like you can continue to eat them indefinitely. Very light and refreshing. Delicious!!

And the other rolls we got were all delicious - just not nearly as exceptional as the aforementioned two:

3) Volcano roll - I normally detest this roll. The sauce is generally too viscous, making me feel like I've swallowed a pound of pepto and the scallops are generally mushy. Not here, though. This roll was surprisingly light. Its sauce was barely noticeable, despite the delectable flavour, it perfectly blended with the flavour of the scallops and panko without any sort of competition for supremacy in the roll. The scallops were creamy, but not mushy. They were cooked to perfection. And fortunately, the panko didn't overwhelm the rest.
4) White Angel - Crab and veggies wrapped in bean paper. The main selling feature of this roll is the extraordinary PILE of baked octopus on top, in a very mild, creamy sauce. This roll is incredibly dense and very flavourful.
5) Cucumber roll - pretty standard, no real deviation from the normal flavour.

So, there's my brief description of the restaurant. The also tastes fresher than it normally does, and the squid salad was wonderful.

I have found my sushi place here.

Somen Salad

1 cube: onion bouillon, garlic bouillon
2 cubes: chicken bouillon
.25 teaspoon wasabi powder
3 cups water

Bring to a boil. Add:

3.5 ounces somen (any colour; I used green and pink)

Boil for 2-3 minutes, then drain. Put the somen in a bowl and add to it while it's still hot:

salt and white pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1-2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Cool to room temperature, then add:

3 ounces trimmed and thinly sliced button mushrooms
1 celery stalk, sliced paper thin
1 ounce trimmed and peeled carrot, sliced thin on a bias
1 ounce onion, sliced paper thin (slices cut into quarters. I wish I'd saved the scallion instead)
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix well, chill, eat.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Oft Forgotten Potato Salad

I always forget how much I like potato salad, even though it is really cheap and very simple to prepare. What I like the most about it is that potato salad provides an excellent opportunity for cleaning out the fridge*, since just about every variation of it tastes good.

So here is today's potato salad:

2 pounds red potatoes
salt to taste

2/3 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 hard boiled egg**, chopped
1/2 cup sliced scallion
1/2 cup chopped dill pickle
1/4 teaspoon each: onion powder, garlic powder, dry mustard, oregano, dill, coriander seed, celery salt, paprika
1 teaspoon each: lemon pepper, seasoned salt
2-4 tablespoons mayonnaise (I like mine dry; you might not)
1 teaspoon each: yellow mustard, creole mustard

Put the potatoes in a pot with the salt. Cover with water, simmer for 40 minutes or until fork tender. Allow to cool, then cut into chunks. I leave the skins on because I am lazy and because I like the taste and because a touch of extra nutrition never hurt anyone. Put the potatoes in a bowl, and add the rest of the stuff. Mix together, chill, eat.

*The hard boiled egg was left over from some snacking eggs I made last week; the bell pepper was actually the top and bottom of a bell pepper, since the rest went into a stir fry; the scallions looked like it was drying out a week ago, so I cut them up and stuck them in a container and they were still good when I opened it, otherwise I'd've used the half of a regular onion which was also in the fridge; the pickle was the last one in the jar and I had to add some cut up pickle chips to it. My fridge is much cleaner now. I almost added some carrot, too, but then I realised I just bought those and am still likely to use them in a "normal" recipe.
**If you don't know how to make a hard boiled egg, there are two solutions:
1) Buy these. Or another brand that makes them.
2) Put your eggs in a pot. Throw a little salt in. Add water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let them simmer for one minute. Turn off the heat, cover, and ignore for about 10 minutes. Drain and chill in ice water.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Meat Sauce

I started a meat sauce yesterday (it'll be done in time for dinner tonight). It costs ~15 dollars to make it and it'll provide enough sauce for a minimum of ten meals. Here it is:

Meat Sauce

4-5 pound chub ground beef

1 10-can tomato sauce
2 8-ounce cans mushrooms
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
3 4.5-ounce cans chopped olives

2 tablespoons lemon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons each: onion powder, garlic powder
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
2 bay leaves
.5 teaspoon truffle powder (optional)
pinch galangal powder (optional)
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon dried each: oregano, chive, thyme, basil, marjoram, fennel seed, crushed red pepper flakes, sage, rosemary
4 bulbs roasted garlic (roasted in olive oil)

3 leeks, chopped (greens and whites)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
.5 teaspoon each: lavender, dill

Fry the meat and drain. Add to a large crock pot with all spices and canned goods. In the same pan you fried the meat in, add olive oil, lavender and dill. Allow to infuse for 15 or so minutes over low heat, then add leeks (if these are unavailable, use regular onions). Sweat until bright, then add to crock pot.

Cook on high heat, stirring occasionally, until you go to bed, then turn the heat down to low. Allow to cook at least the next day.

This recipe is intended to be a "pantry" recipe, but feel free to add fresh mushrooms or whatever else to it.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Chili Competition

We got to the chili competition at about 3pm. It looked a lot slower than I expected it to be (there were 13 entries, as opposed to the 30 that there could have been), which was a good thing in my mind since I'd eaten more than I should have of the kolaches we'd gotten.

As soon as we got to the judges table, I was given my badge and I sat on the bench to get a better idea of what was going on. I watched people interact for a bit, then talked to the guy who was holding the competition. Turns out he (at least in the past; I don't know if he still does) judges other cooking competitions (on a regional/state/etc level).

After some time waiting, all the entries were turned in and the people who weren't judges were sent away so they couldn't try to influence the competition (which happened anyway, but whatever). I ate many good chilis, and a couple bad ones. There was a white chili I thought I would not like, but it turned out to be one of my favourites.

And if someone can tell me where the wire to plug my camera into the computer is (or loan me a card reader), I will even post pictures.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Oh, Henry (Wheat Salad)

Since you lost it before, now you can make it for your girlfriend:

Wheat Salad

(all quantities approximate, but the wheat:other ratio should be 1:1)

Soak:
1 cup of whole wheat in water overnight
Add:
splash orange blossom water
Piece of a bay leaf
Splash of plum vinegar

Cook 40 minutes (alternately, you can skip the soaking and simmer for 2
hours). Allow to cool completely in its water, remove bay leaf and drain.

Add:
1 stalk diced celery
1 sliced scallion
.3 cucumber, diced
.25-.5 cup chopped palm hearts
.5 tomato, deseeded and diced
.25 cup each: chopped mint, chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
.125 cup each: lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil

Friday, February 01, 2008

Blog Renewal

I've had this blog for a couple years, but as you can see, I never really used it. I've decided to go ahead and start using it now.

This blog will mainly contain stories about school, my weekly list of homework (I see no reason why anyone would read those posts, but feel free if inclined), poor student recipes and sometimes stories from my weekend bar job in Austin (yes, I live in Houston. Yes, I commute each weekend to Austin).

Sunday, I will be a judge in a chili competition being held to help finance .... someone's theme camp at Flipside this year. There are supposed to be about 30 chilis, and I must admit I'm excited to be eating stuff that not only did I not cook, but is free.