Friday, November 27, 2009

Food Waste Friday

I didn't take a picture this time, because the brunt of my waste I realised occurred in the very beginning of the week (and I didn't want to keep rotted food in my fridge). So, here's what was wasted:

1 tomato
6 brussels sprouts
1/2 cup spaghetti squash and sausage
1 dinner roll

In fairness, I think this was actually pretty good, particularly given that it's Thanksgiving week!

I hope you all had a great holiday!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, and Mesquite

I hope you all are having a great Thanksgiving! Over here, we're having a great time. This year I declined to cook (!!!) and we ordered a lovely tenderloin package from Whole Foods. The food was great, and since it's just the two of us this year we have plenty to snack on through the weekend.

However, not doing the spread doesn't mean I ignored the kitchen completely. Instead of making dinner, I've spent the day baking various types of cookies to send to my mother for her holiday gift (we're doing only handmade gifts this year).

Which brings me to the mesquite. The people at Casa de Fruta (which is one of my favourite places in the world, primarily because of how wonderful their olives, dried apples and sheet apricots are! Plus they make some really delightful wines; I stop there anytime I'm in northern California) sent me a bag of their mesquite flour. It tastes kind of carob-like, and is flour made from the beans of the mesquite tree. Doesn't really get more American than that (like pumpkins, potatoes and corn!), which for me means Thanksgiving is the perfect day to start baking with it.

I added mesquite flour to molasses cookies, and I noted a difference in the depth of the flavour of the cookie. I also added some to the double chocolate biscotti, though in this recipe I think there was so much chocolate I couldn't really tell a difference. Additionally, when I made Francis some mini pumpkin muffins, I added some to that too. I tasted his muffins and the mesquite flour did represent the carob I deleted from the recipe.

I think if you're curious about amending your recipes to try a new product, or if you have people who require gluten-free food (which mesquite is), it's a good one to try out, and relatively inexpensive (given that you use just a bit at a time).

Many of my molasses cookies are malformed, but here's a pic:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Food Waste Friday

Oy vey. This week I did very, very poorly on controlling food waste. I think this is the most food I've wasted in quite some time, and I'm kind of embarrassed. What I find most odd about this week's waste, however, is that the brunt of it was bread related. That's weird to me because I obsess over bread and almost always eat any piece of bread that falls within my line of vision. That being said, I wasted:

3 slices of white bread (this is actually P's bread, but I should've finished the loaf)
just under 2 loaves of kaak
half a head of butter lettuce

Monday, November 16, 2009

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage

This is kind of an odd take on spaghetti with meatballs. It really bears no resemblance to spaghetti with meatballs, though that was the inspiration for this dish. It's relatively simple to make and only costs a couple dollars to feed two people. Since there's no real starch component to this meal, I served it alongside garlic-cheese bread. These bars were for dessert, and were the perfect close to the meal. Hope you enjoy!

1 spaghetti squash
1 can stewed tomatoes
1/3 pound fresh sausage, either crumbled into little "balls" or sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/3 cup vegetable broth

Cut the squash in half. Put the halves on a plate, cut side down, and microwave for 10-15 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to touch, then scrape the flesh into a saucepan. Add remaining ingredients and simmer over medium to medium-high heat until sausage is cooked through. Serves 2.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

POM Coffee

I have to say, the people at POM are really winning me over. They sent me some of their new iced coffees. These things go beyond addictive. They're delightful, rich in flavour, creamy in texture and just amazingly, sickeningly delicious. You probably already knew I love coffee (and tea!), but these are just wonderful. They're pretty high in calories, averaging about 190 for 10.5 fluid ounces, but I'm guessing those high calories are what make them taste so good. They also pack a large caffeine wallop, at 175 mg of caffeine per serving (which is one bottle). That's just over twice the amount of caffeine in a red bull, but without all the chemical after-taste. It's also slightly more caffeine than in a grande latte from Starbucks, but without the burned flavour (or maybe that's just my thing against Starbucks?). Anyway, they're really delicious, and if you're going to go for an energy-type drink, I recommend this one.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Food Waste Friday

I didn't think to take a picture, because it would've probably meant taking pictures on different days, but this week I wasted the following food:

2 tortillas
3 ounces baby spinach

Both of these somehow got lost in the fridge, and when I discovered them it was not pretty.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Baked Beans with Acorn Squash

Finally, I got around to making the acorn squash. One squash down, 5 to go! I've been wanting baked beans, and also have been wanting squash, so I thought it would make sense to combine the two. I actually baked this for 2 hours at 300F and about a half hour at 400F (because I was doing it differently than I would've made it if P wasn't in class while I was cooking) instead of how the directions will say to make it, but you can easily modify the temperature to fit your scheduling needs (including, I'm guessing, a slow cooker). I served this with jalapeño-cheddar bread. This recipe is also easily modified for vegans and vegetarians if you leave out the salt pork (though you'll want to add more salt). Hope you enjoy!

1 can white beans
2 slices salt pork, cut into bits
2-3 tablespoons molasses (I didn't measure, but it was roughly this much)
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 acorn squash
1 teaspoon each: salt, black pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. Drain the beans. Cut the salt pork into bits. Peel, deseed and cube the acorn squash. Mix together with all other ingredients and bake for one hour, or until squash is cooked through (stir once during the baking time). Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Eggplant Dolma

Oh, it's been a week again. Here I was, doing so well posting more than once every week or two, and then the upcoming vector analysis exam needed to be studied for. It's either going to be incredibly difficult, or shockingly easy. We'll see I guess.

Anyway, I'd intended to live in the realm of squash and beans and potatoes and cabbage, but a trip to the farmer's market (where we'd gone to get some of that amazing beef sausage) turned up some adorable little round eggplants, and I needed to have those too. Seeing as squash can last nearly the entire winter, I decided to put it off in favour of the eggplants. Typically we think of dolma as being stuffed grape leaves, but really the word just means "stuffed thing" and can apply to myriad stuffables. These little eggplants really just begged to be filled with yummies. Normally we get the beef sausage from the market, but they were out (which is what you get if you show up 30 minutes before closing time), so instead we picked a nice looking fresh pork polish sausage. I think for this recipe, any fresh sausage will do. I hope you enjoy!

6 ounces fresh sausage, crumbled
1 shallot, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 garlic cloves, smashed into paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons bulgur wheat
1/2 teaspoon each: tumeric, aleppo pepper, marjoram
1/3 reserved eggplant innards, finely chopped
6 small eggplants

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
pinch salt
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 reserved eggplant innards, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375F. Make a thin slice on the bottom of each eggplant so it can stand upright. Slice off top, then use a melon baller to hollow them out, leaving some flesh inside each eggplant. Finely chop the eggplant flesh that's been removed from the eggplants, and set aside. Mix together (use your hands) the entire first group of ingredients except the whole eggplants. Stuff this mixture into the eggplants, packing it in tightly. Mix together tomato sauce, salt, remainder of broth and lemon juice. Pour into the bottom of your pan, then stand the eggplants in the pan. Put in the oven for one hour, or until the eggplants are soft and the filling is cooked through. Transfer to plates and spoon sauce over the eggplants. Serves 2.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Pumpkin-Rye Biscuits

You might've thought this was a treat for you, but it's really a treat for your best friend (dog). I got this recipe from the lovely Chile, but I didn't have mesquite or soy flour, and wasn't about to buy any. So we modified it from there to accommodate what I had on hand, and then I added pumpkin too. These smelled pretty good when they were baking, but I didn't try any. I thought it'd be rude to the dog. Hope your dog enjoys!

1 1/2 cups rye flour
1/3-ish cup whole wheat flour (it was probably a little closer to 1/2 cup, but just go w/ it)
2 egg shells, washed and dried then pounded into powder in a mortar (this was fun)
4 tablespoons pumpkin shell puree*, or pumpkin puree
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon oil (I used soybean oil, but you could use anything you like)

Preheat oven to 350F. Pulse the dry ingredients together in the food processor. Add the pumpkin and run the processor while pouring in the water and oil. When fully combined, transfer the blob of dough to an ungreased baking sheet. Wet hands (it's very, very sticky) and smooth into a square or round of even thickness. Score with a pizza cutter. Bake until golden and firm (original recipe gives ~20 minutes; for me it took 40 I think), then remove from oven. Let cool 10 minutes, then cut with a pizza cutter and loosen from the baking sheet with a metal spatula. Once cut, you can let them cool immediately, or you can leave in the cooling oven to dry further. If they aren't crispy when cooled, cook them a little longer (but if you let them cool in the cooling oven, they will be for sure). Serves one dog.

* After processing a pumpkin, puree the shell and freeze it, in one tablespoon increments, in an ice cube tray. It's perfect for making dog treats, stirring into the dog's bowl of food, or even adding a touch of extra fibre to your pumpkin people products (say that 5 times fast).